Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Saturday, June 12, 2004

Real Prophets, Real Men: Opposing Pornography

True prophets in biblical times were always speaking out against popular but evil trends. The intellectuals, the elite, the celebrities, and other opinion molders of the day often despised the prophets. Modern LDS prophets are in good company. Have you noted how often President Hinckley and other prophets speak out against pornography? In a day when it is so popular and widespread, their constant warnings are hardly tailored for popularity and mass acceptance. But the message is a vital one.

I am so grateful to belong to a Church that doesn't just say what people want to hear. I believe that the For the Strength of Youth booklet for youth truly is inspired, and am so glad that young people in this Church are warned of the dangers of sin and the blessings of chastity and freedom from pornography. I appreciate the suggestions for regulating media in our homes that the Church provides. I am proud of the First Presidency for speaking out against pornography so frequently. In this degrading era where Dr. Ruth is held up as a hero, and vile organizations like Planned Parenthood are more given far more respect than the Church or Christianity in general, people need the guidance that comes from a true prophet.

Why do I care? Because so many times I have seen the devastating effects of pornography. I have seen it wreck marriages for people that I cared about. I have dealt with many victims of sexual abuse, and know that pornography almost always plays a role in the sordid pattern of behavior associated with such crimes. I have seen people become calloused not only to the promptings of the Spirit, but to the feelings of other people. I have seen pornography change the mindset of others so that they viewed women as little more than slabs of flesh to play with, rather than the daughters of God that they are. I know that the MISINFORMATION it provides interferes with the ability of people to properly experience and grow from the real joys of intimacy in marriage - it leaves the disappointed, selfish, and even pathetic. It makes losers out of people who could have been great. Pornography is all about becoming a loser. Real men don't do pornography! Neither do real women. And real prophets speak out against these evils. Praise God that we have a real prophet today.

A related resource I offer is my page, "Mormon Answers: Love, Dating, and Marriage for Mormons" with my answers at some common questions dealing with morality.

Related thoughts:

I have little respect for the arrogance of self-styled intellectuals in the Church who sneer at prophetic warnings on morality and modesty, and think that they are in a different class of people who can "handle" pornography or making out or whatever. There is great wisdom and inspiration in our Prophet who urges us to flee pornography as if it were the plague. Those who think they are too smart for that might as well sneer at health officials who warn us to wash our hands and avoid drinking water contaminated with sewage.

I also know that the Church's program of interviews with Church leaders, so often mocked by critics in and out of the Church, is a powerful resource to help people get the help they need to overcome sin. Dealing with addictive problems like pornography or immorality of any kind (masturbation and beyond) can be very difficult for a person to do without the power that comes from honestly confessing and seeking counsel. People need a confidential outlet to discuss such problems, and coupled with the power of the Spirit and priesthood guidance, miracles can occur. (But these interviews need to be kept uplifting and non-threatening and comfortable, not prying improperly, always showing respect and compassion for the person being interviewed.)

On a final note, let me mention somebody you probably haven't heard about recently, unless you have access to a TV, radio, newspaper, or computer: Ronald Reagan. Among all the endless discussions of Ronald Reagan in the past few days, one thing I haven't heard the media mention at all was Ronald Reagan's moral stand against pornography. The controversial Meese Commission Report on pornography that came from the Reagan era has been denounced by almost everyone in the media. I suspect that the percentage of critics of the report who actually read it is about the same as the fraction of anti-Mormon writers who have read the Book of Mormon. I am one of the very few Americans who actually read the report (still have a copy of it). I feel the report has been grossly misreported and underreported, and that its documentation indeed provides powerful evidence that the porn industry does great harm to America and to many specific victims. It did not call for a new era of draconian censorship, but mostly called for enforcement of already existing Constitutionally valid laws. Reasonable people might disagree with some of its conclusions, but I have almost never heard reasonable people discussing what it actually said, or the evidence behind the recommendations.



106 comments:

dp said...

Great post Jeff. Despite the world's push for tolerance and acceptance, as Latter-day Saints we need to have a 'zero tolerance' policy on some things, and pornography is no doubt one such area.

On a lighter note, have you seen this post?

Kim Siever said...

Great post and insight.

Anonymous said...

Hello. I stumbled upon this site when searching for advice for women married to men hooked on pornography. I am an unactive LDS woman, however I practice all the LDS principles of morality and live the Word of Wisdom. I joined the Church nearly 30 years ago. My husband did not. He has never approved of my Church membership. Anyway.......he stays up and looks at Internet porn nearly every nite. I have expressed to him that this makes me very unhappy. We now receive dozens of porn-related e-mails daily. He is unaware of this because he is not very computer savvy. I feel so discouraged and disgusted. There is not a person in the world with whom I can discuss this problem. I don't want to be married to a man who looks at porn, drinks, swears.......It isn't that he is not a good person. I love may things about him. But this is so discouraging and insulting. Does the Church say I should remain with a man who continues to look at porn? I have always felt he would one day join the Church, but I realize now it will never happen. I need an LDS husband. I would like to attend Church weekly. Thank you for allowing me to unload my burden. I hope someone will have some kind advice for me. ~P~

Anonymous said...

Hello ~P~. I am a women who is married to a man who downloads hundreds of files of porn. It hurts my feelings. I have communicated this numerous times to my husband but he still continues to look at and download porn. I have been in individual counseling for a while now.
The one thing I have learned is that all women and men deserve to have their feelings respected. When my husband looks at porn, I feel hurt, betrayed and disrespected. I'm sure you know exactly how that feels. I look at it as a form of adultry and I believe no women should have to tolerate such a thing. This porn issue is a deal breaker for my marriage. I have come to realize that no matter how much I try to overlook it, I just can't. I deserve better and so do you.
~S~

Anonymous said...

So have you ladies had sex with your husbands for the pleasure of it or just the "obligation" that you feel for your church to have more children in an over populated country as it is?

Men and women look at porn for different reasons and one of the most common is if they don't get pleasure at home they look else where and yes I said 'look'. They could be out having sex with the gal next door and you might not know it because your so busy frettin over them looking at something that is not touchable.

I can say these things because I look at porn and I am a woman and I have sex with men and women and my husband and your "god" says to find pleasure and be happy so why arent you?

Stasi said...

I am responding to the posting above. First of all, the whole concept of my post back to "P" was not about how much our husbands "GET AT HOME." Marriage is based on love and respect for one another and "COMPROMISE." I am a very educated and liberal women. But I am also a sensitive and compassionate women. I understand the fact that men are biologically, sexually, emotionally and physically different than women. My point is that if two people are married and something that one partner is doing is hurting the other, there has to be boundaries. On the next note, I believe every married couple has a right to their own sexuality as long as it is something they can share HAPPILY together. On another note, I want to say to you, that I think anyone who would have sex with men and women with their spouse is pretty stupid considering the risk factors of AIDS and all of the STDS being transmitted. You can use condoms but nothing can protect you 100%. You may "KNOW" the people you are sleeping with but how can you ever "REALLY KNOW." I hope for your sake and your husbands you don't have children. If you are making irresponsible decisions to have sex with people outside your marriage, you are not only putting your lives at risk, you are telling your children that it is ok to put their lives at risk also. On another note, I am NOT MORMON, I don't belong to any church. I just have common sense.

Mormanity said...

Nice to see some common sense leading to good insights. Immorality destroys people and relationships. It's stupid. God is kind to forbid it - if only we would listen and obey Him!

Stasi said...

Not to mention, pornography is nothing but a distorted and misleading portrayal of what sex and intimacy are supposed to be. It is degrading to women and men. My best guess is that God's intention for us to be "HAPPY" did not mean we were supposed to go out, promote pornography and have sex with men, women AND our spouse for pleasure. Especially with the AIDS epidemic. We are not some mindless animals going around mating with everything we see for pleasure purposes. In fact, some animals don't even do that. I guess if your life and health are worth one or several nights of meaningless sex with different people just for, so you say, "PLESURE and HAPPINESS", all the power to you. I am glad I'm not you. One more thing. Statistics show that married people who view pornography on a regular basis are 3 times more proned to engage in sex outside of their marriage. So in response to your comment about, "JUST LOOKING and the gal next door", it is much more than that.

Anonymous said...

Pornography leads to unhappiness, suicide, murder, broken-homes, broken-hearts...

Please Obey God,It is the only way to joy!


Kittywaymo

Anonymous said...

Well, if pornography really caused all the problems that you state above, the whole world outside of Utah apparantly is going to hell! I am a recovering mormon(I thank the Lord)and I have to say this: Yes, if pornography is used as an substitute for a fullfilling and loving sex-life with your partner, then it can create problems. On the other hand, my husband and I finally started enjoying eachother more when we started exploring pornography and learned a lot more about how to give eachother pleasure by using it as a tool to create a healthy sexual relationship. The sad thing about the churches policies is, that it undermines the powerful bond that a husband and wife create through a satisfying sex-life, which is an important part of a relationship. In my life as a mormon women I have met too many frustrated and unhappy couples, where the wife was too scared to accept herself as a sexual being as well as a nurturing and loving woman, and men who were living in self-hatred because of their normal and healthy feelings towards women. The results were unsatisfied and unhappy marriages; a dilemma also caused by the "sweeping under the carpet"-approach of human sexuality.
Yes, there is degrading porn out there, but there is also the kind that can teach and fan the lust between husband and wife, something that can only better the relationship, as my experience has been.

Anonymous said...

"Recovering Mormon?"

Sorry it was so tough for you. Tell me something, though...Which commandment was it that you didn't want to keep? Tithing? Chastity? There is always usually at least one.

Anonymous said...

xyIt´s not always that easy...you think that one has to be basically evil and unbelieving to drift away, which is almost never the case. I drifted from the church not because I wanted to sleep around(not my character or beliefs), not pay tithing, take drugs/drink alcohol/smoke or any other reason that mormons like to pull out against me, but because I was in a constant depressed state...always feeling like I was less than what the church needed me to be, eventhough I was trying my best all the time. These feelings never came from god(I always felt loved by him), they came from the church and they seriously tormented me and kept me from loving myself and accepting myself. There are many moral attitudes that I have still kept and I have never wavered in my undying belief in god and christ, but I have found that there are many ways to find god, that there is not only "one" true way.
I have met more spiritual and loving people outside of the church than within, where most were very smallminded and arrogant.
This is one thing that many mormons forget: That arrogance and feelings of superiority that they have towards others(non-members) are sinful.
My wish for the church and it´s members: open up to your non-mormon neighbor, don´t only stick to your LDS community, get involved in doing good outside of the church. So many mormons think that only church attendance/templework/tithepaying,etc. will be their ticket to salvation, but it´s the stuff you do everyday, the little things that make the difference. It´s just like some muslims, praying five times a day, believing that´s all they need to enter paradise, but then being unjust towards their wives/"nonbelievers"/children etc..

Anonymous said...

uummm duh! What did you think the church was teaching? NOT to help those in need or serve other people? I´m sorry, but no matter how many times you say you were "Mormon" I just can´t believe you. Not saying that you didn´t get babtized or anything like that, just that you didn´t open your ears when people were talking. So I will say DUH again. And this whole thing about people making making you feel "unworthy" is 100% YOU making yourself feel unworthy. The church gives you guidlines, and if your not following those guidlines of course your gonna feel like scum, because you know you shouldn´t be doing those things. Oh and by the way, if the case is that you had problems "Forgiving" yourself for things you had done, agian this is your problem! Not the person who gives a talk on that exact subject that you are dealing with.

MMA said...

uummm duh! What did you think the church was teaching? NOT to help those in need or serve other people? I´m sorry, but no matter how many times you say you were "Mormon" I just can´t believe you. Not saying that you didn´t get babtized or anything like that, just that you didn´t open your ears when people were talking. So I will say DUH again. And this whole thing about people making making you feel "unworthy" is 100% YOU making yourself feel unworthy. The church gives you guidlines, and if your not following those guidlines of course your gonna feel like scum, because you know you shouldn´t be doing those things. Oh and by the way, if the case is that you had problems "Forgiving" yourself for things you had done, agian this is your problem! Not the person who gives a talk on that exact subject that you are dealing with.

