Pornography: Satan’s Power Tool

I blog about different things for different reasons.  On occasion, I blog about something simply because I have a fire in my bones and I need to let it out.

Cue fire.  Cue bones.  Cue outlet.

Let’s talk about pornography, shall we?

This article was written as an opinion piece by a BYU student.  I’d like to highlight a few parts of her message:

Someone once told me, “Prophets don’t talk about pornography for fun.”

In the past five years, hardly a session of General Conference has passed without the brethren warning about the dangers of pornography. They have reason to warn. Pornography creates a shattering ripple effect impacting the viewer and surrounding. …

In 2010, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said, “Tragically, the same computer and Internet service that allows me to do my family history and prepare those names for temple work could, without filters and controls, allow my children or grandchildren access to a global cesspool of perceptions that could blast a crater in their brains forever.”

The ease of access to pornography through the internet has led to a dramatic increase of consumption and acceptance in society despite its negative effects. …

This is one area in which we simply cannot be complacent. We must be involved in the fight because it is no longer a question of if this will affect you, but when.

Ralph Yarro, a former Novell executive and anti-pornography advocate, told the Church News in 2007, “Wake up. Apathy will kill you here. If porn hasn’t touched your life already, it is going to rip huge, gaping holes in it.”

There’s more, so go read the full article.  It’s a topic that’s been on my mind anyway, but this has left me with a taste in my mouth.  Not bitterness, really, just … well, fire in my bones.  I have been blessed so far to not be in the direct line of fire of Satan’s sledgehammer, but its reach is far and wide.  I’ve seen it pound down hard on people I know and love.  Good people.  And once the shattering has happened, it’s a slow and painful process to heal.  I want to state that I know healing is possible because I absolutely believe in Jesus Christ and I believe there is no darkness that He cannot dispel and fill with light.  I believe in Him, so I believe in repentance, and I believe in restoration.  Having said that, this whole business really makes me want to punch Satan in the face.

I attended a women’s conference talk where Sister Beck said the following:

We have a huge problem in our families with pornography and the influence that it is having in our families. The powerful feeling that has been coming over me is, “Sisters, fight—fight, sisters.” You have the responsibility in your homes. Many of our women are being drawn into this behavior also. At our last general conference, President Thomas S. Monson gave “a word of caution to all—both young and old, both male and female.” This is our responsibility.

When I heard her say this, I felt the Holy Ghost.  This is part of our call as “lionesses at the gate” of our homes.  Even with our best efforts, this plague can affect our families, but it must be in spite of our best efforts.  The danger is too great to be ignored.

I quote some prophets:

Spencer W. Kimball:  “Members of the Church everywhere are urged to not only resist the widespread plague of pornography, but as citizens to become actively and relentlessly engaged in the fight against this insidious enemy of humanity around the world.”

Ezra Taft Benson:  “The prophet Lehi also saw our day in his great visionary dream of the tree of life. He saw that many people would wander blindly in the mists of darkness, which symbolized the temptations of the devil. (See 1 Ne. 12:17.) He saw some fall away “in forbidden paths,” others drown in rivers of filthiness, and still others wander in “strange roads.” (1 Ne. 8:28, 32.) When we read of the spreading curse of drugs, or read of the pernicious flood of pornography and immorality, do any of us doubt that these are the forbidden paths and rivers of filthiness Lehi described?”

Howard W. Hunter: “Be faithful in your marriage covenants in thought, word, and deed. Pornography, flirtations, and unwholesome fantasies erode one’s character and strike at the foundation of a happy marriage. Unity and trust within a marriage are thereby destroyed. One who does not control his thoughts and thus commits adultery in his heart, if he does not repent, shall not have the Spirit, but shall deny the faith and shall fear (see D&C 42:23; D&C 63:16).”

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. . . . The excuse is given that it is hard to avoid, that it is right at our fingertips and there is no escape. Suppose a storm is raging and the winds howl and the snow swirls about you. You find yourself unable to stop it. But you can dress properly and seek shelter, and the storm will have no effect upon you.”

Thomas S. Monson:  “Pornography is especially dangerous and addictive. Curious exploration of pornography can become a controlling habit, leading to coarser material and to sexual transgression. Avoid pornography at all costs. Don’t be afraid to walk out of a movie, turn off a television set, or change a radio station if what’s being presented does not meet your Heavenly Father’s standards. In short, if you have any question about whether a particular movie, book, or other form of entertainment is appropriate, don’t see it, don’t read it, don’t participate.”

Want to read more?  Go to http://conference.lds.org and click on the Search button.  Click on Advanced Search, type the word “pornography” and click the little box for “President of the Church.”  You will be given hundreds of references where living prophets have spoken out against the plague of pornography.

Since I can’t actually punch Satan in the face, even though I really, really want to, what can I do?  What can you do?  How can we fight?  Feel free to fill up the comment box with good ideas, good organizations, opportunities to fight, small ways to make a difference, support for those who are in the claws of this stupid beast, whatever moves you and will encourage others.  I’m not in the mood for despair or anger or bitterness, so let’s find ways to do what’s right and fight.

Here are my own ideas and suggestions.  I am not a professional.  I’m not even a stellar wife or mother.  But I have ideas and a desire to make a difference– at the very least, in my own family.

