The Importance of Journaling

On March 21, 2012 I wrote in my journal that my crush had accepted my friend request on facebook. I write, “Yes, I did scream and yell and jump up and down. And then I ran to tell mom.”

In 3 Nephi 23, the Savior asks to see the records the Nephites have been keeping. After reading them, He reminds the Nephites of a prophecy that had come to pass. The Savior then asks them, “How be it that ye have not written this thing?” And it came to pass that Nephi remembered that this thing had not been written.

The Savior chastises the Nephites for the incompleteness of their records. I’ve always thought it interesting that in the few chapters we have of Christ visiting the Nephites, this little story was included.

All through the scriptures and throughout time, Heavenly Father has asked His children to keep faithful records. Because of this: we have four first-hand accounts of the Savior’s life, we have details on wars and knowledge of peoples, we have timelines, miracles recorded, genealogy written.

President Kimball said,

“Where would we be if Moses hadn’t written his history of the world, those first five vital books of the Old Testament?

How grateful we are that Abraham wrote his own life story,

And then we must not forget or minimize the great efforts of our modern prophet, Joseph Smith, to write the history of the Restoration of the gospel and also his own personal experiences in great detail. What a mass of confusion we would have without those authentic, personal, and carefully written records!”

Because a journal is a continuous record of meaningful experiences that affect our lives, they bless us now and in the future. And consistent with the history of the world, The Lord, through his prophets, has commanded each of us to keep a journal.

In General Conference, President Kimball said, “I urge all the people of this church to give serious attention to their family histories, to encourage their parents and grandparents to write their journals, and let no family go into eternity without having left their memoirs for their children, their grandchildren, and their posterity. This is a duty and a responsibility.(General Conference. April 1978)

Writing in a journal helps us remember the Lord in our daily lives. Journals are a way we can count our blessings. In moments of crisis or when our faith is struggling, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to read in detail how evident the Lord has always been in our lives?

Our lives are busy and we move at a fast pace. Sometimes I find that I most clearly recognize tender mercies as I am actively writing about my day. This is because when writing journal entries, we are making time to pause for once in our lives, ponder and reflect on the day.

Journals can help you remember pivotal experiences, and when you reread those entries you will remember exactly how you felt.

On August 19, 2013 I write, “I went downstairs to get ready to go to seminary at like 5:25 AM. I wondered where dad was. Then I saw the porch light on. I peeked out the window and there dad was in the early morning reading and marking his scriptures. He is such a good example to me. And do you know how special that is to find your dad- to catch him doing THAT when he is all alone? Such a testimony to me.”

Journals are also a great way to teach future generations about who came before them.

“A life that is not documented is a life that within a generation or two will largely be lost to memory. What a tragedy this can be in the history of a family.” (source)

In President Kimball’s talk on journals he says, “Your own private journal should record the way you face up to challenges that beset you. Do not suppose life changes so much that your experiences will not be interesting to your posterity.

Experiences of work, relations with people, and an awareness of the rightness and wrongness of actions will always be relevant.

Your own journal, like most others, will tell of problems as old as the world and how you dealt with them.

What could you do better for your children and your children’s children than to record the story of your life, your triumphs over adversity, your recovery after a fall, your progress when all seemed black, your rejoicing when you had finally achieved?

Some of what you write may be humdrum dates and places, but there will also be rich passages that will be quoted by your posterity.”

Journals are often talked of when it comes to family history, but we need to remember how much keeping a journal can help you in the present. When I was younger I would start a journal, then the next year I would write in it for the second time saying something like, “I am so sorry I haven’t written in a year, so much has happened.”

I knew that that kind of a journal entry did nothing for me. So I worked hard at it. I love life and I want to remember accurately the things I experience. I made a goal and in that year I missed only three days of writing. Since then, writing in my journal has become a habit and it has blessed me immensely. My journals are very special and dear to me and when I read through them, I clearly see how I’ve grown throughout the years in my testimony, in my maturity, and in my relationships. They also help my siblings and I remember all our inside jokes.

