KEYWORDS: music, movies, family, time, spirit, system

Shooting Straight, Part 9

Karen Zerby

God's views on current issues and attitudes in the Family

By MariaFD/MM/FM 3513 11/04

Note: The "Challenging Thots" in this Letter address commitment and discipleship in general and aren't always related to the issue being discussed.


The issue:

1. Movies are probably one of the most common forms of worldly entertainment in our Family Homes around the world. Most people enjoy movies—at least occasionally—so it's important that we know what our Husband is expecting of us in regard to our intake of this form of worldly input. Although there has been quite a bit published in the Word on movie viewing over the years, via Dad's Letters as well as more recent GNs, the area of worldly input—which includes our movie viewing habits—is an area we have been compromising in.

2. Here is an excerpt of a letter I received not too long ago, which is an example of the concerns that many of you have written me about.

3. We were wondering if the post-renewal movie viewing standard could be prayed about, regarding what the standard should be in order for it to be in line with the discipleship standard that the Lord has given us. As 2005 is going to be the year of strengthening, we feel this is even more important at this time. We mention this, as many of the movies that have been rated since the Charter in our opinion (and we're not alone in this observation) are of very little value of any kind, and in fact, laden with negative System attitudes and perspectives, foul language, and unloving behavior that tend to "hitchhike" into our Homes.

4. It seems to us that if we want to build a true discipleship core, movies that promote the System can't be a part of our lives, as they've proven all too well to pack a major wallop in our lives, and pervert attitudes, bringing in the System's garbage. We realize that some movies are "entertainment only," and we're not objecting to that. But "entertainment only," in our opinion, should still be something that is fairly clean of foul language, unloving behavior, promoting of gay lifestyles, or promoting materialism, as otherwise it will send the wrong message subliminally and just isn't worth the "entertainment."

5. We'd opt for having the Lord's fresh counsel on what comprises a "rated" movie for this new era. … So this is our plea to have the movie list comply with our discipleship standard and requirements by ensuring that a rated movie actually contains something of true value for our Family, that will enhance our lives in some way, without actively promoting anti-Family, pro–System values.

God's mind on the matter:

6. (Jesus: ) "Every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit." The whole purpose of purging worldly influences from your life during the renewal was to prepare you and enable you to bring forth more fruit. Although the renewal has ended, the goal of bringing forth fruit remains the same—so obviously you will need to continue to be purged.

7. The renewal was the beginning of a new era and a new lifestyle for the Family. If you want to continue on with that new era and be prepared and strengthened spiritually for all that lies ahead, there are things you will have to change in the long term. Your worldly input is one of them, and movies are a big part of that.

8. There is a wide variety of the type of System input and entertainment that appeals to each individual, but movies generally affect the majority of Family members more than any other form of worldly input. Whatever your personal "thing" is, you probably watch some movies. There's a big difference between movies and something like novels, for example, which appeal to a smaller crowd—some people read them, some people don't. But rare is the individual in the Family who was not accustomed to watching movies on a fairly regular basis pre–renewal—whether "regular" was every month‚ or every week‚ or every couple of days. So it's very important that each of you, My Family‚ come to a clear understanding of My position regarding movies and their place in your life, and what is or isn't acceptable in movie viewing.

9. In the past, many of you were spiritually lethargic in your approach to movie viewing, because you simply relied on the ratings published by WS and accepted that as a general standard without further prayer and personal application of the spiritual principles that you should apply when it comes to entertainment.—The main principle being that each Home or individual should be praying about what you take in to your spirit, and how it affects you; whether you should even be doing it, first of all, and if so, secondly‚ how much‚ and what to watch out for.

10. There are a substantial number of guidelines given in the Word, through David's talks and through messages received in prophecy, about what makes a movie acceptable or not, and also numerous admonitions to pray personally and as a Home about what you watch or show. Yet overall, this counsel has not been sufficiently followed.

11. Part of the fault lies with the WS movie rating teams, who both made it "too easy" for each Home and person to not have to think and pray for themselves‚ by rating so many movies on a regular basis; and also by not always upholding a high enough and clear enough standard in the movies that were rated. People are people, and people have their own weaknesses and attitudes that affect their decisions‚ and everyone in the Family was compromising to some degree, and that includes those who previewed movies in WS.

12. Movie rating was not something that Mama and Peter were involved with, nor something that was very high priority among those in WS who were involved in this ministry, whether as occasional previewers or as overseers of the ministry. Yet through the renewal I have made it plain to My king and queen, and to all of you in the Family, how far many of you have strayed and how you have compromised in a number of areas, movie watching being one of them.

13. It's essential to start with the premise of understanding that the way things were before the renewal in regards to movies—first, in what was being rated, and second, in what was being watched by many Homes and individuals aside from the rated movies—was not according to the standard that I would have you‚ My disciples, live by.

14. For a time I "winked" at such issues to some degree‚ and then for a time I was giving many checks and nudges, at many levels, that there was a problem—and yet the full scope of the problem was not apparent. Now I want to make it apparent to you. The very fact that movie watching is such a "hot issue," and that so many have been waiting with such curiosity to know what the post-renewal standard would be‚ is in itself a sign that movies matter too much to many of you. That in itself is one of the problems and weaknesses that movies tend to cause in your life.

15. Bacchus is always busy at work‚ and he will try to get you to depend on and seek your joy and inspiration from anything he can, in order to pull you away from Me and from the things of the Spirit. So even though not all movies are bad, even some "okay" movies can be very bad because they can be addicting. They can cause dependence in you, the viewer; they can cause you, the viewer, to look to them too much as a source of joy or recreation, and therefore pull you further and further in the direction of leaning on things of the flesh and pulling away from the things of the spirit—which in itself is a huge and dangerous problem in the lives of many.

16. This was one of the main points of the renewal—not only to remove the actual bad influences that come through System input, but to remove the very bad habits that many of you had of depending on these things, leaning on them as a crutch, and seeing them as your primary source of recreation and entertainment to the point that you were pulled away from finding joy in loving Me and loving others.

17. Beyond that, it should be apparent enough to you who are disciples that there is a great deal within movies that is in direct opposition to the standard of My Word, the beauty of My Law of Love, and the truths of the spiritual realm. The god of this world, Satan, the king of empires, is the one with the most say and sway in decisions made by those who are in power in the world's systems. And when I say "systems‚" I don't only mean governments, but also businesses and the entertainment world. Those who become successful in these arenas do not become so either by accident or by their good and clean spirits and ethics and attitudes.

18. Granted‚ there are a few who I have allowed to penetrate the System at various levels, and sometimes even reach the pinnacle of the entertainment world, who love Me and who seek to use their power and popularity as a voice for Me—or in some cases they didn't start out that way but turned to Me—but these people are few and far between.

19. For the most part, the entertainment industry is run by those with an agenda—an agenda to please the god of this world, and to serve mammon to the best of their ability, with all that is within them. They are after the money, the acclaim, and the fame, and you don't get that in this day and age through purity, love, beauty, and a message of truth.

20. Once in a while a morsel of light and truth comes forth through Hollywood, but it's rare. The entertainment industry is like a very large, dark‚ and largely stripped–down and well-combed-through mine. There are jewels there, but most of the mine is just rock and coal. While once there were a lot more jewels than there are now, it's getting harder and harder to find them, because they are fewer and fewer. It's been nearly fully stripped of all the good it had to give‚ and as the world grows darker, as the love of men grows colder‚ as the desire for success and money grows stronger, and as the darkness of Satan's lies and deceptions becomes more commonplace and accepted, the jewels are only going to get more and more sparse.

21. It's debated in some circles whether movies promote and affect and even cause some of the violence, evil, darkness and delusion in the world, or whether what is shown in the movies is merely a reflection of the state of the world. It doesn't really matter, though, which came first or which influences which. Movies‚ in any case‚ reflect the evils of the world—and no matter which started which, these things that are happening and that are being shown in movies are wrong, are evil, and are not material for disciples.

22. You, My children, are not meant to live within the world in spirit. You are in the world, but you are not of the world. The world is going downhill in spirit, and the movies and what they portray are part of that process one way or another. They are full of the spirit of the world. They are full of wrong messages. They are full of things that are in opposition to My Spirit, My truth, My love‚ and My standard. They are full of pride‚ rebellion, selfishness, and disbelief. They are full of materialism, vanity, and an emphasis on wrong priorities. Even "good" movies include some of these things. That's not to mention the violence, horror, and perversions that are present in many movies.

23. So you see, My loves, rather than a set of specific guidelines of "what's good" and "what's bad" in movies, or a list of "okay movies" and "not okay movies," what you need is a change of perspective. You need a clear understanding that movies are not generally something that should be a big part of your life as disciples, and watching an excess of the entertainment being created today is bad for your spirit in a number of ways.

24. Having said that, I grant you that there are some movies, not only old ones but ones being made nowadays, that are helpful or, as you pray and claim My protection, at least not harmful for you to watch. There are some beautiful stories with good lessons, or stories that are powerful exposés or that portray spiritual truths in a way that brings them to a level that is easy for you to understand. There are some movies that are useful to watch to gain an understanding of a certain type of person or situation, and to keep a pulse on certain issues in the world. As a witness, it's sometimes helpful for you to have seen some key movies that "everybody is talking about," especially if they are movies that touch on something that you can use as a springboard for witnessing. There are also movies that are just simple fun‚ and that are relatively innocent‚ light, and sweet, that may be more "fluff" in that they don't have a huge message, but at least they don't have foul language or portray bad attitudes. They are rare, but every now and then they come along.

25. Because of that, I will not say that "you must never watch movies." Overall, movies nowadays are not wholesome or helpful—but there are a few that are. So you, as My disciples, will have to learn to choose the good and eschew the evil, to make prayerful decisions as to what types of movies you watch, and how often.

26. WS will help you by previewing and rating some movies that are worth watching, yet the responsibility for what you take into your spirit falls upon you. They cannot keep up with everything‚ and in some cases what they preview or rate will not be available where you are. Or you will feel that another movie that you have heard about is worthwhile, and you may choose to preview or view it in your Home.

27. It is acceptable to watch things aside from the rated movies in some cases‚ but the question you should come to Me with in such cases is not: "Would this have fit in with WS movie ratings before?" Or "Is this movie not too terrible?" Rather you should ask Me: "Does this movie have enough good in it that it's worth me or my Home taking time to watch? Does the good genuinely outweigh the bad? Is this movie something that will benefit or edify our spirits in some way? Or does the bad or the negative outweigh the good, so that it merely becomes one more thing to have to get cleansed from afterwards, and one more inroad of the Enemy into our hearts and minds and discipleship standard?" That is the criteria for movie viewing for the Family today.

28. When you're deciding whether or not to watch a movie‚ the question you should ask Me is not‚ "Is it not too bad?" but "Is it good?" I tell you now, there will be few movies that meet this criterion. You shouldn't expect that you'll find a good one every week. I would far rather that Family Homes continue to focus on united fellowship times that are centered around other things—around interactive fun, whether spiritual or just fellowshipping and personal. This is far preferable in My sight to defaulting to regularly watching a movie or feeling that you have to have your "fix" of the world.

29. I would be very happy if the default mentality and modus operandi of Family disciples and FD Homes was to base their entertainment on things other than worldly input, and partake of the worldly input only as a more exceptional thing—the exception rather than the rule. That is not the way it has been in most Family Homes. "Movie night" has been a staple of most, if not all Homes for many years now. That can and should change.

30. There is still a time and place for some movies, sometimes. But Homes should seriously pray about whether you want to have a weekly "movie night" or not. There will be many cases where I will show you or you will choose of your own accord not to reintegrate such a happening as a staple of your life and schedule—because you have seen the good fruit that was borne from not having it, and from doing other things together that built more unity and fellowship and friendship, and that were even more fun.

31. So one substantial change I want to see is that of pulling away from defaulting to movies as the regular "weekly entertainment," and not consider that a mainstay of your activities. That will be for each Home to implement and pray about. Another substantial change will be that less movies will be rated by WS, and the standard will be significantly higher and the message clearer in the movies that are rated. Then, there is the personal and Home accountability regarding other movies you may choose to watch besides those that are rated—and that responsibility is to pray and hear from Me, and to evaluate movies according to My guidelines.

32. There are many guidelines in the Word already, but I will give you a list in point form of some of the main things that you should look for in a movie—points in its favor and points against it. Many of these things can be discerned simply by reading the blurb on the back of the video or DVD, or briefly reading a few reviews online, if feasible—or by watching the preview, or the first 5 or 10 minutes of a movie—and then asking Me if it's worth previewing.

33. You don't have to have as much information as possible on a movie before you can pray about it and make an informed decision as to whether or not it's worth previewing. Even if all of the information you have is the blurb on the cover of a video, and you hear from Me in prophecy, then I can show you whether or not it is worth your time. Some people like to be very knowledgeable about things before they pray. That might make the channel feel better or give them a bit more faith, but that's not necessary for Me to speak. I can speak even when there's little information. I'm not limited!

34. When you're previewing, you often don't even have to watch a whole movie to know whether it's worthwhile or not—especially on the "not" part. There are of course some movies that start off good and go downhill, or some movies that have something unpleasant toward the start, but have a good message that outweighs it; so those previewing for their Home should generally watch a movie through—unless it's so bad so early on that it's clearly not worth the trouble.

Elements that make a movie worthwhile:

35. —A message that lifts Me up or glorifies the things of My Spirit in some way. This could range from a positive and sweet love story to a movie portraying spiritual elements‚ such as showing the spiritual warfare and the triumph of good over evil.