TO A MOTHER:  Talk openly with your children about pornography and its potential for harm.  Most men who are addicted to pornography are exposed to it at an early age.  Help them to understand Satan’s role and its opposition to Heavenly Father’s Plan.  Carefully choose a way that is age-appropriate to talk about what pornography is.  Maybe terms like “pictures or movies of people who are naked or very immodest”  and “showing people touching the private parts of bodies” are a good place to start.  After your discussions, when your daughter or son won’t look at the bra section of the store because they think it’s “pornography,” don’t worry about them being a little over-reactive.  Congratulate them for trying hard to keep their mind clean.  This is not about teaching people that the body is dirty; this is about helping children learn how to recognize and resist danger.  An excellent (and doctrinally sound) resource for teaching about sexuality in general can be found here.  Be a prude in monitoring family media intake, and don’t be ashamed of it.  Embrace your role as a guardian of virtue.  And be honest about it with your children.  “I changed the channel because the clothing was immodest and they were joking about sex.”  I love that Elder Holland quote (above in the article) about blasting a crater in your brain.  Matt recently taught the young men in our ward that pornography is the equivalent of dousing your spirit in gasoline and setting it on fire.  There will be that much pain, and that much scarring.  President Hinckley told mothers to teach their children to avoid it “like they would the plague.”

TO A WIFE:  If your husband has a heartbeat, he struggles with this on some level.  The world is cruel to him in its blatant temptation and oppressive titillation.  If he watched the Super Bowl, he’s seen pornography (for heaven’s sake, don’t get me started).  Talk to him about it.  Ask him how he’s doing:  What can you do to help him?  What steps can your family take to help him feel protected?  What measures does he currently use to avoid the temptation?  Be prepared to feel threatened a little as you learn what a real struggle it might be for him to stay unharmed by the storm.  Cling to each other a little tighter.  Express your love for him and your desire that he remain clean.  Encourage him to fight the hard fight.  Pray for him, and pray together.  Talk about your covenants and go to the temple often to remember them and reconnect to them.

TO A WOMAN:  Don’t hesitate to speak out against pornography when you see it.  Talk to store managers and write letters to TV providers and companies.  Express disapproval for that which is wrong.  Don’t be afraid to call a sin a sin.  Don’t fall into the trap of watching shows and movies or reading books that are only a little bit bad.  Steer clear of inappropriate media, period.  If you have the bandwidth to participate in organizations that fight the pornography industry, do it.  If you have money to contribute to the cause, give it.  Find something within your grasp and … grasp it.

TO A WIFE WHOSE HUSBAND IS ALREADY ADDICTED:  I am sorry.  I mean really, really sorry.  Some of the previous advice will apply, but so much of the recovery will depend very much on your husband’s ability to repent and make changes.  Work closely with your ecclesiastical leaders and qualified professionals.  All I can do is share a few resources that I am aware of.  And I can bear you my testimony that the pornography problem is not your fault.  While there may be things you can do to improve your relationship, your husband has fallen into a trap set by Satan, plain and simple.  The trap does not have to be a death sentence for your husband or for your marriage.  Seek out counsel and comfort from the Lord; He will help you to follow the right course.  No matter what, it will not be an easy course, but I know He will help you.

Available Resources:  (I cannot possibly recommend what will be the best for you and your situation.  Seek the Lord’s help and use the spirit of discernment as you research out possible tools to help in your recovery.)

LDS Church-sanctioned collection of resources:  http://combatingpornography.org/cp/eng/

New private (unofficial) forum for wives of men who struggle with pornography: http://www.hopeandhealinglds.com/forum/index.php

More resources for wives (more to come!): http://mormonwoman.org/2011/01/09/how-can-i-deal-with-my-spouses-pornography-addiction/

LDS resources on pornography: http://mentalhealthlibrary.info/library/porn/pornlds/index.html

Here’s the online support forum at cafemom: http://www.cafemom.com/group/1872/

Some personal stories:
http://mormonwoman.org/2011/01/30/pornography-addiction-personal-stories-index/

A book about addiction recovery: http://universe.byu.edu/index.php/2011/06/06/addiction-book-review/

Here is a link to a project that is raising funds for a film called “Shamed-A Documentary Feature Film.” It will address how shame and misconceptions about pornography and sexual addiction are huge obstacles in addicts coming forward and finding healing.  http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/141091137/shamed-a-documentary-feature-film

Sites or resources that others have mentioned in the comments of some of my previous posts:

http://lifestarnetwork.com/

http://byutv.org/watch/49475abb-10d4-4f45-a757-7000b9945468

http://www.salifeline.com

http://www.rowboatandmarbles.org

http://www.wiveshelpingwives.blogspot.com

I just want to conclude with something else I know to be true.  Satan is powerful, but goodness is more powerful.  We have the power within us to withstand temptation and fight against evil.  We do.  So though the storm rages and the sledgehammer swings down upon us, the rock of our Redeemer will help us to stand.  Mothers, unite!  This is an army I’m proud to be a part of.

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66 thoughts on “Pornography: Satan’s Power Tool

  1. One way we’ve chosen to exercise a lot of control over media is to get rid of our TV service (16 years ago), and then we chose to not replace the TV, which we’d been using for DVDs and movies, when it died (5 years ago.)

    It had been so long since I’d sat through commercials, I was really appalled this past summer when we were on vacation, seeing how smutty so many commercials have become. My kids were grossed out, and we used it as a chance to discuss media messages, and why those messages were uncomfortable and inappropriate.

    We’ve also been very vigorous about discussing *why* (regardless of ratings) some movies, shows, and books are not used in our home, and have a rule that it’s totally okay to stop reading a book if it’s getting racy or titillating, even if everyone around us says it’s a “fantastic” book… a popular series about sparkly people comes to mind. 🙂

    Another aspect that’s made it easier for us is that the computers are all in the main living area of our tiny little cottage. There really isn’t a way to hide what you’re looking at on-line. That gives a level of publicity and accountability that we’ve found works better than just filtering software.

