Oh the Greatness of God

Well, we are about at the ending of another week.  Nevertheless, I am still feeling the influence of the last weekend.  How wonderful it is to have prophets upon the earth.  What a wonderous day we live in.  We are blessed so exceedingly!  We have prophets, apostles, and the priesthood.  I guess it is more the other way around, we have the priesthood, which gives us prophets, apostles, and all the church.  Everything is governed under the authority and power of the Father and Son.  What a wonderful and magnificent thing it is to behold.
This weekend I had the privilege of standing in on a blessing.  It was great, what an honour.  Even better, we have the capacity and capability of doing these things.  I stood in on a baby blessing a few weeks ago.  How wonderful.  I sat in General Conference in the presence of the Lord’s called Apostles and Prophets.  Again, I saw our dearly beloved prophet stand up, waddle to the stand, and speak.  My heart swells with joy and gratitude.  We can hear the Lord’s direction for us, for me, for you, for us individually.  How unique and personal that makes the Atonement, the Church, and God.
In reading the scriptures, I find myself ever shaking my head.  Can we be wiser?  Can we learn from the teachings and mistakes?  We are finishing 2 Samuel tomorrow night.  We have read of Saul, and David, and Absalom, and even Samuel.  Each were amazing men, but made some horrible mistakes.  Even Samuel’s own children would not follow the Lord.  We finished Mosiah last night in the Book of Mormon.  There are some individuals who turned to the Lord, the sons of Alma and Mosiah.  Mosiah instructed the people about proper government and how to do things.  I find it amazing that people say what is the proper way of government, even in the church, yet they obviously know not the scriptures.  I hold the Book of Mormon of being of great worth in bringing much light and truth to our generation.  It is the applicator of the Bible.  I would declare that without reading and being familiar with the Old and New Testament, you will not understand the full import and value of the Book of Mormon.  Without the Bible and Book of Mormon, one will not understand the Doctrine and Covenants.  So many tell me that the law of consecration is vague and not clear.  I say to those people read Deuteronomy and the Doctrine and Covenants again.  If they can say that then, they have not understood what they read.  It is so stark and clear!  Without prophets and apostles, we would not have the Book of Mormon or Doctrine and Covenants.  Even then, I fear most of the Christian world do not know their own Bible.  If they do, they do not believe it or live its teachings.
Prayer is such an amazing thing.  My experiences are so valued to me.  I would not trade them for anything.  But for people who tell me I do not know these things are true, I say they have not experienced prayer.  They know not heaven or how to communicate with it (or don’t wish to).  Our blessings are amazing.  The counsel comes to us as the dews from heaven.  They descend, and some allow them to run on by, others lap them up and hold tightly to what falls upon our heads.  We don’t have the option, they are coming.  What will we do with them?
Well, I close for now.  I love you, I know the church is true!

February’s ending

Life continues to go on.  Things are going very well here in Provo, Utah.  Amanda and I are enjoying life and keeping busy.  I am working full time at Meier and Frank and enjoying my time there.  I look forward to each day and every day is different.  Amanda has just switched from DownEast Outfitters to Dillards.  I agree with many things at Dillards but admit we are much more human at Meier and Frank.  Macy’s Regional Representatives visited the store yesterday and they were very kind, willing to listen, and easy to get along with.  It was an enjoyable experience.  Things are laid back and good at M&F.  Dillards has this rule that if you are tardy 8 times in 6 months, you are fired.  Ouch!  Aren’t we humans? not machines?  Amanda keeps busy with school.  She had a chemistry test today that she was not very excited about.  On the way home, she doesn’t feel she did very well.  I am continuing with my LSAT Course.  I am feeling more confident in the possibilities with the test, but still am not showing the improvements I would like to see.  Soon enough, I hope.  We finished Numbers just a day or two ago.  We are now reading on in Deuteronomy, which is one of my favorite books of the entire Bible.  I love how personable Moses is and feel like I am sitting in a General Conference talk with it.  We are ahead of the reading for Sunday School, but will lose ground as the year goes on.  We will finish in November, but at some points will even be behind where the Gospel Doctrine class is.  Oh well.  Tonight we finish 2 Nephi.  We will finish the Book of Mormon in September.  It will be good to finish that early.  We will have an opportunity to read some other books that we agree on.  I would like to read the history of Joseph Smith by his mother together.  We will see what books Amanda has in mind.  Jesus the Christ sounds good, or Articles of Faith, or perhaps some of the manuals for Priesthood/Relief Society.
