In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we use the Old and New Testament, along with two other books of scripture, The Book of Mormon and The Doctrine and Covenants with the Pearl of Great Price, the four volumes comprising what is referred to as the standard works. Each year, members of the church embark on a course of study of one of the four volumes, cycling through the entire set every four years. The year that just finished covered the New Testament. This year's study will center on the Book of Mormon.
Our local church leaders have asked that we begin with a new, unmarked copy of the Book of Mormon and keep a journal of our thoughts, impressions, inspirations, questions, lessons learned, etc. as we read. (Actually, they just asked that we keep a journal - they didn't suggest what we write in it, so the specifics listed were my addition).
I love this idea and suggest that any religious/spiritual/interested person, whether you are a Latter-day Saint or a Catholic or a Southern Baptist or a Jew or a Muslim, can benefit from doing this. Whatever scriptures you are reading, whatever books you read for inspiration, if you have a tendency to mark them as you read, underlining words that are meaningful to you or leaving notes in the margin, start with a clean fresh copy this year. My scriptures are well worn and well marked...they have become my cliff notes. Starting with a fresh set will likely cause me to read all the words, not just re-read the ones that I've already deemed as "important". And who knows what new meaning I will get from them?
Keeping a journal is not my forté, for sure. I have kept journals in the past - words written in anger or frustration or hurt or sorrow as a catharsis, but not necessarily meant to be re-read. I've kept journals that are running streams of inconsequential daily events with no hint of how those events made me feel...more like a collection of old calendar pages. Many of these pages filled with empty thoughts sit on my bookshelf collecting dust. I was thinking I needed some motivation to make it work better this time around.
As we were discussing this idea in our Relief Society meeting yesterday (the church's women's organization which meets each Sunday along with our congregational worship and Sunday school) an idea popped into my head. What if I thought of a family member, a friend, or a loved-one with whom I wanted to share my thoughts and inspirations, with whom I wanted to share my love for the Savior, and wrote my journal as if it were a letter to that person? What if I presented my "journal" to them as a gift next Christmas or for their birthday or when I feel they need it most?
And so, a new blog is born. Not a public blog. Not a blog open for comment. Not a blog with followers. Just a private place to record those thoughts and feelings...for now, for my eyes only. Someday, when the time is right, to be shared with that person or persons for whom it is intended.
So, on this, the first Monday of the year, I begin a new journey in the blogoshpere...a spiritual journey. We'll see where it takes me...and with whom I travel.
For those of you wondering, yes, of course, I'll continue to blog here too...and from time to time, maybe, just maybe, I'll let you know how the journey is going over in my private corner.