36. —Exposure of the evils and hypocrisy of the System‚ without going to the extreme of being so horrible or traumatizing that this aspect overshadows everything else. An anti-System message, when the System doesn't win in the end. Or, if the System wins or appears to win, such as in the case of a movie about a martyr, it shows how wrong the System was, and the message is clear.

37. —True stories of fighters‚ overcomers, missionaries, martyrs‚ or people who did something good for others—personal examples and testimonies that stir you and encourage and motivate you to want to give, to fight, to have conviction, to serve, and to do good for others.

38. —Stories that give insight into human nature, in the sense of helping you understand someone who is in a particular situation, or part of another culture which you're not familiar with but that could be helpful for you to understand and better relate to in your witnessing, without going into any perversions, or even just being too much of a downer.

39. —Things that are fun, funny, and relaxing. Movies that make you laugh, help you relax, and cheer you up, but without abundant foul language, that don't promote homosexuality, or contain cruel‚ gross, and cutting humor.

40. —A story or plot that stimulates your mind and is thought-provoking in a good way‚ such as a good spy story, an intelligent mystery‚ or a whodunit‚ as long as it's not filled with violence, gore, and senseless "action." Other examples include movies where the characters must make difficult choices, or those which involve a subject you could discuss or debate with others.

41. —Important or interesting historical information, or about famous characters from history. Stories from history that teach something or are educational.

42. —Information on current events or important things happening in the world today, that teach and inform—but aren't filled with violence or the Enemy's propaganda, but rather expose it.

43. —Stories that glorify the Word, the truth, and portray good Bible or Christian characters in a positive light.

44. —A good ending—not necessarily a happy ending, but a good ending, a "right" ending. Whether it's sad or happy‚ whether it's entertaining or serious, if it's a worthwhile movie, it should leave you feeling like you were edified by it in some way, or knowing that the way it ended was the best way‚ the only way. Some movies portray traumatic testimonies and they have a "sad" ending—but it's the "right" ending, the only ending it could have had. If it's not too full of violence, perversions, and other negative things, while you might not be overly happy with the sad ending, if you've learned something, if it stirs you up, if it breaks your heart, if it exposes the System, or if it leaves you with a deeper desire to win the lost, pray for the world, and do your job‚ these kinds of movies may be acceptable for some people.

45. —If it's a good movie‚ a key movie that everybody in the world is "talking about" and that's having a big effect on the world, with worthwhile elements within it that you can use as a springboard for witnessing.

Elements that make a movie unacceptable:

46. —An obvious message that is anti-God or anti-spiritual matters. Anything that undermines faith in God, the Bible, Me, or spiritual gifts and powers, or plants doubts in your mind.

47. —Horror, especially if it deals with the powers of the Enemy. This is not the same as a movie that deals with spiritual gifts or power. These that I'm talking about here are movies that emphasize evil spirits and the power of the dark side, vampiresdemons‚ etc. There is no value whatsoever in such movies.

48. —Anything that focuses on the things of the dark side of the spirit world, demon possession, psychotic behavior‚ or on sexual or other perversions.

49. —Substantial scenes of violence‚ especially if it is graphic, senseless, pointless, or portraying flagrant disregard for life. Sometimes violence is necessary to the point of a movie, if it's something I wish to teach about some aspect of life, such as war or gangs, where violence would be an integral part of the message.

50. —Glorification of evil, sin, or compromise—such as making the bad guys appear to be the cool guys. Something that falls under this umbrella is the typical "criminal movie" where there aren't any good guys or bad guys, but they're all thieves or slimy characters competing with one another or "knocking each other off." These movies promote lukewarmness and tolerance of things that should not be accepted by My disciples.

51. —Abundant, senseless foul language. This dulls your senses to something that is very wrong, and even wears grooves into your mind, causing these words to later come out through your speech, and this is very displeasing to Me. Some movies have cussing for a reason, but that's pretty easy to spot. There are many, however, that are riddled with horrible language that looks cool and attractive, even sexy. Those should be avoided on the strength of the bad language alone.

52. —Where the main characters are homosexual, or stories that come out strongly in defense of homosexuality, or promote an accepting attitude toward it.

53. —Deeds and concepts that go against the Law of Love; a message that promotes selfishness, self-love, jealousy, cheating, refusal to forgive, wrong attitudes toward children and having babies, toward men, toward women, toward the opposite generation, toward those of other nationalities, or other forms of ungodly relationship behavior that go against the standard of My Word, unless it's some kind of clear exposé.

54. —Humor that is overly gross or just plain stupid and disgusting, that stuffs your head with silly junk and words and pictures that are not only of no value, but that are really stooping to a level that is far beneath where your spirits and minds as Christians and disciples should be at.

55. —Senseless "action." Rarely do most action movies—which are often filled with car chases, violence, bad language, and little if any meaning—offer any real benefit. Unless there's something that makes an action movie worthwhile, other than the suspense or the rush, it should generally be avoided. Usually the characters in such films are not what you want to be or act like as My disciples.

56. —A strong pro–American, pro-Western, or racist spirit. A message that promotes the American/Western way of life.

57. —If the evil in the film is victorious, either throughout, or at the end. Or if the bad guys win throughout or at the end, without a good point being made—such as exposing the evils of the System, or revealing the triumph of a martyr—then it's a bad movie.

58. —Unloving, violent‚ selfish, ungodly sex.

59. —If lying and deceitfulness is approved of and glorified, or is a major part of the plot.

60. —A message that promotes anti-life attitudes, such as abortion, contraception, suicide, euthanasia, etc.

61. —An overtly worldly/materialistic spirit. For example, the glorification of model-like women, muscle men, fashion, materialism, "get–rich-quick" schemes, the love of money‚ and other worldly hang-ups.

62. —Movies that promote and overly emphasize higher education.

63. —If there's some good in the movie, such as if it ends well, but the viewer wades through so much negative to get to the small morsel of "good" or the nearly nonexistent lesson.

64. —A message that puts down or demeans Christians or godly people, or if the main "bad guys" in the movie are Christians or profess to believe in God‚ yet do evil.

65. —A thread throughout that promotes bad, unhealthy, ungodly habits; if the movie makes bad things and bad habits—such as smoking or taking drugs—look cool and in vogue.

66. —If the message is so unrealistic, so fairytale-ish, so "perfect," without depicting the real struggles and facts of life, it can slowly start to warp your perspective and make you question My plan in your life, and wonder why I'm not making things "movie perfect" for you. Too much of this type of unrealism in a movie can make you dissatisfied, unthankful, and discontent. (End of message.)

Text box:

67. Question: Don't these elements that make a movie unacceptable make almost all movies unacceptable?

68. (Jesus: ) These guidelines I've given for movie viewing are to make it easier for My children to be good—not to ensnare My children or put them in bondage to the law. It's true that there are going to be much fewer movies that I will deem worthwhile for My children to watch‚ but that's what I'm after—My children separating themselves more from the world and being much more judicious about what they take into their spirits.

69. I am not trying to do away with movies completely, or make anyone who wants to watch an occasional movie feel guilty or like they're not on the "cutting edge" of discipleship. If one disciple watches occasional movies—with My permission, and movies that are in line with the counsel in this GN—then they're no less of a disciple than one who never watches any movies. In fact‚ if the one who never watches movies is self-righteous and living by the letter of the law, which killeth, without applying wisdom and balance in their decisions, then they may be the one in need of a change to be more in My Spirit and live a more balanced life.

70. This list of elements that make movies worthwhile or unacceptable is meant as a guideline to help My children. You have to apply My Word with the spirit of My Word. And I will not be pleased if people take My Words and twist them to their own advantage, to get things to go their way. I will not be pleased if My counsel is applied in a spirit of self-righteousness. Decisions regarding movies within a Home must be made with love, prayer, My Word, My voice of prophecy, conviction, wisdom, and a spirit of humility. If someone tries to apply My guidelines in the arm of the flesh, they will fail, and they'll only drive their fellow Home members away as a result of their rigidity and sickening self-righteousness.

71. You are never going to see a "perfect" movie. You are never going to find movies that are godly and clean and pure for every second from start to finish. But, again‚ it comes back to asking Me if the good outweighs the bad. If, for example, there is a lot of smoking in a movie‚ and it's portrayed as a cool thing, which I have said is an element that can make a movie unacceptable, yet at the same time there's a powerful message in the movie that exposes the System and makes you hate the world and its ways, then in that case the benefits of the movie would outweigh the disadvantages. Sometimes the good in a movie is just that it's totally relaxing, entertaining, and even funny—without any of the major elements I have said to watch out for. These, too, can have a place.

72. Don't get stuck in a rut and be rigid when applying My counsel—not just on the issue of movies, but on the issue of any form of worldly entertainment. I give My Words to enable you to live within the boundaries of My will for your own safety, happiness, and spiritual well-being. But don't put yourself—or your Home—in a cage by your own misapplication‚ misinterpretation‚ or letter of the law application of My Word. (End of message.)

End of text box.

73. (Jesus:) I will not forbid the watching of movies, nor will I make it so strict that only rated movies can be watched. There must be personal conviction in movie watching, otherwise it will be a work of the flesh and a forced obedience that will backfire, causing even greater interest in movies and a hunger to see more movies. So I will continue to allow freedom of choice, and I will hold each one of you responsible for the quality of the movies you watch and the frequency of your movie watching. I will not set strong limits‚ because this works against the maturity and freedom of choice through personal conviction that I want to build in the children of David.

74. At this point in time, to make the movie-watching rules very strict would not have the desired effect. It wouldn't help you who have good movie-watching habits, because you don't need those kinds of guidelines or restrictions. And it will make you who do not have good movie-watching habits resentful and could even push you to blatant disobedience out of spite. So I will leave this a matter of choice and personal conviction, for only through such freedom can true maturity be learned.

75. As far as the frequency of movie watching that's allowed, that would depend. Most people's lives go in cycles—sometimes you're really busy, sometimes you're more relaxed. When you're busy, of course, it stands to reason you'll have less time to watch movies; if you're vacationing or having time off, you'd perhaps watch more.

76. The shortage of "good movies" alone will cut down the watching. For one thing, fewer movies will be rated, and for another, as you start to judge more wisely and judiciously, the watching will naturally decrease or stay low. In the past, Homes and individuals made unwise choices, which opened the door for many mediocre‚ junky, or even bad movies. They either watched movies that were not on the list of rated movies‚ or they watched rated movies without heeding or even sometimes reading My counsel and warnings in the prophecies published about them.

77. You don't want to go back to the way things were before the worldly input fast.—Not because you wouldn't enjoy a good movie every now and then, but because you don't want to give up the other things that have come into your life and Homes now that you have built better habits of fellowship and giving. You don't want to lose the progress you have made. So I encourage you, My children, to hold to these activities and new attitudes, and not let the things of the world steal away your new schedules and motivation to give unselfishly. This is the best proactive way to maintain forward progress after the renewal.

78. Home accountability will also be a great motivator in helping you to be your brother's keeper along these lines. Because if your Home sinks in your post-renewal commitments, if you just go back to the way things were before, you won't likely hold on to your FD status for very long, because this slackness and disobedience and compromise will be manifested in many ways. (End of message.)

In summary:

79. (Mama: ) The standard of movie viewing within the Family is going to be upped at all levels. The Lord is asking every individual and every Home to be more accountable. He's also asking WS to be more accountable.

80. WS is going to lead the way by reevaluating its movie previewing procedures in order to ensure that the movies rated are in line with the guidelines the Lord has given in the messages above. Instead of rating movies that aren't "too harmful," WS is going to now only rate the kinds of movies that are worth disciples taking their time to watch—whether for relaxation, information, lesson-learning, inspiration, or other worthy purposes. With our Husband's help, WS is no longer going to rate questionable and mediocre or inferior movies, and those previewing the movies aren't going to approve movies that contain the elements that make a movie unacceptable, which the Lord clearly outlined above.

81. This means that because WS will be heightening the standard to be in line with what the Lord is requiring of us as disciples, there will be less "watchable" movies—since there aren't that many "good" movies in the world today. There will be some, but definitely not the amount you have been used to in the past. But at least you can be confident that movies deemed "watchable" by WS in the future will be in keeping with the guidelines put forth in the Word, and specifically here in this GN. It may take some time to revamp the movie previewing procedures, and WS may not be "back in the saddle" of rating movies immediately, so please be patient regarding this, and pray for the wisdom and prayerfulness of those who are involved.

82. Beyond that‚ the accountability is yours as disciples‚ as Family members who want to do their best for Jesus, to learn to be wise in your movie choices, to choose the good and eschew the evil, to make prayerful decisions as to what types of movies you watch and how often, to not let movies become a crutch and replace the other important things in your life, to not let the garbage of the Enemy into your heart‚ mind‚ spirit, and Home.

83. As the Lord said in the above message, when deciding whether or not to watch a movie, the questions you should ask yourself—and the Lord—are: "Does this movie have enough good in it that it's worth me or my Home taking time to watch? Does the good genuinely outweigh the bad? Is this movie something that will benefit or edify our spirits in some way? Or does the bad or the negative outweigh the good, so that it merely becomes one more thing to have to get cleansed from afterwards, and one more inroad of the Enemy into our hearts and minds and discipleship standard?" That is the criteria for movie viewing for the Family today.