Anyhow, I am rambling on about what is happening in life.  Thought you would all like to know a few things and what is going on in my head and with Amanda.
One question that I am researching lately is this.  In a conversation with a friend, we had talked about capital punishment and the comment was brought up, “That is part of the Mosaic Law” and no longer applies.  Ringing in my mind was the line about the savior fulfilling, not destroying or removing.  The whole law was to point us to Christ, so is it all bad.  Is the entire Spirit of the Law void?  I do not believe so.  It seems to me that if the Mosaic Law were all void and null, then the 10 commandments would not have been repeated over and over in every other book of scripture.  Other than their performances and ordinances, it seems that it all still applies.  I keep reading and wondering.  That is one thing I am pondering about.  We shall see.  If it is still applicable, then that changes my view of government in a couple of ways.  The setup and functioning of government is changed in some ways.  It does not change or alter anything in the church, in fact, to me it seems to fortify it a great number of times.  I believe the Book of Mormon is vital to the church, but I believe the same of the Bible.  One is a restoration scripture, and vital to our times, but the other is vital to providing background and foundation on which the Book of Mormon builds.  Knowing and reading the Old Testament fortifies the teachings and application of the Book of Mormon.  Anyhow, this is one current subject of learning.
Lately I have also been wondering about family history.  There are many aspects of it that seem to strike me a little more forcefully.  Especially as I stumbled upon several albums which belonged to my Great Grandmother and Great Great Grandmother.  It has been very revealing.  It is amazing the power of a picture.  I have gone around and visited a load of family members, especially older members, to find out who some of the photos are.  There are probably two dozen photos which nobody is old enough to recognize.  Which I find is really sad.  These are interesting photos.  I have gone through and scanned all of them and have been e-mailing them out to family members.  I hope they are valuing what I am sending.  I may at some later point when I am done with them, post them all here on the blog.  We will see.  There are quite a few and it may take too much time.  We will see.
Well, I have to be going.  Life is great.  We are very abundantly blessed.  We are very fortunate.  I hope it continues.  Oh, Amanda has been accepted to University of Maryland-Baltimore.  We await word from Virginia Commonwealth University.  Also, Amanda and I have accepted a calling to team teach in primary.  The 5-6 years old if I remember right.

Settling In

Some more time has passed, and I am fully engaged in a full schedule.  An LSAT Couse that I should dedicate more time to.  Full time work as a dock boy at Meier and Frank, now Macy’s.  It is funny how much more time I had for personal things when I was single.  Now, much of my free time is taken up with Amanda.  I am not complaining at all, but there are some things that just need getting done.  I try and dedicate a little time to family history a week, but I have received several letters, and some photos which have required more time.  I work a full 8 hours a day, Monday – Friday, which I very much enjoy.  However, the hours are from 6-3.  I am getting used to it, but Amanda likes to stay up late, so I usually get to bed later than I like.  That is slowly changing.  The nice thing is when I get off, I have plenty of time to get things done.
