Are there any Christians/religious people here who limit what they read to stuff that's "wholesome"?
I'm basically a Mormon, and I'm struggling to justify—if it indeed can or should be justified—my reading of Henry Miller and others like him. However, I'm not sure that to lead a genuinely spiritual life, one has to remain insulated within what's "pure," "chaste," "wholesome," etc., as that's kind of a false religiosity which doesn't come from within. But, of course, the LDS Church teaches that its members should avidly avoid certain unwholesome things. I don't know. What does /lit/ think about this?
You are right in recognizing the hazard that lies on both sides of the question. I've known people who have 'insulated' themselves from secular materials and have been self-righteous and insufferable, really poor examples of their faith in fact. I've also known people who have abstained similarly and maintained a better balance spiritually, as well as people who consume secular materials and shown the same range in their lives.
One question I would bring up is at what point some writing etc. becomes inherently 'unwholesome'/contrary to faith life. I think too that a list of edifying materials (or unedifying) will differ from one person to another.
I do think it's good to be discerning, in particular about how things you read etc. affect you spiritually. Ultimately, the test would be what effect something might have on how you live your life and deal with those around you. "What goes into a man's mouth does not make him 'unclean,' but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him 'unclean,'" as Jesus says (Mt 15:11).
my take on it (what little it's worth) is this: you should and shouldn't worry about it.
I do not think that reading unsavoury books is going to do you spiritual harm—if you are vigilant. But as we are fallen beings we are not, I think, wholly competent to resist temptation.
In some sense, reading bad books will put you in danger. It may be a little sinful to know this and yet, in pride, reject the wisdom of your church and 'see for yourself'; but it cannot be the worst of sins. Still, if you find you are reading nothing but the most decadent and licentious of literature, and enjoying this part of it, you have probably lost your way.
Anyhow, I am not a mormon and I think your church is a little insane. I know that love of your church is mixed up with love for your ancestors, patriotism, etc. But I think you'd be better off converting to the holy Roman church catholic and apostolic.
Limiting your knowledge to secular materials blocks out a huge part of man's history. So the question is that: Would you like to turn a blind eye towards man's history?
Keep in mind that the LDS Church may (read as: absolutely does) recommend you to avoid 'unwholesome' materials not because it's sin, but because it might educate it's members to a point where they start to question their membership to the church.
If the Mormon religion is true then the prophet has a direct line of communication with God and the right to recieve revelation on your behalf. He has explicitly defined the standards of media required for Latter Day Saints, and to consume incompatible media is to actively work against God.
don't worry though the religion is demonstrably false
You should be very cautious. I won't get into the matter of abstinence because that's too tricky for me, but I will tell you that the dangers are more insidious than you may realize, and you may be on guard against the wrong things.
Works of obvious moral degeneracy, though they may have some value, tend to disgust; there is little danger of being corrupted by a man like Nietzsche unless you're already far gone.
The danger is greatest in the works which seem moral. One does suspect that the second earl of Rochester is going to lead him astray, but he does not suspect Alexander Pope. There has been, however, a great critique of the morality of his Essay on Man by a French writer, which is translated into English by the great Dr Johnson. We have in our age largely forgotten to mistrust the morality of the old poets, though it was often very sketchy.
Loose morality turns to self-righteous heresy in Shelley. Shelley is among the most loved and hated of all literary figures precisely because he either advanced our moral sentiments or terribly perverted them. And he has been the source of so much moral rot precisely because he wrote in praise of high values like truth and liberty, and seemed the most principled of the romantics.
every book i read no matter what manages somehow only to bolster my beliefs
sometimes books that explicitly contradict my beliefs bolster my beliefs
if you can be swayed to atheism or hedonism by reading a book (or watching TV, or anything at all), your beliefs were shitty and halfassed to begin with
It's in the LDS' interest to keep you only within their very specific "wholesome" sphere, because mainstream forms of Christianity are dangerous to their doctrine.
PS hot chocolate has caffeine, and most cough medicines have alcohol
>not being a papist
>in the year of our lord MMXVI
I'm a proponent of Edgar Cayce who preached through his readings of a way of life similar to what I feel is the crux of Mormon ideology.
That said, what do you mean by "wholesome" and "unwholesome" in your definition? Because this,
>as that's kind of a false religiosity which doesn't come from within.
Leads me to believe you think like I do. But I -think- you're missing the forest for the trees. Because nothing is of itself unclean except to him who esteems it unclean, and to him it is. As we grow in Grace, or knowledge of God's forgiveness, we also grow in our perspective of what sin is.
That doesn't give us a free license to do what we want simply because we reason "I don't understand why it's bad so it's ok for me!" The Universe is orderly, and the breaking of a Spiritual Law is still a violation whether we know we're doing it or not. But not everyone may yet comprehend why for instance pornography is harmful. You have to evolve, in wisdom, to that point.
I agree with every single word. To further elaborate (if I may add unto your comment).
"Let's begin with that which was given by Him, "Not that which enterth into a man defileth him, but that which cometh forth. Many are as whitened sepulchres, beautiful without but within full of dead men's bones!" This is referring to the activities of a physical being, but taking into consideration the activities of a physical body, a mental body, AND spiritual body. One that lives to gratify the desires of the fleshly body ALONE may be beautiful without (and often is!), but within is as of those foul, that make for the belittling of the soul - for it must become corruption [-] as the tree falls, so must it lie, and the whole shall be paid EVERY WHIT! "My word shall NOT pass away." that which must bring that knowledge of the whole, that "the Father and I ARE one." For the physical body, the mental body, the spiritual body, to rebel, is as for the foot to REBEL that it is not the head, or the hand; or as for the organs to rebel because they have become POISONED by that which UNSEEMINGLY has been fed the body for its sustenance."
I'm a Catholic so I understand where you're coming from. For me, If a work has some "unwholesomeness" in it, I don't mind as it is part of reality and has purpose within certain works. However, if something revels in unwholesomeness and the entire point o the work is to celebrate unwholesomeness or shock then I'm not really interested. Regardless, I've never been a fan of Henry Miller.