84. Each of you should pray and ask the Lord: "What is Your standard for me regarding movie viewing? Should I watch movies at all? If so, how often, and what guidelines and safeguards do You have for me? What should I watch out for? How can I avoid movies becoming a crutch in my life, or something I depend on too much for fun and entertainment? Are there any other elements in movies—other than the ones listed in this GN—that would make certain types of movies unsuitable for me?" (Because this is likely a question which you may have strong personal feelings on, you'll want to desperately claim the keys of yieldedness, humility, and desperation, so that you can hear clearly from our Husband. "No matter how you feel, claim the keys of yieldedness and I will cause you to be an open, receptive channel to receive My full counsel on even the hardest question.")

85. Your Home is also responsible to discuss, pray, and decide together on specific guidelines regarding movie viewing‚ and agree on what is good and allowable in your Home and situation. The Lord doesn't want us to get back to defaulting to movies as the regular "weekly entertainment." So that will be something you'll want to take into consideration when discussing and praying about your Home's movie standard.

86. WS will also be praying about and reevaluating the standard for children's movies, and we'll continue to preview and rate movies for them. But you should also discuss the movies you show your children and hear from the Lord about it. Showing children movies is something you should take very seriously, so that you're setting them the right example. They are impressionable, their discipleship foundation is in the process of being built and strengthened, and they are affected by System movies more than you realize. So please, parents and shepherds and teachers, pray about your children's post-renewal viewing habits. Ask the Lord for His counsel regarding what movies you show to your children, how to keep their lives balanced, and how to ensure that you are helping them to take in what is "good" while eschewing the "evil" by keeping them from it.

Key promise:

87. Calling on the keys of discipleship will help you to make the decisions of a disciple!

Dig deeper:

*"Happy Endings," ML #802:1–9, 23‚ Vol.7

*"More on Videos," ML #988:11, 41, 65‚ 71-73, Vol.8

*"Movies for Children," ML #1137:18-21, 32-37, Vol.11

*"Movie Guidelines," ML #2451:2-5, 11-39, DB 9

*"My Kind of Movies," ML #2452, DB 9

*"Help from Heaven," ML #3056:129, 133-167, 172, Lifelines 23

*"You Are What You Watch," ML #3182, GN 787

*"Charter Responsibilities," ML #3197:52-61, GN 803

*"The Professionals," ML #3399:59, 61–73, GN 993

*"Issues, Part 13," ML #3430:54-80, GN 1012

*"Issues, Part 14," ML #3442:23, 66–75, 126-142, GN 1026

*"It's only a movie?" END 4

*"Scary movies," END 18

Challenging Thot:

88. (Dad:) If the Lord is asking you to give something up, remember what He gave up for you. If the Lord is asking you to forsake something, remember what He forsook for you. If the Lord is asking you to minimize some form of worldly input, remember what He has done for you every day of your life, from the moment you were born till today. Is it too much for Him to ask you to make some sacrifices when He has done so much—and will continue to do so much for all eternity—for you?


The issue:

89. (Mama:) Not too long ago, the Lord gave us, as a Family, some pretty strong warnings about the dangers of the Internet. The first time I specifically addressed the issue was in 1996, in "Mama's News and Views, Part 3." I then addressed it—or I should say, Dad addressed it—again in 1998, in "Don't Get Caught in the Web." However‚ some of you still don't seem to have a clear understanding of God's mind on the matter, or perhaps it's just that you haven't been willing to accept His viewpoint or put sufficient safeguards in place to ensure that you're living within His guidelines regarding your Internet usage. Some of you—or maybe many of you—haven't been guarding yourselves as individuals‚ or as Homes, enough from the dangers of the Internet. It seems that more often, at least pre-renewal, you have been letting it use you, rather than you using it with wisdom, prayerfulness and conviction.

God's mind on the matter:

90. (Jesus:) There are many good uses and purposes for the Internet, but there are many more decoys and red herrings. The Internet is a source of a great waste of time and trip–offs, and so many are susceptible to this‚ one of the Enemy's favorite wiles and temptations. There is something for everyone on the Web, and thus, nearly everyone is attracted. And there are all types of lures, all types of enticements, even ones that appear good, godly, informational, spiritually feeding or uplifting.

91. I will not put a ban on Family members using the Internet. But I say, as I have said before‚ beware of the Web. You, My children, need much more awareness when it comes to the pitfalls of the Web. You've read My Words on this subject‚ but still, so many of you think you know better. You think you know how to maneuver through the Web; you think you can separate fact from fiction, truth from the lie. But many of you are duped, deceived, and waste hours and days on the Web. It is sucking your time, and this is a precious commodity that is lost forever.

92. The standard that I wish for Internet browsing would be one of much more conviction to follow the discipleship standard. Also, in general, I would that you, My children, spend less time on the Web. Using the Web for business purposes is one thing, but nearly everyone gets tripped off, even while doing "business" that is legitimate. This is where conviction comes in—conviction to hold the standard high, to stick to what you're researching or looking for‚ and then get back to your service for Me.

93. I wish for you, My children‚ to let go of and willingly forsake the many distractions and foolish enticements of the Web—things that do not encourage, lift up, praise Me, or strengthen your spiritual life. I speak of the low end of Web entertainment, the things that you get involved in that you know are not edifying, not good for your spirits; the things that subject you to much ungodly speech and attitudes, and the fantasies and lusts of the world.

94. You who are My disciples must stand up and be counted! You must be ready and willing to go or to stay, to do My will, to fulfill My bidding. But at this point in the Family, I see too many of you hunched over your computers, mouse clicking away on the Net. You don't hear Me when I'm calling you because you're too engrossed in reading up on your favorite pastime, on worldly knowledge and information that lifts and puffs you up, or trivia that ministers to your pride when you're able to tell others things that make you look wise or knowledgeable. But all that "wisdom" and "knowledge" is so foolish, so vain, so worthless once you get up here.

95. What I'm asking for, more than a tome of clearly defined rules, more than a time limit on the Internet, is that you, My children, actually believe and accept the truth that I've told you about the Internet‚ and that is that it is dangerous‚ deadly, and the Enemy's own personal snare. Of course, there is some good out there, and I even instruct you to use it as a tool for good. But that good is a small candle amidst great darkness, and when you go on the Internet, you're generally combing through the great darkness, not the few sources of light.

96. If you, My children, would believe and accept what I have told you about the Internet, and would take to heart seriously the warnings that I have given you, and would use the safeguards that I have put in place, and follow My recommendations, then you would be safe and protected. But some of you have so little respect for My Words when it comes to things of the world. You feel that because you are living in this generation, you know and understand the world and its ways better than I do. You are intimately involved with the world, so you feel that there should be more leeway than I sanction, that it's too much for Me to expect a full forsaking, or to ask you to give up something that is dear and precious to your heart.

97. Well, I gave up a lot that was dear and precious to Me, including My Own life for you. What have you given up for Me lately? At least you could believe and accept My Words‚ and let the carnal thoughts of your own mind go. If you would believe and receive, you would obey and be protected. Then you could avail yourself of the good, and even partake of some of the things you enjoy on the Web, with My approval and without going overboard. But instead‚ so many of you choose to go at it your own way. You haven't wanted safeguards, counsel, or help.

98. You, My children, should be old enough by this time and knowledgeable enough about My ways that you can hear from Me, obey‚ follow, and be blessed. Of course‚ your younger ones, the JETTs and teens, need extra help. But you who are no longer "children," you who are fully accountable, have had so much poured into you. You stand before Me as disciples, and you must make this choice and commitment. You will be blessed according to your commitments.

99. It will soon be clear who among you has made the right commitments, because you will grow strong and tall in spirit, and shoot up head and shoulders above your brethren, because of the choices and sacrifices that you have made. Those sacrifices will catapult you to great heights in the spirit, because your spirit and attitudes will not be fettered to the things of this world, to the carnal, to the flatlander minds of the hypnotized System.

100. Every one of you, My children, should come before Me concerning your usage of the Internet. Ask Me how I view your usage and how you should change your habits. You should specifically ask Me how you are affected in ways that you do not realize‚ and how you look upon the warnings and safeguards that I have put in My Word. How seriously do you take the Word that has been published on the subject? How vigorously do you uphold it?

101. This would be My desire and wish—to see you, My children‚ behaving responsibly and maturely concerning these trinkets of the world, which can either be used or abused. It's not all one or the other. It's not all bad, but it's most certainly not all good. And the trouble is, most Family members' viewpoint on the Internet is a bit off and needs correcting.

102. I will not ban you, My children, from perusing the Internet. I will not force you to have time limits imposed on you. This would not accomplish the goal that I am after. What I'm after is the commitment of the heart, the understanding of the spirit, the yieldedness of the mind‚ spirit, soul, and body. Once this is achieved‚ everything will settle into the right place. The law is for the lawbreakers, but the just shall live by faith and obedience. You who obey, not because you have to, due to strict rules, but because you want to, due to the conviction in your heart, shall be wonderfully rewarded and blessed. (End of message.)


103. (Jesus:) Every time you've come to Me for counsel and insight regarding the use of the Internet‚ I've spoken to you and given you My Word on the subject. That Word‚ My previous counsel, still remains the standard today. I've spoken to you repeatedly, both collectively as a Family and individually‚ to each of you who have come to Me about it, asking what the balance should be for you personally.

104. But even if I hadn't already counseled you, the dangers of the Internet are evident and clear for all to see. It's no secret, and you're not ignorant of the Enemy's devices in this matter. After all, what does a net do if not catch, nab, capture and secure prey? So, it isn't called "the Net" for nothing! Of course, it's also been aptly dubbed "the Web," and when you've asked Me about the Internet in the past, I've likened it to a spider's web, for that is what it plainly is—a vast worldwide web that ensnares and entangles its victims.

105. So it's only natural that when you've asked for My opinion regarding the Internet, I've pretty much stuck to warning you about the dangers and pitfalls of browsing, and the importance of having safeguards and personal restrictions in place. Of course, the Internet can also be a wonderful resource tool if used wisely‚ but I don't feel I need to take your time to go into that. It's understood that if used prayerfully and in moderation, the Net can be a big help and timesaver—both in your work and ministries, as well as in your personal lives.

106. Just like the physical world that surrounds you, the Internet is an almost infinite source of information and input—both good and evil. And just as when it's My will for you to leave the protected environment of your Family Homes and go out into the System for any reason, if for any reason you need to go online and travel through the vast world of electronic information, as long as you have a specific mission to fulfill while there and you go armed with prayer, no harm will come to your spirit, and your mission will be fruitful. You'll be protected and blessed in all that you do.

107. But when you go out—either into the System of the physical world or logged on to the system of the Net—if you go out without Me, and you travel outside of the protected circle of My will and leading; if you disregard My counsel or fail to stay close to Me; if you stay there longer than I advised you to, or if you go where you know you shouldn't go, then your spirit will suffer and your time will not be fruitful or blessed.

108. So just as it is with the System and the world you live in‚ the Internet is there for your use. But depending on your prayerfulness and how you go into it, it can either be a blessing or a curse. So when you need to, use it; but don't abuse it or let it use you! Instead of allowing yourself to become unwitting prey‚ caught in "the Net" of the Enemy's snare, take control of the situation. Before you go online, make sure you bring your mind into subjection, arm your spirit, and let Me lead and guide you through the unending maze of seductive enticements to that which is good and of Me.

109. The high cost and other limitations to online access are natural safeguards for many of you who would otherwise be tempted to spend too much time online. Unfortunately, for those of you who live in areas where there's unlimited or easy access, the question of Internet use is more of an issue.

110. But regardless of where you are and what your access possibilities are, if you're living full-time for Me and doing what you're called to do as disciples and missionaries, you most likely have very little time or opportunity to get sucked into indiscriminate browsing of the Internet, or any other System input, for that matter. Still, regarding specific guidelines or restrictions for Internet use, it's of course up to each Home and each Home member to pray, counsel, and agree together on what is good and allowable in your Home and situation.

111. When My early followers wanted to know what the standard should be on different issues, I often explained it to them by using the example of trees and fruit. To put it in simple terms: "Wherefore by a tree's fruits you will know it, whether it's a good tree or a bad one. A bad tree will not bear good fruit; it will bring forth corrupt fruit." This is something you should always keep in mind when you need to go online for any purpose. Don't waste your time on "trees" (or sites) that are bad and have obviously bad fruit.

112. Just like a wise shopper would do when browsing the stands at a vast fruit and veggie market‚ you can't afford to waste your time stopping and sampling the produce at every stall. Nor would you bite into something that is dirty, dubious‚ decaying, low quality, or worm-infested and rotten—bad fruit. You're there at the market for a reason and your time is very limited‚ so you don't want to forget what you came for.

113. Normally, once you've found a fruit and veggie stand, or a few stands, which are trustworthy and usually have good produce, you'll not waste your time going anywhere else. You'll go right back to that same stall, or those few same stalls, each time, where you know you can find what you need. And once you've got what you came for, you'll not waste your time or mess around sampling here and sampling there, tasting of every fruit in the market—especially not the fruits you already know or feel in your heart are bad or corrupt fruits. You'll get out of there as quickly as you can‚ and continue on with whatever else you need to do.

114. Of course, browsing and "shopping" around on the Internet is much more hazardous than something as simple as shopping at a fruit and veggie market. But don't get caught up in these details; grasp the spiritual principles I'm trying to get across—that of being wise and prayerful "shoppers" when you go on the Internet. You are My busy disciples, and shouldn't be wasting time sampling the "fruits‚" or checking out every "stall" on the Internet. Get what you need, and then get back to your work and service for Me!

115. That's the mindset that you need to have in all that you do, regardless of whether it's out in the physical world or in the online world of cyberspace. You must be about your Father's business, My business, working the works of Him Who has sent you while it's still day. And that brings Me to the next important factor to keep in mind when praying about your own personal guidelines and your Home's guidelines regarding the Internet.

