Handling the Glut
A few days ago my husband and I watched BYUTV’s collection of episodes of Studio C, Divine Comedy’s mainstream version of their comedy show. (Truly hilarious, by the way.) The next day after, I observed how my mind seemed to be fixated on comedy skits and situations rather than on what I wanted to think about. I’ve also noticed that whenever I have watched a bunch of a particular kind of show all at once, it tends to take over my mind the next day. This is particularly annoying when I’ve watched episodes on Saturday night and then fought to keep my mind on the Savior during the sacrament on Sunday morning instead of replaying snatches of TV in my head.
I pondered how it might be better to see the show one episode a day or one episode a week instead of all at once. That was how it used to be a decade or two ago. It used to be that you watched a show on TV and then when it was over, that was all you could see of it until the next time it aired. Now, we can buy every season on DVD and watch it nonstop until our eyes melt or we have to go to bed, whichever comes first. When we like something it seems unthinkable to ration it out.
But TV isn’t all we’re drowning in.
If we like movies, we can buy access to Netflix and stream one movie after another until… we are forced by our duties to turn it off. If we like the news, we can watch it 24/7 until we want to curl up in a ball and barricade ourselves in our homes away from the rest of the world. If we are curious, we can read Wikipedia and spend all our time following links to articles that intrigue us. If we’re gamers, we can play online video games with unending numbers of quests for hours with people across the world. If we like do-it-yourself projects or crafts there are more blogs, Pinterest boards, and crafting sites than we could ever look at in a lifetime. We can own more music, more books, more movies than would fit in our homes in hard copy. Nearly everywhere we are marketed to buy anything and everything. We have more stuff than ever—clothes, toys, gizmos, transportation, etc. Portions served in restaurants seem to be getting bigger and bigger.
Our culture is in a glut.
It used to be that options were limited, but now they have exploded. On one hand more choices is wonderful, but on the other hand we are over-stimulated, over-scheduled, over-fed, over-entertained, over-spent…. And we still feel like we are missing out somehow because the vast amount of what we haven’t encountered subconsciously nags at us, making us think the thing that will really help us is still out there and we haven’t found it yet.
It brings a new meaning to the scriptural term “fullness of the Gentiles.” I also think of a scripture from Helaman:
Yea, and we may see at the very time when he doth prosper his people, yea, in the increase of their fields, their flocks and their herds, and in gold, and in silver, and in all manner of precious things of every kind and art; sparing their lives, and delivering them out of the hands of their enemies; softening the hearts of their enemies that they should not declare wars against them; yea, and in fine, doing all things for the welfare and happiness of his people; yea, then is the time that they do harden their hearts, and do forget the Lord their God, and do trample under their feet the Holy One—yea, and this because of their ease, and their exceedingly great prosperity.
At the same time, I also think of all the church resources that are available to us and a great explosion of goodness by which we can learn and also share with others:
- Temples dotting the earth, coming closer so we can go more often
- Conference talks and Ensign articles posted online as well as in hard copy
- Teaching resources for just about every teaching calling
- Opportunities to contribute service in family history indexing
- Mormon Message videos to share what we believe in with others
- Blogs by church members sharing their beliefs, experiences, triumphs, challenges, insights, and more.
It brings new meaning to the term “fullness of the gospel,” showing it to be not only fullness of saving doctrine, but fullness of access to doctrine and ordinances and fullness of participation.
There’s intense competition between the pull of the world and the pull of the gospel.
- What practical limits do you set for yourself and your family to keep from drowning in the abundance of entertainment/ media/ possessions?
- How did you decide on those limits?
- How are you mitigating the effects of the world and allowing the Lord to have greater hold on you?