  2. I would like to raise awareness to mothers out there about IPOD TOUCH the children have easy access to those. Each of those devices have access to wi-fi and “youtube” which can be easily logged into through the schools, etc… We have taken away every Ipod from our home because we discovered how easily the kids had access to pornography.

    • Thank your for this, Stephanie!

      I have heard people say, “I let my son/daughter have a cell phone, but I would never let them have internet on it.” Haven’t they heard of sexting?!! Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not judging people for giving their child a cell phone. My son actually has one. I am just saying that pornography is so much more accessible than we even realize sometimes.

      We definitely need to have an open dialogue with our kids. It’s so true- It’s not IF, but WHEN… and when it does happen it will hit you like a ton of bricks. I hope more posts like this will make it easier for the next generation to talk to their loved ones when they have a problem.

  3. Another great resource: http://www.outinthelight.com. Watch the videos–very moving. Also, I’ve said before I’m a professional counselor. I work daily with couples as part of my practice, however I am not an addiction specialist. Sadly, many therapists say they work with addictions when they have NO IDEA about the nature of addictions, and even couples seeking help can face battles that go on for years and years longer than necessary if they hadn’t been lead into thinking they were getting help. If you are dealing with addictions (yes, it affects both men and women) get help from a place that specializes in treating addictions, particularly sexual addictions if possible. These programs usually offer groups for those addicted and spouses. You would not go to a podiatrist to treat diabetes. Don’t go to a counselor that doesn’t specialize to get help for an addiction.

    Also, another great resource (thanking my sister for this one) for kids/early teens is a book called “The Trap: A Story To Help Protect Families From Pornography.”

    And ditto to everything else you said! It’s sad that we have to have explicit conversations with our children, but they can’t fight what they don’t understand.

  4. Powerful! I have 4 sons and I have had the distinct prompting that it’s not IF, but WHEN we will deal with pornography, my oldest is 12. It is so rampant that anyone who thinks their children will be totally immune is naive. We have to teach them HOW to deal with it and what to do when they come upon it. We have to be as bold as Satan is in talking about it and fighting it. I too was in that Women’s Conference when Sis. Beck said FIGHT FIGHT! I got chills when she said that and I have felt strongly that I need to be more involved in the fight against it!

  5. Sorry–thought of another great current resource. Anyone else see that The Ensign, New Era, and Friend all had great articles about screen time this month? It made an awesome FHE last night.

  6. Bravo and AMEN. If only the war could be fought and won just as easily. As much as you want to punch him in the face I want to hug you for writing this amazing post.

    This is what we are here to do…to fight evil with goodness…with righteousness. Thank you Stephanie!

  7. I…I…I have no words to express the awesomeness of this post. I’ve been lurking for ages and never can think of anything worthwhile to say, so I rarely comment. But now I have to tell you something! I mean, seriously amazing post. Makes me want to stand up and cheer. I’m sorry I can’t express myself any better, but sadly that seems to be the extent of my vocabulary right now…

    Can we be friends?;) I even live in Utah!

    • hahhaa Agreed and agreed Lindsey. The whole time I was thinking where is this woman? Can I be her friend? And I feel like I can’t even typye my enthusiasm fast enough. This is beeeeeyooond needed. I am an addicts wife who has found recovery and has now made it my mission to helps others in my shoes and become a strong advocate against this plauge. I seriously love you! Thank you for spreading a much needed message. May we all keep fighting against this awful plague called pornography.

  8. You said you’d write it and you did! I want to ditto everything you said — I also want to punch satan in the face. I’ll also do it like you by implementing these and other suggestions and to keep fighting! Thank you!

  9. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post. I am a wife of an addict and we have been fighting this fight for a long time. We have been very open about this with our children knowing it was not a matter of if, but when they would see it. I would like to strongly urge each parent to PLEASE don’t think it wont happen to your children. Don’t stick your head in the sand. EVEN with all that my husband and I knew about this, as much as we warned our children about it, as much as we have followed ALL council to do FHE, family prayer, family scriptures, as tight of control as we thought we had over computers and television, etc…this evil still found its way into my home and entrapped my very young (5th grade) son. I am just so grateful I knew what to look for and how to help him, as even 4 years later, this is still a struggle for him. This is happening to good people. My heart aches for these men (and women) who struggle with this. I have realized that I will need to prepare my daughters for this fight as they will very likely be out on the battle field with their companions and families some day.

    I have a motto I have recited often in my mind. It is, “I will not be a casualty in this war I did not start.” And what a long, hard, exhausting war it has been. When will it end?

  10. A big part of this for me is the clothing commonly available in stores – who on earth decided that it was okay to dress girls under the age of 5 like hookers? Last year when I was shopping for summer clothes for my kids, Children’s Place – !!!! – did not have a single girl shirt with sleeves or even a back. All halter tops, starting with the newborns all the way up to size 12. I live in the South, but Come. On. I didn’t buy anything, but I didn’t say anything either. If it happens again, I’m writing to the management and telling them that I will no longer buy anything for my children at their stores until they have something decent for small kids. And don’t get me started about Easter dresses. Can’t find anything with sleeves in the frilly section, and my almost-6-year-old will no longer wear a sweater over the sleeveless dresses to cover her shoulders. I’m making the Easter dresses this year.

    This is not straight-up pornography but immodest clothing certainly dulls the sense of propriety and morality, and makes the excessive showing of skin very common and acceptable to most people.

