Thursday, February 24, 2011

Doctrine of cell phone usage from the scriptures

This started out as a fun exercise in applying the scriptures to modern problems, and turned into an instructive experience.

I suppose the title is a little misleading because I don’t presume to give doctrine. Nor are cell phones mentioned specifically in the standard works. ;-) So my search had to be a little creative to find what the scriptures said that could apply to cell phone usage and which could suggest principles by which we can govern ourselves and principles we can teach our children.

Good communication is important
Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. (Ephesians 4:29)

That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; (1 Timothy 6:18)

But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. (Hebrews 13:16)
Avoid Gossip
And many more things did the people imagine up in their hearts, which were foolish and vain; and they were much disturbed, for Satan did stir them up to do iniquity continually; yea, he did go about spreading rumors and contentions upon all the face of the land, that he might harden the hearts of the people against that which was good and against that which should come. (Helaman 16:22)

And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not. (1 Tim. 5:13)

Shall vain words have an end? (Job 16:3)

Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (1 Cor. 15:33)

But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. (2 Timothy 2:16)

But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. (Matthew 12:36)

…commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still (Psalm 4:4)
Avoid distraction
Suffer not yourself to be led away by any vain or foolish thing (Alma 39:11)

And this I speak for your own profit;… that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction. (1 Cor. 7:35)

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: (Eccl. 3:1)
Avoid vanity (turn to God)
For they saw and beheld with great sorrow that the people of the church began to be lifted up in the pride of their eyes, and to set their hearts upon riches and upon the vain things of the world… (Alma 4:8)

O how foolish, and how vain, and how evil, and devilish, and how quick to do iniquity, and how slow to do good, are the children of men; yea, how quick to hearken unto the words of the evil one, and to set their hearts upon the vain things of the world! (Helaman 12:4)

And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein: (Acts 14:15)
Thou shalt not be idle; for he that is idle shall not eat the bread nor wear the garments of the laborer. (D&C 42:42)

wherefore, I give unto them a commandment, thus: Thou shalt not idle away thy time, neither shalt thou bury thy talent that it may not be known. (D&C 60:13)

So, to summarize:
• Good communication edifies (builds up) the hearer and doesn’t waste their time.
• We need to be willing to communicate, both through technology and in person.
• Don’t forget to communicate important stuff. Sometimes it is a sacrifice to communicate.
• Cell phone use can spread news very quickly, but Satan uses rumors and contentions to disturb the peace and harden hearts.
• Gossiping leads to idleness.
• Unimportant communication is never-ending.
• Evil words lead to evil acts.
• Talking about nothing leads to talking about improper topics as people try to fill the time.
• Everyone will have to account for every word they say.
• Don’t be afraid to be quiet by yourself and reflect.
• Don’t let yourself be distracted, especially by little unimportant things.
• Make sure you are able to read scriptures, pray, go to church, and worship God without being distracted.
• There’s a time for everything. There’s a time to talk in person, and there’s a time to use the cell phone. There’s a time to have the cell phone on and a time to have it off.
• We will have a tendency to set our hearts on things that don’t matter. We will have a tendency to abuse cell phones and use them as an excuse to not engage people around us.
• When cell phone use gets in the way of the more important things, it becomes a vanity.
• There are more important things to do than just play with a cell phone.


Jocelyn Christensen said...

So just where is the off button?? Kidding!

Michaela Stephens said...

Jocelyn, you make me laugh. :-D

Kimberly said...

I'm not a 'phone' person-but I really should call my parents more. Not having a cell phone could be a form of vanity too-I know I am inordinately proud of the fact that I don't have one.

Michaela Stephens said...

Kimberly, I think I'm more in your camp. I only got a cell phone at the end of last year, after holding out stubbornly for at least a decade.. I was kind of proud of that too.