President Kimball pleads with us, “Get a notebook, a journal that will last through all time, and maybe the angels may quote from it for eternity. Begin today and write in it your goings and comings, your deepest thoughts, your achievements and your failures, your associations and your triumphs, your impressions and your testimonies. Remember, the Savior chastised those who failed to record important events.”

Preparing for General Conference


General Conference is this weekend and I am so excited. I love Conference and Conference weekends are my absolute favorite out of the whole year. General Conference is so important and I know that if we truly listen and study the words, we can feel comfort and guidance and better our lives.


“But then he added, “But my general conference talk is very different.  I will normally go through twelve to fifteen drafts to be certain that it is what the Lord would have me say.”  Many times since then I have asked myself, “If an Apostle will go through twelve to fifteen drafts, is it pleasing to the Lord if I listen to or read his message one or two times?  I don’t think so.”

– Elder Neil L Anderson


“In the sessions and in the several satellite meetings, truths [are] taught, doctrines expounded, exhortations given, enough to save the whole world from all its ills – AND  I MEAN FROM ALL ITS ILLS. . . .”

– President Spencer W. Kimball

I’ve put together a handout to fill out in preparation for conference, check it out!

Conference Questions Handout

What Must We Protect?

*This is a very important topic, and I ask that you read to the very end. There is a long passage from a church talk, but I break it down and add my testimony afterwards.*

“Throughout the ages, evil forces have attacked the family. Why do you suppose Satan is so obsessed with its dissolution? Because it stands for everything he wants and cannot have. He cannot be a husband, a father, or a grandfather. He cannot have posterity now or ever. Satan cannot even keep those he has led away from God. He has no eternal kingdom or inheritance.” (J. Richard Clarke, Ensign, May 1989, p. 60)

Find where Satan is attacking the most and that’s what we should focus on protecting. What is he attacking the most?

The Family.

We have to know what we’re fighting against. If our young people don’t understand what they’re fighting against, then they can’t prepare for the battle, and neither can you. We see evidence all around us that the family is not important. It’s becoming less important in all societies. We know that because marriage rates are declining, the age of marriage is rising, divorce rates are rising, and more than a fourth of all births are out of wedlock. We see lower birth rates, and they’re dropping every year worldwide. Abortion is rising…and we see unequal relationships with men and women, and we see a lot of cultures that still practice abuse of some kind within family relationships. Many times a career is gaining importance over the family.”

“We know, from our studies here at Church headquarters, concerning the rising generation, that our youth are increasingly less confident in the institution of families. They are less confident in their ability to form a successful eternal family. Because they are less confident in families, they’re placing more and more value on education and less and less importance on forming an eternal family.”

“We know, from visiting with them and conducting studies, that they show a lack of faith in their ability to be successful in families. They don’t see forming families as a faith-based work. For them, it’s a selection process much like shopping. They don’t see it as something that the Lord will bless them and help them to accomplish. They also distrust their own moral strength and the moral strength of their peers. Because temptations are so fierce, they aren’t sure they can be successful in keeping covenants. They also have insufficient and underdeveloped social skills, which are an impediment to them in forming eternal families.”

“This is the world our young people are growing up in. They are in this world where there is “spiritual wickedness in high places.” Public policies are being made every day that are anti-family, and the definition of family is changing legally around the world…There are media messages everywhere that are anti-family, and our young people are very connected with media-Internet, television… (Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter) Increasingly, our youth are seeing no reason to form a family or get married in spite of all the teaching you give them. They are being desensitized about the need to form eternal families.

Sister Julie B. Beck, Seminaries and Institutes of Religion Satellite Broadcast, August 4, 2009 (I suggest reading the whole talk-it’s a good one)

I know that was a long passage from Sister Beck’s talk in 2009. But here’s what we learn from it:

  • The family is not important in the world and there is evidence of it. Even if people say family is important to them, it shows how important family is in their priorities and how much time they are spending on this sacred institution.
  • Younger generations are growing up in this world that the family is more often something to joke about or lie to, and so that is what they know.
  • Youth are not confidence in their ability to form eternal families with the help of the Lord.
  • Anti-family messages are everywhere and they desensitize us.

