Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Avoiding Degrading Media Influences

I recently got called to be the Mia Maid adviser in our ward, and last week I taught a lesson about "Avoiding Degrading Media Influences." We talked about how media can be helpful or harmful, depending on how it is used. We also talked about how to tell the difference between the two.

We also discussed how we may not notice the effects of degrading influences all at once. We can let ourselves be weakened spiritually bit by bit, day by day, week by week until we are blinded to reality, numbed to the Spirit of the Lord, and engulfed in evil influences that lead to sin.

I likened this process to dying an egg. If you put an egg in colored water and pull it out right away, it will be only slightly tinged-- to some, it will still look perfectly white! But repeatedly dipping the egg will allow the stain to become darker and darker.

Pres. Ezra Taft Benson said:
“The fact that a book is old does not necessarily make it of value. The fact that an author wrote one good work does not necessarily mean that all his books are worthy of your time. Do not make your mind a dumping ground for other people’s garbage. It is harder to purge the mind of rotten reading than to purge the body of rotten food, and it is more damaging to the soul.”
I really like this analogy of comparing bad media to garbage. But I also shared the following story with the girls and it brought home the point even more:

Some teenagers approached their father and asked for permission to see a PG-13 movie. The father listened to all the reasons his children gave for wanting to see this particular movie. It had their favorite actors. Everyone else was seeing it. Even church members said it was great. It was only rated PG-13 because of the suggestion of sex--they never really showed it. The language was pretty good--the Lord's name was only used in vain three times in the whole movie.

The teens did admit there was a scene where a building and a bunch of people were blown up, but the violence was just the normal stuff. It wasn't too bad. And, even if there were a few minor things, the special effects were fabulous and the plot was action packed.

However, even with all the justifications the teens made for the rating, the father still wouldn't give in. He didn't even give his children a satisfactory explanation for saying, "No." He just said, "No!"

A little later on that evening the father asked his teens if they would like some brownies he had baked. He explained that he'd taken the family's favorite recipe and added a little something new. The children asked what it was.

The father calmly replied that he had added dog poop. However, he quickly assured them, it was only a little bit. All other ingredients were gourmet quality and he had taken great care to bake the brownies at the precise temperature for the exact time. He was sure the brownies would be superb.

Even with their father's promise that the brownies were of almost perfect quality, the teens would not take any. The father acted surprised. After all, it was only one small part that was causing them to be so stubborn. He was certain they would hardly notice it. Still the teens held firm and would not try the brownies.

The father then told his children how the movie they wanted to see was just like the brownies. Our minds are leading us into believing that just a little bit of evil won't matter. But, the truth is even a little bit of poop makes the difference between a great treat and something disgusting and totally unacceptable.

The father went on to explain that even though the movie industry would have us believe that most of today's movies are acceptable fare for adults and youth, they are not.

Now, when this father's children want to see something that is of questionable material, the father merely asks them if they would like some of his special dog poop brownies. That closes the subject.

[Emphasis added; this story was found at MormonShare.com]

Wise media choices are important for everyone, not just teenagers. The lesson states, "We may sometimes feel that degrading media does not affect us personally as much as it influences others around us. Actually, we may not notice its negative effects until it becomes very difficult to remove them."

I encourage you all to take extra care this week-- pay attention to your media consumption and don't let in any media garbage (or dog poop)!


  1. I love that! What an awesome story and an awesome dad! Maybe I'll share that with Nick for FHE one of these weeks! After reading the quote from Pres. Benson, I had one of my mind boggling-soul searching questions answered. I was wondering what Jesus meant when he was talking about it matters more what comes out of a man than what goes in. As important as it is to keep the body healthy and clean, it is more important to keep the spirit and mind free of evil influences! They sure are hard to purge!

  2. Aww... my wittle Ashwey is a Mia-Maid adviser... those girls are lucky.

    This is definitely something Greg and I are working (and will probably continue to work) on; especially now Jared is comprehending much more than we know!

    Thanks for the reminder!



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