My kids use the Internet like I used World Book Encyclopedias, telephones, the U.S. Postal system and – I’m sure- several other things, all rolled into one. Between them, they have checked out Facebook, My Space, and YouTube. They IM on the home computer or on their cell phones. None of them watch very much television – they are too busy with other, more tech things.
Back in “The Day” when I watched television as a child, the fare offered was very mild stuff. Not so with today’s offerings. It is fine with me that they have other things to do than watch that screen. I wonder- what is the percentage of shows we could watch that are acceptable before the Lord?
And what of the stuff that comes through on the computer screens, the lap tops, and the cell phones? How do you young people hold the line so that your standards can remain – well – your standards? How do we help arm you against the dark and ugly offerings in this world?
After all, it was less than a year ago that I read of a six-year-old child who was introduced to pornography by her school bus driver – pictures she had on her cell phone! Sad and sick. Those are two words that come to mind.
A great deal more is required of you than was required of me when I was a young girl. Like my oldest daughter said a couple of years ago, “There are a lot more ways for kids to get into trouble than there ever were before.” And an ever lessening of standards in the world that would keep us anchored to Christ-like thoughts.
Experiments that show the lowering standard
I have a dear friend named Randal Wright who has done a great deal of study on the influence of media on individuals. Surprising is how we may become so casually accepting of a lesser standard that we do not hear or do not see some blatant evils right in front of us. We may miss the slipping standards that are right under our noses.
For one experiment, he sent several young people to a movie that was rated as PG. He wanted them to watch and listen carefully for any offensive language, for any immoral scenes, and or anything that might chase away the Holy Spirit. The shocker was that when he went to the same movie, he counted many more swear words than they had counted. He noted a number of scenes in which sexual innuendo or obvious scripted words had gone past the younger viewers.
Inner versus outer
I have suggested to young women, when speaking at standards nights, that they reconsider what kind of under clothing they wear. If those under garments bring feelings or thoughts that are anything less than pure, or take them down any road that would not lead to the temple, it would be a good idea to get rid of the thong-type choices and find more appropriate ones. It seems a small thing, but the way we feel inside can make a difference even in the things we see, the things we hear …. Those things on the outside that can impact our hearts and minds. In Jacob 2:28 we read, “For I the Lord God, delight in the chastity of women.”
For young men especially, there is a greater threat than every before that comes in the form of pornography. It is readily available on the technological gadgets that so many people use as a daily, hourly form or communication. This insidious plague is changing the way some think, the way some interact with the opposite sex, the way some prepare for being husbands and fathers. There is no such thing as harmless pornography. Anything that leaves an impression on the brain or the spirit, which is degrading or less than sacred in any way, is harmful. One young man told me about having a problem such as the one I am addressing for about a year while he was a teenager. Although he cleaned up his act, repented and was called to serve a mission, he realized the effects of his short foray into lesser things had impacted him long-term.
“While I was in the temple, Sister Taylor, paying close attention to the sacred things to learn, I had come into my mind the ugly picture of something I had seen several years ago. Oh, how I wish I had never looked to begin with.” He, like others who have spoken with me or emailed me, share the same kind of feelings.
Don’t even begin. If you have seen things you should not have seen, be done with it. Work at removing those pictures from your mind. When anything flashes inside that brain, ask for help in dismissing it. Move on in a way that would make your Father in Heaven proud.
Elder M. Russell Ballard, in an address given at BYU-Hawaii on December 15, 2007, shared some profound and beautiful insights. Among his comments was this one: “Every disciple of Christ will be most effective and do the most good by adopting a demeanor worthy of a follower of the Savior.” The outer man begins with the inner man- and woman as well. How much better our lives can be when we are determined to follow the subscribed pattern as closely as we are able!
Follow the Savior’s pattern
In John 13:15, we learn these words from the Savior, “I have given you an example, that ye should do as I.” The things we look at should be the kinds of things we would look at if the Savior were along side us. If it is not something acceptable to him, make another choice.
If He were to walk along side us, would we watch what we watch? Would we choose different websites to visit or different pictures or videos to view? Because our prophets are speaking for the Lord himself, we have plenty of strong counsel from our leaders. They provide an ongoing pattern for us to follow, in the manner the Savior would approve.
President Hinckley once stated: “What a frightening change has occurred in our culture. A great flood of sleaze has gathered and is washing over us. Language is used on our campuses that never crossed our lips back in the days of my youth. Pornography with all its titillating and vicious attraction is all about us. We have television, videos, DVDs, the Internet, and other means to deliver the filthy and the evil into our homes and lives. It is taking its toll. . . . This is the era of gutter-talk, of sloppy dress, of sloppy ways” (address to CES religious educators, Feb.
Better vision/better views
If we had our heavenly lens out of which to view, we might see a lot of things that now slip past us as we peruse Internet, television and movie programs. Maybe our spirit would more quickly alert us regarding offensive language, dress, pictures, or what-have-you.
In President Hinckley’s book Way To Be! he makes a most important comment about you good young people:
“You really are ‘a chosen generation.’ You are better educated. You desire to do the right thing. Many of you are trying to keep yourselves free from the corrosive stains of the world. In so many ways, you are remarkable! You are exceptional! I believe that as a group, you are the finest this world has ever seen.”
I know President Hinckley, and President Monson, believe in you. They want the best for you. They know that the world’s corrosive influence is ever knocking at the door—or at the computer screen and on the video and movie screens.
Do you see as you want to see? Do you see things that your ‘best you’ would never see? Do you rise to your divine potential and choose to stay away from the things that, when viewed, may harm your beautiful and tender spirit?
The Doctrine and Covenants gives a warning and a promise. The promise says ‘if your eye be single to my glory, your whole bodies shall be filled with light, and there shall be no darkness in you; and that body which is filled with light comprehendeth all things’ ( D&C 88:67 ).
When we desire to see as He sees, and make the effort to use that internal radar we are given (the light of Christ) we will see with the best and more clear view. Enough so that we will lose desire to view that which would cause harm, and gain strength enough that we can with purpose determine that anything these eyes of ours see will be no less than what we could view if our loving Savior was looking along with us!