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Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Spiritual Rattlesnakes

I wrote this in 2001 for a Church newspaper. Media is far worse now.

“Pornography, though billed by Satan as entertainment, is a deeply poisonous, deceptive snake that lies coiled up in magazines, the Internet, and the television.” warned Elder David E. Sorensen of the Presidency of the Seventy during last April’s General Conference. He further explained that it is more deadly to the spirit than a live rattlesnake since “pornography destroys self-esteem and weakens self-discipline.” Elder Sorensen urges us all to set up “fortifications” in the form of personal ground rules to protect our families.

We interviewed several families and found that they considered their major “fortification” against the evils in the world to be the Gospel. They felt that it was essential to begin teaching good values to your children at a very young age. Some use Family Home Evening as an opportunity to set family media rules, discuss things their child has seen and heard, and role play how to handle difficult situations their child may encounter such an inappropriate video at a friend’s home.


Some parents cautioned about spending too much time even with “good” TV, Internet and computer games. They suggest instead positive family activities such as camping, games, family projects, reading, sports, and visiting extended family members.

Unanimously, parents felt that it was essential that they set an example of choosing good media. They also firmly stated the necessity of monitoring all media to make sure anything brought into their home teaches their values.

Some ideas for motoring TV viewing are:
limiting TV viewing- such as not in daytime or only after 7:30 when homework is done
watching TV together as a family and discussing what is viewed
only watching parent approved TV, videos and movies (even cartoons) using filtering devices which edit out objectionable material
making your own edited TV shows and TV movies
introduce the family to good old classic movies and public television shows
recording shows to give control over when & what to watch
fast forwarding through objectionable commercials
having a picture of the Savior, a temple, or the Prophet near the TV
Asking,“Would you feel good about watching this if Jesus were here?”
Some ideas for motoring the Internet are:
having the computer in a public high traffic place
parents only having the passwords to log on
monitoring all internet use
not visiting “chat sites” or giving out family information
using protected services to help block objectionable sites
not opening E-mail except from someone you know
several teens urged caution in using search engines, in choosing computer games and in surfing the web; they suggested instead only going to familiar sites & using the bookmark feature
Some other ideas include: “burning” your own CD’s of edited music (some teens do this); checking the mail before the children and disposing of objectionable material which may include some ads within magazines; and discussing destructive fallacies in advertizing.
Through the careful teaching of Gospel principles and media monitoring, families in our stake are “fortifying” their homes against destructive influences.

(For more ideas see “You Can’t Pet a Rattlesnake” by Elder David E. Sorensen, The Ensign, May 2001 p41; “Setting Family Standards for Entertainment” The Ensign, June 2001, p26; “Mixed Signals”, The New Era, June 2001, p10)

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