For the Strength of Youth – Dating, Music and Dancing, and Entertainment and Media

                                                                                                 Dating                         

Young Women Manual 3, (1994), 126–28

  1. I will date only those young men who live Church standards.
  2. I will attend only activities that meet Church standards.
  3. I will save physical intimacies for marriage.
  4. I will uphold high standards of modesty in my dress, language, and actions.
  5. I will make a list of personal qualities that I would like the young men I date to possess.
  6. I will return home from each date clean and unashamed.
  7. I will discuss my dating activities with my parents.
  1. Article: Research Supports LDS Dating Guidelines
  • Although not all dating behavior is problematic, researchers say that some who date at age 13 or 14 with a single partner are more likely to have problems than those who have more casual romantic interactions in a group setting. Some of those behaviors included impulsive behavior, getting into arguments with friends, fights at home, and truancy at school. Dating younger can also increase alcohol use and sexual activity. The healthy progression to dating starts with group activities involving both sexes in early adolescence; then as the teens get older they start to narrow down to couples. 
  1. “Remember, young women, the importance of proper dating. … Our Heavenly Father wants you to date young men who are faithful members of the Church, who will be worthy to take you to the temple and be married the Lord’s way. There will be a new spirit in Zion when the young women will say to their boyfriends, ‘If you cannot get a temple recommend, then I am not about to tie my life to you, even for mortality!’ …“My young sisters, we have such hope for you. We have such great expectations for you. Don’t settle for less than what the Lord wants you to be” (Ezra Taft Benson, “To the Young Women of the Church,”Ensign,Nov. 1986, p. 84).

*D. President Kimball said, “Clearly, right marriage begins with right dating. … Therefore, this warning comes with great emphasis. Do not take the chance of dating nonmembers, or members who are untrained and faithless. [You] may say, ‘Oh I do not intend to marry this person. It is just a “fun” date.’ But one cannot afford to take a chance on falling in love with someone who may never accept the gospel.” (Miracle of Forgiveness, pp. 241–42.)

  1. How do you politely tell someone you don’t date yet, but you can still be friends?

If you’re not 16 yet and someone asks you on a date (or to “hang out” with them in a situation obviously very much like dating), simply thank them for the invitation, but tell them you’re not going to start dating until you’re 16, or that it’s a rule in your family not to date until you’re 16. If they ask why, tell them that it’s something the Church teaches. Don’t apologize for the Church standard, but let the person know what that standard is.

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Brigham Young – Is there anything immoral in recreation? If I see my sons and daughters enjoying themselves, chatting, visiting, riding, going to a party or a dance, is there anything immoral in that? I watch very closely, and if I hear a word, see a look, or a sneer at divine things or anything derogatory to a good moral character, I feel it in a moment, and I say, “If you follow that it will not lead to good, it is evil; it will not lead to the fountain of life and intelligence; follow, only, the path that leads to life everlasting” (DBY, 237).

Out of the Best Books, Movies or Music (Christ Skousen):

*“President Brigham Young offered some advice to his own children that could also be applied to situations you may face today. He encouraged his children to study music and dance, to attend the theater, and to read novels—things that, he said, “expand their frames, add fire to their spirits, and improve their minds” (quoted in Q&A, New Era, Sept. 1993, 17).

Despite the rampant inappropriate material, there are still many books, films, and music selections that are wholesome and can “add fire to our spirits and improve our minds.” You will become informed and more well-rounded by surrounding yourself with material that is both uplifting and inspiring.”

Music and Dancing

A – D&C 25:12  For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads.

*B – President J. Reuben Clark Jr. said, “We get nearer to the Lord through music than perhaps through any other thing except prayer.” 5

C – Boyd K Packer – Reverence Invites Revelation  – October 1991 –Music is of enormous importance in our worship services. I believe that those who choose, conduct, present, and accompany the music may influence the spirit of reverence in our meetings more than a speaker does. God bless them.”

  • Sing the hymns at church.
  • Make sure music chosen for Sacrament meeting is sacred and not secular.
  1. A Closer Look at Popular Music, Lex Azevedo, March 1985
  • *Moral and immoral songs exist in nearly every kind of music, and attacking a specific category may lead a person to feel justified in listening to immoral music of another type.
  • Hard-to-remember words stick in the mind easily when combined with catchy, easy-to-remember melodies.
  • *We should look at the music we allow into our homes and ask, “Is this music, with its lyrics, conducive to the Spirit of the Lord? Will it exercise its power in a positive or negative way?”
  • *Many people who listen to popular music claim that they never listen to the lyrics and that the messages never affect them. Research, however, shows that our brains are marvelously perceptive; they pick up almost any message within sight or sound, whether we consciously know it or not. Those subconsciously received messages may have as much an effect on us as the messages we consciously seek out.4
  • *The Lord has counseled, “Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly.” (D&C 121:45.) Accordingly, then, our abandonment of immoral music is only half the battle. Cultivating a taste for uplifting and encouraging music in our homes is the necessary other half.
  1. M. Russell Ballard – Let Our Voices be Heard

We must be concerned with the violent and sexually charged lyrics of much of today’s popular music and the relatively new “art form” of the music video. According to industry observers, 40 percent of the music video audience is under the age of 18. 4 One study reports that approximately three-fourths of all the music videos that tell a story utilize sexual imagery, and nearly half involve violence. 5 And the fashion trends spawned in their images are about as far away from being “virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy” as you can get. Ours surely is a time when men “call evil good, and good evil” (Isa. 5:20).

