Real Prophets, Real Men: Opposing Pornography

True prophets in biblical times were always speaking out against popular but evil trends. The intellectuals, the elite, the celebrities, and other opinion molders of the day often despised the prophets. Modern LDS prophets are in good company. Have you noted how often President Hinckley and other prophets speak out against pornography? In a day when it is so popular and widespread, their constant warnings are hardly tailored for popularity and mass acceptance. But the message is a vital one.

I am so grateful to belong to a Church that doesn’t just say what people want to hear. I believe that the For the Strength of Youth booklet for youth truly is inspired, and am so glad that young people in this Church are warned of the dangers of sin and the blessings of chastity and freedom from pornography. I appreciate the suggestions for regulating media in our homes that the Church provides. I am proud of the First Presidency for speaking out against pornography so frequently. In this degrading era where Dr. Ruth is held up as a hero, and vile organizations like Planned Parenthood are more given far more respect than the Church or Christianity in general, people need the guidance that comes from a true prophet.

Why do I care? Because so many times I have seen the devastating effects of pornography. I have seen it wreck marriages for people that I cared about. I have dealt with many victims of sexual abuse, and know that pornography almost always plays a role in the sordid pattern of behavior associated with such crimes. I have seen people become calloused not only to the promptings of the Spirit, but to the feelings of other people. I have seen pornography change the mindset of others so that they viewed women as little more than slabs of flesh to play with, rather than the daughters of God that they are. I know that the MISINFORMATION it provides interferes with the ability of people to properly experience and grow from the real joys of intimacy in marriage – it leaves the disappointed, selfish, and even pathetic. It makes losers out of people who could have been great. Pornography is all about becoming a loser. Real men don’t do pornography! Neither do real women. And real prophets speak out against these evils. Praise God that we have a real prophet today.

A related resource I offer is my page, “Mormon Answers: Love, Dating, and Marriage for Mormons” with my answers at some common questions dealing with morality.

Related thoughts:

I have little respect for the arrogance of self-styled intellectuals in the Church who sneer at prophetic warnings on morality and modesty, and think that they are in a different class of people who can “handle” pornography or making out or whatever. There is great wisdom and inspiration in our Prophet who urges us to flee pornography as if it were the plague. Those who think they are too smart for that might as well sneer at health officials who warn us to wash our hands and avoid drinking water contaminated with sewage.

I also know that the Church’s program of interviews with Church leaders, so often mocked by critics in and out of the Church, is a powerful resource to help people get the help they need to overcome sin. Dealing with addictive problems like pornography or immorality of any kind (masturbation and beyond) can be very difficult for a person to do without the power that comes from honestly confessing and seeking counsel. People need a confidential outlet to discuss such problems, and coupled with the power of the Spirit and priesthood guidance, miracles can occur. (But these interviews need to be kept uplifting and non-threatening and comfortable, not prying improperly, always showing respect and compassion for the person being interviewed.)

On a final note, let me mention somebody you probably haven’t heard about recently, unless you have access to a TV, radio, newspaper, or computer: Ronald Reagan. Among all the endless discussions of Ronald Reagan in the past few days, one thing I haven’t heard the media mention at all was Ronald Reagan’s moral stand against pornography. The controversial Meese Commission Report on pornography that came from the Reagan era has been denounced by almost everyone in the media. I suspect that the percentage of critics of the report who actually read it is about the same as the fraction of anti-Mormon writers who have read the Book of Mormon. I am one of the very few Americans who actually read the report (still have a copy of it). I feel the report has been grossly misreported and underreported, and that its documentation indeed provides powerful evidence that the porn industry does great harm to America and to many specific victims. It did not call for a new era of draconian censorship, but mostly called for enforcement of already existing Constitutionally valid laws. Reasonable people might disagree with some of its conclusions, but I have almost never heard reasonable people discussing what it actually said, or the evidence behind the recommendations.

