Saturday, December 15, 2018

Elder Neil L. Andersen on the need for quiet time in our lives

Elder Neil L. Andersen (born August 9, 1951) served as a Seventy beginning in 1993, and was called to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 2009.
"I have thought at times how different my children’s lives are from my own growing up on a small family farm in southern Idaho in the 1950s and 1960s. Long days building a fence with my father, silent hours of moving irrigation pipe in potato fields, a home with one television that received only three channels, no computer, no MP3s, no mobile phones, few trips beyond nearby towns, few distractions, and much time with family—these were the building blocks of many of my generation.
"In today’s world we must provide quiet, reflective times for our children and teach them how to listen to the still, small voice. With all the blessings our modern age has given to us, let us not give up the things that promote the workings of the Holy Ghost: time alone to pray, ponder, meditate, and read the scriptures; and time with family undisturbed by noise, distractions, and too many activities."
- Neil L. Andersen, "A Gift Worthy of Added Care," Ensign, December 2010 pp. 32-33
Click here to read the full article

Life truly has become far more complex in the recent generation. Like Elder Andersen, I remember the quieter, simpler times of the past when there were far fewer distractions and much more time to think and to listen. It's a subtle but dangerous trend that makes us think we have to fill every moment with noise, stimulation, activity, or entertainment. I love to hike to find my quiet time, but I'm often distressed to see young people with music blaring loudly from speakers attached to their packs even in that setting!

And as Elder Andersen notes, back then we tended to have "much more time with family" than now, which is perhaps the most damaging trend of all.

So how do we combat these negative influences?

It takes effort, commitment, scheduling, and cooperation to make this happen—to "provide quiet, reflective time" in our homes and families. We must not stop trying. This "time alone" with the Spirit truly can bless us far more than any technology or modern distraction.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2018)

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