Quick question: Have you used Facebook or Instagram today? I should see all bitmoji hands because who doesn’t keep up with their friends everyday? Social media allows us share our daily life. In return, our friends, faith, and phones have a large impact on what we see, hear, and think. It’s easy to keep reading and “liking” posts that are in line with our tastes and views, but where did our tastes and views come from? The more time we spend with someone or something, the more likely it will shape our views. We may not realize it, but every photo we see on Instagram and each article we read on Facebook slowly (and in some cases, dramatically) creates our view of the world. Even this blog post may shape opinions (hopefully in a positive way)!
As the world gets smaller, our personal impact has the ability to stretch further. These changes have allowed our helping hands, testimonies, and faith to span the globe. But what can we do to make sure our view of what’s going on in the news is based on truth and remain in line with our religious beliefs?
Spend time, every day, with the Lord and his words. The more familiar we are with the scriptures and the words from His leaders, the more likely the Lord will nurture our views and inspire our thoughts. The council to read our scriptures daily has an implied scientific backing that it will help us be like-minded with the Lord. (Remember, we can become more like the things we spend the most time with). After spending a full weekend listening to General Conference, don’t you usually feel closer to the Lord and see Him in your life? Now, you don’t have to spend 8 hours each weekend reading your scriptures and listening to conference talks, but you could spending a few minutes each day making room for the Lord’s words. The more time we spend with Him through prayer, scripture study, and listening to the words of his prophets, the more we will view things the way He does. Ask for the spirit of discernment if you are faced with conflicting facts. Heavenly Father will reveal truths to you through the Holy Ghost.
Take at least one psychology class. Psychology is fascinating and fun! It teaches us about our natural tendencies, both good and bad. Generally, a Psych 101 course will highlight typical biases that everyone should be aware of like availability heuristics, confirmation bias, and groupthink. Once we are able to recognize the “natural man”, we can find ways to overcome it. We will learn to look at things from both sides and not be fooled or tricked by illusions. (But I must say, the illusion chapters are mind-blowing.) So, beyond an enjoyable semester, you will learn more about the way our minds work and uncover biases that keep us from the truth we are really looking for.
I encourage and support everyone to develop their own personal views and beliefs. As virtuous ladies, we should seek knowledge from the best books. We come from different backgrounds and have views as unique as the individual. With a little understanding, we can continue to cultivate our own point of view while respecting others. Don’t be fooled or tricked by the fictitious knowledge out there. The Lord will help you find truth so you can make your own decisions and uplift those around you.
Full disclosure: I majored in Neuroscience and minored in Psychology, so I probably suffer from a bias towards these fields. However, I’m going to stand by the suggestion to take a psychology class. You’ll learn a lot and have an amazing semester!