BYU took advantage of me at a time in my life when I would have done almost anything for 10$.
We were a starving student family living in California and I was spending a few days at BYU for the CES Conference. I saw a little flyer all over campus announcing a DNA/Genealogy project: Donate a little blood, get 10$, and help turn the hearts of the fathers to the children. Sign me up. That 10$ pretty much covered the cost of the Hebrew flash cards that I had been lusting after at the BYU Bookstore. (And I don’t really blame BYU for taking advantage of me. I’m rather certain I mindlessly signed a consent form somewhere in there.)
But then, and now, I wonder whether using DNA data for genealogy is a good thing. On the one hand, I have felt the spirit of Elijah as I have done family history, and I have also felt quite a different spirit when I’ve hit a dead end. It seems that we should do anything we can to get past those dead ends–it means liberating the captives if we can perform ordinances for our own.
On the other hand, the promise made to every girl 50 or 100 years ago that she could move on with her life and start over after giving her baby away is now about to be violated. Every man who stiffened his lip and raised a baby who wasn’t his–because of adultry, rape, who knows–will now have his secrets told. Every woman who raised another’s as her own will now be revealed. And what do we do with DNA-derived genealogical information, anyway? If the line I find in a musty registar differs from the string of letters and numbers from a lab, which names do I seal?