This being an election year, we will have several issues and candidates to evaluate where we will try to determine who or what we will support with our vote. There will be ads and news articles on television, in social media, email and regular mail, and conversations among family, friends and coworkers. The question we will all have to answer for ourselves is what information we will believe and is it truthful?
I once heard that no matter what news agency you subscribe to, there will always be bias. It will be influenced by the author’s own bias, and if the news agency accepts any advertisement funding, they will broadcast or publish items that appeal to those sponsors.
Now let’s consider what we have come to know as “deep fake” video or audio recordings. We have seen political figures represented in this way saying things that they never said. Advertisers and filmmakers have used the likeness of famous actors without their permission. This was one of the main issues addressed during last year’s actors’ strike.
And probably most concerning is that there was a report last year in the Wall Street Journal where high school students used cheap AI tools to create nude photos of their classmates and then distributed them to others in the school (“Fake Nudes of Real Students Cause an Uproar at a New Jersey High School,” Nov. 2, 2023).
As much as we would like to rely on our lawmakers, news outlets, or social media companies to innovate ways to reduce or eliminate misleading information, we all know that those trying to deceive will always stay a step ahead.
So, what are we to do? Where can we turn to as a trusted source of truth?
The only place I know to turn that has helped me identify truth is God. I have come to know that through the whispering of His Spirit, I can know the truth of all things. But this takes a bit of work on my part. I have had to cultivate a relationship with Him through prayer and studying His scripture. I have also had to work on recognizing when I receive a prompting from Him—much like tuning an old AM/FM radio to get a clear signal.
Throughout my life, when I included God in my decisions, He has always led me in paths that have blessed me and my family. I took a job I thought I didn’t want that opened up career opportunities I never considered. He has given me ideas of how to teach my children in ways I wouldn’t have done on my own. And He helps me to sense when things feel a bit off even when what I am seeing or hearing appears to be real.
We all need God’s guidance to navigate the seemingly endless stream of information we have today, especially during this election cycle. God is always willing to help. All we have to do is seek Him and then ask.
Mark D. Fullmer is Bishop of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Gilroy Ward. He is an active member of the Interfaith Clergy Alliance of South County. Bishop Fullmer can be reached at [email protected].