Welcome to Learned in Primary, where we discuss that everything we know we learned in primary. This podcast focuses on the things that we are learning as adults that remind us of what we learned as children growing up in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Join hosts Jethro Jones and Tom Bay as they discuss the current hot topics in thought leadership and how they relate to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
You can follow the show on twitter @learnedprimary and follow the hosts @tommybay and @jethrojones. If you like what you are hearing, please subscribe to the podcast in iTunes and share it with your friends.
In this episode we discuss “Stuffocation” by James Wallman . This podcast is not affiliated with the author of the book or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Experientialists Quiz: http://stuffocation.org/expquiz/
- “And finally, what do I, a cultural forecaster, think?”
- And what would a man of faith say about stuffocation? probably that it takes us away from God and makes stuff our idols.
- “Despite occasional victories, like the banning of the CFCs that harmed the ozone layer, environmental damage has only gotten worse through the years. The runaway success of consumerism is now not only causing what may be irreversible climate change, for instance, but also, which is perhaps worse, the greatest extinction of plant and animal species since the dinosaurs died out. Materialism might mean that whole swaths of our planet could one day wake up, as Rachel Carson foretold, to spring mornings that are entirely silent.”
- Stewardship is the right way to look at taking care of our planet. D&C 101:90: “And in his hot displeasure, and in his fierce anger, in his time will cut off those wicked, unfaithful, and unjust stewards, and appoint them their portion among the hypocrites, and unbelievers.” D&C 104:55–56: “Behold, all these properties are mine…And if the properties are mine, then ye are stewards; otherwise, ye are no stewards.” Moses 2:28, the Lord gave dominion over everything to Man: “And I, God, blessed them, and said unto them: Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”
- The world is not, it must be said, quite as flat as a pancake. There are still peaks of influence. The government is still far more influential than most individuals. And the world’s big media and advertising companies, like Disney, Google, and News Corp, are certainly more likely to influence what you and I think and do, and especially when and how we spend our money.
- Imagine the peak of influence that our church leaders have over some other peaks. who are we more willing to give out time and attention to?
- One path that most governments and businesses do not want us to go down is minimalism. Why would they, when their economic and financial models are based on materialism, on us wanting and buying more? If the government, industrialists, and advertisers who rely on materialism had it their way, there would be no mention of minimalism.
- the Lord however would probably prefer a minimalist lifestyle – Matthew 6:19–21 –
- “19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
- 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
- 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
- One consequence of this is that people sacrifice too much life to get more stuff. Experientialism.
- We have been commanded to be experientialists for many years, since April 1843, at least. D&C 130:18–21
- 18 Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection.
- 19 And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come.
- 20 There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—
- 21 And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.
- The Dark Side of Materialism
“In today’s culture, material goods have become substitutes for deep and genuinely meaningful human desires and questions.”
This is a problem, not exclusively caused by the love and pursuit of material goods, but you can certainly see its influence. I feel like we hear our church leaders constantly encouraging us to make and take time to study, reflect, and discuss things of a higher (spiritual) nature. The recent talk that came to my mind was the Ponderize talk by Devin Durrant, “[My Heart Pondereth Them Continually](https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2015/10/my-heart-pondereth-them-continually?lang=eng)
“I promise you will not regret writing a verse of scripture on your mind and heart each week. You will experience a feeling of perpetual spiritual purpose, protection, and power.”
- Learning from History
To give some context to our current ‘stuffocation’ problem, Wallman talks about the Original Mad Men and walks through the history of materialism. The Lord has commanded us to bring context to our lives in similar fashion: to study history via His scriptures.
- “Not simple, but simpler living.”
I really liked this point from Wallman in Chapter 6. He retouches on it in his conclusion, too, saying that the extremes probably aren’t the right answer for most people. It made me think of the wealthy man who asked Christ what good think he could do to have eternal life and the Savior told him to give everything to the poor and follow him. [Matthew 19:16–22](https://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/matt/19.21) That is definitely not a commandment he gave to everyone.
- Materialism in the East — Missionary opportunities?
The influence of Western materialism was slow to reach folks in Eastern countries like China, Mongolia, Russia, etc. But, as Wallman points out, it’s there now and expanding. I hope that this becomes a stepping stone to the fulfillment of the prophesies that the gospel will roll forth “until it has filled the whole earth.” D&C 65:2
- “How should we live to be happy?”
I think the gospel helps to answer this question along with the question’s extension: How should we live to be happy… in this life and the next. We’ve been given a pretty clear picture (or plan) of how best to approach this life and I believe their is room to accomplish a happy, obedient life both with and without material wealth. I do believe that it’s our Heavenly Father’s intention for our lives to be abundant.
“Memories live longer than dreams.”
Our next book is Love Leadership by John Hope Bryant
Thanks for listening to our show!