I thank all those interested in why there have been no publications in Teancum since mid-December 2019. During these two months I have been working continuously on the project for Young single adults Conference Spain 2020 to be held in Toledo. It has been an intense time of much reflection and work.
In this edition, I have been called as webmaster. This is a position surpassed by reality in this medium. It is on the mechanical level of the gears. My work has consisted in programming an event management application that is reusable for the stake assigned in the next conference. However, today, the crucial activity is in a community manager, in social media.
In my role as Webmaster, I found that the approach to web presence was the year 2000. Nevertheless, I have the opportunity to work with an extraordinary team in an exciting challenge. The contact of technology with organizations and their objectives is a collision that reveals new possibilities, both positive and negative.
Allow me, dear readers, to relate to you some ideas that I have worked on and their connection to the keys of the priesthood. For that we need to reflect on the condition of our world.
Technology is not neutral
Technology is a visitor who doesn’t knock on our door. It comes and it stays. It has the appearance of serving us, but also a purpose that it hides from our view. Its tendency is to move from the visit to owning everything it touches. It is not that she is evil but that she has an invasive tendency. The best way to relate to her is to negotiate, not to do so will lead us to roll down her slope to an unknown place. But to ignore it is to exile ourselves from our century, to become cultural ascetics.
In 1997 some partners and I founded Telebase S.L. We were the first Internet connection provider in Almería and one of the first in Spain. In the beginning the web pages were news by themselves and not by their contents.
The management of activities of any kind is a field acquired by technology. Despite the efforts of companies to humanize their customer service, machines are increasingly incorporated into that activity. It is a process that feeds back. Costs in customer service are lowered and the return on that benefit is used to increase the technology of that service. The human factor is eliminated from this activity, or as in Amazon, subjecting the human to mechanical performance levels.
Technology under the keys of the priesthood
I don’t know of a better negotiation with technology than the one carried out by Familysearch. The direction of their goals given on April 3, 1836 at the Kirtland temple, has not changed in 184 years. It has preserved its essence after incorporating a state-of-the-art technology into its management. The end user can shake hands with the first researchers of 1836 and understand each other. I can see in 20 years the artificial intelligence(AI) doing the work of searching and relating family records and saints, concentrating on performing the ordinances in the temples.
Under the keys of the priesthood, everything orbits around the cause of Zion; the gathering of Israel. And technology is only our tool, it does not generate doctrine. This is the case with social networks, it alters socialization, language and values.
Technology gives us the power to choose our strategy with the media. In the past, the lack of media limited our strategy. This advantage requires intelligent approaches on our part and not the maintenance of fossilized approaches in reality. Almost converted into traditions.
The technology of the bronze sphere that Lehi found in his tent provided a path through the most fertile spots of the desert,
«…And within the ball were two spindles; and the one pointed the way whither we should go into the wilderness.» (1 Nephi 1:10)
It doesn’t say what the other needle was marking, possibly the path they weren’t supposed to follow. We have to find the right side of our technological sphere.
In the organization of activities, conferences and meetings of all kinds in the church, we risk becoming users of technological applications and the «doctrine» they generate.
In all management there are tasks that can be automated. For example, management of lists, dates, transactions, permissions, etc. The tendency of technology is to absorb all that heavy and tedious activity for our benefit. But it also takes over everything else to our detriment.
The deception is in the productivity (P) The relationship between the benefits obtained (B) and the resources used (R), including time (T). We could summarize P= B/R*T
Of course, this is a simplification, but it is clear that the less resources and time spent, the greater the productivity and the benefit will be at less cost.
I understand that the search for productivity, or a more advanced concept such as efficiency, is the goal of all economic activity. But this model applied to the organization of events in the church for young adults, favors considering people as resources and places them under the numerator (B) of profit. Therefore, the slope provided by technology favors our burden but in the opposite direction of ministry. That is, it fixes the organizers as resources and the attendees as users or consumers.
This is the danger of embracing a technology without negotiation, is the surrender to the simple algorithms of its design.
The message of the ordinances
There is nothing more unproductive and less efficient than an ordinance.
If we consider a baptism, its (P)productivity)= B/R*T. In the denominator (R*T) we will find the resources of time, people, premises, furniture, water in the font, displacements etc. used in that baptism. This supposes a magnitude much greater than the administrative fact of having one more member of the neighborhood. Everything could be solved with a form and a signature, two people and a piece of paper.
Why aren’t ordinances replaced by more efficient methods in the kingdom of God?
Neither do the ordinances of the vicarious work in the temples attend to criteria of efficiency. One baptism could be performed in favor of one hundred people at one time. I can imagine other reductions in time and personnel costs to increase productivity in the work by our forefathers in the temples. We could place the ordinances as the denominator under the numerator of the benefit. But we don’t. Why?
Because in God’s work man is not a resource, as in man’s work.
Because in his kingdom we are his benefit, we are the end, the good to be preserved. The keys of the priesthood and their transmission in all its filaments, preserve that principle.
The advanced procedures of the heavens
The instant we apply a technology to serve a community, we transform that community into a source of data for that technology.
In the scene of Faust, he sells his soul to Mephistopheles, a demon subject of the Devil, in order to obtain knowledge and wealth.
