Frankengirl posted an entry about diaries and whether or not they are meant to be kept or burned. This is a topic that gets ME burning. In the December 2004 issue of Sunstone, I published an essay detailing my attitude about keeping a journal. It seems relevant, so I'm posting it here.
Although I am no longer a believing or active Mormon, I still live a lot like one. OK, I drink an occasional beer, though I have never been able to cultivate any interest in substance abuse. I don't worry about the ratings of the movies I watch, though I have enough sense to avoid films that are obviously crap. I don't go to church on Sunday, though I have tried to find a congregation where I feel at home, but I can't help noticing other meetings' short-comings when compared to a Mormon service: I hate having to stand, then sit, then kneel, then stand again; or I hate that other worshipers sing tacky devotional pop songs accompanied by guitars or recordings, like it's some group karaoke thing; or I hate that people show up in t-shirts and shorts, like it's the grocery store.
But I still write down goals. I still strive to be scrupulously honest in my business dealings and to give a good portion of my earnings to charity. I still buy groceries in bulk. I still can't throw away anything, from a scrap of fabric to a cardboard box, without asking myself, "Is there some possible use left in this thing?" I still keep a journal.
For many years I kept a journal for the same reason I flossed, made good grades and exercised: because somebody told me that when I was seventy, I'd be glad I'd done such things in my youth. In general, the journal has given me more pleasure than the flossing. I was 11 when President Kimball issued his encouragement to
Get a notebook...a journal that will last through all time, and maybe the angels will quote from it for eternity. Begin today and write in it your goings and comings, your deepest thoughts, your achievements and your failures, your associations and your triumphs, your impressions and your testimonies. (4)