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Author: Jeff Lindsay

106 thoughts on “Real Prophets, Real Men: Opposing Pornography

  1. Great post Jeff. Despite the world’s push for tolerance and acceptance, as Latter-day Saints we need to have a ‘zero tolerance’ policy on some things, and pornography is no doubt one such area.

    On a lighter note, have you seen this post?

  2. Hello. I stumbled upon this site when searching for advice for women married to men hooked on pornography. I am an unactive LDS woman, however I practice all the LDS principles of morality and live the Word of Wisdom. I joined the Church nearly 30 years ago. My husband did not. He has never approved of my Church membership. Anyway…….he stays up and looks at Internet porn nearly every nite. I have expressed to him that this makes me very unhappy. We now receive dozens of porn-related e-mails daily. He is unaware of this because he is not very computer savvy. I feel so discouraged and disgusted. There is not a person in the world with whom I can discuss this problem. I don’t want to be married to a man who looks at porn, drinks, swears…….It isn’t that he is not a good person. I love may things about him. But this is so discouraging and insulting. Does the Church say I should remain with a man who continues to look at porn? I have always felt he would one day join the Church, but I realize now it will never happen. I need an LDS husband. I would like to attend Church weekly. Thank you for allowing me to unload my burden. I hope someone will have some kind advice for me. ~P~

  3. Hello ~P~. I am a women who is married to a man who downloads hundreds of files of porn. It hurts my feelings. I have communicated this numerous times to my husband but he still continues to look at and download porn. I have been in individual counseling for a while now.
    The one thing I have learned is that all women and men deserve to have their feelings respected. When my husband looks at porn, I feel hurt, betrayed and disrespected. I’m sure you know exactly how that feels. I look at it as a form of adultry and I believe no women should have to tolerate such a thing. This porn issue is a deal breaker for my marriage. I have come to realize that no matter how much I try to overlook it, I just can’t. I deserve better and so do you.
    ~S~

  4. So have you ladies had sex with your husbands for the pleasure of it or just the “obligation” that you feel for your church to have more children in an over populated country as it is?

    Men and women look at porn for different reasons and one of the most common is if they don’t get pleasure at home they look else where and yes I said ‘look’. They could be out having sex with the gal next door and you might not know it because your so busy frettin over them looking at something that is not touchable.

    I can say these things because I look at porn and I am a woman and I have sex with men and women and my husband and your “god” says to find pleasure and be happy so why arent you?

  5. I am responding to the posting above. First of all, the whole concept of my post back to “P” was not about how much our husbands “GET AT HOME.” Marriage is based on love and respect for one another and “COMPROMISE.” I am a very educated and liberal women. But I am also a sensitive and compassionate women. I understand the fact that men are biologically, sexually, emotionally and physically different than women. My point is that if two people are married and something that one partner is doing is hurting the other, there has to be boundaries. On the next note, I believe every married couple has a right to their own sexuality as long as it is something they can share HAPPILY together. On another note, I want to say to you, that I think anyone who would have sex with men and women with their spouse is pretty stupid considering the risk factors of AIDS and all of the STDS being transmitted. You can use condoms but nothing can protect you 100%. You may “KNOW” the people you are sleeping with but how can you ever “REALLY KNOW.” I hope for your sake and your husbands you don’t have children. If you are making irresponsible decisions to have sex with people outside your marriage, you are not only putting your lives at risk, you are telling your children that it is ok to put their lives at risk also. On another note, I am NOT MORMON, I don’t belong to any church. I just have common sense.

  6. Nice to see some common sense leading to good insights. Immorality destroys people and relationships. It’s stupid. God is kind to forbid it – if only we would listen and obey Him!

