Elder Jack N. Gerard spoke at today’s BYU-Idaho Devotional about avoiding deception and following revelation in his address, “Abide the Day.”
Elder Gerard was sustained as a General Authority Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on March 31, 2018. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and a juris doctor degree, both from George Washington University. During his career he worked as president and CEO for several entities.
In his talk, Elder Gerard discussed the “deep fake” videos and other tools that are used with malicious intent to deceive and damage.
“Each of us must learn to live in this fast-changing world where technological advances challenge our fundamental ability to discern with our eyes or ears – our natural senses – what is real and what is not,” he said in his address.
When we learn to receive and obey revelation in our lives and to follow the counsel of the prophets, we are able to see through the deceptions of the adversary in spiritual matters, Elder Gerard explained.
He also warned against practices that can lead us to “interpret the counsel [of the prophet] too narrowly or simply and miss the real purpose for their invitation.”
Elder Gerard shared an example of the social media fast that many members of the church participated in as invited by President Russell M. Nelson. He said many followed this part of his counsel but forgot the larger view of what he was asking Latter-day Saints to do.
Many “interpreted President Nelson’s invitation as if it were a simple act of discipline and the denial was the sole purpose of the fast,” he said. “Yet, as you and study closely what President Nelson said, the fast was imply a precursor to accomplish the real purpose of abstaining.”
He went on to explain that President Nelson invited those who participate in the fast to observe changes they feel inspired to make in their lives.
In an interview with BYU-Idaho Radio, Elder Gerard expanded on what guided his thinking as he prepared for this talk.
“As I prepared this, I felt very strongly and felt impressed that this would not only be a very important topic for BYU-Idaho students but for the world more generally, as we learn to live this ever-changing environment driven heavily by technological advancements,” Elder Gerard said.
He said Latter-day Saints must always beware of “subtle deceptions.” After referencing Nephi’s warning of those who would declare that “all is well in Zion,” he said we must be sure to make our covenant-keeping a careful, and not a casual, effort.
“As the adversary becomes more and more sophisticated and subtle, we’ve got to be to detect those subtleties—to discern right from wrong, truth from error,” he said. “We learn in the temple what things will really be as opposed to perhaps alternative deceptions or realities that we might face here in mortality.”