BYU-Idaho Devotional speaker, Brother Jason Hunt, taught the importance of controlling the limbic system in our bodies. Brother Hunt is a biology professor at BYU-Idaho and spoke on June 23, 2020.
The limbic system is a part of our brain that helps us know when we need or want something, for example, when we need to eat food. He taught the system is vital to help us stay alive but can also lead us down slippery slopes if we do not keep it under control. Brother Hunt said that controlling the limbic system or “putting off the natural man” (Mosiah 3:19) is critical to our eternal happiness.
“It is my testimony that if you focus on obedience to all covenants, especially to chastity lines, you will find your limbic system to be more yielding to your spirit, and when your limbic system yields to your spirit, you become master of the flesh, and mastering the flesh is pure freedom,” Hunt said during devotional.
Hunt expanded on this principle a little more in an interview with BYU-Idaho Radio.
“[The Lord] doesn’t have to explain how this limbic system works, it’s a very intricate system,” Hunt said in the interview. “[He gave us] simple rules and commandments and if [we] follow those…we’ll gain control of our limbic systems.”
In the interview, Brother Hunt warned of the dangers of addictive things, specifically things related to sexual purity.
“You don’t want your limbic system taken over by [something] else that knows more about it,” Hunt said. “You’ve got to be aware, so you don’t fall into addictions.”
He also emphasized in his talk and in the interview that there is a way back for those who have fallen into addictions.
“Can you change? Absolutely,” Hunt said. “If you said you couldn’t change, that’s kind of anti-Atonement.”
Hunt said we become freer as we learn to control our limbic systems because we then do not let the limbic system control us. And controlling our limbic systems is not just with matters such as self-mastery, but little things like using our phones too much.
He gave three challenges to help control the limbic system: never charge your phone next to your pillow, physically move when a natural man urge tries to take over and keep your covenants.
No matter what it may be that our limbic systems feel attached to, we have the power to control it and achieve greater happiness.