Media & entertainment

Do Mormons watch R-rated movies?  Are Mormons allowed to listen to all music?

mormon-education3Maybe in the past, you’ve suggested watching a movie rated “R” and a Mormon friend turned you down or suggested an alternative movie.  This experience stems from counsel given to members of the Church, and youth in particular, to avoid media that contains violence, profanity, or immorality.

President Ezra Taft Benson, in speaking to the young men of the Church, gave the following counsel:

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….We counsel you young men [and women] 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. Watch those shows and entertainment that lift the spirit and promote clean thoughts and actions. (Ensign May 1986, p. 45)

However, an “R” rating is not a perfect line between what is appropriate and what is not.  There are movies with a “PG-13” rating that certainly cross the line as well.  Again, the key principle is to avoid any media or entertainment that “is immoral, suggestive or pornographic.”

The same principle applies to music.  As a member of the Church, I listen to all types of music–classical, rock, pop, hip-hop, country, etc.  However, I try to change the radio station whenever songs come on that have inappropriate or suggestive lyrics.  Just as movies can put inappropriate images or thoughts into our mind, so too can music.

Of course, positive music and uplifting entertainment is a wonderful way to express ourselves and to have a good time.

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