Scripture journaling on a budget


The Book of Mormon, in English, is 531 pages long, not counting the Introduction and the testimony of witnesses. I have been planning to move from the million post-its in my BoM to a proper scripture journal. So many of my friends have beautiful wide margin Bibles they use for that, and a wide margin template of the BoM (and the rest of the standard works) is available to be printed as well. In English.

While I used to work at a company that also manufactured printers, and allowed us to print some materials for personal use, 531 pages would not have been reasonable there either. So I started to look at various copy shops, and printing at the cheapest place on the cheapest paper that many pages would have come to around HUF 5000. With a better quality of paper, even printing double sided, it would be close to twice as much. That I found a little bit too much. Not to mention, if I wanted to do it in Hungarian, then I didn’t even have the option to print wide margin scriptures!

So I decided to create my own scripture journal on a budget.


I ordered two copies of The Book of Mormon, they were €1.15 each. Then I bought a pack of 120g copy paper for HUF 1890. That will leave me about 16 sheets short, but I use this type of paper for a lot of other things, I will be buying more anyway. Of course the D&C  will need some paper as well. I prefer this thicker, whiter paper than the regular 80 g because I usually use a fountain pen or other liquid ink containing pens. Currently I use a low acid ink, and it writes beautifully on this paper.

Because I’m clumsy I prefer to see where I’m glueing something, so I primarily use these colored glue sticks, but double-sided tape works for people who don’t need to reposition their pages several times.

I am generally against mutilation of books, but this time I had to.


The reason why two copies of the BOM are needed, because I need a copy of both sides of the same sheet to be glued onto the A4 paper. The missionary editions in English have thicker paper than the triple combination, and the soft cover BOM normally starts to fall apart by itself anyway, so I went with that. I expected to need a craft knife to get the pages out – and I’ll definitely need that for the Hungarian journal that I expect to be making in about a year’s time – , but with using some gentle force on separating the binding from the sheets, I could remove the pages without having to cut.

Then I glued.


As you can see, it is not straight, and the glueing didn’t result in a completely fat and glued page, but as I’m not the artist type who would create a beautiful artwork out of her scripture journal like seen on Pinterest, it works fine for me. If you are better at using glue, you’ll get better results. Maybe I should outsource the glueing to my 8-year-old niece.

Currently the already made pages are in a binder, waiting for me to start study again tonight, but eventually I plan to have them spiral bound. This way I can add more pages where needed to add more thoughts, lessons, relevant talks or articles, even pictures as I go. This way it truly becomes a journal.

Another thing I started to do is to use the same type of paper (see, I use this kind of paper for everything!) to print some General Conference talks. I shrink the talks down to 70%, leaving me space to take notes, write thoughts, doodle, and generally use those pages as scripture journals. It helps a lot when I prepare for 4th Sunday in  Relief Society during the week. A similar journal for Sunday School preparation, printing the passages to be read, is also something I have been planning to use next year.

Every time I read the scriptures I discover something new and exciting. It is time to keep those thoughts at least somewhat organized. Because I do love to read the Scriptures.




Journaling – Writing my personal story


One part of doing family history work is recording our personal history as well. I am doing pretty awful with that: the only time in my life when I consistently kept a journal was on my mission (alas, not in the beautiful Missionary Journals I had–more on why I chose simple college ruled composition books for that will come later.) I wrote a journal on and off over the years, more in high school, less since then. I’ve blogged quite a bit, both in Hungarian and English, and I have the exports of past blogs saved in a number of places.

A few weeks ago, however, I read a very thought-provoking article. I can’t remember where it was, so I can only summarize it. Basically, with our move to digital technology, and storing our photos, documents, our lives really in the cloud and on rapidly replaced tape and disk technology, what will people actually know about our time looking back? With the technology I used to record a conversation with my grandma now obsolete, I have to rely on ever newer digital versions of that recording. Just as I have no cassette player any more, in a few decades people won’t have CD players, and who knows how long mp3s will be accessible. With very little written records of the life of the people on the 21st century, an archeologist from the future will have to rely on artifacts that survive from our time. I imagine that will involve a lot of plastic, because that will never break down.

What would be the things that would survive to tell your story?

img_5064It would be a couple of crochet hooks, with plastic handles for me for sure. My Pandora bracelet maybe. A 100% polyester shirt. My rubber boots. And hopefully some of my journals, because ever since I read this article, I have made a very conscious effort to write regularly in a physical journal, too. I try to do it between writing my daily blog post and some scripture study.

Sometimes it’s hard to decide what to write about, what is worth recording, and what is better forgotten. My approach right now is that I write about whatever I feel was important that day. It might be as unimportant as, “We had 5 calls waiting on the whatever language line, but we recovered it by the evening,” or “I can’t believe the lox bagel is actually salmon in a ciabatta that’s full of olives, yuck!”, or they might be about 21462584_1159969067479709_309492215769224520_nspiritual experiences, important milestones, or activities. Trust me, my disappointment in my favorite sandwich was important enough to record! So were the series of events that filled up a nice notebook that all happened in the span of eight days in the summer.

Pinterest is full of wonderful journaling ideas, and very structured bullet journals and templates for them that I always look at in awe. I have no artistic talent, my drawing ability is limited to stick figures standing in one spot, and my handwriting is quite messy.  A few weeks ago I posted this on Facebook:

Many of you know that I love nice stationary and I love writing. Yet I have a very hard time keeping a journal. The nice journals on my shelf are truly beautiful, fun, and made of quality materials. I love them, I loved buying them, but they are intimidating. Sloppy handwriting, spelling corrections–my spelling in Hungarian is even worse than my English–would ruin the beauty of the paper, and my mundane life and thoughts don’t deserve it. So my collection of journals and nice notebooks sit on the shelf, empty, but all of them filled with unwritten memories, the words only formed in my mind.

Those perfect Pinterest journals, with separate sections for scripture study, meal planning, reading journal, savings diet tracking and so on set an impossible standard to me. Since then I let go of them. My writing is messy, not very eloquent, randomly switching between languages, but it tells my story.  Who knows, maybe one day someone will want to read them and know who I was and what went on inside and outside my head in 2017 in Budapest, Hungary.