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Monday, July 13, 2009

What We Watch Influences How We Act

There is an old saying, “Monkey see, monkey do.” That is not only true for primates, but also for people as well. For the Strength of Youth says, “Whatever you read . . . or look at has an effect on you.”

One reason why it is so important to filter what we watch is because what we see triggers what we think, what we think influences what we desire, what we desire affects our actions, our combined actions determine our character, and our character determines our eternal destiny.

The sad downfall of King David is a startling example of how what people view changes their actions. Though David was a great man, he lost everything due to a moment of weakness that began by looking at something he should not have seen. While on the king’s roof, David beheld Bathsheba “washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon” (2 Samuel 11:2). Instead of looking away and controlling what his eyes beheld, he lusted after her and “sent and inquired after the woman. . . . And she came in unto him, and he lay with her” (2 Samuel 11:3–4). What he saw from the roof created lustful and immoral desires, and those desires led to the sin of adultery, then to the tragic murder of Bathsheba’s husband (see 2 Samuel 11:5–17), and eventually the loss of David’s exaltation (see D&C 132:39). All because he did not control what he watched! We are influenced not only by images we see, but also by the words we read.

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