Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Why is Violence Okay?

Charlotte Corday after the murder of Marat (1861) 
by Paul-Jacques-Aime Baudry

"If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report, or praiseworthy, we seek after these things." ~From the LDS Thirteenth Article of Faith

Alright. Enough is enough. I can stay silent no longer.

I am getting more and more frustrated by all the fawning praise and hype that has been surrounding a certain best-selling book series that has recently premiered as a movie. I am disturbed by what the violent images presented in this series have the potential to do to individuals-- mothers and fathers, young adults and teens, but especially to children.

The embracing of violence in movies and books that is done by many of the same people who condemn sexual images and innuendo has long confused, annoyed, and concerned me.

I do not get it.

Of course, exposing ourselves to p*rnography and suggestive images and scenes (including descriptions in books) is wrong. We know that virtue is chastity and purity.

So, the question I'm asking is this: Is it virtuous, chaste, pure or lovely to immerse ourselves in murderous, violent thoughts-- even those of a fictional character?

Even if it's in a book about how scary it is to live in a world without freedom?

For example:
"A boy, I think from District 9, reaches the pack at the same time I do and for a brief time we grapple for it and then he coughs, splattering my face with blood. I stagger back, repulsed by the warm, sticky spray. Then the boy slips to the ground. That’s when I see the knife in his back." 
"It takes a few moments to find Cato in the dim light, in the blood. Then the raw hunk of meat that used to be my enemy makes a sound, and I know where his mouth is. And I think the word he’s trying to say is please. Pity, not vengeance, sends my arrow flying into his skull."
I don't know about you, but I do not find ANY way, means, or justification for the quotes above to fit within the description of "virtuous, lovely, good report, praiseworthy."

Whenever I bring up my objections to literary (this applies even more so to the movies) violence such as the quotes above, I hear these excuses:
"Yeah, but have you READ the books? They're sooo good!"
"The author is such a great writer!"
"I couldn't put it down-- it just sucked me in!"

Well, let's apply these lines of thinking to p*rnography.
"Yeah, but have you actually LOOKED at the pictures? They're so tastefully done!"
"The photographer is so talented!"
"I couldn't look away-- the pictures were just so captivating!" 

In this day and age, I think most people I know can agree that it's sad that society at large is rarely willing to call evil what it is-- EVIL.

And so I am puzzled why so many people who consider themselves good parents, concerned citizens, and followers of virtue are allowing themselves to tarnish and damage their spirits-- and the spirits of their children-- all in the name of entertainment or pop-culture!

No, I don't get it.

I pray that my family and I will always consume and contribute only to those things that uplift and inspire us toward becoming more holy. And for me, there is no way that violence-- real or read and watched-- can bring us to that higher plain.


  1. Amen, sister! Too many are "sucked" in by the hype surrounding certain books and movies. Satan is raging in the hearts of many.

  2. No offence, but your definition would mean not reading the scriptures. In no way, even in the classical sense is this book portraying evil as good. It is however portraying evil as evil and good people fighting against it.

  3. Hi Liv,

    But I've also heard people say that as justification to watch rated R movies. The scriptures are inspired and written by prophets-- and they have never been written for entertainment and financial gain. I don't think the same could be said for the author in question.

    Thanks for your candid comment!


  4. I don't see much difference between the images portrayed in "The Hunger Games" as those portrayed in all the Harry Potter books. I have a friend who is a former Wicken (witch) who has told me numerous things about the evil (Satan worship practices) in Harry Potter. She says we have no idea what we are inviting into our lives when we read/watch Harry Potter. Yet, I know you are a fan of that series. In fact, my father-in-law was floored that we allowed our kids to read the Harry Potter books and see the movies. There are violence in both series. However, in "The Hunger Games" it is forced by an unrighteous government. In Harry Potter we are lead to believe that the magic is a force for good. According to my friend, it is quite the opposite.

