—Thirteenth Article of Faith
The word media as used here means public communication such as newspapers, magazines, radio and television broadcasts. The media offer much education and wholesome entertainment. Frequently, however, they also offer encouragement to sin. We can be happier and serve our Heavenly Father better if we choose to read, see, and hear only that which encourages virtue, purity, and kindness.
Ask each family member to name someone he admires and wishes to be like. Discuss the idea that we tend to become like those we admire. We also tend to become like those we spend time with and watch closely.
Talk about some of the people your family watches and spends time with through television, movies, books, and other media.
Would you want to become like them?
Discuss the influence that various types of media have on people. Point out the good that is available through them and also the bad.
Help your family understand that through these media they can be cheered up or depressed, calmed or made aggressive, uplifted or degraded. If they let evil thoughts and acts pour into their minds, they can even be influenced to sympathize with sin and to accept it.
Read and discuss the first part of Proverbs 23:7: “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.”
To help your family decide how they can avoid the harmful effects of media in their lives, read the following and decide as a family which of these people are likely to be influenced for good by the media:
Sister Anderson turns on the television as soon as she gets up and leaves it on all day. The children watch it after school until bedtime. The family frequently quarrels about which programs to watch.
Bill and Sherrie decided to go to a movie that had won many prestigious awards. They knew that it had some profanity and nudity, but their friends said it was too good to miss.
The Johnsons carefully select the shows they watch on television and discuss any important messages in the shows.
Marvin’s friends sometimes give him pornographic magazines. He hides them in his room to look over in private.
Susan goes to the library often where she chooses books about people and events in history, different cultures, and poetry to fill her spare time.
Set some family standards and guidelines to help family members choose only quality media entertainment. Also plan some fun substitutes to use when such entertainment is not available.
Show your family the scriptures in a plain box or bag, and a package of garbage that has been attractively wrapped. Allow them to choose which package they would like. Let them open both packages. Discuss why they chose as they did.
Why does evil sometimes seem attractive?
Discuss how movies, books, and television programs could be compared to these packages.
What kind of garbage might we find in these sources of entertainment?
How can you tell what is good and what is evil?
Read together Moroni 7:12–19 and discuss the standard for judgment presented in these scriptures.
Ask family members to make a list of television programs and movies they have seen lately as well as books and magazines they have recently read. Ask them to compare the items on this list to the standard outlined in Moroni and see if the items invited them to do good and love God.
On a piece of paper or a poster, write down the things that you will do as a family to control the contact that family members have with undesirable programs or ideas in the media.
Occasionally take an evening to let family members review their favorite books or movies, sharing insights and feelings about them. Keep a list of best books or best movies that you each discover so that others in the family will be aware of them.
Review new television shows, including those on the public television channels. Then discuss what you find, and decide what will and will not be appropriate for your family to watch.
Psalm 97:10 (Ye that love the Lord, hate evil.)
Isaiah 5:20–21 (Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil.)
Amos 5:14 (Seek good, and not evil.)
Alma 41:10 (Wickedness never was happiness.)
Thirteenth article of faith (We seek that which is lovely and of good report.)
See also “Agency,” “Evil,” and “Good” in the Topical Guide.
“Choose the Right,” Hymns, no. 239.