Clarification of Purpose for Technology

Some discussions just don't fit into a well defined box. Use this forum to discuss general topics and issues revolving around the Church and the technology offerings we use and share.
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Clarification of Purpose for Technology

Postby hansene2-p40 » Fri Sep 05, 2008 11:43 pm

"Although we should be mindful to always listen to and follow the promptings of the Spirit when using technology in our Church callings, there is no mistaking the fact that computers, the Internet, and other technologies have made serving in the Church easier."

The above statement is made on one of the pages within this website--when talking about the purpose for this site. I'm new to this site, but let me first say how much I appreciate the site and the efforts being made to better collaborate and use technology to move forward the Lord's work.

I just wanted to share some thought about the purpose of technology in the mission of the church and how we describe the purpose and role of technology. While I do not discount that technological advances have made serving in the church easier, I don't believe that is the fundamental reason for the technological advances or why we should be using them or advocating for them and working to accomplish them; therefore, I prefer to not think of it as making serving easier (as if it's a burden to try and reduce as much as possible) or to describe it in those terms.

I feel that the purposes for the technological advances are not to necessarily reduce the amount of time we spend serving, but rather increase our efficiency and our capacity to serve so that we can reach out to more people. While increased efficiency or "ease" may allow us to spend more quality time with our families rather than using less efficient means, I believe the goal is not ease, but increased efficiency and capacity (i.e. greater bandwidth--we know from the scriptures that the days will be shortened for the elect's sake; see Matthew 24:22).

I worry sometimes when we talk of ease, because even with the technological advances, the purpose is to keep working as hard or harder, AND more efficiently so that we can minister to and better serve our Father's children, our brothers and sisters and our families.

It's probably a minor semantic thing, but I think it is important to communicate clearly and effectively our goals and purposes. Our goal and purpose is to bring as many souls to Christ as possible through the ordinances of the gospel, and not to make our service easier or so that we have to do less.

For those that have served missions, a classic example of this principle would be "tracting." Tracting can be very hard work (or is hard work). The goal of being a missionary is not to work hard or to not work hard. Rather, the goal is to teach, assist in conversion, and administer saving ordinances to as many people as possible. Tracting is simply less efficient than teaching individuals and families who have been prepared by friends who are members of the church and who can come with the missionaries to teach, support and bear testimony. With more member missionary involvement and referrals, the goal is not to have the missionaries work shorter hours in a day, it is to have them work the same number of hours, just teaching, testifying and resolving concerns and not walking from door to door.

That's probably more than enough said, but I wanted to try and articulate the point. Thanks for listening and providing an forum to share thoughts and ideas.


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Postby marianomarini » Sat Sep 06, 2008 12:19 am

First of all I want to say that my english is very poor. I don't have much cultural background in english literature, so maybe I don't understand very well the english semantic.
I beg your pardon for that!
The topic is interesting and, as i stated before, I can be sure to explain in english my point of view.
Our western culture make a difference between quantity and quality. Most of all till today we are thinking taht quality derive from quantity.
To make short, technoly help us to do more but this doesn't means betteer!
About our effort or time. We live in XXI century, our life is not only eat, sleep, make a Church's work, we have also to learn, help other, be informed, ecc.
Who can say that time spend to study nuclear phisic is decreasing our missionary work?
We must be aware that ideal and material are two different thing (world).
I hope to be able in the future to explain better each statement.
La vita è una lezione interminabile di umiltà (Anonimo).
Life is a endless lesson of humility (Anonimous).

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Postby kennethjorgensen » Sat Sep 06, 2008 3:02 am

hansene2 wrote:"While I do not discount that technological advances have made serving in the church easier, I don't believe that is the fundamental reason for the technological advances or why we should be using them or advocating for them and working to accomplish them; therefore, I prefer to not think of it as making serving easier (as if it's a burden to try and reduce as much as possible) or to describe it in those terms.

I do agree with your post. I embrace any new technology that can enhance my life, whether at home, at work or at church but ONLY if it can enhance my life or those who I serve.

We must be very selective in what new technology to embrace. What works for one person might not work for someone else.

A simple example is electronic scriptures. While I do have them loaded to my HTC Touch Windows Mobile 6 phone I personally dont like to use them during a priesthood or Sunday School class. I prefer to use my "real" scriptures. Its a personal thing and yet others cant understand why a techno guy like me wont use the electronic ones during the lesson.

The danger I see is where people like you say try to cut down overall service time or where the use of technology causes people to spend far too much time on mastering it. Just ask in Relief Society how many think that situation applies to priesthood brethern they know :)

Interestingly enough last Sunday we went to another ward while on holiday and the joint lesson was about technology in the church. The basis of the lesson was Elder Ballard talk about using the internet. I found there were two distint groups of people there in the lesson: 1) Those who didnt use technology much and hadnt even seen and 2) Those who use it but struggle to put it across to group 1.

It just show we must not forget the first group and group 2 needs to learn to put it across in a non-techie way.

On the other hand technology can also enhance our ability to serve. One simple example I had last year was when I served as YM President. I think the Duty To God program is marvellous for the Young Men but one thing I was badly missing was the ability for me (and themselves) to see exactly how they were progressing (detect if they were ahead or behind).

So I asked my son to create a spreadsheet where they could tick when they had completed a goal and from the birthdate, current date, goals achieved so far, total goals etc I could now see how many goals they should (on average) have completed by now (to detect if they were on time) and more importantly how often they should complete a goal in the future in order to complete them all.

One Young Man was depressed because he hadnt started any of his goals for the first 5 months as a Teacher so he was ready to give up but when you can sit down and tell him that instead of completing one goal every 14 days he now just has to complete one goal every 10 days then it doesnt look so dire a situation. Combined with encouragement and help he soon got going and started to catch up by completing one every week instead. The chart became his focus point.

I bet that Young Man in the future will remember this experience and will know the extra effort it takes to catch up and will be better guarded to resist getting into debt.

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Postby WelchTC » Mon Sep 08, 2008 7:27 am

Thanks for the thoughts. In general, technology will help us do more, more effectively.


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