  11. This may be one of the links you’ve provided (I haven’t gone through all of them yet 🙂 but I didn’t see it with my quick glance. The church sponsors an addiction recovery program (LDSAR). If you search LDS.ORG for “addiction recovery” the first link on the sidebar takes you to the pdf of the manual. There are meetings on virtually any night of the week (aside from Monday). They have a schedule of meetings on the LDS.ORG website. This program is becoming more well known. In fact, recently there was an Ensign article that discussed the program (dealing with alcoholism), however, the program is intended for ALL types of addiction. This program has helped to save my marriage. Obviously it only works if you are willing to put forth the effort to follow the steps and are committed to recovery. But I can truly say that it works.They also recently came out with a program specifically for loved ones of those who suffer from addiction (any sort of addiction). The manual for family members is slightly different. There are not as many of those meetings that I’m aware of- but if you speak with your Bishop, I am sure that they can help direct you to a meeting or at the very least the manual specifically for loved ones of addicts. Pornography has horrific consequences in a marriage. Obviously it is not only hard on the addicted person, but on those who love them dearly. These classes intended for loved ones has been a true God send in helping me to overcome feelings of inadequacy and loneliness. There is a lot of shame and loneliness when your family struggles with something like this. There is alot of shame because there is fear of judgement and criticism. It is lonely and it is hard. But healing is possible. I KNOW this is true. My advice is to NOT BE AFRAID! BE BRAVE! BE STRONG! Even when your world shatters- you still have everything you need in Christ. It is a hard road, but God will never leave you, when you take His hand! THANK YOU for this post! We need more courageous women to be vocal guardians of virtue. 🙂

  12. I can’t decide if I want to stand up and cheer or cry. I think I’ll do both.

    So amazing, Stephanie. I will be linking to this at Mormon Women.

    And such great discussion here.

    Something I have felt as a website manager seeing way too many searches from women personally affected by this (hence the reason for the content at mormonwoman.org) is a surprising sense of hope. Hearing their stories of being able to find healing, feeling the potential power we as women can have if we are wise, educated, and courageous on all fronts, in all our roles…I feel that we really CAN have an impact. This problem thrives on working, lurking in the dark. I loved the “Out in the Light” documentary for that reason — because if we shine light on it in the culture and in our lives, it can lessen its power.

    So let’s keep talking. Write about it. Link up. Get educated. Be bold and brave. Stay grounded in God. Like Cheryl said, I think we have to realize that it’s not a matter of IF, it’s a matter of WHEN. It will affect our lives. No, it already does (cue comments about TV, the SuperBowl ads, or clothing choices for 5-year-old girls).

    Whew. But wow. Stephanie, thank you again.

  13. This is a beautiful post, Stephanie. I thank you for all the time it took you to write it, and for all of your great insights and helpful links. Pornography is a subject I also feel very strongly about. The cruel claw of this addiction has attacked people I love the most, and the effects of addiction have hurt me personally. I have learned that we must talk about this subject continually because it is something that hides in the dark and thrives on secrets, lies, and most of all…SHAME. It can only be vanquished when it’s dragged out into the light and demystified.

    I agree we must do everything in our power to prevent porn from entering our homes and destroying the lives of those we love. However, it is not possible to live in this world and escape pornography. It WILL touch every one of us, and every one of our children WILL be exposed. Even if we throw out all of our TVs and computers and iPhones and try to insulate ourselves and our family from the world, Satan will have the last laugh. If he can’t get into our homes, then it will just happen at another house, or at school, or at an activity or youth event or a family reunion or even at church…yes, it can and will happen anywhere. Of course it can. Satan never sleeps. He’s powerful and creative and he has centuries of experience perfecting his craft. No one is immune or exempt. Once we accept this fact, and get over any panic or helplessness we might feel about it, then we can actually become empowered and prepare for battle. A full frontal attack. Education and talking about porn so it can’t sneak up on anyone. Making a plan in advance wipes out fear.

    I suggest we talk to our children and husbands (and self) about WHEN it happens (not IF) and then plan out what we will do when we experience it. If we only talk about how “bad” and “evil” pornography is all the time, then we set up our child [or husband, or brother, or sister, or friend or self] to feel ashamed and “bad” and “evil” when exposure to porn happens to them. They need to know they are not “bad” when they see porn. It is not their fault! It’s a powerful drug and it’s everywhere. They just need to know what to do when it happens.

    Research has shown that the chemistry in a human brain is physically changed by viewing pornography. The longer it continues, the more damage occurs. Typically masturbation accompanies the viewing of porn. It is a physiological response to the visual and mental stimulation. [This is something no one ever wants to say out loud, so I just did it for you. There. Don’t you feel better now? It’s high time to get that out in the sunshine] Thus, the mind-brain-body connection of a pornography addiction is intensely hard to break, and extra shameful for those who have been taught that masterbation is equally “bad” and “evil”. Pornography is a true drug addiction in every way. It has nothing to do with sex. It is as powerful physically, mentally, chemically and emotionally as any other kind of drug. Studies have shown that it is more addictive to the brain than heroin, and twice as hard to overcome. Just like any drug, at first it only takes a little bit to get “high” on – but, as time goes on, it takes more and more and then harder core things to get the same physiological high. This is the truly dangerous part of this addiction, and how it can kill not only a mind and a soul, but also a marriage, a family, friendships, a career, and an entire life. Sadly, unlike alcoholism or any other drug addiction, an addict of pornography has no way to truly escape being around the temptation, the exposure, and the triggers 24/7. There will always be the ability to get instant gratification with computers and handheld devices. On top of that, there are thousands of deluded people (including “experts” and “doctors”) that actually tout pornography as “fine”, “normal” and “healthy”. So, It is a lifelong fight and it can often get very exhausting – as some have expressed here. But, that’s life. Everyone has their own hard battle to fight. If this is yours, you are not alone and there is help. Remember, It is not your fault. It is the drug itself, and the trillion-dollar industry that pushes the drug, which is to blame. We are all victims. But, we can fight back.

