Spiritual Messages and Teachings for LDS Youth and Youth Leaders

Rating the Movies

By: Randal A. Wright

From the Book: Protecting Our Families in an X-Rated World

Some time ago, in preparation for a presentation to seminary students on the influence of movies, I decided to attend one of the movies that were currently popular with teenagers. In selecting the movie, I looked for one that had an acceptable rating from the rating board of the Motion Picture Association of America and that was recommended by some young Latter-day Saints. When I talked to them, it soon became obvious what my choice should be. The movie I selected was not only their favorite but was popular with many older Saints as well. One college student told me she had been to it five times and wanted to see it again.

In selecting this movie, I felt fairly safe, since it met my rating criterion as well as had high recommendation from friends. But as a further precaution, I asked the student who had seen it five times some specific questions. What about profanity? “That was the thing that I really liked about it,” she said. “It had only one four-letter word in the entire movie.” And illicit sex scenes? There were none, she told me. Though I now had it straight from one of my students that the movie would be acceptable, I decided to take one last precaution. I put a pencil and notebook in my pocket before I went to the movie.

When the film started I found that the music and the sound effects were far superior to anything I had previously heard at a theater, and the scenery was beautiful. But I’ll admit that I didn’t see every detail of the movie. I was so busy keeping track of the offensive material in my notebook that I spent a large portion of my time looking down. The male lead was a handsome young man, one who might be a role model for boys and very attractive to girls. But there were serious problems with the character he portrayed. The character drank heavily, was immoral, and did whatever was necessary to get to the top of his profession. And what about my student’s recommendation and her claim that she heard only one four-letter word and saw no scenes depicting sex? I’ll admit she did have one of the numbers right in the profanity count—the movie did include one. In fact, I found that there were actually ninety-one profane words, including thirty-three that took the Lord’s name in vain. And one bedroom scene was so graphic that I still can’t believe the movie was rated PG (parental guidance).

How could anyone sit and watch a movie like this and not notice the offensive language or the immoral scene? I don’t claim to know all the answers, but I do believe that the word exposure is a key. When we are constantly exposed to something, we can become calloused to it. This certainly applies to things that are offensive; eventually we may even begin to call evil good, and fail to recognize such things as unnatural. Some researchers call this desensitization. But by whatever name we call it, the fact remains that repeated exposure will result in this condition. An analogy might be made with a man who labors heavily all day and gets callouses on his hands: the person who is constantly exposed to movies with questionable content can similarly develop a calloused mind. The abhorrence and pain associated with the material soon leave, making it extremely difficult to recognize right from wrong.

At Brigham Young University’s Education Week, I told the following experience, which illustrates this point. A few years ago a man whom I really admire called and asked if my two sons and I wanted to go to a movie with him and his sons. He and his wife had seen the movie three days earlier, and he assured me it had nothing offensive except two or three profanities. Finally I agreed to go. I did, however, take my little notebook, in case I needed to keep count. Several times during the movie I looked over at my sons, and they looked back at me sheepishly. You see, this good father had missed a little on his count of profanity. Instead of two or three words, there were forty-six.

In my talk at Education Week, I asked how this fine, active Latter-day Saint could have missed such filthy language when it was so apparent. After my talk, many people wrote and shared their own observations. One man wrote: “That evening several young people from our ward who were attending Education Week with us went off campus and rented a video recorder and a movie to watch in the lounge of our dorm. We parents were in the same lounge, discussing the classes we had attended; and having just come from your class, I was keenly aware of the amount of profane language in the movie the kids were watching. I was even more shocked to see that everyone else in the room seemed totally oblivious toward it.”

After receiving this letter, I rented the movie myself, having first determined that it had received a rating that indicated it was suitable for anyone over age thirteen. The plot, I discovered, revolved around an immoral premise from start to Finish, with considerable obscene language. Almost everything we are taught in the gospel was mocked and ridiculed in the film. Needless to say, I still wonder how any group of Latter-day Saint parents could sit in a room where this movie was playing and be oblivious to its content.

A woman from Utah wrote: “I went to see a movie while at Education Week and decided to take notes. Here are my results; references to illicit sex, 15; swearing or vulgar language, 23; consumption of alcoholic beverages, 6; stealing, 1; extreme violence, 1. I never really did understand the message of the movie. The sad truth is that if I hadn’t heard your lecture, I probably would have watched it and enjoyed it. Thank you for helping me by making me aware of what the media are doing to us.”

