by Tom H.
It is the Lord’s desire that man not suffer needlessly. To this end, He has laid out various plans by which man may find joy in this world and exaltation in the next.
Today, one of the most depressing dividers of family, one of the greatest dissipaters of joy, is Satan’s grand plan by which we fail to know our true identities as children of God. In this plan, Satan has created the attractiveness of money and thereby the ultimate threat to our temporal and spiritual identities.
For decades now, prophet after prophet has laid a tremendous emphasis upon our not being indebted to this world. To paraphrase: we should be in this world but not of this world. To counteract this counsel, Satan has accelerated his plan to help us lose our identities not only through spiritual nonchalance and apathy, but now realistically through the physical loss of our temporal identities through “identity theft.” Identity theft is when someone else knows enough about us to successfully impersonate us, often in the world of finance and often to our detriment.
The question in today’s society is “What can we do to forestall the theft of our physical identities and the subsequent sorrow of having fellow citizens see us wrongly while we are left to prove our integrity and reestablish, through often difficult channels and requirements, the goodness of our name?”
In today’s world of massive and often intrusive technology, the concept of identity theft has become more prevalent. Starting with pretense, building to forgers, kidnappers and pickpockets, society has now risen to an elaborate level of data manipulation whereby your personal information and that of your family is now in the hands of anyone desiring to have it.
The power of thieves in this electronic age is intimidating. At first glance, it seems so perfidious, pervasive, and perfected that we often feel powerless. As quickly as we can restrict an unwanted intruder, we find that other windows and doors have been opened without our knowledge. With the best of efforts, we cannot halt the advance of identity theft so rampant today, but although we cannot halt the advance, we can certainly slow it.
It is within our capacity to buy less on credit, so that we supply less information to others about our preferences and habits. It is within our capacity to reduce our number of credit cards so that identity theft will not be so devastating to us. It is within our capacity to not accept a telephone solicitation that is “too good to be true”, and to not freely divulge our personal information. We can call the Better Business Bureau or the State Attorney General when suspicious mail arrives requesting verification of our bank account number, social security number, insurance information, church affiliation, income, family status or family information.
Also, we must remember that the best of computer security programs will not stop all who desire to override and invade that security. We must be as careful with the various computer vendors and opportunities as we are with society at large. Never give credit card information on a website that does not have a prefix of https:// as the “s” stands for secure and is much less likely to be accessible to those who would view these transactions unauthorized.
And a never-to-be-forgotten truth is also associated with righteous living: When we develop and extend the principles of love expressed to us by our Savior, Jesus Christ, we find that we are building a stronger and more trusting society. In such as society, there is less desire to cheat and steal, and a greater desire to protect and encourage. It is through the teachings of the Gospel and our active desire to carry them forward that a better society can be built.
If we truly aspire to retain our spiritual identities, we will find that the retention of our corporal identities will also be much easier and that an occasional setback will be less devastating. As children of God, let us recognize the tremendous resources which are available to us. The power of love and the power of prayer can bring to our aid the power of the Holy Spirit, a powerful ally in these times of indecision and trouble.
And always remember that the Lord has given us the power to succeed, because He knows that our corporal (physical) identity is but a probationary transition leading to our spiritual (eternal) identity… and that a large portion of our spiritual identity is with us even now if we choose to invite it to the forefront of our daily existence. May we never lose the identity we carry as a child of God.
Tom H., St. Johns
2009 September Theme: Finance
To read more about identity theft, click here to access the United States Department of Justice
and here to access the Federal Trade Commission Website…
Photo source: LDS Media Library