    In 2009 I watched a documentary that literally changed my life and healed my soul. Some of you may be interested in reading my blog post on this subject and watching the movie trailer. I also have resources listed. Pornography Addiction: Movie Offers Hope

    Education and communication is our strongest defense, and God is our strongest ally.

    He didn’t create us to fail. We can, and WILL win this war. – MoSop

  14. When the Disney channel had scantily clad women prancing across the screen over a decade ago, we got rid of TV for the sake of our boys. How could they grow into stalwart young men if pornography was part of the entertainment they found in their own home? While we cannot control what happens outside our home, we’ve never regretted the decision to control the inside.

  15. Thank you for posting this VERY important topic.
    My eternal marriage and family were torn apart by this evil known as pornography.
    It has been the most heartbreaking thing I have ever had to deal with.

    I have always been extremely strict about movies, television, etc. that is allowed in our home. I have always held weekly FHE’s with my family, scripture study, and family prayer…it still was not enough to protect my husband from the evils of pornography. He traveled for work and the temptations of being alone in a hotel room, with a lap top, and trying to find places to get a bite to eat at late hours of the night (usually bars) were too much temptation for him to withstand.

    I discovered that my husband’s involvement in pornography also led him to adultery (multiple). The thing about pornography is that the addict has to continually increase the behavior to continue to get the same “high” or level of satisfaction. It is why pornography often leads to adultery, sexual abuse, rape, and even murder. It is very scary stuff. Very scary.

    I felt extreme sorrow for my husband and tried to help him through counseling, however, he had no desire. His heart was so hardened and he did not care to repent or overcome the addiction. It has been very sad.

    I attended some of the addiction recovery meetings and one wife of an addict said, “If this can happen to my husband, it can happen to ANYONE!” And that is exactly how I felt.

    I think we really need to get our families involved in more service projects and helping others. When we keep our focus on helping and serving others we forget ourselves and our own wants. Living the gospel is so important.

    Keeping the Sabbath Day holy is CRITICAL! My ex-husband would rationalize stopping in at a store, or restaurant on Sunday (I never went with him because I always felt I needed to be the example to my children, and to him).

    Tiny steps eventually snowball. Tiny rationalizations lead to bigger rationalizations.
    And eventually an addiction to pornography leads to another addiction- that of compulsive lying.

    Thank you for posting this. It is so very important that we do all we can to protect our families. The most difficult part is also understanding that individuals have their agency and have to choose for themselves. That can be hard. Really hard.

  16. This is the most insidious plague of our time, and it touches ALL of us. I know far too many families whose lives have been shattered by this evil. As a wife to a husband and a mother of four boys, three of which are teens, it is a battle I am waging EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

    And can I just be annoying and ask mothers of daughters (I have 7, myself) to PLEASE not allow their daughters to go about looking like walking pornography? Our sons and husbands are having a difficult time, as it is!!!

    Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for fighting this fight in no uncertain terms. Some days it feels like a very lonely battle.

    • Rachel, I am fighting with you! I am the mother of 4 sons and 1 daughter and I am fighting it daily as well even though my oldest is only 12. I would love to find an organization or start one that can fight this plague effectively. Any suggestions from anyone??

  17. I personally know the couple behind the salifeline.org link, Steve and Rhyll Croshaw. Dear friends, their whole family, Steve was a counselor to my dad way back in the day when he was a bishop (thirty plus years ago). Shocking to hear about everything (I didn’t know until last year), but I always had so much respect for their family, and it has only grown as I have seen them absolutely pull together, close to each other and close to the Lord. They have raised a wonderful family and are a victorious example to me. I love it. Thanks for this post.

  18. Very well written. Fabulous. Can’t say enough about how important this issue is. I happen to have close friends and family members that have struggled with this. Strained marriages, and slow healing. Statistically, this makes sense…we probably all know someone, even if we don’t KNOW this is a struggle for them. I wish there were less shame so that people who are addicted could rally together to overcome addiction and partake of the healing power of the Atonement.

  19. Love, love, love this post, Steph.
    This is a topic that has lit a fire under me as well. I watched as this horrific plague destroyed not one, but two serious relationships of my sister’s. And these were stalwart, “straight arrow” returned missionary-type young men. While she was fortunate in that she was able to discover their hidden addictions before marriage, it was still incredibly devastating.
    Like you and other commenters have said, all you have to do is catch some of the commercials being aired during so-called “family shows” to see how far society has succumbed.
    I, too, wanted to stand up and cheer to Sister Beck’s call to arms. It is a battle forced upon us, that we MUST win!
    Thanks for bringing this issue to light, and thanks for your frank candor.

  20. My husband’s relative (John L. Harmer) has spearheaded a group that is researching the harmful effects of pornography.
    http://www.thelightedcandlesociety.org/

    The Lighted Candle Society:
    Supports civil litigation against those who profit from pornography;
    Finances scientific research to study the effects of pornography; and
    Publishes information to help families combat the scourge of pornography.

    Their goal is to raise enough funds to bring a lawsuit against the porn industry.

    Pornography is devastating. I have seen what it does to families. I HATE it with a passion and also want to do all I can to keep my children (and others) from being lured in by it.

