My Brother-In-Law (Elder Chadd Johnson – currently on a mission) wrote in one of his letters about a CES fireside (May 3rd 2009) that Elder David A. Bednar talked at. I have listened to it several times since he mentioned it. And I want to talk a few minutes about it. If you want to read the entire talk (which I suggest you do), they have finally posted the transcript on LDS.ORG. I suggest that everyone reads it.
Elder Bednar talks about our bodies and Satan tries to get us to misuse our bodies, by violating the law of chastity, using drugs, disfiguring ourselves, and worshiping the idol of a false body image. He also talks about how, “Satan also strives to entice the sons and daughters of God to minimize the importance of their physical bodies.” The main way he does this is by trying to get us to disconnect from our bodies and live in a virtual world.
“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. The concerns I raise are not new; they apply equally to other types of media, such as television, movies, and music. But in a cyber world, these challenges are more pervasive and intense. I plead with you to beware of the sense-dulling and spiritually destructive influence of cyberspace technologies that are used to produce high fidelity and that promote degrading and evil purposes.
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.”
What I got from his talk is that if you would not do it in real life, then you should not do it in a virtual setting. He also talks about not hiding behind a fake mask on-line. That we should not do things on-line because we think that no one knows who we are, or we can hide behind an avatar. Elder Bednar stated, “The Lord knows who we really are, what we really think, what we really do, and who we really are becoming. ” Just because we think we can hide on-line, does not mean that the Lord does not know who we are and what we are trying to do.
He gives us two questions we should ask ourselves when we engage in on-line activities, or any type of activity.
- Does the use of various technologies and media invite or impede the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost in your life?
- 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?
This talk has really made me think about my on-line activities, the games I play, and what I really do with my spare time. I hope that I can remember to ask these two questions each time I start an activity on-line.
But I do want to point out that he also stated, “neither technology nor rapid change in or of itself is good or evil; the real challenge is to understand both within the context of the eternal plan of happiness.” We just need to be careful in how we use the technology.
You can download the audio for his talk as well from the CES website on LDS.ORG.
If you have read/heard this talk, please leave a comment and let others know your impressions and thoughts on it.