Both parties are needed, without people, the devil has no influence. Without people, technology would be in the world of disembodied ideas. Like the devil, they need to take shape in us as objects of his power or service.
Dr. Faust agreed with Mephistopheles to give his soul to the devil in 25 years. In ours, with technology there is no contract, no time frame. It is a reality assumed without discussion.
However, technology is something of divine origin, a fire of knowledge that we must learn to manipulate.
In the kingdom of heaven we see an interesting coexistence with your heavenly technology. Infinitely more advanced than ours. And that strange relationship we see in his church here on earth.
In heaven, very advanced procedures are employed such as that used by the Holy Spirit. Like a field, it manifests itself wherever there is a soul that requires more light and truth about the Father and the Son. Like a field, it operates at the same time in different places and with different people with equal influence.
The light of Christ is even more influential, for it «light proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space— The light which is in all things, which giveth life to all things, which is the law by which all things are governed,» (D&C 88:12-13).
Amazingly, and unlike the Holy Spirit, He does not only operate in living beings but in everything that exists. As I mentioned in previous articles, the carrier wave of this light of Christ is Light and Truth, which predates Christ.
The archaic procedures of the heavens
In the kingdom of heaven, many layers of procedures are worked on. We might ask; having such advanced methods as the light of Christ or the Holy Spirit, what need is there of a messenger? something as old as personal messaging.
In Daniel 10 we see a detailed and therefore very descriptive example of what we are talking about.
Daniel fasts for three weeks to receive knowledge about a vision. After that time Gabriel visits him and notice his statement.
«Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.» (Daniel 10:12-13)
The advanced use of Light and Truth, coexists with a 1 to 1 management treatment. Gabriel knew about Daniel’s request, but for reasons beyond his control, he is delayed 21 days. The influence ratios in the heavens are both 1 to billions and 1 to 1. The common denominator of all procedures is that the end result is a soul. In that we see that productivity or efficiency in their works does not include saving effort for profit, but uses all means for our benefit, not their productivity.
In the likeness of the heavens
The strands of priesthood keys
The power or influence, of those filaments, we are used to perceiving them as rigid structures. Similar to the authority line of the priesthood. A strong and solid steel structure with a hierarchy that guarantees the integrity of the church and its doctrine. And it is certainly thanks to it that the church successfully underwent great challenges.
Nelson are giving us a much more advanced and intelligent image than that of steel. I would say imaginative.
The current leadership structure with our YSA, is still the one that was needed to cross the plains of the United States to the West. A compact, vertically organized leadership that generates instructions, that manages the de facto budget, with tasks assigned among the few for the many. True, before the media did not encourage anything different.
Today our JAS has a more subtle and complicated challenge. They are emotional challenges, of understanding a world that changes its geometry from one year to the next, the ground under their feet cracks as they walk. A world where technology is creating an aristocracy of knowledge and a large crowd that will grope towards a large building they have heard about. We can’t use that approach, we have to apply our own.
Young single adults Conference Spain 2020
In my work for the Confejas Spain 2020 to be held in Toledo, I realized something. With an opportunity to reflect on our young people in general I noticed that we all care about them, but with the same approach as when they were children or young people. We have not assimilated that they are young and adult. The guardianship we exercise, unconsciously, keeps them in the church, in a strange childhood. In our team, being aware of this helps us to look with new eyes.
To help them at this stage, unprecedented in history, we have to change our ways. We do not need so much a vertical, compact leadership that only influences the best, but a network of collaboration and decision making that reaches everyone. We need to let go and not retain power.
I realized that as the computer application for Confejas 2020 Spain, managed tasks, previously manual, time saving was still considered a benefit factor for us and not a capital to be employed in young people. This temptation to benefit from technology, not to minister, but to increase technology management, is the lesson I learned from Daniel and the distribution of the loaves and fishes.
In fact, in the heavens, all the return of «heavenly technology» comes back for the benefit of the individual, not the messengers.
Imagination and obedience
It seems to me that we exclude from obedience the use of our imagination. We consider the new solutions a threat to the usual order. In general, we have a total attachment to the organizational schemes, to the way of understanding things. I am not talking about changing the church, but about renewing our way of seeing things. Isaiah tells us
«Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes;» (Isaiah 54:2)
Extending the curtains of Zion requires the making of new fabrics. Do not skimp, it is not to discard ideas to change your shape. However, sometimes we take advantage of what is there without venturing into new proposals. We prefer safety to expansion. In our team we are aware of this reality and we consider this edition as an opportunity to improve, to contribute new ideas.
Elder L. Tom Perry’s Dream
I remember when around 2010 the YSA Centers were promoted. These had a JAS couple who attended as advisors or counsellors to the young people. Elder Perry told us that these young people were the future. The JAS Centers represented an important economic and organizational effort. In fact, we were all amazed at the energy put into it. In my opinion, Elder Perry’s revelation still stands.
Perhaps this Confejas in Toledo, Spain can be a point of reflection on how best to help our YSA. Perhaps we can understand that the solution to their challenges includes them, but not as users of our solutions. They should be present in all leadership roles, not only as guardians but as adults.
In this position, with a phenomenal team of people like ours and with some clear ideas, we intend to give the best service and the best opportunities to our young people at Young single adults Conference Spain 2020 in Toledo