Yesterday at church, the Elder’s Quorum and High Priest were combined. The Elder’s Quorum President decided to do something fun. We separated (Elder’s and High Priests) and then had a scripture chase. The Elder’s Quorum President would read a bit of passage and the first one to find it had to “buzz in” on the buzzer app in the middle of the room.

This is not the first time I had been involved in scripture chases. Back in my youth, I can remember “Super Saturday’s where all the youth from the Stake would get together to have a big Seminary meeting. Our area, in its infancy in the church back then had home study Seminary. It was good to mingle with the youth of the stake, and believe me, I was NOT the winner of any scripture chases. I can remember the person up front giving a hint and then next thing you heard were the whirring of pages by hundred’s trying to find the scripture. It reminded me of the biblical talk of “rushing of wings”. The scriptures beforehand had to be placed on your lap, you could not touch them, nor have any pages tagged, bent, or otherwise.

So, back to yesterday – with the advent of technology, pretty much everyone in the Elder’s Quorum had electronic scriptures; whether it was their phones or tablets. About one-eighth of the High Priests were equipped with electronics while the rest of them still used papyri :). I knew this was not going to turn out well. Why? Because we had done this before, but just the Elder’s Quorum and, well I was the winner. Yesterday was no exception. So rules had to be amended that no one person could give an answer two times in a row. And then, the next rule that the previous winner could not provide answers to the rest of their team – they had to find it for themselves. I use this example not to brag, but because I had used the tools and knew how to get the results I needs from them.

As the hour progressed, some of the High Priests (joking or not) started accusing me of cheating and not playing fair. Really? So, I pretty much laid low the rest of the meeting (except for the end). This got me to thinking about things.

I used to be the kid who loved to take his quad, Teachings for Our times book, Priesthood manual, Sunday School Manual, and a few other books with me every Sunday. If there was a question, I pretty much had the book to give further explanation. I would have either a backpack or a suitcase to accommodate all of those books. It got tiring lugging 10-15 pounds of books with me every Sunday. When the electronic scriptures and other books were introduced, I knew it would be a game-changer. Not only is the weight reduced to just the weight of the unit (phone, tablet), but many more books can be loaded onto these devices, giving one literally thousands of books in one very small package. But the biggest game-changer is the literal speed to search these thousands of books for a certain passage.

The LDS Scripture app (which is FREE) contains: every manual, every scripture, Conference talks, and a host of other books which are all searchable by simply typing in a keyword or a phrase. My wife, who is a Sunday School teacher uses these new tools to help her teach the lessons to the youth. Videos can be downloaded onto the devices, and played without having internet. It really is a game-changer.

So, is it cheating that I knew how to utilize the tools to find the scripture passage that was being asked? I don’t think so. Like I said, it may have been playful jealousy, or otherwise, but the accusations (innocent or not) were uncalled for. These devices are being used throughout the world to help students study school, study scriptures, prepare talks, do family history, keep track of records, etc. All worthy things to help the gospel roll forward. Will the paper scriptures become outdated and inefficient? I don’t know that. Missionaries are still carrying their scriptures with them although there are test programs that are utilizing tablets. I truly believe that this technology, used in the right way is a tool for spreading the gospel. Terms, such as hashtags and tweets were unheard of a decade ago. Now the church is recognizing and utilizing social media to reach out. Take notice in a couple weeks when General Conference occurs, the opening screen will show #ldsconf. That is a hashtag and is used in social networking to gather people together to share thoughts while General Conference is happening.

The Lord knows about the technological advances and is taking every opportunity to inspire us to utilize that in sharing the gospel.  Even those countries where the gospel is not recognized can feel of the spirit of General Conference via the hashtags. This is a just another glorious way of fulfilling President David O’ McKay’s proclamation that “Every member a Missionary”.

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