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

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Sexual Immorality and Phishing Scams: The Foolishness of Giving Away Intimate Personal Data

A small group of scammers sends millions are emails each week to entice gullible victims into turning over intimate personal details to people they don't know. Email offers from Nigeria are a famous example of these scams. They promise great wealth to their victims, if they will just provide some private information about their banking account or other financial accounts, or if they will just hand over some money to grease the wheels for access to a rich account. The greedy victims ultimately find that they have been robbed. In some cases, the personal information they gave in the process allows others to steal their identity, wipe out their accounts, and generally mess up their lives. Related to the Nigerian scams are phishing scams in which Websites posing as legitimate banking Websites try to fool people into turning over intimate personal information that criminals can use to exploit and rob the victims.

Turning over personal financial information to someone else should only be done under appropriate circumstances. Namely, it should only be done with a partner that you know and can trust, and under legally recognized conditions that provide you with legal protection against misuse of your information - preferably under a binding contract. To give your intimate financial information to a random partner you just met on the Internet or on some street corner is utter stupidity. There are scammers everywhere, and we need to be more cautious than ever.

Sexual immorality has a few things in common with these modern scams, with many more victims and often much greater harm than just losing all your money. Premarital sex involves inappropriately turning over your most personal and intimate possession - your body - to someone else without the benefits and protection of the legal covenant of marriage. There is the promise of instant gratification, but in the end those who fall into immorality are often robbed, and some find that their whole lives are damaged. It's more than just the risk of disease or pregnancy. There is a degrading and cheapening of self that occurs, and vast missed opportunities that occur by taking the path of foolishness.

I can hardly begin to convey the sorrow I've seen caused by sexual immorality among the people I've known. Whether it's teenage sex, causal hooking up among college students, general premarital sex, marital infidelity, porn addictions, pregnancy out of wedlock, venereal disease, abortion, etc., I've seen over and over again that the scam of immorality has never made people happier, healthier, or better human beings. It has often caused vast chains of unintended events that take those who fell for the scam a thousand miles from where they should have been. Some who know better seem to "get away with it" - but I think they will one day recognize how much they have lost. When we knowingly violate the principles the Lord has given us, we turn away from great light and become less.

I am shocked at the irresponsibility of adult leaders in schools, in the media, in the entertainment industry, in sports, and even in some churches who condone and even promote casual sex among teenagers and others. These vile and irresponsible "enlightened" adults take it as a matter of fact that it is healthy and normal, and rarely speak out against the foolishness of immorality. They might as well encourage the young people of the world to trust all the email they get, to take advantage of the tremendous offers they find and share their banking data and other personal data freely with anyone. Oh, but be smart use a spam filter for protection. Then you'll be safe no matter what you do.

May we dare to speak up and warn others of the dangers of modern and ancient scams, especially the scam of immorality. I am grateful that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is one of the few remaining voices in the world calling upon people everywhere to repent and flee from immorality in any form. It's an urgent message that we need to convey.

And to those who have fallen for a scam, may we hold out the hope that repentance brings. Break away from the scam now and move back to the path that brings joy and peace, the path of following the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You may be a thousand miles from where you should have been, but there are new right roads and paths that begin from the very place where you are now, and a single step is enough to begin the journey of hope.

8 comments:

nathanielmacrae said...

Thank you for this post.

John Piper at desiringgod.org speaks against sexual immorality entitled, 'Satan Uses Sexual Desire' (clicky clicky).

Again, thank you for this.

Nathaniel

Anonymous said...

Also see the study, Sexually Active Teenagers Are More Likely to Be Depressed and to Attempt Suicide by by Robert E. Rector, Kirk A. Johnson, Ph.D., and Lauren R. Noyes.

Anonymous said...

One more report on the benefits of abstinence: Teenage Sexual Abstinence and Academic Achievement.

Anonymous said...

Your precious church is not the only one speaking up. Mormons don't hold a monopoly on morality and decency.

Brian Duffin said...

"Your precious church is not the only one speaking up. Mormons don't hold a monopoly on morality and decency."

Anonymous,

And you should know how glad we are that we are not the only ones speaking up about morality and decency!

This is an issue that demands and deserves the attention from people of all faiths, not just the LDS Church.

Mormanity said...

Who said anything about a monopoly on morality and decency? That's not why we claim, and it's certainly the last thing we want!!

The outspoken pro-morality groups seem fewer than ever, but thank God for each one.

Anonymous said...

"Also see the study, Sexually Active Teenagers Are More Likely to Be Depressed and to Attempt Suicide by by Robert E. Rector, Kirk A. Johnson, Ph.D., and Lauren R. Noyes"

It is because your teachings degrade them and make them selfhaters.

Anonymous said...

I find the LDS and the Mormons so repugnant and distasteful, I've just spent the last week-end changing one of my blags that unfortunately, used the same theme as this one.