    I do believe that the movie will probably be too gory for my family and even more gory than the books. We are debating if we will see it or not, reading many reviews and praying about it. It will be best seen with Clear Play editing it for us I'm sure.

    There are many who would never read "Ender's Game" because of the language and murder or "Elantris" which was just as gory as "The Hunger Games" at the end. Another book on the TJED for Teens list, "The Mallorean", talks quite a bit about the man's "way with women" and "The Lord of the Rings" has it's gory and scary details as well.

    I do like "The Hunger Games" in it's whole...just like I like "Elantris", "Ender's Game" and "Alas, Babylon" which all have elements that are disturbing. If we condemn one, we should condemn them all...shouldn't we?

  5. Shakespeare appears 53 times in General Conference talks. Plays that were written for profit and quoted in General Conference! Many of the things portrayed in Shakespeare go beyond what is written in the book you are discussing. It is one thing to feel that this book is not for you or your family, but I don't think it is for us to judge others who enjoy it. Especially one that fits in the definition of a classical book.

  6. Hi Celeste! Good to have you join in.

    I have been a Harry Potter fan. But after the debacle with the last two movies, I have reexamined my stance on the books, and no longer consider them worth reading.

    I do not agree with all of the books that are listed on the TJEd for Teens list. As for Lord of the Rings, I have read the series several times, and my experiences with the violence in it are very mild-- especially in comparison to the movies. (Peter Jackson is a horror movie director, after all.) I saw Tolkien avoiding vivid images of blood and violence, glossing over most of the battle scenes, and giving generic descriptions that left most things to the imagination.

    I have a love-hate relationship with Ender's Game and the Ender's Shadow series, it's true. I think any mother who considers letting her children read them should read them first with a black marker in hand. But the MESSAGE of the books is that killing is WRONG, and that life has great value.

    With Hunger Games, there is not a marker dark enough or big enough to wipe out the entire premise of the book: Children killing children is not only okay, it might just be necessary. If the main character had chosen to die, rather than take a life, the entire message would be different.

    Especially with regard to children reading this series, I find the questions brought up by the author to be waaaay too adult for children to be exposed to. The premise is intriguing for adults-- What would YOU do?-- but when the main character makes the WRONG choice at the very beginning of the series, it then become a BENT book to me. If that first choice was wrong, then the path chosen is not a good one to explore.

    The idea of "disturbing images" is not what bothers me. It is the idea of children KILLING-- the worst sin other than denying the Holy Ghost that we can make in this life-- again and again, written in a matter-of-fact way throughout an entire series that bothers me. That children are experiencing the murder and gore of killing other children along with the characters that sickens and worries me. I just CANNOT see how this could ever be "okay."

    My post here was a rant that I have held in for some time. I did not mean to attack anyone personally. But my kids and I are frustrated by the immense peer pressure there is to read these books that are popular only because they are exciting and intriguing. But that does not make them classics.

    Just my sincere thoughts,

  7. Hi Liv,

    I love Shakespeare-- it is one of my passions, and I love teaching kids about it. But his works are not literature, they are plays, and how they are portrayed is often not good because of directorial choices that are often made. There are one or two of his play that are NOT classics (Titus Andronicus, for example) because the message and premise of the plays are BENT. But the other plays are all Whole and Healing: Good is good, bad is bad and good wins.

    I once heard Michael Ballam say the same thing about Opera. And as you said, we see it in the scriptures: Bad choices are not rewarded in the end.

    But that is not the message of Hunger Games. The main characters despicable choices are rewarded again and again. But they got their freedom in the end, right?

    But I don't think Captain Moroni or MacDuff would agree with the path to freedom that the main character takes. "I do not glory in bloodshed" comes to mind.

    Again, these are the opinions of one passionate woman. :-)


  8. When did the two main characters, Glory in bloodshed? It is my understanding that they detested the whole thing and made it a point that they detest the whole practice. Where you expecting the characters not to defend themselves and to allow themselves to be killed? Did Captain Moroni not defend himself? Did he not fight those who wanted him dead?

