Liahona – The Really Smart Phone…

“I really appreciate my smart phone and tablet upon which I carry my scriptures and many other tools that serve a variety of needs. I read the scriptures every day on these devices, I feel the Spirit while I am reading, and I receive inspiration from On High as I ponder the Lord’s word and deeds. Additionally, I often listen to uplifting music that stirs my heart and makes my foot tap, and that includes some good old fashioned rock ‘n’ roll. I can speak into my phone and it will tell me the location of my close family members, or the nearest gas station for me to fuel up. I even receive bouying messages from family, friends, and spiritual leaders that appear on the screen, that I might know whatever is needed. These are marvelous devices, one could almost compare them to the Liahona of old. There is one big difference: The Liahona only functioned in accordance with the faith and obedience to God of they who possessed it. That is something you certainly cannot say about the smartphone or modern tablet. While those devices have the capacity to carry libraries of the greatest works, and can access a world of goodness through simple clicks and vocal commands, they can also unlock and expose the innocent, as well as the wicked, to perversion and life destroying evil of the lowest kind, the worst imagery and debauchery ever known to humankind. If we wish to be disciples of Jesus Christ, to have His divine comfort and guidance always, we must only use these devices for righteous purposes, for the benefit, support, and protection of our families, and to the learning of and building up God’s kingdom. Let our smart devices be truly smart, Liahonas in our faithful hands to be guided by the Lord in all our doings.”

Daniel Joseph Malcolm, 10 February 2024

Have you ever thought how easy life would be if we just had a smart compass, a Liahona if you will, to show us the way to go, tell us what to do, and to guide us in all our decisions? I know that it is tempting to think that life would somehow be improved if we had a mechanical device that would point the direction in which we should go, and would give specific instruction in writing as to what we should do. Oh, how nice that would be to not have to think or ponder, to just know what we are supposed to do without question or concern. The family of the ancient prophet Lehi had such a device, but as we read the scriptures we learn that device did not alone make life so simply easy as some expected it should.

“The Liahona” by Arnold Friberg

One day Lehi awoke and found the Liahona upon the ground in front of his tent. “And it came to pass that as my father arose in the morning, and went forth to the tent door, to his great astonishment he beheld upon the ground a round ball of curious workmanship; and it was of fine brass. And within the ball were two spindles; and the one pointed the way whither we should go into the wilderness” (1 Nephi 16:10). This brass compass-like ball also seemed to have what we might perceive today as a digital messaging element. “There was also written upon them a new writing, which was plain to be read, which did give us understanding concerning the ways of the Lord; and it was written and changed from time to time, according to the faith and diligence which we gave unto it. And thus we see that by small means the Lord can bring about great things” (1 Nephi 16:29). It seems that all their prayers were answered, all their needs were met, because they had a device that would show them the way and provide them with specific instruction in writing, but it was not as simple as that.

The reality is that the intrepid wilderness travelers found that the Liahona guided them in safe paths where they could find provisions and have security in their journey. “And we did follow the directions of the ball, which led us in the more fertile parts of the wilderness” (1 Nephi 16:16). Nevertheless, life was not without challenges, and sometimes they were lead through difficulties that they did not anticipate, for the Lord knew that their journeys needed not only to provide safety, but provide refinement through adversity that they might grow beyond an endless childhood into greater self reliance while still trusting humbly in the Lord their God.

So, challenged they were, even unto the edges of their capacity to endure, that they might grow and learn by the law of economy to do what they can for themselves and trust in the Lord for all else. We see a clear example of this when the entire company is strained for want of food and even the faith of Lehi is tested. When almost all others give up, and Father Lehi loses faith and murmurs, ever trusting Nephi goes about with inspiration and instead of asking the Lord to resolve all their problems with no effort of his own, he makes himself a bow and arrow that he might have the means to obtain food for his family. Then, by his God given wisdom and inspiration, he takes what he has made with his own hands to his father the prophet and asks him where he should go to find food, reminding Lehi from whence comes inspiration and guidance. Lehi humbled himself and inquired of the Lord, and was chastened, but he did receive his answer, and Nephi was given direction that he might save the family with the bow and arrow that he made, and by the chastening but loving hand of God.

Nephi noted and taught of the pointers in the Liahona, “…that they did work according to the faith and diligence and heed which we did give unto them” (1 Nephi 16:28).

Lehi shows the Liahona to his family as it lays open.

So I come back to this question, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we had some kind of mechanism by which we could receive direction and instruction so that we would have the guidance needed to know where to go and what to do at all times?” We do, in prayer, in the scriptures, in the spoken and written words of prophets, seers and revelators, in the inspired counsel of church leaders, ministers, speakers in congregational gatherings, teachers, and loving parents, and in the God sent direction, comfort and guidance of the Holy Ghost to bring divine confirmation to it all. We have unprecedented access to the word of God, to His divine laws, and to His Holy Spirit like no other time in the history of mortality. We are outfitted even better in our travail through life than was the great family of Lehi who was guided by God through the wilderness and unto a land of promise. Never has there been a people since the fall of Adam more blessed with abundance of His guiding word than we are today.

Remember, it is not so simple to think that God will continually bless us with guidance and direction if we do not give heed to what we receive, even in our trials. As Nephi observed, “that they did work according to the faith and diligence and heed which we did give unto them” (1 Nephi 16:28). So it is with the divine direction we receive in our day of abundance from the scriptures, living prophets, church leaders, ministers, lovingly inspired parents, even SMART-smart phones, and from the very Spirit of God. If we do not heed them they will be lost unto us and we will with our children wander hungry and without direction in forbidden paths never to find our way in the wilderness of our day. Let us heed them, let us follow the Lord and be His disciples, that we might know the paths upon which we should walk and follow always. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Daniel Malcolm is an entrepreneur, journalist, photographer, husband to Monica and father of twelve. He is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and is a witness of the gospel of Jesus Christ and His Atonement.