And another woman wrote: “I was in a video shop last year and heard three clean-cut young men talking to each other in the adult-movie section. Two of them told the third young man, ‘Oh, you won’t enjoy that movie until you have been home from your mission at least a year.’ “

Alexander Pope stated: “Vice is a monster of so frightful mien, / As to be hated needs but to be seen; / Yet seen too often, familiar with her face, / We first endure, then pity, then embrace.” It is obvious to me that some people have gone way past the endurance stage by repeated exposure to inappropriate films. How can some not see the immorality and not hear the obscenities? In addition to the problem of desensitization, many have another problem: rationalization. Sometimes even after we have been made aware of a problem, we rationalize our way out of it by saying, “It’s not that big a deal” or “Everyone else is doing it too.”

I once overheard two young women discussing a highly controversial R-rated movie. One of them mentioned that she had seen it with her mother. Her friend exclaimed, “You mean to tell me you saw that movie with your mother?” “Yes, I did,” was the reply. The friend then sheepishly admitted that she too had seen the movie—but, she added, “I sure wouldn’t see it with my mother.” Isn’t it sad that this young woman wouldn’t consider attending a movie with her mother that she herself had seen.

Occasionally I hear other young people rationalize their attendance at undesirable movies. Some argue that the movies just reflect what is happening in society. Others ask, “Aren’t we supposed to be well informed and see what’s happening in the world around us? We can’t live in a shell.” Probably the most common rationalization is used in reference to profanity. I have heard many young people and even adults use this one:

“We hear this type of language every day of the week at school and at work. What’s so wrong with hearing it in a movie?” Is this a good point or is it a rationalization? When I hear young people make such comments, I sometimes use the following illustration:

“Suppose you walked out that front door and saw a streaker running by. You didn’t mean to see her, and you immediately turned away and prayed for help to get the incident out of your mind. Do you think Heavenly Father would hold you accountable for that, knowing you didn’t mean to see her and you were trying to get it out of your mind? Why?

“Now suppose you walked out that front door and saw a streaker running by. But instead of turning away, you stared and watched her every move, finding it hard to believe she was actually doing this. After a few minutes, with your eyes straining to get a last look, she finally faded from sight. You then made no effort to get the incident out of your mind, and even told your friends about it. Do you think Heavenly Father will hold you accountable for this incident, knowing that you didn’t really mean to see her when you first opened the door? Why?

“Finally, imagine you read in the local newspaper and heard from several of your friends that at a particular time today a streaker was going to run through the downtown area. Do you think Heavenly Father would or would not hold you accountable if you paid a $4.50 admission fee to see her? Why?”

Satan is cunning. He can make rationalizations seem so logical, when in reality they are covering up for something totally wrong. It is true that evil things are happening in our society. It is also true that many of us are forced to listen to obscene language in the schools and workplace. But we will each be judged by the intent of our heart. In likening this illustration to movies, I do not believe the Lord will hold us accountable for seeing or hearing something inappropriate in a movie that we did not intend to see, if we will get up and walk away and pray for help in getting it out of our minds. Consider, however, what might be our reaction if we didn’t realize that there would be objectionable scenes, but when they did appear, we made no effort to leave or to get them out of our minds. Is this the same as or different from walking away from the film? And finally, there should be no question about the intent for those who know that the immoral scenes are in the movie and still choose to see them. By the intent of their hearts, they have chosen to view material that has been condemned by living prophets and the scriptures.

The question now arises: who is responsible for the material shown in many of our modern movies? Are the movie producers to blame? Are the performers to blame? Not entirely. Theater goers ultimately decide which films will be produced, because they ultimately pay all the bills. We need to ask ourselves what we are paying the actors and actresses to do on the screen. When we attend degrading movies, aren’t we essentially saying that we will pay the price of admission if they will act immorally or violently or talk in a vulgar manner for us? Even more troubling questions may be asked in light of research that suggests that movies and TV programs to some extent teach values and actions that are modeled or imitated in our society. If this is true, then the implications could be frightening.

For instance, if we pay an admission fee to show our support for a film that includes illicit sex and then someone in the audience becomes immoral because of the emotions produced in that dark theater, are we actually accessories to the sin, since we helped pay the bill to produce the film through our admission fee? What about violence and crime?

