The MPAA and the Word of Wisdom

The “R-rating” is a hot topic when it comes to movies in LDS culture. I’m glad that it is. It means that we are worried about how we are living our lives and we recognize that what we partake of, be it media or food, should be kept within certain boundaries.

Creating a healthy diet is partly dependent on how balanced it is— remembering to have more grains than red meats, to add enough roughage, to keep hydrated, etc. And we should do the same for our media diets as well— more hearty, value-driven Iranian movies than Pirates of the Caribbean is probably a good rule of thumb. But the other part of making a healthy diet, both food-based and media based—comes from simply agreeing to not consume other substances.

Dennis just wrote an excellent post on the topic, but I have a few more things to say and hope that I’m not beating a dead horse by doing it now.

I recently had to alter my perception on what substances I will and will not consume. I’ve developed a medical condition that prevents me from eating anything fried, most cheeses, and above all, pork. I technically shouldn’t even eat raw vegetables, according to the doctors here. This isn’t a cry for sympathy; its nothing like having Coeliac disease, where all gluten must be avoided. But my condition has shed new light on some views about media consumption. In normal circumstances, raw vegetables would be preferable to cooked, and breads and grains should be the base of any diet.

Now these issues become rapidly more complicated as we discuss media, but it is in this spirit that I think we ought to approach discussion about media consumption as well.

My mission president once asked me, “Are you keeping the Word of Wisdom if you just don’t smoke and don’t drink?” The question is an important one. Is the Word of Wisdom simply about abstinence? Or is there something proactive and spiritual about it? I’m afraid that at the heart of LDS discussion behind “R-ratings” is, as Dennis suggested, a lack of responsibility for our media choices. We think we are ‘safe’ if the movie isn’t ‘R.’

Yet rarely do we ask ourselves where that “R” came from. There is an organization called the Motion Picture Association of America, or the MPAA, which is mainly in charge of the ratings in America. I won’t go in to the history or functions much (I’ve included the wikipedia link, and recommend reading it for those interested), but I would like to dispel a myth about it, which is that the MPAA is a governmental organization. This is false. It is a self-appointed organization. It was created by movie companies. No one asked them to form it, no one needed to. It was in their best interest to do so. It is run by individuals who get their paychecks, in essence, from movie companies, and it serves their interests. Its goal, then, is to make money.

Does this bother anyone else? That supposedly decisions that are wholly rooted in morality are being made by an organization who has financial interests in making its moral judgments? This is only a few steps away from priestcraft in my mind. There have been major changes taking place in the MPAA’s organization and administration, but nothing I’ve said has or can be changed.

What if I found out that the doctor who diagnosed my condition worked for a food company whose product he happened to recommend to treat my disease? What if all doctors were employed by that company? The implications are frightening.

So if we are unwilling to allow a company to determine our food-based diet, why are we so willing to allow the MPAA to determine our morality-based media diet?

I am not suggesting that we loosen our moral standards, but I am suggesting that we reconsider placing our faith in a financially-driven rating organization. But then this question is raised: Is the Australian rating system better because it is government-run? I don’t know the answer to that. But at least, then, who’s running it and what their goals are would be clear to all, whereas the MPAA is based on shape-shifting, policy-shifting, and convoluted dealings — not to mention their favoring Hollywood releases over lower-budget features like Saints and Soldiers. While the content of movies is something that should be discussed (and at least the MPAA is saying something about it), the way we’re talking about it should be more thoughtful.

So much good has come because of President Benson’s statement and so much darkness has been avoided. But would he be surprised at how much as been made of his one comment in one talk about the Book of Mormon? The principle, in my opinion, has far more relevance and importance today than it could have possibly had when he said it. But a lot more baggage has come with that statement than probably anyone could have foreseen.

The history of President Benson’s address (it was given to youth before it was published in the Ensign, it was not a General Conference address) is worth noting. There are some things that are never appropriate, no matter your age, but our church definitely understands that some things are very age specific. The Aaronic priesthood is a preparatory one. Deacons don’t sit in with the High Priests. And if a sister becomes pregnant before she is 18, she goes to Relief Society, not Young Womens anymore. You don’t hold disciplinary councils in front of the general body of the church, let alone the primary. The principle is that just because something isn’t for everyone and every age doesn’t mean it’s evil.

