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Blog

Always Preoccupied? How to Demolish Modern Idols

By Mormon.org
young man with a cell phone

Modern Idols

When it comes to keeping the Ten Commandments, it might be tempting to skim right over number two—you know, the one about not worshipping graven images (see Exodus 20:4–5). After all, it’s unlikely many of us are melting down old jewelry to form golden calves like the one fashioned by the children of Israel. But considering the placement of this commandment in God’s timeless set of laws, perhaps there is more to idol worship than golden calves.

President Spencer W. Kimball taught, “Whatever thing a man sets his heart and his trust in most is his god; and if his god doesn’t also happen to be the true and living God of Israel, that man is laboring in idolatry.” Here are some tangible and intangible things President Kimball suggested could become modern idols or false gods if we put them before God in our lives:

  • clothes
  • homes
  • businesses
  • automobiles
  • pleasure
  • boats
  • degrees, letters, and titles
  • the hunting or fishing trip
  • the vacation
  • the weekend picnics and outings
  • games of sport such as baseball, football, the bullfight, or golf
  • power and prestige
  • wealth
  • influence

Considering President Kimball’s description of the modern idols we can become preoccupied with daily (and we could easily add electronics to this list), perhaps we are more in danger of breaking this commandment than we think.

Demolishing Our Modern Idols

In a recent BYU devotional address, Professor Kerry Muhlestein explained that much like the ancient children of Israel, our problem is not abandoning God altogether in favor of idol worship, but rather worshipping God and modern idols simultaneously. This happens when we become preoccupied with things of the world to such an extent that we forget to put God first in our lives. Watch his address here.

In order to avoid the worship of modern idols, Dr. Muhlestein suggests five practices to keep God first in our lives.

  1. Think as God Thinks. In other words, don’t let the world determine what you value. Look to the scriptures and prophets to set your standards and priorities.
  2. Take a Good Look at Yourself. Evaluate your priorities and let go of the things that are keeping you from a closer relationship with God.
  3. Seek God’s Help. When it comes to identifying and demolishing your personal modern idols, pray for help. With the guidance of the Holy Spirit, you will be able to continually put God first in your life.
  4. Take Time to Be Holy. Pray often, study the scriptures, keep the Sabbath day holy, and engage in uplifting activities that bring you closer to God. The more you balance your life with these activities, the more modern idols lose their value and take their rightful place in your life.
  5. Remember. There may be times in your life when God does not come first. During those moments, look back to times when you have felt the influence of God’s love for you personally. As you remember, you will have a desire to readjust your priorities, set aside the things of lesser value, and come back.

As with all the commandments He has given us, God asks us to refrain from modern idol worship not for His sake but for ours. When we put Him first in our lives, we will feel His abundant love, obtain the blessings He has promised, and come closer to Him every day.

Would you like to put God first in your life through your Sabbath day worship? Join us at church.