We should be careful how we cast our votes and try to remember how powerful movies can be for good or for evil. One of the most dramatic examples of this power came from the movie E.T. The movie’s producers went to a major candy manufacturer to try to get a promotional tie-in between one of that company’s products and the hero of a new science-fiction movie. The offer was turned down. The producers then approached another candy manufacturer, which accepted the offer and paid no money for the movie plug. Two weeks after the film was released, sales of the candy featured in the film increased dramatically.

I asked the students of a seminary class what kind of candy E.T. had eaten in the movie. They all replied almost in unison with the answer. One boy told me, “After I had seen that movie, I ate that candy every day for a month.” I asked him how many times he had eaten that brand of candy before he saw the movie. He replied, “I had never even heard of it before the movie.”

This example illustrates just how powerful movies can be. If movies can sell candy, can they also sell immorality? What if the hero smokes marijuana? On the other hand, surely movies can also be used to teach great moral values and lift us to new heights of love, kindness, and other desirable traits.

To me, one of the greatest inventions to help us in using movies to benefit our families is the videocassette recorder (VCR). My family has been greatly blessed by some of the classic musicals, the adventure films, and the inspirational films we have seen. We can watch stories from Church history, the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the other Church-produced movies right in our own home. We have now visited Israel, various Church history spots, the Polynesian Cultural Center—all without ever leaving our own living room. I have no doubt that the Lord inspired the inventors of this and other tools of the media. But we must realize that the adversary is also aware of how influential these tools are.

At a local Education Day program, I mentioned the benefits in owning a VCR if we take advantage of the good movies and programs that are now available. After the program, three women came up to talk to me. They agreed that VCRs are a benefit, but only if they are controlled and used wisely. I had, of course, realized this before the program, but had failed to point it out in my talk. Then one of the women made a good observation. She said, “You know, there are only so many good movies available at most video rental stores. I found that after our family had viewed all the movies in the family section, we began to let some that were not so family oriented into our home.” She continued, “I see now that we are allowing movies to be shown in our home that we would never have dreamed of allowing a few years ago.” The other women agreed that the same thing had happened in their homes. One added, “Until today I hadn’t realized what was happening, because it has been so gradual that I didn’t even notice it.”

We must always be aware that our families can be greatly affected by the things to which we choose to expose ourselves. Imagine, if you will, that you have teenagers in your home. One day they come home and ask if they can go to a party at the home of a popular kid at school. You have never heard of the boy who is giving the party. Would you let your teenager attend with no further questions asked, or would you want to know more about the party? Now, suppose you learned that at many such parties there is drinking, profanity, smoking, drug use, immorality, nudity, and even some violence. Our prophet has also warned that to be exposed to such vices will affect one’s spirituality. Now, would you let your children go to the party after hearing these warnings? What if they promised they wouldn’t do anything wrong and that they would remember who they were—would you then let them go? Obviously most parents would not let our children attend this type of party no matter how many times they asked or even pleaded. But isn’t this similar to what is happening with certain movies? The party is in our hometowns, but it’s at a movie theater. The popular kids throwing it are called movie producers and movie stars. Should we allow our children to attend these parties without even checking into them?

Dr. Victor L. Cline, a professor of psychology at the University of Utah, concluded after years of research on this subject, “I am personally convinced by a vast amount of research that the images, fantasies and models which we are repeatedly exposed to in our advertisements, our entertainments, our novels, our motion pictures, and other works of art can and do powerfully affect the self-image, and later the behavior, of nearly all young people and adults too.” 1 If movies can affect self-image and behavior, it seems critical to our families’ survival that we recognize this fact and take the steps necessary to make this powerful influence a positive instead of a negative one.

How Movies Are Rated

Some of my most pleasant memories of youth revolved around good movies. I can still remember some of the films I saw and the joy they brought into my life. There was no bad language, no nudity, and, for the most part, good always triumphed in the end. But even then, I now realize, we were being conditioned to accept things that were inappropriate. Movies have almost always depicted violence as a natural part of life, with many westerns, war, and crime themes. Over the years moviegoers were exposed to increasing violence until many went from abhorrence to endurance. Most of us justified our viewing of these scenes because we thought that was how life really was. We were being conditioned to believe that murders, beatings, and other violence and crime made a movie acceptable so long as there were no scenes depicting sex.

In the early 1960s, with the growth of television eating away at audiences and profits, the movie industry faced a dilemma. How could movies attract audiences when people could stay at home and watch films on TV? With society conditioned to violence, the movie industry tested the market with more sexually explicit material to try to keep audiences. The trend began with the foreign movie distributors but soon spread to the American film companies.

