Fear Not Believe Only-Landon Tolman
Well, my name is Landon. That was my wife Nicole. She already introduced me. But like she said, I just graduated in nursing. It's kind of funny Im out here doing sales while I have my license. But I've been doing pest control sales for the past four years and really enjoyed it. And so I'm just doing that for now I guess.
So I was given the topic of President Holland's talk, "Fear not believe only." And I remembered that talk and I loved it. The one, if you guys don't remember, its the one where he has the picture of the little girl and the handwritten note that says, "Bishop why we have to watch general conference It is so boring? Tell me why?" And that's all that I really remember from it. And every time I ask someone like, why are we doing this, that thought, "tell me why?" enters my mind. That's kind of been my own inside joke with myself ever since conference.
But as I was reading through the talk and trying to decipher like what is this talk exactly about. What is this talk focused on? It actually hit on quite a few things. So, the whole week I was trying to consolidate, like, what is he talking about? And what I got out of it was the main theme. The theme that the world right now that we live in, is raging with hatred, fear, confusion, political polarization and war. And during these times it is our job as members of the church to respond to these issues with the gospel of Jesus Christ. And so on that note, I really started thinking how the adversary gets better and better at his job every year. I swear. And as technology continues to advance so does his power?
I recently watched a documentary, its super powerful, very interesting and informative. It's called the Social Dilemma. And I don't know if any of you guys have watched that but basically it is all of the head producers and programmers for Google, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and all of the social media platforms that we use and see on a day-to-day basis and surround our lives. People that we're at the core of it coming out and talking about what these platforms have become and what they're currently doing to society. And it was so interesting. As as I heard them confessing that although these platforms are originally created for good, to connect people around the world, to connect them to their friends, to connect it to their family and its undoubtedly done these things. But it has gone to the point where they have become unnameable beasts. The way that they work, the way that these companies can actually make money is solely based off of viewers or users being able to see ads that are posted. And so, in order for them to make as much money as possible, they've created artificial intelligence systems that their sole purpose is to get someone to spend as much time as possible on that screen. They don't care what they're looking at. They don't care what the information is. As long as it's going to suck the reader and suck the user in. And So how kind of works is, it's tracking every single thing that we look at, everything that we type into our computer, type into our phone, every post that we comment on, how long we looked at this ad verses that ad. And how engaged we were with this different Facebook profile versus another. And then everyone's platforms are 100% customized and personalized to you specifically. You could have the exact same friends, same social background, same high schools, and your feed is going to look completely different from someone else's, just based off of what hooks you to your screen.
Now, this this can be dangerous, very dangerous, they can have good things as well. The danger is that this system has no filter or truth. So according to statistics, false information spreads seven times faster than the truth, just really sad. But as a result, we are frequently bombarded with false information because that is accomplishing the goals these platforms have. So they can keep us free and keep us on our screens longer. And so with everything being focused on whatever we are focusing on, we choose what we get to see. Like every like, everything we type into the internet that is our vote for what we want to fill our lives with. And so on the negative side, I know lots and lots of people within the past few years who have left the church. And its because they have questions, they have doubts that are amplified and magnified through what they think reality is based on. What they're seeing on Facebook, what they're seeing on Instagram. But it's only because these systems are in place where it makes those loud voices. Those loud doubts sound a hundred times louder because all they are seeing is what the artificial intelligence system is giving them. Because they know that's what they've been thinking about. Whereas someone else might have said you know, all things good about the gospel. And so we get in this mindset like how could he ever even think that? Where did he get that from? Like, how could I process mine? Where he could be thinking the same thing about you. But why are they thinking that that is true? Why did I think that is good? Because in their reality, they've never even seen anything that you've seen. And so we live in a world that is so divided and so split, just because of these small changes in our daily lives of those one to two minutes here, one two minutes there, that we spend in this world, that has been completely created based on our clicks on our cell phones.
