Sep 23, 2008

Write it down!

by Valerie Ipson

I teach Gospel Doctrine in my ward. The first week I got up to teach I said, "I'm your new Gospel Doctrine teacher...[pause]...I know, it's scary for me, too." Really, anything with the word doctrine in the title should not have ME anywhere in the vicinity teaching it--isn't that best left to General Authorities and Seminary teachers? I guess a love for the scriptures counts for something because I'm going on about 6 months now in this calling and no uprisings or mutiny thus far.

I am by far the greatest beneficiary of this calling, as it has opened my understanding of the Book of Mormon as never before. Take Sunday's lesson--we read about how all the prophecies of Samuel the Lamanite came to pass--"every whit," no less. All the people witnessed the day, the night, and the day with no darkness; they saw the new star; there were many other miracles that were not named specifically. And yet, as time passed, some "began to be less and less astonished at a sign or wonder from heaven." They even convinced themselves that the miracles were "wrought by man and by the power of the devil." (3rd Nephi 2:1-2) What happened?

I'm telling you, THEY DIDN'T KEEP A JOURNAL! A journal entry records one's feelings in a particular moment in time. When you go back to read it, you review that spiritual experience, that personal revelation, that answer to prayer, that miracle, and you remember what you felt. You can't change it or erase it or rationalize it away. It's there exactly the way you expressed it and felt it.

So, let us write it down...all the wonderful things that occur in our lives, and never stop being astonished at His handiwork.

PS. Check out for a cool, new way to keep a journal. I love it.


  1. I think I'll check that site out. I've kept a journal faithfully but find it boring even for me to re read, ha.

  2. Great advice! I will check out the site also.

  3. Great post, Valerie ~

    My mother kept a faithful journal from the age of 12 until her death at 82 ~ I haven't done much with mine. I'm sure she's looking down and wishing I would. I always think I'll get to it later but then I don't remember much of the details, and rarely, the feelings and then it gets put on the "back burner" and I need to do so much better!!! Way to go on the Gospel Doctrine teaching...

  4. I write in my journal once a week. I'd like to do better. I always try to write down the spiritual experiences I have because, as you said, it helps to remember those feelings.

  5. First, for any church calling we get, we are the greatest beneficiaries--in almost direct proportions to the amount of effort and prayer we put into it.

    Okay, we've been 'called' to keep a journal. I've done so but only spasmodically for very short spurts. Except for the Australian temple mission. I surprised myself at how well I did then.

    Also, the two different years when Charles was overseas, I wrote daily. And he kept them all. They're still there in their envelopes for me to sort and remember.

    Now that I'm concentrating on writing my own bio, I have great gaps of between memories. Ah, the sins of the fathers--and mothers. My parents didn't keep journals, either, but that's no excuse for me.

  6. Great post, Valerie! I teach Gospel Doctrine too and just taught this lesson today...but I didn't get that prompting about journal keeping! I have noticed several times in the Book of Mormon that the importance of records and writing is emphasized. I'm glad you made that link in this case makes total sense. Maybe we can compare notes for the next lesson!


Thank you for visiting. Feel free to comment on our blogger's posts.*

*We do not allow commercial links, however. If that's not clear, we mean "don't spam us with a link to your totally unrelated-to-writing site." We delete those comments.