Although you don’t have to be a member of a Christian faith to feel that pornography is negative or immoral, many religious groups decry its use as a matter of doctrine. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, more informally known as the Mormon Church, is one such organization that speaks out regularly to inform its members of the negative effects of pornography. The Mormon definition of pornography encompasses any materials or activities that depict the human body or sexual conduct in a way that arouses sexual feelings. Since physical intimacy between husband and wife is considered sacred for the expression of love within a marriage as well as the creation of children, avoiding pornography is an important part of sexual purity and consequently, obedience to the rules and doctrines of the church. Members of the LDS church are exhorted to be chaste regardless of their marital status and the use of pornography as well as sexual relations before marriage will damage a member’s standing within the church. Gordon B. Hinckley, late president of the church cautioned: “Stay away from the great and terrible flood of pornography that is sweeping the earth and makes few men rich while it destroys many others who become enslaved to it. Stay away from it.”

Although the LDS church counsels its members to stay away from any activities or substances that could be addicting, pornography is a particular concern because of the affect it can have on healthy marriages and families. While many consider the compulsive use of pornography to be simply a matter of low willpower, the LDS church feels that it has the potential to become a harmful addiction. As such, they have taken steps to both officially educate members on the dangers as well as put programs into place for those who require more professional help.

Changes in societal norms have been subtly shifting in the last few decades. What would not have been considered permissible in the media and entertainment 20 years ago is no longer seen as a problem. The current president of the LDS church, Thomas S. Monson refers to this as “permissive perniciousness”. Members are counseled to recognize the ways that certain depictions, while not technically considered pornography themselves, quietly infiltrate and become a gateway to harder content.

Those who raise questions about the true effects of pornography are often branded as repressed, anti-sex or prudish, especially when religious beliefs are involved. However, the LDS church plainly teaches that although sexual activity is something that should be held sacred within the bonds of matrimony, it is also considered a gift and should be appreciated as a healthy and normal expression of love between husband and wife. Research into pornography indicates that regular use attacks the bond between partners and can lead to emotional apathy at best and infidelity at worst. Both secular and religious studies of the effects of pornography have concluded that regular use of pornography affects the chemistry make-up of the brain. The cerebral cortex, which regulates self-control and decision-making, is negatively altered. Abstinence and regular therapy can undo many of these changes; however, recovery from pornography addiction is arduous and requires the assistance of professionals. LDS leaders also encourage their members to adhere to the commandments of the church as well as the covenants they have made in order to assist the process and retrieve happiness, fidelity and sexual purity.

Desert Solace is a full time treatment facility dedicated to helping all individuals overcome their pornography or sexual addictions. The staff and therapists at Deserts Solace understand that your belief system is essential to the way you recover and they are prepared with a safe and supportive environment to help you recover in a way that is in keeping with your religions. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, contact Desert Solace at 435-817-1351.