116. As I've already covered‚ the Web is a bottomless pit of information and worldly input, much of which is useless—and even worse, bad and corruptive. But there's another matter that is just as important. It's the matter of time! For that, let Me give you another simple word picture. This is one you've heard many times before, so I won't need to go into a lot of detail. It's the illustration of the suitcase. Each day of your life is like a suitcase. And just as with a suitcase, you can only fit so much into each day; so you've got to pack wisely. There's no time to mess around. Each hour of your day, every minute, you're packing your suitcase—the one and only one you can carry with you in the days ahead.

117. Let Me put it another way. Similar to the story I told My early followers about the man who built his house upon the sand, in the things you do with the time I give you, you're constructing your own house—the house you personally are going to have to live in in the days to come. What you do with your time is what you're building your house of.

118. When you use your time wisely, prayerfully, doing things that are worthwhile and that will last, you're building a good, strong house, one that will keep you through the troubling storms of the future. When the rains fall, and the floods come, and when the winds blow and beat upon your house, it will stand, for it will have been not only built on the right foundation, but the walls, the roof, and all the rest, will also be good and strong.

119. But if you waste your valuable time, either indiscriminately browsing the Internet or with any other worldly or System input‚ you'll be like the man who built his house upon the sand. When the rains fall‚ the floods come, and the winds blow and beat upon your house, it will surely fall. For only those things that you do for Me and others will last. Everything else is like the chaff, which the wind will blow away. So use your time wisely, My brides. Pack your days well, and build your house on a solid foundation, with good, strong materials that will last.

120. You're building your house upon the right foundation, because I am the Family's foundation. "Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay‚ stubble; every man's work will be made manifest ... and the fire shall try every man's work…. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he will receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire" (1Corinthians 3:9-17).

121. Each situation is different, and each Home and Home member will need to come to Me for My instructions and counsel regarding themselves and their Home. Not only is each Home different, but each individual is different as well. I gave the example above about each day being like a suitcase. Well, the truth is, some people are great at packing a suitcase; they're experts, while others aren't. Some people just aren't very good at organizing their time and knowing what to do with it. It's not their strong point, and they need the help of others. It's the same concerning Internet use. Some people are able to use the Internet wisely, prayerfully and moderately‚ while others will need to ask someone else to pray about their Internet use for them, and then commit to following the counsel I give.

122. Some of you have certain specific weaknesses as well‚ which will play a big part in the counsel I give you‚ either personally or through others, regarding browsing the Internet. Some of you have a weakness for entertainment news and Hollywood gossip. Others of you are addicted to sports and keeping up with sports updates and scores. Some of you are easily lured by the seductive, seedy world of online pornography. Some of you waste your time researching diet fads‚ health controversies, or conspiracy theories. Others of you spend an inordinate amount of time browsing for the latest gadgets, of which there is no end. Some of you are simply addicted to the Internet, period.

123. Online addictions are spiritually lethal and a waste of the precious time I've given you. Those of you who have specific weaknesses or addictions will have to be honest with yourselves and others and get the help and safeguards you need.

124. An alcoholic, for instance, knows better than to go in to a bar, thinking he'll be able to just order an orange juice and then leave. It will seldom stop there, and most alcoholics know that they should just stay away from the bar completely. The same is true for those of you who are addicted to being online—or when you do go online, you automatically get sucked into checking out certain sites.

125. As I've said, a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. So‚ if you're wasting your time on bad or useless sites, it's bound to bear bad fruit in your life. Be honest with yourself. Do you really want to waste your life that way? If not, then don't go there. (End of message.)

Text box:

126. Question: Is there ever any time and place for going on the Internet for "entertainment," or is the Lord's intent here to put a stop to that? A lot of people will go online for their free-time activity, not necessarily "researching" and not getting into weird sites or pornography, but going to relatively harmless sites where they read comics‚ play games, or browse some sports news, entertainment news, or celebrity news. Does this counsel mean such browsing is to be avoided, or does it just mean it's detrimental when done in excess?

127. (Jesus:) I'm not outlawing Internet use for relaxation or entertainment upon occasion. But the problem is that too many of you have gone overboard in this, have allowed it to eat up huge chunks of your valuable time on a regular basis, so I am wary of opening this door to you. So far, too many of you have not kept the Internet in its place. Too many of you have gotten sucked into the Web and have spent an inordinate amount of time browsing for "entertainment purposes." In most cases, it is not that what you have done—the sites you have been to, the "entertainment" you have enjoyed—has been so bad or horribly wrong. But the time you have spent, the appetites you have formed, the addictions you have allowed to grow—that's what's wrong.

128. I'm not against you going to a funny news trivia site from time to time. I enjoy a good laugh, and having a good sense of humor is a healthy thing for My children. However‚ even on these sites you must beware that you are choosing the good and eschewing the evil. It's a responsibility to go on a site like this, and you can't just do so with a totally "off guard" attitude or mindset. It can suck you in. There is humor on these sites that is good and clean and relaxing to read, but there's also humor that can be detrimental to your spirit. So the question is: Are you strong enough for it? Are you spiritually mature enough to handle such a freedom? Can you go to a news trivia site and choose the good and eschew the evil? Can it be a small part of your life, perhaps something you do occasionally in place of some other form of worldly entertainment? Can you keep it in its place? Some of you can, and some of you cannot.

129. What about celebrity news and gossip? Well, I'm going to ask you a question: What is the attraction? What do most celebrities promote? Worldliness. The news that makes headlines in the magazines and on the Internet is all about fame and fortune and money and materialism. You might argue that there are some celebrities who are trying to do good, who are sincere in their motives, and who are good people, even people who need Me—and in some cases, even Christians. And, it's true; you're right. But when you go on the Internet to search for celebrity and Hollywood news, is that what you read about? Is that what is promoted and talked about and "put in lights"? No. What's talked about is their fashion‚ their looks, their lifestyle, their money, their hair, their makeup, their latest movie, their theories and philosophies about life, their religion (which is nothing like yours), their ambitions‚ their goals.

130. Is reading about celebrities—those whose lives are about as far from the life of a disciple as you can get—what you should be spending your time doing, even in your free time, in your entertainment life? Is there any good to be gained from it? It doesn't make you laugh, or truly relax you‚ does it? I'd say that unless you're actually taking the time to really pray for their souls and have some serious prayer vigil for each person you're reading about, there is no real reason to do it. And I'm not talking about a little "Lord help celebrity so-and-so" prayer. I'm talking about desperately praying and claiming their souls for Me. Otherwise you're just stuffing your head with worldly knowledge, the love of money, the desire to be fashionable and "in" with the world and its crowd. I'm sorry that this is going to be a hard saying for some of you‚ especially some of you women‚ but celebrity and Hollywood news and gossip is nearly always a complete waste of time, even for relaxation or entertainment purposes.

131. I'm not going to get into all of the different things you can do online for relaxation and entertainment, but I will tell you that much of it is simply a waste of time. Am I going to outlaw it? No. Am I going to tell you that you can do this, but you can't do that? No. But I am going to tell you that as disciples you should be protecting your spirits, even when you're relaxing or enjoying entertainment. I'm asking you not to watch pointless movies, so why should you browse the Internet pointlessly? I'm asking you not to watch movies that promote worldliness and materialism and the Hollywood spirit, so why should you spend your precious free time on the Internet for that purpose? Some sites are just better avoided. Some types of Internet entertainment are better avoided. Some can be okay, in their place, with My permission. But much is not okay. Much is a waste of time, a distraction, and a detriment to you spiritually.

132. Can you go to a funny news site and have a good laugh? Can you read about sports on the Internet? Can you ever research something that doesn't fall into the "unavoidable business" or "essential health" category? Yes, if it is within My will for you, if it's kept in check. I'm not outlawing Internet entertainment, but I'm going to require you as My disciples to be much more responsible, much more accountable, much more wise and prayerful. In the past too many of you made it clear through your actions and decisions that you couldn't be trusted with this kind of freedom. Now I'm going to give you a second chance, and I'll be watching to see what choices you will make. (End of message.)

End of text box.

In summary:

133. (Mama:) From the preceding messages‚ I pulled some of the main points of instruction that the Lord gave. In a few brief points‚ He is asking us, as disciples, to:

¸Spend less time on the Internet.

¸Have more awareness when it comes to the pitfalls of the Web.

¸Believe and accept what the Lord says about the dangers of the Internet, and see it as the dangerous, deadly snare that it is.

¸Have more conviction when browsing.

¸Use the Web for business/research/local information or news purposes, and not get tripped off and waste time.

¸Let go of and willingly forsake the many distractions and foolish enticements of the Web—things that do not encourage, lift up, praise Him, or strengthen our spiritual lives.

¸Accept safeguards, counsel, and help from others.

¸Ask our Husband about your Internet usage. Ask Him the following questions: "Jesus, how do You view my usage of the Internet? Should I use the Internet at all at this time in my life? If not, what should my attitude be toward others in the Home who do spend time on the Internet? If so, what are Your guidelines for me? What bad habits do I need to change? How am I affected by the Internet—both in ways I realize and in ways that I don't realize? How do I look upon the warnings and safeguards that You have put in the Word? How seriously do I take the Word that has been published on the subject? Do I believe Your Words? How vigorously do I uphold them?" (Note: The Lord said that some of you will need to ask someone else to pray about your Internet use for you, and then commit to following the counsel He gives.)

¸Discuss, pray, and decide together as a Home on specific guidelines or restrictions for Internet use; agree on what is good and allowable in your Home and situation.

¸Those of you who have specific weaknesses or addictions will have to be honest with yourselves and others and get the help and safeguards you need.

134. I felt it might also be helpful to have a few more specifics on such things as how to have the Lord's full protection when going online‚ what would be good and legitimate reasons for using the Internet‚ what types of sites and sections of the Web would be best to avoid, etc. So here are some general points compiled from a variety of sources: the preceding messages, some previously published counsel in GNs on the Internet, and further new counsel the Lord has given.

135. This is by no means a comprehensive "guide" to the Internet. I can't possibly address every issue or include every caution necessary; the Internet is way too big for that. So in order to get more specifics, to know what the Lord's will is for you, each person and each Home needs to hear from the Lord and obey the counsel He gives.

How to have the Lord's full protection when going online:

¸Be obedient to the guidelines the Lord has given you personally, and to the guidelines you decide upon as a Home. Whether or not you think something is "safe" for you is not the issue. If you are not obeying‚ it's not safe.

¸Have a specific mission to fulfill, clearly defined goals‚ a purpose for being online. Don't just browse for the sake of browsing. Get what you need, and then get back to your work and service for the Lord!

¸Go onto the Internet armed with prayer. Pray beforehand for protection. Make sure you bring your mind into subjection, arm your spirit‚ and let the Lord lead and guide you to that which is good through the unending maze of seductive enticements.

¸Keep in communication with the Lord while you're browsing‚ so that you remain open to His checks and warnings if you're going somewhere you shouldn't, or spending more time online than you should.

¸Set yourself a time limit. Ask the Lord how long you should be online, and don't stay longer than He's advised you to.

¸Don't go to any sites or areas of the Web you know you shouldn't go. And when in doubt, don't.

¸Consider "traveling" on the Internet two-by-two, especially if you are easily distracted when going online, so that you have a buddy to safeguard you and help you to be good.

¸Pray afterwards for cleansing of any influences or spirits you might have picked up on the Web. Just like when you go out into the physical world and can pick up hitchhiking spirits, so it is when you travel on the Internet.

¸Be sure that you've had good Word time to keep up your spiritual strength.

¸Pray and ask the Lord about any questions you have, to help you discern what's true and what's not and to apply any information you find. Don't just go by man's words, but ask the Lord's opinion before implementing something or adopting it as part of your opinion or frame of reference.

Legitimate good reasons for using the Internet:

¸Browsing our Family sites, especially the MO site.

¸Business purposes: legal work, banking, travel info and reservations, etc.

¸E-mail and communications (Internet messaging, voice communications, etc.)

¸Research that is necessary or useful to our commission as missionaries and disciples.

¸Educational use by parents and teachers (or in the case of good educational websites, to use with your children as a part of their schooling or training).

¸Researching and finding a good deal for purchasing a legitimate personal or Home need.

¸Keeping abreast of the news, via good news websites.

¸Finding information on necessary health issues.

¸Researching/finding information on a vocational study.

¸Online maps, dictionaries‚ encyclopedias, or other necessary reference books.

¸Researching information on a particular movie the Lord has shown you may be worth your Home previewing (if it has not been rated by WS), before you rent it.

Things that can waste your time and/or be detrimental to you spiritually:

¸Entertainment news and Hollywood and celebrity gossip.

¸Sports news.

¸Pornography (this would of course be in the "avoid completely" category).

¸Any sites that deal with the occult‚ witchcraft, Satanism, etc. (this would also be in the "avoid completely" category).

¸Anti-Family or anti-cult sites.

¸Churchy sites.

¸Unnecessary browsing for information on the latest movies, computer games, music, and other forms of worldly entertainment.

¸Downloading System music (that the Lord hasn't given you permission to listen to) or movies (that haven't been rated by WS or okayed by your Home).

¸Information and knowledge on the latest and greatest technical gadgets and gizmos.

¸Something you're researching that's an obsession or addiction.

¸Information on fashion, the latest trends, etc.

¸Sites that contain anything along the lines of violence, horror‚ the power of the Enemy, evil spirits, vampires‚ demons, etc.

