Elder Ian S. Ardern of the First Quorum of the Seventy had some good advice for us social-networking addicts during the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' afternoon General Conference session Saturday: That is, Facebooking is no substitute for real life. ---
"The poor use of time is a close cousin to idleness," Ardern said in his wonderfully expressive Kiwi accent [cue link to 46:50 for Ardern's talk]. "As we follow the command to cease to be idle, we must be sure that being busy also equates to being productive.
"For example, it is wonderful to have the means of instant communication quite literally at our fingertips. But let us be sure that we do not become compulsive fingertip communicators. I sense that some are trapped in a new time-consuming addiction, one that enslaves us to be constantly checking and sending social messages and thus giving the false impression of being busy and productive.
"There is much that is good with our easy access to communication and information. I have found it helpful to access research articles, Conference talks, ancestral records, and to receive e-mails, Facebook reminders, Tweets and texts. As good as these things are, we cannot allow them to push to one side those things of greatest importance. How sad it would be if the phone and computer, with all of their sophistication, drowned out the simplicity of sincere prayer to a loving Father in Heaven.
"Let us be as quick to kneel as we are to text. Electronic games and cyber-acquaintances are no lasting substitute for real friends, who can give an encouraging hug, who can pray for us, and seek after our best interest."
Seldom have I heard a Conference talk that was so relevant and genuinely, honest-to-God helpful. I mean no offense to the GAs, but so many of their talks seem stuck in the horse-and-buggy era. Ardern may be the first really with-it General Authority I've heard. He offered no phony-sounding anecdotes, no rote platitudes.
Yes, there's a certain sentimentalist rhythm that all Conference talks must traditionally follow. But Ardern spoke intelligently and from the heart. He struck just the right note, and he comes across as a spiritual leader for the next generation of Latter-day Saints.
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