Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

The Power of Keeping a Personal Journal (Daily or Otherwise)

"My Journal, My Testimony" by Salli Hollenzer in the April 2008 Ensign provides a number of blessings the author has experienced in 25 years of faithful journal writing:
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.

7 comments:

Scott said...

What a wonderful thing journals are! (Doing my best impression of President Hinckley)

Great post. I have found tremendous satisfaction in combing this old commandment with more recent counsel--using a private blog as my journal. The online format allows me to take/write in my journal anywhere, and the electronic format allows for easy distribution of journal entries that are of interest to friends and family members.

Two thumbs up for journals!

Valerie said...

I just found your blog today and will definitely return to read more. It's a great blog!

Nick Jones said...

I think journal keeping is one of the most underrated activities that a person can do throughout the course of a day. It is often difficult to find time to write which is why online journals and printed books are so helpful. You should check out www.ldsjournal.com when you get a chance.

~plaid said...

I SO had to laugh about the 7th grade journals. I truly have wondered if those that I wrote in my early teen years are better off burned. But I believe those days of diligence were the seeds to our later family journal -- the keepsake that we recorded the lives of our children who died unexpectedly. I have a pretty good account of their breif lives because we made keeping a weekly journal for each of our family members a priority. It is precious, I'd even say sacred, to me. Of course, I hope that the other children will have much longer records. We still do this (mostly) weekly.

Anonymous said...

I also like to give you some Truth from the Bible:, Rev 22:16 "I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.
Rev 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
Rev 22:18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
Rev 22:19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
Rev 22:20 He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus."

Anonymous said...

This means the the Bible was already completed in the year about AD 95. The apostles of Jesis Christ, the disciples that had seen Jesus and been discipled by Jesus have written the New Testament and this was the last book to add to the Bible. That is why Revelation 22:16-20 wrtes that who ever adds to this book, or takes away from this book (the Bible) will be judged by God Himself.
So I hope and pray that we all will respect the Lord God for who He is and take the Bible with the 66 books, from Genesis to Revelation as our guide to know God. Remember the Lord Jesus is the Creator of all, so He is able to do more than we can think, wish you the guidance of the Holy Spirit of God. God loves you, you just need to accept it.

SunnyDawn.com said...

The author of "My Journal, My Testimony," has a new website which supports LDS members going through divorce. SunnyDawn.com is where to go for divorce support reflecting LDS values. Check it out and pass the word!