We reap that which we sow. That is one of the immutable laws of nature. You can't plant an apple seed and expect a peach tree to grow.
And in life, you can't fill your mind with trash and expect to reap virtuous thoughts and inspiration from the Spirit of the Lord.
Autumn offers rich examples of this law of the harvest. Farmers everywhere in the northern hemisphere are gathering in the fruits of what they sowed earlier in the year. But in a real sense, all people of Earth go through a harvest of sorts daily. They think thoughts and commit acts that are a direct result of the things they sowed.
Unfortunately, there is much of trash floating around everyone in the world today. It comes in the coarse level of public discourse, in unwanted and unsolicited e-mails and, especially, in the quality of programming available on television and at the movies. Today, more than ever before, people who care about filling their homes with the proper spirit have to make active decisions to shun the bad. They must not only sow the good, they must also weed the ground constantly. If they don't, destructive influences will seek them out and press upon them for acceptance.
Despite complaints from decent people nationwide, American television networks continue to produce prime time shows that ridicule the sacred and revel in the type of bawdy humor once reserved only for disreputable clubs in the worst parts of town. One such show this fall airs in prime time and features cuddly animated animals that speak and act with depravity. Not surprisingly, the "adult" show is being watched by a lot of children.
President Spencer W. Kimball saw this trend developing 26 years ago when he said: "How can one witness so many of those who ought to be good examples becoming bad examples and not cry out? Those who seem to flout the institution of marriage, and who regard chastity before marriage with fidelity after as old-fashioned, seem determined to establish a new fashion on their own and impose it upon others. Can they not see the gross selfishness that will lead finally to deep loneliness? Can they not see that, pushed by pleasure, they will become more and more distant from joy? Can they not see that their kind of fulfillment will produce a hollowness and an emptiness from which no fleeting pleasure can finally rescue them? The law of the harvest has not been repealed."
President Kimball went on to warn about the consequences of this type of sowing:
"Once the carnal in man is no longer checked by the restraints of family life and by real religion, there comes an avalanche of appetites which gathers momentum that is truly frightening. As one jars loose and begins to roll down hill, still another breaks loose, whether it is an increase in homosexuality, corruption, drugs, or abortion. Each began as an appetite that needed to be checked but which went unchecked. Thus misery achieves a ghastly monument.
"Decadence is very demanding and dogmatic, and it is no friend of liberty. Decadence which grew in the soil of tolerance and permissiveness soon seeks to drive out all of these. Then, finally, it reaches a point when, as one prophet declared, "There was no remedy." In such moments the prophets of God speak out even more forcibly, doing as Alma did when he began bearing down in pure testimony against the evils of his time. (See Alma 4:19.) Nothing less will do under those conditions" (Ensign, May 1978).
Too many in the world today "have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind" (Hosea 8:7). That whirlwind is awful to contemplate. It remains for Latter-day Saints and other decent people who love righteousness to plow for a more desirable type of harvest, and to steer others away from destruction.