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Monday, January 9, 2012

"There shall be a record kept among you"

The Prophet's first journal, spanning late 1832-1834
Journal writing and recording keeping are held in high esteem in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  We are commanded to keep journals "for the benefit of [our] posterity that shall come after [us]" (Abr. 1:31).  Of the importance of journal writing, President Spence W. Kimball said, "Every person should keep a journal and every person can keep a journal.  It should be an enlightening one and should bring great blessings and happiness to the families.  If there is anyone here who isn’t doing so, will you repent today and change—change your life" ("Let Us Move Forward and Upward", April 1979 General Conference)?

Importance of Records
But, why is it so important to keep records, such as a journal or diary?  President Joseph Fielding Smith taught concerning the Great Judgement Day, "We are informed that the books will be opened.  One of these books will be the record of our lives as it is kept in heaven.  Other books which will be opened are records which have been kept on earth.  From the very organization of the Church the Lord has given instruction that records should be kept of the members of the Church" (The Way to Perfection, p. 342).  President Wilford Woodruff wrote, "We are living in one of the most important generations that man ever lived on earth, and we should write an account of those important transactions which are taking place before our eyes in fulfillment of the prophecies and the revelation of God.  There is a great flood of revelations fulfilling in our day, and as they are transpiring before our eyes we want a record made of them” (Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 4:444).  Additionally, President Kimball also taught, "Get a notebook, my young folks, a journal that will last through all time, and maybe the angels may quote from it for eternity" ("The Angels May Quote From It", New Era, October 1975).

Even the Prophet Joseph Smith kept a journal of daily events in his life.  In the first entry of his 1832 Journal, President Smith wrote, "Joseph Smith Jr's Book for Record Baught on the 27th of  November 1832 for  the purpose to keep a  minute acount of all  things that come under  my obsevation etc.— —
oh may God grant that  I may be directed in all  my thaughts O bless  thy Servent Amen" (Journal of Joseph Smith, 27 November 1832, p. 1, spelling and spacing in original).

I have found that when I write in my journal about the day's events (whether spiritual or temporal), my thoughts are clearer, and I have more confidence in approaching God the Almighty in prayer.  Because I review how I act during the day, whether for good or evil, I can then review those just-written thoughts with my Heavenly Father during my evening personal prayer, and thus get a better idea as to what I must ask Him to bless me with in order that I might improve.  I hope we all can do better in making a record of our lives, as the Prophets and Apostles have taught.  In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

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