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

Sunday, February 13, 2005

The Porn Tsunami

Pornography is more than a tide of filth, it is a tsunami. Escaping requires more than wading slowly toward shore, one must run desperately toward higher ground and hold on as the filth surges across the landscape. Thanks to Adam Greenwood's thoughtful article, "Pornography My Enemy" at "Time and Seasons," I was pleased to encounter David B. Hart's essay, "The Pornography Culture." Here is an excerpt:
The damage that pornography can do—to minds or cultures—is not by any means negligible. Especially in our modern age of passive entertainment, saturated as we are by an unending storm of noises and images and barren prattle, portrayals of violence or of sexual degradation possess a remarkable power to permeate, shape, and deprave the imagination; and the imagination is, after all, the wellspring of desire, of personality, of character. Anyone who would claim that constant or even regular exposure to pornography does not affect a person at the profoundest level of consciousness is either singularly stupid or singularly degenerate. Nor has the availability and profusion of pornography in modern Western culture any historical precedent. And the Internet has provided a means of distribution whose potentials we have scarcely begun to grasp. It is a medium of communication at once transnational and private, worldwide and discreet, universal and immediate. It is, as nothing else before it, the technology of what Gianni Vattimo calls the "transparent society," the technology of global instantaneity, which allows images to be acquired in a moment from almost anywhere, conversations of extraordinary intimacy to be conducted with faceless strangers across continents, relations to be forged and compacts struck in almost total secrecy, silently, in a virtual realm into which no one—certainly no parent—can intrude. I doubt that even the most technologically avant-garde among us can quite conceive how rapidly and how insidiously such a medium can alter the culture around us.

We are already, as it happens, a casually and chronically pornographic society. We dress young girls in clothes so scant and meretricious that honest harlots are all but bereft of any distinctive method for catching a lonely man’s eye. The popular songs and musical spectacles we allow our children to listen to and watch have transformed many of the classic divertissements of the bordello . . . into the staples of light entertainment. . . .
The entire article is a great read. We are living in the midst of a tsunami. All of us need to act more vigorously than simply wading and putting up an occasional umbrella.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I hate porn too. It's so despicable and degrading to women. Yet for the past 8 years or so I've been addicted to it. I can stop looking at it for a few weeks, but one day I'll just forget my goals and just look at it again. I did stop going to church for a while, and I don't even know what the holy ghost might be like. But i've started going back to church, i talked to the bishop about this and my other problems, but no matter what steps i take to stop this stupid habit and no matter how strong and invincible i feel after staying on track for a few weeks, i just end up messing up again. Last night was one of those nights; i just dont think about the consequences, or anything else. I just look at porn, despite it's horridness. I am at the end of my rope too. I don't know what else to do to stop. I just feel really weak and depressed right now. And alone. I feel like until I stop this habit for long enough, i can't find out if God is out there. but i can't stop this habit without him, certainly not on my own. I've tried too many times already. I feel hopeless.

Anonymous said...

Four scriptures come to mind when I think about the aweful situation you are in. I know your situation because I was once there. I have essentially been free of pornography for some time now, but Satan still works hard to get me back.

Ether 12 is a great chapter to read about faith. It takes great faith to break the habit of pornography; faith that not viewing it will lead to a happier life, a life full of the Spirit. But Ether 12:27 is especially useful and I know it is true!

3 Nephi 12:27-30 teaches us what we need to do to break away. The Lord said, "...for it is better that ye should deny yourselves of these things, wherein ye will take up your cross..." And that is the key. You will need to "take up your cross" and deny yourself. The moment the temptations come, you have to take it up; suffer through it. It is do-able with the Lord's help. He has promised He will not allow us to be "tempted above that [we] are able" and that He will "make a way to escape" (1 Cor. 10:13). Sometimes that "way to escape" is [our] taking up [our] cross and suffering through the temptations, no matter how hard they may be.

Finally, I would recommend D&C 122:5-8. Joseph Smith was feeling pretty down at this time (in Liberty jail) and received this revelation. It is particularly touching if you have a child, as I do, around the age of six, and you think about him being ripped from your grasp as your enemies pull you away. But verse 8 is the important one that has probably touched my soul more than any other. The Lord said to Joseph, after describing a number of unimaginable difficulties, "The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?"

It helps me to consider how small my sufferings and afflictions are compared to His, and to consider that a lot of mine are consequences of my own disobedience. It helps to motivate me to "take up my cross" when the time comes; because it will. Satan knows we have fallen prey to the evil monster of pornography before. So he is bound to work hard to get us to fall prey again. That is why we need to turn it into a strength, with the Lord's help.

