What’s So Bad About Pornography?
By Ken K. Gourdin
Positions espoused unblinkingly and unapologetically by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its leaders (positions which, ostensibly, are espoused by God, whom the devout believe still leads His Church) are coming to be seen more and more, even by some members of the Church, as passé, as pasado de moda, as “old-fashioned,” as not in keeping with the times. But I like something I once heard attributed to President David O. McKay, president of the Church from 1951-1970: “Right is right even if nobody says it, believes it, or does it. Wrong is wrong even if everybody says it, believes it, or does it.”
One of those positions is known as the law of chastity, which is that sex outside of marriage is wrong, and that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God. The Lord’s mouthpieces long have condemned pornography, broadly defined as words, recorded depictions, or any other medium intended to spark a prurient interest. Sex is seen as a sacred act, a sacrament, if you will, between the two people involved and God, intended to create a physical body in which a spirit created by God may be housed.
I’m sure more than a few members of the lay ministry in the Church of Jesus Christ struggle with how to respond to issues such as this, such as bishops (lay pastors who lead a congregation defined by geographic boundaries known as a ward) and stake presidents (a stake is a collection of wards similar to a diocese). Indeed, they could not do so effectively without inspiration from the Lord. The Church considers matters under discussion here to be serious sins. I commented on the challenge these leaders face here: https://greatgourdini.wordpress.com/2014/02/18/warning-against-sin-without-destroying-hope/.
Given its well-known, non-negotiable positions, it may be surprising that some members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints pose the question asked in my title, above. In a thread at Mormon Dialogue and Discussion, I responded:
Not everyone who views pornography is addicted, that’s true. But no one who doesn’t view it is. Not everyone who doesn’t obey the Law of Chastity is a crazed sex fiend, but no one who does obey it is. “Choose ye this day whom ye will serve. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord,” and we will hearken unto His Servants (see Joshua 24:15). (I got flamed mercilessly by [another poster] the last time I invoked that scripture, but I don’t care: it still teaches a true principle.)