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My husband and I have searched trying to find the often quoted but never footnoted admonishment to not watch R-rated movies. Can you tell me which prophet gave this counsel and when it was given or if it is the interpretation of counsel to seek only uplifting media that will not offend the Holy Spirit? Thank you,

Karrilynn

Dear Karrilynn,

Many prophets and apostles have spoken of avoiding movies and other forms of media which contain offensive content or drives away the spirit. I’m not certain if there is a specific article or talk that you are looking for that perhaps you have already heard or read. What I can tell you is that the ratings given to movies and games today cannot be relied on to determine the content of a movie for several reasons:

R-ratedRatings are very inconsistent and are constantly changing. Content that would have been considered highly offensive only a decade ago may be considered mild and acceptable by today’s standards.

Movies sometimes have their ratings adjusted to appeal to certain audiences, acquire higher ticket sales volumes and comply with other business practices.

The system that the United States uses to rate movies would not be used or carry the same meaning to all other countries.

For the 3rd reason, it would be difficult for the prophets and apostles to address the world by referring to a locally used rating system. Therefore, you may have a hard time finding the talk you are looking for. It may have been a local talk, which may not be published by the Church. Regardless, since the rating system is now so unreliable we cannot simply say that we should avoid only “R” rated movies or worse. This is why we are now being told to avoid certain content rather than certain ratings. Consider the following articles:

April 1981 Ensign

I Have a Question – Ensign Apr. 1981

December 1975 Ensign

How can our family set up guidelines to ensure that the movies we see will not be destructive to our spirituality?

I Have a Question – Ensign Dec. 1975

Just a Little Violence?

August 2007 New Era

Just a Little Violence? – New Era Aug. 2007

Let’s also consider our 13th Article of Faith.

13 We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.

Articles of Faith

Ezra T. Benson, Ensign, May 1986

To the Youth of the Noble Birthright

Quote:

Consider carefully the words of the prophet Alma to his errant son, Corianton, “Forsake your sins, and go no more after the lusts of your eyes.” (Alma 39:9.)

“The lusts of your eyes.” In our day, what does that expression mean?

Movies, television programs, and video recordings that are both suggestive and lewd.

Magazines and books that are obscene and pornographic.

We counsel you, young men, not to pollute your minds with such degrading matter, for the mind through which this filth passes is never the same afterwards. Don’t see R-rated movies or vulgar videos or participate in any entertainment that is immoral, suggestive, or pornographic. Don’t listen to music that is degrading.

I’ve found President Benson, Brother Joseph, Alma and an official church publication for you.

Hope this helps!

Gramps

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