I hope this helps. I can testify to you that breaking the addiction of pornography is very possible! Though you must be willing to follow *all* of the Lord's commandments to do it.

I'll pray for you!

Mormanity said...

This is a terrible burden - I appreciate your honesty and your desire to overcome it. The advice from the second poster sounds very wise. May I also suggest a couple of additional thoughts? Why not get rid of your Internet service? It's like an alcoholic having a wet bar loaded with liquor in his basement. Makes access too easy. I know, I know, it means you won't be able to access Mormanity, but somethings are more important. And if you've got cable TV or satellite TV, rip it out. Remove the sources of temptation and you'll have an easier time overcoming it.

As Christ taught, "If thine eye offend thee, pluck it out." Just as it is better to enter eternity blind than it is to enter hell with perfect vision, in your case it is better to enter eternity unwired than to enter hell with a high-speed connection. You may even be surprised just how much more productive other parts of your life become with Internet drain.

Anonymous said...

I too struggled with an addiction to pornography that eventually I was able to overcome with the help of the church and my wife. Before my baptism I did not even understand the dammage that it did to me and others. I ask that you consider that many of the individuals that happen to be involved in this disgusting industry and being exploited and abused. Many of the girls (or boys)(or even children) are more or less enslaved by the industry either by individuals, drugs, or the misconception that there is "nothing better out there for them". On the other end of the spectrum, the users of pornography are enslaved as well. The scope of distruction does not stop there... also there are countless people who love and care about these individuals that are hurt by their habits. Mothers, fathers, brothers sisters, sons, daughters... all of these people have the potential to be hurt in one way or another. As for solutions that helped me, remove temptation whenever possible. My computer is no longer in the bedroom, but rather in the livingroom where anyone can plainly see what is on the monitor. Eliminate internet connection entirely if you must. (Do you justify keeping it because you NEED email, or do you just WANT it?) Public libraries also have computers that have PROTECTION SOFTWARE (another option) on them so you know you cannot access these sites. Also, if you do find that you need internet on your computer, surround yourself with 'reminders of righteousness' I keep many LDS books and scriptures on my desk next to my computer! If you have to (hope this isn't sacreligious) use a BOM as a mousepad! I'm sure that Heavenly Father would understand to help you with your problem. Essentially, you have to remember that your home should be a sacred place, if you look in the Bible Dictionary under "Temple" you will find it says:
A place where the Lord may come, it is the most holy of any place of worship on the earth. Only the home can compare with the temple in sacredness.
Try to make your home a heaven on earth. This kind of an atmosphere will help facilitate a change for the better. Also, don't be embarrased that you fell for the trap that is pornography. My opinion is that (regarding the internet and it's many uses) pornography is Satan's answer to geneology work that is done online. Both of these are the two biggest users of the internet, so as in real life evil attempts to distract good.
God Bless you somewhere from the Philadelphia Stake

Anonymous said...

I'm in your place as well - while I didn't think it had been 8 years... I think it's probably been 6. That makes me want to puke. I had almost an entire year where it wasn't even a problem. What was I doing during that year? A lot more productive things. Dating was one I remember. I don't know how old any of you are - but where I'm at, 18, it's pretty easy to say that dating takes your mind off of this subject. Especially if it's the right kind of girl.

Remember what your Heavenly Father has promised you. Think of how much Joseph Smith has struggled to get as far as we all are. Think how much YOU'VE struggled! You have the right focus of heart, that's what matters. You recognize it as harm, and degrading. Some people view it and don't even notice. That's where the grasp of repentence is harder to hang onto. Don't worry, the Lord will still love you.

Also, the fact that you haven't blamed yourself for "being born with the addiction" is a good plus. Many people blame the fact that they are born with it. This isn't true - it is Satan's lie to blame something else. I think it was Elder Packer you said something like 'nobody is born with an addiction. They may have more of a suseptibility (parden my spelling, just sound it out) to a certain trait, and have a weaker barrier that they will need to focus more power towards, but NEVER is somebody born with an addiction.'

You're wonderful, don't forget that. Stay close to somebody you love. If you're married - start off by telling your spouce, "Honey... I need some help from you." She'll understand. Go to the temple together. It's time to end this battle of evil - both of us.

Have the prophet and Christ's picture staring at the user of the computer. And like another user said previously, use the Book of Mormon as a mousepad. The Lord understands what you're going through - it wont be held against you.

I pray for you, me, and anybody else attached to this horrible addiction that we've left void for Satan to dish up. Seal the gap between you're and your Heavenly Father.

Anonymous said...

its ok

jason said...

Great resource. Please direct your readers to www.salifeline.org and specifically Don Hilton's book "He Restoreth my Soul". Both of these resources will provide strength and direction in the midst of the tsunami.