Anonymous said...

MMA, I am not Mormon and I cetainly don't claim to be but If I was searching for reasons to become Mormon, you are certainly NOT one of them. Your comments are cruel and judgemental. Based on your comments alone, your essence is the furthest thing from Christ's teachings that there is. I don't care what faith you follow. Who are you to say to anyone that they are to blame for their feelings of inadequacy or depression?! It is people like you who drive others away from the Mormon faith. Maybe you should take some lessons on caring and kindness. Duh.............. Stasi

Anonymous said...

You know it´s kind of sad to read your comments MMA...seems like you´re doing excactly what I´m talking about>>being judgemental and arrogant. Reading it only confirms my suspicions/beliefs.
Okay then; tell me about the stuff that your ward does, concerning charity, that involves people outside of it. What does the church really do for everybody else, besides send out missionaries to get more tithe-payers?
Oh, and besides that: I was a damned good mormongirl, I did it all by the book! The problem is, my dear friend, that everybody is lying to themselves, about their feelings, beliefs and happiness.
The dreariest services are held in LDS chapels with uninspired talks, that bore you to tears, with mothers whispering "I know this church is true" into the ears of their 3-year-olds(who couldn´t even have the foggiest..)so that everyone can say how faithful that family must be. Where for Christmas or even Easter NOTHING(!!!) is said about Christs birth and death, but Joseph Smith is talked to death once again...
My secret discovery has been this, by the way: "fast and testimony" sundays are the only time, when all the women get to bawl their hearts out in open, pretending that it´s all about their faith.

geofreak said...

Jeff's comments are good insight and well thought out, as per usual. Bravo, Jeff!

But whoa, nelly! A bit of flinging, no? I agree with Stasi--pull the beam out of our own eyes first, eh? I am LDS and I love it, and I do know that the decision to leave the church, or not to believe, or fling, as it were, are all personal decisions--and not a springboard FOR ANYONE to condemn a thing. Being indignant and lashing out are all human traits that we all have, unfortunately. So let's take a step back, breathe, and either a.)remember in who's name in which we're speaking to our fellow man, regardless; b.) recall what it is we are so bitter about, where we're at, and be less abrasive, if possible, or that c.)no one can be exact on what drives a person, how that person feels, etc., but that person and their Maker, regardless of our own personal interpretations. :)

Anonymous said...

Jeff, as well as the leaders of Christ's church in this time, are 100% correct! I am a man born and raised in the church, musician and artist by nature, so am around "free" thinkers a lot. I became addicted to pornography. I am married with children and convinced I needed more "spice" in my love life.
I pray often and knew it was wrong and that it adversely affected my wife and moreover my thought process. I could not help but view any woman as a sexual object while I was viewing improper material.
I know what it does to a man's mind to see this kind of filth, it was only when I got away from it. Avoided it altogether that I saw it for what it was. FILTH! Women are to be respected, just as we want to be. Who is going to respect a man who cannot control himself? They deserve better. My wife deserves better! So here is my advice to anyone and everyone willing to listen who finds themselves in a similar situation:
1. Do not justify it!
2. Get away from it! (knee deep in muck you can see it for what it truly is)
3. Find a different way to spice up your love life. Dance lessons are good!
4. Pray constantly and fill your head with something of a higher nature.

It is destructive! It gets worse and worse! Soon just nudity isn't enough, you need something different and it keeps spiraling downhill from there!

Hope this helps somebody,

-Anonymous

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I am a Christian woman. I found a substantial amount of pornography hidden in the garage before my husband & I were married. We had already been together for 6 years at that point-what a shock. He always said it disgusted him. We disposed of all of the material (a briefcase full) 5 years ago. I always thought we had a healthy sex life but even though he assures me he's never viewed this type of material since, time has not healed my wounds. I never withheld sex, I am a very attractive woman with a great figure, open to experimentation (within God's limits) and I love my husband dearly. Is it possible to stop looking at this stuff "cold turkey" or am I being blind? I think the biggest problem for me is that he could never answer the "why" question. If you don't know why, how can you stop? I will tell you from personal experience...pornography hurts women. I question whether I am good enough, pretty enough, sexy enough. Are my beasts too small? Every day for 5 years, I wonder why I wasn't enough. This is a painful place to be.

Anonymous said...

Being LDS is a choice some make. The covents made between you and Heavenly Father are not to be taken lightly. I have in the past struggled with pornography and the feelings of guilt this forces to the surface. Is my mormon wife frigid? No quite the opposite, but addition is seldom the outcome of rational thought. For those that are struggling to free yourselves from this bond, I humbly ask you to pray with true intent and repent. For those that believe pornography is nothing but a tool then I hope and pray it doesn't ruin your lives. I am not judging anyone only God sits in the judgement seat, but if I may end this with a warning; search your soul for what is right. If your actions or words don't build your spirit perhaps you should change what you're doing or saying.

Anonymous said...

You all blindly follow a religion / cult (the only difference I can find between the two definitions is the size of the congregation) that was invented by a mentally unstable man. Quakers living on the moon anyone? In your desire to 'belong' to something you give up the option of thinking for yourselves. Porn is not black and white (though it can be :->) and whilst there are harmful forms there are also some that are good entertainment. I don't want to be told what I can look at based on your misguided beliefs..

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the posting Jeff. I often wish we could change the perception of what a 'real man' is in our society. According to our society's definition, a real man has a physique with a large beer gut, cold beer in one hand, remote in the other. He is only capable of watching football, porn, and playing video games. He is often cast as dumb and unaware of anything besides the aforementioned activities. This perception of a real man needs to change. Real men are actively involved with their families, real men real their families and are role models for their children, real men are active in their communities and churches, promoting moral values. And yes, real men change diapers.
Pornography is dangerous, addictive, and destroys families. It leads to unhappiness, infidelity, and deviant sexual behavior. Those who disagree with those statements are simply those that do not hold any kind of strong moral values.

Anonymous said...

I found last Feb. 28th my husband who was 55 at the time looking at mild porn of young girls and young girls and young women in so called swinwere. He even set up a yahoo email account to keep the trash at he emailed the websites to this yahoo email account. This hurt more then I can say. I have always fault in my heart he has run around on me. I knew somehow he was looking at porn be for I found out. It has cause alot of trouble in are marrage I just to turst him at all anymore. We have been married for over 31 years. He says he is not doing this anymore I still fined it hard to belive he is not. It has made me feel I wouldn not want our teenage granddaughters to be left alone with him nor to feel any young girl would be safe around him if left alone with him.

Anonymous said...

I would just like to say that I AM addicted to pornography, insipte of the church's counsel against it -- and there are NO good forms of it, nor is any of it "OK" or "healthy". I am currently seeking help for my problems. The church can't do enough to counsel us against this addictive and destructive thing. And I have had times that I have felt I could never "measure up" to the standards of the church as well, which has tempted me to leave (on occasion). But that is because I do not understand enough the love of Christ for me and his mercy and forgiveness (yes, Mormons DO believe in grace and mercy). It's a shame for anyone to give up on all God wants to give them because of feeling unworthy. We need to confess to God and plead for his help and forgiveness. In spite of my problem with this, I DO believe that if I can overcome it, the Lord WILL forgive me.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Jeff, for posting this. I really appreciate it. I've been strugging with pornography for a while now.. I'm a 25 year old college student and have been married for a year and a half to my beautiful and sweet wife (yes, we were married in the temple) and I'm also a returned missionary. I have so many blessings in my life and I have tried to serve the Lord in all I do my whole life. I stumbled onto pornography on accident on the internet during my teenage years, and have battled it since then. Many times I have felt that I had it conquered only to return to it months or a couple of years later. My wife is aware that I had problems in the past, but I just haven't had the strength in me to tell her that I still struggle with it from time to time. I feel like it would crush her, and the last thing I want is to hurt her. I love her so much, and I truly want to live righteously. I feel terrible after I look at it, and I know that it is not what I should do. The Spirit does not dwell in our home afterwards. It feels different. I beat myself up inside sometimes because I feel like I should be strong enough to conquer it on my own without any help, and I've had many long sessions of prayer with the Lord about my weakness. I wish I had never been exposed to it. It is vile, vicious, and addictive. I can't express the grief it has caused me personally, and I want to be able to defeat it before it becomes a part of who I am, and permanently scars the relationship I have with my wife and with my future kids. Any additional insights on what I can do to conquer this would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for giving me a place to vent.

Anonymous said...

Not that I am any kind of expert on this situation, but I know how it worked for me and my husband. Even though I wasn't sure what was going on I knew something was wrong. Your wife notices when the Spirit leaves you--she loves you. My husband tried for a long time to give it up without me knowing, but he wasn't able to conquer it until he told me. We worked together and I became part of the solution instead of stress to fuel the problem. I am of the opinion that true repentance in this situation involves apologizing to your wife. Include your wife. You need her. You won't get through this without her.

Anonymous said...

Hello, interesting thoughts here. I am a recovering addict to pornography. I have been addicted to it for some where around 14 years. I tried and tried and tried to beat it on my own. I fasted, I prayed, I cried unto the lord. I even asked the lord to wipe me off the face of the planet. Anything would have been better. I made little to know progress on my own. It was not until I went to my bishop and then my family. They knew something was going on. They didn't know exactly what but had ideas. You need your loved ones. They care about you and want to be a part of your life. They want to help but they can't unless you tell them and ask them. I have been doing very well and hope to be temple worthy by march. If you are stuck in the black pit of pornography you must seek help. Do not give up. Do not loose hope. Satan is banking on you loosing hope in yourself and God. He wants you to believe that the pornograph is who your are and you might just as well learn to live with it. This is a lie. You are and always will be a child of God. Your father in heaven will never give up on you. Pray always. Even when you don't feel like it, in fact pray more when you don't feel like it. As for those who are loved one of those that are addicted to this the drug of the 20th century. They of course have to make the choice but they can beat it. If they believe in God then he will make their weaknesses strengths. It hurts, I can tell you that right now. They know that it is wrong, anyone who says it is not, is lieing to themselves because of the guilt they feel. Give them suport, let them know that you care. It may take time, it is an addiction. It is as strong if not stronger then any addiction to any drug that is out there. As for those that have been telling you that How was it, " Put out more" "New stratagies in bed" and it releases a deep need in men or women or they are just not pleased with you as a husband or wife. What a crewl and heartless thing to say. That statment is made to destroy any who believe it. It is most likley not true. In fact the addictees are afraid that is exactly what you will believe and that is why they go to such lengths to hide it. They care so much about you, but they have wandered from the path and are lost in the mists of darkness as it would be. They do not want to hurt you, and satan knows this, he uses it against them as a fear so that they will not seek the help that they so deseratly need to get back to the gospel. The gospel of Christ, the good news. What is the good news. Christs attonement can save you. If you will take that leap of faith. Seek the help, confess the sin, repent, and strive daily to keep the commandments of God. Daily to long, strive hourly, minute by minute. And when you fall, kneel down, and ask again for forgiveness and keep trying. Endure to the end. You can do it, with Gods help and the Attonement you can do it.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Paalease,you Mormans make me sick,first you should deal with the skeletons in your closets.Namely the fact that it was common practice not long ago for morman men to have 5-6-7 or more wives,some as young or younger than15 years old.If that isnt the sickest form of pornography I DONT KNOW WHAT IS!!!!Whats your comment to that????

Anonymous said...

