Don’t Let Virtual Reality Deceive You

Satan minimizes the importance of our bodies through virtual reality experiences and encounters. 

Vectors created by Freepik / photo altered

If we are to become like Heavenly Father, we must gain a physical body, prove our faithfulness to the Lord, and, after this life is over, present our bodies to God. We can’t achieve our purpose—eternal life—without our bodies.

Elder David A. Bednar raises an apostolic voice of warning in his fireside address “Things as They Really Are.” He boldly discusses the “potentially stifling, suffocating, suppressing, and constraining impact of some kinds of cyberspace interactions and experiences upon our souls.”

Satan, who doesn’t have a physical body, tempts us to misuse and minimize the importance of our bodies by encouraging us to disconnect from reality and live in an altered universe. “One of [Satan’s] most potent tactics is to beguile [us] to disconnect gradually and physically from things as they really are.” Satan encourages us to create counterfeit identities online and to revel in the “protection” of anonymity to lure us away from reality.

Elder Bednar’s warning, given in 2009, was obviously prophetic. Social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram allow users to create practically any identity they wish. The pictures and words they post can give a false illusion of their lifestyle. For example, some users depict a life full of excitement and adventure when they really are lonely and depressed. These altered identities can deceive others and create a separation between the body and the spirit.

Remember that “the Spirit speaketh the truth and lieth not. Wherefore, it speaketh of things as they really are, and of things as they really will be” (Jacob 4:13). We must cling to truth, light, and the reality of God and his Son, Jesus Christ, in order to avoid cyberspace deceptions and keep our bodies and our spirits united forever.

Read Elder David A. Bednar’s talk, “Things as They Really Are” in the Ensign or Liahona.

Source: Ensign and Liahona
—Allen Warner, Mormon Insights

Find more insights

Watch President Boyd K. Packer teach essential doctrines about the body in “The Instrument of Your Mind and the Foundation of Your Character.”

Read Jacob 4 for more details on truth and the Atonement.

By sharing goodness on social media, we combat false realities by posting real feelings and thoughts.

Photo courtesy of COM SALUD

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5 Comments

  1. Loved this article. My first thought was RPG’s, role playing games. Distracting to saw the least. It is also important to remember though that the same spaces that cause such distortions, can also provide great platforms for interaction, growth, and missionary work. It’s all about moderation and self awareness.

  2. Well-written article with some great points. I’ll need to read that talk, since virtual reality has been a topic on my mind lately, especially with news coming out about its progress in the game realm. We were given our bodies and our lives for a reason, and trying to escape to another reality is only temporary filling needs that can only really be satisfied in the real world. It is crucial to be able to live in the moment.

  3. I know that sometimes, having a phone with me all the time can be a distraction because I can ALWAYS have music playing. Sometimes, I think it would be nice to just sit there in silence, think, and be receptive to the spirit. Of course, music isn’t always bad, but I know that I should probably turn it off every once in a while.

  4. The flip side of this is that WE GET LOST IN OTHER PEOPLE’S IDENTITIES AS WELL. I HAVE FOUND THAT ONE OF THE MORE NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES OF FREQUENT SOCIAL MEDIA USE IS A CONSTANT BARRAGE OF WHAT APPEARS TO BE EVERYONE ELSE’S PERFECT LIVES. PEOPLE DON’T POST ON FACEBOOK ABOUT THE HARDSHIPS IN THEIR LIVES, AND OFTEN IF THEY DO, IT COMES OFF AS ATTENTION-SEEKING. YET THE CONSEQUENCE OF THIS IS THAT WE ALL GET A DISTORTED IDEA OF WHO THE PEOPLE AROUND US REALLY ARE. WE CAN’T SEE IN THEIR PERFECT PICTURES THE STRUGGLES THEY HAVE IN THEIR MARRIAGE, THE DIFFICULTIES THEY HAVE IN RAISING CHILDREN, OR THE DAYS WHEN THEY SIMPLY DON’T WANT TO GET OUT OF BED IN THE MORNING. AND THIS ALIENATES ANYONE FOR EVER FEELING THIS WAY–IT ALIENATES US FROM BEING HUMAN. SOCIAL MEDIA HAS POWERFUL POSITIVE EFFECTS AND POWERFUL NEGATIVE EFFECTS. WE NEED TO CHOOSE CAREFULLY WHICH KINDS OF SOCIAL MEDIA WE WILL ENGAGE IN–THOSE THAT ARE UPLIFTING, OR THOSE THAT DEGRADE.

  5. This was a good article! I don’t usually hear the connection THAT ELDER BEDNAR MADE between the mortal body’s sanctity and the warning against excessive technology, but that connection definitely makes the warning more concrete in my mind. It’s definitely true that the fulfillment I look for in life doesn’t generally come when I’m absentmindedly browsing the web (which I do pretty often).

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