We are settled in and happy in Provo.  I am not sure we care to totally much of the ward.  Some pretty blatant false doctrines are taught in Sunday School and Elder’s Quorum.  The one two weeks ago was a classic…Did you know that God always gives conflicting commandments?  It was a new lesson to me.  He cited the appearing conflicting commandments of the Garden of Eden.  The teacher basically lectures and does not encourage class participation.  What gets me is that people just nod their heads and agree.  Being a new position I am in an awkward position of whether I should say anything.  The last time I did, the class basically attacked me.  It was completely ad hominem, rather than using scripture to back up the doctrine being taught, it was personal attacks on me.  But since I was new, they didn’t really have anything on me, so it was pretty sad.  However, the main point against me was that the devil is one who destroys and tears down, that the devil brings contention.  I was not contentious though, I promise.  I only commented that I understood differently, that the doctrine appeared incorrect, and that I would like references from the scriptures and priesthood leaders.  I also commented that professors from BYU, or other published authors do not speak for the church and were in my mind inappropriate for Sunday School.  Anyhow, some other of the doctrines which have been classics taught in Sunday School and Elder’s Quorum: If you do not use the Priesthood, you lose it!; those who are members of the church are better than those who are outside, we are more special, and should rest easy knowing we are chosen of God (sounds awfully Rameumptum to me!); and individuals being chosen by God has nothing to do with their actions (previous to this life, or current).
Well, since I have referenced them, I better tell the doctrine as I see it.
We are commanded to go forth and multiply and we are commanded that only within marriage are sexual relations to exist.  Darn it, another one of those conflicting commandments, better choose the better one and hope God will provide a Saviour for you as well.  This is so blatantly myopic that it shocks me that people just shake their heads and agree.  It is all a manner of timing.  It is the same thing with Adam and Eve, they were to multiply and replentish the earth, but without the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, they could not.  It was all a matter of time, just like we are to wait before we have children.  Remember, Satan was only doing that which was done in other worlds, giving the fruit of the tree to Adam and Eve.  He wanted to be God, the Saviour (Moses 1:19) and would obviously do what he could to take control of the plan and screw it up.  Well, he gave the fruit early.  The temple makes it so painfully obvious.
As for the Priesthood, if I fell off a cruise ship and was stranded on a deserted island, I would lose the priesthood I hold according to this doctrine, unless I was to give the turtles and trees blessings daily.  I don’t have a scripture, but I know that the only time you can lose the priesthood is if a judge in Israel removes it.  The amount you use it does not matter, but it is set forward by worthiness, not activity.
God is no respecter of persons.  This is a fundamental restored doctrine and one that is clear in the Bible as well.  Anyone, anywhere, anyhow, if worthy can return to the presence of God.  We do not believe in the jaunty iconoclasm of God playing favorites or choosing one person over another.  Then for those who are members of the church, they cannot rest easy, for with the greater light comes great responsibility (or condemnation) and it requires more work, effort, diligence, and faithfulness.  Being a member of church should make us work even harder than relaxing and resting on our laurels.
Lastly, that God calls up and makes people chosen.  The Saviour himself sets this one straight.  3 Nephi 19:20-22 makes it clear.  Those who are chosen are so because they believe.  How does God know they believe?  He knows because the pray, more than that, they commune with him through the Holy Ghost which the Saviour is teaching us about in those very verses.  What is even more, he exemplifies it in prayer himself.  (Then he identifies when we pray to Christ instead of the father, that is only when he is in person with us like in D&C 109 when Joseph switches)  So, Joseph Smith was chosen because he was a prayerful individual.  It was because of that faith (Helaman 5:41) that he was then called to be a prophet.  Anyone can be chosen, but not everyone can be called to be a prophet over the whole church.  So more appropriately, we say President Hinckley was called to be an Apostle and President of the Church, not chosen; for that has a different meaning we will not go into here.
Anyhow, I suppose if I keep going against the grain, then nobody will like me and I won’t get a calling with much reach or depth (which is both good and bad…natural or spiritual man).  I just have to prepare a bit more for Sunday School so as to have scriptures and back up for the false doctrines, because as Elder’s Quorum showed, I have no authority of myself (I did and do not claim any in setting straight false doctrines).