To the "RM" married in the temple...are you kidding me?You're a sicko! You need to tell your wife. She WILL be devastated. And she has a RIGHT to KNOW what a screwball you are now so she can make up her mind wether to continue her marriage to you. You are talking about future children with her? Good Grief! Why? So that when she finally catches you in the act, those poor babies will have to be put through the divorce as well? Allow her the respect to get out now. Give her the truth now so she has the opportunity to go find a REAL MAN who is worthy of her love and affection. You can waste your life away but you have no right to lie to her and waste her life as well. Step up. AND SHAME on YOU!!!! YOU KNOW BETTER.

Anonymous said...

This is also to the RM posted above. Like you, my husband has a problem with pornography... same story as yours. I guarantee your wife already suspects you're still struggling with it, but you need to tell her. You are not protecting her by lying to her. If she finds out some other way (computer's browser history, email, etc... and just because you delete it, doesn't mean she won't find it!), it will absolutely destroy her. If you are honest with her now, and if YOU are the one who tells her, you might have a chance. I'm not judging you, I actually do think you want to protect your wife. I'm just telling you, that my husband didn't tell me, I found out after our internet browser got screwed up because he deleted the wrong things out of the history and in fixing the computer, I found porn, confronted him, and then he confessed. He'd lied to me our entire marriage and would have kept on lying, but he got caught. If you love your wife, tell her now. It won't be the most pleasant conversation you've ever had, but you have to tell her. I recommend after you tell her, both of you go see your Bishop and tell him. A good website to see is LDSAR.org. It's fairly new and there are both porn addicts and their wives blogging there. It's a little cheezy sometimes, and I do think they tend to go overboard with the whole "I'm addicted and can't help myself" thing, but they are good people, with a lot of good insights. It's especially helpful to the wives if they have nobody else to talk to. Anyway, you need to tell her. You can NOT overcome pornography by yourself. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

TO the RM _ My RM husband and I were just married in the temple 18 months ago, and we now have a baby boy so exciting! ANyway my husband had the same problem, not to bad he has probably looked at something 4 times since we have been married and he has told me every time, the first time I was really upset but then I decided to see what he had been looking at, make sure your wife doesn;t do that! Anyway we both went to talk to the bishop and it was so helpful, he didn't take our temple recomends or anything, we just prayed and fasted and didn't take the sacrament for a 2 Sundays, it helped so much. Don't be afraid to tell your wife if she loves you she'll support you. Make sure you tell her before its to late. Now, whenever my husband feels temptation he tells me and we go to the temple or say a prayer I know it's hard to do that because you want to give in but you have to listen to the still small voice that is deep inside you. Remember the covenants you made with the Lord and your wife in the temple! The first year we were married we went to the temple every other week and he never had any slips or bad thaughts, then we had a baby and we couldn't go to the temple for like 2 months and satan started tempting my husband. It's also important to always pray and read scriptures together! I don't want to sound sunday school answers but it really helps. Trust me I am a wife and I love my Husband I adore him and I know no ones perfect, please tell your wife. She loves you. I love my husband now more than ever because he is always so honest with me, I forgive him for mistakes and I know he now avoids the devils most harmful tool, pornography. I think you should tell your wife asap and then set up a meeting with you bishop she'll understand trust me! Best of Luck

The Idahoan said...

Good hell what a conversation. This is good stuff!

I am a recovering mormon/christian. I did not leave because I didn't feel like keeping one of the commandments or anything like that. I just came to the reality check that it was all a sham created by men for whatever their reasons.

The biggest problem with porn is not the porn itself, but with the stigma attached to it. Think about it for a minute. The vast majority of the comments I read here mentioned something about the husband being "caught" looking at porn. Then they felt guilty as hell for it and begged forgiveness.

But what if they were able to be open in their appreciation of the adult industry? What if you knew, before you married someone, whether they enjoyed porn or not in the same way you knew whether they enjoyed star wars or not? That would probably greatly change the likelihood of whether or not you would marry them, wouldn't it.

My point is that all of these men probably grew up suppressing their natural curiosities and natures in order to try to please a church in which you are never doing good enough. The stigma attached to the porn industry drives people into suppression and hiding it and that is what leads to the problems.

If they played porn down at the multi-plexes and just rated them the same way as all other movies then I think we would see a real change in attitude. But of course that will never happen, because then the religious zealots would have to find something else to guilt people with.

As for why I left the church? It was mainly people like MMA in here, passing their judgement on everyone who dared to have a different opinion than them. I don't bash on any church so long as they don't bash on me. If it brings you a sense of purpose in your life and it isn't hurting anyone else I say go for it. I think that we all need to find our own happiness and quit judging others and jamming down their throats what it takes to be "happy". I can honestly say I have grown up from the mormon church and the last time I attended was almost 4 years ago, and I have never felt happier and felt more free than I do now that I am free from closed mindedness.

Oh, I think real men are men who can accept who they are and be honest with themselves and those around them.

The Idahoan said...

Oh, and when I mentioned people like MMA, I have to say that in 29 years in the church I have met a total of 2 people who were really, truly practicing what they preached. I have known numerous bishops, high counselmen, group leaders, you name it who were all full of crap and routinely betrayed the trust of those who confided in them. I pity you if you feel safe confessing anything to your bishop.

Anonymous said...

great post, thank you

Anonymous said...

I want to say thank you for mentioning masturbation along with what the prophets feel about porn and such. Not enough people, even in the church, think that masturbation is a sexual sin as well as any other. Too many young boys are growing up with fathers who don't help them with that addiction either. I suppose it's a basic "don't ask, don't tell" policy. Anyway, very good article, I hope more people read it.

By the way, I think the church's policy towards pornography can be summed up in one line:
Matt. 5:28 "...Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart."

Anonymous said...

sooooo, Idahoan, are YOU addicted to porn???

Idahoan said...

Alright, I will try this again. Apparently my first response didn't pass muster...

I enjoy porn from time to time, but I enjoy it as an addition to my life. My wife and I enjoy it together from time to time. I have never looked upon women as objects. I have never sexually assaulted anyone anywhere. I have never had an inclination to rape anyone or any of the other supposed evils that come from a lifetime of porn enjoyment. What I have had is an increase in pleasure between me and my partner, an increase in knowledge of new things and new ideas to try in the bedroom, and an opening of my mind to possiblilties and other things that the world normally considered taboo. So am I addicted? I guess that depends on your definition of addiction. I am no more addicted to porn than I am addicted to my family, my wife or my life. I love them all and enjoy them all and would find it difficult to get by without any of them.

I suppose I am also addicted to food to eat, air to breathe, water to drink... I happen to find human sexuality exciting and interesting and fun.

Anonymous said...

It is amazing how deep and thoughtful the posts have been here. I figure that porn would not be such a problem if a man was married to a real woman. A woman who understands that a man was designed by God to need sexual release. That a man was designed by God to be visually oriented when it comes sexual desire. That a man faces temptation when he is deprived of sexual release. A real woman is not threatened when their husband shares his struggles. Real men want to be open with their wives but sometimes find that their wives gets uncomfortable and even downright upset when he shares certain topics. Then she wonders why he is not more open. I am tried of women claiming to be the victims of the evil selfish behaviors of men. Maybe, just maybe men are victims also. Victims of selfish women who think that a man must think and feel like they do and will not tolerate anything else. I also hope that those who shared their deep insights here take off their wet shoes when they go in the house. Don't want to get the floors dirty

Anonymous said...

I used to think that the Church's anti-pornography rules were stupid and pointless, too. That's probably why I wound up addicted to it. It's taken four long, rough years for me to finally kick the habit. I really wish I'd had the brains to follow the Lord's advice and never get involved with the stuff. It would have been so much easier.

Anonymous said...

translation: men are visual creatures = men are stupid and weak and rarely think with their brains. a woman can get anything she wants from a man if she just flashes a little cleavage and makes a man feel like he might get some. any woman can walk into any bar, resturant, social gathering, etc... and within seconds will have men stumbling all over themselves to buy her whatever she wants. all she had to do was look their way. you men are so stupid. do you feel sorry for that poor little porn star who might be somebody's daughter or granddaughter? do you ever ask yourself what could possibly have happened to that poor little porn star that made her turn to pornography to make a living? want to know what happened? stupid men. poor little pornstar realized that she could use her assets above her neck (duh! her brain), work her butt off for several years getting her masters degree and then work her butt off for several years more working her way up the company ladder for a decade or more until she is making a 6 figure salary, OR she could use her assets below her neck, work a couple of months and start raking in the 6 figure salary . . . and watch her salary go up from there. who's paying that salary? all of you stupid weak men who can't keep it in your pants. fools. you make it so easy. we don't even lay a finger on you, we just let you look, and you'll do whatever we ask. just once it would be nice to meet a man who wasn't such an idiot. as my hero, Gabrielle from Desperate Houswives said, "a pretty girl is never lonely." men are stupid weak fools.

Anonymous said...

I agree. Men are really stupid and weak. I've been married for five years. I'm very attractive, keep myself in shape, and I love to be sexually adventurous with my husband (not immoral, but adventurous - we'd never bring anyone else into it). I have never said no to anything he has wanted to try, and in return, he's always been open to trying whatever I wanted too. And still the fool can't stay away from pornography. Weak minded fool.

The Idahoan said...

To the raver above...

Wow...such anger...I love it.

I have to wonder though, are you married? Do you have a boyfriend?

Did you and your significant other break up or something due to his liking porn and your not liking porn?

I am just curious as to why you are so quick to judge and lump all men into one category? Because I can tell ya, someone like you could walk into a bar and flash whatever you wanted, and I would laugh at you. Looks are far from everything, and with your attitude I don't think there is anything you could do that would get me to do anything.

Anonymous said...

Right on Idahoan. A real woman would never act that way.

Anonymous said...

It is sad how people in our society have exploited man's sexual nature in order to get gain. I was wondering who commits the greater sin the one being exploited or the one doing the exploitation. Also, why would someone who seems so against porn would be watching a program like Desperate Housewives. That program is a form of porn. I guess its a matter of how explicit the porn is that makes it unbearable. It is also sad that a person married for 5 years would call their spouse a weak minded fool. I was under the impression that a spouse was there to encourage and lift up. Guess I was wrong. Oh the weak minded fool that I am thinking that a marriage was meant to be a place of encouragement and love. I sure glad that my wife of 27 years did not think me as being a weak minded fool as I traveled through the valley of porn addiction.

nathanielmacrae said...

desiringgod.org is a fantastic site for sermons. John Piper, author of Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist, tackles the issue of pornography.

Nathaniel

Anonymous said...

I'm a teenage guy and as such a got into porn. Its addicting, pleasureful, and evil!

Your not happy, i didn't like to have sex with myself but i did. Even when I didn't really want to. It hurt me and i can never get that part of me back.

I am grateful for the experiences i gained from those years. but would not wish them on anyone. For those who are saying the porn is a natural great thing. I think not. It doesn't help anyone, it only enforces the idea that the body runs the mind. not a very healthy or safe policy.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know the LDS church's stand on sex toys? My husband and I are both active members but my husband was addicted to pornography after we got married. Just lately, he has brought a few sex toys home and I feel like I can't use them because I don't want him to go into those stores - I'm afraid they will make him want to watch more porn! I think he should avoid anything on that order, but I don't want to drive him to it. He is mad at me. Any thoughts?

Anonymous said...

Regarding the toy question: Unnatural and wrong, IMO. And perverted. They reduce sexuality to a toy and turn it into perverted acts rather than an expression of love.

just me said...

A lot of people use the word "pornography," but let's see you clearly define it. The old "I can't define it, but I know it when I see it" line is absurd. That makes it different for every person. Some get excited viewing the swimsuit section of a catalog (even modest suits). Is that then "porn" simply because it appeals to someone's prurient interest?

Another question: Is seeing naked people inherently harmful to the person who sees them? If so, what about cultures that don't cover themselves? Are they somehow harmed by seeing their neighbors walk around naked every day? Of course not.

It's the society-/self-imposed guilt that is destructive to people, not the material itself. If you were never taught that nakedness was "dirty" and evil, you'd never feel guilty for seeing it, so it could not affect your family relationships.

