Am I the only one who can’t find any uplifting entertainment anymore?

My wife and I used to love watching a new movie or a TV show after putting the kids to bed.  In addition, I love downloading TV shows to watch while on the airplane because I am constantly traveling for work.

This process has become increasingly frustrating.  I’ll become interested in a show and then, out of nowhere, there will be an extremely explicit and completely gratuitous sex scene or excessively bloody battle scene.  Or the actors, for no reason at all, will begin dropping F-bombs and S-bombs left and right.

I am actually a pretty grizzled veteran when it comes to this stuff.  I got baptized in my mid-30s, and I saw plenty of bad stuff in the movies before I joined the Church.  So it’s not as if I am a delicate flower who has never seen nudity or blood or heard bad language.  I can even understand the point that sometimes a movie is made better by explicit scenes.  If you really want to understand and feel what the Normandy invasion was about, then “Saving Private Ryan” with all of its violence is a good choice.  My feeling is that the violence in “Saving Private Ryan” is not gratuitous, whereas so many movies these days are filled with completely unnecessary garbage that is extraneous to the actual story.

Here is what I want:  stories about human being doing real things, having real romances, overcoming difficult problems, but without explicit sex scenes, bloody violence or any F-bombs or S-bombs.  Is that too much to ask?

I maintain it is not, and I think there are a lot of people who agree with me.  Even my friends outside the Church complain about all of the garbage in the entertainment world.

So, there are two purposes to this post.  The first is that Wheat & Tares has a podcast dedicated to discussing entertainment that promotes family values.  I have not listened to it yet, but I will download the first few episodes and let you know what I think.  You can find the podcast here.

The second purpose of this post is for readers to suggest some movies or TV shows that fulfill the requirements above.  Again, what I want are real stories without explicit sex scenes, bloody violence or swearing.  It would be a bonus if the movie promoted family values and faith, but I am not even insisting on that.  I just want to get through a movie or TV show without being disgusted.

Here are some of my favorites movies just to get the discussion started.  I watch so many movies and TV shows because of my travel schedule that this list could be very long, but here is a start.

Pride & Prejudice (the movie version or the BBC version — they are both good).

Downton Abbey

Poldark (BBC series)

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

Shenandoah (Jimmy Stewart movie from the 1960s)

Groundhog Day

Most movies made before 1965 or so on Netflix and Amazon Prime.

I am a big fan of musicals and have watched all of the biggest musicals, from Fiddler on the Roof to Singin’ in the Rain.

As I said, this is just a start.  Please let me know some of your favorites in the comments below.





Hanoi Hannah and Reflections on Detractors

I heard on NPR this week that Trinh Tri Ngo died this past week at age 87.

In her youth, Trinh had been one of the best known propagandists of the North Vietnamese Defense Ministry. Her sweet voice was broadcast three times a day, for thirty minutes at a time. American GI’s referred to Trinh as “Hanoi Hannah”.

” ‘Defect, GI. It is a very good idea to leave a sinking ship,’ she advised her U.S. listeners in one broadcast. ‘You know you cannot win this war.’

“The North Vietnamese Defense Ministry’s propaganda department wrote her scripts, she told the Voice of Vietnam. Their aim was to degrade U.S. troops’ will to fight, and convince them that their cause was unjust.”

In our days Mormons are familiar with a similar message: “Defect, young Mormon. It is a very good idea to leave the sinking ‘ship Zion’. Mormonism is bound to fail.” The aim of this propaganda is to degrade Mormons’ will to endure, to convince them their cause is hopelessly flawed. Continue reading

#LDSconf 186th Semiannual Conference, Sunday Afternoon Session

President Eyring conducts.

President Monson presides.

MoTab sings “Oh Say What is Truth?”

Invocation:  Enrique R. Falabella of the Seventy

Choir sings:  “Lead, Kindly Light”

Elder Bednar

“He that doeth the will of the Father.”

JST changed this verse from “I never knew you” to “Ye never knew me.”

10 virgins:  “I know you not” changed to “ye know me not.”

“Ye never knew me” and “ye know me not” are important messages for today.

Jesus said I am the way, the truth and the life.  If ye had known me, you will know the father also.  We come to know the father as we come to know the son.


… Four essential steps that can help us come to know the Lord are exercising faith in Him, following Him, serving Him, and believing Him.

The exercise of faith in Jesus Christ is relying upon His merits, mercy, and grace. … As our faith in the Lord increases, we trust in Him and have confidence in His power to redeem, heal, and strengthen us. …

The Savior has admonished us to become as He is. … Following the Lord includes emulating Him. We continue to come to know the Lord as we seek through the power of His Atonement to become like Him. …

We more fully come to know the Lord as we serve Him and labor in His kingdom. As we do so, He generously blesses us with heavenly help, spiritual gifts, and increased capacity. …

We come to know the Savior as we do our best to go where He wants us to go, as we strive to say what He wants us to say, and as we become what He wants us to become. …

… Believing Him with our whole soul comes as we press forward along the covenant pathway, surrender our will to His, and submit to His priorities and timing for us.

Continue reading

#LDSconf 186th Semiannual Conference, Sunday Morning Session

President Uchtdorf conducts

President Monson presides.

Music by the MoTab choir.

Choir sings “In Hymns of Praise.”

Invocation by Elder Christoffel Golden of the Seventy

President Monson

1964 — he had an assignment in NYC during the world’s fair.  He visited the Mormon pavilion at the fair  Watched a church movie.  He sat next to a young man who was not a member.  The crowd was silent, many touched by the message of the film.  The young man did not arise.  His response was:  “this is the truth.”

Not all embrace our message.  But many people recognize its truth, and they plant their feet on the path that will lead them safely home.  Essential to our message is the Savior Jesus Christ.  It is not enough just to believe in him.  We must work and repent and improve.  We need to know God’s laws and live them.

The Father does nothing save it be for our benefit.  The work and glory.  Pres. Monson testifies of the great gift and plan for us.  He leaves his love and blessing.

Continue reading

#LDSconf 186th Semiannual Conference, General Priesthood Session

October 2016 Priesthood Session

Choir from stakes in West Valley City and Magna Utah (including my former stake!)

President Eyring presiding

Hymn– Ye Elders of Israel (A really nice rendition!)

Prayer– Paul B. Piper of the 70

Hymn   Love at Home

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

A single sister (Molly) came home from work and found her basement covered in water.  She and a friend began moping. Then her home teachers showed up. But they said “we see that you are busy and we do not want to intrude…” and they left.

Home teaching is our first duty to watch over others. We are told about it and given guilt trips, but still can’t get our numbers to an acceptable level. Changing demographics make it difficult to successfully visit the homes of others. There are also limited numbers of priesthood holders, long distance, cost of transportation, long work weeks. And there are cultural taboos and safety issue. So this is a complex problem.

When possible, a month visit is still the ideal that the Church will strive for. But because it is not always possible, the First Presidency wrote in December 2001 and gave inspired counsel. In some locations home teaching every month may not be possible. Leaders should do their best to use the resources that they have available to watch over and strengthen each member.

Continue reading