the thinker


Back to Mormon Quotes Index

“We counsel you, young men, 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. Don't listen to music that is degrading.”

- Ezra Taft Benson, General Conference, April 1986

“Now, brethren of the priesthood, there should not be any X- or R-rated movies that we participate in viewing or talking about.”

- Bishop H. Burke Peterson, October 1980

“Again I say, leave it alone. Turn it off, walk away from it, burn it, erase it, destroy it. I know it is hard counsel we give when we say movies that are R-rated, and many with PG-13 ratings, are produced by Satanic influences.”

- Bishop H. Burke Peterson, October 1980

“Do not attend R- or X-rated movies, and avoid drive-ins.”

- Hartman Rector Jr., Oct. 1972

Wendy L. Watson offered these warnings to the youth of the LDS Church:

Warning 1. To be stamped on the cover of his magazines: "Contents highly addictive. Extremely corrosive-to-the-soul materials enclosed. Be prepared to have your mind twisted, your views of love ravaged, your spirit shrunk. Be aware that the Spirit of the Lord will not be with you during or after viewing. Be prepared that after an initial rush, you will experience feelings of depression, loneliness, despair, and guilt. Nevertheless, with repeated exposures over time, you can numb those feelings and enter into an almost total amnesia about who you really are and about truth itself."
Warning 2. For the beginning of Satan's coproduced movies: "The following scenes are brought to you in the hope that you will think of yourself as being an animal. Actually the dung from an animal is more pure and would harm you less when taken into your system. Extreme caution needed. This movie will make you believe that lust is really love and that all love really is—is lust. This movie will have its greatest effect if observed when you are feeling misunderstood, alone, blue, or just that you don't fit in. If you are not in any of these moods, viewing the movie will actually assist in getting you there. If you are in one of these moods, your spirit will be more vulnerable, and thus your ability to distinguish good from evil will be even more quickly extinguished.
Warning 3. For the devil's Internet connections: "Share the following with someone whose soul you would like to destroy. Complete success is ensured if you can offer it in the spirit of friendship and under the guise of love. By thinking and talking together about the content, all sweet pure feelings will be distorted into grand perversions. Pick a perversion, any perversion. That may be one of the very last choices you will get to make.
In fact, if you are tired of making choices just view the following several times—or keep immersing yourself in similar material—and your degree of freedom will be increasingly limited with each successive viewing. The irony is that you will be provided with a personalized illusion that your freedom is actually increasing. We've taken this way beyond the old smoke and mirrors tricks—and the illusions that will influence your heart and mind will be stunning. Virtual reality is here to replace virtuous living.
Warning 4. To announce the adversary's influence on prime-time viewing: "How many lies can you find in the following sitcom? If you can't find any . . . Gotcha! In the following, we are going to offer you ideas that you have never before entertained. But with repetition and humor we will slowly dilute the initial recoiling of your spirit, and you will begin to forget that there was ever a time when you didn't believe these lies to be true.
Warning 5. A lie-busting warning for rented videos: "Fantasy only allowed here. Only erotic illusions contained. No empathic love depicted. No consequences noted. No impact on your body, spirit, relationships with God, family and friends addressed. Please note that interactions will appear much more splendid than they really are. This is not real life. But it is a really great lie. We have left out the gory details that would only ruin the subtle appeal this movie will have for you.
Warning 6. For videos purchased: "Congratulations! You bought the movie this time instead of just renting it. In fact, you are buying this whole scheme—hook, line, and sinker. Let's just have this be our little secret. No one needs to know. No one will ever be able to tell. When people tell you that you are looking different, darker, or talking differently, or that you are more difficult to get along with, just get angry at them and go buy another movie or magazine with similar contents. Actually, you will soon be ready to advance to our total-destruction-of-the-senses line. You, too, will soon be past feeling.

- Wendy L. Watson, 1999 Women's Conference, speech entitled “Personal Purity and Intimacy”

“One client told me that it was after watching a certain popular movie that she first started thinking about having an affair with the man who was building her family's new home. She had the affair. Her home was built. Her marriage was destroyed. Those involved now live in three separate homes: the builder (it seems strange to call him that) with his wife in one home, the woman with some of her children in another, and her former husband and the rest of the children in yet another. No one lives in the home the affair destroyed. Now, this is a good woman. She was not a woman with no sense of right or wrong or of gospel principles.”