What's more, the idea that "porn" is addictive is nonsense. You can become "obsessed" with anything, however. Nearly 100% of people in Western society (males, at least) have been exposed to erotica at some point. But very few develop an obsession with the material to the point that it interferes with their lives. Most are occasional users.

Anonymous said...

Pornography is extremely addictive, but God will make a way for you become completely clean.

I became hooked on pornography and masturbation in my teen years before my baptism. I tried to put it behind me when I was baptised, but I ended up struggling with it for 17 years before I finally found the way out. For 17 years I let my pride keep me back from fully confessing everything to my wife and bishop and from consistently turning to Christ for his strength when mine wasn't enough to fight the temptation.

I wish I had known what I know now when I was 25!

It IS possible to overcome sexual addiction, but it requires complete willingness on our part. Being willing to give up our pride and turn our lives over to the Savior is critical. Being willing to become completely honest is also critical. It took years for me to realize that every time I confessed a few things I always kept something back, or painted a rosy view of things. I had to stop doing that and face the truth that I was seriously addicted to pornography and that only the power of the atonement could free me from bondage.

In my recovery processes I found many useful resources. I highly recommend the book "Clean Hands, Pure Heart" by Philip A. Harrison. If you're hooked on pornography, get it and read it! The author went down the same path, and his insights are very useful. The LDS Addiction Recovery program was also helpful to me, as was "Putting on the Armor of God" by Steven Cramer. My wife has helped me a lot as she has been tackling a different addiction in her life. I also involved others in my recovery. It also helped to read several "clinical" books and online articles on sexual addiction, because it took a while for it to fully sink in that I was truly an addict and that sexual addiction is not essentially different from addictions to alcohol, drugs, overeating, or any other addiction.

Don't feel guilty if you haven't been able to break out of your pornography addiction using your own willpower alone. We were never meant to go it alone. Christ is there for us, ready to do a miracle in our life when we finally turn to him. Start by telling your bishop everything, then listen to his counsel and follow it. You will need to tell your wife of your continued addiction before your recovery is over. Don't fear it. Just pray and ask God when to do it. It may be your first step.

Your wife will need to understand the power of this addiction, and most importantly, that it has absolutely nothing to do with how beautiful she is or how good a lover she is. It is hard for someone to believe the power of the addiction who hasn't experienced it themselves. Addicts often end up wanting to "act out" some of the evil they read with their wives. But this just makes their wives feel that perhaps as "adventurous" as they should be in bed, and if they just did this or that, maybe it would help the husband. It won't. What is needed is a new heart and mind, which are a gift from God which is had through the arduous but rewarding road of repentance.

There IS a way. God will help you find it. Just don't let your pride get in the way!

The idea that pornography is not addictive or is not evil is a powerful lie, but it is a lie.

just me said...

To "anonymous" who said:
"The idea that pornography is not addictive or is not evil is a powerful lie, but it is a lie."

Okay. Now please back up this claim with some facts. For example, if "porn" (you still haven't defined it -- does it include swimsuit ads?) is so addictive, what percentage of the millions of people who are exposed to it become "addicted" (not just occasional users)? Compare this to the percentage of people who become seriously obsessed with -- for example -- food, exercise, their religion, or scrapbooking.

Yeah, people naturally like erotic things. The human sex drive, which is needed to reproduce and continue the species, is extremely strong. Sort of like the desire to eat every day. That doesn't make it an addiction. Neither does your claiming/testifying that it is.

I'm sorry that you had problems accepting and dealing with your natural desires and suffered so much guilt over it. But you can't make widespread assumptions just based on your own experiences.

Andrew said...

"This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the Lust of the flesh."

Galatians 5:16

Brimatt11 said...

I'm 22 and about to leave on a mission... I stuggled with it off and on from about the time I was 8...

For those who say it isn't wrong... When I first saw it I was 7 or 8 and when I saw it I was afraid of it... it caused fear just like horror movies do. I felt sick. Remember, I had never heard of it or seen it... yet I still remember the fear and horror that turned my vision into a black lined tunnel.

For those who say it's not addictive...
When I was into it the heaviest, about a year ago, I would be at work and be ringing up customers and I would get lost in thoughts of women and porn. I would make mistakes because of these thoughts. When I was about to clock out all I could think of getting home to look at more porn... I sometimes stole money from my parents to get more. I felt sick when I couldn't get it and that was all I thought of until I got it. If that's not addiction, what is?

Being free from it has opened my life. I have begun to accomplish the things I always wanted to...

`Being Physically fit
`Being able to feel normal around girls and not think of them as objects.
`Having a mind that is my own and not clouded by poison.


Thank you Jeff for all you do.

PS for all of you trying to overcome it... IT IS POSSIBLE to escape it and IT's WORTH IT. Confess to your bishop and wife! BE RID OF IT!

Anonymous said...

Why are sex toys wrong. From what I have read - countless hours of reading to be able to understand church views on sexuality within marriage - is that the church take care to NOT enter the bedroom. What is between a husband and wife is between and husband and wife as long as each are loving, comfortable and respectful AND the practices are not sinful - like porn.

Why would a toy be a sin? A healthy sex life if important and if a toy makes this possible then how can that be wrong? What if a toy is the only way one partner can recieve pleasure - for whatever reason? Or - give pleasure for that matter? Or, what in the case of differing sex drives? What if one partner has a much higher level of sexual desire - and the other cannot perform. Do you leave that in intense sexual frustration - which can lead to all kinds of problems? Or maybe introduce a toy - which a husband can easily use on a wife to give her intimate satisfaction when he is unable to provide it himself?

This advice was given to me from my bishop and it makes sense.

I just can't see how a toy can be sinful if both partners are truly comfortable with it.

Things like this are intensely personal decisions which is why I believe the church has written many articles about why they will NOT decree every do and don't.

There is a difference between a toy and porn in my mind just for anyone who feels like saying porn is used as a tool within their sex life. A toy is not involving OTHER people - it is an inanimate object. There is no personal story behind the toy like there is behind the people in porn.

As for NEEDING porn to learn to have better sex in marriage - why? There are many ways to learn to have great sex in marriage without porn. My husband and I have extremely great, intensely hot and erotic sex - without having ever used porn as a learning tool. We've used our imaginations - I've read a lot - and we've been together for 12 years. It amazes me how much better sex gets year after year. I keep thinking it can't get any better than it is but it always does! Our only problem is he has a much lower sex drive than I do - MUCH lower - not that I have an over-active sex drive either because I don't. He just has a low one.

I don't believe the church KEEPS women and men from having GREAT sex at all. Maybe there could be better sex education - maybe there should be married sex ed classes with instructors who aren't shy - but I've personally never met anyone who said a married couple shouldn't be having amazing sex.

But, it's the responsibility of the married couple to figure out how (and I don't believe it needs to be through porn). I don't feel the church needs to be blamed for a lack of good sex between LDS couples. Maybe it is due more to being raised by parents who were to afraid to talk openly about sex.

I don't think people need to be having sex before marriage - or watching other people have sex - to be able to have great sex. I think they just need the desire to have a great sex life and then they need to go on the quest to get it.

It's a personal responsibility on BOTH the husband and the wife's part. Both should be doing everything they can to please each other. And they should be excited about doing it.

It kills me when I hear women say they can't stand their husband's bodily fluids - or can't stand the thought of oral sex because of the smell or the taste. I don't get that. I love my husband - nothing about him turns me off. Maybe I'm weird or something. Some times it seems that some women I talk to don't WANT to like sex.

I was there once - with an x-husband. Things were very different - but I have learned so much since then. Good sex is so much about attitude. When I went into sex with the "he wants to be pleased" feeling - I hated it. But I never feel that way with my husband now - all I ever feel is "I cannot wait to please him, what kind of a reaction can I get if I do this - or that - or whatever."

I don't know why I am rambling. I have a tendency to go of on little tangents when it comes to this topic - it frustrates me.

It's not the churches fault if a couple is sexually frustrated. I realize it is difficult to go from being taught sex is wrong all your life to sex is suddenly right - but that's the whole problem - the parenting method. I don't recall ever feeling the CHURCH was telling me sex was evil and wrong as I was growing up - it was my mom. I remember being told to SAVE sex for marriage during my church classes. I didn't feel guilty from church. It was my mom telling me sex was a sin and is bad and not doing a good enough job with context. Not talking openly about it - not educating enough.

I'm not doing that to my kids. I will never tell them sex bad. I tell them sex is wonderful - the most beautiful and bonding experience between a husband and a wife - and when I talk to them about MISUSING sex I tell them how it changes it from something uplifting to something else. Blab blab blab. I'll spare you my kids sex lecture.

I try to tell them WHY too. I never got that from my mom. Just that it was bad and next to murder and if I did it I would go to hell. At least that's the message I got. And she couldn't say the word sex outloud.

I wasn't innocent as a teen. I was a really wayward teen actually. I know the consequences of being promiscious and I wish I had understood the consequences of misusing sex.

Okay - tangent over.

So - men and women of the church - go hither and have great wonderful and fulfilling hot sex - have it often and LOVE it! If you don't know how to make it HOT - read a danged book and then TALK to each other about those little things you WISH he/she would try but you're too shy to tell. Lose the shyness. Lose yourselves to each other. That's what it's about isn't it. Complete vulnerability? It's amazing the things you can come up with together.

I truly believe it was meant to be a learning experience - a pure one. PURE does NOT mean boring and NOT erotic. Erotic does NOT mean sin - it does not have to include things against church standards - like porn.

Be EROTIC for pete's sakes - and LOVE what you are doing to your spouse or it won't matter how good your technique is - they won't feel fulfilled.

nathanielmacrae said...

" True prophets in biblical times were always speaking out against popular but evil trends."

This is a great openning...but it just stopped quite abruptly.

Why did the prophets speak out against popular but evil trends? And what's with the 'true' bit? Was it just a spring board to show that somehow J.S. qualifies as one of the prophets?

I digress.

The prophets of old testament spoke out against things like idolatory and adulterous acts because the two are linked! Adultery is a physical manifestation of God's relationship with Israel! The God in the Bible is a jealous God! He HATES it when His people sell themselves to different idols...in effect, whenever Israel followed Baal and such like, they were comitting adultery!

Hosea is a great book to read on this subject, for which Mr. Piper expounds very well: 'Call me Husband, not Baal'

micahp said...

You should check out cp80.org They are a non profit in Orem that is shooting to get new legislation where adult content would be published on a specific port and all ISPs would have to provide a community friendly port that blocks the adult port. It's a really great idea.

CP80 Website

AJ said...

Jeff, this article is a bunch of rubbish.

Women were objectified, exploited and raped LONG before pornography was ever made available.

These problems would exist today with or without porn.

Sex is not a sin, masturbation is not evil, and porn doesn't carry with it all the damaging effects you and all your false prophets claim that it does.

I feel sorry for the youth of the mormon cult who are taught to hate and fear their bodies and fall into such despair and guilt when they start exploring their own sexuality.

Get off your sad little soapbox Jeff and try to let people live their own lives the way they want instead of peddling this useless religious nonsense.

Anonymous said...

Dear AJ,

If you don't like the topic of the blog - you don't need to visit or leave a message.

I am a Christian (non-mormon) that tends to agree with many of the comments above that relate to the negative effects that pornography has on society in general.

It is because much of it is conducted behind closed doors and in relative privacy that it is only from personal testimonies like you can read above that you can correlate some of the hidden dangers.

My own especial concern is for those who have loving relationships and use the porn as a sexual enhancer, claiming - and I quote from idahoan : "What I have had is an increase in pleasure between me and my partner, an increase in knowledge of new things and new ideas to try in the bedroom, and an opening of my mind to possiblilties and other things that the world normally considered taboo. "

Doesn't this sound awfully like the original lie and temptation to Eve in the Garden of Eden Gen3:4,5 -

" 4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. "

satan is the prince of this earth and his time of pretence is coming to a close. The supernatural battle has been fought and he lost at Calvary, where Jesus (the Son of God) was crucified for the sins of the world - porn included - and ultimately overcame all charges that were thrown at Him.

