Some local LDS leaders in one quiet, conservative Midwest town have wisely expressed concern over what’s happening with popular video games that many LDS youth play. Grand Theft Auto 3 is the particular example that sparked the alarm. A surprisingly large percentage of the LDS young men in our area have played it and some own it. Some just played it once in ignorance – sometimes at parties with other LDS kids – and didn’t think it was appropriate. But others own it and play it frequently. The game is focused on vice. It involves activities such as stealing autos, using a helicopter to chop off the heads of police, shooting police, picking up pr0stitutes, going to str1p bars, and so forth. Players learn that after using a pr0stitute (which costs money but increases health points), they can get their money back if they kill her. One person who knew details about the game described it as a recruiting tool for the multi-billion dollar p0rn industry. Given the callous attitudes that this game will reinforce, I agree that it’s a recruiting tool for something other than the Gospel.
President Hinckley has pleaded with the young men and adult men of the Church to treat women with greater respect and to avoid p0rnography like the plague. If LDS youth play video games like Grand Theft Auto (and there are much worse games), and if parents allow them to, then the words of the Prophet are falling on deaf ears.
I would urge local units to discuss this issue with their members. Bishops might want to inquire about more than just movies when they discuss entertainment with youth. For many, a few moments of teaching will help them realize the need to get rid of some offensive video games. Sadly, some of our members just don’t seem to know how (or just aren’t willing) to actually apply the principles of the Gospel and the standards in For the Strength of the Youth to their lives. Let’s not ignore this issue.
And shame on Rockstar Games for producing this socially damaging garbage.
Here is an excerpt from Amazon.com’s review:
With Grand Theft Auto III, Rockstar proves that not all developers are concerned with toning down the violence in their games. This sequel is even more bloody, violent, and sadistic than its popular predecessors, offering up an enormous 3-D city in which nearly any criminal act is possible. Players are free to steal cars, beat up the local population for their money (or weapons), make time with prostitutes, or simply roam to their heart’s content.
Real men respect women. Real men don’t do p0rn, and real men don’t mess with offensive games like this one.
There are alternatives. For some family-friendly and Latter-day Saint-friendly games, consider the great selection of games at Deseret Book. There are many great games of strategy or puzzle solving that can be fun
and promote intelligence (Catan, Dominion, chess, checkers, Monopoly,
etc. There are so many great alternatives to just shooting everything in
sight and blowing things up.