As Latter-day Saints, we diligently strive to gain a mastery of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There is no more important body of knowledge to apply to ourselves as human beings. Consider the following quotation of Elder Boyd K. Packer:
“True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior. The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior…. That is why we stress so forcefully the study of the doctrines of the gospel” (Elder Boyd K. Packer, Ensign, Nov. 1986, p. 17).
We find that this proposition is based upon scripture:
“And now, as the preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just–yea, it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else, which had happened unto them–therefore Alma thought it was expedient that they should try the virtue of the word of God.” – Alma 31:5
My life is a testament to the soundness of this principle. As I spend time straining to understand the Gospel, studying and pondering the Scriptures, and writing down things that come to my mind, my very core behaviors change. If only slowly, my own perceptions of myself and the world around me become more positive.
The purpose of Gospel Study Journal is to enhance Gospel study and further Gospel scholarship through technology. This will be accomplished primarily with a specially-designed Gospel Study Journal. There is no cost to you should you decide to create one. Your entries are your own, and are kept private.
As you study the Gospel, you may have inspiration that you wish to write down. Even while doing completely unrelated things, impressions may come to you. You may have an experience that you may wish to record. This Study Journal will offer to you a central location to record all such notes, thoughts, and impressions.
In addition, the study journal will allow you to:
- link together entries that are related.
- tag entries with keywords describing the content.
- link related scripture passages to your entries for easy reference in the future.
- include relevant citations to other uplifting books that are not in the Standard Works.
As I have spent a great deal of time considering different scripture marking systems, some of them seem to have certain drawbacks, for example:
- Scriptures wear out – Over time as you mark your scriptures, they begin to look tattered and become difficult to read. There is no longer room for new notes.
- Lost scriptures mean lost notes – Should you lose your set of scriptures, all of your notes are lost, too.
- Storage and Retrieval of Thoughts – How many times do you say, “Now, where did I mark that thought or idea?” Many systems fail to provide a good way to retrieve thoughts.
- Difficult to share with others – Sharing thoughts and notes isn’t as easy as handing them a copy.
- Forgetfulness – To save space, we sometimes use symbols to mark our scriptures. This means we have to remember what the symbols mean. We run the risk of forgetting what we wrote down.
- Skew of Meaning – Let’s say you write a thought out to the side of a verse that touched your heart one day. The next time you read through that passage, you may see that note and mistakenly tell yourself, “I already know the meaning of that verse.” This is more common than you might think, and you may not even realize it’s happening. The idea is to have a clean slate where you are able to receive continued revelation, even on verses you may have read many times.
- Either too much or not enough structure – With many systems, you are either told exactly how to use the system, and it is in a rigid format (such as a book). The huge drawback with books are that they are linear. You read them front to back, and cannot access many pages or pieces of pages at once. You are tied into the structure of the book and cannot move things around as you want.
The Study Journal offered on this site will overcome all of these problems. You will be able to link journal entries to each other, tag them with keywords, link them to scripture passages, or even add citations from other books into your notes, among other things. The benefit of an immersive, intensive study of the Gospel is a tendency towards self-improvement. These are all things that have contributed to the creation of this site.
A preliminary version of the Gospel Study Journal will be available on http://www.ldsscripturestudy.com/ very soon. We will keep you posted on the progress!