Meier and Frank here is turning out to be very good for me.  Not much for using my new degree, but it is work.  This job doesn’t help me get into Law School either.  But I think oh well, we shall see.  Hopefully University of Virginia is not that shallow to put that much weight onto the jobs one has before entering Law School like some universities do.  Things are good, and I enjoy the work.  Plus I just don’t sit in an office all day which nearly drives me crazy.  On the 1st, we became Macy’s.  The name change will be enacted on the 9th of September, but I won’t be around for that, so we will continue to call it Frier and Mank.  I am really enjoying some of the guys I work with as well.  All three of the main guys are salt of the earth.  Joe is an Hawaiian, Kyle is 21 and hasn’t been on a mission and can barely read and write, and Steven (the boss) works harder than the other three of us combined.  This week has been crazy in preparing for the new corporate leaders to come through (the “big wigs”).
The LSAT Course is going well enough.  I am learning all sorts of cool things, but my scores seem to keep going down.  My highest score so far is a 153, and I have descended with todays test to a 141.  Somehow I expected to head the other direction.  I will have to work harder and see what I can work.  Today’s test I had no clue on the games section.  I felt as dumb as they come.  Apparently I was not the only one, which made me feel better, but I have plenty of area to improve.  Especially if I have to get over 165 to hope of getting into Virginia.  A 170 would secure me a place pretty easy.  Yikes, this is going to be hard work.
Well, I sign off.  Things are well in Provo, Utah.  We march forward.

Journals galore

This is in response to why I keep a journal.
I am sure you are a fine teacher.  It would be fun to watch and listen to you.  I am sure you do much better than what you think.  I am glad you are enjoying it.  You commented about that in your last e-mail.  You have an excitement about life and are an optimist.  That is a good thing and it shows cords of faith worked throughout your character.
Thanks for asking for comments now.  You have asked a question about a topic that I have come to have a testimony of and have been converted to.  In the path of time though, I found it hard to have a reason from the gospel for a journal, so it has been a search since I started my journal.  I started my journal on the 31st of August 1997.  I had just graduated from high school that summer and right before moving up to Logan for school, a couple of friends and I went shopping in Twin Falls.  While there, Altan Hardcastle, a great friend of mine, wanted to stop at Barnes and Noble.  We walked through the store and I saw the journals on the shelf there.  The thought crossed my mind that I needed to start a journal.  I grabbed one of the shelf, passed out the 12.99 for it, and took it home.  I pretty much kept it hidden from them and anticipated getting home.  I was not quite sure why.  They dropped me off at home, I went downstairs to my room, and started to write.  I have been regularly writing in my journal ever since.  The current journal, Amanda purchased and sent to me just about a month back, is number 16.  I have averaged two a year ever since then.  In the two years of the mission, I kept 5.  Before the mission it was just about every day.  The shortest journal I have ever kept was during that time frame and it covered 3 months.  The last journal covered about 8 months.  Life now doesn’t have as much happen during the week.  I have found that when I am caught in a schedule like work, much of the activities to report become mundane.  However, you let me have the time to myself and I am always finding new things to experience and record.  It has been a sort of goal to always have something new to record and report.  So why did I start?  I can only say it was a prompting I acted upon and have continued.  However, I have since then found many reasons for continuing.  I will give you a bunch of scriptures and my personal ties to them.  Hopefully you find this of some value.
2 Nephi 29:11-12, “For I command all men, both in the east and in the west, and in the north, and in the south, and in the islands of the sea, that they shall write the words which I speak unto them; for out of the books which shall be written I will judge the world, every man according to their works, according to that which is written.  For behold, I shall speak unto the Jews and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the Nephites and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the other tribes of the house of Israel, which I have led away, and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto all nations of the earth and they shall write it.”
Well from the above, it is a commandment.  When the Lord speaks to us, he expects us to write it.  I have always made a point of making sure I record all the spiritual experiences and how life is (as much as I feel I can or am allowed to record)  I attempt to point out my blessings and look at life as one big one.  I try to make sure that I point out my blessings and life’s course as a blessing from heaven.  In doing so, the blessing comes that I am more fully capable of recognizing my blessings, and more importantly of what I am doing with the blessings.