A movement was begun in the movie industry to alter the 1934 Motion Picture code, which had stated: “Pictures shall not infer that low forms of sex relationships are the accepted or common thing.” The code was revised, and soon movies featuring top stars were being made on abortion, prostitution, drug addiction, extramarital affairs, and many other subjects that had previously been taboo. It wasn’t until 1967 that a highly respected actress let a four-letter profanity slip out of her mouth. Soon floodgates were opened, and tremendous pressure came from within the industry to abandon totally the old movie code.

On November 1, 1968, the Motion Picture Association of America gave in to the pressure, and a new voluntary classification was adopted. Each film from that point on would be viewed by a seven-member board and given a rating of G (for general audiences), PG (parental guidance advised), R (restricted to viewers age seventeen and over), and X (rating denied because the movie exceeded the standards of the other classifications). PG-13 (parental guidance for viewers age thirteen and over) was later added.

82Although in theory this system seems to be a good idea, the flaws are readily apparent. The judges, who are the single source of the ratings, are concerned about theme, language, violence, and sex and nudity in the movies submitted. The final judgment is by majority vote, and one person’s vote can make the difference in the rating a movie receives. To place total trust in the ratings of this seven-member board seems very risky for Latter-day Saint families, since the judges are not aware of—or concerned about—our Latter-day Saint values, goals, and objectives.

Another problem with the ratings system is that over the years the rating standards have eroded as society has become increasingly permissive and lax regarding moral values. This is reflected in situations in which some movies that received the X rating when the code first went into effect were subsequently released several years later with the PG rating!

Even as early as 1971-72, the deterioration was apparent. Dr. Cline and four research assistants analyzed 37 films in a survey of motion pictures playing in Salt Lake City. Of the movies, 16 percent were X-rated, 24 percent were rated R, 46 percent were rated PG, and 14 percent were rated G. The researchers found that the average film contained 38 scenes or incidents of violence and sex. In 57 percent of the films, dishonesty was presented in a “heroic light” or as “justifiable conduct in light of the hero’s circumstances.” In 43 percent of the films, the heroes were law breakers or antisocial characters. In 59 percent, the heroes killed one or more persons. In 60 percent, premarital and extramarital sexual relations were depicted as normal and acceptable. And 70 percent of the male leads and 72 percent of female leads were depicted as sexually promiscuous. 2 The situation has changed even more drastically in the years since this survey. For instance, I recently read the following review in a respected national magazine: “Recommended for 10 years old and up. . . . Raw language and sexual remarks, violence and a troubling scene in which a teenager dies of a heroin overdose. . . . A lovely, funny, fairy-like story.”

83But probably the most dangerous thing that has come out of the ratings system has been the confidence placed in it by moviegoers. Although it should be apparent that the system is unreliable, to many it is the ultimate guide to what they see or what they allow their children to see. Many justify and rationalize seeing violent, vulgar, obscene, and even pornographic movies because of so-called good ratings. If we are to protect our families, we should be extremely careful about the movies we view or allow our families to view, regardless of the ratings.

Occasionally I ask students in my classes to define pornography. So far, not one has ever given me the dictionary’s definition of the word. In the American Heritage Dictionary, pornography is defined as “written or pictorial matter intended to arouse sexual feelings.” Some people tend to believe that a movie must be rated XXX to qualify as pornographic. Is this true, according to this definition? I believe that pornography can easily exist in films that have so-called good ratings.

When our prophets speak out against pornography, are they speaking of only the triple-X variety, or do they mean “any material intended to arouse sexual feelings”? Do you think President Kimball really thought about the ratings of movies when he made the following statement: “Each person must keep himself clean and free from lusts. He must shun ugly, polluted thoughts and acts as he would an enemy. Pornography and erotic stories and pictures are worse than polluted food. Shun them. The body has power to rid itself of sickening food. That person who entertains filthy stories or pornographic pictures and literature records them in his marvelous human computer, the brain, which can’t forget this filth. Once recorded, it will always remain there, subject to recall—filthy images.” 3

In recent years I have tried to persuade some of the young people I deal with that pornography has a broader meaning than we sometimes apply to it, and we need to be careful not to put pornographic images into our minds, because they will remain with us. I particularly remember trying to convince one young woman that some of the movies she was attending could be dangerous to her. I was very proud of her later when she received a mission call. Maybe the movies hadn’t affected her after all, I thought. But when she arrived home after serving eighteen months, she made a most interesting comment. She said, “I sure wish I had listened to you about those movies you tried to warn me about. When I arrived in the mission field, several times as I began to teach the missionary discussions, all that would come to my mind was the filthy images in the movies I had attended before my mission. I would have to turn the discussion over to my companion because I was unable to teach.” She then said she would never go to another inappropriate movie again. I hope she has kept her resolve.