- Wendy L. Watson, 1999 Women's Conference, speech entitled “Personal Purity and Intimacy”

“The Church strongly counsels its members to avoid involvement with pornography for the many reasons cited above. An important additional reason is that involvement with it is also perceived as leading to a loss of contact with, and consciousness of, God and the Holy Spirit. It can lead to a psychological, sexual, and spiritual regression. Becoming addicted to pornography can lead to a loss of control and eventually to the loss of moral agency.”

- Encyclopedia of Mormonism, v. 3, “Pornography,” by Victor B. Cline

"Our Heavenly Father has counseled us as Latter-day Saints to seek after ‘anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy' (Articles of Faith 1:13). Whatever you read, listen to, or watch makes an impression on you. Public entertainment and the media can provide you with much positive experience. They can uplift and inspire you, teach you good and moral principles, and bring you closer to the beauty this world offers. But they can also make what is wrong and evil look normal, exciting, and acceptable.
“Pornography is especially dangerous and addictive. Curious exploration of pornography can become a controlling habit leading to coarser material and to sexual transgression. If you continue to view pornography, your spirit will become desensitized, and your conscience will erode. Much harm comes from reading or viewing pornography. It causes thoughts within you that weaken your self-discipline.
“Don't attend or participate in any form of entertainment, including concerts, movies, and videocassettes, that is vulgar, immoral, inappropriate, suggestive, or pornographic in any way. Movie ratings not always accurately reflect offensive content. Don't be afraid to walk out of a movie, turn off a television set, or change a radio station if what's being presented does not meet your Heavenly Father's standards. And do not read books or magazines or look at pictures that are pornographic or that present immorality as acceptable.
“In short, if you have any question about whether a particular movie, book, or other form of entertainment is appropriate, don't see it, don't read it, don't participate."

- LDS “For the Strength of Youth” pamplet

"It goes without saying that all X and R-rated movies are automatically eliminated."

- Elder Robert L. Simpson, Church News, Conference Issues 1970-1987, p. 11

"Be clean. I cannot emphasize that enough. Be clean. It is very, very important and you at your age are in such temptation all the time. It is thrown at you on television. It is thrown at you in books and magazines and videos. You do not have to rent them. Don't do it. Just don't do it. Don't look at them. If somebody proposes that you sit around all night watching some of that sleazy stuff, you say, It¹s not for me. Stay away from it."

- Gordon B. Hinckley, quote by Elder Joe J. Christensen, Ensign, November 1996, p. 40

"We counsel you, young men, 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. Don't listen to music that is degrading."

- Ezra Taft Benson, Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 222

“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.

- Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, May 1986, p. 45

"Another activity that can detract us from the proper way is watching television excessively or viewing improper movies. While fine productions on these media are uplifting and entertaining, we need to be very selective in choosing what we see and how much of our time such an activity deserves. Our precious time must not be diverted to the sideline attractions of vulgar language, immoral conduct, pornography and violence."

- Elder Joseph P. Wirthlin, Ensign, November 1990, p. 65

"In a day when broadcasters and publishers have rather free access into our homes, we must seek clean, uplifting entertainment, whether on television, videos, movies, magazines, books and other printed material. We should be very selective and choose only those things that meet the test of being virtuous, lovely, of good report, or praiseworthy. If it is questionable, we should avoid it."

- Elder Joseph P. Wirthlin, Ensign, May 1992, p. 87

"[Our Heavenly Father] has, through prophets, cautioned against consuming the steady diet of evil that is offered relentlessly in today¹s media, especially magazines, movies, videocassettes, video games, and television. The windows of computer monitors and television screens can bring to us very useful information, but they can also bring information that is evil, degrading, and destructive. The Lord has warned repeatedly against the evils and designs of conspiring men in our day who would enslave us to our appetites and passions by tempting and tantalizing us with the obscene images, words and music. Through his servants, the Lord has cautioned us strongly not to take into our minds thoughts that can harm our spirits. Since 1950, Church leaders speaking in general conference have counseled us some seventy-five times against unhealthy media consumption. In recent years, as standards of public decency and morality have declined and as public media have reflected and often led that decline, these words of loving concern from inspires shepherds of the Lord¹s flock have come with more frequency and greater urgency. The watchmen on the tower have raised a warning voice."

