President James E. Faust spoke at the close of the twentieth century about advances in technology. He provided some powerful perspective from the previous century:
On January 1, 1901 … the First Presidency greeted the world as follows:
A new century dawns upon the world today. The hundred years just completed were the most momentous in the history of man upon this planet. It would be impossible in a hundred days to make even a brief summary of the notable events, the marvelous developments, the grand achievements and the beneficial inventions and discoveries, which mark the progress of the ten decades now left behind in the ceaseless march of humanity. The very mention of the nineteenth century suggested advancement, improvement, liberty and light. Happy are we to have lived amidst its wonders and shared in the riches of its treasures of intelligence!12
President Faust then made this observation:
When this statement was made 100 years ago, people still traveled by horse and buggy. The age of the telephone and electricity was just dawning. There was no air travel, no E-mail, no fax machines, no Internet. There has been an explosion of secular knowledge. I believe that God has opened up these treasures of intelligence to enhance His purposes on the earth. The new century will bring exponential advances in that treasury.13
I take great confidence in this pronouncement by President Faust that God has inspired advances in technology (“treasures of intelligence”) in order to bless the world. I’m thrilled to be a technologist in an age of such technological wonder, and I’m in awe of the way the Lord seems to be leveraging technology to press forth the work of the kingdom in the latter days. Of course, as a parent and a Church member I’m as concerned as you about the dangers resulting from the corruption of technology for evil purposes. I understand and appreciate the tremendous risks faced by our children, our families, the Church, and by society as a whole.
And that brings us back to where we started this chapter. What do you do with technology so beneficial and yet so powerfully destructive? President Faust said, “Technology provides significant support to the ongoing mission of the Church. I am certain the Lord expects us to apply it to the advancement of His purposes and the blessing of mankind.”14 I subscribe to this counsel from President Faust. I believe these advances in technology are intended to bless us both temporally and spiritually, and I intend to use them. Of course the adversary also intends to use them for his destructive purposes.
The fundamental motivation for this book is to help you as individuals, parents, friends, and leaders to become educated about the technical world around you, in the light of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. By doing so my hope is that you can derive the unprecedented temporal and spiritual blessings that flow from these “treasures of intelligence” while avoiding “the temptations and the fiery darts of the adversary” that seek to “overpower [us] unto blindness, to lead [us] away to destruction.”15