Next, the Lord expects us to record his doings that he may judge all men according to the things which are written.  I attempt to record all of those individuals who bless my life and who I recognize for their faith and good works.  I attempt to analyze and portray those who are good and their redeeming qualities.  For those who do bad things, are dishonest, I make sure I record them as well.  While in doing so, I always attempt to find redeeming qualities, not focusing on the bad, but always telling of my interactions with other people.  Especially those, good or bad, that have great bearing on my life.  I honestly believe that people will be held accountable for those things in relation to even me, the least of brethren, in the day of reckoning.  Plus there is always some of that self interest in there as well.  I feel that if I am recording my thoughts and actions and perceptions, the Lord will be more likely to judge me by the books I record than that of other people.  My own witness is more powerful than others when it comes directly to myself.  Now the thought is always brought up, “Well, you will be able to speak at that day.”  Yes, that may be true, but the evidence at that time, while with a body, is the greatest evidence.  But there is a great power in the written word as opposed to the spoken word.  Elder Packer told us as missionaries that if a persons baptism and confirmation was not recorded on earth, it was not recorded in heaven, even if they really had been baptized and confirmed.  Without that record, they would have to be baptized and confirmed again.  Hence those early pioneers that the records cannot be found concerning their baptism, their work is done for them again so that there is a record.  I believe much of a similar thing is true of our world today.  The written is very important.
Lastly concerning this scripture, I recognize that many people later will read these things.  I would like to make sure my character and life are recorded for those who come after me who may be interested in knowing of me.  Whether they be family, or people interested in a certain place, or just a random Idahoan.  I would like my testimony, works, life all recorded so that my witness will stand up against anyone else who may wish to say otherwise.
As a comment, the journals have already come into valuable use in my life.  With the murder of Meta by my mother, I was a suspect for a while.  When it was shown I was not a suspect, but that I had dealings with the murderer, the journals with their testimony allowed me to give my testimony without having to be present.  Those journals, still in the possession of the state, provided a character witness for my mother for the years of my life.  My dealings with my mother during my time at Utah State were nearly all recorded.  They provided a character witness that my mother was indeed the type of person that could do these things.  The threats that she had made to me were real and what is more important they were not memories or hearsay given at the pulpit.  There were recorded incidences and times written at that time concerning topics that were in question.  Those journals made it possible that if the trial had gone on, I was not required to come home from the mission field.  The testimony in those journals was actually of more value to the court than were my living witness after the fact.  While I had nothing to do with the events, I would not have testified concerning them, but the events leading up to and comments were all recorded already.  That is one powerful blessing in this life, and I am sure those journals will come to play in my own judgment and the lives of others later.
In keeping with the above, due to the fact that we believe in a resurrection and a judgment, I believe there is great solace in this fact.  That even though I may have been wronged in the greatest of ways, by recording them and leaving to the master judge, I have no need of carrying them myself.  Even though there are those who would have taken my life, all animosity, all grief, all pain, all anguish, all sorrow, have been left behind and healed by the fact that I could write them down unto God.  They were not my burdens, I was recording them before the Lord, and I need not worry about them anymore as that he would take care of them.  My comment after the murder and other events was simply, “Why carry them, when I can give them away to the pages of a book?”  Classic comments like “fools mock, but they shall mourn” (Ether 12:26) are brought more fully to life.  “And ye ought to say in your hearts–let God judge between me and thee, and reward thee according to thy deeds” (D&C 64:11).  By recording them, and leaving them to be before them and the Lord, I find I can move on with my life.  If they repent not, that is between them and the Lord.
The commandment is written elsewhere too.  3 Nephi 27:23, “Write the things which ye have seen and heard, save it be those which are forbidden.”  As I commented before, inasmuch I felt I could write it, all those things which were spiritual and important to me are recorded.
3 Nephi 5:16-17, “Therefore I do make my record from the accounts which have been given by those who were before me, until the commencement of my day; And then I do make a record of the things which I have seen with mine own eyes.”  Here is another reason why I keep a journal.
