Write It Down
May 2016

“Write It Down,” New Era, May 2016, 28–29

Write It Down

Jennifer Johnson lives in Utah, USA.

I never would have thought that following this one piece of advice from an Apostle would open the door to my testimony.

pencil with spiral straircase

Illustration by Adam Howling

My seminary teacher began my very first seminary class by passing out small booklets to all the students. I was ready to really dig into the gospel at seminary, so I was excited to find out what wisdom these little books held. When I received my book and flipped through it, however, I realized it was full of blank pages.

My teacher explained that these blank books were for us to record our own spiritual impressions. He then shared a quote from Elder Richard G. Scott (1928–2015) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

“Write down in a secure place the important things you learn from the Spirit. You will find that as you write down precious impressions, often more will come. Also, the knowledge you gain will be available throughout your life.”1

My teacher bore testimony of Elder Scott’s words and encouraged us to write down insights we received as we studied the scriptures that year.

I was touched by Elder Scott’s promise that the Lord will give us more direction when we write down what we receive, and I wanted to show Heavenly Father that I valued His guidance. The only problem was that I wasn’t sure I even knew how to receive personal revelation. I couldn’t think of anything I should write down. There was no way I could ever fill up my book with insights!

But Elder Scott’s words stuck with me throughout the day, and by the next morning I had decided that I would trust the counsel of a living prophet and try to write down impressions.

Within a couple of weeks my daily scripture study changed. Before, I would read a few verses every day just to be able to check “read my scriptures” off my to-do list. Now I was looking for answers. I was looking for something that the Lord wanted me to write down.

Soon I found out that Elder Scott’s promises were true. I started to recognize the Spirit’s voice as I studied, first helping me feel God’s love, then testifying of truth as I read, and finally giving specific direction for my life. Not only did I have things to write in my study journal, but also—and much more importantly—I was learning how to recognize personal revelation.

Blessings continue to come. The act of writing things down helps me remember them later more easily, and I also now have a record to reference if I can’t quite remember the details of a lesson I learned. When I’m discouraged or struggling with a gospel question, I go back and read about specific experiences where I received undeniable confirmation of the basic truths of the gospel. These experiences are the backbone of my testimony, and my study journal is a way to always keep them fresh in my mind.

I will always be grateful that I decided to take an Apostle’s advice and write things down, even though at first I thought I had nothing to write. Keeping a study journal has shown me how to recognize when God speaks to me.


  1. Richard G. Scott, “To Acquire Knowledge and the Strength to Use It Wisely,” Ensign, June 2002, 32.