Prophets and Apostles have warned against the dangers of pornography for many years. A huge threat to the Creator’s plan for His children, the problem of pornography is only getting worse. Accessible with the click of a button, pornographic material no longer needs to be sought out; often it will find you. In order to fight against this destroyer, we must be aware and protect ourselves and those around us by filling our lives with virtue and light.
            We can know that pornography is a pandemic against the family by studying the nature of God’s children. We are created in the imagine of God. We are His sons and daughters, and He loves us very much. It is His intent to have us return to Him again. In addition, we can specifically study the Plan of Salvation. Sister Linda S. Reeves has reminded us that, “One reason we are here on earth is to learn to manage the passions and feelings of our mortal bodies.” She continues, “These God-given feelings help us want to marry and have children. The intimate marriage relationship between a man and a woman that brings children into mortality is also meant to be beautiful, loving experience that binds together two devoted hearts, unites both spirit and body, and brings fullness of joy and happiness as we learn to put each other first.” (April 2014)
            Sister Reeves lays out several different doctrines and principles for us to consider. We have been given bodies and appetites that are not inherently evil, but must exercised with control and used appropriately.
            In The Book of Mormon, Alma teaches a powerful lesson to his son Shiblon. He instructs him to, “bridle all your passions that ye may be filled with love.” (The Book of Mormon, Alma 38.12) When our motivation is love (selflessness) over lust (selfishness), we can know that we are acting in accordance with God’s laws.
            As a threat to the family, the viewing of pornography inevitably comes with many additional damaging factors. Along with understanding the doctrines of virtue, love, our divine nature, agency, and the Creator’s plan for His children, we need “to know the dangers of pornography and how it overtakes lives, causing loss of the Spirit, distorted feelings, deceit, damaged relationships, loss of self-control, and nearly total consumption of time, thought, and energy.” (Sister Linda S. Reeves, April 2014)
            According to The Family: A Proclamation to the World (General Conference, Sept. 1995) pornography disrupts the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children. We are reminded of the first commandment, to multiply and replenish the earth, “We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.” Pornography threatens the family by employing those sacred emotions while teaching that we do not need to be married nor do we need to have the intent to bear children to experience those sacred emotions. Not only can pornography prevent one from having the motivation and desire to marry, but can also disrupt existing marriage relationships. We learn that “the family is ordained of God” and that “Marriage between man and a woman is essential to His eternal plan.” We simply “need” those relationships.
            The Proclamation continues, “Children are entitled…to be reared by a father and mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity.” The word “entitled” is very powerful here. The word itself means to be “inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment.” (Google definitions) In many cases we are warned against the spirit of entitlement, but in this case it is very clear that as His children, we are truly entitled to be raised by virtuous parents. “The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave.” As we continue reading we learn that, “individuals who violate covenants of chastity… or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God.” This is important to understand because it is God’s purpose to have us all return to Him in family unit, only accomplished by keeping covenants and fulfilling family responsibilities.
            Unfortunately, even with the very clear direction in the proclamation, I believe that this is a huge problem within the church. I have found that it is not unusual for pornographic material to creep into the lives of Latter-day Saints.
            A natural desire to be attracted to the opposite sex, feelings of intimacy and arousal often come as a result of seeing or even hearing about something sexual. Starting at a young age, if introduced to pornography the mind and body will react in a way that is often times new and confusing. As curious beings, and the temptations to explore are high and, rather than physically exploring curiosity, individuals turn to the Internet. Although the damage that comes from pre-martial sexual relations is commonly understood, the adversary disguises the sensitive nature of pornography to seem harmless. However, if not repented of it can lead to many more sins and even serious crime.
            Elder Marvin J. Ashton told the story of a little old lady who taught him the meaning of a lie by having him recite, “A lie is any communication given to another with the intent to deceive.” (April 1982) Satan is a liar. He is out to deceive us all. The philosophies and cultural trends of men would lead you to believe that pornography is harmless, and in some cases, would even strengthen your relationship as a couple. They would lead you to believe that it is natural, that “there is no harm in this” (The Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 28.8) A “life is about us and even if there is an after life we’ll receive a little punishment and then we’ll be saved” selfish, sort of view. These are all lies that the adversary tries to get us to believe.
            When we remain close to the Spirit we will have the eyes to see the difference between truth and err. Then, when we receive the truth, it is our responsibility as member’s of His church to share that with those around us. The Savior said to Peter, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” (The King James Bible, Luke 22.31-32) As one who is converted to virtue, I know that the Lord expects me to strengthen those around me. It would be tragic for me to keep my knowledge and understanding to myself.
            We learn in Moses that the Lord’s purpose, his work and his glory, is to “bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” (The Pearl of Great Price, Moses 1.39) Correspondingly, we read in the Doctrine and Covenants Section 11 verse 20, that our purpose is one and the same. It states, “Behold, this is your work, to keep my commandments, yea, with all your might, mind and strength.” By keeping God’s commandments, we will fulfill His purpose and return to Him. We have covenanted to be virtuous and must also covenant to strengthen those around us.
            Sister Reeves points out that, “many children, youth, and adults are innocently exposed to pornography, but a growing number of both men and women are choosing to view it and are drawn back repeatedly until it becomes an addiction.” Luckily, we do not have to fight is threat alone. The restored gospel of Jesus Christ offers escape for those either witnessing or battling this threat to children and families. The Atonement of Jesus Christ can heal and protect even against the devastating reaches of pornography.
            President Boyd K. Packer has counseled, “it may be that the simplest and most powerful prevention and cure for pornography, or any unclean act, is to ignore and avoid it. Delete from the mind any unworthy thought that tries to take root. Once you have decided to remain clean, you are asserting your God-given agency. And then, as President Smith counseled, “Don’t look back.” (Oct. 2010) To those looking for hope in healing, he reminds us of the doctrine of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and assures us that, “those who truly desire it, there is a way back. Repentance is like unto a detergent. Even ground-in stains of sin will come out. Priesthood holders carry with them the antidote to remove the terrible images of pornography and to wash away guilt. The priesthood has the power to unlock the influence of our habits, even to unchain from addiction, however tight the grip. It can heal over the scars of past mistakes.”
            He continues, “I know of no more beautiful and consoling words in all of revelation than these: “Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more.” (The Doctrine and Covenants, 58.42)

Works Cited
Ashton, Marvin J.  “This is No Harm” Semi- annual General Conference for the Church of Jesus                 Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, UT. April 1982. Conference address.
Packer, President Boyd K. “Cleansing the Inner Vessel” Semi- annual General Conference for the             Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, UT. October 2010.             Conference address.
Reeves, Linda S. “Protection from Pornography – a Christ-Focused Home” Semi-annual General             Conference for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, UT. April             2014. Conference address.

The First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day             Saints,The Family: A Proclamation to the World” Semi-annual General Conference for             the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, UT. 23 September 1995.             Proclamation to the world.