Friday, January 10, 2014

Avert thy eyes!

In addition to creating the allusion of threat from associating with non-Mormons (especially apostate Mormons) and indulging in reading anything other than testimony-bolstering words, Mormons also face the threat of other bad influences in the media.

Movies and videos are extremely dangerous, so dangerous in fact that the leaders of the Church have for decades told members to not watch films with particular MPAA ratings. Thank God, Jesus Christ, and Holy Ghost we have prophets to make decisions for us and those decisions are based on the decisions of a small anonymous group under the control of the film-making industry. Then again, what if we have reason to distrust the MPAA? And how do the MPAA ratings translate into ratings in other countries anyway? How can it be that 12-year-old members in the UK can watch The King's Speech but in the US and Canada the R rating would keep obedient Mormon adults from seeing the film? That's a pretty big rating discrepancy.

Mormons are very aware of the conundrum and love to discuss it.  The Church, however, is very clear, especially when addressing the youth.

"Satan uses media [HE DOES??] to deceive you by making what is wrong and evil look normal, humorous, or exciting. He tries to mislead you into thinking that breaking God’s commandments is acceptable and has no negative consequences for you or others. Do not attend, view, or participate in anything that is vulgar [LIKE BOY SCOUT CAMPS], immoral [LIKE MOVIES THAT DEPICT LAMANITES AS MAYANS], violent [LIKE THE STORY OF JESUS' DEATH], or pornographic in any way [STAPLE THE PAGES OF THE SONG OF SOLOMON TOGETHER AND NEVER READ THEM!]. Do not participate in anything that presents immorality or violence as acceptable [LIKE READING ABOUT NEPHI JUSTIFYING DECEPTION, MURDER, AND COERCION]. 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 [FOR ME THAT WOULD INCLUDE THE SEMINARY SCRIPTURE SOUNDTRACKS AND ALL EFY MUSIC COMPILATIONS]."

The logic of this statement has long been presented through the following Mormon Ad.

Not to worry, North American Mormons have their ways of enjoying the ice cream without the cockroaches. Thanks to illegal film editors in Utah and ClearPlay, people all over the country (not just Mormons) have been able to binge on all the cockroach-free ice cream they wanted.

Then again, isn't it a little superficial to redub dirty words and cut the nudie scenes? Isn't there more going on in a film or song? Aren't there other elements to art that can make it offensive? Can't we all think of a movie that objectifies women horribly without ever showing nudity, or a game that maybe doesn't show gore but has more perpetual violence and killing than even Saving Private Ryan? And aren't there at least a couple of movies out there that have a nude sex scene or a graphic murder that actually teach wholesome, conservative values? What about Requiem for a Dream? I bet you can't find a D.A.R.E. officer who wouldn't love for every teen in the US to watch that movie!

Why should Mormons, or anyone else, be content ruling out thousands upon thousands of movies, music, etc. because there are more than a couple of occurrences of the word "fuck," or just one occurrence in a sexual context? Are we that blind to the real world? Can we honestly not take the responsibility upon ourselves to determine what is uplifting and what we feel isn't going to benefit us?

Oh, whatever! Most Mormons ignore this whole "no R-rated movie" thing anyway. Watch whatever the hell want.

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