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SALT LAKE CITY — On Oct. 6, President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spoke to women at the annual general women’s session of the October 2018 general conference.

In his address, he expressed his love and appreciation for women while speaking about the role of motherhood and the need for women to help gather Israel and spread the gospel. President Nelson issued four challenges, the first of which was an invitation to participate in a 10-day fast from social media. He encouraged women of all ages to pray to know which influences to remove during the fast, take note of what they notice after taking a break — if any priorities have shifted — and then decide if there were changes that need to be made. He urged women to record and follow through with each impression.

After hearing President Nelson’s talk, I’ll admit that I was a little unsure that I needed to make any changes to my social media practices. After all, I felt like I used it for good. I posted pictures of my kids for journaling purposes, and I made a conscious effort not to spend unnecessary amounts of time scrolling. However, I had some prayers in my personal life regarding family, time and finances that I needed answered, and I had the impression that I needed to heed this counsel.

Matthew VanHorn, https://www.facebook.com/MVHPICTURES/
Arianne Brown poses with her husband, Adam, and their eight children.

Upon starting my fast, I immediately found that I had more time to devote to my family. Rather than looking for “postable” moments, I was present in those moments. I found that the workload that I had piling up wasn’t as overwhelming, and I had enough time to get things done. As a result, I was able help my family out financially during a difficult time.

My prayers were answered through obeying the counsel of the prophet, and I look forward to continued blessings that come from living the lessons I learned and limiting my time on social media.

Women around the world chose to follow President Nelson's counsel — each having a unique experience but with a few common threads among them. Below are the experiences of just five women among the countless women who participated.

Lexi Einfeldt — 22, BYU student

Daisy Tree Photography, https://www.facebook.com/daisytreephotography/
Lexi Einfeldt poses alongside her husband, Court Einfeldt.

This social media fast was absolutely inspired. Before this fast, my husband and I would be on our phones often during any free moment we had. Although we did that together and often found things to laugh about with each other, we weren’t really "in the moment," which is something I didn’t really realize until this fast. Suddenly, we didn’t have anything to scroll through, and it was wonderful because we were in those moments together.

Not having social media, I didn't see posts of other women I follow who actually had time to put on makeup and curl their hair that day, or the ones who had graduated college already and started their dream career, or the girls who I thought were so much better than I was at just … life.

Now, I have found a happier, more positive version of myself that is truly focused on the little things and what is really important. I absolutely love it and am so grateful for our prophet’s invitation.

Kaylee Anderson — 17, high school student

Provided by Kaylee Anderson
17-year old Kaylee Anderson

I’ve done the social media fast a couple of times now, and every time I do it, a few things happen: I feel closer with my family, friends and Heavenly Father; I am able to focus more; and I’m able to get more out of my day.

Just like President Nelson’s example with the young man who traded his iPhone for a flip phone, I feel liberated and closer to those around me. It’s hard to get off of social media because in the society we live in today, social media can act as a world of its own with the human interaction being a “like” or a “heart.” The church has definitely promoted the use of social media for good such as sharing a positive message, connecting with old friends and helping others feel loved and wanted. However, the church also realizes that all good things come in moderation and in the Lord’s timing.

Morgan Combe — wife, business owner, Primary teacher

Provided by Morgan Combe
Morgan Combe poses for a picture with her husband, Austin Combe.

I’d been thinking about a social media fast for a while because there can be a lot of negativity on there. When President Nelson told us to participate in a fast, I decided that I would start that night. I own a business and most of it is through social media, so I still got on once a day only to do what I needed to do and then get off.

The first two or three days were the hardest because I realized whenever I was bored or couldn’t sleep, I would automatically go to Facebook or Instagram to scroll through. I caught myself a few times automatically trying to get on social media and had to stop myself. On about day seven, I got a notification telling me that I had been on my phone 20 percent less than I usually was.

I looked back on my week and noticed how much stuff I had gotten done that I had been trying to get done for months and didn’t have “enough time.” I’ve also found that I haven’t compared myself to others or read their negativity posted on social media. I’ve since set specific guidelines so I can still work my business through social media, but not use all my spare time to look at things I don’t need to.

Jamie Okey — mother of 5, business owner

Before President Nelson's challenge, on any given day when I had a few minutes to spare or if I was tired and I didn't want to get things done that I should be doing, I'd open Instagram and scroll through. After his challenge, I decided that I would read the Book of Mormon, as he had also challenged us to do. I found that my mind would feel clear, my energy level was higher and I felt more productive throughout the day.

Provided by Jamie Okey
Jamie Okey poses with her husband and five children.

I started reading/listening to the “Saints, Vol. 1: The Standard of Truth, 1815-1846,” about two weeks before President Nelson invited us to read the entire Book of Mormon before the end of the year. I began to read and listen to the Book of Mormon as often as I could while still trying to listen to "Saints." I was amazed at all of the parallels I was seeing between the trials and hardships Lehi and Nephi experienced and what Joseph Smith and the early saints endured. I can imagine that Joseph Smith drew a lot of strength from Nephi and his people as he endured the many trials he went through, learning that the Lord would not abandon him as he obeyed his words. I never would have seen these incredible parallels had I not been sprinting through the Book of Mormon while reading the "Saints" at the same time, which I actually had time for because of this social media fast.

And to be honest, I didn't miss social media at all.

April Orgill — mother of 5, social media influencer on YouTube and Instagram

Rochelle Orgill, http://pointedigital.com/
April Orgil poses with her husband, Davey Orgil, and their five children.

I didn’t realize how hard the challenge would be for me. The first few days I went into autopilot by looking at Instagram. I realized how much time I’ve been spending just scrolling when I’m bored. I ended up moving the app to the fourth page of my phone and that did the trick. I also put my scriptures by my bed and if I had the urge to open Instagram, I grabbed the scriptures instead.

I also learned to connect with people in a better way. I used to think “checking in” on a friend was looking at their Instagram and thinking, “Yep looks good, they are doing great!” when in reality that might not be how they are really doing. If I had the thought to text someone, I did, and I found that some friends were struggling. I would have never known these friends were struggling if I depended on their socials for updates, and I have now committed myself to being a better friend.

The hardest part for me was the fact that we have contracts from companies we are working with that require us to post certain advertisements at certain times. I decided to keep the contracts happy and post. I didn’t feel any guilt for doing this. I felt I was my best and that’s all the Lord requires from us. I only posted the required posts and then left. No scrolling, no falling into the hole of social media.

Comment on this story

I don’t think that social media is going to be going anywhere soon — it is a part of the world we live in. I choose to continue to be on social media and to try to put out uplifting, positive, encouraging things that will help others. But I'm also committing to spend less time scrolling, to be more productive, to spend time with friends and family, to study the scriptures, and to serve people around me. I know that’s what Jesus would have been doing, and I want to be more like him.

President Nelson's talk is available on lds.org_._