My church has this belief that watching R-rated movies is bad. I believe that it isn't fair to judge them without understanding them a little better, i.e. watching them and deciding for yourself. When I brought this up with a church friend, it did not go over well.
I've been watching R rated movies for a long time, definitely longer than I am supposed to have been watching them. My first that I remember was Pretty Woman when I was just a little kid. I was allowed to watch it, as long as anytime anything adult was said, I covered my ears and didn't "hear" it. I ended up falling asleep while watching it, but I still count it as my first R-rated movie.
My mom furthered my venture into R rated movies by getting me into the Horror genre, which mainly consists of said movies. She would just make sure that I knew that what was going on in the movie wasn't real. Of course, I was much older by then (about 13), and she didn't really need to influence me in such a way, but I knew better than to doubt my mom when she was mothering me.
When I joined the LDS church in July, I was told that I had to follow certain guidelines. One of these is to follow the law of chastity, which includes R-rated movies. I said I would try. I still watched the movies, though, but I didn't feel like I was violating the law by watching the movies.
When it was brought up last night, by me, that I watched these movies, I saw my friend's horror-stricken face. She immediately began to tell me how horrible these movies were and how the stuff in them seeps into your mind and corrupts you. I tried to reassure her, but I don't think it worked. She wanted me to avoid them, and avoid most PG-13 movies, too. I was shocked. How was I now being parented by my friend and being told that I was not supposed to watch these movies?
I'm not ashamed that I like R-rated movies. I've never been ashamed of it, and I don't think it's fair to say that I have to give them up to prove my loyalty to my friends or to the church.
My friend made a case for how violent the movies are, but violence is everywhere. Violence is in every genre and every rating. Violence is on the news. It's in books. It's even in the Bible and Book of Mormon. If I were going to rate anything R, it would be those two things for their show of violence and their use of the word "whore". But do those things count? No, because those are real life things and they're religious tools.
Is it fair to just say no to R-rated movies? Or should we broaden this saying no to music as well? My friend likes to listen to Metro Station, which, if you've never heard their songs, talk about sex quite a lot. Is this not a breaking of the law of chastity? Or does it not count because they're not showing it?
When are we breaking this law? When are we not? It's not fair to say that I have to give up my favorite things, but my friend does not. It's not right at all to judge what I do, but not to look at what others are doing.
I don't believe that my watching these movies is making me any worse than any of my friends in the Church. I don't think God will say, "Hmm...Janet, you watched too many R-rated movies so you don't get to go to the Celestial Kingdom." I think that God would probably have more important things on his mind, like my thrice pierced ears, which also flies in the face of things that have been revealed as not right.
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