Look at the content of movies, not just the rating

Mormons can’t watch R-rated movies.

Ever heard that before?

The thing is, there is no “No R-rated movies” commandment. This imaginary line of what we can and cannot watch does not and cannot exist.

Think about this, if there were a line with movies, then many members would say they could watch anything up to that line. They would say “This crude movie is OK because it’s PG-13, but this other great movie is off the table because they say one word, making it rated R.” Does that sound right? I don’t think so.

Many members claim that it is impossible to feel the Spirit in an R-rated movie. I find that this does not represent my experience.

I’ve seen many inspiring and spiritually uplifting R-rated movies. My favorite movie of all time is Slumdog Millionaire. It’s a movie about facing adversity, having hope and always looking forward. I’ve always felt spiritually uplifted. It is rated R, but easily could be PG-13.

The Passion of the Christ is another R-rated movie that depicts the brutal, violent and graphic depiction of the Savior’s crucifixion. Does it deserve an R-rating? Absolutely! It’s a very hard movie to watch.

“This film inspires you to feel gratitude to the Savior and love for those that he loved and who loved him,” wrote Orson Scott Card, an LDS author. “It inspires you with a dread of and revulsion for Satan and all his ways. It leaves you with a broken heart and a contrite spirit.”

Isn’t that what we all seek or should seek in our lives? Shouldn’t we want to continually increase our gratitude to  the Savior?

There are many ways to seek that gratitude and love of the Savior, and if something inspires us to live a greater life, then a simple movie rating should not deter us from participating.

I’m not saying go out and watch every R-rated movie that has ever been made. There is a lot of garbage out there, and there are R-rated movies that should absolutely be avoided. Movies like American Pie or last year’s 50 Shades of Grey contain high amounts of sexual content and vulgarity. These kinds of movies are potentially harmful.

“I’m reasonably confident that the goal of the prophet and general authorities who urged us (particularly the youth) to avoid R-rated films was to keep us from seeing sexually provocative films that would seduce us into following the ‘lust of our eyes,’” Card wrote.

These are the R-rated movies we should avoid. It’s unfair for spiritually uplifting R-rated movies to be put in   the same category. These movies can inspire us to live better lives and become better people.

Let’s stop looking at ratings and instead focus on content. How does the movie make us feel?

If we feel spiritually uplifted, then we should celebrate it. We should try and share it with everyone.

Don’t be so quick to reject a movie based purely on the rating. Do research. Find out why it’s rated the way it is. There are many websites with detailed information to help you make a decision. Don’t be so narrow minded to judge someone just because they see an R-rated movie. It may just be the very movie that inspires them to be the best they can be.

Can Mormons watch R-rated movies? Yes, and they can enjoy them and be spiritually edified by them.

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