|The Tower of Babel|
The Tower and The Mountain
How might we equate this 'tower and mountain' idea to a technological Tower of Babel? One visit to the internet will answer that question. The examples of vanity, lasciviousness, materialism, and ego-centrism are as infinite as they are varied. Never in human history has self-worship been so accessible. Most of the indulgences of ancient Rome are available to all, instantly, inexpensively; those that cannot be indulged in virtual reality can be delivered to the door of any location around the world as swiftly as overnight.
Carnal instincts that may have remained dormant in a past social climate are easily fed, satiated, grown into voracious habits, from the privacy of a single screen. Hours, years, lives can disappear without human interdependence, without gentleness, without the far-reaching, life-affirming effects of shared lovingkindness. One can pass through this test called mortality having done nothing, meant nothing, having rotted body and soul in utter solitude. Or worse, one can develop a destructive monstrosity that becomes the horror of those around him-- all before exiting his own front door.
Noah built his ark as a rescue vehicle for 'endangered species' and heeding humans. Its construction was considered all but impossible by the standards of his day and with the resources available to this one man. He was mercilessly mocked for undertaking such a feat, and for his otherworldly motivations in doing so.
|Nephi Rebukes his Brothers|
We can reasonably assume he had never built a ship before. The building method was described as 'curious workmanship' after the manner of the Lord and not of men. "I, Nephi, did not work the timbers after the manner which was learned by men, neither did I build the ship after the manner of men; but I did build it after the manner which the Lord had shown unto me; wherefore, it was not after the manner of men" (1 Nephi, 18). Additionally, Nephi "did go into the mount oft, [for God had called him to a high mountain to receive revelation] and I did pray oft unto the Lord; wherefore the Lord showed unto me great things" (1 Nep. 18).
Nephi's two older brothers scorned him, only to find themselves rebuked by the power of God and commanded to assist in the build. When the work was finished, "my brethren beheld that it was good, and that the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine; wherefore, they did humble themselves again before the Lord" (1 Nep. 18). The people of Lehi now had a sure transport to a better place.
Yet the Lord comforted the Jaredites. "For behold, ye shall be as a whale in the midst of the sea; for the mountain waves shall dash upon you. Nevertheless, I will bring you up again out of the depths of the sea; for the winds have gone forth out of my mouth, and also the rains and the floods have I sent forth" (Ether, Chapter 2). God would be in control, and he was. The Jaredites, too, arrived safely in their promised land.
Technology can be a tower built by the weak arm of the flesh. It can also be a faith-driven vehicle to a better place. It can carry our understanding of truth at light speed. It can bullet us through troubled waters on the power of the Father's breath, moving purposefully toward the promise of enlightenment and personal prosperity. Rather than isolate us, it can help us to link arms with like-minded brothers and sisters, help us plant our own inspirations for other truth-seekers to harvest, and help us touch hearts in the furthest reaches of civilization. Rather than encourage us to consume and destroy, it can put the tools of creation in our hands as never before possible. It can significantly shorten the learning curve on countless skills and blast a path through the stumblingblocks that may otherwise have hindered us for years.
Technology is a 'great and terrible' miracle. Like the God-guided compass Lehi called the Liahona, in the right hands, it can take you exactly where you need to be. But in faithless hands, it can spin out of control, disorient you from any reliable course, and cause you to find yourself sinking into the deep with the compass still in your white-knuckled grasp. And it's not the Liahona that determines the outcome, but the intention of the hand that holds it.
Technology must be regarded with care and respect. Each click of the mouse or swipe of the finger must be done consciously. We must turn our backs on the crippled tower and purposefully enter the ark of the Lord. From the safety of that holy vessel, the journey is one of everlasting increase and astonishing beauty.