"We are not measured by the trials we meet -- only by those we overcome."
- - Spencer W. Kimball
July 27, 2015
The Greatest Show on Earth
by Kathryn H. Kidd

A brand new multiplex cinema opened in our neighborhood recently. It has those new fancy seats where you can lie down and even rock back and forth if you are so inclined. Fluffy and I have been excited to go. The only problem is that they expect you to actually buy a ticket and watch a movie if you sit in the seats. And finding a movie that we both like and is playing at that cinema has been a real challenge.

We even got a couple of free movie tickets for Valentine’s Day, so we could see a movie for free if we could just find one.

To say that Fluffy and I do not go to the movies is somewhat of an understatement. We went to see The Saratov Approach back in 2013. Unless you are a Mormon, you probably did not see it. It was based on a true story involving the kidnapping of two Mormon missionaries in Russia, and their miraculous escape. It was a real thriller. Too bad it did not get a national release. If you can rent or stream it online, it is a pretty entertaining movie.

Before that, the last movie I saw was Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ. That was back in 2004. It was rated “R,” so you might say I sneaked out to see it with a friend in Long Beach, California. It was a terrific film.

In fact, both of these movies were so good that I later purchased them on DVD. But that’s neither here nor there. The point is, Fluffy and I are not moviegoers. We just do not go. We see movies on cruise ships, in our cabins, and occasionally on TV if we see something we like. But if we don’t catch them there, we do not see them at all.

We pretty much stopped seeing movies the day we decided to stop viewing R-rated movies. After that, every movie we saw advertised that we wanted to see had an R-rating. We would watch the advertisement on television, and one of us would say, “That looks promising.” Then at the ad we would see the little “R,” and we’d both shake our heads in disgust.

More and more, almost every movie seems to get the dreaded “R” rating. The sequel of National Lampoon’s Summer Vacation is out this summer, and even it has an R-rating. Wasn’t the original supposed to be a family movie? Wouldn’t they make more money for a family movie if you could actually take the entire family to see it? Or do the theaters just not enforce the age restrictions anymore?

I suspect that the sequel is indeed a family movie, but that families these days are supposed to bond over R-rated jokes. If that’s the case, it makes me sad.

I don’t want seven-year-old girls to know what condoms are, much less to be expected to laugh about condom humor. (Not to say there is condom humor in the movie, mind you. I have not and will not be seeing the movie, given that it has an “R”-rating. I have no idea what “R”-rated humor is in it.)

Of course, all this sleaze does not contain itself to the movie industry. It never does. I recently purchased a set of DVDs for Fluffy. It contained the first season of the TV series “Dexter,” which appeared on Showtime.

“Dexter” had a delightful premise, if you consider murder and mayhem to be delightful. The protagonist was a psychopath, Dexter, whose policeman father realized when he was young that he was going to grow up to be a serial killer.

Dad told Dexter that since he was going to be killing people anyway, he should only kill people who deserved to be killed. So Dexter grew up to be a forensic scientist working with the police. He helped put the bad guys away, and on the rare occasions that it became apparent that the worst of the bad guys were going to be set free, he got rid of them. Fiendishly.

It was a wonderful premise for a show, full of moral ambiguities. I couldn’t wait for Fluffy to watch the first episode. And then when we started, we couldn’t wait for it to be over.

You see, I had forgotten the first rule of Showtime (and other premium TV stations): Use as much gratuitous profanity as possible. Because...You...Can. Dexter himself did not use profanity. But all the characters around him dropped the “F-“word like I drop potato chip crumbs. Even worse (at least for me) the characters used God’s name in vain at every possible opportunity. It made the show unwatchable.

Oddly, the “F”-word doesn’t bother me. But using God’s name in vain is like acid on my skin. It’s a pity. “Dexter” had so much potential.

Oh, the joys of living in this new and shiny millennium. My generation was raised by parents who taught us that bad language was a sign of a limited vocabulary. And I can’t help but still feel that way when someone seems to think that swearing like a sailor is the sign of a truly enlightened person.

Seeing the posts that some people make on social media are just appalling. They seem to have no filter, and there is no topic that is off-limits for their profanity-laden screeds. This reminds me of a great quote given in a talk at BYU back in 2004:

The importance of having a sense of the sacred is simply this—if one does not appreciate holy things, he will lose them. Absent a feeling of reverence, he will grow increasingly casual in attitude and lax in conduct. He will drift from the moorings that his covenants with God could provide. His feeling of accountability to God will diminish and then be forgotten. Thereafter, he will care only about his own comfort and satisfying his uncontrolled appetites. Finally, he will come to despise sacred things, even God, and then he will despise himself.

I wish this new multiplex would reserve one of the theaters just for the old people to take naps. Nothing would be on the screens. We might purchase refreshments just to be sociable, and to make the movie theater executives happy to have our business, but most of us would just bring our blankets and have a snooze in the rocking chair seats, away from our ringing telephones and the doorbells and the other intrusions.

I would gladly pay the cost of a ticket for that kind of entertainment.


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About Kathryn H. Kidd

Kathryn H. Kidd has been writing fiction, nonfiction, and "anything for money" longer than most of her readers have even been alive. She has something to say on every topic, and the possibility that her opinions may be dead wrong has never stopped her from expressing them at every opportunity.

A native of New Orleans, Kathy grew up in Mandeville, Louisiana. She attended Brigham Young University as a generic Protestant, having left the Episcopal Church when she was eight because that church didn't believe what she did. She joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a BYU junior, finally overcoming her natural stubbornness because she wanted a patriarchal blessing and couldn't get one unless she was a member of the Church. She was baptized on a Saturday and received her patriarchal blessing two days later.

She married Clark L. Kidd, who appears in her columns as "Fluffy," more than thirty-five years ago. They are the authors of numerous LDS-related books, the most popular of which is A Convert's Guide to Mormon Life.

A former managing editor for Meridian Magazine, Kathy moderated a weekly column ("Circle of Sisters") for Meridian until she was derailed by illness in December of 2012. However, her biggest claim to fame is that she co-authored Lovelock with Orson Scott Card. Lovelock has been translated into Spanish and Polish, which would be a little more gratifying than it actually is if Kathy had been referred to by her real name and not "Kathryn Kerr" on the cover of the Polish version.

Kathy has her own website, www.planetkathy.com, where she hopes to get back to writing a weekday blog once she recovers from being dysfunctional. Her entries recount her adventures and misadventures with Fluffy, who heroically allows himself to be used as fodder for her columns at every possible opportunity.

Kathy spent seven years as a teacher of the Young Women in her ward, until she was recently released. She has not yet gotten used to interacting with the adults, and suspects it may take another seven years. A long-time home teacher with her husband, Clark, they have home taught the same family since 1988. The two of them have been temple workers since 1995, serving in the Washington D.C. Temple.

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