While my parents were in town, I listen to my mom and uncle talk. Long story short, I ended up looking up Elder Bednar's May CES Fireside, Things as They Really Are. It was a very fascinating talk, but not really in a good way. It brought a lot of points that have caused me to think. The talk impressed me so much, we listen to it for Family Home Evening. Normally we try to have lessons geared toward my son, but instead we listened to this. Near the end when Elder Bednar was bearing testimony, my son did look up from his blocks and say, "Mom, he said Jesus" Yes, he did, he knows Jesus and talks to him for us-- so see we all got something from it.
Back to the talk. I don't think I ever realized just how important my moral body was until I listened to this talk. Yes, I always knew it was needed for eternity, but I learned a lot from the talk. The first thing that stood out to me was,
When any of Heavenly Father’s children misuse their physical tabernacles by .... worshiping the false idol of body image, whether their own or that of others, Satan is delighted.
This is a slight stretch from that, but when he said that, I thought wow, every time I think a degrading thought about my body, I'm denying the supreme gift of Heavenly Father's ultimate creation. Then he goes on to say,
Today I raise an apostolic voice of warning about the potentially stifling, suffocating, suppressing, and constraining impact of some kinds of cyberspace interactions and experiences upon our souls. [...] I plead with you to beware of the sense-dulling and spiritually destructive influence of cyberspace technologies...
My mom taught me to always pay close attention, when they say "apostolic" where its an apostolic blessing or warning.
I found that part extremely interesting, my husband and I spent a lot of time chatting online when we were first friends, so I often still find it exciting when we chat, although we have nothing exciting to chat about anymore. So it really stood out in my mind when he said, "for laughing and crying together," and "To feel the warmth of a tender hug from an eternal companion or to see the sincerity in the eyes of another person as testimony is shared" As I thought about it, I thought how true, it is way more exciting to be in the same room as Brent than be in the same instant message conversation. Not to mention as I've thought about this, I've realize lately I've found chatting with him frustrating, just because it limits the amount the depth of communication.
If the adversary cannot entice us to misuse our physical bodies, then one of his most potent tactics is to beguile you and me as embodied spirits to disconnect gradually and physically from things as they really are. In essence, he encourages us to think and act as if we were in our premortal, unembodied state. And, if we let him, he can cunningly employ some aspects of modern technology to accomplish his purposes. Please be careful of becoming so immersed and engrossed in pixels, texting, ear buds, twittering, online social networking, and potentially addictive uses of media and the Internet that you fail to recognize the importance of your physical body and miss the richness of person-to-person communication. Beware of digital displays and data in many forms of computer-mediated interaction that can displace the full range of physical capacity and experience.
Consider again the example I mentioned earlier of a young couple recently married in the house of the Lord. An immature or misguided spouse may devote an inordinate amount of time to playing video games, chatting online, or in other ways allowing the digital to dominate things as they really are. Initially the investment of time may seem relatively harmless, rationalized as a few minutes of needed relief from the demands of a hectic daily schedule. But important opportunities are missed for developing and improving interpersonal skills, for laughing and crying together, and for creating a rich and enduring bond of emotional intimacy. Progressively, seemingly innocent entertainment can become a form of pernicious enslavement.
To feel the warmth of a tender hug from an eternal companion or to see the sincerity in the eyes of another person as testimony is shared—all of these things experienced as they really are through the instrument of our physical body—could be sacrificed for a high fidelity fantasy that has no lasting value. If you and I are not vigilant, we can become “past feeling” (1 Nephi 17:45), as did Laman and Lemuel long ago. (the bold is my own emphasis added)
For your happiness and protection, I invite you to study more diligently the doctrine of the plan of salvation—and to prayerfully ponder the truths we have reviewed. I offer two questions for consideration in your personal pondering and prayerful studying:
- 1. Does the use of various technologies and media invite or impede the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost in your life?
- 2. Does the time you spend using various technologies and media enlarge or restrict your capacity to live, to love, and to serve in meaningful ways?
You will receive answers, inspiration, and instruction from the Holy Ghost suited to your individual circumstances and needs.
I testify that God lives and is our Heavenly Father. He is the Author of the plan of salvation. Jesus is the Christ, the Redeemer, whose body was bruised, broken, and torn for us as He offered the atoning sacrifice. He is resurrected; He lives; and He stands at the head of His Church in these latter days. To be “encircled about eternally in the arms of his love” (2 Nephi 1:15) will be a real and not a virtual experience. (emphasis added)