April 5th and 6th the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, of which I am a member, held their semiannual general conference. It was a most excellent conference, the Lord's prophet, apostles, and other leaders of the church spoke to give us council and warning. Since technology is a big part of how the world is changing there are always references to it in the conference and I always like to compile these together here on the blog (Oct 2013 and April 2013).
Here are the ones I found, if you know others please let me know in the comments.
Sister Reeves: Pornography is more vile, evil, and graphic than ever before. As we counsel with our children, together we can create a family plan with standards and boundaries, being proactive to protect our homes with filters on electronic devices. Parents, are we aware that mobile devices with Internet capacity, not computers, are the biggest culprit? (Protection from Pornography—a Christ-Focused Home)
Youth, take responsibility for your own spiritual well-being. Turn off your phone if necessary... (Protection from Pornography—a Christ-Focused Home)
Elder Andersen: Recently, I spoke with a Laurel from the United States. I quote from her email:
“This past year some of my friends on Facebook began posting their position on marriage. Many favored same-sex marriage, and several LDS youth indicated they ‘liked’ the postings. I made no comment.
“I decided to declare my belief in traditional marriage in a thoughtful way.
“With my profile picture, I added the caption ‘I believe in marriage between a man and a woman.’ Almost instantly I started receiving messages. ‘You are selfish.’ ‘You are judgmental.’ One compared me to a slave owner. And I received this post from a great friend who is a strong member of the Church: ‘You need to catch up with the times. Things are changing and so should you.’
“I did not fight back,” she said, “but I did not take my statement down.”
She concludes: “Sometimes, as President Monson said, ‘You have to stand alone.’ Hopefully as youth, we will stand together in being true to God and to the teachings of His living prophets.”11
Elder Cook: Family history technology has also advanced dramatically. President Howard W. Hunter declared in November 1994: “We have begun using information technology to hasten the sacred work of providing ordinances for the deceased. The role of technology … has been accelerated by the Lord himself. … However, we stand only on the threshold of what we can do with these tools.”22
In the 19 years since this prophetic statement, the acceleration of technology is almost unbelievable. A 36-year-old mother of young children recently exclaimed to me, “Just think--we have gone from microfilm readers in dedicated family history centers to sitting at my kitchen table with my computer doing family history after my children are finally asleep.” Brothers and sisters, family history centers are now in our homes...
The leadership of the Church has issued a clarion call to the rising generation to lead the way in the use of technology to experience the spirit of Elijah, to search out their ancestors, and to perform temple ordinances for them.26 Much of the heavy lifting in hastening the work of salvation for both the living and the dead will be done by you young people.27
If the youth in each ward will not only go to the temple and do baptisms for their dead but also work with their families and other ward members to provide the family names for the ordinance work they perform, both they and the Church will be greatly blessed. Don’t underestimate the influence of the deceased in assisting your efforts and the joy of ultimately meeting those you serve. The eternally significant blessing of uniting our own families is almost beyond comprehension.28
(Roots and Branches)
We finally have the doctrine, the temples, and the technology for families to accomplish this glorious work of salvation. (Roots and Branches)
They love the stories and photos, and they have the technological expertise to scan and upload these stories and photos to Family Tree and connect source documents with ancestors to preserve these for all time. (Roots and Branches)
Brother Ridd: During the priesthood session Brother Ridd's entire talk was on the internet and technology. I won't transcribe the entire talk here, but it is well worth going back and reading the whole thing. Here I will just put a few of the quotes.
In 1974, President Spencer W. Kimball said, “I believe that the Lord is anxious to put into our hands inventions of which we laymen have hardly had a glimpse” (The Choice Generation)
You are growing up with one of the greatest tools for good in the history of man: the Internet. (The Choice Generation)
With the click of a button, you can access whatever your heart desires. That’s the key--what does your heart desire? (The Choice Generation)
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. (The Choice Generation)
Right in the palm of your hand you have the wisdom of the ages--more importantly, the words of the prophets, from Old Testament days to President Thomas S. Monson. But if you don’t regularly recharge your cell phone, it is useless, and you feel lost and out of touch. You wouldn’t think of going a single day without charging your battery. (The Choice Generation)
Young men, don’t do dumb things with your smartphone. You all know what I mean (see Mosiah 4:29). 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. An old proverb says, “If you chase two rabbits, you won’t catch either one.” (The Choice Generation)
The divine purpose of technology is to hasten the work of salvation. (The Choice Generation)
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. (The Choice Generation)
Pres. Uchtdorf: Past generations had their struggle with variations of egotism and narcissism, but I think today we are giving them serious competition. Is it any coincidence that the Oxford Dictionary recently proclaimed “selfie” as the word of the year? (Are You Sleeping through the Restoration?)
These binding chains of addiction can have many forms, like pornography, alcohol, sex, drugs, tobacco, gambling, food, work, the Internet, or virtual reality. Satan, our common enemy, has many favorite tools he uses to rob us of our divine potential to accomplish our mission in the Lord’s kingdom. (Are You Sleeping through the Restoration?)
Elder Ballard: One returned missionary, for example, specifically prayed to be led to “the one” he could reach. The name of a former college classmate came into his mind. He reached out to her over Facebook, and he learned that she had been praying for purpose and meaning in her life. He followed up just at the time she was searching for the truth, and in December she was baptized. (Following Up)
I invite all members, regardless of your current calling or level of activity in the Church, to obtain a copy of Preach My Gospel. It is available through our distribution centers and also online. The online version can be read or downloaded at no cost. (Following Up)
Elder Aidukaitis: We like the Internet. At home we communicate with family and friends through social media, by e-mail, and in other ways. My children do much of their schoolwork through the Internet.
Whatever the question is, if we need more information, we search it online. In seconds we have a lot of material. This is marvelous.
The Internet provides many opportunities for learning. However, Satan wants us to be miserable, and he distorts the real purpose of things. He uses this great tool to promote doubt and fear and to destroy faith and hope.
With so much available on the Internet, we must carefully consider where to apply our efforts. Satan can keep us busy, distracted, and infected by sifting through information, much of which can be pure garbage.
One should not roam through garbage.
(If Ye Lack Wisdom)
Those are all of the instructions on technology that I could find this year. It was one of the most amazing conferences that I have ever attended. I would encourage everyone, whether they are LDS or not to read through some of these talks and learn something from them. It is one of the best ways that I know of to remember to live better.