LDS Church releases video about overcoming pornography addictions

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  • Wacoan Waco, TX
    Aug. 31, 2014 8:02 p.m.

    One study, Edelman, found that Utah had the highest rate of subscriptions to a single distributor of pornography. Stringham used data of views per capita by state. Using this measure, Utah ranked fortieth. At a suggestion from Cranney, I developed an index based on Google searches of six words associated with pornography. Using this measure, Utah ranks forty-first. If adjusted for age, education or other demographic factors, Utah would rank even lower.

    None of these studies can differentiate between use by members or non-members or active members and less active members. Although it may exist, I know of no study that compares Mormon's use of pornography to any other group.

    I believe that the major take away point is that any statistic that reflects poorly on Utah is exaggerated and misinterpreted to signify that Mormons are somehow engaged in bad conduct as a result in their commitment to the Church.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 30, 2014 7:03 p.m.

    @Another Perspective
    " Why doesn't the relief society as part of their curriculum teach women the importance of being warm, loving and available when they become married?"

    Because the term Relief Society doesn't actually refer to a society of women who want to provide "relief" to men...

    "If you thing a man made hungry by the aloofness of his wife never looks elsewhere"

    Nobody's claiming all men don't look elsewhere, we're saying it's his fault if he's doing something that the wife doesn't consider acceptable actions of that kind.

    "Pornography is something all men are tempted by, even if they don't admit it. Some men are just stronger than others"

    All people, there's plenty of women who look at it too.

    "No so, Utah is known for the high level of pornography use by internet statistics."

    In a way... Utah ranks number 1 in subscriptions. That doesn't necessarily mean Utah is number 1 in usage (I think other studies that tried to get overall numbers, put Utah near the middle).

  • Wacoan Waco, TX
    Aug. 30, 2014 7:06 a.m.

    To my knowledge, there is no study that directly compares pornography use of Mormons to other groups. There are four that use state level data and the percentage of Mormons within a state as a proxy for Mormon consumption. The first was by Edelman who provided a single data point that showed that Utah had the highest subscription rate to a single pornography provider of any state. People who believe that conservative sexual practices lead to sexual repression used that single data point claim that Mormon's have a high rate of pornography use.

    To my knowledge, there are three empirical responses to this argument: Cranney on Square Two (peer review), Stringham on Virtuous Society, and me on Blu Principles. If you are interested you can find them with any search engine.

    In short, I believe that fowersjl is correct. We (Mormons) believe that pornography is dangerous to the individual and to the family. We are not alone but others certainly believe that it is not. The difference in these views may be recognized in the name given this sexually explicit literature. Some call it pornography and others, adult entertainment.

  • The Caravan Moves On Enid, OK
    Aug. 29, 2014 5:59 p.m.

    @brainoncapitalist - Orem, UT - "@USALover: I think you have an addiction if you simply can't stop using whatever it is you are addicted to. The frequency isn't as important as the inability to stop."

    Now THAT is wisdom that simply cannot be argued against. I will remember that as I evaluate my choices and the character of my life.

    I know I am learning this: the more I stay away from pornography, the happier and more content I am.

    God bless you, brother, in your struggles. With our Master's help and love, we will prevail! Count on it!

  • Anonyme Orem, UT
    Aug. 29, 2014 1:12 p.m.

    SLC345 said, “Utah is known for the high level of pornography use by internet statistics.”

    Really? A study published April 9, 2014 by the third-largest porn site showed that Utah ranked 40th in page views. Wyoming and Idaho, with large LDS populations, ranked 46th and 49th. One researcher found a 10 percentage point increase in a state’s LDS population is associated with an approximate 17% decrease in page views. 

    “Rather than dealing with it head on the church calls it an addiction.”

    How does calling it an addiction preclude dealing with it? The church does both with its dedicated website which offers several resources, including a 12-step recovery program. Members are also encouraged to consider professional help.

    “We will have LDS people taking in hushed tones about this poor person that is addicted.”

    I'm still trying to figure out if this is an actual thing, and if so, how is it a problem?

    “It is time for the church to get real and confront the underlying issues.”

