Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Plugged In

One of the hardest things I did in coming on my mission was to wind up my Batman earbuds, turn off my Zune (an mp3 player), and put away secular music for 18 months. I had never been a fan of the depressing Mormon music played on the radio in Salt Lake City on Sundays, or of copious amounts of choirs singing hymns. I could only handle MoTab for so long.

I am now 11 months into this music fast. I could say that I've survived on the most meager of music meals, but I haven't. I discovered that there are some Mormons that can write good music, sing, and leave me feeling spiritually uplifted. It's more like a music feast now, but with smaller portion sizes.

Okay, before I ruin the metaphor, I would like you to think about the regular people you see every day, such as this man to the left. I can picture myself at the University of Utah in the Student Union with hundreds of students, in red, walking by in their own little worlds. Plugged into their smartphones, iPods, and ignore-the-world devices. These devices aren't evil, according to Elder Bednar. We can use them for good when we use them in moderation. These things are fun, but they can saturate and isolate.

Let's start with Saturate. Depending on what the media is that the person consumes, this could help or harm them. For instance, I found that I listened to not Good music on my Zune constantly. And when your music doesn't fall under Good, Better, or Best, it will bring you down. But when all I've listened to is uplifting music, I have a brighter, more peaceful spirit. This really matters because we're supposed to be living so that the Spirit can be with us. So pick good music to saturate yourself with.

Another danger I put myself in was isolation. In filling my world with noise, I put myself into a different kind of silence. One where I missed out on socialization, interaction with my fellow man, and opportunities to serve others. We came to this world to develop relationships with others, and we can't do that when we ignore them. I now realize why I had so few friends once I became addicted to my Zune; I didn't bother to make them.

Oftentimes, when we feel drained or heavy because of the world, we need to make adjustments to little things. For me, my music choices had to change. I have a lot of artists to pick from, and I don't have to sacrifice my taste in music. The words songwriters use can make all the difference. And now that I've had a chance to sift through some Mormon music artists, I can honestly tell you that Mindy Gledhill and Lindsey Stirling are the bomb and that MoTab is the greatest thing ever since sliced cheese.

Doctrine and Covenants 121:45 "Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven."

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