‘Mormon Land’: Why faithful Latter-day Saints need not swear off all R-rated movies

Church leaders have warned about such films, but was a blanket ban ever an actual policy? And are there some R-rated and TV-MA shows the adult members should watch?

(Photo courtesy Amblin Partners | Universal Pictures) Liam Neeson, left, and Ben Kingsley star in Steven Spielberg's 1993 drama "Schindler's List." The movie's R rating tested the moviegoing habits of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Devout Latter-day Saints don’t, or at least think they shouldn’t, watch R-rated movies.

This belief has permeated their religious culture for decades. And while top leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have warned about such films, there has never been a general proscription against viewing them.

In fact, a popular Latter-day Saint blogger recently argued that some R-rated and TV-MA productions are worth watching, listing titles from “Saving Private Ryan” and “Marriage Story” to “The Passion of the Christ” and “Good Will Hunting.” He stated that swearing off such movies can lead to “consuming disproportionately infantile content.”

(Courtesy photo) Longtime inmate Red (Morgan Freeman, left) meets a new prisoner, Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins), in the 1994 R-rated drama "The Shawshank Redemption," based on a Stephen King short story.

So where did this supposed blanket ban on such films originate? Does it still have the same hold on Latter-day Saint culture today? And are there movies that adult members not only could watch (without any guilt) but indeed should watch?

On this week’s show, David Scott, a communication professor at Utah Valley University and an expert on Mormon culture and media, and their intersection with religiosity, discusses those questions and more.

Listen here: