Mortality is an Open-Field:
Laman and Lemuel
I fear exceedingly because of you
methought I saw in my dream
a dark and dreary wilderness
and it came to pass
that I saw a man
and he was dressed in a white robe
and he came and stood before me
and it came to pass
that he spake unto me
and bade me follow him
and it came to pass
that as I followed him
I beheld myself
that I was in a dark and dreary waste
and after I had traveled for the space of many hours in darkness
I began to pray unto YHVH
that he would have mercy on me
according to the multitude of his tender mercies
and it came to pass
after I had prayed unto YHVH
I beheld a large and spacious field
There is no better way to determine what our hearts truly desire than to place us in a completely open and spacious field and then observe what each of us gravitate towards.
You are growing up with one of the greatest tools for good in the history of man: the Internet. With it comes an elaborate buffet of choices. The abundance of choice, however, carries with it an equal portion of accountability. It facilitates your access to both the very best and the very worst the world has to offer. With it you can accomplish great things in a short period of time, or you can get caught up in endless loops of triviality that waste your time and degrade your potential. With the click of a button, you can access whatever your heart desires. That’s the key—what does your heart desire? What do you gravitate toward? Where will your desires lead?
A Record is Kept of What your Heart Gravitates Toward:
There is a record kept, of what
- You do online.
- Your search history
- What pages you visited
- In what order
- For how long,
- Your location when you used the internet
- Your personal interests and demographics
But that’s not God’s record. That’s Google’s record. God keeps a different record.
then if our hearts have been hardened
if we have hardened our hearts against the word
insomuch that it has not been found in us
then will our state be awful
for then we shall be condemned
for our words will condemn us
all our works will condemn us
we shall not be found spotless
and our thoughts will also condemn us
and in this awful state we shall not dare to look up to our God
and we would fain be glad if we could command the rocks
and the mountains
to fall upon us
to hide us from his presence
It is our own brains, where we keep a subconscious record of everything we’ve ever done, said or thought, that a record is kept from which we shall be judged in the final day by God. Bruce McConkie has said:
In a real though figurative sense, the book of life is the record of the acts of men as such record is written in their own bodies. … That is, every thought, word, and deed has an [effect] on the human body; all these leave their marks, marks which can be read by [God] as easily as the words in a book can be read.
The Internet also records your desires, expressed in the form of searches and clicks. There are legions waiting to fill those desires. As you surf the Internet, you leave tracks — what you communicate, where you have been, how long you have been there, and the kinds of things that interest you. In this way, the Internet creates a cyber profile for you — in a sense, your “cyber book of life.” As in life, the Internet will give you more and more of what you seek. If your desires are pure, the Internet can magnify them, making it ever easier to engage in worthy pursuits. But the opposite is also true.
Thus, without God keeping a tally-sheet up in heaven – and without Google keeping a file on their server – each of us have sufficient records to be our own judges.
if that man repenteth not
and remaineth and dieth an enemy to god
the demands of divine justice
do awaken his immortal soul to a lively sense of his own guilt
which doth cause him to shrink from the presence of YHVH
and doth fill his breast with guilt
which is like an unquenchable fire
whose flame ascendeth up forever and ever
but I was racked with eternal torment
for my soul was harrowed up to the greatest degree
and racked with all my sins
I did remember all my sins and iniquities
for which I was tormented with the pains of hell
I saw that I had rebelled against my god
and that I had not kept his holy commandments
Each of us has an internal record of all of our deeds — recorded in our brains, and that is what makes us the judge of our own selves and makes “hell” a place of our own making. Which is why Isaiah wrote:
woe to those who seek to hide their plans and intentions too deep for YHVH to see
who work in darkness
who sees us?
who will know?
No matter how deep you hide — deeds done in the dark are still known to you, which means they are still known to God. So we can either be proactive in educating our own desires and leading our own hearts — or be reactive to wherever our desires drag us. Every choice we make in response to desires to buy something, click on something, play something, or watch something takes us either closer to or further from what we are meant to become.
Each click has meaning. Always ask yourself, “Where will this choice lead?” Develop the ability to see beyond the moment. Satan wants to control your agency so he can control what you become. He knows that one of the best ways to do this is by trapping you with addictive behavior. Your choices determine whether technology will empower you or enslave you.