Example: The Thin Red Line [1998] is and should be rated “R.” Not because of some hard and fast rule like it swears too much or, like other war films, is drenched in gore. The closest thing to a ‘sex-scene’ is a dream-like memory of Miranda Otto pulling on her husband’s arms (both are fully clothed, but the sunlight and music make that simple action sensuous). But the “R” is not given for sexual content but for “mature philosophical themes,” meaning that it meditates on the nature of war through an existential lens. In this vein I think the recommendation is right that youth under the age of 17 shouldn’t see the film without an adult. I think that there are exceptions to the rule, but most kids under 17 wouldn’t have the presence of mind to read the film properly. This doesn’t mean that it is evil. I highly recommend the film and consider it by far a greater achievement than Saving Private Ryan which came out the same year, but it’s not a movie for 10 year-olds.

I’m not suggesting, as Orson Scott Card did, that R-rated movies should be avoided with some exceptions. I’m suggesting we should have a different standard that is independent of the MPAA.

But President Benson and other great men and women have used this specific distinction. Does that mean that President Benson was officially giving our institutional endorsement to the MPAA and the corporations that run it? Of course not. A similar example comes to my mind from the writings of Alma. In Alma 40:18-20, we read several times about the soul and the body being reunited. Yet in D&C 88:15-17, we learn that “the spirit and the body are the soul of man,” meaning that the word ‘soul’ should only be used to describe the spirit and the body together. If that is so, it is impossible for the soul to be reunited with the body.

Does this mean that Alma didn’t know the difference? Or that Joseph Smith was wrong? All I do know is that both men were prophets. It could be that Alma just used the word incorrectly. That is a possibility which doesn’t make him any less of a prophet. The truth is that the guideline that President Benson gave cannot seriously be applied in a global church where most of the population has no idea what “R” means. Likewise, the administration of such ratings has changed so much since then (some years the purchasing of specific ratings has been easier, some years harder) that the system, not the counsel, can’t be considered reliable.

And we are the better for it. Might we do better if we got on our knees when making major media choices, rather than accepting what the MPAA has to say? I, for one, have a more delicate media palate than most, and I consider sitcoms like Friends and Seinfeld more detrimental to my organism than the R-rated Bulworth or In the Bedroom. Bulworth shouldn’t be seen by children or by me on a regular basis, due to its flippant vulgarity and use of the f-word. Most people I know, who aren’t members of our church, use that word. I spend time with them and I don’t use that word. But I gained more from that treatise on American democracy and its corruptions as well as its successes, not to mention a hope for an honest politician, than I have from more than a dozen fluffy Disney movies, parading under the banner of “family films.”

I believe that as Latter-day Saints, we owe it to ourselves to call things by their true names rather than accepting corporate taglines or partisan moral assessments.

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18 Responses

  1. Oh! I want to kick the horse too!

    I appreciate your comments (I really had hoped they be about food, actually, but movie ratings are fine). As a rule, I don’t pay much attention to movie ratings. I simply ask around and read reviews to determine which movies I attend. I think that sort of contextual approach is one that ought to be taken into consideration in more things than just movie-going, but I suppose that is for another day. I think we are wise to consider more than just the rating of the movies we see. On the one hand, the last rated R movie I saw turned into a very spiritual, enlightening experience; on the other hand, there are rated G movies that I wouldn’t forbid my children from seeing (e.g., Country Bears or Sponge-bob Square pants) simply because they offer no substance whatsoever.

  2. That was very well written and argued.

  3. Trevor,

    I think that your post highlights the contextual nature of deciding what media is appropriate for which persons. This depends not only on the content of the film, but also on the frame from which the viewer is watching. Am I watching a violent movie to be entertained or to learn something or both? Do the themes of sexuality in a film teach me about the complex relationship between men and women, do they help me to reflect in positive ways on my relationship with my wife, or do they lead me to fantasize in ways that abstract me from my real relationships? How we answer these questions certainly can lead some to rightly conclude that the film is inappropriate while others rightly conclude that it is appropriate.

    I like to think that film is a vehicle for more than passive entertainment and that when we use it as passive entertainment the risk of inappropriateness becomes much higher.

    I also think that we have to be willing to make some mistakes in our movie choices. It helps me when I realize that I feel spiritually dulled during or after a movie. I am better at discerning what is good and praiseworthy. Likewise, it helps me when I notice that a movie has brought light into my life. (it gets harder when I get a mixture of both from a film)

    So, here’s to discernment.

