Do violent or sexualized scenes featured in many movies and video games affect the minds of those who view them?
Absolutely not – according to the mainstream media.
Many forms of this “entertainment” have ratings and even some vague warnings before the presentation but with no real suggestion of what you are about to be exposed to.
These forms of media feed off of the “rush” people get from experiencing a terrifying scenario but from a place of safety. Again, all just good fun; nobody is getting hurt.
Recently, I saw an Allstate commercial that featured a computer-generated moon buggy jumping a crater on the moon.
When this scene appeared, the words “Do not attempt” appeared below at the climax of the action; yes, seriously.
Now, I realize that this may have just been a simple attempt to avoid any legal issues by featuring this kind of action shot, even though no human being watching at the time could ever actually attempt this.
Many people in the great and spacious building turned their mockery (mockers gonna mock) toward this absurd warning. I looked the commercial up again online, and the warning is now gone.
Still, I’ve seen many, many commercials that feature the “Do not attempt” warning right at a moment of action.
I’ve seen it with cars driving fast or someone doing a goofy stunt, but never while someone is being tortured or harmed by another on a movie or show. Certain video games are designed to make the act of killing engaging, enjoyable, and immersive.
Are we so impressionable that we might be influenced to do something dangerous by a few seconds of a 30-second commercial, but we can indulge in hours and hours of violence and sex (with absolutely no warnings under each scene, by the way) without any repercussions?
The prophet Isaiah asks:
Who among us can live through the devouring fire? Who among us can abide eternal burning?Isaiah 33:14
His answer, I think, is very relevant to this subject and our day:
They who conduct themselves righteously and […] who stop their ears at the mention of murder, who shut their eyes at the sight of wickedness.Isaiah 33:15
Yet, the media encourages us to open our ears and eyes to experience the vivid displays of wickedness that they have crafted.
Oh sure, there is a hero, of course—a hero who destroys the wicked with even more violence.
The influence of the media is powerful in our lives because we give it our permission to be.
There is great external societal pressure, much like that great and spacious building from Nephi’s vision. It floats there, high above our heads, where their constant vocalizations reach the ears of everyone.
You cannot silence the great and spacious building. It will fall eventually, but until then, it is going to be right there with us.
There isn’t anything you can do about it except ignore it.
When Lehi saw this building in his vision, he noted that “as many as heeded them, had fallen away.” (1 Nephi 8:34) Multitudes entered the building but Lehi said simply, “we heeded them not.” (vs.33)
What does “heeding them not” look like?
I used to play violent video games as a teenager. One day I questioned why I enjoyed them and concluded that it was killing itself I enjoyed. I read again these words from Mormon about Captain Moroni:
And Moroni was a strong and a mighty man; he was a man of a perfect understanding; yea, a man that did not delight in bloodshed;Alma 48:11
Though what was happening in the “game” was a simulation, my feelings and desires to engage in that simulated bloodshed were all too real.
The younger me, preparing for a mission, made the wise decision then to abandon the game completely.
I think we are all far more influenced by that great and spacious building than we think.
Us, our kids, the patterns we set, the things we allow into our homes are all carefully crafted to be a greater influence than the Spirit of God.
Material profits, power, and gain resulting in our own spiritual poverty, weakness, and loss.
I’ve thought a lot through my life about what I’m willing to sacrifice for the truth. As hard as it may seem, I remind myself that we were all born for this time, and we all have what it takes.
I think that Mormon knew this as well when choosing what he would say to us on those plates.
Yea, verily, verily I say unto you, if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men.Alma 48:17