Monday, December 30, 2013

The Master Programmer

NOTE: This is a work in progress. It is essentially done, but there is some finishing touches that need to be made. I shared this talk in a Zone Conference a few months back. Hopefully the insights Heavenly Father gave me will be of benefit to you.

When designing a computer program, many people are brought together. An idea for a program is created, and then managers, designers, and programmers come together to create the application. While writing the program, errors are inevitably made by the human programmers which cause problems with the program known as "bugs". Sometimes these bugs are major problems that are glaringly obvious. Other times, they are less common and hard to find. The effect of these bugs can range anywhere from a minor miscalculation, to a blue screen of death. Additionally, when making the program, oftentimes there are improvements or new features that are added down the road to enhance the functionality of the program. In both cases, already existing programs can be fixed or made better by the use of patches or updates. Both problems and suggested changes must be found and reported to the people maintaining the program so that fixes and enhancements can be made.

In many ways, we ourselves are like computer programs. We all have many influences in our lives that have helped shape us, for good or ill. Parents, environment, and the choices of others, are all things that are outside of our control, but each can affect us and enhance our lives or even introduce "bugs" into us. Similarly, the result of these influences can be anything as small as a bad habit of rolling one's eyes, to extreme cases of criminal acts. Additionally, we all have room to grow and improve. Our skills, talents, and abilities can be developed, and new ones gained, similarly to how a computer program can be updated.

Repentance is the great patch and update mechanism to our lives. We can daily get on our knees and seek Heavenly Father's forgiveness and His tender aid to change. Perhaps the biggest difference between a program and us is that we are self aware. it is us that must recognize the flaw, the bug, the thing that needs changing, and then we can go to God for help getting the necessary change. Fortunately it is not left entirely up to us! We need someone that can see more clearly than we do to help us. God has the plans for what He wants us to be, and He knows how to get us there.

I testify that with Christ's help, and with the fixing and changing power of the Atonement, of which repentance is a part, we can change. Study it out. Find out where you need to improve. Humbly acknowledge it before God, and seek His aid to change. It is He, the Master Programmer, that will provide the change, if you let Him. Just as a programmer can find joy in updating and fixing programs, I testify that He finds joy in helping us become better, for "it is His work and glory" (Moses 1:39). He lives. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

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