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Pop Culture on the Apricot Tree is an LDS podcast dedicated to discussing pop culture from a Mormon perspective. We talk about great gospel insights through great stories and help you find entertainment that is both true and beautiful. We encourage our listeners to seek after everything virtuous, lovely, of good report or praiseworthy.

The podcast is co-hosted by Liz Busby and Carl Cranney and features rotating guests discussing popular media from a Latter-Day Saint perspective.

Though the podcast has an unabashedly LDS worldview, we do not represent the official views of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. All views expressed are those of the individual co-hosts who are ordinary people trying to understand the world through a gospel lens.



Many members used to think a strict "no R-rated movies" policy was all that was needed to ensure our media choices were uplifting. As ratings have drifted over the years, the ridiculousness of relying on a single letter has become apparent. Additionally, these ratings were intended only to warn of harmful content; they say nothing about whether a film's themes are morally uplifting or worth our time. (See Travis T. Anderson's fantastic BYU Studies article "Seeking after the Good in Art, Drama, Film, and Literature," which we count as one of our inspirations.) In the time of infinite streaming options, we all need to be more selective in choosing that which is better or best, not just that which is good


On our podcast, we give movies three different ratings to express this complexity. Our ratings are not completely consistent, but here's an idea of what they mean.

Content: Does this film have content that Latter-day Saints might find objectionable?

Celestial: traditionally "clean" and appropriate for members of all ages

Terrestrial: light or minimal swearing, violence, or sexual elements, especially when these elements are justified by context; may have elements not appropriate for kids

Telestial: stronger swearing, violence, or sexual elements, to the point where many members may feel uncomfortable watching; worldviews and lifestyles that contradict directly with church teachings

Outer Darkness: strong and frequent language; glorifies violence or immorality; depiction of sacred things in an irreverent or mocking manner; addresses heavy or inappropriate themes that most members will want to avoid (very few of the movies we review will fit this category) 

Artistic Merit: Is this film artistically beautiful, of good report, or praiseworthy?

Rated on a scale from 1 to 5 popcorn balls, this category is about how well done and unique the film is.

5 popcorn balls: well-done classics with tight script writing, excellent acting, and unique artistry; a film that holds up to rewatching

3 popcorn balls: an average blockbuster, entertaining but not of lasting quality

1 popcorn ball: script writing has serious flaws, effects are not good, film is derivative and doesn't stand out in the genre

Gospel Messages: Is this film morally beautiful, of good report, or praiseworthy?

Rated on a scale from 1 to 5 apricots, this category is about how the film centers eternal truths or acts as a springboard for important discussions.

5 apricots: important moral/gospel perspective is the central theme of the film, portrays important issues in a unique way, provides excellent role models, or causes us to ask good questions

3 apricots: an okay springboard for family discussions, but the moral issues aren't central to the film and will require more effort on the viewer's part to find

1 apricot: film actively promotes evil as good or lacks any real moral substance

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