¸Information on diet or fitness fads, or health theories and controversies.

Additional reading:

136. (Mama:) This is a bit of a sideline issue, but since it is connected to the Internet, the Lord showed me to address it briefly in this GN. It's regarding Family-created websites, of which there are a number. Family members, and especially young people, get on these sites to chat, discuss things in forums‚ post files and pictures‚ etc., and some of you have written to ask if this topic could be addressed.

137. The problem seems to be that people assume that because these sites are created by someone in the Family, or a Family Home, or are run by Family members, that everything posted on such sites should be 100% according to the standard of the Word, in line with Family doctrine‚ and that all of the comments that people make should reflect the discipleship standard. Then when everything doesn't meet up to this standard‚ or when something (or maybe many things) on these sites is "off," people think that Peter and I, or WS, or Family leadership, should do something about it.

138. The fact is that unless a website is an official Family-created website, maintained by WS, such as the MO site, WS does not monitor it, nor is it "WS approved." Even if it's a website created by a Family Home, or a Family individual (or group of individuals), WS is not responsible for what is posted on that site. That doesn't mean that sites that aren't monitored by WS are bad; some are very good and inspiring, but since we don't have the time to keep an eye on them, we can't necessarily say we approve of everything that they contain.

139. Because WS can't possibly monitor every website that Family members create or participate in‚ Peter and I can only hope and pray that any of our Family-created sites are filled with the spirit‚ and that you who are posting on such sites are doing and saying things that disciples would do and say. That's not something we can legislate or keep an eye on; it's a matter of personal choice and conviction. If you who frequent these sites see that something is wrong, or "off," or against the Word or Family doctrine, then it's up to you to speak up—in love, with tact and wisdom, but also conviction—rather than waiting for someone else to "fix" the problem.

140. Another point I'd like to mention, especially for the benefit of you parents and shepherds, is that some of these websites are frequented by every level of membership, as well as former members, so postings, attitudes and discussions often reflect great differences of commitment and opinion. You should be aware of that if you're going to those sites, or allowing your young people to do so. Also‚ some of these sites have sections for 18+ which those younger may be able to access.

141. I'd also like to include an excerpt of what was published before the renewal, in "Renewal Q'As" about chatting and going to Family-created bulletins and websites. Even after the renewal, the principles brought out about such sites still apply:

Q: Will chatting online with Family friends be permitted? Will going to Family-created and maintained bulletin groups be disallowed during the renewal period?

A: (Jesus: ) Chatting … has become a source of gossip and idle timewasting for so many. But I will not close this door completely. Homes can decide upon united guidelines, and the Home teamworks should monitor this area and do something if it seems to be getting out of hand or not bearing good fruit. FD and MM individuals should be open to shepherding concerning their chatting, and will be expected to yield to and respect any Home rules established regarding chatting. Chatting should be judged according to the fruit it is bearing, which includes both spiritual fruit as well as the time it is taking. And because so often individuals can't clearly see the fruit, they need the help of others.

After Home guidelines are established, each individual is responsible to keep his or her chatting or any other sort of online communication to a good spiritual standard. By this I mean making sure that their communications are uplifting, godly, positive, edifying, Spirit-filled, and a help to both themselves and the person(s) they're chatting with. This is something that only the individual will know (unless there is obvious bad fruit), and I will hold them accountable. Please use wisdom and moderation, and do not let it become a distraction or timewaster. The goal during the renewal is to spend more time with Me, and more time in fruitful, meaningful fellowship with your mates and co-workers. In some cases, occasional chatting would help to accomplish this goal. In other cases, it would take away from it. That's why I said it must be judged by its fruits. (ML #3490:51-53, GN 1074).

142. (Mama: ) Please, dear Family, let the words of your mouth—and the things you say and post on Family-created websites—be acceptable in our Husband's sight‚ as well as good and uplifting and positive! If you're a disciple, act like one!

Key promise:

143. I have all power over Heaven and Hell‚ and you can command Me through the power of the keys to keep you from the temptations that seek to ensnare you.

Dig deeper:

*"Mama's News and Views!—Part 3," ML #3053:91-135, Lifelines 23

*"Goals for 1998‚" ML #3160:176-184, Lifelines 24

*"Don't Get Caught in the Web," ML #3174:4-27, GN 779

*"Charter Responsibilities," ML #3197:65-68, GN 803

*"Living the Lord's Law of Love!—Part 5," ML #3205:152, GN 810

*"The Weakness Revolution, Part 3," ML #3219:130-133, GN 821

*"Worldly?—Or Free?" ML #3233:27-29, 45–46, GN 836

*"More on 'The Shakeup 2000," ML #3262:40-41‚ GN 863

*"Issues, Part 3," ML #3302:84-88, GN 904

*"Issues, Part 5," ML #3322:80-99‚ GN 925

*"Full Possession," ML #3376:44-52, GN 973

*"The Professionals‚" ML #3399:108-117, 273-277, GN 993

*"Exposing Bacchus," ML #3402:28-39, 90-115‚ Post-it GN #4

*"Gems and Jewels, Part 1," ML #3416:55-60, GN 1003

*"Feeling blue? Log off," END 16

*"Don't let the Internet control your life," END 32

*"Worrywarts find new fears on the Internet," END 38

*"Many kids solicited sexually online, survey shows‚" END 45

Challenging Thot:

144. (Dad: ) When you're faced with a hard decision‚ think about what Jesus would do, and try to live as He would. Maybe you're trying to decide whether to spend some of your free time browsing the Internet, or to step out of your own little world and sacrifice your time to witness to a sheep or love one of your brothers or sisters. In such a situation—and really with any decision you make—ask the Lord: "Jesus, if You were me, what would You do?" That's how you'll be able to make decisions every day of your life that you won't regret.


The issue:

145. (Mama:) Some of you have been of the opinion that System music doesn't affect you even mildly‚ much less seriously harm your spirit. The Lord has given a lot of counsel over the years about the dangers of System music, and very specifically in "New Music for a New Day!" (ML #3022, Lifelines 22). But‚ at least pre-renewal, many of you were of the opinion that the standard the Lord put forth in that GN was way too restrictive, and you didn't believe the Lord's Words about the effect that System music has on you. You thought it was more a matter of opinion or personal taste; that if you like it, it's probably harmless, so you continued to indulge in it.

146. While the standard of the Word has been clear, it's been an area where a lot of compromise has come in, because it's complicated when you try to get into it and set clear standards for your Home, and because many of you have been so resistant to the standard the Lord has put forth.

147. The Lord is addressing it again here for us because He knows how important it is that we seal up these cracks in the standard that are in essence allowing our discipleship and spiritual strength to drain out, and the poison of the world to come in and contaminate our spirits and our Homes. The Lord reiterates in these messages how to judge whether or not music is good for your spirit, and I pray that this fresh counsel from Him will help each individual to have stronger personal convictions, and that as Homes you will discuss this topic prayerfully and maturely and come to good conclusions that you can follow through on. Regardless of your viewpoints on this issue‚ please read these messages carefully, as well as the accompanying "Dig deeper" references, and then ask the Lord to speak to you on the topic.

God's mind on the matter:

148. (Jesus:) I am calling you‚ My children, to be stronger disciples, to come out much more from the world and to remain more separate than you have in the past. I am not calling you to never watch a movie again, to never hear a song other than Family-produced songs again, to never play a computer game, or to never read another System book. But I am asking you to guard your spiritual lives at all costs, to protect your spirits from the influences of the world from this point on, especially those that are negative and ungodly.

149. Every avenue of worldly entertainment is a vehicle for spiritual influences—some good and godly, and some downright demonic. There is no such thing as a movie that doesn't have some kind of spiritual effect, whether good or evil, or a combination of good and evil. There is no piece of music that doesn't have a spiritual effect, whether good or evil, or a mix somewhere in-between. So, as disciples, you should know that whenever you take in something of the world, you are inviting some kind of spirit‚ or many spirits, to affect and influence your life.

150. When it comes to music, it will help to remember this principle: that every single song opens you up to being influenced by a spirit, or by many spirits. And what you've got to determine as disciples is what kind of spirits you want to allow into your life. If you really are a true disciple‚ and if this is your greatest goal in life and what you're striving for, then of course you're only going to want to allow music in your life that brings with it good influences, that is godly‚ and that strengthens your spirit, and thus strengthens you as a disciple.

Text box:

151. Question: How do these spiritual influences come about, Lord? Is it like Dad talked about in "Musical Key," that the heart or spirit of the listener or reader or viewer is linked to the heart of the creator of the entertainment, and we experience what he or she experienced or was motivated by?

152. (Jesus:) The music can be a vehicle for the actual spirits, but most of the time it is the "voice" of the spirits, or their message or influence, that comes through in the song and makes its way into your ears and then affects your spirit. If a song is good, then the listener is listening to the voice of the good spirit or spirits that inspired its creator. Likewise, if it is evil‚ the listeners hear the words of the demons behind it. If a song is partially good and partially bad, you hear both the good and bad spirits behind it.

153. That is why those partially good and partially bad songs can be the most confusing of all—because you get mixed signals. It may have started off good, but ended up polluted because somewhere along the line the Enemy either tricked the original writer or artist into changing it, or some producer or arranger into messing it up. System music goes through so many hands before it is finally produced that the Enemy usually gets in before it reaches the listening audience.

154. A person who listens to the same demonic music repeatedly, opens himself up to being possessed by that original demon. Demons cannot be omnipresent, but they can bother a number of people by flitting around from one to the other. Just as My Words are spirit and life, the words of the dark side are spirit and death.

155. Music is a channel to hear spiritually the good or evil "words" and ideas of the originating spirit. For the Devil and the likes of Pan‚ it has become a very clever and insidious way to multiply their message and get lots of people to listen to the same thing. Aside from the bad in the message, I am angry that the beautiful creation of music has been put to such satanic ends. (End of message.)

End of text box.

156. There is also the matter of taste and preference. But the fact that you like or dislike a song and the music doesn't give a clear indication of what it's doing to your spirit. Being discerning as to how a song affects you spiritually is a completely different matter from how much you like or dislike the song.

157. For example, there might be a Family rock or reggae song‚ the style of which is not your cup of tea, but it carries a powerful dropped-out message that appeals to some people. If it's not one of your favorites, and if it bothers you, don't listen to it. But just because it's not your style‚ or you don't particularly care for the song, doesn't mean it carries a bad spirit. To the contrary, it carries My Spirit, and was written to inspire Family youth with rebellion against the System‚ against the Devil, and as a call to be dropped out and go all the way for Me.

158. Similarly, there might be a Family love song that doesn't sit well with you because you've just gone through a difficult heartbreak or emotional time, and you'd rather not be reminded of it; remembering your own feelings can make you feel depressed or sad. Or maybe you just don't like sentimental songs. But if the song carries My Spirit and has been blessed of My Spirit, even if it's not your personal preference, or if it brings out some negative or sad feeling in you at a particular time in your life, it may appeal to some other people and help and encourage them. Just because it might not be the best song for you to listen to doesn't mean it has a bad spirit.

159. Taking this scenario in reverse, just because you really like a System song and enjoy listening to it doesn't make it pure or mean it has a good spirit. And this is especially important to remember for those of you who are young in Me or those of you who are immature and have not really honed your gifts of discernment, and are not strong and exercised in the rigors of discipleship. The Enemy makes some of his music very, very appealing. But that doesn't mean it's good for you.

160. That's why I gave the example of the "three wells," to give you an easy way to discern what's what‚ as far as the spirit of music, without having to listen to all kinds of junk and try to have discernment and get a message from Me on each song. It's a basic way by which you can judge music and stick with the safe stuff‚ if you're concerned about your discipleship.

161. The problem has been that many of you felt that standard was too restrictive. You didn't believe the truth of My Words, you tried to put too much into the "brackish" category or tried to get away with as much as you could‚ rather than simply accepting the standard of My Word and basing your decisions on it. You didn't want to rule out your favorite music or call it what it really was‚ so you compromised. Some of you gave up completely and just tried to forget that clear word picture, because it was too convicting. Or you didn't believe it anyway, so why should you have to stick to it?

162. Now I want to bring the principle of the "three wells" down to the level of the individual, rather than across the board for the whole Family. I want you to look at your spiritual life like a well. You choose what kind of water you allow in your well. If you want your well to be pure, you will keep it pure. The poisonous waters should never be allowed into your well, because these will only poison your spirit and weaken you as My disciple.

163. What is poison? Nearly all modern secular System music falls into the category of being poison, not just those songs that are obviously demonic and straight out of Hell, because nearly all present-day System music carries with it bad spirits. There are very, very few good‚ uplifting‚ godly secular songs being produced in the world today, especially in the Western nations, so as disciples it's best to avoid any and all.

164. The pure waters are those that challenge you as a disciple, the kind of songs that revolute you, that inspire you, or that move you in a positive way to do more for Me, to give more to Me, to be a revolutionary, to trust Me, to obey Me, to love Me. If a song causes you to want to move out into something good, to do good, to be a better witness and disciple, then chances are that that song is pure waters.

165. Family music generally falls into the category of pure, not because you are perfect, not because every song is completely heavenly, and not because you're the most technically advanced, but because generally speaking, the authors and composers were yielded to Me or on My channel at the time they wrote the song, so the song carries My Spirit.

Text box:

166. (Mama:) When reading an advance copy of this GN, someone asked why the Lord said He classifies Family music as "generally pure." I thought you would be interested in His explanation too.

