Instant versus Slow Poison: Rationalizing Entertainment

"If it's doubtful, avoid it." - Spencer J. Condie

Photo by Florian van Duyn

If a show or movie isn’t “as bad” as another, does that really make it okay to watch?

There are a lot of movies and TV shows out there, and the majority of them seem to be straying far from gospel standards. With all of this entertainment surrounding us, it can be extremely easy to rationalize what we watch by comparing it to something that appears even worse. Although rationalizing can seem harmless, it is actually dangerous to our spiritual health, as Elder Spencer J. Condie addresses in his article “Mushrooms, Music, Movies, and Magazines.” Elder Condie uses mushrooms to talk about the dangers of mistaking poisonous entertainment for harmless entertainment.

The two most prominent mushrooms Elder Condie warns about are the jack-o’-lantern and the destroying angel. The jack-o’-lantern mushroom has an immediate, violent effect on whoever eats it. In contrast, the effects of the destroying angel don’t appear for about six to fifteen hours, but the fatality rate is around 90 percent. When it comes to entertainment, we might avoid shows that are like the jack-o’-lantern mushrooms—the ones so apparently offensive to the Spirit that we definitely won’t watch them. But we might justify watching shows that at first don’t appear as bad because their dangerous results aren’t immediate. What we need to remember is that even if a poison has a delayed effect, that doesn’t stop it from being deadly.

Elder Condie reminds us that when we’re deciding what entertainment to view, we should follow Paul’s advice in 1 Thessalonians 5:21–22: “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil” (italics added).

If we make the decision to abstain from poisonous entertainment, we will have the Spirit to guide us through the difficulties of life.

Read more about how to tell the good from the bad in Elder Spencer J. Condie’s article “Mushrooms, Music, Movies, and Magazines.”

Source: New Era

—Heather White, Mormon Insights

feature image by matt artz

Find more insights

Read or listen to “Media with Merit,” by Sister Katherine Nelson, for help with choosing what media to consume.

Watch “Things as They Really Are” to learn about Elder David A. Bednar’s thoughts on entertainment.

Take a look at “Entertainment and Media” in For the Strength of Youth for guidelines on choosing appropriate entertainment.

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