Pornography

mormon-praying-couplePornography is the presentation of sexual material in print, film, illustration, or on the internet.  Sexuality is presented in its rawest forms, including acts of force and violence, and it is meant to inflame the passions of men and women and even children who view it.  Pornography skews an individual’s concepts of what conjugal relations are meant to be.  Viewing pornography is a highly addictive behavior.  When one or both spouses in a marriage become addicted to pornography, it can doom the marriage and the family unit.

“Pornography has become a $57 billion industry worldwide. Twelve billion of this is derived in the United States by evil and ‘conspiring men’ (see D&C 89:4) who seek riches at the expense of the gullible. It is reported that it produces more revenue in the United States than the ‘combined revenues of all professional football, baseball and basketball franchises or the combined revenues of ABC, CBS, and NBC’ (“Internet Pornography Statistics: 2003”).

“It robs the workplace of the time and talents of employees. ‘20% of men admit accessing pornography at work. 13% of women [do so]. … 10% of adults admit having internet sexual addiction’ (“Internet Pornography Statistics: 2003”). That is their admission, but actually the number may be much higher.

‘The National Coalition for the Protection of Children and Families states that “approximately 40 million people in the United States are sexually involved with the Internet. …

“One in five children ages 10–17 [has] received a sexual solicitation over the Internet. …  

“Three million of the visitors to adult websites in September 2000 were age 17 or younger. …

“Sex is the number 1 topic searched on the Internet” (NCPCE Online, “Current Statistics”). (From a talk by late Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley.)

A recent study by the Family Research Council states the following effects on marriage and family:

  • Pornography alters both sexual attitudes and behavior.
  • Pornography is a major threat to marriage, family, children, and to individual happiness.
  • In undermining marriage, it is one of the factors in undermining social stability.
  • Married men who view pornography become less satisfied with their marital intimacy, thereby upsetting their wives.
  • Pornography use often leads to infidelity and divorce, and is often the leading factor in the destruction of the marriage.
  • When one spouse is addicted to pornography one or the other partner often loses interest in the sexual aspect of intimacy.
  • The viewing of pornography is a type of infidelity.
  • Family relationships tend to disintegrate when a family member is addicted to pornography.

The studies find the following effects on individuals:

  • Pornography effects brain chemistry and is highly addictive.
  • People who view pornography become densensitized and seek more and more perverse material.
  • “Men who view pornography regularly have a higher tolerance for abnormal sexuality, including rape, sexual aggression, and sexual promiscuity.”
  • Men who indulge in pornography begin to view women and even children as objects rather than individuals.
  • Pornography leads to permissiveness with attendant out-of-wedlock births and sexually transmitted diseases.

Here are some statements by Mormon leaders regarding pornography:

Apostle Dallin H. Oaks

“For many years our Church leaders have warned against the dangers of images and words intended to arouse sexual desires. Now the corrupting influence of pornography, produced and disseminated for commercial gain, is sweeping over our society like an avalanche of evil.

“Pornographic or erotic stories and pictures are worse than filthy or polluted food. The body has defenses to rid itself of unwholesome food. With a few fatal exceptions, bad food will only make you sick but do no permanent harm. In contrast, a person who feasts upon filthy stories or pornographic or erotic pictures and literature records them in this marvelous retrieval system we call a brain. The brain won’t vomit back filth. Once recorded, it will always remain subject to recall, flashing its perverted images across your mind and drawing you away from the wholesome things in life.

“They cannot have the Spirit of the Lord to be with them. All such need to heed the Apostle Peter’s plea: ‘Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee’ (Acts 8:22). Brethren, you have noticed that I am not discussing the effects of pornography on mental health or criminal behavior. I am discussing its effects on spirituality—on our ability to have the companionship of the Spirit of the Lord and our capacity to exercise the power of the priesthood.” [1]

Apostle David B. Haight:

“Over the past twenty years a plague of pornography has swept across most countries of the world with increasing momentum and devastating impact. What began a few years ago as a few crude picture magazines that startled sensitive people has grown to hundreds of publications, each seeking to outdo the others with increasingly shocking content.

“It should come as no surprise that grand juries have found that 90 percent of all pornography is dominated by organized crime. Large profits from one project become a source of funds for still larger and more sophisticated enterprises as a growing tidal wave of smut dashes against the weakening bulwarks of morality.

“New technologies that can bless our lives in so many positive ways are also being used to spread pornographic corruption. Video recorders [and the internet] now can bring to homes great classics of music, history, art, and drama. But they also bring into some of these same homes lurid portrayals of debauchery that contaminate those who view them and extend their corrupting influence to our communities and society.

“Studies show that those who allow themselves to become drawn to pornography soon begin to crave even coarser content. Continued exposure desensitizes the spirit and can erode the conscience of unwary people. A victim becomes a slave to carnal thoughts and actions. As the thought is father to the deed, exposure can lead to acting out what is nurtured in the mind.

“But there are other victims. Crimes of violence have increased in the United States at up to five times the rate of population growth. A 1983 University of New Hampshire study found that states having the highest readership of pornographic magazines also have the highest number of reported rapes. Pornography degrades and exploits men, and women, and children in a most ugly and corrupt fashion.

“Perhaps the greatest tragedy of all is in the lives of children who become its victims. The saddest trend of our day is the alarming, large increase in child abuse. Much of it occurs within families and involves corrupting the divine innocence that children have from birth.” [2]

From late prophet Gordon B. Hinckley:

“While the matter of which I speak was a problem then, it is a much more serious problem now. It grows increasingly worse. It is like a raging storm, destroying individuals and families, utterly ruining what was once wholesome and beautiful. I speak of pornography in all of its manifestations.  I do so because of letters that come to me from broken-hearted wives.  I should like to read portions of one received only a few days ago…

”’For many years in our marriage … he was most cruel in many of his demands. I was never good enough for him. … I felt incredibly beaten down at that time to a point of deep depression. … I know now that I was being compared to the latest porn queen.…  We went to counseling one time and … my husband proceeded to rip me apart with his criticism and disdain of me.

“‘I did go on, but zipped a protective shield around myself. I existed for other reasons than my husband and found joy in my children, in projects and accomplishments that I could do totally on my own. …  After his ‘deathbed confession’ and [after taking time] to search through my life, I [said] to him, ‘Don’t you know what you have done?’ … I told him I had brought a pure heart into our marriage, kept it pure during that marriage, and intended to keep it pure ever after. Why could he not do the same for me? All I ever wanted was to feel cherished and treated with the smallest of pleasantries … instead of being treated like some kind of chattel. …I am now left to grieve not only for his being gone but also for a relationship that could have been [beautiful, but was not].'” [3]

The Mormon Church has mounted a website to help combat pornography.  To access it, click here.

Pornography, a Desolating Sickness, by D. Kelly Ogden

Slate Magazine: Sex is Cheap

How to Protect your Family from Pornography