Ryan Holmes talks about cell phones and the Spirit at BYU devotional


Ryan Holmes, director of digital media at BYU Broadcasting, spoke to BYU students about the importance of the Holy Ghost in this digital age during a BYU campus devotional on Tuesday, May 7.

He began his remarks by explaining that even with all of the technology people have to help them get through their lives, they must remember that the Holy Ghost is their most important form of communication.

“It has unlimited bandwidth, is infinitely fast, is personalized to every soul and has no societal or personal downside,” Holmes said.

Ryan Holmes speaking about how the Spirit works more effectively than any technology. (Photo by Sarah Hill)

He told of an experience in college when he got very busy. He felt that the details of his life may have been too mundane to share with God, so his prayers became very general.

He was in a Chemistry 101 class when his professor explained that BYU students should be some of the smartest in the world because they had the gift of the Holy Ghost to help them learn the “truth of all things,” just as Moroni taught.

“You mean to tell me that I can pray about calculus, physics, thermodynamics, heat transfer and fluid mechanics?” Holmes asked. “Yes! All those topics are covered under the ‘all truth’ clause.”

Holmes goes on to explain that Latter-day Saints should communicate openly with God, but they should be ready and willing to act on promptings they receive.

“When we are doing our best to keep the commandments, then our first thoughts and first impressions are often the inspired ones.” Holmes said.

Agency is an important part of mortality and, according to Holmes, God expects people to make decisions for themselves in many of life’s experiences.

“He wants to see if we are learning to act for ourselves.” Holmes said. “He wants to measure the gap between our will and His will. The Holy Ghost is our guide, not our chauffeur through life.”

In a day where information comes at us so quickly and in such high volume, Brother Holmes warned to avoid being an “information glut.”

He explained that when the learning process begins, there is a startup period where learning isn’t productive and then one moves into the “zone,” which is where people do their best work.

“In today’s connected world we are constantly interrupted by buzzing, beeping and ringing notifications that we assume require an immediate reaction,” Holmes said. “Hyper-attention to digital noise causes us to slide right back down the learning curve, forever stuck in start-up mode.”

Studies show that the average person checks their phone 150 times per day or once every six and a half minutes.

“I am worried that the companionship we have with our smartphones is competing with the companionship of the Holy Ghost,” Holmes said.

Holmes made it clear that he is not against technology, but he does cherish the gift of the Holy Ghost.

“I have this smartphone in my pocket. It can do some amazing things and I’m thankful for it,” Holmes said. “But I am more impressed by and thankful for the gift of the Holy Ghost. He is smarter than all the world, and I will associate myself with him.”

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