    My point is that if you want to stand apart, then stand apart. But don't be upset with those who are might also be close to Christ as well,and feel differently. Just because your children are the minority and don't have alot of friends who have not read the book, does not mean they are trying to make your lives miserable. It means that you chose one way and they another. I am close to God and involve him in my everyday life. I have read the book and don't feel that it is bent. I would however not let my children read the books until they are much older because of the mature and serious themes. But I would not allow my children to read Richard III, Macbeth, and Hamlet for that same reason.

  9. Hi Liv,

    I think of the Anti-Nephi-Lehis in the Book of Mormon. They were willing to lay down their lives, rather than kill one of their brethren.

    I think that the main character should have chosen to die-- she would have taught her family an important lesson. What if the people had risen up in the very beginning after seeing their children making the right choices? Modern thinking is that dying is the end of everything, and that there should be survival at all costs.

    Moroni defended his people, it's true. But he was an adult, a military general, and he did it for the righteous cause of liberty. The kids in the book did not fight for liberty. They fought for food.

    The numbness that must have come to their souls is frightening. Bringing REAL children along on their journey in the name of entertaining fiction is terrifying, IMHO.

    I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree on this issue. :-) Thank you for your comments!


  10. A lot of interesting thoughts here. I don't know if you read my post recently where I'm torn about watching murder mystery shows or reading those sorts of books. I think it's really hard to decide sometimes what is OK and what is not. Others already mentioned some of the same things I would have said- violence in the bible, Shakespeare, opera, etc. I think there's something to the fact that some media just needs to be kept age appropriate. I'm trying to figure a lot of this out for myself and it's kind of hard! Harry Potter is one I struggle with. I hated the 1-2 movies I saw and felt like they were dark and icky, but when I read the books I didn't feel that way until a few sections in the later books. It's tricky! Satan is tricky.

  11. Wow, I loved that you took a stand on this one. I have been concerned just with the adds for this movie wondering how it could be that good. The whole theme is violence. I think all of this is just one more sign of the times. Sad!
    Blessing to you for a great post.

  12. I think classics first of all are always in the eye of the beholder. Many books I read as classics can be discarded as garbage by others only because they think they are dull or boring. Other books that are often considered by others to be classics I cannot stand to read.

    Also I think that Katniss always has her family in mind, and as the story moves along she comes to realize that she is fighting against the capitol and is fighting to the end for freedom. She encourages a nation to rebel...much like the revolutionary war. I'm not saying I would let any child I have read the books until they are teenagers, but the books aren't meant for anyone really younger then that. But I think they are good books to read, especially for discussion.

    In the end I believe its all between us and God and how each thing affects us personally.

  13. I read the books. I admit I was sucked in. I started reading it thinking it would be dystopian, a genre I'm fascinated with. But High School Sophomore year came to mind when I read Lord of The Flies. I remember getting sick from what I thought then was graphic violence. The Hunger Games is far worse than that and I've known 13 year olds reading it. It should not have been published for Youth Fiction. But I have had great discussions from the book that I have really enjoyed. Usually it has to do with politics, government power, and the freedoms and liberty I desire to keep. That being said, I feel that the book ended up being written for a different purpose. Not fight for freedom, but de-sensitize the youth. It is the youth of today who can make a change for tomorrow, but what is it we want to teach them? Fight violence with violence? Shoot to kill? And when the trauma gets to hard to handle and you start breaking down and freaking out, just drug yourself up and get doped so you don't feel it anymore. Katniss enbraced killing and violence in the 3rd book. That's when I feel it became bent if not before then. I was hoping for a more resolved ending putting good back in power, but it ended as a book/series about violence. I was not impressed and had higher hopes. And now I see the power it holds on the youth of today. Yes, I am concerned and thankyou for posting about it. It really helped solidify my opinion of the series.

  14. 30 And it came to pass that when Ether 15:
    30 Coriantumr had leaned upon his sword, that he rested a little, he smote off the head of Shiz.

