Elder David A. Bednar addressed the Young Single Adults of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in a CES Fireside, at Brigham Young University, Idaho. Although I am not a YSA, I really enjoy listening to these firesides whenever I have the opportunity. Anyone can do so. They are always televised on BYU Broadcasting, and available on the Internet; just like our General Conference addresses are. I would highly recommend taking advantage of these inspired, "finger-on-the-pulse" talks - that are regularly given to the rising generation.
Elder Bednar begins his talk...
"I long have been impressed with the simple and clear definition of truth set forth in the Book of Mormon: “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”.
Throughout Elder Bednar's address, I was spellbound by the way in which this Apostle of the Lord, took seemingly basic doctrines of the gospel, and carefully applied them in very personal ways, which are highly targeted to our lives today. A teaching style, of which the Master Himself - emulated perfectly. It was indeed, artful - to say the least. In such an affected state, I personally took the time to transcribe from the video, his text. I would loved to have posted it myself, but due to copyright, I refrained.
Elder Bednar spoke profoundly about "Things As They Really Are". He taught the doctrine of The Plan of Salvation, like few others I have ever heard. He specifically centered his teachings upon the importance of our physical bodies as the central vehicle through which we have come to earth for experiences in mortality. It is through the use of our physical bodies in a fallen world - that we may ultimately progress beyond this life.
Elder Bednar quoted the Prophet Joseph Smith's teachings, regarding our physical bodies...
“We came to this earth that we might have a body and present it pure before God in the celestial kingdom. The great principle of happiness consists in having a body. The devil has no body, and herein is his punishment. He is pleased when he can obtain the tabernacle of man, and when cast out by the Savior he asked to go into the herd of swine, showing that he would prefer a swine’s body to having none. All beings who have bodies have power over those who have not. The devil has no power over us only as we permit him; the moment we revolt at anything which comes from God, the devil takes power."
He went on to instruct that "Our physical bodies make possible a breadth, a depth, and an intensity of experience that simply could not be obtained in our premortal estate."
Upon laying a powerful foundation of truth, as to the necessity of our physical bodies to our experience here upon this earth -- Elder Bednar proceeds to expose some of the many diabolical ways with which Lucifer demises to thwart the very means by which we came here to progress!
Elder Bednar again, reminds us that because Lucifer will never have a body, and he understands perfectly the POWER that we have through our own physical experiences to progress - that his design is to encourage us without realizing it, to "minimize" our physical bodies. He taught us that one of the ways we minimize our bodies here, is through "fidelity" to those things that do not produce that which is GOOD!
"Because a physical body is so central to the Father’s plan of happiness and our spiritual development, we should not be surprised that Lucifer seeks to frustrate our progression by tempting us to use our bodies improperly. One of the ultimate ironies of eternity is that the adversary, who is miserable precisely because he has no physical body, invites and entices us to share in his misery through the improper use of our bodies. The very tool he does not have and cannot use is thus the primary target of his attempts to lure us to physical and spiritual destruction."
The attacks of the adversary are many, and Elder Bednar through his own apostolic visions of "things as they really are", warned the youth of the Church as to Lucifer's modern warfare; the misuse of extreme physical activities and the improper fidelity to technology.
"You may now be asking yourself, “But Brother Bednar, you began today by talking about the importance of a physical body in our eternal progression. Are you suggesting that video gaming and various types of computer-mediated communication can play a role in minimizing the importance of our physical bodies?” That is precisely what I am declaring. Let me explain.
We live at a time when technology can be used to replicate reality, to augment reality, and to create virtual reality. For example, a medical doctor can use software simulation to gain valuable experience performing a complicated surgical operation without ever putting a human patient at risk. A pilot in a flight simulator repeatedly can practice emergency landing procedures that could save many lives. And architects and engineers can use innovative technologies to model sophisticated design and construction methods that decrease the loss of human life and damage to buildings caused by earthquakes and other natural disasters."
Elder Bednar then proceeds to go into a detailed explanation of what he is trying to teach us about "FIDELITY". Please read his entire talk "Things As They Really Are".
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.
In Elder Bednar's address, "Things As They Really Are", he taught vital doctrine. In my simple blog post about his counsel, I have mentioned so little. Surely this is quite inadequate an attempt to summarize the words and counsel of a prophet of God. I hope that you will take the time to either listen or read the entire address. Elder Bednar touched on very pertinent topics about our world today, that are very specific and personal to each one of us - as individuals. I have many thoughts about these teachings, for myself. Personally, I am so grateful for modern revelation that comes to us through the living oracles of God. It is a blessing, to know TRUTH when it is clearly taught.
To better know how "these things" of which he taught affect each one of us, Elder Bednar extended a very personal invitation:
"For your happiness and protection, I invite you to study more diligently the doctrine of the plan of salvation—and to prayerfully ponder the truths we have reviewed. I offer two questions for consideration in your personal pondering and prayerful studying:
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?
You will receive answers, inspiration, and instruction from the Holy Ghost suited to your individual circumstances and needs. I repeat and affirm the teaching of the Prophet Joseph: “All beings who have bodies have power over those who have not. The devil has no power over us only as we permit him.”
These eternal truths about the importance of our physical bodies will fortify you against the deception and the attacks of the adversary. One of my deepest desires for you is an ever-increasing testimony of and appreciation for the Resurrection—even your own resurrection with a celestial, exalted body “because of your faith in [the Lord Jesus Christ] according to the promise”.
Elder David A. Bednar "Things As They Really Are"