  4. I’m not a fan of the “no R movies” rule, but it’s misleading to say that “The Thin Red Line” is rated R for “mature philosophical themes.” No movie is EVER given an R rating for “mature philosophical themes.” Movies are rated R for graphic (not the same as “gratuitous”) depictions of violence and/or sex, and/or for using the F-word more than three times. Most R-rated movies have earned their R-ratings honestly.

    Perhaps it’s a shame that so many Mormon adults feel their movie choices are restricted to those films the MPAA has deemed fit for children, but if you’re going to make a case for a more nuanced approach to media consumption, you can’t just sidestep the sex/violence/profanity issue. You have to make a case for the sex/violence/profanity being “appropriate” to consume in certain contexts. That is a tad trickier than arguing that something has more redeeming social value than “Friends.”

  5. I have no idea where that emoticon came from. Please strike that smirk from the record. ;) (That one I did on purpose.)

  6. Good points madhousewife. It also implies that there is a case to be made for the inappropriateness of consuming media with sex/violence/profanity in certain contexts. Perhaps we shouldn’t take this case as given either. I’m curious what others think about this.

  7. madhousewife,

    I’ve disabled the emoticonization (new word?) for this blog. I recently was falsely emoticonized (new word?) also.

    We’ll have to rely on non-emoticonized emoticons from now on.:)

    Apparently, this removed even the previous emoticonized emoticons, leaving only non-emoticonized emoticons, where such emoticons can be rendered intelligible by emotive beings.

  8. bravo!

    …to trevor, for drawing an interesting and provoking parallel, and for reminding us what the MPAA really is and does.

    …to madhousewife for making the excellent point regarding sex/violence/profanity. i’d be interested in someone taking up the challenge to defend the propriety of such things.

    …and to dennis for fixing the emoticon problem. next stop: world peace!

  9. Brady-

    “or do they lead me to fantasize in ways that abstract me from my real relationships?”

    I think that’s a powerful idea that we as people can become abstracted by art, rather than art only being abstracted by people. I’m sure that your verbiage will stay with me for a long time.

    madhousewife,

    On The Thin Red Line, the ‘mature philisophical’ bit was not mine, it was the MPAA’s. They are the ones who stated the reason for the rating given to the movie. There are several different editions (two US releases that I am aware of), but mine states that it was on philisophical grounds that the film received its rating.

    What people don’t realize is that there are NOT hard and fast rules about how movies are rated. Please research this if you do not believe me, or send me information that says otherwise that you have found on the subject. A film is an extremely complex piece of art and thank goodness the MPAA realizes this, but unfortunately it allows for bias (meaning financial and political as well as aesthetic).

    But it also allows (in some cases) for authorial/corporate involvement (including, but not being limited to, financial incentives). For instance, very often the filmmakers have a say in their movie’s rating. Saints and Soldiers is a prime example. It was first given an “R” rating, but the filmmakers were given a chance to alter the content. The biggest issue is that, as I understand it (and I do try to keep up on the topic), it is quite easier for filmmakers to opt for a ‘harsher’ rating if that will increase market receptiveness. (The “G” rating is the greatest example. It’s almost never given but very often deserved. The same is becoming true of “PG” ratings. Depending on the audience, a PG-13 movie is far more marketable.) An “R” rating is NOT very hard to come by. In the Bedroom, a film I mentioned in my post, is a great example. Count the F-words, the graphic images, and tell me why it is not PG-13.

    When you say, “No movie is EVER given an R rating for ‘mature philosophical themes,'” unless you happen to be on the MPAA board and have been for at least 20 years (or have some other qualifications I’m unaware of), I quite intensely beg to differ. It is a far more complex issue than you’re painting it. I’m not qualified to speak for all of their rating decisions, but I do take notice. Taking notice is very much my profession. And I do watch A LOT. (They are paying me to watch movies and think about them, can you believe it?!)

    That being said, your point about the consumption of ‘profanity’ is extremely compelling. The sheer fact that the word ‘gratuitous’ still exists in a Mormon context discussing film suggests that there are contexts. I know when I would say that it is not only appropriate but needed. (And no, Saving Private Ryan is not on that list for me.)

    But a part of that discussion I would like to pursue is the meaning of (and alternatives to) the word ‘consumption’ as it applies to film. Is viewing a film always consuming it? Not only do I not think consumption, as Brady hinted at above, is the only viable option, I believe that some films are not designed to be consumed.

  10. Trevor,

    Excellent post, as well as an excellent comment.