  21. Thanks for writing this post, it is needed information. Thanks for the great comments as well.

    I would like to share a few things as a casualty of pornography. I am a husband and father and have carried the weight of this addiction for years. The details of how my problem came about are fairly typical and I won’t waste time telling my variation of the common story. I want to share some barriers I came up against in the hope it may be helpful to mainly you who will be trying to aid someone similarly afflicted. As a disclaimer, I realize how weak each of these barriers are and am not sharing out of any attempt at self-justification. This is just part of my struggle. I will add, for the sake of perspective, that my pornography problem has not led to adultery or abuse, and is a sin I find repulsive and disgusting, even in the moment of the sin. I am, thankfully, not yet hardened to be beyond repentance.

    Fear of rejection is a major problem for me. I would love to be able to share my secret sin, both for my own personal help, but also to aid others I know are similarly afflicted. However, my experience in the church is that people forget the person they knew once they discover their darkest sins and immediately “remember” someone much worse. Several years back at a primary correlation meeting, the group discussed a former primary teacher who was now known to be a pedophile. Comments of “I did always think something was wrong with that person” filled the air. The shame of judgment and mistrust is not what someone who wants repentance needs to face. Rather, all covenant members of the church should remember to “comfort those that stand in need of comfort.” We are quick to help those who have a physical need, but forget the suffering that everyone stuck in sin is going through. Discussing our sins is even taboo in the church. I know I’ve told people, “I’m not your bishop, I don’t need to hear.” We add to the fear of rejection further by judging how righteous we believe someone is. I am certain that those who go to church with me perceive me to be a stalwart in the church, not perfect, but not capable of such a serious sin as pornography. This creates an even greater obstacle to repentance. Even now I choose “anonymous” as my name as I am well acquainted with at least one commenter. The obstacle is not even wholly the pride you think it may be, but an anticipation of the great let down people would feel if they knew what I have done. This is the fear. Experience tells me otherwise, at least my wife, saddened, did not reject me when I told her, but nonetheless, it is a great fear.

    I have made many failed attempts to control this addiction. Early on my logic was to rid myself of the source pornography, which incidentally, included prime time television, and magazines that would be sold in any reputable grocery store. (As an aside, while there are things that universally would be considered pornographic, my intentions in looking at things is more important than the intentions of whoever produced the image in defining what is pornographic for me.) Limiting TV and “acceptable” magazines simply opened the doors for other sources. The internet came next. I asked my wife to filter the internet and only she would know the password, but that is easy to work around for someone who wants to find something to satisfy his lusts. Then I decided that I would just use every ounce of self-control to ensure I never looked again. The trouble, as others have pointed out, unless I am blind, I am going to daily come in contact with pornography. It seemed at times that such a great focus on not viewing pornography made it that much more difficult to resist.

    What about scripture and prayers? Through all this, I have never ceased studying my scriptures or praying. Many scriptural phrases would even become part of my prayers. “Please let this weakness become a strength?” “Oh wretched man that I am.” Yet, the sin would continue. “How?” I would wonder since we are taught that the regular study of the scriptures would keep me from sins like that. It’s only people who stop reading their scriptures and stop praying that become such vile sinners. In spite my scriptures and fervent prayer, I would return to my sin. Yet, I am grateful for the scriptures, as I think I would likely have given up the fight without them.

    Even talking to my bishop and branch president didn’t yield the results I wanted. In their defense, I’m sure that I gave a watered down story to the point that they were not concerned, yet giving even a watered down story was a major hurdle for me, as it probably is for anyone trying to confess.

    Finally, years of great personal effort with repeated failure has led me to what actually works, and I would hope this could work for all. I went back to the basic principles of the gospel. I began praying, not to overcome this sin, nor for the strength to burst the bands that held me tight, but for faith in Jesus Christ adequate to escape my addiction. When I ceased to try to figure out how to overcome by my own strength, or logic, or actions, realizing the faith I had thought I had in Jesus Christ was very shallow, I was able to humbly ask for faith. I ceased to look to myself and have put my trust in God. You would not think any of my attempts were the wrong thing to do, but looking back, I see the folly of my efforts. Therein is the wisdom of speaking with the bishop or of the addiction recovery programs, someone to simply aid you to find Christ.

    • I watched my husband struggle for 13 years of our marriage with this addiction… He refused help for fear of being judged by others (within the church). I urge you to PLEASE get outside help- whether it is an addiction recovery support meeting, or a personal counselor- PLEASE don’t let what happened to my husband happen to you (He continually thought he could control it on his own by being involved in his calling, and staying busy with work…he spiraled out of control- committed adultery-walked out on me and our beautiful children).
      You are so right- it is through faith in Jesus Christ that you will be healed and made whole. I remember a talk given at a recent General Conference (I think April 2011) where it was said that those who have been polluted with pornographic images CAN have their minds wiped clean through the atonement. That is such an amazing promise. I know it is real, even though science will tell you it is impossible. Faith in Christ and the atonement can heal all wounds.

      I had a concern about the judgments of people in my ward. I remember my bishop telling me not to worry about it because they shouldn’t be placing judgments in the first place. If they do place judgments, they stand in need of repentance themselves. Ever since then- I haven’t worried about others.

      Thank you for having the courage to share your insight.

  22. I have been following the Beauty Redefined campaign that is designed to help redefine beauty and help women see that the media is objectifying women and creating in them a false idea of what beauty is. This campaign has caught national attention. I love following their posts on facebook. Here is a link to their facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/TakeBackBeauty

    Being a wife of a recovering addict, I know how incredible hard it is to see the magazines plastered everywhere and try NOT to feel like I have to compete with those images.

