Nephi opens the Book of Mormon by expressing gratitude to his parents for, among other things, the gift of literacy. He writes his record in his parents’ language, which consists of “the learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptians” (1 Nephi 1:2).
Nephi’s nephew, Enos, also expresses gratitude that his father taught him “in his language” (Enos 1:1).
According to the book of Moses, this pattern began with the earliest generations of people:
A book of remembrance was kept, in the which was recorded, in the language of Adam, for it was given unto as many as called upon God to write by the spirit of inspiration;
And by them their children were taught to read and write, having a language which was pure and undefiled.Moses 6:5-6
The National Center for Education Statistics, which is part of the United States Department of Education, defines literacy as “the ability to use printed and written information to function in society, to achieve one’s goals, and to develop one’s knowledge and potential.”
One reason literacy is important for spiritual growth is because our memory is limited and unreliable. Keeping a written record helps us remember our spiritual experiences more accurately and enables us to pass those experiences on to future generations.
One reason the prophet Enoch was so effective was because he quoted from sacred records kept by his ancestors:
For a book of remembrance we have written among us, according to the pattern given by the finger of God; and it is given in our own language.Moses 6:46
King Benjamin emphasized to his children the importance of preserving and utilizing sacred texts:
For it were not possible that our father, Lehi, could have remembered all these things, to have taught them to his children, except it were for the help of these plates; for he having been taught in the language of the Egyptians therefore he could read these engravings, and teach them to his children, that thereby they could teach them to their children, and so fulfilling the commandments of God, even down to this present time.Mosiah 1:4
Malachi indicated that sacred records could help his people overcome a crisis of faith by broadening their perspective. (See Malachi 3:13-18, 3 Nephi 24:13-18.)
Spencer W. Kimball taught:
Those who keep a book of remembrance are more likely to keep the Lord in remembrance in their daily lives. Journals are a way of counting our blessings and of leaving an inventory of these blessings for our posterity.The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, ed. Edward L. Kimball, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1982, p. 349, quoted by President Henry B. Eyring in “Remembrance and Gratitude,” General Conference, October 1989
Today, I will recommit to keeping sacred records, for my own benefit and for the benefit of my children. I will also continue to teach my children how to use sacred texts to facilitate their own spiritual journey.