We are becoming desensitized about the NEED for a family.

What we can do:

  • If we believe the family is important, let it show in how we spend our time. How much time are we spending with our families? How is that time spent? Let us not set aside time for our family members, later looking back knowing we never looked in their eyes but were intent on looking at our screens. My take-away: I will spend more time with my family members, doing wholesome things-playing with them. I will put my phone far away, and look in their eyes instead.
  • Though I am not a parent, I am blessed with many little siblings. It bothers me when they are watching a show and all the plot is the kids lying to their parents, making fun of them, or joking at their family members expense. I have an influence over my siblings, and I need to use it more. I will teach them about families to admire and aspire to, and together we can compare them to what they see everyday.
  • I wish to be completely confident in my ability to form an eternal family someday. Confidence I think, is something easily crushed. So to continually fortify our confidence on this topic, I can study in the scriptures and from the words of Latter-Day Prophets the divine origin of the family. I am not of this world and I do not wish to be of this world, and neither is the family. Learning more about family, spending more time with mine, and preparing myself for my future will increase my confidence.
  • I wish to never be desensitized by the things I don’t believe in. Anti-family messages are so apparent and I worry that I am desensitized to them. One thing we can do is go through all the media we intake. If we really understand the importance of the family, it will not be a hard choice to sacrifice some television show or a social media page. Another thing is to watch the jokes we laugh at. I’ve always loved thinking, “You can tell a lot about a person by what they laugh at.” Well what are we laughing at? Are the jokes we encourage hurting our Spirits?

The family is so important. No matter what kind of family we all come from, we know that people are supposed to be together, man is not supposed to be alone. No matter the past experiences we have with family, we always have the future. God’s plan is centered around families, and so the fight to win over evil has also had the family at the center of the attack. There is a lot of things to aspire to in the world: job titles, fame, followers on social media, world influence, money. But I know the one that really matters most is the family. I don’t know about you, but I wish it to be said of me,

“She really worked hard to protect her family.”


Leaders of the Church Talking About Their Wives

I’m really interested in learning about others relationships in their family and marriage. That is why I’ve studied the Smith family and then wanted to learn about prophets marriage relationships. These are people I greatly admire, and we’ve heard from them in General Conference a lot. Their relationships are what I want mine to be like in my life. Here are some quotes of leaders in the church talking about their wives. It is just the sweetest thing to read up on and study.

*If you teach young women’s or have some of your own, definitely have them read these. Let them know what their goal can be when it comes to being adored in marriage.

Elder Richard G. Scott, “The Eternal Blessings of Marriage”

I learned from my wife the importance of expressions of love. Early in our marriage, often I would open my scriptures to give a message in a meeting, and I would find an affectionate, supportive note Jeanene had slipped into the pages. Sometimes they were so tender that I could hardly talk. Those precious notes from a loving wife were and continue to be a priceless treasure of comfort and inspiration.

I began to do the same thing with her, not realizing how much it truly meant to her. I remember one year we didn’t have the resources for me to give her a valentine, so I decided to paint a watercolor on the front of the refrigerator. I did the best I could; only I made one mistake. It was enamel paint, not watercolor. She never let me try to remove that permanent paint from the refrigerator.

I remember one day I took some of those little round paper circles that form when you punch holes in paper, and I wrote on them the numbers 1 to 100. I turned each over and wrote her a message, one word on each circle. Then I scooped them up and put them in an envelope. I thought she would get a good laugh.

When she passed away, I found in her private things how much she appreciated the simple messages that we shared with each other. I noted that she had carefully pasted every one of those circles on a piece of paper. She not only kept my notes to her, but she protected them with plastic coverings as if they were a valuable treasure. There is only one that she didn’t put with the others. It is still behind the glass in our kitchen clock. It reads, “Jeanene, it is time to tell you I love you.” It remains there and reminds me of that exceptional daughter of Father in Heaven.