As human beings, do we really need our eyes or minds to be opened to such matters that evil would offer to us? Porn is no more than the sick, twisted entertainment that satan uses as his trick to steal one's precious time with God (whether man or woman). It is an extreme measure on his part and one that sickens the 'normal' upstanding man in the street (one doesn't need religion - you can conduct any street survey for opinion). BUT get that same 'normal' man behind the privacy of a closed door and how many would fall to this when tempted ? Then consider all the guilt that has been manifest in these few posts as a result of viewing this material.

The power of the Holy Spirit is the only ammunition available against sin through the grace of Jesus Christ. Christ established His Divine love to unify man with woman through sanctity of marriage (AJ - you are correct sex is not a sin - if within a loving marriage). No man (or woman) is supposed to come between this bond. If viewing porn - doesn't this form a temporary fantasy separation ?

Don't delude yourselves that there are degrees of acceptance. There should be zero tolerance. This will (given time) only impact positively on society as we know it.

Most of you probably are not aware that there is an undercurrent of many global powers to rob society of all that is decent. This will bring a change that will unify state and the organised church to bring harmony out of chaos.

It is using the principal of thesis and anti-thesis in order to bring about synthesis. Watch closely in your news headlines - you will start to see it happening as our society becomes more depraved.

For those of you in support of porn - what next - availability on mainstream TV - live shows in public areas ? When and how do our eyes and minds stop opening for this depravity?

Carry on the good work Jeff (in truth), it seems that some people have much to learn about themselves and how they need to think about a reverant relationship with God. Let us pray that the Holy Spirit will speak to them at the appropriate time to REALLY open their eyes to the true nature of sin and how to overcome it.

Anonymous ^

AJ said...

Anonymous,

So as a Non Mormon Christian, what are YOU doing on Jeff's site? Are you here to offer your opinions on theological ideas and doctrines that differ from his? From what I've seen and read, most Christians don't agree with many of the teachings found within the LDS church.

I'm simply here to do the same.

As an ex-Mormon, part of my recovery process is to read and explore the many various viewpoints of Mormonism. I tend to visit the blogs of former Mormons more often, but I occasionally like to see what the other side is up to as well. Jeff is quite famous (or "infamous") when it comes to the topic of Mormonism.

I merely disagree with his (and apparantly your) standpoint on the so-called dangers of pornography. One of the LDS "prophets" - I think it may have been Spencer W. Kimball - said that pornography leads to the awful sin of homosexuality. That is simply not true. Nor can it be proven that viewing porn is a gateway to any number of awful crimes.

For the record, I don't believe in the bible, so quoting scripture doesn't mean much to me. IMO, all of you religious zealots - Mormon, Christian, Muslim, whatever - are delusional.

This is what makes you and your entire belief system dangerous.

Anonymous said...

Dear AJ,

It ultimately comes down to whether or not you believe in God, accept Jesus Christ as your redeeming Saviour with the blood that he shed for each one of us.

As a result of this the Holy Spirit will work on the love that one has and demonstrate, so that one grows day by day in Divine Love.

The Bible isn't necessary in this process, it just becomes the natural way to get to know God better through His Word.

Through accepting it and opting out of practices that are not in harmomy with God's will for us to have fullness of life living in His character, doesn't make us delusional. It simply shows how far away you prefer to be ! Good luck in your endeavours. How can I be delusional when I possess all the evidence that I need of God's direct answers to prayer?

Whether as an ex-mormon (that is obviously very much discouraged), as a Christian or even as an Atheist, we all have the choice whether to believe in the above or not. Quoting mormon prophets or BOM doesn't mean that much to me either and if the statement is true as you claim, then you do have a point - BUT not one that can justify going 'off on one' in anger at the memory of your past. (By the way - most people alive know the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden - it's not a tricky one).

I would like to know what ticked you off the most - the fact that I
a. identify myself as a non-morman Christian ?
b. agree with the majority of the standpoints that Jeff makes reference porn ?
c. maybe touch on a particular point that you know in your brain to be true?

I enjoy looking at Christian faith from different angles. I don't accept many of the mormon doctrines and will always try to use Biblical Truth when offering an opinion in a blog such as this - as it is difficult to bypass God's Will for each and every one of us!

Please DO NOT incorrectly label me a 'religious zealot'. I am a regular guy, with a normal lifestyle that is trying to protect all that is decent in the world for the future of my children - I oppress nor condemn anyone! I would prefer that my children never come into contact with influences such as yours at any time in their lifespan - such is the responsibility that I am happy to accept as a parent. Seeing that I know that they can not be wrapped in cotton wool, they too need to be aware of the dangers in the world and how best to combat them.

Thank you for stimulating me to increase my own endeavours with them.

Anonymous ^

Anonymous said...

To all of you believers that pornography in any form is A-OK:

At what point do you introduce your children to it? 8,10,12? Do you pull it up on your computer and watch it together? Do you sit down together and watch it on the TV as a family? How do you teach them to masterbate? Are you so open to these ideas that you demonstrate? I would guess not!!! If it is so right, why is it done in the privacy or your bedroom, or when no one is home? If you are so open to the idea, why aren't you so open to sharing it with your children? Shouldn't they be aware of the same pleasures you enjoy and again, at what age does that come into play -at 8, at 10, at 12, when? These "pleasures" shouldn't be kept as a secret should they?

You might be saying at this point -that you don't let your children in your bedroom during those intimate times between a husband and wife. THERE IS A BIG DIFFERENCE. Those intmate times between a husband and wife are sacred - NOT - secret!

It doesn't matter what your religious beliefs are - where is your common sense?

Anonymous said...

It's pretty much an accident that I ended up at this website. I was looking for information about Kolob and linked to this place when I saw the title of this particular thread.

I never even considered pornography in a Mormon context because, Mormon or no....I know it is wrong and devestates men and women and children in particular.

In fairness, I will disclose that I was born into the church, baptised at 8 and fell away from the church altogether at 16 along with the rest of my family.

When I was 34, I encountered two young men during their mission who began regular talks with me in an attempt to bring me back to the church. I listened intently and studied the Book of Mormon with an open heart and mind. I respected those young men for trying their best but, ultimately, I was convinced that I did not belong there and that the church had done more harm than good to my family and I finally had a clear understanding of why my family realy left.

There are many aspects of the church that I STILL admire greatly but, I have to say that, as one other poster noted, the sinful arrogance of devout Mormons (as exhibited here and in my Phoenix/Mesa community) and their outright rejection of non-Mormons as unnecessary to them...even as citizens in their communities leaves me sad, depressed and at times very angry.

I see a lot of that on this thread.

How sad. How counterproductive.

Well, I didn't find the answers I was looking for anywhere on this site, but....I will keep looking.

P.S. To those who are rationalizing and justifying their consumption of pornography...I don't for a second believe that you don't KNOW how wrong and destructive it really is.

You're working too hard to convince yourself otherwise and me thinks thou dost protest too much!

Mike said...

"me thinks thou doest protest too much."

That was awesome. :) Made me laugh and very true.

I'm in the Mesa/Phoenix area as well and am an active member of the church. I have to agree with you in general about the introverted nature of a lot of members.

I think it stems from the feeling that you need to be careful about the friends you have. Many LDS think that means only having LDS friends because they know they share the same standards. I think it's more of a habit that many members have gotten into and need to get out of. Many leaders have talked about it and how we need to do better at being more open to our neighbors and such. Elder M. Russell Ballard gave a great talk about this just a short while ago called "Creating a gospel-sharing home"

Hopefully we (LDS) get better at it and do the things our leaders are teaching us to do. My wife and I have been more aware of this as a result of M. Russell Ballard's talk and have become good friends with one of our neighbors that maybe we wouldn't have been otherwise.

People can always change.

Key is to focus on what we can change about ourselves rather than focusing on what we would like to change in others.

Anonymous said...

I have found all these posts in response to Jeff's article intriguing. There are a few things I'd like to mention.

I am a happy active Latter Day Saint woman. I have been in the Church all of my life...a couple of minor sidesteps, but basically, I've been active all of my life. One of the posts I read mentioned that we Mormons all follow in "blind faith". I about died laughing!! If only that were true, how much easier my own journey would be! I question so much!! For me, peace comes through prayer...gong right to the source when I have questions. For me, it works.

The other thing I can't help but notice is that those who have left the Church and many other Christians seem to see so much judgemental attitude in the Church, but state that they are non judgemental of other religions, etc. I don't understand. If one who maintains that he/she is non-judgemental states that someone else is judgemental...how is that NOT a judgemental statement? I'm serious...I don't get it. Does the statement I'm not judgemental really mean that "I'm not judgemental of any other religions except those stupid Mormons?" I have a less active sister and that is the one thing I just don't get about her attitude. I know her heart. I understand and accept her reasons for leaving the Church. I love her with all of my heart. Honestly, she seems happier outside the Church. It works for her. I like being in the Church. It works for me. I don't overtly try to bring her back (I think we all tend to want to share with our loved ones something that makes us happy), but why does she try to "unconvert" me?

It is so true that there are bigots, liars and hypocrits in the Church. I'm sure of it. I'm sure of it because those types of people hang out in all walks of life and in all communities. I just choose to not see them. I'm not going to Church for them. I'm going for me. We can find the kind of people we want to find, no matter what club, community, religion or any other kind of group we associate with. People are just that, people with weaknesses and flaws. Why people, both within the Church and without, hold Mormons up to a perfection standard that no one could attain in this life is beyond me. It's absurd.

About pornography...one of the worst things it can do in a marraige is encourage deception. Any man or woman having issues with pornography is much better off being honest with his or her spouse. My sweet husband has had a problem and believe me, it has never had anything to do with our sex life! I am a happy healthy sexual being! I love the pleasure my body can give me and am blessed with a kind and sensitive lover in my husband, when he is not steeped in porn. He has been open and honest with me for the most part and I have worked with him, shoing my anger and hurt but not throwing accusations and blame. It's better all of the time and, in fact, it has been several years since it has affected our marraige. It can be an addiction, people, just like anything else. I am completely and utterly against it in any amount or in any form, but I supppose, done in moderation, it isn't as harmful as a couple of cigarettes are when one is in a social setting. I promise those of you who struggle, your spouses know something isn't right. They may not know what it is. If you are honest, you will have to deal with the fallout, but, when it is said and done, a spouse can be strong ally in your fight with your addiction. For those spouses who live a porn addict, try www.ldsr.org. It is specifically for those struggling with sexual addictions and their loved ones.


Thnaks for letting me have my say.

Indigo

Fly_on_the_wall said...

I have just spent several hours reading all the comments posted. I noticed that many of the "anti-porn" comments were using the same phrases to state their position. The thought came to me that this blog might be a "Silence Dogood" situation. There is little to be gained from this blog. Except maybe a good example of how people try to manipulate facts.

IndigoDawn said...

"Silence DoGood"? You've got to be kidding! LOL!!! That is priceless!! Thanks for the laugh! The whole idea is hilarious!

Indigo

Anonymous said...

Now if you can just get jw marriott to stop peddling porn. Of course you can argue that he is in a business that to be competitive he has to sell porn. Or you could say that as a publicly held company, he has to have that income to please and apease the share holders. But I would ask of him, Why is he in a business that he has to do these things? Find some other business where he does not rely on pornography.
Such a high profile mormon selling porn can't be good for that wholesome image the mormon church wants to portray. :0

Anonymous said...

I think that many times members of the church of which I am one, we begin to place a "level of evil" on specific sins. We know that all sin separates us from the presence of God. (I understand that certain sin is more serious, I am trying to make a point about Love) The magnificent beauty of the the Saviors atonement is that it is complete and perfect and can heal all wounds, sins and transgressions.

