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5 clever design features in this conference study journal

I have always loved a good journal. In fact, my closest friends almost exclusively give me journals as birthday and Christmas gifts each year. And I don’t just let them collect dust—I have a specific journal for everything: for day-to-day experiences, for scripture study, for goings-on at work. And when I go on travel adventures, I even like to bring a small pocket-sized journal to capture my feelings and experiences in real time. With all of that journaling, I like to think I know a thing or two about what makes a good journal.

And in the past six months I have found a specific journal that I think will have a permenant spot in my life from here on out. This is one I will be going back to the store for like clockwork: the General Conference Addresses, Journal Edition. Why? Because while journaling is important in many aspects of my life, it is essential to my testimony. I still remember my seminary teacher reading the following quote from Elder Richard G. Scott while class journals were passed around the class:

“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.”

The teacher went on to make an analogy about how when we write things down, our pen or pencil is like an antenna sending signals to the Holy Ghost that we care about what we are learning and that we want more of it. I have found the General Conference Addresses, Journal Edition to be a helpful way to encourage me to pull out my pen and show the Holy Ghost I want to learn.

So as your resident journal expert, here are five reasons the General Conference Addresses, Journal Edition has everything you need to study effectively and joyfully.

1. Wide Margins

This one is pretty obvious, but I love them enough to call them out. Each page has a two-and-a-half-inch margin which gives you plenty of space to write down your thoughts. The margins are lined so that if you also struggle to write in a straight line, you have some help.

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Inside view of the General Conference Addresses, Journal Edition

2. Note Taking Space at the End

I like taking notes as I go through the talk, but then I also like to take a moment and think about the message as a whole once I’ve read it. This journal has a space at the end of the talks (the amount of space varies slightly per message) where you can write down an overall takeaway. This helps me make the message personal and think about how I will be different because of what I’ve read. If the talk was particularly comforting or helpful, I like writing down why I felt that way as a reminder that God knows who I am and is willing to communicate with me.

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Additional space for notes at the end of a talk.

3. The Footnotes

Finally, conference talk footnotes are getting the attention they deserve! If you have not been studying the footnotes of general conference talks, you’ve been missing out.

Each speaker includes footnotes to a varying degree, but when they do use them, there can be some beautiful hidden gems! And having the footnotes all lined out on a page (rather than having to click through them on the Gospel Library app) makes them much easier to study. Just read this quote Elder D. Todd Christofferson included in his October 2022 address:

“Religion is not some kind of psychic exercise that occasionally offers a transcendental experience. It either shapes one’s life—all of one’s life—or it vanishes, leaving behind anxious, empty souls that no psychotherapy can reach. And for religion to shape one’s life, it needs to be public and communal; it needs to be connected to the dead and the unborn.”

Now that is some food for thought I don’t want to miss.

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The journal provides space to study the footnotes.

4. The Table of Contents

I am someone who loves checking off a list or a box. And I like to make a point to personally study each of the talks from the conference, so having a table of contents provides an easy way to track what I’ve read and not miss anything of them. I also will sometimes leave marks next to the talks that really spoke to me. Those markings can be helpful when I am trying to look something up again later.

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The table of contents provides a place to track which talks you've read.

5. Overall Build: Size, Binding, and Paper

And lastly, the build of this journal is just right. It is big enough to give me enough room to write, but not so big it doesn’t fit in my church bag. The spiral binding allows the journal to lay flat on its own, which is so nice for writing. The binding also means I can flip the journal in half and hold it in one hand if I am using it to teach a lesson at church. And finally, the paper is great because it prevents my pen ink from smearing as I write (every journal keeper’s nightmare).

The General Conference Addresses, Journal Edition truly has made studying general conference not only more inviting but also more meaningful. I find myself unintimated to pick up the journal and just get started. And I love that with the journal, I don’t need my phone to read conference talks. I can just put it away until I am done and avoid becoming distracted. From one gospel journal-er to another, I hope you can get your hands on this resource and that you enjoy it as much as I do.

General Conference Addresses, Journal Edition, April 2023

The General Conference Addresses Journal Edition has all the text of the April 2023 general conference addresses in one spiral-bound paperback. Extra-wide, lined margins give you space to record your impressions and to document the insights you receive. Create an enduring record to make the inspired teachings of general conference an ongoing part of your gospel learning.

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