I have never been very good at writing in my journal. When I was younger I would make attempts, but then end up ripping the pages out and throwing them away because of how embarrassing my handwriting was. I didn’t even want to write anyway.
A few months ago, I started having a desire to make a journal. It is difficult to describe this nagging urge I would often get, but I usually ignored it. Every time I sat down to write, a whole mob of excuses would convince me why I should not. “Why would you want to keep a journal? What is the use? It would be such a waste of time. You aren’t good at writing. No one would be able to make it through the first page without falling asleep from boredom.” Unfortunately, I would act on those thoughts instead, and the more I ignored the prompting to write, the less it came.
I was just thinking about this recently, and realized that the impressions I had been getting a few months earlier were probably from God. I had ignored the feeling and eventually it went away. I felt foolish for not knowing it at the time, but I decided to read and find out why journal writing would be an important thing to do.
I started praying about it and came across a few teachings that helped me understand much more. I was particularly inspired by Wilford Woodruff. He began his first journal in 1835 saying he believed it to be “beneficial to review our past life and not only our privilege but duty to keep an accurate account of our proceedings.” Two days before he died, on August 31, 1898, he made his final entry, having kept a daily journal for 63 years.
Elder B.H. Roberts wrote, “President Woodruff rendered a most important service to the church. His journals, regularly and methodically and neatly kept and strongly bound,… constitute an original documentary historical treasure which is priceless. The church is indebted to these journals for a reliable record of discourses and sayings of the Prophet of the New Dispensation-Joseph Smith-which but for him would have been lost forever.”
President Woodruff’s story helped me have a better perspective on journal writing. Think of all the stories and teachings we have been taught about Joseph Smith and the Church’s earlier years that we would not know, were it not for records like his! I think our children and grandchildren would all enjoy reading what life was like for us. I know I would love to have some kind of journal or something from my ancestors, if they had only kept one. It would certainly make family history a lot easier!
But besides how our journals can benefit others, they can also help us! I often think that I will remember all the events that go on in my every day life, but most is forgotten as we move on to new things.
One more thought from Elder Richard G. Scott, “Knowledge carefully recorded is knowledge available in time of need. Spiritually sensitive information should be kept in a sacred place that communicates to the Lord how you treasure it. That practice enhances the likelihood of your receiving further light.”