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Obedience - Take it Or Leave It?

One of the privileges of life I have is to write a column for Meridian Magazine, a publication for Latter-day Saints and all those who seek to follow the Savior.

For fun, here is the beginning of this week's article. The culmination of it is continued at Meridian Magazine.com. Enjoy. And if you'd like to join me on this journey, write me and let me know. Just think of the impact we will have on our world today!

Warmly,

C.S. Bezas

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Excerpt from "Just How Obedient Do I Have to Be?", reprinted in part from MeridianMagazine.com, 2/7/07.



Listen to President James E. Faust's words from a relatively recent General Conference address, as he raises a warning voice to us all:

In today's society, the difference between right and wrong is being obscured by loud, seductive voices calling for no restraints in human conduct. They advocate absolute freedom without regard to consequences. I state unequivocally that such behavior is the high road to personal destruction (“Obedience: The Path to Freedom,” Ensign , May 1999, 45).

Personal destruction! What a frightening time we live in. The voices around us do call loudly from a variety of venues. Some are transparently evil; others are more seductive. Those voices “sing” in all sorts of pitches and timbres. They come in all shapes and sizes.

For example, some voices call that nudity in movies is a necessary part of love scenes (since when did nudity have anything to do with a well-told love story?). Another example, movie producers defend graphic violence as an “art form,” yet modern-day apostles teach us it deadens the soul of the viewer. Foul language is celebrated as a hallmark of a free-press, which it may be, but it does not edify or uplift.

Just this week my family and I watched two movies back-to-back — an original and its remake. These were both G-rated movies. The first was made nearly 40 years prior to the other. Both shared the same title; both shared the same story line; both shared the same rating.

How amazing it was to see that in the first film, no language of any kind needed to be filtered out. Not so for the second. The second film had casually added a phrase that took the Lord's name in vain various times throughout the film. Painfully I was reminded of President Kimball's guarded protection of the Lord's name, even while “foggy” from anesthesia. How is it that today's world has become so accustomed to such fare that we could accept this as a general audience and as a "G-rating"?

My little family is tired of it. We've purchased a handy DVD device called ClearPlay that screens out all language, nudity and most violence. It has felt heaven-sent to have such a contraption. For example, we rented a movie one evening and utilized the filters for that movie from the ClearPlay device. Scenes with language or crass comments were omitted. The movie, as a result, completely inspired me with its story line and message. I determined I wanted to purchase it.

In fact, the movie had been so inspiring and clean (in other words, I couldn't see any gaping holes because of being filtered), I therefore couldn't imagine what would have given it a PG-13 rating. Curious, I watched the movie without the filtering on. By the end of the show, I was completely turned off by the language and a few crass jokes. The end result? That same film that had initially inspired me with its story line, left me with a horrible taste in my mouth and heart. In the end, I was astonished how removing the foul words and comments beautified the film and brought its inspirational message front and center.

What kind of society have we become that we've accepted the movies, in general, that the screenwriters and directors of today put out? Not only do we NOT complain about them, but we actually support those same filmmakers with our dollars in theaters and stores, even buying the DVDs when they come out.

[To read the culmination of the article and a call to action, visit Meridian Magazine.com.]


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Struggling with your teens? C.S. Bezas book has been called the perfect aid for parents and youth leaders. Powerful Tips for Powerful Teachers: Helping Youth Find Their Spiritual Wings is available in most LDS bookstores and online at DeseretBook.com. Order it today and watch changes begin.

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