Why I Gave Up My Smartphone

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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.

 

Forty Years Ago Today

I started writing a personal journal 40 years ago today—April 20, 1976—in the thin blue volume pictured here. It’s all the way to the left.

I had heard the counsel to keep a journal during April 1976 general conference. It took me a few weeks to muster the strength to be obedient.

It was a Tuesday evening. I had bought the blank book earlier at the Ben Franklin in our small, country town in Oregon. I was living and working on our family ranch 12 miles out of town, and was about to graduate from high school. I was 18 years old.

I had been baptized on my birthday just five months before. My parents were starting to be kinder to me after several turbulent months. (They really were not happy that I had joined the Mormon church). I was reading the Book of Mormon every day then, often in large gulps, getting ready to go on a mission the following winter. That day, April 20, was also my mother’s 50th birthday. She died just seven years later. (Happy birthday, Mom. I miss you.)

I am still writing in my journal. It’s become a habit. I am on volume 44, page 7,258, and at approximately 1.5 million words—many of them poorly chosen and awkwardly framed. Much of it is sloppy and hurried. It’s not my finest work. It is many times embarrassing to read, but it is from the heart. It’s an honest record of a flawed man.

Writing a journal has had a profound effect on my life. I am grateful I acted on counsel—and the promptings that followed that counsel. It has been an unimaginable blessing to have in my possession a record of my soul.

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