We are affected greatly by the things to which we choose to expose ourselves. Dr. Cline has written:

What starts out as a spectator sport introduces into one’s brain a vast library of antisocial fantasies. These have the potential, much research suggests, of eventually being acted out—to the destruction of the individual and others around him.

I have found that four things typically happen to some people who become immersed in erotic or pornographic material. First, they become addicted. They get hooked on it and come back for more and more. Second, their desire for it escalates. They soon need rougher and more explicit material to get the same kicks and excitement. Third, they become desensitized to the abnormality of the behavior portrayed. In time, they accept and embrace what at first had shocked and offended them. Fourth, eventually there is a tendency and temptation to act out what they have witnessed. Appetite has been whetted and conscience anesthetized. 4

If we are to protect our families from the negative influence of inappropriate movies, we must become more aware of what is happening. Satan’s thrust is at young people, for it is among them that he will have his greatest success. The majority of moviegoers today are teenagers and young adults. According to one author, 20 percent are 12 to 15, 29 percent are 16 to 20, and 27 percent are 21 to 29. This means that 76 percent are under 30! 5 The message of these figures is obvious. Parents rarely, if ever, attend movies, and therefore their awareness level of the content is severely reduced. With parents secure at home and relying on the ratings, the movie industry has fallen to new lows in what is now produced and shown in theaters, with almost no protest from the parents.

The words of President Joseph Fielding Smith are even more true today than when he said them more than two decades ago: “Never in the history of the. . . church have there been so many temptations, so many pitfalls, so many dangers to lure away the members of the church from the path of duty and from righteousness, as we find today.” 6 And President Ezra Taft Benson has warned: “Today because some parents have refused to become informed and then stand up and inform their children, they are witnessing the gradual physical and spiritual destruction of their posterity. If we would become like God, knowing good and evil, then we had best find out what is undermining us, how to avoid it, and what we can do about it.” 7

Protecting Our Families

How can we, as parents, protect ourselves, our children, and our communities from the flood of erotic and obscene material that is found in all too many movies, television shows, and other media? First, I believe it will require some steps that some are not willing to do, but that are a critical part to any protection plan. These steps are prayer, planning, and work.

Imagine, if you will, that a salesman knocks on your door and says he is representing a local health spa. In his presentation, he convinces you that the spa includes everything you need to keep physically fit—a jogging track, racquetball court, swimming pool, weight room, and so on. Being interested in physical fitness, and especially in developing bigger muscles, you decide to join the spa. You decide you can spend two hours a day three days a week, a total of six hours. When you go to the weight room, you pull up a chair and watch others work out for two hours. How many muscles would you build by watching others work out six hours a week? If you were to increase the time to 12 hours a week, would you get the desired results? How about if you watched others work out for 20 or 36 or 50 hours? You could spend all the time you want visiting the spa and watching others work out, but the muscle development you want will come only after you get to work.

This analogy might be applied to the teachings of the gospel. It is fine that we go to church every week and watch the proceedings for three hours; this is a critical part of the plan. But, as in the health spa example, we shouldn’t expect to develop our spiritual muscles until we actually get to work. In like manner, if we are to avoid the flood of temptations that are coming toward our families through the media, we need to pray, develop a plan of action, and then actually get to work.

Since prayer is discussed in detail in the scriptures and in the teachings of our prophets, I won’t attempt to add anything here except to encourage you to make this the beginning of any plan. And work is something only you can do, after you know your plan. Let’s concentrate, then, on some suggestions for a plan to assist your family in avoiding the temptations so prevalent today.

One starting point is to call the family together to discuss the threats involved with objectionable material and establish some criteria to help us make wise decisions. Meetings of this nature are more productive and beneficial if everyone in the family, including teenagers, is involved and allowed to contribute ideas and solutions in an open atmosphere. Those who help formulate family rules are more likely to abide by them.

The following are ideas that may be helpful in establishing family guidelines.