  23. I have not read through all the comments so I don’t know if anyone else addressed the comment about the IPod Touch/phone Internet access. Since you requested helpful ideas for comments I’ll stick to that & not go into our personal sad story of pornography. The iPod Touch has the capacity to remove Internet access. Go to the Settings icon & you will find “Restrictions”. In there you can create a pass code lock that only you will have access to & then turn on or off all kinds of restrictions. By restricting you tube & safari, you actually remove those icons from the iPod/iPhone screen. You can also restrict what is able to be viewed/purchased in iTunes based on ratings (G, PG, etc) and ban “explicit language” music. As far as wifi, your computer should be password abled & you can make sure your child doesn’t have the password. No system is full proof for any technology but our children are growing up in a tech world. To remove all technology from them doesn’t teach them how to cope with or handle the negative that can come with it. There are ways we can fiercely protect our children while also teaching them the skills both technical & spiritual to succeed and be safe in the world. It is for each family to determine the best approach for them. Parents need to become as tech savvy as their kids even if they don’t want to. Removing a child from all technology in the end does them a
    disservice when they become young adults and are unleashed in the world to make their own way. I’m a firm believer that we can be both protectors & tech teachers at the same time.

    • I agree that banning things doesn’t solve the problem. These images, topics, situations are everywhere. Your children are going to enter the real world someday and need the skills and eduction to defend themselves.

  24. I read this a couple of days ago, and have only glanced through some of the comments but I wanted to add another resource that I didn’t notice…Brite Music (britemusic.com) they have a series called The Safety Kids. I had a few of these when I was little but since then they have added another volumn about pornography and keeping our minds clean. In fact my son is listening to it right now (that is what reminded me about it). It is geared for preschool/grade school kids. It is a great tool for introducing the topic early in a child’s life and as a spring board for talking about it with your child.

  25. Pingback: Mormon Women take a stand: "Sisters, fight -- Fight, sisters" | Mormon Women - About LDS Life and Belief

  26. I have been thinking about this post for a few days and the thought that keeps resonating with me is “fight, fight, fight”. I think that one of the reasons that pornography has gotten as bad as it is is because WOMEN have tolerated. We’ve tolerated seeing ourselves ridiculed, sexualized and demoralized all over TV, Music and just about everywhere else. I think that most women don’t realize that when ANY women is portrayed immodestly or suggestively that it effects ALL women. It is just to easy to justify things away.

    You know a few years ago I was REALLY REALLY upset by a billboard on the freeway in downtown SLC. One of the plastic surgery businesses had a big billboard of a naked woman’s chest wrapped in a bow with a line underneath it that said something “Give Him a gift you both will enjoy.” I was FURIOUS about this and called the billboard company fuming mad. The man there was really rude with me and told me I was way over reacting because there were worse things on TV all the time (like that is any justification!). Then he said the thing that really impacted me. He told me that more than 4 million people had driven by that billboard (by their calculations) and that I was the FIRST person who had said anything. He meant it as an example of how out of touch I was, but it made me SO sad that in a predominant LDS area I was the only one who had cared enough to say say anything (even though I know other women were angry about it to).

    We as women have so much more power for good than we realize– if we would just be willing to USE it and like you said FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT!

    • I, too, have been sick about billboards. There’s one now called “Shaping Utah” that really bugs me. The one that ticked me off last year showed a close-up of a woman’s chest in a tight sweater with the caption, “All I want for Christmas is my two front . . . ” Aaargh. I LOVE that you called them. I’m ashamed I didn’t think of doing that. Since I read your comment, I’ve been thinking today that next time I see something like that, I should make a petition and get good women I know to sign it. Not hard. I could even do it on the blog. Then, when I make the call, I can say I’m speaking on behalf of 100+ women (or whatever) and express a community-wide complaint. That feels like something within my power. Thanks for giving me the idea for a reasonable course of action.

    • AMEN! It shocks and appauls me to hear of LDS women NOT fighting against things like this in their own communities! THANK YOU for calling, and I hope many women will hear of this and join in the fight and let their voices be heard!

      If I see anything like that in my community I will remember your example and be sure to encourage others to also kick and scream. If we lose morality – we loose freedom. This is nothing to be passive about!

  27. Thank you. Your post and the comments make me want to be even more vigilant. And righteous and loving and an easier person for my kids to share things about their life with.

  28. My husband was addicted to pornography before we met and still, 13+ years on, he says those images are still in his head. I am really interested in learning more about the conference talk that said the atonement can wipe your mind clean. I think that would bring so much peace to his heart.

    Satan is just raging at us. He is gnashing his teeth. We have to be aware of it and give our children tools to fight against it. They know sin when they see it. My children are quite capable of sweeping away my adultish tendency to justify things, and tell me exactly what is right and wrong. I see it as my job to encourage that and give them the strength to fight it in their own sphere.

    Thanks for the discussion.

    • I did a little research and found a quote from Boyd K. Packer, October 2010 conference. This *may* be what the previous commenter was referring to. Hope it’s helpful.

      “The priesthood holds consummate power. It can protect you from the plague of pornography—and it is a plague—if you are succumbing to its influence. If one is obedient, the priesthood can show how to break a habit and even erase an addiction. Holders of the priesthood have that authority and should employ it to combat evil influences.”

