Not too long ago in Utah, when the grass was still somewhat green and gobs of that white stuff wasn’t falling from the air, we got together with extended family in the mountains to have a party and a BBQ.
My wife has lots of family, lots of little nephews and nieces running around. We were playing some kind of game I’ve never heard of before. I think it’s called 9 square or something like that.
It’s where a bunch of PVC pipe is connected together and then you hit a ball around and if the ball drops, then you’re out. There’s lots of jumping and movement involved… and lots of hurt feelings when the ball drops.
On one of the sequences, Easton, my 17 year old nephew jumped… and his phone came flying out of his pocket and landed face up on the plush grass. I was right behind him and as the phone dropped to the ground, something caught my eye.
When I looked closer, I noticed a familiar representation of the Savior staring back up at me. I stopped for a second and just kind of pondered on what I was seeing.
It wasn’t a big deal. The kid jumped. His phone flew out. And a picture of Christ happened to be on his phone. So why was I almost paralyzed in thought as I stood over this phone?
I started thinking… if I was a 17 year old kid with a smart phone back in the day, would I have had this picture of Christ on my phone?
It wasn’t some frivolous picture of a girl he thought was cute, or an illustration of his favorite fortnite dance, or a picture of a perfect barreling wave at Lower Trestles.
Of all the “cool things” he could have chosen to have for his phone wallpaper, he chose Christ. Unashamed, he chose Christ. To look him in the eyes every time he unlocked that device.
He knows that his phone probably gets more of his attention than anything else in life. It’s likely in his pocket or in his hand for a good majority of the day and night as it is for most every other human being.
But he chose Christ to be the face of his technological endeavors.
Maybe the youth are better than we give them credit for. Maybe they’re using these inventions for good.
In another recent scenario, my son was able to go on a camp out with the deacons. I decided to go and do what I could to help out.
Some of the kids had their phones out trying to watch Youtube videos which caused the youth leaders to ask the kids to surrender their phones into a lighted book case.
So each of the kids that did have phones on them, took their phones and placed them face down in the book case.
As I passed by the book case, I noticed something peculiar.
One of the older deacons by the name of Roman had a phone case, and in that phone case was his temple recommend embedded into the case.
To me, it was as if he was saying that his two most prized temporal possessions were these two items.
Of course he was going to have his phone on him at all times, but what 14 year old also wants to have his or her recommend on them at all times?
Why were these two examples so significant and so impactful to me?
Because these two youth had taken preemptive action against the power of the adversary. Unashamed, these two young men, are choosing to place Christ and their covenants front and center.
To remind them of what’s important. Of who’s important.
And they’re not worried about who might see.
The rise or fall of the young men of the church will come by digital device. Above all things, I believe these devices and their use or misuse will be the pivot point upon which the next generation’s righteousness and happiness rises and falls.
These devices, that fall out of pockets and go with them on camping trips, will be the portal from which Satan or God enters in and communicates with them. Will it be the scriptures and other messages of goodness, or will it be degrading images, poorly constructed music, and foul language?
The device itself is not evil. Like any tool, it can be used to bless or to harm. To uplift or to destroy. To spread goodness or to perpetuate degradation.