167. (Jesus: ) By saying "generally pure," I am implying that some are more pure than others. Some have more pride or elements of worldly influence in them, which keep them from being 100% pure waters. But no songs that have been officially produced for the Family‚ since you started officially producing music in recent years, have carried a bad spirit. Some haven't been as pure as I would have liked them to be, but compared with what is out in the world, they are pure.

168. It's like having drinkable water from a city tap that has some chemicals in it. It's not going to make you sick or hurt you, but it's much less pure than mountain spring water, for example—which is not just clean‚ but filled with wonderful goodness and is as pure as it gets. So that's the comparison I was making, and the reason I qualified My statement about Family music by saying "generally pure." All the music that has been officially produced for the Family is pure enough for them to listen to without restraint. It might not be positive for every person, but if it doesn't affect someone positively‚ they don't have to listen to it. (End of message.)

End of text box.

169. I haven't allowed songs that didn't bear witness of My Spirit to be produced for the Family. In the Family is where you will find the most songs that promote the dropped-out dedication that I'm seeking of you, My disciples. Where else in the world will you find such a concentration of songs that speak of full-time discipleship—the joys and the sacrifices‚ the lessons, the meat of the Word? Even if you don't particularly care for the style of music, the message is comparatively pure.

170. Within Family music there are of course some songs that are stronger or meatier or more filled with the Spirit than others. And those who are receiving the songs for today are hopefully stretching in their personal lives to be more obedient, more dropped out, so that I can give them the pure, strong‚ meaty, powerful music that I have for My children today. But even though there are some songs that are weaker in message, or maybe aren't as great as others, they're still pure compared to what's available in the world. That's why I classify Family music as generally pure.

171. There are many in the world who sing of love for Me. There are many who know Me and serve Me to some extent. But if their lives are filled with compromise, if they haven't "made the break" with the world, they're not usually going to write song after song that can motivate My full-time disciples. They might hit it once in a while, but the majority of their music I would call brackish.

172. You might feel that there's not that much difference between brackish and pure, but when you realize and accept that music carries a spirit, and what you take in musically affects your spiritual strength, your discipleship and conviction and attitudes‚ then it's clear that there is a pretty big difference, and that it's important to keep a clear distinction between them, and monitor how much of the brackish you allow into your life.

173. There are some songs from the world—from System Christians‚ older music, or from someone that I possess to write a powerful and spiritual song in this generation, for example—that would fall into the "pure" category as well, but they are few and far between. Take for example songs like, "I Need You," or "You Know Better Than I" (from the renewal movie "Joseph, King of Dreams"), or "You Fill Up My Senses." These songs are pure if they move you to love Me more, to yield to Me more. That is good fruit. Those are the kinds of songs written about Me that would fall into the category of pure.

174. Having said that, however, I would caution you that these types of songs being produced in the world today that fall into the category of "pure" are few and far between. This is not a license to go searching for them.

175. Just because a song mentions My name, or talks about love or doing good, doesn't necessarily make it pure. You have to look at how it moves you. Does it make you want to love Me intimately? Does it motivate you to yield more of your life to Me? Does it spur you to be the committed, dropped-out disciple I'm asking you to be? And how does it make others feel? Does it make other fellow disciples feel the same? If so‚ as My Word commands, "In the multitude of counselors there is safety!"—And, I would of course desire that you hear from Me on the matter as well‚ to confirm that such a song is indeed pure. As I said, they're not that common.

176. The standard for My disciples for this day and age is that you shun completely all of the poisonous waters—which is the majority of secular music being produced today. Since the world is waxing worse and worse as the days grow darker, there are hardly any bands or musicians or songwriters or music groups who are presently in My Spirit, who are writing music that will strengthen the ranks of the children of David.

177. A mediocre song might come out every so often, even a pure one rarely, but it's not worth wading through the millions of junky, poisonous songs in order to find those few rare jewels. If there is something out there that I wish to lead the Family to, I will make it very clear, without you having to waste your time searching for it.

178. Then when it comes to making decisions regarding the pure and brackish waters, as My disciples it is preferable that you take in mostly the pure waters—by far the majority. These are the songs that are going to uplift you, that are going to challenge you, that are going to support the Word, that are going to help you to be a better disciple, or at least complement your discipleship life.

179. I allow for some variety in your music, which means that some brackish would be okay in certain situations, as long as it's not tearing down your walls of defense or weakening your spirit. But the brackish waters you take in should be minimal, and should only be received into your spirits in measured amounts and with My permission.

180. A good way to tell if you're keeping things in perspective is to regularly assess your appetite for music. Are you spending more time listening to brackish music than pure—or even a significant amount of time listening to the brackish? Do you find yourself regularly looking forward to the brackish more than the pure? Are you losing your appreciation for the pure waters? If you answer yes to one or all of these questions, that's probably a sign that things are getting a bit out of balance in your life and you should pray about your music habits and make sure they are complementing and enhancing your discipleship and service to Me.

181. You may be wondering what I speak of when I talk of the brackish waters. Brackish is the category of songs that don't carry a bad spirit, but don't really motivate you as a disciple either. Whether or not you can take in brackish without being affected depends not only on the song‚ but also on your spiritual strength, your state of mind, how attuned you are to Me‚ how easily you are pulled down.

182. It's the day of accountability, My loves. It's the day of personal accountability and the day of Home accountability. When it comes to music and what you listen to, you are accountable as an individual and as a Home.

183. Each person needs to come before Me and ask Me what their listening habits should be—whether I require them to stick completely to pure—which would be Family music, and select songs that have been confirmed in prophecy and counsel as being pure—or whether I allow some brackish, and if so, what, and how much‚ and when. And if you want to be a disciple, you will avoid the poisonous waters at all costs, knowing that they will only weaken you, however "good" it feels at the time.

184. Each Home also needs to decide together what their policies are going to be, knowing that if they allow the poisonous waters into their midst, or too much of the brackish waters—either in Home members' personal listening‚ or in Home gatherings or parties—their Home's discipleship will suffer, and they might just sink as a result of such compromises.

185. I'm not going to list here every single song you should listen to, whether it's System secular, System Christian, older songs, instrumentals, and all the rest. You must have the conviction yourself, the wisdom yourself, the prayerfulness yourself—in counsel with others, in conjunction with hearing from Me in prophecy, and within the boundaries of this general counsel I have given here and what I have said before in My Word—about what is My will for you. You have to grow up! You have to learn to discern the spirits of music. You have to be accountable for your own decisions. No one else is going to make these decisions for you.

186. It all comes back to you asking yourself how much you value your discipleship. If you want to be a disciple, if you want to do your best for Me, then you'll be willing to live without anything that's going to weaken you spiritually, that's going to have a bad effect on you—even if it means you have to sacrifice some variety, or some of the more "professional" sounding music. Some of you might not even know what's good for you, which is why you have to ask Me and others. Regardless of how you feel, you can always know, as I have shown you, that every single song has a spirit and has an effect. Every song is either going to affect you positively or negatively. You can't say you aren't affected. You are affected one way or another‚ for good or for bad‚ whether you see it or not.

187. Those of you who were addicted to System music before the renewal, and haven't yet developed much discernment in this regard, will need to be very prayerful, and very open to the counsel of others, even if you feel it's a bit extreme. You should know that this is an avenue of your life that the Enemy tempts you with, a way that he sees he can get in and weaken you spiritually. As such, you should perhaps even be overly judicious in protecting your spirit. Call on others to safeguard you and help you. If you have been addicted to System music before, chances are you're not very strong in guarding this area of your life, and you can't do it on your own. You'll need the help of others. You'll need to humble yourself and make it known that you want help, if you value your discipleship.

188. You are the one who wants to be My disciple, right? You are the one who's chosen this vocation, right? You are the one who wants to be in the Family, right? No one is forcing you. So if that's your decision, if discipleship is the calling you're giving your life to, then this is just one more important step in your training and strengthening. I want you to learn to make the decisions that ensure that you're not just going to be a mediocre disciple, but the very best disciple you can be! (End of message.)

189. (Jesus:) I caution you, My children, to not get so caught up in the word picture of the three types of water—poisonous, brackish, and pure—that you lose the main point I'm trying to get across. You need to ask Me to help you catch things in the spirit.

190. The most important things are:

191. —That you, My brides, are choosing to allow the music into your lives that makes you better disciples, that strengthens you spiritually, that bears good fruit.

192. —That you hear from Me specifically after the renewal to find out what My counsel is for you personally, and then obey what I show you.

193. —That each Home counsel and pray and hear from Me about guidelines for their Home, according to their faith and within the boundaries of the counsel I have given.

194. —That you don't slip back into bad habits of the past; that you put sufficient safeguards in place, with love and prayer and counsel.

195. —That you look at the issue of music through the eyes of the spirit, by applying the spirit of My Words and not the letter of the law, which killeth.

196. —That you have much more conviction and accountability when it comes to music. That you make decisions today that you will not regret tomorrow. (End of message.)

Text box:

197. Question: Some people in the Family have written with questions about Family music that sounds like a copy of a System song, or a copy of the musical style of a particular group, or is sung in a particular style that imitates System singers. Does that music then carry the bad spirit of the System song? How does that work?

198. (Jesus: ) All songs carry a spirit, or several spirits. Music is a vehicle for the spirit. And while some of the music that even the Family produces isn't everyone's cup of tea, I haven't allowed any music to be officially produced by WS and sent out to the Family that carries a bad spirit. That doesn't mean that a certain song couldn't affect an individual negatively‚ if they're already on the wrong channel, listening to the Devil. The Enemy will try to use anything and everything. But Family songs do not inherently carry a bad spirit, unlike the comparable System music.

199. When it comes to music, so much depends on the spirit that the artist was in when they got the song from the spirit world. And that is true whether parts of the tune exist somewhere else in the world or not, or even if the musician thinks they just "wrote it"; they were inspired or influenced by the spirit, whether for good or bad. It's not just the physical notes or musical arrangement; it's much more spiritual than that.

200. Solomon said, "There is no new thing under the sun," and that's true of music, in a way. There are only so many notes and progressions and arrangements—at least on Earth and in music as you know it—and sometimes a similar melody or arrangement can be in two different songs and carry completely different spirits.

201. The Enemy is always trying to copy Me, and if there's a musical arrangement that's cool and well done, the Enemy will try to use it to his own advantage and associate it with his songs and negative message. Just because he's using it for evil‚ doesn't mean that I can't also use it for good. Everything that is beautiful or cool or good always originates with Me. That's why there can be a Family song that sounds a lot like a song in the System‚ and the Family song can still carry My Spirit or good spirits from My Kingdom, and the System song can carry spirits of the Enemy.

202. Music is a vehicle that can be used for either good or bad. And when the author is receiving the song, depending on what side they're tuning in to, that music is then possessed or used by that side.

203. I know this doesn't make a whole lot of sense if you try to reason it out in your mind. But music is a spiritual thing, and both sides—I and the Devil—use it to inspire or control the hearts and minds of men in one direction or the other.

204. So beware of what you listen to. Listen to those things that bring spiritual life‚ that are written by those yielded to Me, and I will be able to come through the music and strengthen and inspire your heart. (End of message.)

End of text box.

More tips and counsel from our great Shepherd

205. (Mama: ) Following is more instruction from our Husband, which I've excerpted from a few different messages for you. I pray this will help to "put some skin on it" and make it clearer for you, as you prepare to pray personally and then discuss your music listening guidelines as a Home.

206. (Jesus:) You who think that you're not affected by System music need to wake up! The reality is that anything that you're taking in that is not wholesome and pure is in essence polluting and hurting your spirit! It's a compromised mindset to think that you're unaffected by System music, and it's very often something that others will notice in your spirit even when you won't.

207. A lot of you tend to think that being "affected" means that the instant you listen to a System song you suddenly become depressed, discouraged, rebellious, or out of it. While that is the case for some people, generally the effects are much more subtle—a weariness of spirit, an unhappiness with something that didn't particularly bother you before, a moody spell, an annoyance with others, becoming more easily frustrated, becoming more sensitive and more easily hurt by insignificant issues, becoming easily rubbed the wrong way, lazy and lethargic, and many other subtle manifestations.

208. The excuse often used is that that's just the way you are naturally; that you have your good days and your bad days, and it's not due to the effects of the music. But whether you'll admit it or not, System music has an effect on you. Trust Me, I see the effects!

209. System music affects all ages. While the signs are sometimes more obvious in young people, because their comments‚ actions, and communications are generally more exaggerated and overly expressive than older adults, and they're a little more volatile and inexperienced in how they deal with the torrent of emotions and moods they're faced with, it doesn't mean that they're more affected than older adults. The spirit within System music affects everyone‚ although the manifestations in some are less obvious than others.

Text box:

210. Question: System songs can certainly bring about negative feelings, but what about Family songs? Some people have said that hard rock songs produced by Family bands can cause bad fruit in the younger children.

211. (Jesus:) As I have said, I will classify Family music as generally pure—"generally" because some songs are more pure or full of My Spirit than others—but there are none that have been officially produced for the Family that carry bad spirits. They are fine for your youth to listen to without restraint. They carry a good message; they are the variety that they need.

212. Having said that, not every song or style of music is appropriate for every situation and every person. In saying that, I'm stating the obvious. Rock music isn't generally appropriate for little kids. They don't need it—they need simpler music, calmer music‚ and rock probably won't have such a good effect on them. There are certain situations that heavy music wouldn't be appropriate for, just as there are certain situations that very peaceful music wouldn't be appropriate for. You must be spirit–led and have wisdom.