- Elder Joseph P. Wirthlin, Ensign, November 1995, p. 77

"Young men and women, keep yourselves worthy. Stay away from those environments, the music, the films, the videos, the clubs, and the associations that draw you into immoral conduct (see 1 Cor. 6:9; 1 Thes. 5:22; 2 Tim. 2:22; D&C 9:13)
“Now, I must speak of another danger, almost unknown in our youth but now everywhere about you. Normal desires and attractions emerge in the teenage years; there is the temptation to experiment, to tamper with the sacred power of procreation. “These desires can be intensified, even perverted, by pornography, improper music, or the encouragement from unworthy associations. What would have only been a more or less normal passing phase in establishing gender identity can become implanted and leave you confused, even disturbed.
“If you consent, the adversary can take control of your thoughts and lead you carefully toward a habit and to an addiction, convincing you that immoral, unnatural behavior is a fixed part of your nature.”

- Boyd K. Packer, “Ye Are the Temple of God,” October 2000 General Conference

"Parental hypocrisy can make children cynical and unbelieving of what they are taught at home. For instance, when parents attend movies they forbid their children to see, parental credibility is diminished. If children are expected to be honest, parents must be honest. If children are expected to be virtuous, parents must be virtuous. If you expect your children to be honorable, you must be honorable."

- Elder James E. Faust, Ensign, November 1990, p. 33

"It is very unreasonable to suppose that exposure to profanity, nudity, sex, and violence has no negative effects on us. We can't roll around in the mud without getting dirty. It is a concern that some of our young Latter-day Saints, as well as their parents, regularly watch R-rated and other inappropriate movies and videos. One more reason why the devil laugheth, and his angels rejoice.(3 Ne. 9:2)''

- Elder Joe J. Christensen, “The Savior Is Counting On You,” October 1996 General Conference

"Although there are some uplifting exceptions, in most areas of the mass media there seems to be a declaration of war against almost everything the majority treasures most: the family, religion and patriotism. Marriage is degraded, while premarital and extramarital relations are encouraged and glamorized. Profanity and the foulest of vulgar gutter language bombard the ears of all who listen. Reportedly, in one R-rated movie, the most common, vulgar, four-letter word was spoken 256 times! Human life itself is trivialized by the constant barrage of violence and killings. Remember that anything that is not good for children is rarely good for adults."

- Elder Joe J. Christensen, Ensign, November 1993, p.11

"Any film, television show, music, or printed material unfit for youth is also unfit for parents. Those who rationalize acceptance of immoral material on grounds of maturity or sophistication are deceived."

- Elder J. Richard Clarke, Ensign, May 1991, p. 42

"I know it is hard counsel we give when we say movies that are R-rated, and many with PG-13 ratings, are produced by satanic influences. Our standards should not be dictated by the rating system. I repeat, because of what they really represent, these types of movies, music, tapes, etc. serve the purposes of the author of all darkness."

- Elder H. Burke Peterson, Ensign, November 1993, p. 43

"In magazines and books, on CDs and tapes, on our television and theater screens is portrayed more and more often a lifestyle that might even rival the excesses of those who lived in Sodom and Gomorra....One of the great tragedies is that too many [members] are watching and listening to this type of so-called entertainment. Some do it only casually at first. They think they are spiritually strong and will be immune to its influence. This trash is nothing more nor less than pornography dressed in one of its many imitation robes of splendor one of the master counterfeiter's best products....many do not recognize they are trapped or soon will be....They see this as a form of entertainment that serves as a relief from the troubles of the day. In point of fact and in reality, it is only relieving them of their spirituality and their capacity to draw on the powers of heaven in times of [one] can look at, read about, or listen to such explicit vulgarity, even in its mildest form without bringing sorrow to a loving God and a terrible injury to one's own spirit....I plead with you to leave it alone. Stay away from any movie, video, publication, or music (regardless of it rating) where illicit behavior and expressions are a part of the action."

- Elder H. Burke Peterson, Ensign, November 1993, p. 42-43

"Wise use of our technology would include care in that which we invite into our homes by the way of television, videos, computers, including the Internet. There is much that is good and edifying in the media, but there is also much that is gross, immoral, and time-consuming, enticing us to be 'ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.' 2 Tim. 3:7 During the Second World War when gasoline was in short supply and rationed, I remember signs saying, 'Is this trip necessary?' Today, with ever- increasing demands on everyone and time in short supply, might we ask ourselves before we turn on the video game, the television, the computer, or access the many programs available, 'Is this trip necessary?...Is the information I am receiving from this tool of learning edifying, and adding truth into my life? Are the hours I am investing an effective use of my valuable time? Does this computer game assist me in fulfilling my responsibilities and goals?' If the answer is not a resounding yes, then we should have the courage and determination to click off the button and direct our lives to more important tasks."

