Gadgets and the Spirit

So, I’ve had some ¬†cool new gadgets to play with recently. I’ve been using my tablet for preparing and giving lessons in Elders Quorum, and it has been really handy; particularly using the Gospel Library and Study Notebook.

One member did mention to me (in good humor) that he was just a little bit disappointed when he saw me bringing my tablet to Church–he had liked the fact that my lesson notes were all in books and on paper.

A few years ago I got a feature phone that I thought was really cool. It had a web browser, a small keyboard, a note-taking app, and actually one of the better sets of speakers on a phone (or tablet) that I’ve heard to this day.

At any rate, I was really excited about the phone, and I thought about how useful it would be at church for taking notes with; ignoring the fact that I never did take a lot (if any) notes in church.

So I’m at church with my cool phone, ready to get spiritual impressions and put them in my neat note-taking phone. You can probably guess how much I got out of church, and how much I actually used that cool note application.

A few Sundays later, again at church, I suddenly did have some spiritual thoughts (rare though it is, it does occasionally happen), and I was able to use my phone to write them down. It was actually rather remarkable.

The difference between the two is really rather obvious–the first time my concentration was all on the phone, and what a cool gadget it was. I certainly was not in a frame of mind for any kind of spiritual instruction. On the other occasion, while I did have the phone it wasn’t what I was focusing on; it was simply an available tool for me to use.

I’ve heard both arguments about using smartphones and/or other gadgets in church, and for me the answer is: what are you using it for? What is the purpose, and what is the focus? Is it a tool, or a toy?

Now, in general, for me, computers and such are very much toys (“Never met a gadget I didn’t like”). I actually recommend that considering a computer as a toy is a good way to get to figure out how to use it.

So is it possible to take something that is a toy on Saturday and consider as only a tool on Sunday?