No Man Knows My History

No man knows my history . . . at least not for the past few weeks. Guess I haven’t been keeping my journal very well recently. Oops. Gotta fix that. Have had some amazing experiences I definitely want my posterity to know about someday.

Journal keeping is not just another way for LDS leaders to make Mormons feel guilty. As with so many things encouraged by the Church, it’s there to bless us. I’ve been especially blessed by the journals of ancestors who told me important things about their lives and their adventure in faith.

I am also blessed, though perhaps less richly so, by having kept a journal from my early days, including my days in 7th grade. My journal from that awkward era is filled with snippets of wisdom like: “Tuesday. Kept my goal of not thinking about **** [girl’s name] at all today.” Completely missed the irony of that entry as I wrote it. There’s nothing quite like reviewing your life and seeing how foolish you were, a review that for me creates the hopeful sensation that maybe I’m less foolish now because my mistakes have taken on a completely different flavor.

May your journal keeping pick up a bit so that your posterity and loved ones (hopefully there is some overlap between the two groups) will better understand you and learn from your journey.

Author: Jeff Lindsay

9 thoughts on “No Man Knows My History

  1. When I came home from my mission, I had 2 books filled with around 750 pages of experiences. What a treat it is to look back and remember the happenings of each day. I'm so glad I did that. Otherwise my mission would be much more of a blur.

    Now I'm regretting not keeping a steady record both before and after the 2 yr. volumes. Inconsistent at best.

    My life has been full of journal material like getting in a head-on with a couple of elders and nearly dying. The first week was spent in a coma and was the best week for months after.

  2. Since I won't have descendants in this life (at 41, children have not yet happened and most likely will not), I have trouble motivating myself to keep a journal that's going to stop mattering even the little it does when I die.

  3. I feel that my journal keeping is more for me than anyone else. When life gets hard or tricky, it helps me remember that God has had a hand in my life. It reminds me to be gratful for the journey and the things I've learned along the way.

  4. Felix: I've found that keeping a journal shouldn't just be for others. It should also (and maybe even primarily) be for us. I learn so much about myself by honestly writing my feelings and thoughts, be they good or bad. I think if we focus too much on just writing a journal for descendants we might do us and them a disservice by not being truly honest about who we are–both the good and the bad.

    Even if nobody ever reads my journals I've been blessed when I've kept them. It can be very therapeautic.

  5. ha – I’ve kept several journals since I was eleven, and read through them at the end of each year. Though I suppose I’m still young, it’s hilarious and a bit strange to see how silly or short-sighted I was not so long ago. Since learning about LDS after becoming involved with someone part of the faith, I see the true value of this.

    I can’t wait to have kids who will have those journals to peruse someday and the bits of my life inside them opened to them before they were even thought of. 😛 I guess the mundane things matter as much as the important things that we record more than the duller side of life as time goes on and we have less time to keep records.

    I do agree with above Anon’s comment too.

  6. The journals I've kept have mostly been for my benefit, as others noted. I feel glad to have posterity, and hope that they will care about what I've written. But journals often become previous historical documents of interest to some people many decades later, regardless of whether we have posterity or not. Sharing the valuable things from your life can bless other lives. Nephi's journal writing blesses us today.

  7. My wife is a classic journal writer, and it has been wonderful for her and for our kids to be abel to go back and read what she wrote along the way.

    I, otoh, am not and never have been. I tend to keep a "spiritual journal" – a record of my thoughts and feelings, not a detailing of the events of my life. It was sporadic until I started blogging a few years ago, but I have been posting things regularly for the past three years – for myself, for my posterity and for anyone who happens to read my blog.

    It's the only way that I've found that works for me, and I'm really glad I decided to give it a try.

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