Pornography is very addictive and difficult to overcome. My eyes were opened to the importance of loving all people (no matter what they temptations maybe) when I met a recovering Meth addict. He taught me in a much deeper sense how the process of repentance works in everyones life not just Mormons. I saw him through relapse and the pain it caused his family. How much love his wife showed to him by being so forgiving and supportive.

I believe that as children of God we need to learn to love and support people through their trials. The Saviors Parable of the Good Samaritan can teach us so much.

By the way I met Jeff one time while serving a mission in Wisconsin, I am grateful to read and hear of things that are going on there, his incites have been a blessing in my life. Thanks Jeff.

Merry Christmas to all

Anonymous said...

After reading "Dr. Ruth Westheimer and the Decline of American Society" I could do nothing but clap.

Anonymous said...

this isn't a member-non member issue. If you are in touch with the spirit then you know pornography is wrong, period. People can try to justify it any way they want, but a righteous people know that pornography is wrong. Obviously some of you don't want it to be wrong, but someday you will answer for it unless you repent, get help, and genuinely strive to live clean. Also, I am very pleased at all of the new discoveries that discount specific attacks concerning the Book of Mormon.

Anonymous said...

Regardless of whether you are religious or not, please contemplate the necessity that porn creates for a class of humans - mostly women and children - to be featured in porn.

Contributing to the demand for a product that dehumanizes and even abuses *people* is shameless. It should not just be about poor little pornsick John Q. Public and his guilt about what it is doing to him psychologically. The worlds tiniest violin is playing his theme song. It is not even entirely about his (or her, actually - women can also be porn users) partner/spouse and children and the damage to his relationships, which is substantial and trust-destroying.

To anyone who argues that Suzie Q. Pornstar is laughing all the way to the bank, please realize as many feminists have who completely inaccurate a reflection of the reality of the sex industry and the plight of trafficked peoples she is . One celebrity porn spokesperson does not a benign sex industry make.

To reduce men to animals who "can't help themselves" is insulting to men as human beings as well. They can resist the urge to view material that degrades other human beings. They ought to stop using this as an excuse for their actions and others ought to discontinue promoting this stereotype, which like many stereotypes of men and women propagates as a self-fulfilling prophecy.

One last comment. When porn is produced, a real human being is demoted to meat, fodder for the production of images that depict by and large humiliating forced domination of (mostly) women through sex, and of children when the scope of the issue includes the illegal child porn which is no small subindustry. My point is, when porn is made, someone gets degraded, hurt. And an image of that scene is duplicated hundreds of thousands of times, through every print copy, through every internet download, through every email on porn mailing lists.

Quitting porn or deciding it has no place in your life in the first place is a bigger decision than affects simply your own life and the immediate people in your life. It is a political act that says, "NO. I find it unacceptable that people are used in these ways and that their dehumanization has such a huge market. Short of actively working against the power structures that lead to the eroticization of power differentials (man/woman, adult/child, master/slave), the very least I can do is not give my money directly to the pornographers or give the porn websites one more hit through my browsing them." As a human being who respects and values the humanity of your fellows, I expect ask you to not create a disconnect between your actions in private and the outside world from which you sequester the material in question.

Anonymous said...

Sexual addiction is just a real as drug addiction, alcoholism, codependency and any other form of addiction. For those who say that it is not a possible addiction because it deals with a natural instinct, they are denying themselves a view of reality. Think of those people who are addicted to food. You can see their problem on the surface and everyone knows it. It is natural to want to eat. Our bodies crave it, but you can get to a point where it becomes a compulsion and you just can't stop no matter how hard you try.

Sexual addiction or pornography addiction is an issue that our society does not want validate because it deals with secrecy, pleasure, and money. Sex is being sold or used to sell things everywhere.. all over the TV, billboards, magazines and movies. We are being saturated with it, causing in some people, an unnatural appetite, leading to compulsion. The only way to avoid getting into a possible addiction is to see it for what it is and staying away at all costs!

If you are in the midst of any addiction, you will only succeed to overcome it by giving up your will to God. I suggest attending Sexaholics Anonymous or any addiction recovery group. The steps work for any kind of addiction. All persons truly addicted get to a point when their lives are unmanageable. It's not just "guilt" that is causing this "unmanagable" life, it is the effects of the addiction itself causing the person grief from feeling normal. In my opinion, some outward "signs" that you have a sexual addiction are: depression, lack of sexual desire or true fulfillment with spouse or partner, lack of solid, emotional relationships, trust issues, resentments, lowered standards, deception, lack of self-esteem, distractability, lack of concentration and productivity, and overall general unhappiness. Not to mention spending more and more time and money on it to support the habit. If you find yourself in this situation, GET HELP!!! Good luck and God bless!

John said...

I think that many people look something at the same time and have different viewpoints of it. Let's try a historical insight, Will Durant said that most of the world's civilizations did not die from conquest,but from moral decay either ethically or sexually. Rome was a great example when its people tolerated bestiality,homosexuality, and other forms of sexual deviancy. Our country for it's freedom and respect of the individual is losing it's restraint, self-control, and discipline-we have too much freedom. Our Founding fathers believed that education and religion would be stabilizing influences on the masses passions and lusts, but this has been eliminated through humanism. They believed in liberty which means my freedom stops where yours begin and is limited by other people's dignity and worth. So pornography is only a symptom of too much freedom and I think that any type of addiction is a symptom of too much freedom. Porn addicts cannot respect the rights and boundaries of other people to not be treated as objects of desire. We must treat others as ends in themselves and not means to pleasure etc. Even viewing pictures of the sex act is using others as objects to gain our fulfilment.
I am a recovering porn addict too and I had to think about it from a human rights issue. Are we as a porn addict respecting the rights of others? No. We are not respecting ourselves. As a Christian, we could be doing other things like serving others and having God-like love to others as Jesus loved others. If we love others, how can we have time to be porn addicts.
We also have free agency meaning that we should not be controlled by others or the outside world. We decide what we think about, we decide what we feel, and we decide what we focus on. Pornography controls us and we are not free spiritually. All religions teaches that.
I believe pornography is a symptom of a spiritual issue or personal worth issue. It requires repentance, giving up the desire to God,and depending on His grace to solve your problem. I got caught up in it because I felt that I was defective, but now I know that God loves me for me and I have intrinsic self-worth as His child. Read books by Steven Cramer. God bless all of you non-mormon and mormon alike, because my experience with porn has been negative regardless of the prophet's counsels-anger, frustration with self, low self worth, messy clothes, interference with constructive activities, and forgetfulness.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Jeff and everyone who has made good comments. Pornography is surely a huge drain on our society and is only the beginning of much worse problems. Follow the prophets' counsel - avoid it like the plague! I have been burned by it in the past and I know of the misery it delivers. The short-lived pleasure is the farthest thing from true happiness.

mcdizzle said...

Wow, these comments have been going on for 4 years. Popular subject.

Anonymous said...

Wow this post has been kind of amazing to find. I wish others didn't struggle like I do, but how momentarily resting of my burdens to find I am not alone. My husbands repeated use of pornography has ravaged our marriage. I have held on for so long, trying so hard to overcome difficulties, I've been willing to what ever necessary, I 've offered to support him in what ever way necessary to overcome this. He has only decided to deny the truth, and deny any truth that was previously established, despite all the evidence. He has instead acted out in anger towards me and campaigned to blame me for all his problems and all our marital problems. Pornography has been the "plaque" that has changed the very person he used to be, and it's after effects have done the same to me. It has led to so much more destruction, unhappiness and him acting out in ways that I could have ever imagined before. Everything safe and wonderful in our marriage has turned to cold and painful. I am no longer a human to him, I am an object to be discarded.
I am now trying to rebuild my confidence, myself and my ability to get myself in a safer place. Which sadly means doing the last thing I ever would have imagined. Even considereing divorce in itself is a painful option. I am so sad.

Anonymous said...

I’m a member of the LDS church and while I do agree that pornography is wrong, I really dislike the stigma the church associates with pornography. It’s not the church itself that has this stigma, but some of the members and leaders. I think some members blow it more out of proportion than is necessary and a lot of hurt and pain that is caused from pornography is from the stigma itself, and NOT from the actual deed. I’m not saying we should embrace pornography or teach it is OK, but let’s just be a little careful with our choice of words and feelings towards those that suffer with this problem, because I am one of them and sometimes I have felt like the church is more of a roadblock in helping me overcome my problem than an aid. Let’s not associate pornography with sexual crimes- just because pornography accompanies sexual crimes, does not mean it will make someone commit a sexual crime, so I don’t even see the reason of bringing this up. Pornography itself often doesn’t wreck marriages; it’s how the husband and wife react when dealing with the problem. For crying out loud, there are woman posters on here that said they would leave their husbands if they found out he had a problem with pornography. If that is your solution to marriage problems, good luck finding a husband for eternity because the majority of men probably have or will have an issue with pornography. Also, you will have a gamut of other problems face you in marriage, so don’t think a marriage is going to be all peachy and just pure bliss. I would agree though that engaging in pornography is counterproductive to the spirit as I have felt this in my own life. Let’s just be careful in how we approach this problem and put the radical views aside.

Anonymous said...

i have not read all the comments on here, just a few, but i was wondering if i could share my story. At the height of my marital problems, I was a mother of 3 and had been married for 10 yrs. I had caught my husband looking at porn a couple of times. He assured me that "it was the 1st time or whatever". I was angry at 1st, but I got over it. Over the years however, our love life started to suck. I was constantly pursuing, he was always too tired. I started to internalize the lack of affection and sex as something wrong with me. I tried everything. Worked out, had a great body, bought sexy outfits for the bedroom, other things I could think of. Nothing changed. I had a surgery (medical not cosmetic) got addicted to pain meds. The pain meds helped me cope with my very low self image. Addiction got so bad I checked myself into rehab. There I met a guy who gave me all the attention I had desired for all 10 years combined in 2 weeks time. I left with him. Had an affair. My husband came to me begging me to come home. He finally admitted he had been addicted to porn since before our marriage. I came home. Both addictions were devastating. But which problem came 1st?? It doesn't matter. What matters is that we all make choices that can little by little turn us into someone we don't like and someone others judge and despise. Love yourself by respecting your spirit and your spouse. Nothing has been harder than putting the pieces of my life back together. As much as some would like to defend these behaviors, they can have horrific consequences. I beg you to not play with fire. Some don't get burnt, but others... well, why take the risk? Be honest with yourself and your spouse. Everybody lies, but what is dangerous is when you lie to yourself. My husband and I struggle on a daily basis to make our marriage work because we love each other. It didn't have to be this way, but we kept secrets from each other and it is no ones fault but our own. My only salvation was knowing that Jesus Christ would listen to my cries and send other people who would not judge, but would share their stories of hope with me. I just hope someone gains a little hope

Kurt Manwaring said...

Jeff,

Do you have a direct link to the Meese Commission Report?

Anonymous said...

My husband has been "sober" since February of 2008! This has been a struggle for both of us but because I finally clued in to his addiction (8 years into the marriage), we were able to begin working on this together. I highly recommend SA or the LDS SA meetings. There are now some meetings specifically for couples. This is for those who WANT to leave the addiction and recover completely and it's not for the faint-hearted. I believe, if your wife or husband is truly Christ-like and loving, that they will stand up with you to combat this addiction. Please tell them! Humility is the greatest way you will overcome this. You will have to eventually humbly ask God to take away your shortcomings. Counseling is also a good idea so that you have an outlet for your feelings.

Being LDS, my interpretation of this experience is that if you rely on God to give you help, understanding and direction, he will be there for you. I relied on him many times to give me strength, compassion, self-esteem and love for myself and my husband. "Lust" is not "Love"!!!

Playing with pornography of any form is like playing with fire. You can always tell yourself that it's just one smoke, one drink, one peek... but addictions, no matter what they are, lead you down the path of no longer having a "choice" to turn away from them. You no longer have agency in that particular situation.

