During his Children's Time yesterday, Rev. Cattenhead talked about the benefits and limitations of "Smart Phones." He pointed out to the children that the phones only know as much as they've been programmed to know.
It made me think of our new gadget at home - the Echo Dot. Stand in the room with the Dot, start a request by saying, "Alexa" and she can turn on music you'd like, give you a news report, and, I'm sure, other amazing things that my children have figured out (and I have not).
I went home and asked this Jetsons-like object, "Alexa, who is the Savior of the world?" She replied, "Savior of the World is a musical drama produced by the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints." My son noted, "Dad, she's programmed to be atheist."
In his sermon, Rev. Tom Pietila pointed out that faith and devotion to Jesus is not the antithesis to intelligence. A counter-top robot might be programmed to be atheist, but Jesus calls us to a higher use of intelligence. As Tom said, we're called to imagine an entirely new world than one of despair born of caste systems. As I said in my sermon, the Holy Spirit is in those who are able to believe and live Jesus' words.
I won't waste time trying to convert Alexa, our artificially-intelligent helper, but I will seek to live and practice my faith in ways that honor Jesus by using my mind, heart, and body for his purposes. And, in the meantime, I'll pray that God uses my attempts and your attempts to live faithful as part of how God converts people into those more interested in our Lord and, I pray, one day willing to love and follow him, too.