“5 Unique Ways to Record and Remember Revelation,” Ensign, February 2020
I stared at my computer screen. There it was: the invitation for graduation. I was relieved to be finished with classes, but anxiety overwhelmed me. For the past four months, I had been applying for jobs. I had interviewed for many opportunities, but none had panned out. And now I was sitting on the last day of my undergraduate career with no job and no leads. I had been praying about what I should do next, and no answer seemed to come.
I was frustrated because I felt like I was doing everything necessary to receive revelation—attending church, going to the temple, studying the scriptures. I didn’t know what else I could do. It wasn’t until months later that I realized I had been missing one of the major elements of receiving revelation: recording it.
President Russell M. Nelson taught: “Pray in the name of Jesus Christ about your concerns, your fears, your weaknesses—yes, the very longings of your heart. And then listen! Write the thoughts that come to your mind. Record your feelings and follow through with actions that you are prompted to take. As you repeat this process day after day, month after month, year after year, you will ‘grow into the principle of revelation’ [Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith (2007), 132].”1
As I looked back on my stash of notes I had kept in my phone of spiritual experiences, I saw that I hadn’t been recording any instances of personal revelation for about four months before my job search began—right around the same time I had started to feel like I was alone in my job hunt.
I’m sure other young adults have experienced this slump of feeling like they’re not receiving personal revelation, but maybe it’s just a matter of remembering this key element. Writing down your thoughts and feelings helps you feel the Spirit, which then helps you recognize when you’re receiving personal revelation. If the thought is from God, you will often receive more inspiration as you record impressions. Since the day I realized I had stopped writing down the divine inspiration I was receiving, I’ve found even more ways of recording revelation. You might discover others, but here are just five:
Record revelation in many accounts over time. Joseph Smith set this example in his accounts of the First Vision, including different details depending on the audience and the time he was writing. Try writing down your experiences at different times. When I record in the moment, I save the feelings I had and the raw power of the message I’ve received. Later, when I read back over what I’ve written, I can experience those same feelings again. But when I write about the same experience again later, I often make connections that I hadn’t thought of before.
Write about it to multiple audiences. When you have a spiritual experience, write it to different people (even if you never deliver it!). You can write to your mom, your best friend, your future kids, or even your future self. You’ll notice that you include different details and that your tone is different in each version. Doing this can help you remember all the details of your experience.
Find different ways to record other than writing in a journal. I like making quick notes on my phone of phrases that stick out to me during church, or of thoughts that pop into my head while I am walking to work. You can also use tools in the Gospel Library app to record revelation while you are studying the scriptures. There are plenty of quick and easy ways to record promptings you receive—find what works best for you!
Record yourself talking about your experiences. Fortunately, smartphones or tablets make this easy to do at any time. And whenever you’re feeling discouraged, you can watch or listen to these recordings and be reminded that God is aware of you and giving you personal direction. That knowledge and reassurance can be extremely powerful. You’ll experience the same feelings you felt when you received the original revelation, and you will also feel empowered to pursue ways to receive more inspiration from Heavenly Father.
Use prompts. If you are struggling to record or even receive personal revelation, start by following the guidelines in Come, Follow Me. Answer the questions found in each lesson. Also, try asking those around you how they have recorded revelation. Everyone has their own way of remembering revelation, and your friends and family may inspire you to try new ways to record your impressions.
As I have taken the time to record the Spirit’s promptings, I have come to realize that God is lovingly guiding me in my life much more often than I had thought. That realization has allowed me to gain a deeper love for Him and to better understand what it means to be a child of God.