Over a year ago, I stumbled upon a copy of my Grandmother’s journal.  I did not even know that she had kept one at any point in her life.  I was able to borrow it for a space of time and I went through the whole thing.  Due to the fact that I could not keep it, plus the owner of it I could not trust, I set out to record all those events from the journal I thought were of note to record.  I literally filled scores of pages in my journal with excerpts of the pages of my grandmother’s journal.  In reading her journal I was profoundly glad she had kept this journal for three years of her life while she was in high school.  The time when I was of most wanting to learn of her life, she was gone.  I never really had the opportunity when I was alive to learn from her because I was not ready.  Even though I had her journal, she never wrote more than two sentences per day.  Oh what I would have given for her to have written four or five pages a day!  Or kept the two sentences a day for 10 years rather than just those three years ending a few days after she got married.  What I would not have given to go back and counsel her to write twice as much as she did at that time.  How much I yearn to know of her life, but she was not mindful enough of coming generations to record what she thought was a boring mediocre day to day life.  How terribly wrong she was (if she thought that).
Herein lies two lessons.  Oh what I would have given as a later generation to have had more.  What I would have given to know her more in person, but since I couldn’t, the next best thing is her own writing.  While others can tell me about them, they cannot tell me the exact thoughts and writings of the individual.  It is a great family history tool for those who will come after.  But also in referencing what Mormon wrote above (a different Mormon than the abridger of the Book of Mormon) he was taking the history from other histories and piecing them in his.  I went through and took the important highlights of her life and recorded them into my own journal.  Since I knew her journal may be lost or never again found, I recorded those things which I considered most precious and desirable above all else (sounds like why the Book of Mormon was compiled as it was!  Oh it is that very reason why it was compiled).  I wanted to record those things from before me for the generations after me to possess.  What is more, I don’t just do it from the writings of others, but I try to record every story I hear about my ancestors.  Especially those from my aunts, uncles, great aunts, great uncles, grandfather, ect.  I have recorded my Grandpa’s war stories.  Ever time he would tell me one, I would try and record it in my journal.  Even with all the dirty details.  Since it affected me, I record it.  It obviously affected him, especially for him to remember it 50 years later.  The stories and journals I keep are not just mine, but they tell of the lives of my family and of those living in my times.  They give background information and tell the tale of the era.  For example, my recording that I gave away copies of the Book of Mormon in Senator Smith’s office automatically assumes responsibility for myself and the others in the office for have even been in the vicinity as the truth.  Each of us will now have to act and be judged according.  My failure to act, or their failure to act is all recorded.  Hopefully those who come afterwards will learn many things and be wiser than I.
3 Nephi 24:16, “Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another, and the Lord hearkened and heard; and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name.”
3 Nephi 26:6, “And now there cannot be written in this book even a hundredth part of the things which Jesus did truly teach unto the people.”
Revelations 20:12-13, “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.  And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.”
I always hear people commenting about how they will speak for themselves when the day comes.  There are those who claim they will be testifying against others at the day of judgment.  However, in most of my searching, while not exhausting, I cannot find us speaking or testifying at that day.  All I can ever find is the records of those who were on the earth.  It appears our lives are judged according to the things which were already written, not our testimony at the last day.  The records of the church are obviously important, the temple records, the ordinance records, and of course the official records of our life.  But what about those Judges of Israel who keep a faithful record of our dealings with our fellow man.  What about those records of how well we served in our callings.  What about the testimony of those who were about us.  What about the testimony about those who were our family?  They will all be important as well.  Tainted, perhaps.  Wrong, perhaps.  But when compared with the whole host of all the records kept, I am sure a pretty clear painting will emerge from our lives without a witness being called to vocally speak.
Jeremiah 30:2, “Thus speaketh the Lord God of Israel, saying, Write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book.”
Moses 6:5, “And a book of remembrance was kept, in the which was recorded, in the language of Adam, for it was given unto as many as called upon God to write by the spirit of inspiration.”  Verse 8, “Now this prophecy Adam spake, as he was moved upon by the Holy Ghost, and a genealogy was kept of the children of God.  And this was the book of generations of Adam, saying: In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him;”  Verse 22, “And this is the genealogy of the sons of Adam, who was the son of God, with whom God himself, conversed.”  Verse 46, “For a book of remembrance we have written among us, according to the pattern given by the finger of God; and it is given in our own language.”
