Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Elder M. Russell Ballard on How Video Games Are Lowering the Quality of Missionaries

On Sunday evening 27 April 2008 Elder M. Russell Ballard spoke to a gathering of military personnel in the Layton Utah Kays Creek Stake Center. Elder Ballard spoke to them about how military personnel can do member missionary work and to avoid pornography on the Internet and then he brought up a topic on his mind that I think makes for an interesting discussion which is does video game playing affect the quality of missionary service.

Elder Ballard said to those assembled as reported in the
Saturday, 3 May 2008 Church News: "I wish they would put away those video games. They're blowing their minds with them. Consequently, when they get out into the mission field, they're not used to hard work and they're not used to being focused on studying the things of righteousness. They have too many things entertaining them all the time."

This statement hits home to me as I have recently bought my son a bunch of Play Station 2 games. He spends hours and hours playing a game to completion. I have never seen such commitment to succeed in mastering one of these games. It is amazing the concentration it takes to not miss a clue to overcome challenges to figure out hidden objects that will help him succeed. On the other hand in my own life I think of the many hours I spent reading fictional novels that could be better spent in reading the scriptures or praying. Is that what Elder Ballard means. I know that some missionaries are pudgier and more physically out of shape is that the danger of video game playing that they should have a balance in their lives. When I read the statement that is what I get out of it. My son on the other hand runs a mile a day or goes walking with his sisters around the Diplomatic Quarters which is our housing compound in Saudi Arabia. I wonder if Elder Ballard remembers how the Play Station user might have to fight over who gets the television when there are other siblings around. I think he had seven children. My son and one daughter age nine who play are lucky they gets in an hour or two a day. Sometimes they even play each other like in NCAA Basketball. One of them is always the BYU Cougars who lose. I mean they are actually preparing for a missionary ritual which is P-Day basketball and they are developing loyalty to the Lord's own basketball team. My son reads his scriptures and prays every night better than me. I am really conflicted now that Elder Ballard has pointed out the debilitating effect video game playing might have on my son's future missionary success.

I guess I will limit his playing for the few weeks because I respect what Elder Ballard says being he was my former mission president and I don't want my son growing up as porky as me. My son told me he was going to buy a television out of his own pocket when recently I told him his mother was contemplating not having a TV again when we move back to the U.S. It is amazing how a harmless statement with good logic can have so many different connotations.

Being an uber Mormon I guess I should pitch the Play Station in the trash with the fifty games we own. We could give away the games to a less faithful Mormon kid that doesn't know he made the statement. The television is provided by the housing complex so it just stays with the apartment. My older kids went seven years between televisions right before we moved here. My wife is on the warpath again as we will be moving again in a month and she doesn't want television at all in her home since it lowers the quality of our kids studying or playing the piano. I know it seems cruel that my children go years not watching American Idol but there is always DVD from the public library and the DVD drive on our laptop. When my wife breaks down from time to time we watch Grey's Anatomy in a marathon of sorts. Lucky for me I now have someone to point the finger at when my kids cry about not watching television or playing video games. I can say Elder Ballard thinks playing video games can affect your being a good missionary in six years so the TV has to go. I can say it takes a TV to play video games and I got rid of both to make it so you exercise and read your scriptures more. I want to hear you play some hymn over and over and after five years we still won't be able to sing it without a few mistakes. My wife will also be happy since she won't have to take the blame because I like to watch old movies and don't mind watching the news on occasion. Thank you Elder Ballard you solve a problem for my wife who won't have to be the scapegoat this time.

1 comment:

Bored in Vernal said...

"...they are developing loyalty to the Lord's own basketball team.

lol! DH, that alone justifies the purchase and perhaps it will make me rethink my philosophy! Great post.