    31 And it came to pass that after he had smitten off the head of Shiz, that Shiz raised up on his hands and afell; and after that he had struggled for breath, he died.

    Alma 44:
    13 And it came to pass that the soldier who stood by, who smote off the scalp of Zerahemnah, took up the scalp from off the ground by the hair, and laid it upon the point of his sword, and stretched it forth unto them, saying unto them with a loud voice:

    14 Even as this scalp has fallen to the earth, which is the scalp of your chief, so shall ye fall to the earth except ye will deliver up your weapons of war and depart with a covenant of peace.

    1 Nephi 4:
    18 Therefore I did obey the voice of the Spirit, and took Laban by the hair of the head, and I smote off his head with his own sword.

    1 Samuel 15:
    33 And Samuel said, As thy sword hath made women childless, so shall thy mother be childless among women. And Samuel hewed Agag in pieces before the Lord in Gilgal.

    This could really go on and on and on.

  15. Thanks, Jan! I appreciate your perspective very much!

    Hi Gina,

    Thank you for sharing those references.

    In every one of those scriptures you quoted, the people mentioned were MEN fighting in battles. In Nephi's case, he only followed the Holy Spirit and killed Laban to save future genrations from sin.

    Never is there a detailed description about the children spilling one another's blood, or from any children's point of view-- though near the end of the Nephite and Jaredite nations, it talks about how even the women and children fought in the wars BECAUSE THE PEOPLE WERE SO EVIL.


  16. From the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet:
    "Do not attend, view, or participate in anything that is vulgar, immoral, violent, or pornographic in any way. Do not participate in anything that presents immorality or violence as acceptable."

    It's interesting that the previous version of the pamphlet said,
    "Do not attend, view, or participate in entertainment that is vulgar, immoral, violent, or pornographic in any way. Do not participate in entertainment that presents immorality or violence as acceptable."

    I think that I like the old one better, because it specified that we shouldn't view/etc things that use vulgarities, immorality, violence and pornography as entertainment. So if the intent is to educate rather than to entertain (whether that is OUR intent as the viewer or the creators intent I think either is fine) we can make that choice to view something vulgar/immoral/violent/"pronographic" (images found in medical/anatomic text books come to mind) righteously.

    The examples of the scriptures are good ones. If we are reading those "violent" passages to be "entertained" by the violence, we are missing the point. Similarly, I think that some people can read books like Hunger Games, or the other plethora of books that have been mentioned and some who read them (those who read them to be entertained) will be making a poor choice, while those who read them as a "thinking" book will be making a good choice.

    There is a lot of wholesome entertainment that can also be "thought provoking" and I think that we should definitely be making more of our media choices come from that category, but I don't think that we should shy away from a book that has a though provoking message just because it is violent/etc - we simply need to read it with the right perspective.

    However, I would agree with those that make the point that these types of books are for a more "mature" audience.

    Also, I am reminded of our foster care training classes where our instructor basically told us that foster care is an R rated job. But I wouldn't not be a foster parent just because I was afraid that I would get a kid who was going to bring violence and vulgarities into my home.

    So, we definitely shouldn't be letting ourselves be entertained by violence. And we should probably make sure the majority of our media consumption for education comes from less violent/vulgar/etc sources. But I think it is against gospel principles (be in the world, but not of the world) to try to never see/read/watch anything that is violent/vulgar. We just should make sure that if we are exposed to those things, we increase our exposure to good things by 100 times as much as the bad things.

  17. I'll confess my bias up front. My initial reaction to this post was...Hallelujah! A fellow lioness at the gate!

    "Satan uses media to deceive you...Do not attend, view, or participate in anything that is vulgar, immoral, violent, or pornographic in any way. Do not participate in anything that presents immorality or violence as acceptable. Have the courage to walk out...change...or turn off [whatever] drives away the Spirit."

    Obviously, from the "For Strength of Youth [and everyone else]" pamphlet.