Know the content. Before you attend, buy, rent, or borrow any movie, learn all you can about its content. Many magazines and newspapers have movie reviews that may be helpful. You might also talk with people who have seen the film. Ask specific questions: What was the language like? Any violence? Any immorality? Who are the stars? What other movies have they appeared in? Call the theater and ask the staff there about the movie. By carefully selecting the movies we view, we can increase the chance that our experiences will be uplifting and wholesome. Remember, if you still have doubts after you make your inquiries, the best advice may be to not see it.

Require parental permission. Young people should have their parents’ permission whenever they view any movie, whether at the theater or at a friend’s home.

Reject anything that is obscene. Agree that you will get up and walk out of a movie if anything obscene is depicted. Most theaters will refund your money if you are offended by the material in a film. If the obscene material occurs on a video, agree that you will turn it off immediately.

Ask, how would you feel if . . .? Ask before attending or during every movie you see if this is the type of movie you would feel comfortable seeing if your bishop or the prophet were sitting beside you. If you feel embarrassed, then choose another movie, one that you would feel good about.

Ask, Will it make a difference? Always ask will it make any difference in a few years if you see the movie or not, even if everyone else you know is attending. Too often we subject our minds to material that becomes part of our thoughts just because everyone else is doing it. Choose only those movies that will help make you a better person, regardless of what others may do.

Avoid that “one bad scene.” How often have you heard someone say, “It was a great movie if it hadn’t been for the one bad scene,” or “It has a good message if you can get past the filthy language.” Avoid such films. Remember that Satan will give you many truths just to get in his one lie. Think back on a movie you have seen with “just one bad scene.” If you can still see the scene in your mind, it has nullified any temporary pleasure you may have received from viewing it.

Apply Moroni’s counsel in Moroni 7:16-18: “For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for everything which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God. But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him.”

Each member of our family needs to become a movie critic with this counsel in mind. You can have your own rating board, with your family as members of the board. Develop your own criteria for rating movies, and give each one you watch a rating of G, PG, PG-13, R, X. Based on your criteria, a movie rated PG by the seven-member MPAA board may well be rated X by your family’s board!

You might want to try viewing movies and TV shows with a pencil and some paper in hand, so you can analyze the content. You will be amazed at the messages—both good and bad—you will pick out. In analyzing the content, use gospel principles to determine what is negative and what is positive. Here are some aspects to consider:

Theme. What do you believe is the purpose or the message of the movie or program? Why did the producers spend so much money to bring you this message? How would you characterize the overall message—good, bad, spiritual, silly, patriotic, or what?

Language. What kind of language is used? Are people respectful in communicating with one another? Or do they ridicule or mock? Are off-color or vulgar jokes or dialogue included? How many profane words are used? Is the Lord’s name used in vain? How many times? Note: If you have never listened closely to the language you are exposed to in the media, you may be in for a big surprise when using this idea.

Violence. How many acts of violence are there? Why were they included? Are they essential to the plot?

Sex and Nudity. Was premarital or extramarital sex shown or implied? Were there any portrayals of couples living together unmarried? How were the heroes portrayed—sexually promiscuous or virtuous? Were there any consequences for immorality? What were those consequences?

Other Inappropriate Behavior. How much drug, tobacco, and alcohol abuse is shown? How are marriage and family life portrayed? How are the heroes and heroines portrayed? What crimes were committed and what were the consequences?

I am convinced that once you and your family have established your guidelines and have watched a movie critically and using a pencil and paper to keep counts and make notes, you will never see things in the same way again. Messages that are good will be appreciated more than ever before, while those that are evil will almost jump out at you from the screen. You will see things that you have never seen before, and in the process you will build up a wall of protection as you become more aware and eliminate from your viewing those films that do not meet your standards.

Rating the Movies: Notes

1. Address at Tidewater Assembly on Family Life, Norfolk, Virginia.

2. Victor L. Cline, “How Do Movies and TV Influence Behavior,” Ensign, October 1972, pp. 14-15.

3. Edward L. Kimball, ed., Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1982), p. 283.

4. Victor L. Cline, “Obscenity—How It Affects Us, How We Can Deal with It,” Ensign, April 1984, p. 32.

5. David Pirie, Anatomy of the Movies (New York: Macmillan, 1981), p. 14.

6. Joseph Fielding Smith, Take Heed to Yourselves (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1966), p. 127.

7. Ezra Taft Benson, God, Family, Country (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1975), pp. 229-30.

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