Elder John K. Carmack, a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, urged citizens here Saturday to fight not only illegal hard-core pornography but also "legal pornography so prevalent in today's movies, television, magazines and books."
Speaking at a community gathering sponsored by the Las Cruces Stake of the LDS Church, Elder Carmack said, "When pornography is protected in the name of freedom of speech, our children receive the disturbing message that, since it is allowed it is acceptable."Elder Carmack, a Salt Lake lawyer, said when pornography is defended by an appeal to lofty constitutional principles, "our children receive the message that pornography is one of the blessings of liberty that our constitution seeks to protect."
He urged Las Cruces citizens to find legitimate means for expressing their opposition to legal but indecent materials and suggested they consider orderly picketing and boycotting of offending theaters, merchants and other businesses involved.
"Just because material is not illegal does not mean it is harmless," he said.
The LDS Church official praised U.S. Attorney General Richard Thornburgh, the Religious Alliance Against Pornography and other individuals and organizations that have been instrumental in the passage of the Child Protection and Obscenity Enforcement Act of 1988, which, he said, is a strong weapon in the fight against illegal hard-core pornography.
He said the gains made against hard-core pornography, particularly those materials that demean and victimize women and children, "will in no way change the increasingly explicit and suggestive nudity and sexually oriented material seen at virtually all levels of entertainment."
Any inroads in these areas, he said, will require efforts by citizens to raise the standards of the communities in which they live.
He urged parents to never allow indecent materials in their homes. "This probably eliminates from our homes the majority of videos, many television shows, much from cable, a host of magazines and some books.
"We must be censors in our homes. We do not want to be in total isolation from the world and live as ascetics live, but standards are vital," Elder Carmack said.
He urged his audience to join with other church and community groups to examine material found in their communities and then decide on a course of action to let their elected and appointed government officials know how they feel.
"Letters, articles, pamphlets, picketing near businesses and boycotting businesses are all ways to let it be known we do not approve of things exhibited and sold in these places."
Elder Carmack cautioned his listeners to be peaceful and orderly in expressing their concerns.