Defending the home against pornography
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Editor's note: This is seventh in a seven-part anti-pornography series reported by the LDS Church News staff.
Part 1: March 3, 2007 In your family?
Part 2: March 10, 2007 Protecting homes from pornography
Part 3: March 17, 2007 Young and trapped
Part 4: March 24, 2007 Dual relationship with family, fantasy
Part 5: March 31, 2007 Finding recovery from porn addiction
Part 6: April 14, 2007 Fight to stop porn
Part 7: April 21, 2007 Defending the home against pornography
Special report: Nov. 29, 2003 The silent sin: enslavement of pornography
After reviewing dozens of interviews and material from this anti-pornography series, the following stood out as the most important conclusions:
- Many Church leaders and Latter-day Saint mental health professionals list pornography as the No. 1 concern for Latter-day Saint families.
- Children should learn from their parents about the sacred nature of procreation and the essential role it plays in their lives. These principles will help them righteously govern these powerful physical drives. Provide an atmosphere where children can openly discuss these matters. Studies show that teens who come from families where sex is not discussed openly "experiment with sex at an earlier age, are more likely to engage in unprotected sex, and have higher rates of teenage pregnancy when compared to teens who come from homes that have a more open climate towards issues of sex."
- Children should participate in and enjoy wholesome family recreation. Children need to learn what a "natural high," or "feel-good experience" is like.
- Parents should not leave their daughters with boyfriends or sons with girlfriends on their own in the home, especially after midnight.
- Parents must be involved in their children's computer world. Place home computers in family gathering places, not bedrooms. Use passwords and/or filtering systems to prevent accidental viewings of pornography. However, be aware that filters are fallible. Require children to have a buddy while using the computer. Regularly check computer histories and be aware that teens today are savvy enough to erase histories. Many children view pornography at the homes of others, including their grandparents where computers might not have filters.
- The topic of pornography must be something that can be discussed in a family setting.
- Experts say that as many as 40 percent of Americans suffer from a compulsive sexual behavior or addiction. The average age of beginning addiction is 11 years old. Latter-day Saints with the problem are no different when it comes to prevalence or magnitude of sexual addictions.
- Pornographic material can be downloaded with music, and some teens view animated pornography, which can slip through Internet filters.
- Cell phones with screens have Internet access. Flash cards can bring pornographic material inside the home without a person ever accessing the Internet.
- Expect that all boys and young men will encounter pornography, and help them have a plan in advance with the choice already made to turn it off. Returning missionaries are particularly vulnerable and need to be specifically warned of the Internet trap that awaits, especially those who viewed pornography before their missions.
- Secrecy and lies are the lifeblood of pornography. Pornography takes people to the shadows, late at night. Most pornography is paid for with credit cards.
- Young single adult women should know well who they are planning to marry and choose accordingly.
- Pornography is not, as many users believe, a victimless crime. Spouses and children are often the neglected victims of sexual addictions.
- Wives will almost always eventually discover if their husbands are viewing, because, in the words of one counselor, "Pornography makes men stupid." Wives whose husbands are viewing pornography suffer as much as if the men were having on-going affairs, and will need the love and support of others and, possibly, professional help.
- Most addicts are men, but it is a growing problem among women, especially on chat rooms.
- The longer pornography is viewed, the more damage it does and the more difficult it is to stop.
- To stop an addiction, viewers must make frequent visits to their bishops, receive professional counseling and continue to regularly attend a gospel-based addiction recovery group. Pride must be overcome, but it can be done.