213. There's one point that everyone needs to understand—that while you might like a certain kind of music and want to play it loud in the kitchen where you're cooking, if the kids are having school nearby, or if it would offend the neighbors, or it bothers the baby's sleep, then it's love not to play it, or to listen to it on headphones instead, or to keep the volume down. That's just part of communal living and accommodating each other's needs.

214. It's also part of maturity and wisdom to realize that everyone has different tastes, and not be always imposing your tastes on others. These are things I expect of you as disciples, who should be known for your love. But that doesn't change the fact that Family music is pure for you to listen to, and is especially designed for you young people who need and appreciate variety. Enjoy, have wisdom, love one another, and be blessed! (End of message.)

End of text box.


215. (Jesus:) The standard that's in the Word, that I have laid out for the Family on music, is the standard that remains. It's solid and built upon the direction and leading that I have given. It's true and firm and solid. The problem is that over the years the standard has not been followed. It's been lost in the mire of compromise‚ and many, if not most of My brides today, can hardly remember what I have said on the subject or what My standard really is.

216. Yes, most know that an intake of System music is not what I want for My disciples, and it's not going to help them or their discipleship. But there are so many varieties of music out in the world today, and there has been so much compromise, that it's especially hard for young people to have conviction about the standard.

217. The Word is clear (if studied in depth)‚ on what the standard should be‚ and the Homes themselves are going to have to buckle down and study the Word and prayerfully decide together what their standard is.

218. The problem is that the Homes have not had a united standard. Individuals might have had a standard according to their personal preferences and likes and dislikes, but the majority of the Homes have not taken the time to read My Word on the subject‚ talk together, pray together and hear from Me together about how they should apply the standard from the Word, and then put that standard down on paper so it's clear and not ambiguous or up to each person's interpretation.


219. (Jesus:) In order to truly make a united Home standard effective and hit the mark long-term, Homes must periodically review the standard to make sure that each one is living it and that it's indeed in line with the Word and the way I'm leading them to live it at the time.

220. Here's an example: A Home might get together and decide that because System music has been a problem, for a time there will be absolutely no System music of any kind in the Home, in order to give everyone time to make changes and get their tastes in line with obedience to the Word. All agree to this decision, I confirm it in prophecy‚ and it's put down on paper so that it's clear to everyone what the standard is and that all agreed to follow.

221. However‚ down the line the Home should look at the standard again and seek Me about it again, and I may lead them to modify some things. Maybe everyone has gotten their likes and dislikes in line with the standard of the Word, and I tell them that they can loosen things up to allow for the occasional use of some brackish music in their dance nights, for example. Or I may just tell them that they're doing great and should continue with the standard they already have, without modification.

222. But regardless, it's important to periodically review the standard on these issues as a Home, because sometimes there is something that I want to show you about the way things are that could or should be changed. It's even helpful just to evaluate yourselves and how you're doing and whether you're really following through, or whether you're deviating from what I've shown you and you've agreed upon together.


223. (Jesus:) The standard needs to be the same for everyone. You can't decide on one standard for voting members and another for the teens and JETTs. The standard needs to be for everyone; otherwise it won't work.

224. Your Father David said it was sometimes helpful to have the children involved in putting together the discipline guidelines of the Home‚ because then they'll be more apt to agree to them, want to keep them, and yield to correction or discipline if they break the rules. The same can be said of teens and including them in the discussion‚ Word study, and prayer regarding the standard for System music or other worldly influences. If they are shown clearly the standard of the Word and it's discussed and talked about with them, if the younger teens and possibly even the JETTs are included in the discussion and decision-making and are allowed to have their say, they will be much more likely to follow that standard.


225. (Jesus: ) The sample of the adults and senior teens in the Home in regards to their appetite for music is extremely important‚ if you hope to get your young ones on board. If the JETTs and teens see their older brothers and sisters hungering after the music of the world and putting down My Family music, how can you expect that the JETTs and teens will have the right attitudes? I can guarantee you that they won't! But if they see each of you full of My Spirit and getting turned on by My tunes‚ then that will help to pull them in the right direction too.


226. (Jesus:) After this renewal period I don't want Homes going right back to their System tunes. That's not to say that I wish to completely and absolutely ban System music. But I wish for each disciple to follow My Word and have conviction as to what is or isn't good for their spirit‚ and then learn to stick with that conviction. I do have a definite standard, and the Family should know that prior to the renewal they were not adhering to it. They were interpreting My Word wrongly and giving allowances and excuses to themselves in order to follow their own desires—the desires of the flesh.


227. (Jesus:) I particularly wish for the standard to be raised in regards to what individuals listen to on their headphones in private. Generally those who feast on System music in this way are heavily influenced by the music that is piped into their heads, direct from Pan. There are no safeguards, and it's much easier to listen in excess, or to listen to things that you wouldn't want someone else knowing about.

228. I do not approve of listening to System music in this way. There is no "benefit" to it other than the personal gratification of the listener. It doesn't promote or enhance fellowship (like a good Latin number might on a dance night, or a godly instrumental might at a nice dinner or fellowship evening)‚ and there is just too much room for temptation and going beyond healthy limits‚ because it's done in secret.

229. But even in this area, the raising of the standard needs to be done in the spirit. What I'm after is each individual being accountable before Me to first of all clearly know the standard, and then to hold themselves accountable and not cross the healthy boundaries I've set. Everyone will need to be open to each other, and you will need to be your brother's keeper along these lines.

230. But I don't want people to start self-righteously running around conducting "vigilante" operations on anyone with headphones on to make sure that what they are listening to is acceptable. Yes, people need checks and safeguards, but in this case, as in all cases, in order for it to bear good fruit, it must be done in love and in My Spirit. That's another reason it's so important to have a standard as a Home that everyone is involved in formulating and everyone has agreed to.


231. (Jesus:) Where I might at times allow non-Family tunes to be played is during an event, fellowship, or gathering where more variety would enhance your fellowship, or where a System song or two is used for a performance. This allowance comes with conditions:

232. —That it is kept in its place, certainly not the main or even a significant portion of the repertoire of music played.

233. —That it is done with My permission, and in counsel.

234. —That the person choosing the music is Spirit-led, and that they ask Me about each song before adding it to the repertoire.

235. I'm not advocating using System music for dance nights or performances, but I am not going to be totally black–and-white and say that it's banned or would never be good to use, because there are some instances where—provided it's kept fully within the boundaries I've laid out here, and any other guidelines and specifics I might give to those organizing the event—some good Latin music or oldie goldies or other brackish type music could be a good addition and would not be a negative influence or a bad testimony.

236. In such cases it's a serious responsibility for the one putting the music on, and I will only be able to bless it and it will only bear the right fruit if they have prayed about each non–Family piece of music they put on, and confirmed with Me that the music and the words and the spirit of the singer are not going to bring a negative spirit to whatever situation it's being played in.


237. (Jesus:) Concerning instrumentals, these are not something that I will ask you to avoid completely, but only that you be prayerful and careful and discerning. There are some that are beautiful and uplifting and inspiring to the hearer, but there are also many where the musician was not influenced by Me and thus the music carries the wrong spirit.

238. This is again why it's important that a standard is set so that all can adhere to that standard‚ and it's a decision made by the Home in counsel and based on the Word‚ and not something that is just up to an individual or their personal desires or likes.

239. With some of these avenues of System input, if you personally like it or desire it, these can be some of the hardest ways to give your will totally to Me‚ and thus have the clear channel you need in order to hear My will on the matter. That's why I have instructed you that the Home as a whole is accountable before Me for the spiritual health and well-being of each of its members. I expect you to set the standard and safeguards together to be a help and support to each other. Homes that follow through on this in love and humility will find great success.


240. (Jesus:) If your young people have a hard time accepting the guidelines‚ or want to strongly pull in the other direction, you should first come to Me to ask if there are any missing elements or keys that would make it easier for them to yield. But if you try all you can and they still aren't in agreement, well, it's just something that each parent is going to have to have conviction about and stand up for My Word.

241. Parents in the world set standards all the time for the kinds of things their kids and teens will do, be involved in, listen to, etc. Parents setting guidelines for their children who are minors isn't something that is unique to the Family by any means.

242. If the whole Home has a united standard, and as much as possible everyone has been involved in the decision-making, and everyone else is keeping that standard, then it'll be much easier for the young people to accept it. If they are shown from the Word what My standard is, and they see everyone who is older living it, then they'll have more of a desire to follow the guidelines everyone in the Home is behind.

243. The problem is that most junior teens don't know what the standard of the Word is‚ and most of the time they haven't seen others living it. Sure, they've heard that System music is "bad" and that they shouldn't listen to it, but have they really read the Word and been shown My standard and the reasons why I am asking them to minimize these things of the world? In most cases the answer would be no. So if they don't have faith and conviction in their own hearts why "these things be so," then they'll naturally have trouble minimizing them. And‚ of course, if they don't see anyone else living it, or if they see double standards, that doesn't give them much faith and conviction to follow the Word and abide by the standard therein.

244. So three keys to getting the JETTs and junior teens to follow the guidelines are to:

  1. Teach them the standard of My Word.
  2. Involve them in setting the guidelines for the Home.
  3. Everyone live it together.

245. If after this they still refuse to follow the guidelines, the parents are still the parents. They still have the God-given responsibility to rule over their children, and while those children are still children and under their parents' rule, they need to follow the rules established by their parents.

246. A problem arises when parents don't have conviction themselves about these issues, and try to shift the blame to the Word or the Charter or the rules for having to enforce something.—Like saying, "I'm sorry, you can't listen to this because the Word says so. It's not my fault." That's never going to give your kids and teens faith in the Word; in fact, it may tear down their faith!

247. Parents need to have the conviction to say to their kids and teens, "Listen, this is our standard as a Family, as a Home, and for us personally as your parents. We believe this and we feel strongly about this and want our whole personal family to abide by these guidelines." And if they don't, then you've got to shepherd your teens and kids and seek Me about what to do and how to handle it.

248. Now when the teens or JETTs blow it, break the rules or bend them, that's when there is the need for great wisdom and love. You parents and shepherds need to have conviction to uphold the rules, but on the other hand, you can't come down in a harsh, self-righteous, or hard-line manner, because that will just alienate your young people and cause them to want to rebel even more. Good shepherding in these areas is a delicate matter and needs to be tailored to each individual's needs. But if I am involved, if you are asking Me for the solutions, then I'll show you the keys to overcoming these problems.


249. (Jesus: ) In the end, no matter what is done, even if the Home has put together and is following a standard that is based on My Word and has established safeguards and guidelines‚ when it comes to discipleship, it must be something that each individual is convinced about. That is the case with your teens as well.

250. You can lay down rules, you can try to make it easier to abide by those rules by making the "temptation" less available or less easy to access, but if the teens aren't in agreement and don't forsake these things in their heart of their own free will, they'll just keep trying to see how they can get around them.

251. It has to be a decision of the heart, and the way to make it easy for them to make that choice is for everyone to live My Word more fully. Then the teens will see that they don't need the things of the world to be happy, or to be cool, or to have fun, because the coolest, hippest, funnest and happiest people they know‚ the people in their Home and the people around them, aren't into the things of the world, and still they have a blast with all the fun and joy that I give them!

252. Keep that in mind with your personal sample. Keep that in mind when evaluating the standard and priorities of your Home. It's important to Me that you're happy‚ and it's important to Me that your kids are happy. I want you all to be happy. And if taking System music out of your lives makes you unhappy, then something is wrong, something is missing, and you need to seek Me as to what it is and how to fill that need in your life or their lives. Because when you're following Me and truly living the life of a disciple, there is great joy. Yes, there are sacrifices, there is suffering, there is change, there is dedication, but there is also deep, abiding joy.

253. So if that's missing in your life or your kids' lives, find out why! Get back to the basics with Me and find the missing element—the joy of your salvation. That is the best gift you can give your kids and teens at this point. What will see them through these long-term changes in their lives and habits and appetites is helping them discover the joy of their salvation. Seek Me as to how to have it in great abundance in your life and Home, and how to help them find it in their lives individually. (End of message.)

In summary:

254. (Mama: ) Everything that you drink in from the world affects you—and more often than not, it affects you negatively. System music is no exception, and can affect you in all kinds of negative ways, whether you realize it or not. It can subtly pollute and hurt your spirit, wear it down, lower your convictions, deplete your spiritual energy, weaken your spiritual defenses, pull you away from the Word, take its toll on you‚ make you naïve and unaware, make you depressed, discouraged, weary, rebellious or out of it, cause you to be bothered by little things, make you moody, unhappy, easily annoyed or frustrated, more sensitive, lazy and lethargic, and cause spiritual ill health and even spiritual demise—to recap some of the things the Lord said System music can do to you.

255. In short, it's a compromised attitude to think that you're unaffected by System music. It's naïve to think that it's "just a matter of opinion." System music is an ungodly, worldly influence, and the counsel put forth in "New Music for a New Day" still stands today.

256. With this issue, as with all issues that people in your Home have been addicted to or really enjoy‚ you're going to have to be desperate with the Lord for the love‚ humility and wisdom in your discussions that will help you agree together on a good balance, a spiritually healthy standard, without coming across self-righteously or alienating anyone.

Key promise:

257. Invoke the keys as you obey My Word about protecting your spirit, and in time you will see the benefits and manifestations of My promises to you as a result of your faith.

