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.”