Friday, December 16, 2011

Pornography--No One is Immune

Recently I overheard a conversation about pornography. One of the participants of this discussion said that he was sure that some cases exist in which pornography doesn't destroy the viewer's life and family. Of course, he admitted, it wreaks havoc in some people's lives and isn't good, but he believes some people indulge in pornography and are fine.

I wish to today offer my opinion on the matter.

First, to make clear the Church's stance on pornography, I quote President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910-2008):

"Pornography, with its sleazy filth, sweeps over the earth like a horrible, engulfing tide. It is poison. Do not watch it or read it. It will destroy you if you do. It will take from you your self-respect. It will rob you of a sense of the beauties of life. It will tear you down and pull you into a slough of evil thoughts and possibly of evil actions. Stay away from it. Shun it as you would a foul disease, for it is just as deadly. Be virtuous in thought and in deed."1

The link above contains numerous similar quotes, talks, and teachings from the Lord's servants in our day. The teachings of the Church are clear concerning pornography; it is evil, "highly destructive of divine potential, [and is] to be strictly shunned by children of God."2

That being said, there are commandments and rules and guidelines, "adapted to the capacity of the weak and the weakest of all saints," that are given to everyone even though a select few may be able responsibly engage in a particular activity and be okay. Example: perhaps one glass of wine at dinner would do one no harm and the person could perhaps go his or her whole life without drinking to excess or becoming intoxicated. I'm sure some one of you could produce an example of someone you know who may have accomplished this. However, the negative effects of alcohol as a whole vastly outweighs anything good that may come to the few who can drink in moderation and therefore the Lord commands all to abstain.

Pornography, however, is NOT one of the commandments adapted to the weak and the weakest of all saints. Pornography can and will tear down even the mightiest of men (and women) for it is "one of the most effective of Satan’s enticements."3 Indeed, as part of the higher law taught by Jesus Christ Himself while He was upon the earth we learn that, "whosoever looketh upon a woman to lust after her hath already committed adultery in his heart."4 Adultery is a non-negotiable commandment and "an abomination in the sight of the Lord."5 

The prophet of the Lord, President Thomas S. Monson said this:

"There may be those of you who are thinking to yourselves, 'Well, I’m not living all the commandments, and I’m not doing everything I should, and yet my life is going along just fine. I think I can have my cake and eat it too.' Brethren, I promise you that this will not work in the long run." Those who pursue such a lifestyle of trying to serve God and mammon will be left with, "all of the emptiness, darkness, and loneliness that Satan provides to those who believe his deceptions, illusions, and lies."6,7

Wickedness never was happiness.8 I do not believe that a soul exists on this planet who can indulge in pornography to any degree and remain true and steadfast in the gospel and to his family. Sooner or later his world and everything he holds dear will come crashing down and he will be left with the tears that inevitably follow transgression.9

The Atonement is the way back for any who have been caught in the trap of pornography. Forgiveness is real for those who's repentance is sincere. This I believe.


1. President Gordon B. Hinckley, "Some Thoughts on Temples, Retention of Converts, and Missionary Service," Ensign, Nov 1997
2. Elder Russell M. Nelson, "Salvation and Exaltation," Ensign, May 2008
3. President Thomas S. Monson, "Until We Meet Again," Ensign, May 2009
6. President Thomas S. Monson, "Dare to Stand Alone," Ensign, Nov 2011
7. See Matthew 6:24
8. See Alma 41:10
9. President Thomas S. Monson, "Preparation Brings Blessings," Ensign, May 2010