Brothers and Sisters the sinister and diabolical plague of pornography continues to enter the homes of latter-day saints everywhere. Pornography, like coffee, is addictive and can quickly spiral a person out of control where Satan awaits always ready to drag victims down the slippery path to hell.
While meeting with Cassandra and Jim about a stake calling I felt inspired to inquire about pornography and its usage in their home. Jim, like me, felt that seeing a woman without clothing on would be a most frightful and damaging sight indeed and confirmed that he has avoided, as if it were a plague, any online pursuits of such atrocities. His wife on the other hand after some encouragement eventually admitted to what I would call an uncontrolled addiction to pornography; yes Brothers and Sisters, she had a habit of reading romance novels.
In the ensign *article entitled “Addicted to Romance Novels” we learn about the danger of being addicted to literature of a pornographic variety and the devastating effect this has on ones sense of self worth. The Sister in the article speaking of her addiction and her failed attempts to overcome it said “Yet my problem persisted, and I continued to try to conquer it by myself. The result? Repeated failure followed by self-loathing and depression.”
I asked Cassandra if she was living the gospel and if there was anything we could do to help her repent of her actions. She confirmed that she read her scriptures daily, prayed fervently and fulfilled her callings in the church but didn’t feel the need to give up reading a chapter or two of her book before retiring to bed.
I asked Jim how he felt about the situation. He answered as follows “When I discovered that my beloved eternal companion had become ensnared by pornography, I experienced the intense pain that only a priesthood holder in such a situation could suffer. It is a deep sense of soul sickness, betrayal, and spiritual agony. It felt like the very roots of a precious eternal marriage had been yanked out of the safety and protection of the gospel. There was a very real sense of panic. I felt the safety and peace of the marriage relationship begin to evaporate. Trust, respect, honour, love and most importantly my priesthood power all felt deeply injured. I felt betrayed and used and have questioned whether I should stay in the marriage.”
Brothers and Sisters I hope you can see from this how pornography destroys happy homes and eternal family relationships.
I asked Cassandra if she experienced the same self-loathing and depression as described in the ensign article and to my surprise she claimed she did not. She seemed quite indifferent about the whole thing and wondered why we were making such a fuss of it. In my many many years of experience as a church leader I have found time and again that indifference is one of the greatest tools of the adversary. I find that bishops need continual training in their sacred duty of helping members feel the pain, gravity and severity of their sins, for the Lord does not look upon sin with the least degree of allowance. The exquisite joy that is felt when sin is overcome and forgiven cancels out any self-loathing and depression that may have been caused as a result of counselling with the bishop. As I always say "There is no forgiveness where there is no sorrow and there is no sorrow where there is indifference."
I asked that Cassandra refrain from attending the temple for a few weeks and that she attend the addiction recovery group and told her that if she was still in denial when we met again I would work with her bishop to consider further disciplinary action. She seemed quite taken back and upset by this but I showed forth an increase of love toward her, as the scriptures instruct, by participating as I had her righteous husband give her a priesthood blessing. It was a wonderful blessing in which the Lord promised her that despite her addiction to pornographic material if she would hearken to the counsel of her husband as he hearkens to the counsel of the father and if she would listen to her priesthood leaders and faithfully attend the addiction recovery meetings the Lord would help her to overcome this weakness such that the desires of her flesh would be subdued.
Tears welled in Jim’s eyes as I shook his hand, put my hand on his shoulder, and encouraged him to support his wife in her time of need.
Brothers and Sisters as the ensign article states “Sexual sin of any degree can be difficult to overcome. But with the Lord’s help, it can be conquered.” If you are being tempted or, like Cassandra, are entrapped by pornography in any form please advise your priesthood leaders. They want what’s best for you and will be inspired in ways to help you, of this I testify in the sacred and holy name of Jesus Christ, amen.