As I have thought back over our life together, I realize how blessed we’ve been. We have not had arguments in our home or unkind words between us. Now I realize that blessing came because of her. It resulted from her willingness to give, to share, and to never think of herself. In our later life together, I tried to emulate her example. I suggest that as husband and wife you do the same in your home.

Jeanene’s kindness taught me so many valuable things. I was so immature, and she was so disciplined and so spiritual. Marriage provides an ideal setting for overcoming any tendency to be selfish or self-centered. I think one of the reasons that we are counseled to get married early in life is to avoid developing inappropriate character traits that are hard to change.

From a Deseret News interview with President and Sister Hinckley

Recently, while standing at the pulpit together in a church area conference, President Hinckley discussed the years they had been together and began to weep.

“Has it been that bad?” asked Sister Hinckley.

Which is typical. Among the many traits she shares with her husband, humor is one of them, and it has served their marriage well over the years.

When President Hinckley noted that he remembered Marjorie as a little girl, she mumbled to him, “I was really cute. Tell him that.”

“Oh, yeah, she was a cute little girl,” he said without missing a beat.

When she was reminded of the long months that her husband used to be away from home on church business, leaving her to tend their household and five children, she said, “Then he’d come home and think he was in charge.”

Their feet have slowed, but not their wit. In the preface of Sister Hinckley’s biography, “Glimpses,” Sheri Dew recalls a meeting in which President Hinckley began to address a group of missionaries by announcing, “I am going to exercise my prerogative and call on Sister Hinckley to talk with you. This is something for which I will pay a dear price, but so be it.” Never at a loss for words, Sister Hinckley stepped to the microphone and said, “I like this man a lot, but I like him sometimes a lot more than others.”

In another meeting, President Hinckley again began his talk by saying, “Sister Hinckley and I have been all over the world speaking to missionaries, and I don’t know anyone who does a better job at this than she does. So I think I’d like for her to speak for a few minutes.” Sister Hinckley leaned into the microphone and said, “I’ll tell you exactly why I’m speaking. President Hinckley hasn’t decided yet what he wants to say and he’s stalling.”

In 1937, when a young Gordon Hinckley told her he wasn’t sure they could be married because he had only $150 in the bank in those Depression-era days, she replied, “You mean I get $150 and a husband?!”

Gordon B. Hinckley, “The Women in our Lives”

Before I married her, she had been the girl of my dreams, to use the words of a song then popular. She was my dear companion for more than two-thirds of a century, my equal before the Lord, really my superior. And now in my old age, she has again become the girl of my dreams.

Thomas S. Monson

The first day I saw Frances, I knew I’d found the right one. The Lord brought us together later, and I asked her to go out with me.

My sweet Frances had a terrible fall a few years ago. She went to the hospital. She lay in a coma for about 18 days. I sat by her side. She never moved a muscle. The children cried, the grandchildren cried, and I wept. Not a movement.

And then one day, she opened her eyes. I set a speed record in getting to her side. I gave her a kiss and a hug, and I said, “You’re back. I love you.” And she said, “I love you, too, Tom, but we’re in serious trouble.” I thought, What do you know about trouble, Frances? She said, “I forgot to mail in our fourth-quarter income tax payment.”

I said to her, “Frances, if you had said that before you extended a kiss to me and told me you love me, I might have left you here.”

“Abundantly Blessed” April 2008

She was the love of my life, my trusted confidant, and my closest friend. To say that I miss her does not begin to convey the depth of my feelings.

“I Will Not Fail Thee, nor Forsake Thee” October 2013

Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Your Happily Ever After”

One Sunday the missionaries brought a new family to our meetings whom I hadn’t seen before. It was a mother with two beautiful daughters. I thought that these missionaries were doing a very, very good job.

