Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Evils of Pornography

Today I attended a wonderful farewell for one of my best friends, J. He leaves for Argentina soon to serve a two year church mission. Good luck, buddy!
After I came home, as I sat down to eat, my mother came in to talk. She told me that the Bishop of our ward had spoken today, plainly, about the dangers of pornography. We then discussed my fears concerning it and the dangers behind it.
Talking with my mom about this terrible plague caused me a lot of grief. Why choose to devote an entire blog post to it then? Because of the importance of shining our light in and to the world.

Warning: For those of you that really know me, you are aware I am blunt. This post is blunt, for the best purposes. I wanted to warn you before you get too invested.

In the talk given before J's, the woman who spoke explained how the natural man is an enemy of God. How today the world justifies in a thousand ways that wicked and vulgar things are okay, because they are "natural". If God decrees something is sinful, nothing can change that, not even the views of the world. When I think about the concept of pornography, I am disgusted by how accepting the world is of something so terrible.
I remember when my innocence was first shattered and I learned what the "M" word meant. Not only was I disgusted by the word, I was disgusted that the devil could be so strong to manipulate people to do such a thing. In fact, many good people in the world today do not have any idea that such a thing could be wrong. Why? It's been accepted as natural.
However we know, "For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been since the fall of Adam, and will be forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit and putteth off the natural man..." [Mosiah 3:19; Book of Mormon]
Does this scripture mean God made men evil? No, but he gave us freedom of choice, and the devil's power is strong, so we are corruptible. We cannot and should not use this marvelous gift of agency to exercise such dark sin.

What a scary thought. And what a scary world. Sometimes I feel like it's all I can do to not worry about the future. This world will just keep getting more wicked, won't it? And where does that put me as a future mother? What about my children, how can I protect them from the evils of this natural world? In fact, sometimes, it seems like I am without hope.

But that is absolutely the wrong way of thinking. Because we have a Savior. We have a merciful God and a loving Savior that surely seem to say, hey the world is wicked but I didn't allow you to come here so you would succumb to it. I made you stronger than this. I prepared you to fight this.
Jesus declares in a prayer to the Father, "Father, I pray not for the world, but for those whom thou hast given me out of the world, because of their faith, that they may be purified in me." [3rd Nephi 19:29] There is hope for purification in a wicked world.
My mother went on to explain that they had a discussion in church about this great evil. One of the ladies in my ward raised her hand and said,
"It's easy to think that when you are married, this appetite (for pornography) will be satisfied. THIS IS WRONG. After you are married, you have gained a great and wholesome thing. This does not replace the wicked and natural desires you have for pornography, nor does it dull them. The temptation will still be there."
My Bishop then explained, "The only thing that can replace the evils of pornography are the powers of justice and mercy from our Savior Jesus Christ." Surely He is the only one that can save us from such a great evil.

What must we do? Whoever you are, whether you are a mother or father, a man or woman, a teenager or an adult. What must we do to protect ourselves from such a strong, influential and so easily accessible evil? K-9 is great. But it can be hacked. Here's the answer: Teach. Teach your children, teach yourself. God will conquer in the end. We are commanded to have faith before fear, "Be not afraid, only believe." [Mark 5:36, KJV] Do not play dumb to the evil. It is real, it is out there. Learn how to flee from it. Learn how to protect yourself from it. Do not go to movies that promote it. Do not read books with the evil in it, do not spend excessive time on your computer just "surfing the web", do not listen to anything that could bring you near it. Especially do not click that button on the sidebar that leads you directly to it.

I have met one person in my life who though highly absorbed in this web of sin, had no remorse. If you find yourself in this situation I say to what Alma (a prophet of God) once said to his people, "Can ye imagine yourselves brought before the tribunal of God with your souls full of guilt and remorse, having a remembrance of all your guilt, yea, a perfect remembrance of all your wickedness, yea, a remembrance that ye have set at defiance the commandments of God?" [Alma 5:18; Book of Mormon] or perhaps the words of Jacob: "Ye have broken the hearts of your tender wives, and lost the confidence of your children, because of your bad examples before them, and the sobbings of their hearts ascend up to God against you. And because of the strictness of the word of God, which cometh down against you, many hearts died, pieced with deep wounds" [Jacob 2:85; Book of Mormon]. Just remember this applies to your family, wife and children, whether they are on this earth yet or not.

Pornography is real. My bishop told us that it is a 12 billion dollar industry. That's a lot of sickening money. It's not something we can just wish away. But it is something that we can protect ourselves from. Surely it is something we NEED to protect ourselves from.

What do we do then, if we know someone stuck in the trap? It is all lost? Of course not. We have a Savior that they can work with to overcome their addiction, and there are things we can do as well. If we know someone involved in pornography, we have been commanded to forgive and forget. But we also cannot sell ourselves short. We keep ourselves as pure as we can and expect the same out of our future (or current) spouse. We accept the forgiveness of the Savior and strive to keep ourselves modest, virtuous and an example for good.

In the end, God will win. That is a fact.
Satan is going to try to take as many people as he can with him. Another fact.
IMPORTANT FACT: We can't let him. Stay on the Lord's side, and keep others with you.

If you have fallen into the evil, visit your bishop and repent. Our prophet has commanded us, "If you are involved, cease now." If you are worried about someone who has become involved in pornography, confront them or express your concerns to the bishop. No matter whether it's your second cousin, uncle, brother, niece, or best friend, forgive them, and help them out.
The Lord is there for you. He will help you break the habit, and comfort those whom you have harmed. Perhaps most importantly, He will help you forgive yourself after you truly repent.

I may seem like just an 18 year old girl, but Sister Dalton (previous Young Women's general president) always said, "One virtuous young woman can change the world." And so I'll do my best.

I'm grateful for our Savior's continuous love.
As President Monson says, "Your Heavenly Father loves you- each of you. That love never changes. It is not influenced by your appearance, by your possessions, or by the amount of money in your bank account. It is not changed by your talents and abilities. It is simply there. It is there for you when you are sad or happy, discouraged or hopeful. God's love is there for you whether or not you feel you deserve love. It is simply, always there." [October 2013 Conference, We Never Walk Alone]

I know this is true. May we stand as pure, forgiving, examples of light who stay away from the wicked world and it's natural habits and instead spend our time loving and serving another, for that is truly what God desires of us.

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