    I’m intrigued, Trevor, by your belief that some films are not designed to be consumed. Coming back to your Word of Wisdom analogy, it is interesting how the Lord specifies that some substances (e.g., tobacco and alcohol) are for the body but not the belly. From this same analogy, could we say that there are certain films that are meant to be “applied” but not “consumed.” Perhaps I have a wound, metaphorically speaking, that needs to be salved by a certain film. However, I must take care not to consume the film — it would harm and possibly poison me!

    I like this little analogy of mine, but maybe Trevor can help me understand a way this might apply to real life film consumption/application. Or you can just tell me that I’m speaking gibberish …. :)

    For those of you who don’t know, Trevor is a Fulbright Scholar in Poland studying film. We are very fortunate to have him chime in every now and then at TMB. He also has his own blog called Towards an LDS Cinema at http://ldscinema.blogspot.com.

    I am really hoping that Trevor can play a role here (as well as on his own blog) in helping Latter-day Saints think deeper about film. And what I am *really* hoping for, Trevor, are film recommendations (that are virtually unknown) that you would give to the somewhat average yet slightly intellectual Latter-day Saint. A good idea for a future post … :)

  11. I’m new to the blog and late to the party. I hope someone out there will forgive my unearthing of an “old” topic, at least in blog time.

    I find it interesting how we can find many degrees of nuance in President Benson’s “no R-rated movies” comment. I wonder how he would respond were we to ask him today what he really meant by that remark, whether “no R-rated movies” meant just one every once in a while, or only if it’s critically well received, or something else altogether. I also wonder if our current prophet or any of the Twelve have seen an R-rated movie. I also wonder, knowing that everything of a telestial (or lower) nature will be consumed at the Second Coming, how much “adult-oriented” material will survive into the Millennium.

    I say “I wonder” about all these things, because I simply don’t have any clear answers – at least, none that make me feel entirely comfortable with myself. While I tend to put a lot of thought into my movie choices (taking the MPAA ratings as a guide, not a rule), I have seen the occasional R-rated movie. I even own several of them. And while I cannot doubt that most of those I’ve seen have been very good, and taught me many valuable life lessons, the prohibitive words and images do have a depressant effect on my spirit. Even though I never swear audibly, and live my life in every respect to be worthy of a temple recommend, my mind is often a filthy quagmire filled with blasphemies, harsh and crude language, and worse.

    Of course, I understand that we live in an R-rated world. I often hear more F-bombs in a given day than are currently allowable in a PG-13 movie. But I think there’s a difference between what we see and hear by circumstance and what we choose to expose ourselves to. My congratulations to any (here or elsewhere) that is impervious to these things, to whom language, sex, and violence rolls off their spirits like water on duck feathers.

    I understand that the R-rated thing is just a rule (or guideline, or counsel, or what have you), and there are exceptions to every rule. I just think that members of the Church, or anyone who tries to follow this principle, should exercise great judiciousness in determining what warrants an exception. With all the good that can come from more adult-oriented material, there is some bad as well.

    If what is meant by “not consuming” a movie is not letting the harsher elements seep into our minds and spirits, I would greatly appreciate tips on how to do that. My mind and spirit must have come defective from the factory – like a sponge, they take in everything. :)

  12. Bryan,

    You’re fashionably late, I’m just crashing at this point. I appreciate your perspective because it steers us away from rationalizing ourselves out of the Prophet’s counsel. Someone once told me the that the operative part of the word “rationalize” is “lize.”

    Having said this, I agree that President Benson’s counsel was not intended to be the battle hymn that it has become.

    Having said that, I have never seen an R-rated movie. I, like you, have a spongy spirit. However, I think the hymn, “School thy Feelings” has some tips for you on letting the trash roll of your back. I’m with you here.

    Trevor,

    If you ever visit this thread again, I would like to know upon what your claim that President Benson’s counsel didn’t come from General Conference is based. The counsel shows up in the talk “To the Youth of the Noble Birthright” which, on the Church website, is listed in the report for the May Conference of 1986. I think it was during Priesthood session. That talk was not particularly focused on the Book of Mormon.

    I know you’re not one to make unsubstantiated claims, so I’m wondering what information you have that I don’t.

  13. Adam and Bryan:

    No problem for being fashionably late or crashing the party. The discussions here can hopefully be as live as the issues are.

    I definitely sympathize (and agree for the most part) with what you both are saying. For me, the cardinal rule is to follow your conscious. And that’s what I would definitely recommend concerning ANY movie. If someone’s conscious tells them to NEVER see R-rated movies, then so be it. And they’ll probably be better off for it.