Plug In to the Source of Power:
As important as it is to leave home every day with a full charge on your cell phone, it is far more important to be fully charged spiritually. Every time you plug in your phone, use it as a reminder to ask yourself if you have plugged in to the most important source of spiritual power—prayer and scripture study, which will charge you with inspiration through the Holy Ghost. It will help you know the mind and will of the Lord to make the small but important daily choices that determine your direction. Many of us immediately stop whatever we are doing to read a text message—should we not place even more importance on messages from the Lord? Neglecting to connect to this power should be unthinkable to us.
To take this analogy further, we must also “plug-into” our temporal life, in the here-and-now too. Plug into our family, plug into the earth outside, plug into sunshine. Really get our bodies moving and experience these things.
Stop living your life in pixels and live it for real. So sure — plug your spirit into the word of God, but also plug your body into the world that God has created.
Technology can become a surrogate body, where we live out experiences as a passive brain, watching things on a screen. Whereas God organized our planet and placed our spirits into these bodies so that, in this flesh and on this hunk of dirt and rocks and water, we could experience life – together.
Owning a Smartphone does not make you Smart:
I would hardly be considered “old” by any standard, but I can remember a time in my life where I could have never considered it possible for computers, phones, and cameras to be all combined into one device that fits in the palm of your hand. This stuff is literally superhero stuff. It’s amazing. Batman didn’t have devices that could do what these fancy phones can.
And I hear people complain about it: “My phone’s a piece of garbage.” No it’s not – it’s amazing! “My computer’s slow.” Oh, is the speed of light too slow for you? If it takes an hour for your Google search to complete – it’s still amazing.
Respect what we have with this technology.
Don’t do dumb things with your smartphone. There are countless ways technology can distract you from what is most important. Follow the adage “Be where you are when you are there.” When you are driving, drive. When you are in class, focus on the lesson. When you are with your friends, give them the gift of your attention. Your brain cannot concentrate on two things at once. Multitasking amounts to quickly shifting your focus from one thing to another.
The Lord Provides Technology to Accomplish His Purposes:
Though our family is a bit Amish in this regard — we’re a bit suspicious of pretty much anything that came after the horse and buggy — I wouldn’t say that I’m “anti-technology”. I don’t think the Internet or fancy phones are the downfall of civilization or the end of human culture. I just tend to have quite a lot of faith in the way human beings have been doing things for the million years before all this technology. I find simplistic, natural things to be the cultural equivalent of the shark: sharks haven’t evolved since the era of the dinosaurs simply because they haven’t had to. They pretty much had the perfect form for being a “shark” to start-out with. And I also see that it’s mainly just the people who produce technology who are telling us that we have to have these things. But we don’t need to go out and do everything that there is to go out and do.
Of course there is the Buddhist adage of the “Middle Way”. The “good way” through life is a narrow road that has an incredibly steep ditch off either side. We can go just as wrong cloistering ourselves away from the world, and miss a lot of the good things God may have in store for His people — as we can by diving head-first into everything the world has to offer. I believe that one’s life is just as much controlled by something when you are fearfully avoiding it at all costs as when you are hedonistically consuming it at all costs.
The divine purpose of technology is to hasten the work of salvation. As members of the choice generation, you understand technology. Use it to accelerate your progress toward perfection. Because you have been given much, you too must give. The Lord expects you to use these great tools to take His work to the next level, to share the gospel in ways that are beyond my generation’s wildest imagination. Where generations past influenced their neighbors and their town, you have the power through the Internet and social media to reach beyond borders and influence the whole world.
Who we are – deep, deep down and far, far in – is reflected and known by what we do. Especially the stuff we do when we think no one sees us, in those secret times that we ourselves only truly know inside our minds.
With every advance in technology, humankind has advanced the ways and means whereby we can waste away our energy on empty things without any lasting value. But there is another side, which is that with each advance we’ve also accessed a greater capacity to do God’s work: to spread a message of fulfilling community, of divine compassion and acceptance for all people, and the restoration of a direct connection between the society of heaven and each one of us here on earth.
So I think that, more importantly than if there is an all-seeing eye in the sky who is recording all the details of our actions and thoughts, is the fact that each of us keeps a good enough record of that in our own minds already – and we should make decisions that make living with that record a joy, instead of a burden.
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