  7. Not to mention, pornography is nothing but a distorted and misleading portrayal of what sex and intimacy are supposed to be. It is degrading to women and men. My best guess is that God’s intention for us to be “HAPPY” did not mean we were supposed to go out, promote pornography and have sex with men, women AND our spouse for pleasure. Especially with the AIDS epidemic. We are not some mindless animals going around mating with everything we see for pleasure purposes. In fact, some animals don’t even do that. I guess if your life and health are worth one or several nights of meaningless sex with different people just for, so you say, “PLESURE and HAPPINESS”, all the power to you. I am glad I’m not you. One more thing. Statistics show that married people who view pornography on a regular basis are 3 times more proned to engage in sex outside of their marriage. So in response to your comment about, “JUST LOOKING and the gal next door”, it is much more than that.

  8. Pornography leads to unhappiness, suicide, murder, broken-homes, broken-hearts…

    Please Obey God,It is the only way to joy!

    Kittywaymo

  9. Well, if pornography really caused all the problems that you state above, the whole world outside of Utah apparantly is going to hell! I am a recovering mormon(I thank the Lord)and I have to say this: Yes, if pornography is used as an substitute for a fullfilling and loving sex-life with your partner, then it can create problems. On the other hand, my husband and I finally started enjoying eachother more when we started exploring pornography and learned a lot more about how to give eachother pleasure by using it as a tool to create a healthy sexual relationship. The sad thing about the churches policies is, that it undermines the powerful bond that a husband and wife create through a satisfying sex-life, which is an important part of a relationship. In my life as a mormon women I have met too many frustrated and unhappy couples, where the wife was too scared to accept herself as a sexual being as well as a nurturing and loving woman, and men who were living in self-hatred because of their normal and healthy feelings towards women. The results were unsatisfied and unhappy marriages; a dilemma also caused by the “sweeping under the carpet”-approach of human sexuality.
    Yes, there is degrading porn out there, but there is also the kind that can teach and fan the lust between husband and wife, something that can only better the relationship, as my experience has been.

  10. “Recovering Mormon?”

    Sorry it was so tough for you. Tell me something, though…Which commandment was it that you didn’t want to keep? Tithing? Chastity? There is always usually at least one.

  11. xyIt´s not always that easy…you think that one has to be basically evil and unbelieving to drift away, which is almost never the case. I drifted from the church not because I wanted to sleep around(not my character or beliefs), not pay tithing, take drugs/drink alcohol/smoke or any other reason that mormons like to pull out against me, but because I was in a constant depressed state…always feeling like I was less than what the church needed me to be, eventhough I was trying my best all the time. These feelings never came from god(I always felt loved by him), they came from the church and they seriously tormented me and kept me from loving myself and accepting myself. There are many moral attitudes that I have still kept and I have never wavered in my undying belief in god and christ, but I have found that there are many ways to find god, that there is not only “one” true way.
    I have met more spiritual and loving people outside of the church than within, where most were very smallminded and arrogant.
    This is one thing that many mormons forget: That arrogance and feelings of superiority that they have towards others(non-members) are sinful.
    My wish for the church and it´s members: open up to your non-mormon neighbor, don´t only stick to your LDS community, get involved in doing good outside of the church. So many mormons think that only church attendance/templework/tithepaying,etc. will be their ticket to salvation, but it´s the stuff you do everyday, the little things that make the difference. It´s just like some muslims, praying five times a day, believing that´s all they need to enter paradise, but then being unjust towards their wives/”nonbelievers”/children etc..

  12. uummm duh! What did you think the church was teaching? NOT to help those in need or serve other people? I´m sorry, but no matter how many times you say you were “Mormon” I just can´t believe you. Not saying that you didn´t get babtized or anything like that, just that you didn´t open your ears when people were talking. So I will say DUH again. And this whole thing about people making making you feel “unworthy” is 100% YOU making yourself feel unworthy. The church gives you guidlines, and if your not following those guidlines of course your gonna feel like scum, because you know you shouldn´t be doing those things. Oh and by the way, if the case is that you had problems “Forgiving” yourself for things you had done, agian this is your problem! Not the person who gives a talk on that exact subject that you are dealing with.

