The last part of the 13th Article of Faith reads, “ . . . If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.”
As we use our free agency to choose what we will view, read, or listen to we would do well to adhere to this standard to help us make appropriate choices. After all, what goes in, must come out. Whatever we fill our minds with, runs out our mouth.
When I was a young teen, the movie Saturday Night Fever came out. I was so excited to watch it because I loved dancing and I thought John Travolta was hot. My grandmother agreed to take me. The Sunday before we planned to see it, I can remember a statement from President Kimball that was read over the pulpit. The letter specifically counseled us to not view R-rated movies. I was sure President Kimball had written that letter specifically to me to prevent me from viewing Saturday Night Fever and I wasn’t very happy.
My grandmother and I went to see the movie anyway. I remember leaving the theater and feeling bad. My conscience was pricked because I’d deliberately disobeyed counsel that was meant to protect me from vulgarity and profane language. I learned a valuable lesson that day. I should always listen to the prophet and I should seek to fill my mind with that which is lovely and praiseworthy.
Since that time I've heard many argue the fact that an R-rating is arbitrary and we should view whatever movies we wish to. While I’m not going to dictate to others what they should and should not watch, I can only say that I’ve learned it’s important to fill my mind with good things, especially in an ever-increasingly evil world where obscenity is commonplace.
My older kids have all been assigned questionable books to read in their English classes. With the abundance of good books to read, it’s always amazing to me that teachers will choose books with the worst kind of language and with inappropriate themes.
I do not advocate book burning, but rather a commitment to following the counsel in the 13h Article of Faith. If we apply this standard to whatever we read, whether it’s books, magazines, newspapers, or content on the internet, we will find our spirits lifted and our minds enhanced.
I grew up with the Bee Gees and nothing motivates me to clean house more than turning on my disco music. I can remember adults, at the time, claiming that all disco music was evil. I admit, some of the lyrics were inappropriate, even trashy, but not all of the music was bad. As a teenager, I certainly wasn’t going to listen to hymns or classical music every day, but learning to apply the standard set forth in the 13th Article of Faith helped me to make better decisions about the music I listened to.
Joseph Smith taught, “I teach them correct principles and they govern themselves.” As we choose from all that is available to fill our minds, we should apply the standard set forth in the 13th Article of Faith and teach others to do so as well.
Return to the neighborhood.
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