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Keep a Journal: Angels May Quote From It
LDS Church president Spencer W. Kimball once admonished his followers, “Get a notebook, a journal that will last through all time, and maybe the angels may quote from it for eternity.”1
I don’t think it’s too unrealistic that an angel could quote from someone’s journal. We can see samples of something related in the Christian Bible. In Joshua 10:13, the writer calls up an incident from the book of Jasher, a book whose whereabouts is unknown. In Matt. 2:23 an unpublished prophecy is mentioned, saying it was fulfilled in Jesus’ dwelling in the city of Nazareth. So quotes in “scriptures” don’t necessarily have to come from scriptural or canonized sources.
Besides the possibility of being quoted by respectable persons, a journal can help you piece your life back together correctly. For example, I came home from Vietnam claiming to all who would stand still long enough, that my captain sent me into a live ambush because I bested him in a war of wits over a letter I sent to my family in the form of a newsletter. The letter poked fun at the captain. One day, when I read that part of the journal I kept while in Vietnam, I was shocked to discover that the accidental ambush happened in November, and the war of wits over the newsletter happened in January. I even wrote, “The captain showed no animosity and was a good sport over my joke on him.”
A journal is an excellent resource for your writing projects. I try to keep a journal when I travel, and I write down the feeling, impressions and sensory stimuli I receive when I visit a noteworthy place. I describe what I see as I enter the area; the mountains, what nature is doing, everything I can think of. This will give a realistic flavor to your experience if you ever write about this place later on.
Here’s another reason to keep a journal: You can draw from it to make satellite reports, books, and other useful products without having to type anything a second time. Now, I must admit that when I kept a journal in the beginning, I wrote everything down on paper. But back in the late 90’s, I began to enter everything into a computer and eventually copied it all to floppies and disks to back them up. This was a four-to-six-year project, and I was obsessed with it. I had no trouble spending the time doing it. (As a bonus, it improved my typing speed and accuracy.) I also included letters I wrote home, and other written material, like notes found on calendars, and some speeches I had given. I also noted special milestones in history and put those in, adding my remarks.
Once I had everything down from paper onto disks, and when I wanted to do a special project, like write a book about my two children, I just did an electronic search, did some copying and pasting, and soon I had a handsome book that I printed and gave to each of my children, and to others who had an interest in them. Later, I wrote a book about my adventures in Vietnam. In this one, I included many photos. When I had printed my electronic journal, it was 288 pages on 8-1/2x11 paper, printed in small type in two columns per page. There was no room to comfortably put photos. So my satellite books were small enough to put in photos specific to the topic. My book about Vietnam is 142 pages in a 6x9 format, including the photos.
Nowadays, it’s not difficult, of course, to maintain an electronic journal. I’m now on Volume 2, and looking at Volume 3 in the face. An easy aid to keeping a journal is Yahoo Groups. Our family organization has signed on and we have a Yahoo Group that helps us to keep in instant touch with our large family across the nation and abroad. Material found in the archives of that forum can be copied and pasted into my journal.
If you have ever thought of keeping a journal, and wondered if it would be too much to remember everything before now, just start with today and move forward. The rest of your life is longer than you initially imagine. People will treasure your words, your notes, your observations, the feelings you put down on paper, and you will immortalize things you could easily forget as you grow older. Surprisingly, when I tried to write about things that happened before I started keeping a journal, my brain kicked in and I remembered things that I thought I had forgotten, or was on the verge of forgetting. The brain is an amazing instrument, especially when you prod it. When you enter into a certain area of its capacities, the mere act of growing roots there will cause delightful things to happen within its vast and unpredictable boundaries.
1. New Era, October, 1975.