“I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents, therefore, I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father; and having seen many afflictions in the course of my days–nevertheless, having been highly favored of the Lord in all my days, yea, having had a great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God, therefore, I make a record of my proceedings in my days; yea, I make a record in the language of my father, which consists of the learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptians. And I know that the record which I make is true; and I make it with mine own hand; and I make it according to my knowledge.” -1 Nephi 1:1-2 RAV, 1:1-3 OPV
This introductory segment to the small plates as found in the Book of Mormon was written years after Nephi and his family had left Jerusalem. Record keeping was so important to Nephi that he kept his records on metal plates. He was able to use the large plates to create the small ones when the Lord commanded him to do so (see 1 Nephi 296 RAV, 9:3 OPV). The scriptures were recorded by God’s command not to tell us a story, but to teach us how we can have a relationship with him. God isn’t an impersonal being but loving parents that care for us.
Born of Goodly Parents
In Mormon Kabbalah, scripture study is about putting ourselves into the scriptures. Are we not Nephi? Were we not born of parents that sent us to school where we learned to read and write? Are we not at times Laman and Lemuel defying God? We may or may not have been born of goodly parents, but we were born in a time when, in first world countries at least, education is the norm. Access to information is easy.
Because of the abundance of information, we’ve reached a point of information overload. People easily ignore things like climate change, perpetual wars, and focus on distractions. One of the reasons to keep a journal is to help us see past these distractions so we can focus on our mission of tikkun olam, teaching others of Christ in the spirit of ubuntu. Writing in our journals gives us focus and clarity.
Making a Record of the Proceedings in Our Days
The most basic journal type records one’s thoughts and ideas. This can be a simple notebook to jot down ideas. We’ll also want to keep journals of our miracle workings. As we grow the seed we’ve planted in our hearts Satan will come and tempt us. Keeping a record helps us remember the blessings the Lord has sent. It also allows us to write down how we felt when preforming the Lord’s work. What worked and why, what didn’t and why not.
One woman I know had a very powerful spiritual experience, so amazing that she later doubted that it even happened. Going back to re-read the event not only helped her remember the experience, but to relive it again and move forward with greater faith able to perform even greater works for the Lord.
Where to Start
If carrying a journal around everywhere with you seems a bit much, a good place to start is to keep a dream journal. This can be harder to do as some people forget their dreams when they wake or don’t even know they dream in the first place. To keep a dream journal, one must write diligently every morning the moment they wake up. Wait and the dream gets lost. However, recording dreams is a very powerful magic. It not only allows one to remember their dreams, it also helps them tap into their subconscious minds. And remember, the subconscious is where God talks to us.
Once you’re feeling good about this, then start carrying a journal or notebook everywhere you go. Start jotting down your thoughts. When you get really good at this, begin another one to write in at the end of the day. Use this journal to record daily events. Your notebook will help with this as you get started. Miracles happen every day. Look for the ones happening in your life and write them down. If there are other journals you’d like to keep, make special notebooks for them. Write prayers, songs, poetry; record times, occasions, quotes. The sky is the limit!
Don’t Just Write – Read
Be sure to read your journals regularly. Read them as you do the scriptures; everyone in your story is you, or a part of you. Doing this helps us see others as ourselves, and that’s part of the second great commandment (see Mark 12:31). Remember the three fold mission of the Fellowship: Grow closer to Christ, bring others to Christ, and fellowship together as Christians. Mormon Kabbalah is centered around Christ and his teaching to love our neighbors as ourselves. We are not an organized religion, we are the body of Christ. As we embody Christ and the spirit of ubuntu we complete the mission. Keeping records will help us grow closer to the Holy Spirit so that we may be moved by that spirit do to the works of the Lord.