Imagine the following dialog.
“I just heard the bubonic plague is infecting tens-of-thousands of people all across the northern part of the state. In fact, this morning the outbreak is just 60 miles north of us. What are you going to do?
“Well. I have some Christmas gifts to exchange. Mom wants me to get the oil changed, and the new movie is opening tonight. You are planning on coming with me aren’t you?”
Ludicrous you say. Perhaps. The worst thing you can do when confronted with real peril is nothing.
Do you believe that? Read on.
If you were faced with an adversarial threat or imminent danger, you would do everything in your power to escape or fight back, right? Of course. So would I. And if this opposition not only threatened you but your spouse, children, and loved ones as well, you would make sure to free yourself and them from this menace, right? Remember that fire you are feeling in your heart right now. You can do it.
Our life expectancy has essentially doubled in the last two centuries, but it doesn’t really matter whether the above dialog occurred yesterday or two-hundred years ago. The remedies don’t have any effect on blessing and protecting us if we don’t use them. And that applies just as well to the plague of pornography and sexual promiscuity as with any other disease.
I thought in preparation for this article, I would do a little Google search to see if others have spoken about pornography and sexual misconduct as a plague prophesied to occur in the last days. What I found shocked me, both in terms of quantity and content.
Dozens of comparisons are made by people from all walks of life. This is an epidemic of international proportions yet is currently so debilitating that it is infecting us big time right here at home as well.
Now at this point, I would guess you may be responding possibly a couple different ways:
- What’s the big deal?
- Not again… another article about pornography?
- I don’t want to admit or believe it.
Or you may be agreeing with me that this is a real, pervasive, and devastating problem, and you may be struggling with this very addiction as a participant or one of the many people affected. Actually, each of the bulleted responses above is exactly the same. They are apathy. But we are not forsaken. We are all on the same side. No one stands alone.
I learned that I was naïve about this subject. Though I have tried to be vigilant by attending conferences on the topic and teaching family and friends to steer clear of this disease, it has escalated to a point of sweeping proportions. Don’t misunderstand me. This is an epidemic.
People of all races have been affected and largely misled. Vices that once seemed unacceptable and deplorable have been adopted, integrated, and even celebrated. It’s very bad, but I expect like me you will find it is way worse than you ever imagined.
This plague has been growing since the early 20th century and is so rampant that it has infested our homes, phones, health, schools, and literally all media. Largely people overlook the immensity of the problem for a handful of reasons:
- There is nothing I can do about it anyway. Is there?
- I don’t know how to respond. What can I do really?
- My kids and family know already. This could never happen to us. Could it?
- Honestly, I am afraid to speak out. Won’t my family be offended?
If you are from my generation, you may say this subject is off limits at your house. They discuss this in school anyway, don’t they? Would you leave your children’s well-being up to somebody else?
When I was traveling in Europe, what I found on the way to my destination and after I arrived shocked me. Open solicitations filled the newspapers at the airport. Kiosks plastered their displays with blatant pornography. Lifestyles seemed to follow, adopt, and applaud this regimen. And these experiences I am describing occurred nearly 40-years-ago. What was shocking then still should be disgusting today.
Yet the opposite seems to be happening. Apathy, ignorance, or despair—for whatever reason—the prominence and accessibility continue to grow. The addiction seems only to get worse.
Jeffrey R Holland said “As a general observation, I think our high school and college-age students are wonderful, that they’re striving collectively, I think, to be as fine a generation of young people as we have ever had in this Church. But even as I say that, I am quick to acknowledge—and I don’t want to minimize that compliment, but I am quick to acknowledge what you already know—that exceptions to that rule are too many and often far too serious.
When our youth sin now, they can do so in such flagrantly offensive ways with ever more serious consequences in their lives. That is the world we are in and it is, by scriptural definition, a world that is getting progressively more wicked.
So over time we will continue to see a steady deterioration of what is acceptable in movies, on television, in pop music (which, in the case of rap lyrics, isn’t even music at all), and, perhaps in our most dangerous contemporary foe, abuse of the Internet.
I have learned what you have learned—that the door to permissiveness, the door to promiscuity and lewdness, swings only one way. It only opens farther and farther; it never swings back. Individuals can choose to close it, but it is quite certain, historically speaking, that public appetite and public policy will never close it.” (CES Conference on the New Testament, 8 August 2000, BYU)
Engaging in this lifestyle is not only sinful; it is addicting, blatant, and dangerous. But then that shouldn’t surprise you because the leaders of the Church have been preaching this for years. What is a surprise is the proliferation and repulsive aspects of the disease? Gratefully, others have joined the battle. And don’t mistake. This is a battle in every sense of the word. Moses 7:26
Now with technology, we can view inappropriate activity masquerading as entertainment in its many forms from our computers or phones. I wonder if this is one reason that the great and spacious building is depicted as floating high in the air without a foundation. To me, it is an obvious metaphor. But the Lord has not left us without guidance, direction, and real solutions to this problem.
“Where choices have already led to sexual impurity, repentance is the way back. Talk to your parents and your bishop. They love you and will explain to you how to repent and put your life in order again. Follow their counsel.
“The miracle of forgiveness is real, and true repentance is accepted by the Lord. Full repentance of some sins requires that we not only confess and resolve them with the Lord but that we also do so with the Church. The bishop and stake president have been appointed by revelation to serve as judges in these cases.
“Only the Lord can forgive sins, but these priesthood leaders can assist the transgressor in the process of repentance. … If you have sinned, the sooner you begin to make your way back, the sooner you will find the sweet peace and joy that come with the miracle of forgiveness.”
Elder M. Russell Ballard teaches how to speak regularly with your family members, a trusted friend, or Church leaders about your experiences, especially when confronted with pornography.
I have found that it is not as difficult as you may think. Realize that the adversary wants you to believe that there is no hope and that shame or embarrassment or heartbreak is unavoidable and not worth it. But consider the source of this reasoning.
The pernicious attitude of the adversary wants only pain and misery for you and your loved ones. He wants you controlled by fear of rejection and shame. But your loving Heavenly Father and his Son Jesus Christ care for you and stand with open arms to accept you, build you up, and help you overcome and avoid this disease. Jesus Christ has already suffered for your sins so that he can succor and save you.
11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities. Alma 7:11-12
Remember, the worst thing you can do is nothing, especially when there are so many resources at your disposal to help and protect you and your family from falling victim to this plague or recovering from it.
In my opinion, the best thing you can do is to love your family and join the fight to help others who are threatened and may have fallen victim to this epidemic. We are stronger together and need your help.
Pornography addiction is “a plague like we have never seen,” but God knows about this and has provided an escape through the healing power of Jesus Christ.
Whatever your struggle, there is hope. Forgiveness is assured. Healing is certain.
Take your family back.
He can heal you.
In 1989, Walter Penning formed a consultancy based in Salt Lake City and empowered his clients by streamlining processes and building a loyal, lifetime customer base with great customer service. His true passion is found in his family. He says the best decision he ever made was to marry his sweetheart and have children. The wonderful family she has given him and her constant love, support, and patience amid life's challenges is his panacea.