  29. Pingback: Sharing « Diapers and Divinity

  30. THIS IS SO AWESOME!! Stephanie, I am SO impressed! Thank you for doing this. I have sons, and think of this often, praying we don’t ever discover they are involved (or worse – that they get involved without getting help). Here are a couple things I know of and will add here in case it may help someone…

    The church has an addiction recovery program for many types of addiction, including pornography – and people DO overcome it:

    http://www.providentliving.org/content/display/0,11666,6629-1-3414-1,00.html

    Also, parents need to be aware that there are organizations out there who seek to get youth and even CHILDREN addicted to sex so they can make money off them, and some even do it in public schools under decptive guises of “protection!” (this just boils my blood!) Planned Parenthood is such an organization, and people need to be warned to keep their kids, teens, family – AWAY from it.

    Thanks again! I will send links to this post from my blog!!
    Corine

  31. When we prevent Satan from having power over us or our families, it’s even better than punching him in the face. 🙂

    I have very small children and we’ve talked a lot about the importance of modesty. I have even gone so far as to make shorts and t-shirts that are permanently attached to all of my daughter’s dolls (so that no curious children can look beneath). I know too many people who were exposed to pornography at very young ages, so I am probably a little overprotective.

    I appreciate your advice and especially your assurance in the conclusion — goodness IS more powerful. 🙂

  32. Pingback: Tribute to Sister Julie B. Beck « Diapers and Divinity

  33. Pingback: Pornography–We Can Win the Battle

  34. Go Steph! As a woman whose husband was destroyed by porn and whose sons have been approached by boys in the ward to engage, I say SPEAK UP WOMEN! We talk about sexuality all the time, all three boys and all three girls. The only thing I differ about is the business about normal sexuality getting initially confused with pornography. I want my children to grow up with healthy sexuality and an ability to talk about their bodies, other people’s bodies and healthy sexual responses and differentiate between that and unhealthy attitudes. I want them to be able to TALK! If they are ever lured into a bad habit and fall, I want them to have the tools to get back out and get help as soon as possible. Shame keeps porn in the darkness. The best thing to do is to shine the light, early, often, and ubiquitously! Good for you for speaking up. Seems like it’s the day for it. I’m roaring today too.

  35. One huge challenge is the disagreement, even amount LDS faithful, about what exactly constitutes pornography. I have a close friend who is very much a warrior against certain types of pornography (the kind where naked people are having sex in a video) but purchases (what I consider) pornographic books, music and mainstream movies for her children to consume. Their walls are covered with scantily clad movie and music stars. Their clothing advertises these same images. She can see it OUT THERE but not within her own home or with how her own children dress and conduct themselves.

    Porn isn’t just people having sex on a screen. I think most women enter the world of porn via “romance” novels and their own fantasies. Somehow many of them don’t consider this pornographic.

    • I think one of the least talked about areas of this issue is how it affects women. Not because they know men who participate in viewing/reading/thinking about porn, but because they participate in it themselves and don’t think they’re doing anything wrong. Romance novels (among many other books) are TOTALLY pornographic. Going to see a movie because of sexy hot “eye candy” actors is totally participating in porn. And I often hear women make disparaging and objectifying comments about men and their bodies—things they would NEVER be okay with men saying about women’s bodies.

      I understand that this is supposedly more prevelent among men, but if we’re going to really wake up, I think we need to address every aspect of this issue. Women are sexual creatures! WE can be affected by pornography. And this is something we need to fight against for ourselves, too. Not just the men we know.

  36. I just want to add my voice to the others. I’m a wife of a porn addict as well, and I appreciate so much the people who take interest and speak out without being directly affected. God bless you.

  37. I don’t get it. After reading all these comments, I’m of the opinion anything that raises passions or shows a little bit of skin is labeled “porn”. I’m guessing the swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated is porn? the cover of all the health/fitness magazines – porn? Twilight books are porn? Seriously? I applaud the parents for taking control of their televisions and cable access – even mine are on lockdown from my smaller kids from watching anything overly inappropriate (like M, AO, and the “skin-a-max” late night trash). But, I don’t find it very helpful taking the ostrich approach to this issue. Nor, do I find it acceptable to weigh in with judgement on others that have less hang-ups with the human body. Sadly, we don’t live in a Pollyanna world – nor would we really want to, if given the chance. This prudery is a very fundamentalist American issue, as I never experienced any hangups as discussed in all the comments during my travels in Europe. But, i’m sure I’m one of the odd Mormons.

    • Jacob, I respectfully disagree. I actually do consider the SI swimsuit issue to be porn. It is published and posed specifically to arouse passions. Passion has its place, of course. Human bodies are divine and amazing, and so is human love within the bounds God gave. What you may consider prudish, I consider an essential role as a mother, and I think it’s important that my children learn the difference between love and sex in their divine purpose and sexuality and desire as they’re portrayed in the world at large.

  38. I realize this post is a year old, but I wanted to add my thoughts.

    As a wife of a sex/lust/porn addict and mom of 6 boys I appreciate your words. I would add that as parents we also need to help our children understand and recognize the many different emotions that they feel. The inability to deal with negative emotions we feel–fear, anger, resentment, etc–is what fuels most addictions. My husband sought out porn because viewing it made his body release dopamine (a feel good chemical). When negative emotions and situations presented themselves his mind told him where to find that “feel good” feeling–porn. I have also found that I resort to my addiction of co-dependency when I am feeling fear. Our emotions are truly the root of most our addictions.

    I also feel it is so important for us to really teach our children about the atonement and what it means for them. They need to understand that NO matter what they do, they can ALWAYS turn to their Savior. We need to help them understand how to access the atonement for themselves and apply the principles of it in their lives.

    Thanks again for your post!

  39. Pingback: What do the prophets say about [insert your hot-button issue of choice here]? | Diapers and Divinity

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