- Elder Harold G. Hillam, Ensign, November 1997, p. 63

"One of the most critical challenges mankind faces today is to recognize the difference between happiness and mere pleasure. Satan and his forces have become extremely effective in their effort to convince people that pleasure should be the most sought-after objective. He slyly promises that wherever found, pleasure will bring happiness. Our television and movie screens are filled with not-so-subtle messages that encourage and persuade young and old alike to unbridle their passions and they will experience happiness. The results of this reckless course should be so apparent as we watch the tremendous social and psychological costs continue to mount."

- Elder W. Eugene Harrison, Ensign, November 1993, p. 82

"Satan has intensified his efforts to destroy the family by corrupting the youth and robbing childhood of its innocence. Our youth are especially vulnerable as the enemy cunningly utilizes every means at his disposal, including the mass media and changes in constitutional law, to deceive them. He bombards our homes with enticements of destructive and harmful products and morals through television, videos, press, books, etc. We as Latter-day Saints and all good people anywhere must consciously screen what comes into our homes. Parents have the inalienable right and the responsibility to educate their children. No inappropriate outsider should be allowed to dictate our family's values nor what our children are being taught."

- Elder Horatio A. Tenorio, Ensign, November 1994, p. 23

“Salt Lake City -- The president and prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Sunday told members of the faith that they must ‘hold back the world' by resisting the everyday evil embodied in popular entertainment and the Internet.
“President Gordon B. Hinckley, speaking during the church's 173rd semiannual General Conference, said that while many not of the faith would support their values, ‘we cannot be arrogant. We cannot be self-righteous.'
“The church's leader also noted he was pleased that the church-owned NBC affiliate in Salt Lake City had refused to air a program of a "salacious nature," apparently referring to the network's new sitcom, ‘Coupling,' a remake of a BBC show focusing on the sex lives of a group of friends.
The NBC affiliate in South Bend, Ind., owned by the Roman Catholic-affiliated University of Notre Dame, also has refused to air the program. ‘It is comforting to know that there are others who feel as strongly as we feel and are willing to do something about it,' Hinckley said.”

- New York Times, “Mormons Warned of Entertainment Evils,” October 5, 2003

“I plead with you boys tonight to keep yourselves free from the stains of the world. You must not indulge in sleazy talk at school. You must not tell sultry jokes. You must not fool around with the Internet to find pornographic material. You must not dial a long-distance telephone number to listen to filth. You must not rent videos with pornography of any kind. This salacious stuff simply is not for you. Stay away from pornography as you would avoid a serious disease. It is as destructive. It can become habitual, and those who indulge in it get so they cannot leave it alone. It is addictive. It is a five-billion-dollar business for those who produce it. They make it as titillating and attractive as they know how. It seduces and destroys its victims. It is everywhere. It is all about us. I plead with you young men not to get involved in its use. You simply cannot afford to.

- Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley, General Conference, April 1998

“You live in a world of terrible temptations. Pornography, with its sleazy filth, sweeps over the earth like a horrible, engulfing tide. It is poison. Do not watch it or read it. It will destroy you if you do. It will take from you your self-respect. It will rob you of a sense of the beauties of life. It will tear down and pull you into a slough of evil thoughts and possible of evil actions.”

- Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley, General Conference, October 1997

“As we have been reminded, this is a season of great evil in the world. No one needs to be reminded of that. We are constantly exposed to the much and filth of pornography, to salacious and evil behavior totally unbecoming anyone who holds the priesthood of God.”

- Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley, General Conference, April 1999

“I told the Relief Society of secret underground drug parties that go by the name of Rave. Here with flashing lights and noisy music, if it can be called that, young men and women dance and sway. They sell and buy drugs. The drugs are called Ecstasy. They are a derivative of methamphetamine. The dancers suck on babies'pacifiers because the drug makes them grind their teeth. The hot music and the sultry dancing go on until 7:30 of a Sunday morning. What does it all lead to? Nowhere. It is a dead end. If they [LDS boys] want to get involved in pornography, they can do so very easily. They can pick up the phone and dial a number with which they are familiar. They can sit at a computer and revel in cyberspace filth. I fear this may be going on in some of your homes. It is vicious. It is lewd and filthy. It is enticing and habit-forming. It will take a young man or woman down to destruction as surely as anything in this world. It is foul sleaze that makes its exploiters wealthy, its victims impoverished.”

- Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley, General Conference, October 2000