Make technology a servant, not a master, LDS apostle tells young adults

Published: Wednesday, May 7 2014 12:35 p.m. MDT

He compared the harmful effects of pornography to the harmful physical impacts of using substances prohibited in the church’s Word of Wisdom given in the 1800s and vindicated today by modern research.

“We don’t have to wait for 180 or even for 10 years to discover the devastating effects of pornography, because current scientific research has revealed that pornography cripples young adults in several ways and poisons their chances of one day having a loving and lasting marriage relationship,” he said.

Those effects include obsessive behaviors, unrealistic expectations and misinformation about human intimacy, conditioning the user to see people as objects to be disrespected, and “self-concealment” that hurts relationships and leaves one vulnerable to depression, poor self-esteem and anxiety, he explained.

“My dear young friends, do not be deceived,” Elder Ballard warned. “If you are involved in it now, if you are entrapped in this practice, get spiritual help now. You can overcome pornography with the Savior’s assistance. Do not wait. I plead with you to leave it alone!”

Elder Ballard characterized the church’s apostles as being charged “to be watchmen on the towers to see and teach the doctrines of Christ” and applied that to the church’s doctrine on marriage.

Traditional marriage is under attack today with many framing the discussion in terms of civil rights, he observed. He then quoted from a recent letter sent to local leaders by the church’s First Presidency that reads in part: “Changes in the civil law do not, indeed cannot, change the moral law that God has established. God expects us to uphold and keep his commandments regardless of divergent opinions or trends in society.”

But Elder Ballard also noted the church’s recognition that same-sex attraction is a complex reality for many people and the church’s position that such attraction itself is not a sin but that acting on it is.

“The church does not teach or advocate shunning or other unchristian-like actions,” he declared. “We must love and strive to help others to understand that no one should ignore or discount the commandments of God.”

Some young church members worry about being misjudged and ridiculed for standing up for the church’s doctrines and values, he acknowledged.

“Say to yourself, ‘I am helping the Lord as I reach out to share my testimony and to teach the truths God has revealed in the last days,’” he admonished.

rscott@deseretnews.com

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