    I have never (*never*) heard anyone justify not reading their scriptures because the FSoY pamphlet counsels against violence and immorality.

    In fact, we have been commanded to read the scriptures. To know them intimately. Reading the scriptures does not drive away the Spirit but rather INVITES the Spirit. We know this.

    This tells me that the difference between scriptures and media is inherently understood - by most if not all of us. It is a comparison of apples and eggplants here.

    I see many (not just here and not just with this particular series) who justify their media choices BECAUSE they read their scriptures.

    As I hear it, the explanations can go something like: The scriptures have ugliness and awfulness so my media can too?

    Or: This media choice gave me conversations with my child I could not have had in any other spirit-inviting, not spirit-offending, way?

    I guess that's not a principle I'm willing to stand on but I realize each house will have to determine how they serve the Lord.

  18. You are not alone Rachel. We have chosen to not read any of the books from The Hunger Game Series. We also made this same choice for The Twilight Series and have gotten all kinds of flack from it.

    Good for you for taking a stand!

  19. Rachel, I agree wholeheartedly. If one wants to study war from a true perspective, try books such as The Hiding Place, Three Against Hitler, and yes the Book of Mormon. The books mentioned here were written not for entertainment but for teaching. The Hunger Games is written to a vulnerable age group and is written in a tittilating (sp) manner. They also have violence's twin involved, p*rnography.
    I do agree that if one is going to have this standard with one series, it ought to apply to others. I would class Harry Potter, Elantris and Alas, Babylon in the same category. You don't need to wade through filth to learn. The Holy Spirit can teach in a moment, but not through these mediums. One really cannot compare an Inspired Book (Book of Mormon) to these as a justification--was the author inspired in her writing? I think not.
    are two review/analysis that are well worth reading, regardless of what side you are on.

  20. Both quotes from the book, but the second in particular, made me feel sick to my stomach. I had already chosen not to read these books on the premise alone. (Like you said, children killing children is wrong. Plain and simple.) So to have read those quotes solidifies my decision even more so.

  21. As soon as I finished this post I also thought "Amen sister!"

    What a great discussion from everybody!

    I see a big contrast between the scriptures and some of the other books mentioned. I think Mama Rachel hit it on the head. The level of gore,the targeted audience, and intent are all critical. Even in the scriptures when they are being scalped and smiting off heads, you don't hear about the 'splattering my face with blood' or being 'repulsed with the warm sticky spray'. That IS desensitizing. Why not mention the smell and taste of the blood as well?
    I haven't personally read the Hunger Games, and won't for sure, now.
    I read the first four books of the Harry Potter series when it first came out. It gradually became darker and darker as the series progressed. I felt that it made Wicca seem innocent, harmless and even fun, and decided that we didn't need to have Harry Potter at our house. Interesting how Wiccan practices used to be very hard to find, and it was rarely heard of. The closest thing I ever came was being told by my mother not to use a ouija board. Never even came across one. Yet, now through entertainment and the media, witchcraft has become much more mainstreamed, accepted, and even embraced. I had a friend who disagreed with me about Harry Potter and likened the magic in Harry Potter to that in fairy tales such as Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast to justify "a little harmless magic". I was surprised that she didn't see the difference.

  22. I am on your side here. My husband and I started the book on family recommendation, but put it down. One of my best friends read the series and told me how warped it was. How the author ruined anything good that could have come from them, by having Katniss very fickle on nearly ever topic-- love, murder, justice, etc.

    We also never read the Twilight series. I even know the author. She is my dear friend and college roommate's sister in law. But with all of the steamy scenes, I knew I would never want my daughters to get involved in it.

    My husband and I read the entire Harry Potter's series, but we only let the kids read through book five because of all of the making out in book six and other stuff in book seven. We do let our kids watch the movies, but only on the Clearplay dvd player.

    I understand the argument for the Old Testament being violent. We use it ourselves. But even with that, we put the Hunger Games down.