Dig deeper:

*"Musical Key," ML #326, DB 6

*"Sequel to 'Musical Key,'" ML #326A, DB 6

*"Getting Back on Track for Jesus, Part 2," ML #2891:55-67, Lifelines 21

*"New Music for a New Day," ML #3022:24–40, 110-117‚ Lifelines 22

*"Trash Your Trinkets and Head for the Hills," ML #3186:52-73, GN 791

*"Charter Responsibilities," ML #3197:52-68, GN 803

*"Understanding Prophecy, Part 2‚" ML #3304:100-110‚ GN 905

*"Issues, Part 13," ML #3430:54-80, GN 1012

*FJWL 1: #380

*FJWL 2: #348, 354

*"Hell's Bells," Christian Digest #12 (excerpts)

Challenging Thot:

258. (Dad:) Your spirit is a real thing, and you determine how healthy it is by what you let it drink in. Your spirit reflects the input it receives, whether good or bad. Just like the food you eat is absorbed by your body and has an effect, all of the spiritual food you take in is absorbed by your spirit and has an effect—for better or for worse. It's wise to be mighty careful about what you feed your spirit.

Additional reading:

259. (Mama: ) I'm going to include for you here some excerpts from interviews that some of our young musicians who participated in "Wordstock 2004" gave on video. These aren't to be taken on the same level as the Lord's Words on the topic, of course, and these musicians are human and have weaknesses and make mistakes just like anyone else. But many of you appreciate their music, and besides their busy lives in their Homes and other ministries, caring for their children and being missionaries, they also spend a good deal of time thinking and praying about and receiving and producing music. So I imagine that they have given this topic a good deal of thought‚ and I thought you would be interested in some of their observations and testimony that goes along with what the Lord has said here.

Excerpts of a Transcript of "FAMILY MUSICIANS SPEAK OUT!"

On System music

Julie Greeneyes: The biggest difference between Family music and non-Family music is the spirit. Because of recently having spent some time out of the Family, listening to the radio every day for about six months was … horrible! It has no life, and actually, the music doesn't even have too much; like even the chord progressions are boring. There are some catchy tunes that you'll listen to about five times and then get so sick of. Whereas Family music, I can still listen to "Open for Love‚" which was recorded back in ['96], and still love it every time I listen to it‚ over and over again.

Vas (songwriter and performer): The Family music is real; it's uplifting. It has the Spirit of God, no matter what. Even if it's an arrangement that's not your technically best arrangement or anything like that, it definitely does have the Spirit of God, it's definitely uplifting, and I can tell in my spirit. It uplifts me; it helps me to do what God wants me to do.

System music puts you to sleep. I know that's something we always hear and is very normal for us to hear. It almost doesn't sit on our brains anymore because we're so used to hearing that. But the deal is, it's really the truth. System music puts you to sleep, it gives you a spirit of complacency.

For me, because I tend to like the heavier stuff, [System music] gives me rebellion. Whereas the Family heavy music doesn't give me that kind of rebellion. It gives me rebellion against the Devil, against the System. But System music gives me rebellion against any form of authority. And we do have to have some form of authority. We have to yield ourselves to the Lord, we have to yield ourselves to our shepherds.

Haven (songwriter and singer): There was a time in my life when I was really into the System music‚ because I felt the quality was superior. I had to make a total break with it. I had to completely stop listening to it. Because the truth is, like the Word says‚ it's a vehicle, and it's addicting in a way; it's just like an addiction of the world and you have to let it go completely.

But when you listen to the words of the Family songs, that's what makes a huge difference. A lot of times you'll be going through something and you'll hear a certain song, and you realize, "Wow, that's God speaking to me."

The same thing can happen with the System music; you can listen to System music and you can think, "Oh, I can really relate to that." But is it ever encouraging? Does it ever make you think, "Oh, I want to keep going for the Lord"? It never is going to make you feel that way. But it's the Family music, the words‚ that give you the encouragement to keep going.

Godfrey: [One] difference with Family music is that we offer the answer that the Lord gives us. It doesn't leave you hanging with questions but no answers like System music does; [System music] just kind of leaves you depressed afterwards because you're worse off at the end than before you started listening to it.

Andrew Vee (songwriter and producer): There's a whole lot more garbage and trash and badly produced and sung music out there than we have ever done, or could ever even do, really. The thing is that a lot of times Family music is compared to like the "top of the pops," the latest, and of course they happen to be the most recognized, best singers in the world at the time, with the best studios. And here we are with our little laptop or little room trying to match that [quality]. So for what we have‚ we get pretty close. But when you try to compare it in technical terms, they'll always beat us in that way, because they've got the million dollars to spend‚ and we've got the pennies to spend.

Vas: When I went through periods of time that I wasn't listening to System music, it was much more easy for me to yield. If somebody asked me, "Hey‚ could you help with the dishes?" "Yeah! Sure!" But then the next day, if I would be listening to System music, just ironically, if they'd say, "Can you help with the dishes?" I'd say, "What?! I was just doing the dishes!" And I was like, "What? Where did that come from? How come I feel like this? Where is this feeling coming from?" And I realized it was from the System music. It is a vehicle for the Devil and his spirits of laziness, rebellion, all that; it's an actual vehicle.

On songwriting

Vas: Mainly it happens when I'm going through a heavy time in my life, and I just express what's going on in my life. Nowadays I have to do it in prophecy and really get desperate with the Lord. But I feel it coming on, or I feel the spirit coming on, so I just take a moment to stop and write something down. Sometimes it's just the words‚ and an idea of the melody will be there too, but it will come in prophecy. Sometimes it's the words and the music. Sometimes I get the music‚ and then the words come later. I'm a father with four children, so I don't have a lot of time in one shot sometimes. Sometimes a part of it comes and I'll have to just wait on it. Sometimes that music will sit there for a month, and then a month later I'll get the words. But the best songs come in prophecy.

Godfrey (songwriter and performer/producer): I'll tell you about the most recent one that I wrote. It was on my last visa trip up to the States. It was like at one o'clock in the morning and I got a phone call from an old friend that had left the Family. It started off really nice, "How's it going?" "Oh, you know … my kids … and it's been such a long time." And then started the little attacks. "What are you doing still in the Family? What kind of security are you providing for your children? Blah, blah, blah." And I was just like, whoa! It just came out of left field.

I stood up for my convictions as much as I could at the time, and then getting off the phone I was just in heavy thought. I felt seriously attacked. So I prayed, just like, God! And I grabbed a pen, and in a matter of a few minutes there were lyrics, the way I was feeling, with the Lord's answers. The song's called "Called," and it talks about how I see life from another point of view, with other eyes. The whole song is talking about how I'm living for another life that's to come, not living for this life, for material gain.

Most of my songs come from real-life experiences, things that are happening to me at the time. Some of the other songs come from inspiration after reading one of the GNs about the demons that fight us, and so on. And that's pretty much how it comes.

Julie Greeneyes: I've always thought that I could never write them, because in the past I used to sit down and say, "Okay, I'm going to compose something." And I'd sit there and try to make things rhyme. But now I never sit down and try to write a song. It happens about two times a month‚ and it usually happens in the shower‚ everybody! But all of a sudden I'll start hearing the lyrics and the music. It's amazing, it's spiritual, it's like a prophecy! But all of the times that I've tried to write a song, it's been horrible, no life to it. I don't know if that would happen in everyone's case, but it's like a prophecy. I would say to anyone that wanted to start writing songs—hear from the Lord! Sometimes I even put my prophecies to music and rhyme the ends of the sentences.

Steven (songwriter): I never really considered myself a songwriter, but I've just considered myself a song receiver, one who does his best to pull down songs from the heavenly realm.

On Family music today

Julie: The way that Family music now compares to the early Family music, I would say there are negative things and positive things. The firepower of our parents when they joined … they didn't care about what people thought of them! Like Aaron's songs‚ they were just like three chords and just so powerful, so full of the Spirit! He'd like roll his eyes back and sing with so much dedication.—And the sheep loved it and it won people to the Family. So that's one thing—some of our [recent] songs have that [power and dedication] still‚ but I think that more and more we should just try to just get rid of any pride whatsoever when getting songs. And then the positive thing is that of course styles progress through the decades and we are very up–to-date; our music is anything that you could want!

Andrew Vee: I would say that in a way, our recent songs—well, like in the last ten years since FTTs‚ TCDs—have been a little different, in that in the old days of the Family there was no kind of standard to have to reach, no like "Oh, what is so-and-so going to think of my song?" You just wrote a song, you didn't care what it was. If the Lord gave you a song, that was it. So a lot of our original songs were quite powerful and … they just came through!

Now you write a song and there's always that thing in the back of your mind, "Oh, how is the public going to like it? Oh, is this going to come out corny? Oh, is this too strong or is this too wishy-washy?" There's always a little concern about the public because you have a much higher standard to have to reach and all that. But usually doing the humble thing, praying and asking the Lord to help you get over that, helps.

Vas: I'd say the songs written by the second generation in the Family are getting there. But they're not completely there in the aspect of how you can really feel in those "Songs that Started the Revolution" that those people bled, and died, and suffered for their freedom‚ they fought for it‚ so it comes out in their songs. That desperation, that complete fanatical desire comes out in their songs. Our music is getting there, and with the new breakings that are happening in the Family and the things that are happening nowadays, I think it's definitely going to get there all the way, but that's like the missing element.

Haven: In some ways I think "The Songs that Made the Revolution" will always be the best. They were the songs that made the Revolution. Our songs are hopefully the songs that keep the Revolution going. But [those] will always be the best because they were writing them to win the world. We write them to share our heart, we write them to encourage people, which is really important, to encourage people to keep going. But they wrote them to start the Revolution, to make a total break with the System.

On the quality of Family music

Tim Drummer (musician and performer): [If a Family teen told me that Family music today "didn't have it,"] I would say to them exactly what I said to my younger brothers, and that is‚ broaden your horizons and don't be so set in your ways to where you only get a taste for one certain kind of music. Be open to lots of different kinds. Family music goes from every spectrum, from some good rock‚ to ballads, and Loving Jesus songs. I would tell them just to try switching up their tastes a little bit, and not be so set in their ways. I listen to all kinds of Family music. I don't particularly have a specific style that I stick to.

The spirit of the Family music is definitely the way to go. I've seen System music take so many young people out of the Family.

Vas: If a Family teenager told me that Family music doesn't have it, technically I'd have to agree with him, because maybe it doesn't, maybe Family music isn't the wide enough variety that he needs. But it's still something that he has to forsake. He has to forsake the System music, whether the Family music has the variety that he needs or not. It's his cross to bear.

We all have a cross to bear, we all have some form of discomfort that we need to put up with, and that the Lord expects of us to prove our love for Him and to do the job that we need to do.

And it's very obvious that the System music, though it is very appealing to the ear and it sounds good—I know, there's a lot of System music that I like and I think sounds good—but I had to forsake it because it's not full of the Lord's Spirit, it doesn't help me to be the disciple that the Lord wants me to be. So I had to forsake it.

So I'd say, yeah, I understand if it doesn't have all the variety‚ but maybe we should look at things from a different perspective and see things more like‚ "Is this music feeding my spirit?" And then we're not going to be so concerned about if it's technically perfect or if it's the variety that we want, because our priority will be to enhance our spiritual life‚ to make our spirits better, closer to the Lord. We'll want to do whatever is going to do that for us. And that's definitely going to be not listening to System music‚ but listening to Family music, whether we like it or not. And I think we're going to find that we're going to like it, because that's what I've found.

Julie Greeneyes: My personal reasons for listening to Family music as opposed to System music is because of the Word, and that we live the Word, and the [Family] music is a form of the Word, because the writers get it from the Word. The music expresses what we live for and keeps you inspired. So if you didn't think it was enough, then maybe you're not in the right place, I don't know!

Regarding using System music for "reference"

Vas: As far as listening to System music, I can't allow myself that luxury; it is a weakness for me. I'm an extreme person. I can go from one extreme to the other very easily‚ so I have to guard my thoughts, guard what I listen to, guard what goes into my mind. I have a lot of crap in my mind already that I have to deal with, and I can't afford to let any other stuff get in. ... I figure that if I don't listen to any, then there's more of a chance that I will tap into the spirit world and get something fresh and new.

Andrew Vee: Actually I try not to listen to System music as much as possible, because I found that when you do listen to System music a lot, it tends to very much color your productions, it affects the way you produce, and you start sounding like this band or that group. Whereas I try to stay as clear from that as possible so that the Lord can come through as much as possible without things being in my mind of other groups that I'm trying to copy or things like that.

Heart (songwriter and performer): It's just not worth going through all of that garbage to try to get something inspiring. I mean, the Lord has so many better ideas than I could get from any artists or musicians out there.

On what is the weakness of Family music today

Vas: We don't have the money‚ the equipment, the time to put into the productions that the System has. That's all they do. Most of us are parents; we have a full-time job of being missionaries‚ witnessing to people, being radical, dropped-out revolutionaries, and that takes time. You're not just naturally a radical revolutionary, dropped out. It takes a lot of trials, tests, breakings, and that takes time.

And aside from all that, you've got to produce songs with the equipment you have. I've been working on a computer that cost about $50 for the last three years, and that's what I've got, so I try to do the best with that. My songs don't come out technically perfect; some of the guitars are out of tune, and if I had more time, the arrangement could develop a lot better. So that's the first weakness.

Another weakness‚ I think, is that this is still a pioneer stage, in my opinion, for musicians in the Family and their productions. We're still learning how to really be open to receiving new stuff from the spirit world. Sometimes we're tied down to doing what's already been done, when we need to have more faith to receive the new things that the Lord has to give us.

Julie Greeneyes: The weakness in Family music today? We need more of it! There's not enough of it!

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