  13. uummm duh! What did you think the church was teaching? NOT to help those in need or serve other people? I´m sorry, but no matter how many times you say you were “Mormon” I just can´t believe you. Not saying that you didn´t get babtized or anything like that, just that you didn´t open your ears when people were talking. So I will say DUH again. And this whole thing about people making making you feel “unworthy” is 100% YOU making yourself feel unworthy. The church gives you guidlines, and if your not following those guidlines of course your gonna feel like scum, because you know you shouldn´t be doing those things. Oh and by the way, if the case is that you had problems “Forgiving” yourself for things you had done, agian this is your problem! Not the person who gives a talk on that exact subject that you are dealing with.

  14. MMA, I am not Mormon and I cetainly don’t claim to be but If I was searching for reasons to become Mormon, you are certainly NOT one of them. Your comments are cruel and judgemental. Based on your comments alone, your essence is the furthest thing from Christ’s teachings that there is. I don’t care what faith you follow. Who are you to say to anyone that they are to blame for their feelings of inadequacy or depression?! It is people like you who drive others away from the Mormon faith. Maybe you should take some lessons on caring and kindness. Duh………….. Stasi

  15. You know it´s kind of sad to read your comments MMA…seems like you´re doing excactly what I´m talking about>>being judgemental and arrogant. Reading it only confirms my suspicions/beliefs.
    Okay then; tell me about the stuff that your ward does, concerning charity, that involves people outside of it. What does the church really do for everybody else, besides send out missionaries to get more tithe-payers?
    Oh, and besides that: I was a damned good mormongirl, I did it all by the book! The problem is, my dear friend, that everybody is lying to themselves, about their feelings, beliefs and happiness.
    The dreariest services are held in LDS chapels with uninspired talks, that bore you to tears, with mothers whispering “I know this church is true” into the ears of their 3-year-olds(who couldn´t even have the foggiest..)so that everyone can say how faithful that family must be. Where for Christmas or even Easter NOTHING(!!!) is said about Christs birth and death, but Joseph Smith is talked to death once again…
    My secret discovery has been this, by the way: “fast and testimony” sundays are the only time, when all the women get to bawl their hearts out in open, pretending that it´s all about their faith.

  16. Jeff’s comments are good insight and well thought out, as per usual. Bravo, Jeff!

    But whoa, nelly! A bit of flinging, no? I agree with Stasi–pull the beam out of our own eyes first, eh? I am LDS and I love it, and I do know that the decision to leave the church, or not to believe, or fling, as it were, are all personal decisions–and not a springboard FOR ANYONE to condemn a thing. Being indignant and lashing out are all human traits that we all have, unfortunately. So let’s take a step back, breathe, and either a.)remember in who’s name in which we’re speaking to our fellow man, regardless; b.) recall what it is we are so bitter about, where we’re at, and be less abrasive, if possible, or that c.)no one can be exact on what drives a person, how that person feels, etc., but that person and their Maker, regardless of our own personal interpretations. 🙂

  17. Jeff, as well as the leaders of Christ’s church in this time, are 100% correct! I am a man born and raised in the church, musician and artist by nature, so am around “free” thinkers a lot. I became addicted to pornography. I am married with children and convinced I needed more “spice” in my love life.
    I pray often and knew it was wrong and that it adversely affected my wife and moreover my thought process. I could not help but view any woman as a sexual object while I was viewing improper material.
    I know what it does to a man’s mind to see this kind of filth, it was only when I got away from it. Avoided it altogether that I saw it for what it was. FILTH! Women are to be respected, just as we want to be. Who is going to respect a man who cannot control himself? They deserve better. My wife deserves better! So here is my advice to anyone and everyone willing to listen who finds themselves in a similar situation:
    1. Do not justify it!
    2. Get away from it! (knee deep in muck you can see it for what it truly is)
    3. Find a different way to spice up your love life. Dance lessons are good!
    4. Pray constantly and fill your head with something of a higher nature.

    It is destructive! It gets worse and worse! Soon just nudity isn’t enough, you need something different and it keeps spiraling downhill from there!