Here is a reference of all the scriptures of which I have linked to 2 Nephi 29.
Mosiah 24:6
Revelations 1:19
3 Nephi 27:23
3 Nephi 5:8-14
Ether 12:27
3 Nephi 23:13
Revelations 20:12-15
3 Nephi 29:16
Moses 6:5
Jeremiah 30:2
All of this is wrapped up in D&C 128:6-8 which I will not type up since it is so long.  However, all of which I spoke of concerning the judgment is clearly delineated.
Now, the last two points I wish to make.
First deals with the perspective and analysis of life.  In the writing and recording of life as it goes along, we have to view the inscription as we write it.  We have to take the thoughts and present them in a fashion which requires us to place them as if we were recording them for another person to understand.  As we place our thoughts upon the page, we get a glimpse of who we are and of our thinking.  We can see our shortcomings, we can see our weaknesses, we can see our view of the world, and we can see nearly aspect of ourselves.  All things are constantly being brought into our view because we are literally interpreting our thoughts and actions for others to browse.  We can be dishonest, which I admit I do sometimes by leaving out information or tweaking things slightly, or face the harsh truth.  I have learned it is most difficult for me to be completely honest with my journal.  But to do so with myself I have found that achieving that means I don’t care about being honest with others.  If I can be honest with myself, and not fear what others will think of me in the silent pages of my own journal, then surely another person will not phase me.  When I can achieve honesty with myself, I have little or no difficulty in doing so with others.  I can tell when my thoughts are coherent, and when they are not.  Over time I have really struggled to place feelings and thoughts into the structure of words.  This is a talent and a gift which must be nurtured.  Learning to explain myself not only physically but also spiritually has become a great liberator.  By coming up with the words and strength of being able to communicate them, I am more able to understand and fathom my thoughts.  I learn many things about myself, my experiences, and all aspects by placing them into words.  That medium allows us to structure our lives and to analyze and view with accuracy more fully everything about us.  As we can do with ourselves, it becomes more easy to discern all things, of the spirit, and of other people.  Your comments about my ability to analyze people is directly attributable to my journal writing.  I am also watching for detail so that in describing my life and actions to the silent listeners in my journal, I find I am more aware of my surroundings and all things that take place.  It is a great liberator.
Now in a side note, I will not touch much upon, one of the classic stories of those who are trying to lead a people into oblivion is to remove their language.  By removing their ability to express themselves, they are less likely to understand themselves, and when they cannot understand themselves, then they can be more easily molded and lead into a certain way of thinking.  Current trends of watering down language and not seeking to know the English language is a dangerous field.  The English language was considered the great liberator, but as we lose our own language, we also lose our liberty.  Just some extra thoughts which have more to do with education and politics than with the spiritual reasons of journal writing.
Second deals with the memory.  As I record things, I find that I have a reference for the future to recall.  Those things which are recorded I have little or no difficulty in recording down the road.  Even aspects of life on the journal may be entirely forgotten.  However, breaking open the book from 1998 and reading just a little bit, I can bring back with clarity and clearness events that happen then that are not contained in the journal.  Often when I do review, I will record the extra memories for later generations.  My memory I believe is what it is because I have a framework of a past which is remembered.  Since it is remembered, the framework is greater for which to analyze the events of the present.  The memory is a powerful thing.  Plus by writing down the links and thoughts which are in our minds allows for us to place in language the structure of those thoughts and we can analyze them in a new light of whether they are still able to connect one with another.  It is a great tool of remembering all things.
Anyhow, those are my thoughts about journal writing.  If you have more questions, please let me know.  If I think of anything else, I will respond and send them to you.  I have given you quite a few scriptures to work with, some examples which will hopefully recall some of your own.  You are free to use some of my own if you wish.