Therefore I make a record

Note:  This post is part of a series “What IS in the Book of Mormon“.  A series dedicated to those who believe in the Book of Mormon and enjoy discussing its profound principles, and those who are simply interested in understanding what kind of teachings are found within it.  As such, comments here should be reserved for discussing the principle, and not the source, or else they will be removed.  For open discussion of the Book of Mormon itself as the Word of God, click here (link coming soon).

The Book of Mormon opens with a poignant personal declaration by an ancient prophet, Nephi, from Jerusalem, about 600 B.C.

He says, in the very first verse of the Book of Mormon, and by way of introduction…

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.

Aside from the gratitude he obviously feels towards his father and mother, and what they had taught him (illustrating itself a powerful principle of parenthood), and his ability to see his afflictions within a higher perspective, he makes three statements in rapid succession, which results in a call to action.

  1. I have been taught (and blessed with good parents)
  2. I have been highly favored of the Lord
  3. I have a knowledge of the gospel (mysteries of God)

And then he uses the word “therefore”, which means in that what he’s about to do, he does because of these things.  Then he tells us what he’s going to do about it:  “… therefore I make a record…”

Often we have been encouraged to make a record of our own life, to keep a journal, so (among other reasons) that our posterity for generations to come might have the benefit of Nephi… to be taught by goodly parents.

A journal allows the lessons we learn from life to disseminate throughout the generations, cultivating an ever-expanding contribution to the society of our family and friends.

My you find the specific motivations necessary for you to reach the conclusion of Nephi, that you too, might find yourself saying “…therefore, I make a record.”

Let not the lessons you sacrifice so much to learn today, end today.


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0 replies
  1. ryan says:

    This perspective reminds me of one of my favorite conference talks last fall, by President Eyring.

    He told the story of his first night of journal writing. His sole purpose was to ponder each night what gifts God had given him that day. He said he never missed a night since.

    I submit that the radiance of this humble man is a direct result of years of finding and searching out the subtle miracles God provides us each day. So many of us do not take the time, and so go to sleep thinking that was our doing, and not giving credit to the Lord. Time to ponder and reflect begets understanding, understanding begets gratitude, gratitude begets humility, and humility begets understanding . . . This cycle enlightens us and draws us closer to God. And Pres Eyring is a living example–Christ-like.

  2. Margaret says:

    I know that Nephi benefited from keeping the record, as he was keeping a commandment given to him by the Lord. Literally millions, maybe even billions of others have also been blessed by his words and those of other prophets.

    Think how many today also benefit from journals kept by their ancestors. Then think how your posterity might benefit from lessons you have learned, your experiences, thoughts and feelings.

  3. rscottfree says:

    Thanks for pointing out Erying’s talk. That really does highlight the other great aspect of journal writing, or record keeping–it helps the writer know themselves, understand principles more deeply, etc. It’s a very therapeutic thing for me.

  4. Dan Knudsen says:

    The following reference seems (to me) to emphasize the importance of daily journal-writing of events and important happenings:

    “Verily I say unto you, I commanded my servant Samuel, the Lamanite, that he should testify unto this people, that at the day that the Father should glorify his name in me that there were many saints who should arise from the dead, and should appear unto many, and should minister unto them. And he said unto them: Was it not so? And his disciples answered him and said: Yea, Lord, Samuel did prophesy according to thy words, and they were all fulfilled. And Jesus said unto them: How be it that ye have not written this thing, that many saints did arise and appear unto many and did minister unto them? And it came to pass that Nephi remembered that this thing had not been written. And it came to pass that Jesus commanded that it should be written; therefore it was written according as he commanded.” (3 Nephi 23:9-13)

    If this was a day or two after the resurrection, it would indicate that important things are to be recorded immediately–details dim with the passing of time and we can remember things differently than when they occurred.

    Think of all the details we’d now have had Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery kept daily journals during the early history of the Church!

    Some believe that Jesus didn’t appear until almost a year later (3 Nephi 10:18); some that it happened after His 40 days of teaching the apostles; however, I believe it occurred within a day or two, more or less, from when Jesus visited Mary at the tomb:

    “Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.” John 20:17)

    From this it appears Jesus ascended soon after talking to Mary. Was Jesus’ first ascension the important one, since He ascended many times–after each time He visited anyone, including Joseph Smith?

    “And it came to pass that in the ending of the thirty and fourth year, behold, I will show unto you that the people of Nephi who were spared, and also those who had been called Lamanites, who had been spared, did have great favors shown unto them, and great blessings poured out upon their heads, insomuch that soon after the ascension of Christ into heaven he did truly manifest himself unto them—“(3 Nephi 10:18)

    Is “soon after” a year later?


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