Sunday, August 30, 2009

Things As They Really Are

Dear Sisters:

Well, summer is over and it is time for me to get back to being responsible. I apologize for not keeping up with these Sunday messages over the summer. I have missed talking to all of you each Sunday.

Today the High Priests Quorum joined Relief Society and Patrick Ord taught all of us from a talk given by Elder David Bednar called "Things As They Really Are." If you have not already done it, print the talk and read it. It is excellent.

Elder Bednar took his title from a scripture in Jacob, “The Spirit speaketh the truth and lieth not. Wherefore, it speaketh of things as they really are, and of things as they really will be; wherefore, these things are manifested unto us plainly, for the salvation of our souls” (Jacob 4:13)

Brother Ord first pointed out that in the talk Elder Bednar gives an "apostolic warning." He says,

"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."

Brother Ord pointed out that we sustain the Prophet, First Presidency, and apostles as prophets, seers and revelators and because of that, an apostolic warning ought to be something that we pay very close attention to.

Elder Bednar asks two specific questions in his talk:

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?

There are so many good things that we can do with technology. This blog and emails to each of you are some of them. However, as usual, Satan is ready to twist the good things about technology into something that draws us away from the spirit.

Elder Bednar closed his talk by referring to the "greater capacity for obedience" that we who live in this dispensation have been blessed with. He quoted Mormon 9:27-28:

“Hearken unto the words of the Lord, and ask the Father in the name of Jesus for what things soever ye shall stand in need. Doubt not, but be believing, and begin as in times of old, and come unto the Lord with all your heart, and work out your own salvation with fear and trembling before him.

“Be wise in the days of your probation; strip yourselves of all uncleanness; ask not, that ye may consume it on your lusts, but ask with a firmness unshaken, that ye will yield to no temptation, but that ye will serve the true and living God” (Mormon 9:27–28)."

His final paragraph says:

"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.

I testify we can and will be blessed with the courage and determination to face the world and all the powers of the evil one. Righteousness will prevail. No unhallowed hand can stop this work from progressing. I bear witness and testify of these things as they really are and as they really will be in the sacred name of the Lord Jesus Christ, amen."

Have a wonderful, obedient week, Sisters.

We love you,

Your RS Presidency