Blueprint for Doing Good

Technology BlueprintIn our day, technology can be overwhelming and, unfortunately, often misused in ways that are destructive to individuals, families, and our spirits. However, there is enormous power to bless lives when using technology for doing good. It just takes some thought and planning… a blueprint for doing good.

Virtual Realities

David Bednar, an apostle in the Church, gave a talk entitled “Things as They Really Are” in which he asks us to consider two questions relating to use of technology:

  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?

In this abbreviated video, he teaches that we need to be mindful of not letting “virtual realities” cloud our vision of real relationships, both with those around us and with our Heavenly Father.

Technology and Transparency

When it comes to technology use and relationships, transparency is necessary. Elder L. Whitney Clayton reminded us that “there are no secrets about relevant matters in marriages based on mutual respect and transparency. Husbands and wives make…decisions…together, and both have access to all information. Loyalty is a form of respect. Prophets teach that successful marriage partners are ‘fiercely loyal’ to each other. They keep their social media use fully worthy in every way. They permit themselves no secret Internet experiences. They freely share with each other their social network passwords. They do not look at the virtual profiles of anyone in any way that might betray the sacred trust of their spouse. They never do or say anything that approaches the appearance of impropriety, either virtually or physically. Watch and learn: terrific marriages are completely respectful, transparent, and loyal.

Serving Others through Technology

“Neglect not the gift that is in thee” 1 Timothy 4:14. Many people have tremendous talent with technology. Some have an amazing grasp on what makes technology work (or not), and can serve others when help is needed. I am not one of those people who understand how things work, but I was flattered a while back when a senior citizen with whom I’m acquainted called one day and asked me to help her fix her VCR (yes, VCR). That was something I could do. Probably not a considerable technological talent, but I was happy to help.

Others are gifted photographers, writers, organizers, creators, decorators, teachers, cooks, child-raisers, etc, and do much good sharing those talents online and by teaching those skills to others. Others still may not be tech savvy but have time to serve. They can do great good for others by using technology as a means to that end. If you have time to give and looking for ways to serve, you may consider checking out The Vineyard, an online platform where a variety of service opportunities are just a click away. You can get there here: https://vineyard.lds.org.

Lifting Others through Technology

Sadly, gone are the days when good neighbor notes were left on doorsteps and “it’s been a while” letters in envelopes frequented our mailboxes. However, technology enables us to reach out to those we love, those who need lifting, and those who are searching. It just takes a few minutes to send a text or an email, or to go online and share your belief in Christ with others. Is there someone’s load can you lighten today? Technology can help you do it.

See how this young woman did just that…all at the right time and the right place.


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Serious Discipleship

One of the greatest blessings of life and eternity is to be counted as one of the devoted disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. – James E. Faust

I attended a church conference this weekend at which several members of the church spoke on a variety of assigned topics. One of the women who spoke made reference to discipleship, and what caught my attention was how she phrased it: serious discipleship.

service-allredSo, what is serious discipleship? I think that at the heart of serious discipleship is loving and serving others. Additionally, obedience to the Lord’s commandments is a principle that serious disciples of Jesus Christ strive to adhere to daily. There are times where I’ve been prompted or impressed to do something for someone else, or go and visit someone, or share my testimony of Christ with another. If I’m serious in my discipleship, I would “go and do as the Lord commands” (1 Nephi 3:7) every time. I wish I could say I always “go and do,” but I don’t. It’s something I have to recommit to daily. However, I know that with obedience comes blessings greater than what’s required, and that inspires me to be more serious in my discipleship.

Discipleship has brought purpose to my life. Knowing my relationship with God is a father-son relationship, and that the Savior Jesus Christ is my older brother, is a daily motivation to do better, be kinder, and serve more selflessly. Discipleship and obedience have brought spiritual strength to me that has helped me through challenges and trials.

How has serious discipleship affected your life?

Have I done any good?

Last Sunday in our Sacrament Meeting (what Mormons call the Sunday worship service) we sang the hymn “Have I Done Any Good?” As I looked around, I noticed two friends in the congregation singing together. One of them, an elderly sister, has poor eyesight. Her friend was holding a large piece of paper in front of them. Upon closer inspection, I realized that she had printed out the words to the hymn in large print so her friend could sing along. A genuine act of thoughtful, Christ-like service. I love the first verse and the questions it asks about my personal commitment to serve others as Christ would.

Have I helped anyone in need?
Have I cheered up the sad and made someone feel glad?
Has anyone’s burden been lighter today because I was willing to share?
Have the sick and the weary been helped on their way?
When they needed my help was I there?
If you’re like me, it’s always easier to show up at an organized service project (which usually only occur a few times a year). What I think Christ wants us to do is to take advantage of opportunities to quietly serve those around us. It’s the simple, everyday acts of Christ-like service, or charity, that do the most good. Mormons believe that service to others is an important characteristic of discipleship, and we promise at baptism to devote our lives to the service of others.
So, at the end of the day, let us ask “Have I done any good in the world today?” I know the Lord is pleased with us when we can answer “yes” and has trust in us to do better when the answer is “no.” Either way, He needs us to answer the call.