99 Words

We’re delighted to be able to welcome two well-known guests to the Irvine Ward Journal. Stake Ward History Specialists, Scott and Maureen, have prepared a post for us, which I’m sure you will enjoy.

As Stake Church History Specialists we are to encourage members to keep a journal

“The Prophet Joseph Smith began keeping a personal record a month before he turned 27. His first journal, a small volume that documents November of 1832 through December of 1834 in a little over a hundred pages, is one of the priceless treasures preserved in the Church History Library in Salt Lake City.

While Joseph kept this journal only sporadically, turning much of the responsibility of record-keeping over to scribes, the little book opens a window into the prophet’s personality and is an important record of Church activities. The front and back covers were decorated with paper dyed in a marble pattern.” Read more: LDS History

Joseph Smith’s First Journal

In this modern age that we live in we can use our computers, tablets and many other electronic devices, or simply purchase a blue marble patterned book just like the Prophet Joseph.

Technology today is so sophisticated that we can even pick up our personal phone and dictate directly to an app, which automatically sends it to another device or computer – where we simply transfer it to a word document – ready for printing and adding to our journals. In the 21st century we have so many amazing ways to record our personal history.

President Kimball encourages us on Personal Journal Keeping: Dec 1980

spencer-w-kimball“On a number of occasions I have encouraged the Saints to keep personal journals and family records. I renew that admonition. We may think there is little of interest or importance in what we personally say or do but it is remarkable how many of our families, as we pass on down the line, are interested in all that we do and all that we say.

Any Latter-day Saint family that has searched genealogical and historical records has fervently wished its ancestors had kept better and more complete records.”


The short statement above, by President Kimball, is 99 words long, including the title, according to Microsoft word count. If we were to write 99 words in our journals every day – in 52 weeks we would have written a book with 36,036 words – a substantial book in anyone’s eyes. This would be a marvellous history book for your family.

Just to give you encouragement, the word count for The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, is 36,363 words.

If you had a goal to write a book longer than The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe, and your book was 327 words short – let me give you 339 words from a conference address given by Pres Henry B Eyring (Oct 2007 Conference: O Remember, Remember).

“I wrote down a few lines every day for years. I never missed a day no matter how tired I was or how early I would have to start the next day. Before I would write, I would ponder this question: “Have I seen the hand of God reaching out to touch us or our children or our family today?” As I kept at it, something began to happen. As I would cast my mind over the day, I would see evidence of what God had done for one of us that I had not recognized in the busy moments of the day. As that happened, and it happened often, I realized that trying to remember had allowed God to show me what He had done.

More than gratitude began to grow in my heart. Testimony grew. I became ever more certain that our Heavenly Father hears and answers prayers. I felt more gratitude for the softening and refining that come because of the Atonement of the Savior Jesus Christ. And I grew more confident that the Holy Ghost can bring all things to our remembrance—even things we did not notice or pay attention to when they happened.

The years have gone by. My boys are grown men. And now and then one of them will surprise me by saying, “Dad, I was reading in my copy of the journal about when …” and then he will tell me about how reading of what happened long ago helped him notice something God had done in his day.

My point is to urge you to find ways to recognize and remember God’s kindness. It will build our testimonies. You may not keep a journal. You may not share whatever record you keep with those you love and serve. But you and they will be blessed as you remember what the Lord has done. You remember that song we sometimes sing: “Count your many blessings; name them one by one, And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.”

If we were to write 99 words in our journals every day, in 52 weeks we would have written a book with 36,036 words

As Stake Church History Specialists, we encourage all our members to write a history.
~ Scott & Maureen 


4 thoughts on “99 Words”

  1. I started off tonight with the intention of writing 99 words. I talk too much – it was 398 before I knew it. 😂 I’ll try to keep it up! Thanks for your article Scott & Maureen!

  2. This is a lot less than 99 but it is never the quantity and always the quality thanks for the inspiration and encouragement

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