Virtual Prophet (The Game is Life Book 4)
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I pray for the Holy Ghost to be with and teach each of us during our time together. We then will consider methods of attack used by the adversary to distract us from or inhibit our capacity to discern things as they really are. And finally, we will discuss the responsibilities that rest upon you as the rising generation. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught with clarity the importance of our physical bodies:. The great principle of happiness consists in having a body.
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The devil has no body, and herein is his punishment. All beings who have bodies have power over those who have not. Our physical bodies make possible a breadth, a depth, and an intensity of experience that simply could not be obtained in our premortal estate. In the classroom of mortality, we experience tenderness, love, kindness, happiness, sorrow, disappointment, pain, and even the challenges of physical limitations in ways that prepare us for eternity. Apostles and prophets consistently have taught the mortal and eternal importance of our bodies. Paul declared:.
A truth that really is and always will be is that the body and the spirit constitute our reality and identity. Lucifer labors to make the sons and daughters of God confused and unhappy and to hinder their eternal progression. Satan does not have a body, and his eternal progress has been halted. Because of his rebellion, Lucifer has denied himself all of the mortal blessings and experiences made possible through a tabernacle of flesh and bones.
He cannot learn the lessons that only an embodied spirit can learn. He cannot marry or enjoy the blessings of procreation and family life. He cannot abide the reality of a literal and universal resurrection of all mankind. One of the potent scriptural meanings of the word damned is illustrated in his inability to continue developing and becoming like our Heavenly Father.
One of the ultimate ironies of eternity is that the adversary, who is miserable precisely because he has no physical body, invites and entices us to share in his misery through the improper use of our bodies. The very tool he does not have and cannot use is thus the primary target of his attempts to lure us to physical and spiritual destruction.
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The adversary attempts to influence us both to misuse our physical bodies and to minimize the importance of our bodies. These two methods of attack are important for us to recognize and to repel. And according to your faithfulness and diligence, you will have the power to discern the deception and repel the attacks of the adversary as he tempts you to misuse your physical body.
Satan also strives to entice the sons and daughters of God to minimize the importance of their physical bodies. This particular type of attack is most subtle and diabolical. For example, all of us can find enjoyment in a wide range of wholesome, entertaining, and engaging activities. A young man or woman may waste countless hours, postpone or forfeit vocational or academic achievement, and ultimately sacrifice cherished human relationships because of mind- and spirit-numbing video and online games.
Are you suggesting that video gaming and various types of computer-mediated communication can play a role in minimizing the importance of our physical bodies? Let me explain. We live at a time when technology can be used to replicate reality, to augment reality, and to create virtual reality. For example, a medical doctor can use software simulation to gain valuable experience performing a complicated surgical operation without ever putting a human patient at risk. A pilot in a flight simulator repeatedly can practice emergency landing procedures that could save many lives.
And architects and engineers can use innovative technologies to model sophisticated design and construction methods that decrease the loss of human life and damage to buildings caused by earthquakes and other natural disasters. In each of these examples, a high degree of fidelity in the simulation or model contributes to the effectiveness of the experience.
The term fidelity denotes the similarity between reality and a representation of reality. Please notice the fidelity between the representation of reality in the computer rendering first image below and the reality of the completed room second image.
I raise an apostolic voice of warning about the potentially stifling, suffocating, suppressing, and constraining impact of some kinds of cyberspace interactions and experiences upon our souls. The concerns I raise are not new; they apply equally to other types of media, such as television, movies, and music. But in a cyber world, these challenges are more pervasive and intense. I plead with you to beware of the sense-dulling and spiritually destructive influence of cyberspace technologies that are used to produce high fidelity and that promote degrading and evil purposes.
If the adversary cannot entice us to misuse our physical bodies, then one of his most potent tactics is to beguile you and me as embodied spirits to disconnect gradually and physically from things as they really are. In essence, he encourages us to think and act as if we were in our premortal, unembodied state.
And, if we let him, he can cunningly employ some aspects of modern technology to accomplish his purposes. Please be careful of becoming so immersed and engrossed in pixels, texting, earbuds, twittering, online social networking, and potentially addictive uses of media and the Internet that you fail to recognize the importance of your physical body and miss the richness of person-to-person communication.
Beware of digital displays and data in many forms of computer-mediated interaction that can displace the full range of physical capacity and experience. Read carefully the following quote describing an intense romantic relationship a woman had with a cyberspace boyfriend. All the tangible stuff fell away. My body did not exist.
I had no skin, no hair, no bones. All desire had converted itself into a cerebral current that reached nothing but my frontal lobe. There was no outdoors, no social life, no weather. There was only the computer screen and the phone, my chair, and maybe a glass of water. Consider again the example I mentioned earlier of a young couple recently married in the house of the Lord.
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An immature or misguided spouse may devote an inordinate amount of time to playing video games, chatting online, or in other ways allowing the digital to dominate things as they really are. Initially the investment of time may seem relatively harmless, rationalized as a few minutes of needed relief from the demands of a hectic daily schedule. But important opportunities are missed for developing and improving interpersonal skills, for laughing and crying together, and for creating a rich and enduring bond of emotional intimacy.
Progressively, seemingly innocent entertainment can become a form of pernicious enslavement. Let me provide another example of disconnecting gradually and physically from things as they really are. Today a person can enter into a virtual world, such as Second Life, and assume a new identity. Brandon crossed one leg over the other and looked at the ceiling.
Brandon laughed and tilted his head, grinning. Trew looked from side to side, watching the people around him scurrying from one task to the next. They seemed to move slower than normal.
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None of us are real. Billions of us, bits of computer code with minds programmed by some mainframe master to complete tasks. Why had Thorn showed him the truth? Was it even the truth? If it was, and they were all NPCs, then did that change anything? This life feels real to me, to all of us. Trew looked around the table. It was full of team members waiting for him to begin the meeting. Brandon had dropped a little over a day ago. Michelle stood beside the main viewer, which displayed various graphs and charts.
She looked weary and haggard. The last twenty-nine hours had felt like weeks to all of them. She paused to look at Trew and, when he nodded, she frowned. Ejected players are being separated and sequestered according to the geographical regions they were playing in. She has surrounded herself with Timeless and carved out a base of operations in what used to be Cambridge, Canada.
Most tribes consist of less than twenty individuals. In rare instances, a very few extraordinary leaders have reportedly managed to build groups somewhere in the neighbourhood of two hundred to four hundred people. The simple task of growing enough food to feed that many mouths would require a lot of hard work and cooperation. Preventing dissent, squabbling, and challenges to authority would be a constant threat to the stability of the tribe.
The larger the group, the greater the challenge. Yes, Michelle agreed. Most reach a certain level and then implode for the reasons you just mentioned.
Michelle laughed. You could say that. Her tribe is apparently close to forty-five thousand people. Michelle smiled. New groups of Gamers appear almost daily to join her. When they arrive, Gamers are welcomed as brothers and sisters and given portions of the city to settle. There is order, law, and a sense of togetherness that the entire group embraces.