On occasion, my children play a game deciding which particular era of the earth’s history they would pick to live in if they could choose. Hands down, now is their favorite choice, and it’s no wonder. The Church is spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ and has the wherewithal today to help address the spiritual and temporal needs of many throughout the world, including members and non-members alike. Marriage, family, employment, education… the list goes on and on. One area that has received tremendous focus recently is technology. Millions of dollars, possibly billions, are spent on improving technology. I recently heard on the news that the granite vault in Salt Lake City is rated the sixth most protected facility on the planet.
Well those statistics and many more regarding the emphasis placed on the gift of technology are reason enough to ask “why?” The Church takes the talents that have been given mankind and uses technology to significantly help all men and women on earth and Church members in particular. These benefits can be felt every day intimately and not just generally.
So what is unique about this? The explosion of easy-to-use technology has empowered all of us to share the words of Christ and his everlasting gospel more readily than ever before. With a simple click of the mouse and a stroke across the screen, we can update dozens, hundreds, thousands—possibly millions—and inspire these good people with the truths of the gospel and bear witness to its impact in our lives and others. And not just us, but many within my age bracket and millions more in my children’s generation are sharing the word. In fact, the millennials use this technology efficiently on devices they carry with them at all times and Mormon men and women can benefit from these technical wonders that have been created at substantial costs to improve life and enhance our ability to do good. Did you know, for instance, that you can listen to scriptures while you walk or drive or weed and be blessed by the sacred writ frequently without expending any additional time? Well you can. I do it every day. And the Church has gone to great lengths hiring artists, actors, and technology experts to record every line of scripture to make this freely available to every person on earth.
And as amazing as this may be, it pales in comparison to the edification possible by consistent, repetitive exposure to the sacred writ every day. Technology makes realization of these blessings a whole lot easier. What was once a dream is now a reality. And I can attest to that because it has improved my ability to achieve these daily goals…and that’s just one example of many available breakthroughs.
Take for instance the following: cell phones, Internet streaming, mobile technology, text, visual, and audio scriptures, online personal histories, genealogy, temples and billions of records. I could go on-and-on, but the point is clear—the stone that was cut out of the mountain without hands is in fact filling the whole earth in our very day. This prophecy was made more than 2000 years ago, its fulfillment is occurring all around us in our day. Daniel 2:45
And even then, technology is changing and improving constantly all across the earth. Rex Lee has said “That rock cut from the mountain without hands has greater momentum today than at any time in our history.” (see D&C 65:2)
So you may ask yourself “Would God inspire all this increased knowledge, innovation, personal developments, and advancements in technology just for me?” My answer is “Absolutely.”
I was one of the few missionaries (in relative terms) that served during the early 1980s when the duration of full-time missions for young men lasted only eighteen months. In fact I received my call the week after President Kimball made that announcement, and my letter still said that I was called to serve for a period of two years. But as you may remember, missionaries already serving had the option to stay the full two years of their call or go home after eighteen months. New missionaries, however, could not extend their missions. At the time, I thought it unfortunate because I was called to a mission where I spoke a difficult foreign language. The last six months were to be my most productive once I had mastered the ability to speak fluently. It was during these six months, however, when I met the woman who has become my wife. Not long after our marriage, the mission duration for young men was changed back to two years. So I have asked myself many times, “Would the Lord make such a significant change for me?”
While you ponder that thought, I have another true story to share with you. Many years ago, when I was just a young man, a boy really, my family made a move to the country. This had been an aspiration of my mother’s for many years. And through a series of miraculous events, we found a dream-come-true piece of property, purchased it, and there started what we called a homestead—a farm really, but the produce grown and animals raised there were for our own use. It was 25 miles up the windy road that followed along the Colorado River. We had to travel this highway to town in order to attend church. We would go early for priesthood meeting and the women would wait for us at the park. We would join them in the park after priesthood and be together until Sunday school started around mid-day. After Sunday school, we returned to the park until sacrament meeting. This made for a very long day. Unbeknownst to us at the time, the brethren were considering and eventually changed the meeting schedule to what has become known as the consolidated church meeting schedule. As you might imagine that made life a whole lot easier for us at the time; the consolidated schedule was a blessing to us then, and it is a blessing to us now. So I ask again “Would the Lord make such a significant change for me?”
Final story. For nearly two thousand years, the Lord allowed mankind to wander looking for the truth but keeping it beyond his reach. See Amos 8. Within the last dispensation, however, the Lord has begun what is referred to as a marvelous work and a wonder by re-establishing his church, restoring the fullness of the gospel and priesthood power to the earth, and ushering in the greatest dispensation of all time in preparation of the second coming of his Son of God. So, I ask again “Would the Lord make such a significant change for me?”
The answer to each of these questions is a resounding YES. He would, and he did. He does it for you and for me to bring to pass his purposes. He has prepared incomprehensible blessings for those that follow him, because he loves us.
And because of Jesus Christ, we are not prisoners of our past.
In 1989, Walter Penning formed a consultancy based in Salt Lake City and empowered his clients by streamlining processes and building a loyal, lifetime customer base with great customer service. His true passion is found in his family. He says the best decision he ever made was to marry his sweetheart and have children. The wonderful family she has given him and her constant love, support, and patience amid life's challenges is his panacea.