  23. Great discussion everyone!! Becca, I LOVE your comment!

    I think this is a book and movie which I will definitely try to avoid because of the children killing..
    I may have to start, like Diane, to read because I like to find out for myself whether it would be right for my family to read/watch.. and it may be one that I put down for better things.
    (remember the talk on good, better, best??) So many good things out there (not that I am saying children killing is good.. just saying good things in general are out there).. but there are as many better things and even as many 'best' things.. Why not always choose the 'best'...
    Would President Monson read this book or watch this movie???
    I wonder if Jesus would join a book circle who is reading that? I wonder if He would attend that movie with me?? Or would he encourage me to find 'better' things???
    Just my thoughts...


  24. I am trying hard to root out violence from our entertainment at home... I see the popularity of these books as an extension of a culture that watches violent cartoons, plays violent games and watches so-called reality tv shows where people are demeaned and hurt.

    We will stay far away from the books and movie/s, but I think that their popularity are just a sign of the times.

  25. I think there is a big difference between God-inspired scripture and a description of things that actually happened (which tend to not focus on the gore) and an fictional story that focuses on gratuitous violence. Everyone will have a different standard of what is a classic for them or when something is inappropriate, but I'm surprised to see this series compared to scripture or historical studies in this comment thread.

    Our entertainment continues to become more and more violent. So many times in watching a popular movie or TV show, an event is shown in unnecessary detail and the gory details focused on. I remember when cop shows used to simply allude to things that had happened to victims, now you are shown the crime scene pictures and the dead mutilated bodies and very often, the act itself. Too often, it is completely gratuitous and does nothing to move the story forward. It is there simply to titillate. I haven't read the Hunger Games books, but I am constantly told that I MUST, that they are SO good, but when I hear what the story is about, and I'm sure they are not very well written and are the typical twaddle that is produced for popular culture today, I don't find myself eager to do so.

  26. I agree with you completely. It's really scary what some LDS people are willing to justify. Would Pres. Monson read this book? Would Sis. Beck read this book? I think we know the answer to that...NO!! I think it is ridiculous to compare the scriptures which are from our Father in Heaven to so called literature obviously influenced by the devil. These really are the last days when "men's heart will wax cold."

  27. Thanks for this post and for the comments shared. It allowed me to have good discussions with my husband and daughter about this topic. I haven't read the. Oils and have no desire to do so. My husband did read them based on recommendations from his family and my two teenaged daughters have read them. I think some of the ideas I was able to share with them from this post were thought provoking.

  28. I just have to tell you I agree, and thank you!! I too
    had chosen not to read these books based on descriptions of their content, and have been surprised by the many close friends and family that have raved about them. I also have never read any Twilight, nor Harry Potter. Too many other truly wonderful things to be reading, that I hardly have time for as it is! Thank you again for standing up and speaking out to oppose the vast majority, and starting a great conversation. I'm glad I'm not alone in my feelings and thoughts!

  29. Thanks for taking a stand! I totally agree. My family had a wonderful spiritual discussion at the dinner table yesterday about this topic. We have not and will not read these books. Our discussion was started by a front-page newspaper article in yesterday's paper that talked about how fabulous these books are for getting kids "hooked" on reading. In fact, several local middle schools (6th grade classrooms, specifically) are using The Hunger Games as part of their curriculum. One local school district took hundreds of sixth grade students to view the premiere yesterday as a school field trip! I find that utterly appalling.

    Yes, it is unbelievable how so many have managed to justify these books and others like them. Thank you for your courage in writing this - it's definitely not the popular side to be on, in my experience. I too am VERY concerned about the effect that this so-called entertainment is having on children and youth.