    That being said, the big problem is when people generalize these prohibitions as though they must be for everyone. There are several problems in this regard. First, it can distract us from what really is important concerning proper media watching — and this is not captured by a rating. Second, it can take us away from what is most important regarding what it means to be a Mormon, turning it into a prohibitive moral system. If someone asks you what it means to be Mormon, and specific media prohibitions (or specific Word of Wisdom prohibitions, I would add) come up in the first 10 minutes, then there is a problem!!!

    Regarding having a “spongy spirit.” I definitely agree that there is a difference when a person actively seeks things out and when they happen to hear or see them. This suggests, to me, that context matters. Would we not say, then, that context matters in a film as well? If a Rated R movie glorifies things like sex and violence and vulgar behavior, then it’s certainly a problem. But if it presents these things in an honest light, then I think it makes a big difference on how it affects us. Now, let me be clear, I think there are few Rated R movies that present things honestly — however, there are few movies of any kind that do this! The solution is, then, to seek out movies that are honest portrayals of life that do not seduce us into falsehoods about sin. I’ve seen R movies that are honest in this regard, and I’ve seen G movies that are not.

    One other thing to keep in mind. I think we all need to be concerned not just about the uncomfortable things that we sponge up from media — but what about the things that we are perfectly comfortable sponging up? That we are not even aware that we have sponged up? That we perhaps have even falsely associated with the good life? As I said in a comment in another thread, I see even Disney movies as subtly communicating to us and our children all sorts of damning doctrines — rampant individualism, mindless consumerism, female ageism, worldliness, unrealistic relationship expectations, unrealistic body image expectations, fatalism — I could go on and on. Are not that these damning life values which are so readily soaked up by our children more to be concerned about than mere images and words that they see and hear? Imagine if our rating systems strongly considered these damning values? If so, some Rs would be rated PG (probably not G) and some Gs would be rated R!

    Something to think about.

  14. Adam,

    My greatest apologies to you and everyone. The talk was given in General Priesthood meeting, but was not given in a ‘General’ session of Conference or addressed to the whole church.

    Now does that make a difference? To my mind, knowing what I know about my mind now versus what it was when I was a deacon/ teacher/priest, it makes a very big difference.

    Does this mean that I should have a few friends over to watch Porn?

    I hope I’ve been clear that this isn’t my answer.

    It should also be clear that I assumed that this counsel was extended to the young women of the church, though I realize from your question that it wasn’t. I will see if I can change that in the post for future readers. (Again, my apologies for the misinformation and the lack of clarity).

    Now have I seen films which I deeply regret seeing, and from which I have been scarred. But there are dozens of films which I cherish seeing as an adult which would have been scarring as a teenager.

    It’s been quoted before, and Orson Scott Card’s treatment of it is especially inspiring, but I’ll post it again here.

    “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. Don’t listen to music that is degrading.”
    (end quote)

    The words he uses here are: suggestive (twice), lewd, obscene, pornographic (twice), filth, vulgar, entertainment, immoral, and degrading.

    I’d probably like to make a bigger point of the use of the word ‘entertainment’ than I’m sure he would (because I believe the notion to be inherently evil), so I’ll abstain from further discussion. But I would say that those words seem more important than the ‘R-Rating’ made by an organization whose morals are not inline with our own. It seems to me that those words (suggestive, lewd, obscene, pornographic, filthy, vulgar, immoral, degrading) should be a greater guideline. We should be in charge of our own individual “R-Rating” system, where according to our (hopefully more reliable) consciences and the other adjectives President Benson has given us. I.e. “This is lewd and degrading, I’m giving it an ‘R-Rating’, ” or “This is suggestive and immoral, I’m giving it an ‘R-Rating’ .”

    Such a method seems safer and more in tune with Prophets’ counsel to me.

    Thank goodness for intelligent critics and content sites that tell you exactly what is in each film. There is no more excuse to be lazy.

  15. Trevor, you’ve rationally arrived at the Church’s current position on the media we ought to consume, as written in the “For the Strength of Youth” pamphlet.

    “Do not attend, view, or participate in entertainment
    that is vulgar, immoral, violent, or pornographic in any
    way. Do not participate in entertainment that in any way
    presents immorality or violent behavior as acceptable” (pg. 17).

