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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, also known as the Mormon church, has always made their stand on sexual purity very clear. A document released by the leaders of the church called The Family: A Proclamation to the World states that “the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.” At a very young age, church members are instructed to keep their bodies clean and their minds pure. In a pamphlet created for the youth of the church called For the Strength of Youth, they are counseled that “The Lord’s standard regarding sexual purity is clear and unchanging. Do not have any sexual relations before marriage, and be completely faithful to your spouse after marriage. Do not allow the media, your peers, or others to persuade you that sexual intimacy before marriage is acceptable. It is not. In God’s sight, sexual sins are extremely serious. They defile the sacred power God has given us to create life. The prophet Alma taught that sexual sins are more serious than any other sins except murder or denying the Holy Ghost (see Alma 39:5). Although the restrictions implemented in order to obtain sexual purity may seem extreme compared to the standards of the world, they are given in order inspire confidence and exercise the ability to make good decisions before taking on the sacred role of husband or wife.

It has been a common complaint by many within the church that although the doctrine regarding sexual purity is sound, it also leads many to consider sex an entirely taboo topic. In this case, it is the responsibility of the parents within each home to be open and frank with their children about sex, both the benefits and the negative consequences of sexual acts before or beyond marriage. Children should be told that in addition to sex being the means of the divine power to procreate, it is also meant to be a healthy representation of love between spouses. When sex in marriage remains within the bounds God has provided, it will create the closest bond and add greatly to a husband and wife’s overall happiness. Children who are raised with only the admonishment to stay away from everything sexual may misinterpret this to mean that sex is dirty or taboo rather than sacred and special. As children approach their sexual years, they may feel confused about their own sex drive or completely unprepared when their time of life to be sexually active arrives.

Regardless of how you are raised, anyone can be susceptible to pornography. While a healthy sex drive is considered a gift when it is kept in check, it will still respond to that which it shouldn’t. Pornography is becoming what President Thomas S. Monson refers to as “permissive perniciousness” meaning that seemingly inappropriate content is being considered more and more normal, creating a gateway to more explicit material. In this day and age of easily accessed internet and multiple media options, parents within the LDS church are under more obligation than ever to help their child know the difference between sexual purity and sexual actions that can harm in order to prepare them for the challenges they are likely to face. Hand in hand with that should be the reassurance that sexual attraction is completely normal and while individuals should do their very best to be strong enough to resist temptation when it arises, there are ways to make it right. Depending on the severity, repentance or a therapeutic program or both are often offered for a straying individual. The time has long past when individuals within the LDS church could use silence in place of an open sex talk, especially with the temptations to misbehave increasing every year. A healthy attitude toward sexuality for a Mormon should be that it is a sacred privilege which requires guarding, however does not require complete silence.

If you or someone you know is struggling with a pornography addiction, please contact us at Desert Solace to discuss your options.