Recently I listened to a speaker in a church meeting (LDS Stake Conference) talk about the moving line of appropriate versus inappropriate viewing of media. This is something I've been concerned about for some time. It used to be that you could avoid inappropriateness by not viewing "R" rated movies. Now even PG-13 movies often have inappropriate dialog. Television is a plethora of violence, vulgarity, and inappropriate use of the Lord's name. Social media is rampant with vulgarity.
There is a terrible dilemma for those of us who want to be part of social media. We are encouraged by leaders of the church to be involved in social media. There is a ton of missionary work that is being done via social media, and I've been proud to play a tiny role in that effort the last few years. In the process, we open ourselves up to viewing things we don't want to see, and reading words we don't want to read. It is difficult to know where to draw the line.
My standard procedure with inappropriateness via social media has been to ignore it the first time (anyone can have a bad day), gently warn the person the second time, and uncircle, unfollow, and/or hide friendship the third time. I'm sad about that. If I were to have followed my own guidelines recently, I would have cut off contact with someone, but for some strange reason, I didn't follow those guidelines. Last week I had a missionary experience with the offender. So it brings the question to my mind again, "Where do I draw the line?"
I can testify to the fact that reading inappropriate words via social media does have an affect on you. I was sound asleep the other night, and I woke up with a start because in my dream I was yelling at someone and used the most vulgar of words--in my sleep.
If you thought this blog post was going to give you answers as to where to draw the line, you were mistaken. I don't know the answer. It is something that I'm going to have to pray about earnestly. On-line missionary work is very important, and it is very effective--but at what cost? We have all talked about the moral decay of society and the importance of getting it back on track. How do we do that if we are not willing to roll up our sleeves and get dirty working in the trenches? If we are willing to walk through the sewer, how do we keep ourselves spotless before the Lord?
I would welcome any suggestions you might have, or any comments, as I study this out in my mind and pray about it.