    My opinion is that this statement supersedes President Benson’s counsel, makes it less dependent on MPAA rating, and is applicable for an international Church, the majority of whose members live outside the U.S. and couldn’t care less what the MPAA does. It should also resolve the audience issue, as the pamphlet comes to all members of the Church, from the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve, and bears the Church’s official logo and copyright.

    R ratings are a fairly reliable guide, but we would do so much better to drop President Benson’s statement from our media discourse and speak more of the FTSOY counsel (which in my opinion is not only a much tougher standard, but also requires members to think a little more before consuming media).

    (FWIW, the pamphlet does mention the word “entertainment” a number of times, but I’m sure the Brethren mean it in the “wholesome recreational activities” sense of the word.) :)

  16. Trevor,

    I got your point about the young women, I was just wondering if you knew of an earlier instance of this counsel.

    Having said this, I appreciate the rest of your response, especially the part about entertainment being evil. I understand what you mean and agree wholeheartedly. I wish you (or someone else) would get that conversation started somewhere appropriate. I think it would make a pertinent topic on Toward and LDS Cinema. Now that I think of it, didn’t you say you were working on that on one of your posts?

    Trevor and Dennis,

    Clearly, I need to become better at expressing myself, as your replies include many points that I would argue myself. My comment about rationalizing was not intended to suggest that anyone who sees R-rated movies is disobeying a prophetic command. Rather, it was meant to be a reminder that any comment made by a prophet should be seriously considered in its proper context, taking the Spirit as a guide to its correct application. Any time we use weak logic and a lack of prayer to make ourselves exceptions to a prophet’s words, we are simply lying to ourselves. A lot of people seem to take the approach that they believe in the R standard, but don’t try too hard to follow it. They make exceptions for specific films rather than following a consistend standard for all decisions. Rejecting the counsel out of hand seems to me to have a more honest intent behind it.

    To avoid misunderstanding, I’m not saying that either of you or anyone else who has written here is rejecting the prophet’s counsel out of hand. I’m speaking more generally.

    Dennis,

    On a spongy spirit, I think you may have misinterpreted what I meant there, but I also think your response is right on. It’s the comfortable and the unconscious sponging that are the greatest concerns and most of it doesn’t come from R-rated movies because we tend to avoid those more. I think we need more films that expose the things we’ve been sponging up from the mainstream for what they are. We need tools to help us recognize these things. Obviously, the best tools are prayer and the scriptures, but more films that set a good example would be welcome too.

    Having three daughters who love Disney princesses (mostly because their relations have saturated their lives with them) I am extremely frustrated that no one else seems to see the despicable teachings hidden underneath the frilly dresses and magic. Of course, Disney isn’t the only culprit, but why do we think we can trust the same company that airs “Desparate Housewives” to give us “family friendly” values anywhere? The main thing these companies value is our money.

    To be fair, however, I don’t think that every writer, director, or producer has only money in mind. I think that a lot of the false messages come into these films because the creators either don’t think about them or they don’t see them as damaging. I think that the primary message of most films, whatever that means, is the thing that gets the most attention from creators and partakers alike and that is a major problem.

    Bryan,

    I think you’ve hit upon the new way to teach this standard. Your use of the word “supersedes” is perfect. While we don’t wish to discount any prophet, I think it is a well taught and well understood principle in the Church that the words of the living prophet outweigh any previous statements.In this case, as you and Trevor helped me see, the words in FTSOY are almost identical to those used by President Benson, so there really is no conflict at all. I don’t know why I haven’t thought of this before, but thanks.

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  18. Hi Trevor,

    My name is Andrew James and I am the co-director of the documentary, CLEANFLIX, a film about the rise and fall of the sanitized film movement in Utah. The film premiered at the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival last year and has been touring the United States and playing festivals all over the country. CLEANFLIX will be playing this Thursday night at the Broadway at 8:00 as the opening night film of the Salt Lake City Film Festival. I think you and your readership would be very interested in this film and it is sure to spark a great conversation about morals, ethics, ratings, and sex. Myself and the other director will be in attendance for a Q&A immediately following the screening.

    You can learn more about the film at: http://www.cleanflixthemovie.com

    You can purchase tickets here: http://www.saltlakecityfilmfestival.com/film_details.php?title=Cleanflix

    It would be great if you could be there and perhaps spread the word a little bit this week. I’m a big fan of the blog and it would be great if you could do a post on the film and the upcoming screening. This is a fun film that all members of the LDS community will find challenging and interesting.

    Best,
    Andrew

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