Editor’s Note: This is one of a series of articles that will focus on the Book of Mormon in response to President Hinckley’s challenge for church members to read that holy book before the end of the year. Click here to read the introductory article.
I remember when I was a student at BYU. My fellow students and I enjoyed frequent and glorious sacrament meetings, firesides, and devotionals. Our youthful openness was met with Heaven’s goodness ? and we were blessed beyond measure!
I remember many times at the end of those days reflecting on the experiences and the powerful feelings of inspiration. It was sweet to reflect on Heaven’s abundant graciousness to us.
But I felt a nagging concern. By the end of the day I often didn’t remember the specific discoveries and directives that had come with the powerful spiritual experiences.
So I began carrying 3 x 5 index cards in my shirt pocket. Every Sunday I dated a new card and began recording ideas and feelings when they came. The notes were often brief. Sometimes they were merely the title of a hymn or a word like “atonement.” But, once I began keeping the record, then, when I reflected on the great goodness of the Lord, I had specific reminders.
Modern (and Abundant) Revelation!
The Latter-day Saints have an embarrassment of riches. Along with the Bible we have additional books of scripture, the counsel of living prophets, and the gift of personal revelation. We even have the promise of additional books of scripture yet to be given to us. How we should thank our Heavenly King!
These gifts come with responsibilities. God expects us to keep records.
The Book of Mormon Emphasizes the Importance of Records
I tried to study every occurrence in the Book of Mormon of the word “record” or “records.” I wore myself out–and only scratched the surface. Consider just a few examples from the early part of the Book of Mormon.
I, NEPHI, having been born of goodly parents… 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 (1 Ne. 1:1).
Wherefore, the Lord hath commanded me that thou and thy brothers should go unto the house of Laban, and seek the records, and bring them down hither into the wilderness.” (1 Ne. 3: 4)
And after they had given thanks unto the God of Israel, my father, Lehi, took the records which were engraven upon the plates of brass, and he did search them from the beginning. (1 Ne. 5: 10
And we had obtained the records which the Lord had commanded us, and searched them and found that they were desirable; yea, even of great worth unto us, insomuch that we could preserve the commandments of the Lord unto our children. (1 Ne. 5: 21)
Zarahemla did rejoice exceedingly, because the Lord had sent the people of Mosiah with the plates of brass which contained the record of the Jews. (Omni 1: 14)
And at the time that Mosiah discovered them, they had become exceedingly numerous. Nevertheless, they had had many wars and serious contentions, and had fallen by the sword from time to time; and their language had become corrupted; and they had brought no records with them; and they denied the being of their Creator; and Mosiah, nor the people of Mosiah, could understand them. (Omni 1: 17)
And he also taught them concerning the records which were engraven on the plates of brass, saying: My sons, I would that ye should remember that were it not for these plates, which contain these records and these commandments, we must have suffered in ignorance, even at this present time, not knowing the mysteries of God.” (Mosiah 1: 3)
The Book of Mormon seems to send a clear message: Failure to keep a record is a form of ingratitude. It damages us and it puts our posterity at risk. While there are those who will keep records for the Church, each of us should keep records for our lives.
Many Forms of Records
Keeping records can take many forms:
- Some people strengthen their oral tradition by telling stories and recounting blessings.
- Some people keep index cards in their pockets.
- Some people record the day’s experiences on a simple calendar.
- Some people keep a bound or loose-leaf journal.
- Some people record their experiences on the computer.
- Some people write weekly letters to family members telling of their blessings.
- Some people search family records for evidence of God’s goodness.
A Latter-day Challenge
The Book of Mormon itself is a testimony of the vital role of records. If we want our families to prosper in the land, we should keep a record of the blessings of the Lord to us and those we love.