James F. Stoddard III
Often when entertainment, specifically movies, are discussed in a Christian setting several phrases are used:
- There is nothing bad in it! The issue is not whether there is anything bad in it, but rather whether there is anything good in it. The words “it is not enough to be good, we must be good for something” come to mind. “If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we [should] seek after these things.” (Articles of Faith #13)
- It is rated PG, not R. Do we really want those that set the ratings for movies to be our conscience? “For behold . . . it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night.”(Moroni 7:15) In 1930 there was a very different rating system for movies. It was called the Motion Picture Production Code of 1930. It’s moral standard would be considered today far better than “family entertainment.” Think how far we have fallen. But think again, this code is at best Terrestrial, what would the Celestial code be?
- There were no sex scenes. What about suggestive material? Crudeness? More importantly, what are the subtle dangers? How are marriage and families portrayed? Are large families promoted or ridiculed? Are Christian virtues shown to be the one true path to happiness, or are they looked upon as out of date or even mocked. Are breaking the law and living a carefree life glamorized? Is the purpose of life to become more like God, or is having fun, obtaining wealth, or just doing what you want held up as the final end.
- There was only one bad part in it. “For behold, a bitter fountain cannot bring forth good water; neither can a good fountain bring forth bitter water; wherefore, a man being a servant of the devil cannot follow Christ; and if he follow Christ he cannot be a servant of the devil.”(Moroni 7:11) Those that produce movies promote the values that they themselves possess. If a person’s character is weak enough to put a “bad” scene in a movie, the entire movie will also contain the fruits of that producer’s character.
We believe in watching movies that. . .
. . . portray heroes as individuals who are honest. Integrity is upheld as essential to a successful life. Characters, who are dishonest, will always be villains. Acts of dishonesty will always have undesired consequences. Additionally, good is portrayed as good and evil is portrayed as evil.
. . . show the wisdom of being true and the folly of being false. Disloyal characters are always antiheroes; heroes can always be depended upon. A life of integrity is shown as paying off in the end; all good deeds are portrayed as eventually being rewarded. Wickedness is always shown to eventually cause difficulty and sadness.
. . . portray the breaking of the law of chastity as being evil and causing heartache, sorrow, depression and bitter consequences. This is the sin next to murder (Alma 39:5), and heroic characters will sacrifice their lives before allowing their virtue to be taken.
. . . show men and women sacrificing for others in service and practicing great and simple deeds of benevolence. Happiness is shown being found in losing ones life serving God, family and country. Greediness is shown as creating misery and leading to regret. Heroes are shown building humanity, and doing good to all around them.
. . . portray all of the noble virtues that can be found in mankind, and more importantly the ingredients in the character of God. Good characters are shown striving to change and become better with all their heart, might mind and strength.
We especially value movies that. . .
. . . have heroes who believe in and follow the teachings of our beloved Master Jesus Christ. These heroes perform righteous works through faith and diligence. They have the hope of receiving the commendation from our Father, “Well done thou good and faithful servant.” We enjoy movies that show men and women of faith enduring persecution, trial, and great adversity and finally triumph. We are extremely careful that sacred things are portrayed as sacred. Righteous and sacred works are never ridiculed or made fun of. Christian principles including principles of freedom are not degraded. Our Latter Day Saint hymns and primary songs are never rewritten in unsacred ways with loud music and tempos that have been forbidden by prophets of God.
Finally, we seek diligently through great effort to find movies which. . .
. . . uphold the family standards found in the Proclamation to the World on the family; including men and women remaining worthy through their lives and staying true to their marital vows and covenants. We refuse to allow into our homes anything that is not lovely, dignified, and pure. These movies contain beautiful and inspiring music and promote behavior of good report. The movies we watch add glory to our Father in Heaven and are worthy of His praise. His Holy Spirit can permeate our home because of the entertainment we prayerfully choose.
4 thoughts to “Our Philosophy on Movies”
The excuse I hear the most is “It’s fine. It’s PG 13!” When I can name 15 PG 13 movies on an authentic movie website, that have the f word more than once. Modern ratings don’t mean anything.
Wow, I couldn’t agree more with this post.
I’ve been searching for several days and writing a list of movies that would be good go-to’s for family movie nights.
I would love your recommendations if you have a list of your own. Please share!
The Joseph Smith Foundation has an online, searchable collection of the best known videos from YouTube and Vimeo called ZionTube. Many of the films are available in their entirety for free! This is an excellent, family-friendly resource for moments of leisure and/or educational study. Enjoy!
I realized, by reading this article, that, even though the movie may be a good movie, if the producers are not moral, then the movie is not moral ether, no matter how good it seems.
Maybe the movie doesn’t have Bad stuff in it, But movies can be frivolous too, and time wasting from the things we ought to be doing to grow closer to the Lord.