Why I Gave Up My Smartphone


My erstwhile iPhone 5S. Adios.

For several important reasons—to me—I sold my smartphone in May.

First off, the organization I work for was paying the monthly bill (though I owned the phone). I didn’t feel like I was using it according to “company” policy. I was mostly listening to books on Audible or YouTube, texting family and friends, and had more personal calls than “company” calls. It didn’t feel right. That’s the first reason I gave it up.

More importantly, I realized that I was letting my phone captivate my attention to the point that I was preoccupied with it, which felt disrespectful to others. (I wrote about this last fall.)

What really got me to let it go was when I realized it was affecting my relationship with my Heavenly Father. I wasn’t doing anything unsavory with my phone—I was just doing less of the good things I should have been doing, such as having more time to think deeply, talk more soulfully, and pray from the heart, undistracted and uninterrupted.

And it’s working. I’ve gained renewed strength. My connection to God is stronger. And how I need that connection now.  He’s talking to a lot more. Or maybe I am just listening more.

I don’t see this as a permanent thing. I am getting by with a flip phone right now, but I plan to get a another smartphone after my little technology fast.

A smartphone is pretty cool thing to have, but really distracting to me. You may be stronger than I am. If so, awesome. I am not judging anyone else’s use of a smartphone. For right now, I’ve traded my smartphone for a better relationship with myself and a healthier relationship with God. It’s worth it.

P.S. I was able to buy a treadmill just a few days ago for the same amount I sold my phone for. A fair trade. And something I really need. But that’s another story.


Our Eternal Hometown


Who am I, really? What makes me me and you you? Are we not, all of us, from the same hometown?

The Bible refers to God as our “Father which is in heaven” many times. Think of it. God is our Father and Creator, so it follows that heaven, where we once lived with Him, must be our hometown. That means you and I are from the same hometown. We’re homies!

In the beginning, our bodies were formed in His image. We are literally in His image, and those prophets who have been blessed to see Him have confirmed that we are alike in form (see for, example, Ether 3:6–16 and Joseph Smith–History 1:17).

So our true identity, who we really are and what we can actually become, comes from God Himself. Keeping His commandments is how we identify with Him; disobeying His laws separates and alienates us from God and our true identity. Sin, in essence, is a denial of who we really are, while faith and obedience are ways we show our acceptance, and even reverence, for our identity.

What we focus on creates our perception of reality. It is our choice to create that perception. If you focus on the words that come from God every day, what will your perception of reality become? If you focus on prayer, what visions will fill your soul? If you are looking up to heaven instead of around at the world, Who will guide your spiritual GPS? If you are preoccupied with feeding an addiction, for example, what will fill your mind and shape your perceptions then?

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! (Matthew 6:21–23.)

What I am saying is that denying God is the opposite of who we really are. Accepting the Source of Light from which we spring helps us to see more clearly who we are and what we can become.

The Beauty of Holiness


Kansas City Missouri Temple

I happened to read Psalm 96 this morning and rediscovered verse 6:

O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth. (Emphasis added.)

Then I remembered Carol F. McConkie’s talk of the same title, listened to the audio, and found this wonderful quote:

I see the beauty of holiness in [those] whose hearts are centered on all that is good, who want to become more like the Savior. They offer their whole soul, heart, might, mind, and strength to the Lord in the way that they live every day. Holiness is in the striving and the struggle to keep the commandments and to honor the covenants we have made with God. Holiness is making the choices that will keep the Holy Ghost as our guide. Holiness is setting aside our natural tendencies and becoming “a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord [see Mosiah 3:19].” “Every moment of [our lives] must be holiness to the Lord [Brigham Young].” (Emphasis added.)

We are all children of God which means that holiness is our eternal identity. Our God is holy for Man of Holiness is His name (see Moses 6:57). It is not only becoming like God that is our goal: It is becoming who we really are.

Be ye holy; for I am holy. (1 Peter 1:16.)

Being unholy is a denial of where we came from and who we are. We can be holy, sanctified and cleansed, without being perfectly perfect. We came here to be imperfect. Striving and struggle are the path through the valley. No other way except through the valley will lead to the mountain of God.