Does Pornography Hurt?

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Widespread porn use has risen like a tide with my generation.  I hear arguments for porn, mainly that it’s a private choice and doesn’t affect anyone but the user.  Also, it seems that with porn, it’s a case of majority rules.  “Everyone” does it, therefore, it’s ignored and viewed as normal or even harmless.  I couldn’t disagree more.

I think pornography use hurts our society as a whole.  Porn desensitizes.  That’s a fact.  And as this generation becomes desensitized, media conversely becomes more provocative, more loud, and more lewd to get a reaction.  Porn users and non-users alike are affected by the rising tide.  Try watching commercial TV with a sweet two-year-old child beside you and you’ll know what I mean.  You may find yourself instinctively reaching out to cover their eyes. We instinctively shield our children but we are not always as kind to ourselves.  Well, I think we deserve that kindness too.  In the words of Jeffery R. Holland, here’s why:

“It destroys that which is second only to our faith in God—namely, faith in those we love. It shakes the pillars of trust upon which present—or future—love is built, and it takes a long time to rebuild that trust when it is lost. Push that idea far enough—whether it be as personal as a family member or as public as elected officials, business leaders, media stars, and athletic heroes—and soon enough on the building once constructed to house morally responsible societies, we can hang a sign saying, “This property is vacant.”(See Fairlie, The Seven Deadly Sins Today, 175.)”

So, I want to add my voice to the argument that pornography is not ok.  We don’t have to accept porn or overlook it.  We can vote with our dollars and our patronage.  We can teach our children to do better than the generation before them.  We don’t have to let this pervasive influence dull our lives.

I’ve been thinking about something that every parent knows and every preteen feels compelled to figure out the hard way—that is that innocence is precious.  The things that look mature and enticing when you’re thirteen, an adult would happily trade for the purity of youth.  And, contrary to what thirteen-year-olds seem to believe, purity and niavity are not synonymous.

Home can be a haven where harsh voices can’t reach.  Children can grow in an environment of love and mutual respect.  Life can resonate with the sweet and simple pleasures of innocent hearts.  People really do live like that.  Every sincere Mormon I know lives like that. Of course it’s not easy to turn against the tide, but I believe that we owe it to our children and to ourselves.

The following links on this topic were interesting to me.  Parents, you may want to preview these before sharing with your children.

Video: The Great Porn Experiment A TEDx Glasgow speech by Gary Wilson.  Finally, some definitive research on the negative effects of pornography use.  Most notably, Wilson describes why so many heavy users are VOLUNTARILY giving it up.

Article: The World Away From Porn by C. Jane Kendrick.  An LDS woman’s perspective on how porn distorts our God-given sexuality.

Also, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a website dedicated to helping individuals overcome the effects of pornography: overcomingpornography.org

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