I was reading Captain Moroni’s letter to Pahoran this morning in my personal studies and, for the second time in my life, the question he asks Pahoran had a powerful impact.
The first time was shortly after returning from my mission. I was sitting in Sunday School waiting for the Gospel Doctrine teacher to appear. Time passed. No one approached the front of the room to teach the class. No teacher. No substitute. Not even a brave member from class. For twenty minutes the ward members were content to visit quietly with each other.
I felt the Spirit nagging me to get up and start the lesson but I didn’t. After all, I didn't have a manual, wasn't called to teach, was just 21 years old, and had only been home a couple of weeks from my mission. Who wants to hear from a naive, inexperienced teacher barely out of her teenage years?
So I chickened out. I opened my scriptures intent on immersing myself in them and ignoring the situation around me.
They literally fell open to Alma 60:11, which reads. “Behold, could ye suppose that ye could sit upon your thrones, and because of the exceeding goodness of God ye could do nothing and he would deliver you?”
That’s all the further I read. I shut the scriptures, stood up and took over the lesson.
This morning while, once again, reading in Alma 60 I was struck by the irony of verse 7 which says, “Can you think to sit upon your thrones in a state of thoughtless stupor, while your enemies are spreading the work of death around you? Yea, while they are murdering thousands of your brethren—“
You see, as I was reading that verse two members of my family were sitting within my view…in a state of thoughtless stupor on their phones. They were checking their Facebook page, watching videos, snapchatting, and they'd been doing it most of the morning.
You know what I'm talking about. You’ve seen it in your own homes.
Maybe you've even been guilty of it, yourself!
Hours and hours and HOURS wasted on chasing useless facts, entertainment and worldly validation on the internet.
And I was struck how Satan is using the internet to spiritually murder thousands of members of the church while we do nothing to stop it. We are too busy surfing the internet, scrolling through feeds, and liking and approving posts with just a sentence or two, to "be up and doing" real good on the internet.
Moroni had it right when he said, “I fear exceedingly that the judgments of God will come upon this people, because of their exceeding slothfulness” (vs. 14).
This people…the members.
All the while we waste our time on the internet, Satan is making incredible use of his time. He is using the internet to spread the work of destruction against the Church, destroy virtue, throw temptations in front of every user, and numb our souls with a continual onslaught of foul language, innuendos, attacks and rants.
Are you aware that Captain Moroni said, "We could have withstood our enemies...had it not been for the war which broke out among ourselves" (vs. 15-16). On the internet right now there are typed battles going on, hurt being spread, friendships being destroyed--even among the members. Satan's use of the internet actually encourages us to give battle without a face, to post caustic thoughts and then wait for the "Likes" to pour in. No need for self-control when people give a "thumbs up" to our rants.
And that is exactly what Satan wants. The internet is his favorite weapon of attack.
So, our we posting defenses against those attacks?
Are we fortifying ourselves, our families and our homes against those attacks because we are willing to step forward on the internet and go to work? Are we willing to battle Satan on the internet (where the battle is taking place) in preserving our liberty, our lands, our wives and our children, and our rights of worship?
Remember, we don't sit on the internet, alone. Oh, no. We're caught up in it along with thousands and thousands of others--all of whom are subject to the same attacks by Satan, whether they are members or not. Again, Captain Moroni asks Paharon (and all of us), “Will ye sit in idleness while ye are surrounded with thousands of those, yea, and tens of thousands, who do also sit in idleness?”
“Do ye suppose that the Lord will still deliver us, while we sit upon our thrones and do not make use of the means which the Lord has provided for us?”
And the Lord has provided us with the internet!
Yes, the internet is Satan's greatest weapon but remember...it God's greatest tool.
The difference is this: weapons destroy, tools build.
Let us make sure that we are using the internet as a tool for good…that we are building truths and not wasting our time in idleness on it. Rather let us find ways to strengthen and build others, defend good with kindness, and stand for righteousness.
Then let us not stay on the internet longer than necessary. When we have done what the Lord wants us to do--when we have done GOOD, let us turn off the internet and embrace our families and friends in real time, with real face-to-face interactions.