LDS Values

Guidelines with The Church of Latter-day Saints about Entertainment

Tyler Stacy

Like many religions, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or more commonly known as “Mormon,” is a religion that has a set of guidelines for its youth pertaining to entertainment and a variety of other things. This can be found in a pamphlet called “For The Strength Of The Youth” which is given to youth members of the church.

Entertainment is a very broad category that includes movies, TV shows, video games, social media, literature, music, etc. The pamphlet itself doesn’t always have direct rules; it’s more of a guide or recommendation. “When it comes to entertainment, we are encouraged to participate in wholesome and uplifting content,” said Brett Brown, High Council member of the church. “Things like R rated movies are often discouraged because the content can sometimes not be wholesome and uplifting.”

The pamphlet does provide insight on what non wholesome and non uplifting content would look like. According to the text “Do not attend, view, or participate in anything that is vulgar, immoral, or violent in any way. Do not participate in anything that presents immorality or violence as acceptable.”

Rules over what entertainment is ethical and what entertainment is inadequate is decided more by the family, but has the pamphlet in mind. “We don’t have a list of things that we’re not supposed to participate in,” said Laethym Zahlmann, senior and a member of the church. “We are encouraged to discern that more for ourselves, kinda like a family set of rules,”

This brings the question up of what happens if someone finds themselves in a situation where the content being shown isn’t uplifting?

According to the pamphlet, “Have the courage to walk out of a movie, change your music, or turn off a computer, television, or mobile device if what you see or hear drives away the Spirit.” As Zahlmann says it’s not like a list, it’s a reference.

What are some of the negative effects to the guidelines on entertainment though? “Sometimes you miss out on opportunities with your friends who want to go and watch a movie,” said senior Zane Montegomery. “Or you miss out on some opportunities to hang out with people.”

“I think it would be difficult as a youth in some ways, because you might have peers that don’t have the same outlook,” said Brown.

However, church member Zahlmann had a positive look on the situation. “For me personally, it’s nice to not have to worry about seeing something that I don’t want to see,” said Zahlmann. “It does make a good excuse for me if I really don’t want to watch something.”

Everyone has their own religious values relating to entertainment. Even in the same religion people can have differing values. Although there’s guidelines, as Zahlmann said, “it’s just a reference.” Meaning it’s up to self interpretation.