"No obstacles are insurmountable when God commands and we obey"
- - Heber J. Grant
May 12, 2014
Recognizing Who We Are
by Kathryn H. Kidd

I was staggering across the church gym — excuse me, “cultural hall” — on a recent Sunday, trying mightily to get to our pew in the chapel, when I was interrupted by strangers who wanted to say hello.

I need to be honest here. I am not exactly thrilled when people interrupt me when I am trying to walk from one place to another. Walking takes every bit of my concentration and my strength. Picking up my right foot takes so much effort that I can barely get it a quarter inch off the carpet even with every ounce of focus. When people distract me, my focus shifts and I am just as likely to do a face-plant on the ground.

So when I looked away from the carpet and at unfamiliar faces, I was confused. I placed the faces in front of me as strangers. It took me moments and then long seconds before I realized I was staring at my former bishop and his wife from way back in the early 1990s. They had come all the way to our meetinghouse from their hotel in Leesburg, twelve miles away, just to say hi to Fluffy and me.

Not only had Lance Moss been our bishop, but Fluffy and I had home taught the Moss family for the entire time they had lived in our ward. We had even sat behind them in church, so we had enjoyed a deep and abiding relationship with them. They had not been casual acquaintances, to say the least.

But then the Mosses had moved to Leesburg in the mid-1990s and we had seen them only sporadically since then. And they had moved out of the state, back to Utah, years and years ago. We had not expected to ever see them again. We had been Facebook friends for several years, so we did have contact on some level.

So when Jean Moss headed toward me with outstretched arms, I was so focused on walking that it took longer than a moment for me to redirect my attention long enough to realize that I was looking at people I knew, to say nothing that they were people I dearly loved.

We were able to visit with the Mosses for a few minutes before church started, and they came over to our home the following evening for dinner. Fluffy took a picture of them before they left, and he posted it the next day on Facebook so our Facebook friends who also remembered the Mosses could see it.

A disquieting thing happened when Fluffy posted the picture on Facebook. As he added the picture, Facebook automatically labeled the picture for him: “with Jean Moss and Lance Moss.”

We have not seen Lance and Jean for at least seven years, and probably closer to a decade. They do not regularly appear on our Facebook page. We do not correspond with them. I did not even recognize them immediately when I saw them in church. How in tarnation did Facebook immediately recognize their picture and correctly label it when Fluffy uploaded it to Facebook?

Facebook inserted the names of friends who lived across the country, who were not regular correspondents, and whom we hadn’t seen in more than seven years, without Fluffy having to type them in. Creepy.

All I can say is that’s more than a little creepy. At least, that’s what I thought. Fluffy thought it was cool. He was excited about the technology. He doesn’t care about Big Brother having eyes on him, as long as Big Brother is taking advantage of the Cool Factor. Boys are like that. They never grow out of it.

We have all laughed at those television programs where they take a fuzzy security camera picture, sharpen it, and then match it to a known bad guy after scanning the photos of 10,000,000 bad guys in under ten seconds. So we know the technology is there. But in Facebook? And on our computers?

Fluffy did a little digging into the Facebook help screens, and confirmed what we were seeing:

Because photos are such an important part of Facebook, we want to be sure you know exactly how tag suggestions work: When you or a friend upload new photos, we use face recognition software — similar to that found in many photo editing tools — to match your new photos to other photos you're tagged in. We group similar photos together and, whenever possible, suggest the name of the friend in the photos.

I still don’t know whether I like this or not, but I have to admit the technology is amazing.

But all of this got me thinking about God, and how well he knows all of His children. He knows our face, our voice, our concerns, our strengths and weaknesses, and everything that there is to know about us. He listens to every sincere prayer, and always answers them (although we don’t always like the answers).

He is aware of us every minute of every hour of every day. His office is never “closed,” and he never takes a vacation (I find that last point rather depressing, for His sake).

Even more impressive is the fact that He maintains this relationship with all of His children, which currently number about seven billion people. And how about the billions of people that have already lived and died? I’m sure they are not forgotten either.

We do live in a wonderful age, but I’m sure it is primitive compared to the wonders of God, and the many marvelous things that we have yet to learn about Him and His creations.

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About Kathryn H. Kidd

Kathryn H. Kidd has been writing fiction, nonfiction, and "anything for money" longer than most of her readers have even been alive. She has something to say on every topic, and the possibility that her opinions may be dead wrong has never stopped her from expressing them at every opportunity.

A native of New Orleans, Kathy grew up in Mandeville, Louisiana. She attended Brigham Young University as a generic Protestant, having left the Episcopal Church when she was eight because that church didn't believe what she did. She joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a BYU junior, finally overcoming her natural stubbornness because she wanted a patriarchal blessing and couldn't get one unless she was a member of the Church. She was baptized on a Saturday and received her patriarchal blessing two days later.

She married Clark L. Kidd, who appears in her columns as "Fluffy," more than thirty-five years ago. They are the authors of numerous LDS-related books, the most popular of which is A Convert's Guide to Mormon Life.

A former managing editor for Meridian Magazine, Kathy moderated a weekly column ("Circle of Sisters") for Meridian until she was derailed by illness in December of 2012. However, her biggest claim to fame is that she co-authored Lovelock with Orson Scott Card. Lovelock has been translated into Spanish and Polish, which would be a little more gratifying than it actually is if Kathy had been referred to by her real name and not "Kathryn Kerr" on the cover of the Polish version.

Kathy has her own website, www.planetkathy.com, where she hopes to get back to writing a weekday blog once she recovers from being dysfunctional. Her entries recount her adventures and misadventures with Fluffy, who heroically allows himself to be used as fodder for her columns at every possible opportunity.

Kathy spent seven years as a teacher of the Young Women in her ward, until she was recently released. She has not yet gotten used to interacting with the adults, and suspects it may take another seven years. A long-time home teacher with her husband, Clark, they have home taught the same family since 1988. The two of them have been temple workers since 1995, serving in the Washington D.C. Temple.

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