Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Simplify to Survive

In our longing to find relief from the demands and stresses of our lives, the key to preparation and survival is often, simplification. One of the most visible symptoms of the intrusion of the world into our lives is the large flat screen TV. This obsession with huge displays was recently parodied in an episode of Monk. Police Lieutenant Randy Disher purchased a huge TV display to watch a major football game, in the course of trying to get the TV up to his apartment, the display became wedged in the staircase and Randy ends up watching the game upside down while lying on his back. He is joined in the hallway by Natalie Teeger, Monk's assistant who, at the end of the episode, possibly sarcastically comments, that watching the game upside down really is better than being there. (For all you fans, this summer is the final 8th Season of Monk).

The giant TV wedged in a hallway is a metaphor for how our desires to have the ultimate in possessions will often rule our lives. If we think that we will be that much happier or that much more important if we own a huge TV, then we need to reflect on the real values in our lives and start eliminating things that do not contribute to real security and happiness.

In a talk given at the October Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles commented on the basic needs of life and the spiritual (and economic) benefits of a simplified life style. He listed food, clothing, shelter and fuel, borrowing the list from Henry David Thoreau. As a summary of the concept, he quoted Elder William R. Bradford, “In righteousness there is great simplicity. In every case that confronts us in life there is either a right way or a wrong way to proceed. If we choose the right way, we are sustained in our actions by the principles of righteousness, in the which there is power from the heavens. If we choose the wrong way and act on that choice, there is no such heavenly promise or power, and we are alone and are destined to fail” (“Righteousness,Liahona, Jan. 2000, 103; Ensign, Nov. 1999, 85).

He concluded with these thoughts, which might be a good thing to remember as we think about buying another huge TV, "In our search to obtain relief from the stresses of life, may we earnestly seek ways to simplify our lives. May we comply with the inspired counsel and direction the Lord has given us in the great plan of happiness. May we be worthy to have the companionship of the Holy Ghost and follow the guidance of the Spirit as we navigate this mortal journey. May we prepare ourselves to accomplish the ultimate purpose of this mortal test—to return and live with our Heavenly Father"

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