  30. I totally respect it if you want to stay away from a movie, but don't condemn others for their choices.

    Upon the stage of a theater can be represented in character, evil and its consequences, good and its happy results and rewards; the weakness and the follies of man, the magnamity of virtue and the greatness of truth. The stage can be made to aid the pulpit in impressing upon the minds of a community an enlightened sense of a virtuous life, also a proper horror of the enormity of sin and a just dread of its consequences. The path of sin with its thorns and pitfalls, its gins and snares can be revealed, and how to sun it (Discourses of Brigham Young, p.243; Bookcraft, 1998)

  31. I think this video stated very well the reasons why this book and movie should be avoided.

  32. I believe you are talking to me. Interestingly, what has stayed with me after reading these books is the love Katniss has for her sister, for Rue, her people and her determination to fight for right. That being said, you have made me think. I'm assuming that's at least part of the reason you wrote this blog. I actually do think I'm a good mom even though I've let a couple of my kids read this, others no. I made my choice based on not only age but personality and ability to distinguish between what's real and what's fantasy. I'm sure you're cringing right now.

    Thanks for the post.

  33. Great points Rachel - but I am going to disagree - not because I think we should read/watch violence but because I think our children need this book. What?! you say...yes, this book has violence, but then we are talking about a tyrannical government. All tyrants promote violence as a means of "controlling" the masses. I think of king Benjamin from the Book of Mormon, he says - I did not suffer my people to enslave one another, to kill one another or to do wickedness (paraphrased ;-) - Katniss was Forced to do wickedness by an awful tyrant. Did she really have a choice? Yes, she was fickle - she was only 14 or 15! - but she was trying to protect her family. She tried to rebel in the ways she felt were safe for her family. Unfortunately we are headed in the same direction - our children may very well experience a totalitarian government. Yes, I know there are better books to teach our children the atrocities of tyrants, but really how many children outside of TJED circles read those books? I think our children (meaning our society) need to see just how wicked a ruler can be and need to think about what they would do in that situation. And hopefully they will think about this book/movie and be able to recognize when these things become a part of our society (Haven't they already? How many children kill each other every day in gangs and schools? How many people are unable to provide food for their families because of government regulations? How many of our freedoms have we already lost?) and because they think of the "hunger games" they will have the courage to stop it. Perhaps I am being idealistic, but I think this book can help "wake up" more people to our awful situation.
    Now I haven't read the whole series - so I don't know how the author resolves all of this - so my opinion may change... but these are my thoughts so far ;-)

  34. Hi Toni,

    I'm afraid I still disagree. I think what our children need much more in this day and age, is a better discernment between the virtuous and the visceral. As I said before, I would use much better sources for teaching the principles of freedom and liberty, such as this:

    THANK YOU, everyone for all your comments! I am glad I said what I felt I needed to say, even though it goes against what the majority of the world thinks. And I'm grateful for the courteous discussion we've been able to have here. We may not ever agree on this issue, but I am thankful for the exchange we've been able to have.

    Blessings to you and yours,
    Mama Rachel

  35. Thank you for having the courage to write your stance on this popular series. I recently read the books, mostly because my husband had received them from his receptionist and I had sick kids and was bored one weekend. Honestly, after the first book (in which I skipped most of the fighting), I was physically ill. I still can't handle the kinds of violence that happened to children in the book. I put it down and cried, and then had to read something calm and happy. (Sense and Sensibility was my pick.) I'm not sure how to say this, but I'm just kind of over trying to like things because many of my friends and family do. I'm ok with saying that I haven't seen a particular movie. And now after reading this series because of "peer pressure", I'm done with following the crowd on this as well. I don't think that my friends that love the books aren't as righteous as me, I just think we're in different places. We all have different experiences that bring us closer to God, and we have those experiences at times in our lives when we will hopefully listen. I've reached a time in my life where I am seriously choosing what images and words to take into my mind and heart. I might not be joining my friends on movie night, or get into a book series that "sucks you in", and I'm ok with that. In order to be close to my Heavenly Father, I know I need to be more choosy.
    I don't know if any of the above makes sense, but it's been on my mind a lot and your post has helped me realize what it is I'm feeling. Thank you for your words.

  36. Coming from someone who HAS read all three books and REGRETS that decision each and every day, I say thank you!

    You are not alone in your feelings. I only wish I was stronger and listened to the Holy Ghost whisper that it was wrong. He is sometimes so hard for me to listen to.