We can turn those things into positives if we cheat the system. So it's kind of funny, my brother-in-law and his mission president made them all grab their phones. Missionaries are allowed to use Facebook and stuff these days and he made them go follow the prophet, go follow all of the apostles and then he continued to make them watch video after video after video that the church had posted through Facebook, through Instagram, through these different platforms. They're cheating the system. Making the systems see, hey, like this is what this viewer likes to view and then they just automate or bombard with this artificial intelligence system with truth and with light. It's like that's one thing that I've been trying to do, being very careful about what I'm doing. And where am I focusing, my attention.
Now, my intention is not to give talk about social media platforms or anything like that. Like honestly, I hardly even use social media, but just know that many people do. But I just want to highlight how the adversary is using such a powerful tool to slowly sway the hearts of those who believe.
Amidst all of the chaos going on around us Jeffrey R. Holland pleads with us. He says, "please, please stay for the whole feast even if you are unsure about the broccoli." Bask in his light and lend your candle to the cause. They have it right in primary. Jesus really does want you for a Sunbeam. When the Jewish leader Jairus pled for Jesus to heal his 12 year old daughter, who laid dying at her home, the surrounding crowd way laid the Savior so long, that a servant soon came saying to the anxious father, "your daughter is dead." Troubled not the master. But when Jesus heard it, he answers him saying fear not believe only, and she shall be made whole, and she was. And so will you fear not believe Only.
I contemplated on what it looks like the fear not to believe only. I couldn't help but think about my job, as a sales manager. So sales, it's about 90% mental, and 10% skills. We often tell our guys and our reps, to fear not believe only. We use a little bit different words. If the sales rep goes out and is afraid that he will not sell and has that in his head, like I don't want to sell I'm afraid, he probably won't sell. On the contrary, If he can believe that he can sell and goes out and he works the hours and talks to people like he will sell, then he will. The gospel is the exact same way. If you live your life in fear of all of the evil that is going on around us and focus our attention on it, We will be pulled into the dark abyss and into the confusion. On the contrary, If you practice your belief and focus your attention on Jesus Christ, just like my wife talked about. Then you will find joy. But what does it look like to have joy through a belief in Jesus Christ? This can be done in quite a few different ways, but the greatest way that I can think of is to focus our relationships on Christ and to find joy and peace by following in his footsteps and keeping his commandments. And so really quick story. I had a sales rep that was really struggling. His first week he didn't sell anything and he kind of came out on a leap of faith. He Just got off his mission and worked for only a few weeks. But I was driving home with them after a long day and we're sitting in the cars and this has been really hard, but you know what? I have to tell someone I really had a strong impression waking up one morning. A few weeks before I came out he said, "I have not paid my tithing for the past month or something. He says, "I have no idea how Im going to pay my tithing, I had the strong impression that if I paid my tithing, then I would do well when I got out and tried out sales. He says, " but I kept forgetting to pay my tithing, like I knew I wanted to do it, just I forgot. And then he was down to the point where he like, he had no money. If he paid his tithing and his rent, he still has to pay rent back at home, he's gonna like have no money. He's so scared And he was likewhat should I do? I said, "what are you gonna do?" Like, what do you believe? Like do you believe that you have direct blessings from following the commandments? Like you just served a mission and you have strong testimony I know. He said, "you're right, like I should just do it." At least, you know, it's all in.God's hands. He goes home and pays his tithing. He got into the car the next morning and I was how do you feel and what did you do? He seemed kind of nervous but we'll see how this day goes and we went out got his first sale the next day. Sold next day, sold next day, sold and continues to sell. And like It doesn't always happen like that, like the exact blessings that we want from keeping the commandments but I have a strong testimony that as we focus our efforts on the Savior and as we follow the commandments, as we let everything that we do be centered on Christ he will bless us. I have a strong testimony that he loves us. There's so much good in the world. We just need to choose to focus on the good instead of letting the loud voices around us drown it out. And I leave you this testimony in the name of Jesus Christ.Amen.