Knowing how easy it is to slip back into addiction, my loving husband is avoiding situations, etc. that could induce a relapse. He has been honest and open about his experiences day to day and we have grown closer and closer as time continues. He is now telling me that he is seeing the "otherside" of the addiction. He sees how it turns women into objects. He sees how it had degraded his sensitivity to our relationship together. He sees that our sexual relations now are much more intense and pleasurable that ever before and that the pleasure from porn was counterfeit to the marriage communion.

There is hope! God can help you if you recognize that you are no longer strong enough to do it on your own. In fact, I recommend that you surrender no matter how far you are in any habit or addiction you may have. God can help remove our character weaknesses. That is the wonderful blessing of the atonement of Jesus Christ! God be praised!!

Spencer said...

Jeff,

I appreciate the sentiment, but I really think you're out of line targeting Planned Parenthood. Most people forget that PP provides thousands of medical services to women, only one of which is abortion, which, by the way, can still be performed by a gynecologist outside of PP. If you disagree with abortion (and even the LDS church allows it in cases of incest or rape) then go after the laws, not PP. There are a lot of women out there receiving free birth control, UTI and STD treatment who would suffer from the closing of PP.

Anonymous said...

I'm LDS, a woman, and in my 30's. I'm also happily married with children, love intimacy with my husband, and feel very confident in myself (both body and spirit).

Now, after that briefing:

I'm intrigued that the word "addiction" is used so much when referencing pornography. Christ clearly states in the New Testament that looking up on a woman to lust after her (ie pornography) is a form of adultery. Soooo... If a man is visiting prostitutes is that an addiction? If a man or woman has physical intimate relations with another person (ie an "affair") is that considered an addiction?

The problem is that we as LDS pawn off the very serious adulterous nature of pornography by calling it an "addiction" - as if a man has no control over his actions. THAT is the reason why pornography is out of control among men in our church in particular - we pat them on the back and say, "Poor you! Ensnared by that evil addiction!" This immediately relieves the purpetrator of this type of adultery of any sort of personal ownership of his sin.

The fact is that every single man or woman who views pornography CHOOSES to do so - every single time they do so. This is not something out of their control. This is a weakness, most definitely, but it is a weakness that is ENTIRELY within the power of the individual to STOP. This is not appropriately called an addiction as much as it is a weakness of character - a lack of integrity. And, to call it an addiction is to belittle the people who REALLY have addictions - as in their body chemistry is literally changed as they go through a highly specific and well-documented PHYSICAL cycle in response to their chemical dependancy.

Perhaps repeated viewing of pornography will be further removed from the reality that it is a choice in the future by well-meaning members who decide it is just a mental illness. "Oh! Pornography viewing is just like OCD! You can't control it!" I can see it degrading to that point as church members try to take away the choice aspect of pornographic adultery viewing.

The bottom line is that a person who views pornography is making poor choices. And, that person has the power to stop making those choices at any time he wants. And, a man who deliberately decides NOT to stop viewing pornography is not worthy of having the priesthood. And, a man who repeatedly chooses to commit this form of adultery needs to have his actions labeled as such: Adultery.

The church as a whole is buying into this namby-pamby ACCEPTANCE of pornography by mislabeling this form of adultery as an "addiction".

It is not an addiction. It is a form of adultery plain and simple. And, any woman who stays with a man who repeatedly cheats on her has good reason to doubt him and his attraction to her. A man who is lusting after other women does not find his own wife attractive nor does he see her as an equal partner in any way. She is just another object to him - a lesser object to him, even, than the women he truly desires and finds in his pornographic adulterous sessions.

I'm amazed at the way so many members are falling into this trap!

Anonymous said...

Im LDS and way out here in PNG...But want to say thanks for the posts...I agree with ananymnous saying that "it isn't an addiction, it is plain adultery..." Keep away from it...I love the Gospel, and it has blessed my life with my family...Regardless of what people may say, I know it is true in every way...

Anonymous said...

I have to disagree with Anon's post at 8:13pm on 12/22/08. She seems to think that by calling something an "addiction" we are somehow excusing the action. I disagree with that assumption heavily.

It is true that pretty much everyone that views pornography CHOOSES to do it in the first place (just like smokers and drinkers). But the reason they go back for more is because they are addicted. Can they break the cycle of addiction? Of course. Does the fact that they're addicted make their behavior any more acceptable? Of course not, but it does allow us to have compassion on those that have the problem and therefore help them overcome it.

Also Anon - you seem to think that there is no chemical dependence in pornography addiction. There is. The body releases a chemical called "dopamine" when pornography is viewed, and the body longs to feel the sensation that this chemical provides. Even one of the Apostles has reiterated that overcoming a porn addiction can be more difficult than overcoming cocaine.

And you seem to think that the Church is accepting of pornography? Have you heard one of Pres. Hinckley's talks from the Preisthood session, describing how it's poison, filth, etc? The Church is actually one of the few (VERY few, actually) to be so open about condemning the evil of pornography.

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Anonymous said...

Dopamine is released when we have normal sexual relations as well. Are we "addicted" to righteous intimacy?

Powerful hormones are released when a mother nurses her baby - is it correct to call that an "addiction", too?

The overuse of the word "addiction" is a serious problem in the church right now. And, it is nothing more than a way for those mired in sin to assuage their guilt as well as a way for the victims (ie the wives of such adulterers) to try to come to terms with their anger and pain - but without facing the true reality.

Additionally, the use of the term "addiction" puts the onus of responsibility seemingly on women. Evil women "drive" men to look at them! It ignores the reality of abuse and coercion that is the reality of many women in the porn industry.

There are two victims of an adulterous man who chooses to view pornography: His wife AND the women he lusts after. Many times these women are literally slaves - bought and paid for with the threat of death hanging over their heads. Many times these women are deliberately given true addictions (chemical dependency) in an effort to keep them subdued and enslaved. Many of these women have been repeatedly raped from their childhoods and are degraded to a point where they see their lives as worthless.

Those are the true victims of this type of adultery.

Slapping the word "addiction" on a man who chooses to make these women his victims is ignoring reality and, in fact, removes the adulterer from the TRUE costs of his actions.

Perhaps all men who choose to view pornography should be shown documentaries of what the women in the sex industry really face. Perhaps if they saw the abuse, the rape, the drug use (a true addiction), etc. they would realize just how reprehensible their SIN truly is.

I do not believe that the General Authorities deliberately mean to give justification to men who commit this form of adultery. However, it is clear that this is becoming commonplace among the MEMBERSHIP of the church. I would be interested in learning what the "success" rate is for men who attend "Addiction Recovery" seminars. My guess is that they mostly "relapse" because they are taught that they cannot control their own behavior.

And, in the end, that is the danger of terming this form of adultery an "addiction": It gives the false idea that a man cannot control his actions. And, that is a slippery slope, indeed.

Nathan S. said...

Anon, you say "the term 'addiction' puts the onus of responsibility seemingly on women"? Until I read that line I could at least understand your argument rather than shake my head in utter dis-belief!

Until that line I could see that you actually made some really good points although I believe the same could be true of all sins called addictions and perhaps of all segments of society - most segments of society even more so than of mormons (about an addiction being an "excuse").

But your point about putting the onus on women is brings to mind the very opposite of your suggestion. If it's not addictive, that would invite excuse makers to "put the onus of responsibility seemingly on women" because after all, if a man isn't addicted and still constantly chooses porn over his wife, that is when we wonder what it is about the relationship that is so uninviting and could part of the reponsibility belong to the wife.

The addiction model clears the wife entirely - but does not clear the one addicted.

How true that addiction is not an excuse for the one who gives in. How false that it is!

Anonymous said...

As to terming this form of adultery an "addiction" putting the onus of the sin on women:

I have met - in real life and in the internet "world" (if you will) an inordinate number of women whose husbands commit this sin. And, it is so very common for these women to actually blame other women for their spouse's adultery! It is easier for a wife to blame another person entirely - a stranger - for 'luring' her spouse into a life of sin - than it is for her to admit that her spouse is entirely to blame. And, it allows the sinning man an "out": He can blame his sin on outside sources (such as the women he is viewing or any attractive woman he might meet in public - regardless of dress).

I am seeing, increasingly, that this habit of calling a form of adultery an "addiction" is destroying LDS women as they rip each other - and other women - apart for "leading their husbands away". This is a serious problem.

Using the misnomer of "addiction" on this sin of adultery is very much pinning the "blame" on sources other than the sinner. It does so for both the husband AND his primary victim - his wife. It also directs a woman's understandable anger away from the correct source - her spouse - and towards any woman she might perceive as a threat.

Overall, this is creating a very bad psychological environment for women in the church as they begin to see any attractive woman as intentionally attempting to lead their husband astray. I have seen this thought process verbalized and laid out in written form over and over again and it is alarming.

No, this is not properly termed an addiction. It IS a sin. In particular, it is a sin of adultery (as defined by Christ). To call it anything else is to deny the sinner an adequate chance at repentence and his victims an accurate source of their pain.

Anonymous said...

What about the early LDS and plural wives? Was each wife objectified simply because the husband was with another of his wives? well, probably.

But anyway to summarily assert that a wife is considered a sexual object based on the husband viewing porn, is also to say that the wife doesn't have much to offer the husband except sexual release. I can see how a woman would be offended by a man viewing porn if she feels she doesn't have much else besides sex to offer, or if she normally uses sex as leverage in the marriage to retain some control.

I don't blame the women for this; it's a natural result of misogynistic mormon doctrine. The men have so much control otherwise that the sexual realm is the one last place she can influence. Couple that encroaching of turf with the marital deception required for the porn and of course the woman feels marginalized, but it's not the inherent nature of the material it's the unnatural context of the mormon system.

Of course the mormon church makes a big deal out of porn, it messes with the power structure of the organization. Other churches aren't as vocal because they aren't as theocratic/authoritarian and porn doesn't have a wedge effect on their social systems. They don't have the same rigid ego games as the LDS. I doubt whether the LDS GA's realize that the more energy you put into something, the more validity you give that thing. Pound the pulpit about porn and you only fuel the drive to view it (not to mention perpetuating artificial guilt from ppl giving in to human desires, but then again guilt is the lifeblood of the church).

When I was active in the church I, like anyone, dabbled in porn. I would feel guilt and repent and do it again and feel guilt and repent. It got so repetitive that I was sure that I had exhausted God's forgiveness, and when I did it again the guilt came but it left just as quickly without me trying. My emotional mechanism was trained to feel the guilt and then to feel forgiven. I formed it myself through habit like Pavlov's dog. the ease with which I felt forgiven was not consistent with the grave decrees about porn from the GA's. I concluded that I had manufactured the guilt all along and had forgiven the guilt myself. Once I knew that, I never felt guilt again after looking at porn, notwithstanding belief in the church.

Your mileage may vary, but looking at as much porn as I've wanted has not increased my appetite for it, nor has it broadened my sexual fetishes. If it makes me see women differently it's only that I can more easily see the nonsexual elements of their soul. My wife doesn't mind me looking at porn because she knows I didn't marry her just to get laid and she has much more to offer, and I do it infrequently enough that it doesn't diminish our sex life.

Sexually repressed people make a big fuss over porn, sexually content people tend not to. For the most part, mormon culture is very sexually repressed. You get taught your whole young life to suppress and deny sexuality, then you're expected to switch it all off on wedding night. It is not psychologically practical to de-condition oneself like that. Childhood conditioning is too enduring to be considered that malleable, and many LDS are programmed for life to dislike their own bodies. If an institution can have say over the most intimate, private areas of a person's mind and body, that person is theirs and everything else falls into place.

There's much that I still cherish about mormon culture; I can no more cut off my mormon history than I can cut off a hand. It's a beautiful philosophy, but you people, the members, are what give it its beauty and life, not the doctrine itself. Many members say that the church is perfect and the people are not. But I'd reverse it and say the people are perfect the way they are and the church is vastly imperfect and is where the corruption lies. I think you active LDS are much better than the church.

