- Far too much programming is not wholesome and uplifting but is violent, degrading, and destructive to moral values. This kind of television offends the Spirit of the Lord; therefore, I express a word of warning and caution about such programming.
He speaks about televised violence, and that monitoring is needed to protect the family unit. The negative effects of television can be seen in our lives starting at a young age.
- Televised violence has become so pervasive that the average high school student by graduation has seen eighteen thousand murders and many other acts of violence and sin. This being the case today, more parental review and monitoring is needed to protect our families from the current flood of TV violence and the effect it has on us.
Elder Ballard uses the familiar saving "Be in the world but not of the world" to discuss how we need to live our lives. This simple saying can help us recognize that we have a place in the world but we do not have to partake in the negative things without resistance.
- In the Church, we often state the couplet: “Be in the world but not of the world.” As we observe television shows that make profanity, violence, and infidelity commonplace and even glamorous, we often wish we could lock out the world in some way and isolate our families from it all. Perhaps the proper response to outrageous behavior is outrage, or, more to the point, the proper response to outrageous television is outrage. I express my own and this Church’s disappointment, disagreement, and even outrage with television that turns our attention and sometimes our inclinations toward violence, self-serving greed, profanity, disrespect for traditional values, sexual promiscuity, and deviance.
- Perhaps we should state the couplet previously mentioned as two separate admonitions. First, “Be in the world.” Be involved; be informed. Try to be understanding and tolerant and to appreciate diversity. Make meaningful contributions to society through service and involvement. Second, “Be not of the world.” Do not follow wrong paths or bend to accommodate or accept what is not right. We should strive to change the corrupt and immoral tendencies in television and in society by keeping things that offend and debase out of our homes. In spite of all of the wickedness in the world, and in spite of all the opposition to good that we find on every hand, we should not try to take ourselves or our children out of the world. Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven,” or yeast. We are to lift the world and help all to rise above the wickedness that surrounds us.
He encourages members of the church to be influencers in society. We should be encouraging solutions to the problems that society brings.
- Members of the Church need to influence more than we are influenced. We should work to stem the tide of sin and evil instead of passively being swept along by it. We each need to help solve the problem rather than avoid or ignore it.
- We can live in the world, brothers and sisters, without letting the world into us. We have the gospel message that can carry men and women buoyantly through the “mist of darkness” to the source of all light. We can raise children who have been taught to discern and to make personal righteous decisions.
- The Lord does not need a society that hides and isolates itself from the world. Rather, he needs stalwart individuals and families who live exemplary lives in the world and demonstrate that joy and fulfillment come not of the world but through the spirit and the doctrine of Jesus Christ.
Elder Ballard concludes with a list of blessings that will come to us as we focus more on family time instead of TV time.
- Value setting will be taught and reinforced by the family. Families will learn how to establish values and how to reason together.
- Relationships between parents and youth will increase in families.
- Homework will be completed with less pressure of time.
- Personal conversations will increase substantially.
- Children’s imaginations will come back to life.
- Each family member will become a discriminating selector and evaluator of programs.
- Parents can become family leaders again.
- Good reading habits may be substituted for television viewing.
I can't help but see the parallel between watching TV and spending time on our smartphones today. All these same things are now available on our phones that our kids and younger and younger ages are constantly spending their time and attention on. Elder Ballard's list of blessings that would come through less TV time, I believe are also blessings that would be ours if we can have less phone time and more time together as a family. I am going to try to focus in my family, to try to have a phone free zone to increase our talking and visiting as a family.
I am reminded of the decision by SnapChat this past year to allow inappropriate imagines to be posted to their random timeline feeds. A BYU student started a campaign to have SnapChat filter out this inappropriate content and through the influence of her and others, got the company to change their policy and filter out this inappropriate content to the general public. This individual truly took Elder Ballard's advice to be an influence for good instead of being influenced by the world.