  1. Handbook 2: Administering the church:
 13.6.6 Dances and Music

In all dances, the dress, grooming, lighting, dancing styles, lyrics, and music should contribute to an atmosphere where the Spirit of the Lord can be present (see For the Strength of Youth). Those who oversee dances should carefully follow the policies outlined below.

Leaders use the Performance Contract form when hiring a band, orchestra, or disc jockey. This contract helps ensure that conduct and music are appropriate for Church dances. Those who provide music should not use inappropriate lyrics and should not dress or talk immodestly. Leaders hold auditions and make firm, clear agreements in writing that commit the persons who provide music to follow Church standards when performing for Church activities.

The beat of the music, whether instrumental or vocal, should not overshadow the melody. The volume should be low enough to allow two people who are standing side by side to hear each other as they carry on a normal conversation.

Lights should be bright enough for people to see across the room. Strobe lighting and psychedelic lighting that pulsate with the beat are not acceptable. Lights on the floor, in the corners of the room, or spotlighting wall and ceiling decorations are appropriate.

  1. 1 Nephi 18:9 – And after we had been driven forth before the wind for the space of many days, behold, my brethren and the sons of Ishmael and also their wives began to make themselves merry, insomuch that they began to dance, and to sing, and to speak with much rudeness, yea, even that they did forget by what power they had been brought thither; yea, they were lifted up unto exceeding rudeness.

Entertainment and Media

A. Ezra Taft Benson, April 1986 – To the “Youth of the Noble Birthright”

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.

Magazines and books that are obscene and pornographic.

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.”

B. H Burke Peterson, Purify Our Minds and Spirits, Oct 1980 – Our mind, which is like a tremendous reservoir itself, is capable of taking in whatever it may be fed—good and bad, trash and garbage, as well as righteous thoughts and experiences. As we go through life, we may be exposed to stories, pictures, books, jokes, and language that are filthy and vulgar, or to television shows and movies that are not right for us to see or hear. Our mind will take it all in. It has a capacity to store whatever we will give it. Unfortunately, what our mind takes in, it keeps—sometimes forever. It’s a long, long process to cleanse a mind that has been polluted by unclean thoughts.

Sometimes our minds may be so cluttered with filth and pollution that they are unable to be a spiritual strength to us and our families, let alone mankind in general. When in this condition, we find our thinking processes are not clear or correct. Everyday problems are more difficult to solve. We say and do things we would otherwise never be a part of.

There are two things we must do. First, we must stop the flow into our minds of these unhealthy and unwholesome streams of experiences and thoughts. Evil acts are preceded by unrighteous thoughts. And unrighteous thoughts are born of vulgar stories, jokes, pictures, conversation, and a myriad of other satanic products.”

**C. Blessed Are All the Pure in Heart – L Whitney Clayton of the 70 (Oct 2007)

Along with losing the Spirit, pornography users also lose perspective and proportion. Like King David, they try to conceal their sin, forgetting that nothing is hidden from the Lord (see 2 Nephi 27:27). Real consequences start to accumulate as self-respect ebbs away, sweet relationships sour, marriages wither, and innocent victims begin to pile up. Finding that what they have been viewing no longer satisfies, they experiment with more extreme images. They slowly grow addicted even if they don’t know it or they deny it, and like David’s, their behavior deteriorates as their moral standards disintegrate.

As popular culture across the world degenerates, sleaze increasingly saturates the media, entertainment, advertising, and the Internet. But popularity according to the world’s prevailing norms is a very perilous scale to use to measure what’s right or even what’s not dangerous. A movie or television show may be well known and well liked by millions of viewers and nevertheless portray images and conduct that are pornographic. If something in a movie “isn’t too bad,” that automatically means that it isn’t too good either. Thus, the fact that others watch movies or open Web sites that aren’t appropriate is no excuse for us. Priesthood holders’ lives should emulate the standards of the Savior and His Church, not the standards of the world.”

**D. Just a Little Violence New Era article

It didn’t matter what the movie was rated, and it didn’t matter that there was only a little violence. It had been enough to offend the Spirit. And if that’s the case with movies, could the same principle hold true with other things? Maybe there are some words that offend the Spirit even if they aren’t swear words, and maybe some music offends the Spirit even if the lyrics aren’t bad.

When I committed to being more selective about the things I watched, played, read, said, and listened to, within days I could feel a difference. I didn’t realize how desensitized I had become to the influence of the Spirit.

When I cut back on my diet of violence, I found it was easier to control my temper, and I didn’t fight as much with my brothers. I noticed that, while my language wasn’t foul, cleaning it up made a big difference. Best of all, I could feel the Spirit more strongly.