    I also sometimes have to learn the hard way. This is a lesson I will NEVER forget though.

    You are brave for writing something so passionate. Thank you, and know you are not alone.

  37. Thanks for your comments, ladies! It's nice to know I'm not alone.

    And thank you, Jaime, for pinning another LDS blog post on the subject, though much better written than mine. :-)

    If anyone is interested, here's the link:

  38. Thank you for saying it like it is!

    It is too easy to dismiss certain material or media as "only" violence.

    Violence frightens me, not just because of the details as much as the mentality behind it: little concern for others and a worship of self and one's own "achievements". In fact, that getting ahead *justifies* violence or harming others.

    How terrifying to think that other people could care less how you fare--they'd as soon kill you as look at you. Just as long as they aren't the loser....Who would want to view the world through this lense for even 5 minutes?

    Violence is another way of saying life is not precious, or that the strong are the ones who deserve to conquer the weak and survive.

    Some people call this mentality intelligent or scientific. That's one reason why certain books get dubbed "classics". It seems to be so intelligent, to some people anyway!

    But, it's kind of like the story of the Emporer's new clothes: just because other people, even "important" people, declare something to be true, does *not* necessarily make it so.

    Violence is neither "classic" nor intelligent nor scientific. It is a sin and deplorable!

    We LDS church members only need to read the Book of Mormon in Alma 30:17-18 to see through the subtleties of those who would say violence is "no big deal".

    Nehor and those who taught his philosophies believed the same things that the Hunger Games books teach. Nehor is referred to as the Anti-Christ in the Book of Mormon.

    "And many more such things did he say unto them, telling them that there could be no atonement made for the sins of men, but every man afared in this life according to the management of the creature; therefore every man prospered according to his genius, and that every man conquered according to his strength; and whatsoever a man did was no crime.

    18 And thus he did preach unto them, leading away the hearts of many, causing them to lift up their heads in their wickedness, yea, leading away many women, and also men, to commit whoredoms—telling them that when a man was dead, that was the end thereof."

    To someone who wonders how to choose material or media to consume to avoid being deceived, I would say this-- Pay attention to keeping the standards set forth in For the Strength of Youth pamphlet and also the Gospel Standards, which every child who is baptized should learn.

    We may be grown ups, but those things all still apply to us!

    The Holy Ghost will warn us of influences which could weaken us and teach us lies. It is our responsibility to heed to spirit, to stay safe from Satan and his teachings and to keep our young people safe as well.

    Even if it is only a measly set of popular books to avoid ;-)

  39. AMEN! AMEN! AMEN! I have written a post on my private family blog, but I am so very afraid to share it on my public blog. I don't know if I could handle all the negative comments that might come from it....But after reading a few other posts on the same topic, I may just have the courage to make it public.

  40. I feel violated just from reading some of these posts about the book. I had to read them because I didn't know what book you were talking about. When I first heard what that book was about, I had no interest in it at all. I didn't open it up to see if the writing was good or if it was bent or not, it didn't matter to me. The storyline was not something I wanted to immerse myself in. There are so many great books on my reading list, I don't have time to consider anything less. Had it been a story of real lives in history, I would have dug a little deeper.

  41. My husband and I have a super simple method of judging...if I can feel the Holy Ghost...I stay, keep reading, keep watching etc. If the Holy Ghost leaves...done deal...I don't care what great lessons, discussion we could get from it. The Holy Ghost already let me know my decision.

    In the scriptures below, please note the words PLAIN, and PERFECT KNOWLEDGE. I think we make things harder than they are. "the way to judge is plain." Apply the test below and see how you feel about it. :)

    "Moroni 7:14 Wherefore, take heed, my beloved brethren that ye do not judge that which is evil to be of God, or that which is good and of God to be of the devil.

    15. For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil and the way to judge is plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night.

    16. For behold the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.

    17 But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge is is of the devil;..."


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