    Hope this helps somebody,

    -Anonymous

  18. I am a Christian woman. I found a substantial amount of pornography hidden in the garage before my husband & I were married. We had already been together for 6 years at that point-what a shock. He always said it disgusted him. We disposed of all of the material (a briefcase full) 5 years ago. I always thought we had a healthy sex life but even though he assures me he’s never viewed this type of material since, time has not healed my wounds. I never withheld sex, I am a very attractive woman with a great figure, open to experimentation (within God’s limits) and I love my husband dearly. Is it possible to stop looking at this stuff “cold turkey” or am I being blind? I think the biggest problem for me is that he could never answer the “why” question. If you don’t know why, how can you stop? I will tell you from personal experience…pornography hurts women. I question whether I am good enough, pretty enough, sexy enough. Are my beasts too small? Every day for 5 years, I wonder why I wasn’t enough. This is a painful place to be.

  19. Being LDS is a choice some make. The covents made between you and Heavenly Father are not to be taken lightly. I have in the past struggled with pornography and the feelings of guilt this forces to the surface. Is my mormon wife frigid? No quite the opposite, but addition is seldom the outcome of rational thought. For those that are struggling to free yourselves from this bond, I humbly ask you to pray with true intent and repent. For those that believe pornography is nothing but a tool then I hope and pray it doesn’t ruin your lives. I am not judging anyone only God sits in the judgement seat, but if I may end this with a warning; search your soul for what is right. If your actions or words don’t build your spirit perhaps you should change what you’re doing or saying.

  20. You all blindly follow a religion / cult (the only difference I can find between the two definitions is the size of the congregation) that was invented by a mentally unstable man. Quakers living on the moon anyone? In your desire to ‘belong’ to something you give up the option of thinking for yourselves. Porn is not black and white (though it can be :->) and whilst there are harmful forms there are also some that are good entertainment. I don’t want to be told what I can look at based on your misguided beliefs..

  21. Thanks for the posting Jeff. I often wish we could change the perception of what a ‘real man’ is in our society. According to our society’s definition, a real man has a physique with a large beer gut, cold beer in one hand, remote in the other. He is only capable of watching football, porn, and playing video games. He is often cast as dumb and unaware of anything besides the aforementioned activities. This perception of a real man needs to change. Real men are actively involved with their families, real men real their families and are role models for their children, real men are active in their communities and churches, promoting moral values. And yes, real men change diapers.
    Pornography is dangerous, addictive, and destroys families. It leads to unhappiness, infidelity, and deviant sexual behavior. Those who disagree with those statements are simply those that do not hold any kind of strong moral values.

  22. I found last Feb. 28th my husband who was 55 at the time looking at mild porn of young girls and young girls and young women in so called swinwere. He even set up a yahoo email account to keep the trash at he emailed the websites to this yahoo email account. This hurt more then I can say. I have always fault in my heart he has run around on me. I knew somehow he was looking at porn be for I found out. It has cause alot of trouble in are marrage I just to turst him at all anymore. We have been married for over 31 years. He says he is not doing this anymore I still fined it hard to belive he is not. It has made me feel I wouldn not want our teenage granddaughters to be left alone with him nor to feel any young girl would be safe around him if left alone with him.

  23. I would just like to say that I AM addicted to pornography, insipte of the church’s counsel against it — and there are NO good forms of it, nor is any of it “OK” or “healthy”. I am currently seeking help for my problems. The church can’t do enough to counsel us against this addictive and destructive thing. And I have had times that I have felt I could never “measure up” to the standards of the church as well, which has tempted me to leave (on occasion). But that is because I do not understand enough the love of Christ for me and his mercy and forgiveness (yes, Mormons DO believe in grace and mercy). It’s a shame for anyone to give up on all God wants to give them because of feeling unworthy. We need to confess to God and plead for his help and forgiveness. In spite of my problem with this, I DO believe that if I can overcome it, the Lord WILL forgive me.