Recently CEOs of Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook faced scrutiny on Capitol Hill by members of a U.S. House committee during an anti-trust hearing over the size and power of these tech giants. As The Hill reported, “Matt Stoller, the research director at the American Economic Liberties Project, on Thursday said that the House panel’s grilling of tech CEOs was the most important hearing on corporate power since the 1930s. …There were four major tech CEOs, representing $5 trillion of market capitalization, who never have to answer questions to anyone, and they had to sit there for five hours and answer questions,” he said.
Despite the complex issues of tech monopolies, what they offer to the public has become a natural part of daily life for the majority. In fact, a tech reporter for The New York Times wrote an article soon after the high profile hearing titled, “I Tried to Live Without the Tech Giants. It was Impossible.”
Our current, digital age, where nearly 60 percent of the world population are active internet users and more than half are active on social media, should not be a surprise to Latter-day Saints. Why? Because prophets have been giving us a heads up on discoveries yet to come for decades. The scientific advances of our day are compelling evidence of the ongoing Restoration in this “the dispensation of the fulness of times” to further the Lord’s purposes. Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints shared some of these powerful prophecies during his presentation,”To Sweep the Earth as with a Flood,” at BYU Education Week in 2014:
In 1862 Brigham Young said: “Every discovery in science and art, that is really true and useful to mankind has been given by direct revelation from God, though but few acknowledge it. It has been given with a view to prepare the way for the ultimate triumph of truth, and the redemption of the earth from the power of sin and Satan. We should take advantage of all these great discoveries, the accumulated wisdom of ages, and give to our children the benefit of every branch of useful knowledge, to prepare them to step forward and efficiently do their part in the great work” (Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe , 18–19).
In 1966 President David O. McKay prophesied scientific discoveries that “stagger the imagination” would make possible the preaching of the gospel to every kindred, tongue, and people. And further: “Discoveries latent with such potent power, either for the blessing or the destruction of human beings, as to make man’s responsibility in controlling them the most gigantic ever placed in human hands. … This age is fraught with limitless perils, as well as untold possibilities” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1966, 4).
In 1974 President Spencer W. Kimball described the future of missionary work: “I believe that the Lord is anxious to put into our hands inventions of which we laymen have hardly had a glimpse. …“With the Lord providing these miracles of communication, and with the increased efforts and devotion of our missionaries and all of us, and all others who are ‘sent,’ surely the divine injunction will come to pass: ‘For, verily, the sound must go forth from this place into all the world, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth—the gospel must be preached unto every creature’ (D&C 58:64)” (“When the World Will Be Converted,” Ensign, Oct. 1974, 10–11).
And in 1981 President Gordon B. Hinckley taught: “We are confident that as the work of the Lord expands, he will inspire men to develop the means whereby the membership of the Church, wherever they may be, can be counseled in an intimate and personal way by his chosen prophet. Communication is the sinew that binds the Church as one great family. Between those facilities which are now available and those which are on the horizon, we shall be able to converse one with another according to the needs and circumstances of the time” (“Faith: The Essence of True Religion,” Ensign, Nov. 1981, 5).
In June of 2013, Elder L. Tom Perry described the impact of digital technologies on missionary work. He said: “When I was a young missionary, we were able to speak with contacts on the street and knock on doors to share the gospel. The world has changed since that time. Now, many people are involved in the busyness of their lives. They hurry here and there, and they are often less willing to allow complete strangers to enter their homes, uninvited, to share a message of the restored gospel. Their main point of contact with others, even with close friends, is often via the Internet. The very nature of missionary work, therefore, must change if the Lord is to accomplish His work of gathering Israel ‘from the four corners of the earth’ (2 Nephi 21:12). The missionaries are now authorized to use the Internet in their proselyting efforts. …”During his presentation six years ago, Elder Bednar said, “Messages and pictures that used to require days, weeks, and months to send and receive now can be communicated around the world in seconds. We thank thee, O God, for the prophets who have taught and prepared us for the time in which we live—and who have urged us to use technological advancements to support the ongoing mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”
As recently as the April 2020 General Conference, President Henry B. Eyring spoke of miracles and technology in his address “Prayers of Faith.” “Many of the specifics of what we will do and when we will do it in the unfolding Restoration are not yet revealed. Yet the First Presidency even in those early days knew some of the breadth and depth of the work the Lord has set before us. Here are a few examples of what we do know will take place: Through His Saints, the Lord will offer the gift of His gospel ‘to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people.’ Technology and miracles will continue to play a part—as will individual ‘fishers of men’ who minister with power and increasing faith….Even an unbelieving world will recognize The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and realize the power of God upon it.”
Perhaps the next time we place an order online, do an internet search or respond to a text, may we be among the “few” who actually acknowledge that this scientific discovery, as President Brigham Young said in 1862, “has been given by direct revelation from God” through a different yet prepared channel.