Gospel Q&A is a series from LDS Daily that strives to answer important gospel questions from readers. Today, we answer the question, “I am a convert and a member of the church for 37 years. I am also the only one in my family who is a member of the Church. I am 60 years old. I don’t have kids. For these reasons it is difficult for me to understand; what would be the reason why I should keep a diary? Nobody is going to read it.”
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Whether you choose to record the simple happenings of your daily life or pour out your most intimate feelings, a journal takes work and effort. If you aren’t excited about writing and feel your journal serves no purpose, it would make sense why you would question keeping one.
Understanding some of the personal spiritual benefits and the greater purposes of the Lord can strengthen our faith and help us understand why keeping some sort of spiritual record is important.
A Personal, Spiritual Record
Both the secular world and our spiritual leaders promote the personal benefits of keeping a journal! First and foremost, keeping a record is meant to benefit you. Journals and diaries are shown to improve mental health by decreasing anxiety, increasing gratitude, and helping you work through your life experiences. You also grow spiritually and forge a deeper connection with Christ by cherishing sacred experiences, reflecting on personal growth, and writing your testimony down. We know that what we record and cherish on earth will be recorded in heaven.
Even if we don’t keep a daily journal, a spiritual journal is a way to show our love and gratitude to God for His gifts while also creating something we can look back upon when times get tough. The natural man is notorious for being forgetful!
The seminal record-keeper amongst Latter-day Saint historians was Wilford Woodruff. He taught, “Should we not have respect enough to God to make a record of those blessings which He pours out upon us and our official acts which we do in His name upon the face of the earth? I think we should.”
Promises to Future Posterity
The people of the Book of Mormon never had the sacred text as we know it today. In fact, as the plates were sealed up, Mormon and Moroni had no true posterity to speak of. Their people had been destroyed and scattered amongst wicked people. Moroni wandered alone. Yet, he made a record.
Though it may not be obvious or clear now how a personal, spiritual record will benefit anyone, the Lord may have future purposes for your experiences. What if a distant relative one day joins the Church and discovers a faithful testimony of Christ exists in their past? What a precious link that would be! What if future members of the Church can understand this day and age because a historian has your words?
Hold to the promises given to ancient prophets—the records we keep matter and will be used in God’s work. Even if other members of your family aren’t a part of the faith, someone in your greater posterity loves you and will one day cherish an understanding of who you were and the choices you made.
Where to Begin?
Often, we do not want to keep a record because we don’t feel our lives matter very much. Understanding how precious you are and God wants to use you to impact others, even if we don’t understand it, is important to find the motivation to keep a journal. If you don’t know where to begin, start small and write down your testimony somewhere. Then, try writing down a single line a day. Don’t worry about the future or what will happen to your journal. You offer the words and God will magnify them one day for his purposes, on earth or in heaven.
Disclaimer: While all of our answers will use scriptures and/or words of modern prophets, we do not represent The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We don’t believe any of our answers are comprehensive.