I acquired a written family record of details that are a practical source of information. I appreciate searching through my records and finding answers to family history questions such as “What month did Grandpa retire from the Air Force?” It is satisfying to know that family history details are readily accessible in my journal.
I have a clearer, richer memory of the past. It is wonderful to review the thoughts and feelings I felt at my daughter’s baptism or on the day my son entered the missionary training center. I recall the emotions I felt at those events, and a flood of memories returns as I review moments of days gone by.
I found a practical method of setting goals, tracking my progress, and following through on commitments. The pages of my journal are filled with my personal ambitions. I am reminded of my goals, and because of this I feel I have accomplished much more in my life than I might have otherwise.
I discovered a therapeutic means to resolve emotional, social, and spiritual issues I face. As I record thoughts on the pages of my journal, I have learned to quickly get to the heart of the matter when something disturbs me. I am also able to retain the lessons of life easier without having to repeat mistakes of the past.
I have improved my writing skills. I have never taken a writing course, but I have become a better writer simply because I practice writing each day. Recently I have drawn on past experiences to create stories and articles that have been published. A satisfying venue has opened to me because I obeyed the counsel of the prophet.
I have discovered that many of my righteous desires are eventually fulfilled. Many times I have recorded righteous aspirations, and years later I have found that those desires have been granted. This form of importuning the Lord has been so dramatic to me that now, much of what I write is simply an expression of the righteous desires I have for my life and my family. “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened” (Matthew 7:7). This scripture brings new understanding to me as I humbly ask the Lord for my wants and needs on the pages of my journal.
I have created a form of personal scripture by recording the inspiration and revelations I have received. I’ve come to realize the truth in the words of Elder John H. Groberg, a former member of the Quorum of the Seventy: “There is something eternal in the very nature of writing, as is so graphically illustrated by the scriptures themselves. In a very real sense, our properly written histories are a very important part of our family scripture and become a great source of spiritual strength to us and to our posterity.” Occasionally I return to my journal to reflect on former thoughts and am filled with the Spirit as I read previous spiritual promptings.
Personal journal keeping is one of those LDS best practices that anybody can do. It's an expression of our interest in family history, the importance of human life, and the value of the written word.
I started a personal journal in 7th grade. Was nearly daily for a long time, now less so, but still important. My journals are treasured - though some treasures make me want to grab the matches. My 7th-grade entries were too frequently about who I happened to have a crush on, and dealing with rejection. "Didn't think about [name] today - making progress." Ouch.
Every two or three years, when I looked back at what I was writing two or three years ago, I would say, "Yikes - can't believe I was so stupid then. Well, I'm glad I've got everything straightened out now." Hmmm. But apart from foolishness and stupidity, my journals are generally pretty inspiring. At least when I remember to write the inspiring stuff. That's why regular writing is so important, because there is inspiring stuff in our lives and many valuable lessons and experience, but we often forget to write them down, leaving us with little more than the obvious big events ("I was born, and then I got a job and had a family") that don't teach us or our posterity a whole lot. So get out that journal and start writing!
Short url for the Ensign article: http://is.gd/liO5. The Ensign has some of the most lengthy URLs for its content of anything on the Web - but I hear they are revising their database to begin using URLs that humans can use and share.