Saturday, March 19, 2011

Avoiding the Trap of Sin

This entry is part of my general conference application series.

Avoiding the Trap of Sin, by Jairo Mazzagardi
Of the Seventy

I love when two adjacent conference talks flow together so nicely that it seems that the speakers consulted together and co-wrote each other's talks. It seems like such was the case with this talk and the previous (by Elder Malm, link). Central to both talks were trees. Where Elder Malm spoke of a hollow tree and the trash that filled it, Elder Mazzagardi spoke of two trees: the tree of sin, and the tree of life.

Elder Mazzagardi told of walking with a granddaughter and using their surroundings to answer her question of "what is sin?" Periodic stone posts provided a useful lesson on how sin can overtake us over time if unchecked by conscience and repentance. The strong stone posts crumble over time as vegetation and a small tree slowly push it aside out of its original place. "We must be alert because small choices can bring great consequences."

This afternoon I took time and cleared out many applications from my phone. Many were ones that I installed thinking I would use but never did. Others, however, were apps that I use all the time. Why would I get rid of apps that are frequently used? I did it in reaction to Elder Mazzagardi's talk:

We must be alert not to let sin grow around us. Forms of sin are everywhere—even, for example, in a computer or cell phone. These technologies are useful and can bring great benefits to us. But their inappropriate use—such as involvement in time-wasting games, programs that would drive you to carnal pleasure, or much worse things such as pornography—is destructive. (italics added by me)

I deleted many apps, including my favorite "time-wasting games." The imagery of a strong post slowly pushed aside by a "tree of sin" was strong enough for me to realize that when I'm home and trying to find a brief break through a cell phone game, I'm slowly being pushed away from my family; I love my family much more than bubble bursting, solitaire, or any other cell phone game!

Trees don't always have to be used to illustrate weakness or sin; consider the following:

Just as the tree I have described brought sadness, pain, suffering, and entrapment, another tree can bring the opposite. It is mentioned in 1 Nephi 8:10–12: [It is the tree of life!]

Tree of Life, by Choi De Choon (link)

I'm grateful for the opportunities that surroundings give to teach gospel lessons to inquiring children. I'm also grateful for the lesson that Elder Mazzagardi shared, and I'm excited to not be sucked into my now-removed cell phone games and instead spend more time with my family.

Perhaps we'll take more walks and find gospel lessons in trees and posts, too!

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