I didn't understand what people meant with the word "cult" when I was active. It took a while to see; it's not the beliefs, it's not the way the members act. What makes the church a cult in every sense of the word is how the church is held together, viz. through guilt and threatening that one's loved ones will be lost in the next life. These are tricks Joseph Smith used to add wives to his harem, let us please not use them today. The family is here and now and that's what should be focused on.

the church can be almost the same as it is now and not be seen as a cult if retention methods weren't actually cult tactics.

I don't mean to offend or to post in bad taste. I think this is a great site that allows for thoughtful reflection on LDSism without always appealing to the typical black-and-white orthodoxy. Sites where active members can discuss anything they need to is exactly what the church needs.

I dont have an axe to grind, i'm not angry at anyone in the church. Most of my extended family are active LDS and I only want them to be happy and I think they will be more so if they start taking the words of the prophets with a grain of salt. They aren't any closer to God than you are and you're better off trusting your head, heart, and gut. God Bless and Namaste!

Mormanity said...

Hmmm, I think that last comment from Anonymous may be a good example of self-deception at work. It doesn't affect the way he views other women?? Come on. He's not looking at their souls. Not thinking about their souls. They are a chunk of flesh in the emotionally-charged porn environment - and that doesn't carry over, even a little, elsewhere? The callousness porn creates in men's attitudes has been documented in several studies - but the user's never think it changes their attitudes.

And "I, like anyone, would dabble in porn." News flash: not everyone does. Many good people have the sense to abhor it and flee. Don't dismiss your responsibility for your choices by an appeal to the poor behavior of many others - but not all others.

Equating the moral position of the Church on this issue with a power struggle of insecure people threatened by the "liberating" influence of porn is just too much out of Korihor's playbook. Alma 30 - great stuff. But that tired position leaves one with no ground to stand on.

Sure your wife doesn't mind? Really?

Step back and rethink your stance here. Porn makes people less. It hurts their relationships, and makes them less able to see things as they are - especially one's self.

Jacquie said...

This is the wife of "anonymous" who mentioned earlier that I don't mind him viewing porn. I can honestly say that I have never minded his viewing porn. He does not assume that I am willing to do the things the girls in porn do. He has always treated me with respect. He has always honored the committment we made to eachother on our wedding day. He is a good man, a good husband, and a good father. That is more than I can say about men who believe the priesthood is the "end all, be all" solution to controling their wives.

I can understand you calling that into question as it is a typical response for women to be hurt over that behavior in their husband. However, I do not feel that viewing porn is bad for the soul if done in moderation. Obviously if you watch porn to the extent that you think every girl is going to behave like that, you might have an addiction. The occasional viewing of porn does not damage your soul or marriage if the woman is secure enough in her own person to not question her husbands affection just because he likes watch porn.

The real problem here is not the porn, the actors, the men who watch, or the internet that makes it widely available. The real real issue is the priesthood. In the mormon church, men are given all of the power and it is called "stewardship." Women are tought almost every Sunday in Young Women's and Relief Society that they need to respect their husband's authority as the priesthood holder, leaving the women with no control over anything in the marriage except sex. Women mind their husband masturbating and watching porn, because when that behavior is present that they no longer hold ANY power in the marriage. They become like the English monarchy, a powerless figurehead. I am not trying to say that people in the church only get married to have sex. I am merely trying to say that the foundation of this hatred of porn is the underlying power struggles within the marriage.

As for the notion that porn degrades women, it is utter nonsense. The female actors in porn are paid VERY well for their talents, especially in relation to their male counterparts. Movies allows people to explore their fantasies and feelings through a creative outlet. If a person wants to stimulate happy emotions, they watch a feel good movie. If they want to cry, they watch a drama. Porn is no different in that it is a creavie outlet intended to stimulate an emotion. Porn has only been demonized because the emotion it is intended to stimulate has been demonized by religion. In reality, sex is a natural part of being human evolution. I firmly believe that Comso and Vogue magazines do more damage to women than porn does. At least porn doesn't look for ways to exploit women's insecurities for commercial gain. Porn is very clear in its objective...

My husband and I watch porn together sometimes to help encourage the mood and to learn new tricks. I have never felt like less of a woman or that the integrity of my marriage has been compromised by the introduction of sex into our home.

Anonymous said...

[And "I, like anyone, would dabble in porn." News flash: not everyone does. Many good people have the sense to abhor it and flee. Don't dismiss your responsibility for your choices by an appeal to the poor behavior of many others - but not all others.]

lol, didn't think you'd take it literally. okay I buy that, you can have that one. not everyone has looked at porn. the fact that others look at it has nothing to do with me anyway.

The story of Korihor reflects an expectation that Joseph Smith would encounter opposition to his authoritarian setup, especially since democratic zeal was prevalent. Those early Americans were leery about a top-down bureacracy that Europe's religions had integrated. In order for Brother Joseph's church to succeed he would need to address the need for democratic involvement of his laymen. One answer was endowing them with priesthood callings and titles, and another was to deflect perceptions that the church leaders were exploiting the laymen by portraying the same objection made by an anti-christ character in the book of mormon. Anytime anyone said the church leaders were keeping the people captive for their own gain, they could just cite precedent and name drop "korihor." It's one of many thought-stopping techniques employed by church culture.

But anyway whatever the current church leaders motives are is another issue. If porn can divide a marriage then it can dissolve a person's faith in the church. The church is authoritarian and depends on the family unit to survive. Other churches don't complain as much about porn not because they don't care any less, but because they aren't as vulnerable to losing membership if porn divides their patrons' marriages.

I don't think porn is liberating inherently. If a person leaves the lds church through porn and becomes a sex addict, that's not liberating it's just trading one dependency for another. Porn can be liberating if in the process of using it you realize that the guilt you're supposed to feel is artificial and maybe realize that there's a lot more to life and morality than what the Brethren outline.

You're a good sport Brother Jeff thanks for letting us debate.

Darion Alexander said...

Wow!!! All I can say is Wow!! This debate has been going on since 2004!! Who would've thought that your post would generate that much interest and debate for over 5 years! Good post Jeff!

Tianna said...

Darion, WOW is right! It is amazing to see the amount of response this post has generated.

Anonymous said...

I read earlier in this thread a commentor suggest that women using sex toys (vibrators etc..) is perhaps an acceptable practice for worthy Latter day Saints. I have read a popular LDS author/relationship therepist suggest the same thing. I will pose this question to all active LDS readers out there but particularly women. Do you think this is acceptable and if so do your view include married men relating sexually to mechanical and fabricated objects as well provided this is done together with a spouse in the bedroom? My Gut tells me there is something wrong with this equation. I suspect that the relationship God intended for us to have and develop is only between the man and woman in the marriage and not with devices. I dont think we should be penetrating or being penetrated by mechanical objects. I think using what God has given us on our bodies to enhance a sexual relationship is possibly the extent of what is okay, but inviting blow up dolls, vibrators, fake vaginas and other things to engage with is probably a violation. I think there exists in these things a great risk of addiction to the devices for both men and women which your body may not be capable of duplicating. Once you become sensitized to such things, it may disable your ability to ever sexually relate to your spouses body the same. I get there will be some who will argue that some people may never be able to be sexually fulfilled without these things and may need therepy with limited use of something like this to overcome a response or mental conditioning issue. But I have even heard an LDS author therepist suggest these "toys" for fun and variety. I think this is going to cause problems for relationships when people who use them realize they are habituated to these tools. I have read online many instances already of women claiming they feel they have a problem going back to what were regularly aknowledges as already fulfilling experiences with just thier partners body involved. They had become habituated to the device. I suspect men have the same issue using devices that are bring sexual pleasure in a much more intense way than thier wifes anatomy could. I think many of the questions the Bretheren once faced about dos and donts of the bedroom were very focused around things like oral sex and manual stimulation using hands etc... but I think this growing question is a bit different in its implications as it essentially means men and women not learning about each others bodies and not learning to use ones body to enhance the relationship, but instead turning to man made objects to get the job done. I see a growing trend of pleasure parties or sex toy parties propogating within the church and I think many members are getting confused that this may be acceptable especially with a popular LDS author therapist making statements and suggestions on her website that these toys are good for "fun and variety". I think she has taken some influential liberties that step outside the boundaries of what Church Leadership has been willing to provide.

Back to Basics said...

Very interesting recent comments....

Anon & wife Jacquie :
Without wanting to judge your personal lives or activities (what you do and how you relate your actions to the God that created you is your own marital concerns), but as you posted so much material, please indulge me the opportunity to share my observations.
What you are doing is clearly inviting the Sodom and Gomorrah culture into your marital home. It may not be on a permanent basis, but at the times at which you view the porn either together or singularly, your mind and heart is completely devoid of love and replaced by lust of the flesh. You are generating a selfish arousal for yourself or for your partner by being stimulated by visions of others in intimate states of sexual gratification (without really knowing how far your preferences go in these matters).

Lot's wife was guilty of not being prepared to leave her connection to a sinful lustful city behind her, by physically moving on and her consequence was to be turned into a pillar of salt. She removed her body, but her heart was still there.

If mainstream hollywood blockbusters are anything to measure porn movies by, from the sex scenes that they sometimes include, I would like to point out how often one can see true love in the two character's eyes for each other as they act out the scene? This is what makes intimacy on screen so artificial. However good the acting in view of recording cameras, it can NEVER replicate the true love between a totally in-tune husband and wife.

This is when the Bible unifies them 'as one' as institutionalised by God. Why do you think the devil wants to break marriages and rip the family unit apart in the name of 'sexual preferences' and by getting society to label God-fearing Christians as homophobics?

If you can claim to have this marital and God-blessed unity, then porn will only damage what you have together. It will NEVER enhance it or bing you closer to God because it is fake.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting. Where would one find the Ronald Regan report you mention?

Tony said...

Idahoan, you are so full of crap.

Whether you are "open" about your addiction or not, it will ALWAYS lead men to look at women as nothing more than objects, though I suppose that for a moral relativist like you, that doesn't matter.

So I guess it's ok for people to look at child porn now too? After all, they are just "appreciating" the child's form, right?

You make me sick. How about you be honest with yourself (though I suppose you are too far gone) and experience a reality check, pal.

Tony said...

To Jacquie:
sorry but it doesn't work that way. It doesn't matter whether you dabble in a little bit of bad or a lot of bad, it is still bad, and it will always lead to more bad, more rationalization, more of a tendency to view women as mere objects and seek something from them that a guy clearly doesn't feel his wife can provide(shallow, isn't it?), or else why even look at a little?

You say that he treats you with respect. I don't doubt that he treats you as such, but can you honestly say that you know what is going through his mind? I don't think so. Psychological and mental health studies, as well as the thousands of failed marriages as a result, plus plain reason, flies in the face of your argument.

You can keep believing what you say, but I'm just glad I won't be having people like you parenting and teaching my children.

bec said...

To those who feel pornography is natural because we were made to want to reproduce: as a biology student I have a difficult time imagining people trying to reproduce with porn. And in nature it is always the partner that entices the other partner to have sex, not some outside source. So call it natural all you want but I don't buy it.

To those who blame the wives for not fulfilling the husbands sexual needs, I don't buy that either. From my experience and from the posts I read it seems most people start viewing it when they are teenagers...I'm assuming they weren't married at that point.

Also porn does cause problems whether you are religious or not. You may have not experience any because they don't always arise the first year or in a lot of cases many years. Again, most porn addictions start in the teen years and then when not fixed tear the family apart 16 years or more later, so just wait the problems will come.

P.S. I appreciate non-mormon christians and any other religion for that matter posting their ideas, we are all moral beings no matter what are backgrounds are and any input others can give is really helpful

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HAF FUT said...

If it is not good for the child, then it is not good for adults.