Turning Off and Tuning In
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“Turning Off and Tuning In,” Ensign, August 2009, 44–45

Turning Off and Tuning In

In today’s electronic and mobile world, many of us find ourselves frequently using MP3 players, cell phones, handhelds, and other personal electronic devices. These tools help us organize our lives and keep in contact with others, and they can provide good entertainment. But we can also benefit from having time away from them—time for quiet pondering. Here, members share how they have benefited from “unplugging” themselves from the world during worship and meditation.

Time “Under the Radar”

In this world of technological phenomena, we are constantly bombarded with messages. From text messages to e-mail, from cell phones to social-networking sites and blogs, we can always be up-to-date on what’s going on in our world. We are also more available to others than ever before.

Even though I am grateful to live in the digital communication wave, I sometimes find myself wishing I could go undisturbed for a while. I have made it a priority to find moments every day in which I can go “under the radar” and have time for the most important messages available to me—the promptings of the Spirit.

I compare it to being in a classroom, trying to listen to the instructor give vital information that will be on the next test. This test will affect my grade and possibly even my graduation. What if, in the midst of this lecture, while I was trying to concentrate and listen, a friend sitting next to me said something to distract me from what the instructor was teaching? It could make passing the class very difficult.

I have found that when I choose not to bring the outside influences of the digital world into my life, especially during institute class and church worship, I receive more from the Holy Ghost than I ever thought possible.

David Martin, Utah, USA

Alert to Important Messages

While I was serving my mission in Seattle, Washington, my companion and I worked with young single adult wards and spent time tracting on the University of Washington campus. There were dozens of times when we would approach someone who wore headphones or who was talking on a cell phone. It often seemed that they used their conveniently available electronics as a means to ignore us or an excuse to wave us away.

I have since returned from my mission, but I think often about the amazing message that electronics prevented those people from hearing. I realize how important it can be for all of us to take time to disconnect and simply listen for what the Holy Ghost can teach us. Some of the strongest spiritual experiences I’ve had since returning from my mission have happened when I felt the need to turn off the radio and just think about spiritual things or pray. There is definitely a time for listening to music, texting, and talking, but there is also a time for simply listening for things of the Spirit.

Randy Hoffman, Utah, USA

Distraction-Free Worship

The world is naturally a noisy place, so I have always enjoyed the reverence and quiet at church. This reverence is enhanced when fellow Latter-day Saints choose to leave their electronic devices at home or turn them off. This gives all of us time to focus and meditate on gospel questions or circumstances in our lives. By doing this, we can block worldly distractions and allow the still, small voice to enter our minds and souls to fill us with joy, love, and understanding.

I am grateful for the peace I can receive every time I walk into a chapel to worship the Lord with my brothers and sisters without the distractions and noise of the world.

Alison Curtis, California, USA

Illustration by Cary Henrie