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Strengthening families, understanding technology and using the Atonement

Published: Thursday, June 9 2011 6:30 a.m. MDT

In practice, Knutson gave these tips:

1. Buy teenagers the “dumbest phone money can buy” as smartphones are computers and can access all Web content.

2. Limit access to technology to minimal levels — spending 16 hours a day on anything is unbalanced, even if it’s reading the scriptures.

3. Create a gospel-centered home that compensates for kids’ time away from technology. Spending time with the family shouldn’t be a form of punishment.

4. Put a filter on every computer, but even the best filters block only about 90 percent of harmful material, so do not rely wholly on filters.

5. Teach children the true doctrine of sexuality — it is part of the plan.

“The technology is not good or wrong,” he concluded. “It is simply the backdrop against which we are living out our mortal probation. We have to understand it and be fluent enough in it to be guided by the Spirit so that we can make our own decisions.”

Ariel Rodriguez: Understanding the 'The Family: A Proclamation to the World'

Rodriguez focused his remarks on the importance of gender as evidenced in "The Family: A Proclamation to the World." He noted that the eternal nature of gender is the first doctrine asserted after the main declaration of the proclamation’s introductory paragraph.

According to Rodriguez, who received a doctorate in family and human development from Utah State University, a correct understanding of the proclamation begins with a correct understanding of gender.

“I think there is a reason why (gender) comes first within the body of the proclamation,” he said. “If we want to defend the family as an institution, it begins with a correct understanding of gender and a commitment to saying ‘gender matters.’”

Although there is little known in LDS doctrine about the reasons for the gendered division of duties in the plan of happiness, Rodriguez said gender is an essential characteristic of our eternal identity and purpose, and should not be dismissed as trivial, irrelevant or transient, as it often is in the social sciences and throughout the world.

“A correct understanding of marriage, family and the plan of happiness requires us to pay attention to these differences,” he said.

Rodriguez described two paradigms of gender within the social sciences: sociological and biosocial. He cited documented research to argue that biology has a direct effect on gendered behavior.

“We need to acknowledge that there are real differences between men and women,” he said. “Some of those differences help us in our divine purpose here in mortality, and some of those differences are challenges that we learn to overcome together.”

Brian and Nonnie King: Being unselfish in the quest for a better marriage

The Kings spoke on experiences that inspired Brian’s book, “The 100 Day Promise: Radically Transforming Your Marriage by Living with Complete Concern for Your Spouse’s Happiness,” that details their quest toward a better marriage.

Brian said after an argument with his wife, the Lord reminded him of a prior revelation, saying, “Just love her and let me do the teaching.” He set a goal to only do the things he knew would make his wife happy for 100 days and document her reactions.

“It was not going to be my role to correct, and to try and say how things should be,” he said. “But just to love her in the best way that I could figure out.”

According to Nonnie, the experiment brought both of them closer to Jesus Christ and to each other.

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