Shining Moment: The Blessings of Keeping a Journal

Contributed By H. Rudy Wehrli, Church News contributor

  • 7 October 2016

President Spencer W. Kimball promised that if we keep a journal, our families, children, and grandchildren will be blessed.

Article Highlights

  • President Kimball encouraged a Swiss Temple worker to keep a journal.
  • Your journal will inspire your families, children, and grandchildren.
  • Keep a journal, even if you feel your life is plain or boring.

“Each of us is important to those who are near and dear to us—and as our posterity read of our life’s experiences, they, too, will come to know and love us. And in that glorious day when our families are together in the eternities, we will already be acquainted.” —President Spencer W. Kimball

I was born in New York City to Swiss parents who registered me with the Swiss consulate, which gave me dual citizenship. My dad would remind me that I was a “real Swiss.” That meant practically nothing to me until some 54 years later when I retired from a successful business career.

Meanwhile, I had served during WWII, met my Mormon bride, and joined the Church. Two weeks after retirement an article appeared in the Church News seeking persons of Swiss ancestry to serve a mission in Switzerland.

We responded, were accepted, and told we would serve at the Swiss Temple. I was also told that it would be necessary to go to Salt Lake City to meet with President Spencer W. Kimball to be given the sealing power necessary to work in the temple. We reported to the First Presidency, where President Kimball gave me the sealing authority and then, turning to my bride, said, “Sister Wehrli, do you keep a journal?”

Norma blushed, bowed her head, and said, “No, sir.” Continuing, President Kimball said, “But you’ll start today.”

Norma replied affirmatively and from that day forward—October 4, 1977—has kept a journal on a daily basis until 2010 when memory problems kept her from continuing.

Her journals have been invaluable, especially when I was writing my life story. We served a second Swiss Temple Mission from 1997 to 1999 and enjoyed it as much as our first.

President Kimball frequently encouraged members to keep a journal. He counseled members to write even if they felt that their life was plain or even boring. In the December 1980 Ensign, President Kimball wrote, “I promise you that if you will keep your journals and records, they will indeed be a source of great inspiration to your families, to your children, your grandchildren, and others, on through the generations. Each of us is important to those who are near and dear to us—and as our posterity read of our life’s experiences, they, too, will come to know and love us. And in that glorious day when our families are together in the eternities, we will already be acquainted” (“President Kimball Speaks Out on Personal Journals”).

I currently serve as the patriarch in the Gilbert Arizona Stake and express appreciation for that life-changing experience with President Kimball.

—H. Rudy Wehrli, Gilbert Arizona Stake