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This last week as I was doing some cleaning, I turned on the Saturday afternoon session of General Conference. I remembered it as my favorite session and wanted to listen to several talks again. As I listened to the first three talks I was surprised that even though they were all on very different topics each speaker talked about technology.
First, Elder Bednar spoke on family history and that it is something that the youth of the church should do. He said,
It is no coincidence that FamilySearch and other tools have come forth at a time when young people are so familiar with a wide range of information and communication technologies. Your fingers have been trained to text and tweet to accelerate and advance the work of the Lord—not just to communicate quickly with your friends. The skills and aptitude evident among many young people today are a preparation to contribute to the work of salvation.
I thought this was really interesting. We have heard about texting in conference many times but always in more of a negative context. I love the thought that the youth are so familiar with these things because it is going to help in the Lords work.
Next, Elder Anderson spoke on having children, that it is a commandment from God and the blessings that they bring into our lives. At one point he quoted a blogger.
Many voices in the world today marginalize the importance of having children or suggest delaying or limiting children in a family. My daughters recently referred me to a blog written by a Christian mother (not of our faith) with five children. She commented: “[Growing] up in this culture, it is very hard to get a biblical perspective on motherhood. … Children rank way below college. Below world travel for sure. Below the ability to go out at night at your leisure. Below honing your body at the gym. Below any job you may have or hope to get.” She then adds: “Motherhood is not a hobby, it is a calling. You do not collect children because you find them cuter than stamps. It is not something to do if you can squeeze the time in. It is what God gave you time for.”
(Side note: I’ve already seen the last part of that quote on pinterest attributed to Elder Anderson. Apparently someone didn’t listen to the talk very carefully.)
The third talk was by Elder Ardern. His talk was on using our time wisely.
I know our greatest happiness comes as we tune in to the Lord (see Alma 37:37) and to those things which bring a lasting reward, rather than mindlessly tuning in to countless hours of status updates, Internet farming, and catapulting angry birds at concrete walls. I urge each of us to take those things which rob us of precious time and determine to be their master, rather than allowing them through their addictive nature to be the master of us.
(I’m pretty sure this talk was just for me. This is something I struggle with.)
The internet and technology have been on my mind lately (you can read more about that here) and this connection in all these talks stuck out to me. I think it clearly shows the good and bad of technology. How the Lord and Satan are both using it for their purposes.
I’m not really sure how to phrase my thoughts about this. I just thought it was interesting that three men talked about such different things but there was a common thread in all of it. I didn’t catch it the first time I listened to Conference. I love the things that you realize and learn when you listen to things again and again. There is always more for me to understand.