“If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things” (13th Article of Faith).
“Everything which inviteth and enticeth to do good…is inspired of God” (Moroni 7:13).
“Choose wisely when using media because whatever you read, listen to, or look at has an effect on you. Select only media that uplifts you” (For the Strength of Youth).
These words, and others, have been lingering in my mind as I’ve recently pondered taking a new direction in my writings with Meridian. For the past four years it has been my privilege to be part of this team, writing about entertainment, family, and gospel subjects. It’s something I look forward to doing for a long time. Recently I began a ‘Meridian at the Movies’ column, aiming to provide weekly reviews of current theatrical releases from a Latter-Day Saint perspective. But positive reader feedback to my recommendations of uplifting family-friendly movies, correspondence with Maurine Proctor, and what I humbly believe to be personal inspiration have guided me to something at once broader in scope and yet more refined.
There is so much that is beautiful, faith-affirming, and virtue-promoting, not just in movies but in art, entertainment, and literature. However, to paraphrase Brother Joseph, many are kept from the good stuff because they know not where to find it. I don’t want to just review movies here. I’ve got my own website for that. I’d like to use this column to help readers find options for entertainment and culture that will bring their souls closer to the Savior Jesus Christ. At minimum said media would not drive away the Spirit. Even better if it actively promotes righteous values and best of all if it bears open witness of the Lord. These options might be found in film, on television, in literature, on the theatre stage, online, or at the comedy club. I want to help members identify quality media that conforms to the Lord’s standards, keeping in mind that each person follows those standards according to their own conscience and the guidance of the Holy Ghost (see my examination of film content and LDS standards for more on this subject).
I realize that this is an ambitious undertaking. Though I’d like to have a ‘praiseworthy media’ article come out every Friday, I must keep in mind prophetic counsel to not let good things crowd out necessary things (like time with my family, my church calling, temple attendance, service, my job, etc). I’m also mindful of the Savior’s admonition to not overzealously start things which I cannot follow through with (Luke 14:28-30), so I must pace myself. That said, I will make every reasonable effort to seek out, every week, ‘the good stuff’ for you and your family. Sometimes I may write on a doctrinal subject instead, or I may miss a week for personal reasons (for example, we’re having a baby in September and I can guarantee that I won’t have a column then).
Your help and support is much appreciated. When these columns are published, please “like” them if you are on Facebook or otherwise share them with friends via email or Twitter. If you have recommendations for praiseworthy media that you’d likeme to spotlight, you can email me by clicking on the related tab at the top of my articles. Please understand that I cannot possibly watch, read, or listen to everything that comes my way, nor will I recommend something if I find it offensive or of low artistic quality. However, I’ll be happy to consider any recommendation. It is my hope that together we can help one anotherto better follow the counsel of prophets and apostles, including Elder M. Russell Ballard, who told us:
"One can still find movies and TV comedies and dramas that entertain and uplift accurately depict the consequences of right and wrong. The internet can be a fabulous tool of information and communication, and there is an unlimited supply of good music in the world. Thus our biggest challenge is to choose wisely what we listen to and what we watch...Let us speak out and encourage a more uplifting, inspiring, and acceptable media...We need to take time to watch appropriate media with our children and discuss with them how to make choices that will uplift and build rather than degrade and destroy" (Elder M. Russell Ballard, "Let Our Voices Be Heard," October 2003).
I look forward to working with you to find the diamonds in the rough. Please check back here every Friday!
For movie reviews, articles, and fun videos by this author, please visit www.mormonmovieguy.com