By Linda Turley-Hansen
It’s an ugly subject, one we’d rather not deal with, but the issue has become so pervasive, it can no longer be ignored among Church members.
Porn is everywhere and its tentacles are reaching into every corner of our lives. The problem is pure evil; we don’t want to give it attention, but we must. We must understand what is taking down our marriages and our children and, perhaps even, ourselves.
And, we know porn addiction afflicts many in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, enough so that some bishops ask, in their private interviews with their members, “when was the last time?” they viewed pornography, rather than “if ever?”
Members need to understand, a stop in their bishop’s office is a very good starting place to find solutions. He will have resources, including Church-endorsed counseling and support groups. Church materials will aid in finding the road back.
Only an adult problem? Think again. Social media is doing its dirty work. A number of reliable sources say children between the ages of 12 and 17 are said to be top consumers of porn. And, many even younger are being subjected to it.
The problem of porn addiction is so great, scientists have taken on the issue. Heavy porn use is known to damage the frontal brain lobe and diminish healthy sex drive (according to neurosurgeon Donald L. Hilton, Jr.). Those who study such things say addictions create chemical, anatomical and pathological changes, which result in impairment to that frontal lobe, where the braking system of the brain resides.
In other words, chronic porn use can damage the “stop button,” which most of us rely on to control harmful behavior. If that’s true, it explains the presence of porn in many horrific crimes as well as the destruction of relationships and families.
Marriage is a primary victim. In fact, one author, Natasha Hansen, who has studied the problem, says, “I believe this is the new face of domestic violence. It’s now digital domestic abuse and the bruises are invisible, but just as real.”
The Ahwatukee resident and devout Latter-day Saint (in fair disclosure, also my step-daughter), has released two books for Christian readers: One, Sexual Addiction in Marriage, offers help to women who seek information if their husbands are addicted. Her second book is for teens: “Only Losers Watch Porn” (use parental discretion). Find them on Amazon.com.
It’s clear, our children are primary targets. Porn will draw them into a tragic vortex. Begin by protecting them from social media access and from those who defend and use the stuff. If you have suspicions, verify. Double check. Listen hard to the Spirit. If these mental health experts are right, habitual users truly are not functioning with healthy brains and can be a danger to children: www.protectkids.com/effects/harms.
In working on various reports on this topic over the years, I’ve discovered few homes and extended families are immune. It’s a tragic, awful scourge and needs our attention.