'Our standards not to be dictated by rating system'

Today's vulgar or obscene publications, movies, videos or music are "evil gifts" and "unclean things" that members should avoid, said Elder H. Burke Peterson at the priesthood session Saturday evening.

In delivering his final address as a General Authority, Elder Peterson of the Seventy quoted from the farewell message of the Book of Mormon prophet, Moroni. Elder Peterson was given emeritus status Saturday morning. He served 8 1/2 years in the First Quorum of the Seventy, and 13 years in the Presiding Bishopric.Moroni stated, "And again I would exhort you that ye would come unto Christ and lay hold upon every good gift, and touch not the evil gift, nor the unclean thing." (Moro. 10:30.)

"Satan, the very devil and father of all lies," Elder Peterson emphasized, "has slowly and slyly lowered the social norms of morality to a tragic and destructive level.

"In magazines and books, on CD's and tapes, on our television and theater screens is portrayed more and more often a lifestyle that might even rival the excesses of those who lived in Sodom and Gomorrah. The screens, music, printed materials, etc., are filled with a profusion of sex, nudity and vulgarity.

"Have the courage to turn it off in your living room. Throw the tapes and publications in the garbage can, for that is where we keep garbage."

He counseled: "I know it is hard counsel we give when we say that movies that are R-rated and many with PG-13 ratings are produced by satanic influences. Our standards should not be dictated by the rating system."

He warned that "too many men and boys who hold the priesthood of God are watching and listening to this type of so-called entertainment." Many may already be addicted to pornography and not even realize it, he commented.

He offered three steps to those who may be addicted:

First, pray for strength, morning and night. "Our Heavenly Father will not forsake your efforts if you persist."

Second, "Gain an added measure of spiritual strength through a daily study of the scriptures."

Third, "When necesssary receive the blessings that come in the confession process."

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