1 Nephi 9
Heroes keep a record. In fact, Nephi kept multiple records because the Lord commanded him to make a set of plates (the small plates) to record “the ministry of my people” in addition to recording “a full account of the history of [his] people” on another set of plates. Nephi didn’t understand why the Lord commanded him to make two separate records but he knew enough to trust that the Lord had “a wise purpose” for making this request and that the Lord “knoweth all things” so that the command to make the smaller set of plates was part of the Lord’s purpose and preparation “to accomplish all his works.”
I love that Nephi kept “a record of God’s dealings” with his people so that his children and posterity would know “what great things the Lord hath done for [them].” I love keeping a variety of records, including a study journal, a record of the events and people that contribute to my happiness (or sadness) each day, a temple journal, and this blog. I don’t really know how much my posterity will benefit from them, but I know that keeping a record helps me remember the things I have learned, the hard things I have done, and how much the Lord loves me and has helped me. When I remember, write, and read all the great things and hard things that I have done with the Lord’s help, I receive strength and courage to go and do more good things.
In his talk, “O Remember, Remember” President Henry B. Eyring shared his experiences with recording the great things the Lord has done for him, how keeping a record has blessed him and his family, and invites us to do the same.
When our children were very small, I started to write down a few things about what happened every day. Let me tell you how that got started. I came home late from a Church assignment. It was after dark. My father-in-law, who lived near us, surprised me as I walked toward the front door of my house. He was carrying a load of pipes over his shoulder, walking very fast and dressed in his work clothes. I knew that he had been building a system to pump water from a stream below us up to our property.
He smiled, spoke softly, and then rushed past me into the darkness to go on with his work. I took a few steps toward the house, thinking of what he was doing for us, and just as I got to the door, I heard in my mind—not in my own voice—these words: “I’m not giving you these experiences for yourself. Write them down.”
I went inside. I didn’t go to bed. Although I was tired, I took out some paper and began to write. And as I did, I understood the message I had heard in my mind. I was supposed to record for my children to read, someday in the future, how I had seen the hand of God blessing our family. Grandpa didn’t have to do what he was doing for us. He could have had someone else do it or not have done it at all. But he was serving us, his family, in the way covenant disciples of Jesus Christ always do. I knew that was true. And so I wrote it down, so that my children could have the memory someday when they would need it.
I wrote down a few lines every day for years. I never missed a day no matter how tired I was or how early I would have to start the next day. Before I would write, I would ponder this question: “Have I seen the hand of God reaching out to touch us or our children or our family today?” As I kept at it, something began to happen. As I would cast my mind over the day, I would see evidence of what God had done for one of us that I had not recognized in the busy moments of the day. As that happened, and it happened often, I realized that trying to remember had allowed God to show me what He had done.
More than gratitude began to grow in my heart. Testimony grew. I became ever more certain that our Heavenly Father hears and answers prayers. I felt more gratitude for the softening and refining that come because of the Atonement of the Savior Jesus Christ. And I grew more confident that the Holy Ghost can bring all things to our remembrance—even things we did not notice or pay attention to when they happened.
The years have gone by. My boys are grown men. And now and then one of them will surprise me by saying, “Dad, I was reading in my copy of the journal about when …” and then he will tell me about how reading of what happened long ago helped him notice something God had done in his day.
My point is to urge you to find ways to recognize and remember God’s kindness. It will build our testimonies….Tonight, and tomorrow night, you might pray and ponder, asking the questions: Did God send a message that was just for me? Did I see His hand in my life or the lives of my children? I will do that. And then I will find a way to preserve that memory for the day that I, and those that I love, will need to remember how much God loves us and how much we need Him.