It taught me that “just a little violence” is more than the Spirit wants to see.

Media Violence

Watching violent movies and television shows can affect you no matter what they’re rated. For more than 30 years, Church leaders have been warning against watching violence. In 2000, leaders in the United States’ medical community also spoke up with the following statement:

“Well over 1,000 studies … point overwhelmingly to a causal connection between media violence and aggressive behavior in some children. The conclusion of the public health community, based on over 30 years of research, is that viewing entertainment violence can lead to increases in aggressive attitudes, values and behavior” (“Joint Statement on the Impact of Entertainment Violence on Children” [July 26, 2000], http://www.aap.org/advocacy/releases/jstmtevc.htm).

  1. M. Russell Ballard, Let Our Voices Be Heard, 2003

“Because of its sheer size, media today presents vast and sharply contrasting options. Opposite from its harmful and permissive side, media offers much that is positive and productive. Television offers history channels, discovery channels, education channels. One can still find movies and TV comedies and dramas that entertain and uplift and 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.

The choices we make in media can be symbolic of the choices we make in life. Choosing the trendy, the titillating, the tawdry in the TV programs or movies we watch can cause us to end up, if we’re not careful, choosing the same things in the lives we live.

If we do not make good choices, the media can devastate our families and pull our children away from the narrow gospel path. In the virtual reality and the perceived reality of large and small screens, family-destructive viewpoints and behavior are regularly portrayed as pleasurable, as stylish, as exciting, and as normal. Often media’s most devastating attacks on family are not direct or frontal or openly immoral. Intelligent evil is too cunning for that, knowing that most people still profess belief in family and in traditional values. Rather the attacks are subtle and amoral—issues of right and wrong don’t even come up. Immorality and sexual innuendo are everywhere, causing some to believe that because everyone is doing it, it must be all right. This pernicious evil is not out in the street somewhere; it is coming right into our homes, right into the heart of our families.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the percentage of television prime-time shows with sexual content jumped from 67 percent in 1998 to 75 percent in the year 2000. 2 Media with this kind of content has numerous negative effects. It fosters a callous attitude toward women, who are often portrayed as objects of abuse and not as precious daughters of God who are essential to His eternal plan. The long-cherished values of abstinence from intimate relationships before marriage and complete fidelity between husband and wife after marriage are denigrated and derided. Children and youth are confused and misled by the deviant behavior they see demonstrated by so-called stars they admire and want to emulate. In the moral confusion created by the media, enduring values are being abandoned.

We see a rapid increase in cyberporn, involving sexual addiction over the Internet. Some become so addicted to viewing Internet pornography and participating in dangerous online chat rooms that they ignore their marriage covenants and family obligations and often put their employment at risk. Many run afoul of the law. Others develop a tolerance to their perverted behavior, taking ever more risks to feed their immoral addiction. Marriages crumble and relationships fail, as addicts often lose everything of real, eternal value.

*****According to one social observer: “Television … has replaced the family, the school, and the church—in that order—as the principal [instrument] for socialization and transmission of values. … Greed, debauchery, violence, unlimited self-gratification, absence of moral restraint … are the daily fare glamorously dished up to our children.” 3

Let me say again that the family is the main target of evil’s attack and must therefore be the main point of our protection and defense. As I said once before, when you stop and think about it from a diabolically tactical point of view, fighting the family makes sense to Satan. When he wants to disrupt the work of the Lord, he doesn’t poison the world’s peanut butter supply, thus bringing the Church’s missionary system to its collective knees. He doesn’t send a plague of laryngitis to afflict the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. He doesn’t legislate against green Jell-O and casseroles. When evil wants to strike out and disrupt the essence of God’s work, it attacks the family. It does so by attempting to disregard the law of chastity, to confuse gender, to desensitize violence, to make crude and blasphemous language the norm, and to make immoral and deviant behavior seem like the rule rather than the exception.

***We need to remember Edmund Burke’s statement: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” 6 We need to raise our voices with other concerned citizens throughout the world in opposition to current trends. We need to tell the sponsors of offensive media that we have had enough. We need to support programs and products that are positive and uplifting. Joining together with neighbors and friends who share our concerns, we can send a clear message to those responsible. The Internet Web sites and their local affiliates will have their addresses. Letters and e-mails have more effect than most people realize, especially those like one sent by a Relief Society sister that stated, “I represent a group of over a hundred women that meets every week and often talks about the harm your program is doing to our children.”

  1. We need to hold family councils and decide what our media standards are going to be.
  2. We need to spend enough quality time with our children that we are consistently the main influence in their lives, not the media or any peer group.
  3. We need to make good media choices ourselves and set good examples for our children.
  4. We need to limit the amount of time our children watch TV or play video games or use the Internet each day. Virtual reality must not become their reality.
  5. We need to use Internet filters and TV programming locks to prevent our children from “chancing upon” things they should not see.
  6. We need to have TVs and computers in a much-used common room in the home, not in a bedroom or a private place.
  7. 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.

 

 

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