Wally’s thoughts:

Thanks to all who share their thoughts and questions.

Thanks to Candleman for sharing his book recommendations. From his suggestions I have added to my list of books to order and read.

I would like to respond to Mark’s searching questions. “I read an article on forgiveness that asserted that we humans are ‘hard-wired for revenge.’ What do you think?”

My answers to that question are yes and no. Yes we are wired with strong self-preservation instincts. Anyone who threatens us is likely to evoke a strong reaction. Just as King Benjamin observed, the natural man–unchanged by the divine influence–is an enemy to God.

The no part: We are also hardwired for empathy. When we take the point of view of the offending other, our reaction is softened. This is what psychologists call moral development and God calls kindness and pure knowledge. The yearned-for end-state for this inborn empathy is charity–when we love as Jesus does.

Mark asked another question: “Also, if we are too quick to forgive before the transgressor feels remorse for his error, are we helping them to possibly ‘short-cut’ and minimize their understanding of what they have done?”

Phew. That’s deep. My thought is that we are required to forgive (See D&C 64:8-10). It is God’s job to dispense any needed “vengeance.” Only One who loves perfectly and understands infinitely can be entrusted with exacting payment.

However, we may inadvertently encourage thoughtlessness by over-excusing sin. For example, the doormat spouse might say, “You’re right. I deserved that. I’m sorry I’m such a bad person.” There is a more balanced response. While we do not hold the offender accountable, we can say, “Ouch! That really hurt. You must feel awful to say/do such a thing.” We do not withhold forgiveness but we do not disguise the pain caused by the offence. If the person is open to repentance, he or she may feel empathy and may repent.


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  • Reply Candleman February 4, 2008 at 11:19 pm

    WordPress has a feature that displays recent comments in the right column. That way treads are easy to follow and a conversation can develop about your wonderful observations.

    That’s the beauty of blogging – interactivity.

  • Reply Candleman February 13, 2008 at 7:57 am

    Cool, you’ve set up a comments list in your left margin. Now I can follow what’s being talked about on your blog! Thanks for considering my suggestion.

  • Reply Candleman February 15, 2008 at 11:10 pm

    I had hoped that since you set this up on a blog format that this would be a blog, or in other words, interactive. Apparently, you aren’t interested in discussing what you share with us here, or perhaps you’re too busy to do so, in either case, too bad for us.

  • Reply admin February 17, 2008 at 4:55 pm

    I am glad to interact whenever I can. I hope you will forgive me when I have seasons of imbalance.

  • Reply Tristen Smith April 15, 2009 at 7:03 pm

    Dear Brother Goddard,

    Thank you for your wonderful articles. They are a blessing.

    I have some questions about media that we watch as a family and what our children watch…

    A brief preface: We use screenit.com to research any movies we are going to watch. We completely avoid any movies with foul language and sexual content. When it comes to television shows I only allow our 4 & 6 year old to watch some shows on Animal Planet, Magic Schoolbus and my 6 yr old son loves “How It’s Made”. We limit it to 1-2 hrs per day (may be to much) and limit it to shows with substance/education. Besides the Leapster with a couple educational games, we don’t have a video game system. We allow the kids to play games on nickjr.com for 1-2 hrs only on Saturday.

    However, when it comes to movies specifically I know we can do a lot better screening movies with violence. I don’t know why but I am having a hard time wrapping my head around what the definition of “glorified violence” is. I guess I got so tired of the movie rating system excusing sexual/language content with PG-13 (and even a lot of PGs) that I’ve slacked on caring so much about violence. But, that has changed and I have resolved with the Lord to do whatever I can and have to do to be just as vigilant with violence.


    1) What is the definition of “glorified violence”, perhaps with some examples also?

    2) With the Spirit, is there any simple formula for knowing exactly what to avoid violence-wise? For example, our 6 year old loves the movies “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”…Is that glorified violence?

    Will it desensitize him? (That’s the last thing I want.)

    3) In “For the Strength of the Youth” it is stated “Avoid anything that is…violent…in any way.” Does that mean I should avoid my personal favorites movies, The Lord of the Rings”, which I feel uplift and inspire me to do whatever it takes in the face of evil and to triumph over it? I don’t want you to think I am questioning the Lord or the Brethren. I simply want to understand and not be blindly obedient. I do my best to be obedient until I understand, then I resolve to be even more obedient when I do understand.

    4) Can you suggest any good books/any study material on the subject of violence and getting educated on it so I can make more informed decisions and be able to study it out better while relying on the Spirit?

    5) Is there any question here I did not ask that I should have?

    Thank you for your time. I look forward to your thoughts.

    -Tristen Smith

  • Reply admin April 16, 2009 at 2:34 pm


    You ask important questions. Below are some of my thoughts:

    1) Any time we show violence as if it were noble and good rather than occasionally necessary, we may be glorifying it. In some hero movies, violence is made to look satisfying. I think this appeals to the natural man who likes to have power over others.

    2) My answer is simple but challenging. What effect will media violence have on your sone? It depends. For some children a measure of good-guy violence assures them that there are good guys out there protecting us. Other children may only see the violence and want to imitate it. So each of us must use discernment. Does an experience make a child happy and lively? Good. Does an experience make the child more aggressive and angry? Not so good. We must discern by the fruits.

    3) It depends. Does Lord of the Rings make you appreciate what is sweet and good or make you want to go bonk someone?

    4) You can read about media violence at sites like: http://www.mediafamily.org/facts/facts_vlent.shtml But the spirit of much of the rhetoric is alarmist. Your home is already being very conservative. I also like to use the Information for Parents feature at Netflix before attending or renting a movie. That way I know just what to expect. Nancy and I have also recently bought a filtering DVD player.

    5) Be sure to teach your children to love and cherish the good, sweet, holy, and sacred. It is not enough to hate the bad. We must love the good.


  • Reply Tristen Smith April 21, 2009 at 11:48 am

    Thank You so much Wally!

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