I particularly took notice of the one daughter with gorgeous dark hair and large brown eyes. Her name was Harriet, and I think I fell in love with her from the first moment I saw her. Unfortunately, this beautiful young woman didn’t seem to feel the same about me. She had many young men who wanted to make her acquaintance, and I began to wonder if she would ever see me as anything but a friend. But I didn’t let that deter me. I figured out ways to be where she was.

When I passed the sacrament, I made sure I was in the right position so that I would be the one to pass the sacrament to her.

When we had special activities at church, I rode my bike to Harriet’s house and rang the doorbell. Harriet’s mother usually answered. In fact, she opened the kitchen window of their apartment on the fourth floor and asked what I wanted. I would ask if Harriet would like a ride to church on my bicycle. Harriet’s mother would say, “No, she will be coming later, but I will be happy to ride with you to church.” This wasn’t exactly what I had in mind, but how could I decline?

And so we rode to church. I must admit I had a very impressive road bike. Harriet’s mother sat on the top tube bar just in front of me, and I tried to be the most elegant bicycle driver over roads of rough cobblestone.

Time passed. While beautiful Harriet was seeing many other young men, it seemed that I could not make any headway with her.

Was I disappointed? Yes.

Was I defeated? Absolutely not!

Actually, looking back I recognize that it doesn’t hurt at all to be on good terms with the mother of the girl of your dreams.

Years later, after I had finished my training as a fighter pilot in the air force, I experienced a modern miracle in Harriet’s response to my continued courting. One day she said, “Dieter, you have matured much over these past years.”

I moved quickly after that, and within a few months I was married to the woman I had loved ever since I first saw her. The process hadn’t been easy—there were moments of suffering and despair—but finally my happiness was full, and it still is, even more so.

Neil L. Andersen

I am grateful for my wonderful companion, Kathy. She makes goodness look easy, and the purity of her spirit keeps our family focused on the simple yet saving truths of the gospel.

“Whom the Lord Calls, the Lord Qualifies”

Elder Andersen says, “Kathy is absolute and uncompromising in her loyalty to the Lord and to me and the family. She does so much to put me and the children first. It is impossible not to love her completely and want to do things for her.

“Once I married her,” he adds, “the standards in my life went way up—being totally consistent in prayer and scripture study, keeping the commandments with precision. Her influence upon me and our children is phenomenal. She has a pure and disciplined faith.”

“Elder Neil L. Andersen: Man of Faith”

Jeffrey R. Holland

Her faith has always been as pure and as powerful and as strong as any person’s I’ve ever known.

You always knew Dad was happiest when he was home with his family. (said by Holland’s son, Matt)

Quentin L. Cook, “Live By Faith and Not by Fear”

My wife, Mary, has been the joy of my life. Her spiritual strength, righteous example, sense of humor, and loving support have blessed me throughout my life.

David A. Bednar, “In the Strength of the Lord”

My wife, Susan, is a virtuous woman and a righteous mother. You will quickly see that purity and goodness are evident in her countenance. I love her and appreciate her more than words can express. I thank her for the woman she is, for the lessons she has taught me, and for the love we share.

Robert D. Hales, “Gratitude for the Goodness of God”

A colleague some years ago told me that my greatest asset was my dear wife, Mary. Of that fact I give public appreciation for what she has meant in my life.

Boyd K. Packer, “The Plan of Happiness”

Many years ago, after World War II, I was attending college. There I met Donna Smith. About that time I read that two essential ingredients to a successful marriage are a cookie and a kiss. I thought that was a pretty good balance.

I attended college in the morning and then went back to Brigham City to work in my father’s auto-repair garage in the afternoon. Donna’s last morning class was home economics. I stopped by her classroom before leaving. The door had a frosted glass window, but if I stood close to the glass, she could see my shadow outside. She would slip out with a cookie and a kiss. The rest is history. We were married in the Logan Temple, and that began the great adventure of our lives.


Handout of my favorite quotes: Leaders of the Church Talking About Their Wives