Hey there Gramps,
I have a question for you if that’s alright. So I’m a convert to the church and I remember one of the first things I learned in seminary was that we don’t watch rated “R” movies. Which seems legit, given the raised amounts of violence, nudity and profanity. Then they said that we could watch PG-13 movies if it wasn’t too bad. Now that has always confused me. Is it okay to watch something if it swears a little, but still has a great over arching message? Where’s the line?
John Taylor shared the following story:
“Some years ago, in Nauvoo, a gentleman in my hearing, a member of the Legislature, asked Joseph Smith how it was that he was enabled to govern so many people, and to preserve such perfect order; remarking at the same time that it was impossible for them to do it anywhere else. Mr. Smith remarked that it was very easy to do that. ‘How?’ responded the gentleman; ‘to us it is very difficult.’ Mr. Smith replied, ‘I teach them correct principles, and they govern themselves.’” (“The Organization of the Church,” Millennial Star, Nov. 15, 1851, p. 339).
So rather than telling you where the line is, the Church has opted instead to follow Joseph’s example by sharing correct principles. You can find these in the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet. In the section on “Entertainment and Media” we read,
“Do not attend, view, or participate in anything that is vulgar, immoral, violent, or pornographic in any way. Do not participate in anything that presents immorality or violence as acceptable. Have the courage to walk out of a movie, change your music, or turn off a computer, television, or mobile device if what you see or hear drives away the Spirit.”
Now govern yourself. Draw your line and stick to it! You will find that you feel uncomfortable with vulgarity that others are ok with. Walk out anyway. You will be shocked at the immorality that others give a pass. Turn off your TV anyway. You will be surprised that some are offended at music that you find perfectly reasonable. Be polite and change the station. The courtesy of self-governance goes both ways.