“The Spirit Can Help Me Choose Good Media,” Help for Parents (2019)
“The Spirit Can Help Me Choose Good Media,” Help for Parents
“The greatest filter in the world … is the personal internal filter that comes from a deep and abiding testimony of our Heavenly Father’s love and our Savior’s atoning sacrifice for each one of us” (Linda S. Reeves, “Protection from Pornography—a Christ-Focused Home,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2014, 16).
“If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things” (Articles of Faith 1:13).
We are blessed as never before with many technological advances that enable us to gather, create, share, and consume vast amounts of information in many forms. These advances have allowed Heavenly Father’s work to progress at an accelerated rate. However, some information and entertainment available through media can lead us away from righteous living. Pornography in all forms is especially dangerous and can be addictive. What may begin with an unexpected exposure or a curious exploration can become a destructive habit. We must avoid pornography at all costs.
God has given us access to the gift of the Holy Ghost to help us make good decisions about what media to view, read, or listen to. When our choice of media causes the Spirit to leave, we need to recognize that the Spirit is telling us that what we are doing will take us away from God. The longer we continue viewing pornographic media, the harder it will be to feel the Spirit again. It is essential that we learn how to respond appropriately when we encounter inappropriate media.
The following scriptures and resources can help you deepen your knowledge of the doctrine related to this topic. As you study, consider ways to share the doctrine with your children.
Galatians 5:22–23 (The fruits of the Spirit)
Alma 48:7–9 (Captain Moroni prepares his people for war)
Moroni 7:16–17 (The Spirit of Christ helps us know good from evil)
Articles of Faith 1:13 (Seek after virtuous things)
Conference talks and magazine articles:
“Alasdair at the Theater,” Friend, May 2014, 44–45
“The Bad Movie,” Friend, Jun. 2013, 44–45
“Choose the Right Media,” Friend, Apr. 2012, 26–27
Linda S. Reeves, “Protection from Pornography—a Christ-Focused Home,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2014, 15–17
Neill F. Marriott, “Pure Hearts and Clean Bodies,” New Era, Mar 2014, 28–29
Randall L. Ridd, “The Choice Generation,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2014, 56–58
“Entertainment and Media,” For the Strength of Youth (booklet, 2011), 11–13
Family Conversations: Talking about Healthy Sexuality, Mormon Channel, mormonchannel.org
“The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2017, 145
“If the Savior Stood beside Me,” New Era, Aug. 2007, 8–10
Let Virtue Garnish Thy Thoughts (pamphlet, 2006)
A Parent’s Guide (1985)
“The Sting of the Scorpion” (video, ChurchofJesusChrist.org)
“Things as They Really Are” (video, ChurchofJesusChrist.org)
“Your Desires, Your Choices, and Your Technology” (video, ChurchofJesusChrist.org)
Choose from these ideas or think of your own to introduce the doctrine of following the Spirit.
Find out what your children already know about following the Spirit in choosing good media. Discuss with them some books, games, or movies that are uplifting, and talk about what makes these things uplifting. Then discuss media that is not uplifting because it shows disrespect for our bodies or for Heavenly Father’s plan. Teach an age-appropriate definition of pornography (see “What should I do if I see pornography?”). For young children, you might explain that pornography is something that show people who are wearing little or no clothing. For older children, you may explain that pornography is any material that depicts or describes the human body or sexual conduct in a way that arouses or is intended to arouse sexual feelings inappropriately. It is distributed through many media, including magazines, books, television, movies, music, and the internet. If your children have had an experience with inappropriate media, you may ask them to contrast the feelings they had during that experience with how they feel while enjoying uplifting media. Encourage them to ask any questions they may have about how to know what media is good or bad and how they can learn to choose good media.
Read the thirteenth article of faith together. Discuss what it means to seek things that are “virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy.” Ask why we want to focus on media that has those qualities.
Following the guidance of the Spirit, select one or more of the following activities that will work best for your family.
Read “Alasdair at the Theater.” Discuss as a family the difference between the two performances Alasdair and his family attended. Why is it important to pay attention to how we feel when we are watching something?
Learn the song “If the Savior Stood beside Me” (New Era, Aug. 2007, 8–10) as a family. Talk about how the song applies to the things we read and watch. You may want to discuss the dangers of secretly engaging in media. Help them see that if they would be embarrassed to read or watch something with a sibling, a parent, or the Savior, then it is probably something they should avoid.
Print out a black-and-white picture of a tree for each family member. Ask them to draw fruit on the tree and write the fruits of the Spirit that are listed in Galatians 5:22–23. Discuss the ways that they can recognize the Holy Ghost, and help them understand how His influence can guide them to choose good media.
Watch the video “The Sting of the Scorpion.” Discuss different protections that you have against bad media that are similar to the protection of wearing shoes in Elder Patrick Kearon’s story about the scorpion. Print out or draw an outline of a shield for each family member. Have them write or draw the things that can protect them on the shield.
Read the standards in “Entertainment and Media” in For the Strength of the Youth and talk about how your family can follow these standards. Make a plan to apply these principles and avoid habits that could lead to pornography addiction.
In Alma 48:7–9, read about Moroni’s efforts to protect his people from the threat of Amalickiah. Using resources such as “Internet and Family Safety” (tech.ChurchofJesusChrist.org), decide together how you will use internet filters and technology rules in your household to help protect one another from Satan’s attacks. Make sure your children understand that these rules are meant to help family members stay safe, not limit their happiness.
Sister Linda S. Reeves, second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, has asked the youth to “take responsibility for [their] own spiritual well-being” (17). Discuss what spiritual well-being means and how we can maintain it. You could focus on aspects of spiritual health such as personal testimony, building faith, and obeying the commandments. Take turns sharing examples from the scriptures of people like Nephi or Captain Moroni who took responsibility for their spiritual well-being (see, for example, Genesis 39:7–12; Matthew 4:1–11; 1 Nephi 2:16–17; Alma 5:45–46; Joseph Smith—History 1:11–17). Express your faith and confidence in your children’s abilities to make good decisions with the Lord’s help. Invite them to take responsibility for how they use media and for how that media affects their spiritual health.
Ask your family to share what they have learned about listening to and following the Spirit today. Review how the Spirit can help them discern between positive and destructive media. What does it feel like when the Spirit is present? What does it feel like if the Spirit goes away?
Invite your family to pay special attention to how they feel while using any form of media, and invite them to avoid all forms of media that do not help them feel close to the Lord. Encourage them to focus their time on things that help them feel the Spirit.