    What issues? If you have the answers as to what causes addiction in some individuals, I think social scientists want to hear from you.

    Aug. 29, 2014 11:23 a.m.


    Sorry, but you are so wrong.

    Study after study have shown that pornography alters the brain chemically in the same ways that drugs and alcohol do. That the AMA has not issued a statement is of no relevance to the thousands who suffer.

    I am a porn addict. My wife and family have suffered dearly for my choices and addiction. That those who make money off porn would fight it being called an addiction is clear.

    @ Bill McGee: Tell the man afflicted with multiple STDs because of his addiction to lust and sex that he is not self-destructive. The APA is very susceptible to lobbying and manipulation, and there are billions of dollars at stake for the porn purveyors....

  • happymom123 Clearfield, UT
    Aug. 29, 2014 11:07 a.m.

    It is an unfair to make comment that the Relief Society should go out of their way to emphasize the importance of intimacy. It is the responsibility to come together as a righteous couple to take care of each other in a manner that is conducive to our Heavenly Father's gospel teachings. President Kimball has a wonderful talk titled "Oneness" He talks about the importance of how intimacy helps tie a marriage together whether spiritually or temporal. Intimacy should not ever be used as a tool to justify that satisfaction of being abusive when it comes to love. It is meant to be a sacred bond between a husband and a wife who honor, respect, and are compassionate, righteous, towards each other. When intimacy becomes the number one thing above another else and I mean anything else, it has become an abusive tool against the other spouse. I know this to be true, because my second marriage failed because it was used against me. To the point that I would receive almost daily lectures on it. In fact well written articles by church authorities were twisted and use against me. Read the article "Oneness"

  • SLC345 SLC, UT
    Aug. 29, 2014 10:27 a.m.

    The AMA has never issued any statements stating the pornography is an addiction. It is the therapists that keep the pornography addiction alive to fuel their incomes. This is a huge excuse the church has allowed to grow to handle the large amount of Utah LDS people looking at pornography. Someone stated that pornography is everywhere. No so, Utah is known for the high level of pornography use by internet statistics. Utah use is over the top and rather than dealing with it head on the church calls it an addiction. Sorry, it may work for them but no one else believes the hype and spin the church places on this problem. You are right it is an indication of much larger issues and until the church confronts those issues we will have LDS people taking in hushed tones about this poor person that is addicted. It is time for the church to get real and confront the underlying issues.

  • sthomaslewis Corvallis, OR
    Aug. 29, 2014 10:22 a.m.

    I would appreciate it if the Church would also fight against tyranny as much as it does against pornography. Tyrannical governments have caused more deaths than pornography.

  • Bill McGee Alpine, UT
    Aug. 29, 2014 8:21 a.m.

    While the challenge is real, we need to be more accurate. According to the new DSM, you cannot be addicted to porn. It does not meet the standards for addiction, including self-destruction. Pornography can be compulsive, but not an addiction. That is an important distinction, the most critical of which is that the treatments are different. The first step to getting better is to understand what you are really dealing with, and not what the pop psychologists and non-professionals are claiming.

  • michael.jensen369 Lethbridge, 00
    Aug. 28, 2014 11:28 p.m.

    " I think you need to chat with family members who have suffered because of a loved ones addiction to porn. Maybe let's start with the boy I know who's father chose his porn over his family. That doesn't affect a young man? He was in college and still carried the scars of abandonment."

    You're describing my life right there.

  • Fullypresent Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 28, 2014 11:05 p.m.

    It would help if they were all taught about healthy sexuality and healthy relationships from the beginning instead of being shamed about so many things. All the shaming, guilt tripping and lack of open, healthy discussion about sexuality and intimacy do not help them have healthy relationships. I have met some people along the way that struggled with this kind of addiction and the above seemed to be a common theme in their lives and families.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 28, 2014 10:42 p.m.

    I watched the video. There was no reference to intimate partner sexual assault.

    Does pornography contribute to intimate partner sexual assault? It might by objectifying women's bodies. There is a lot of sexual assault in marriages.

    Perhaps a subsequent video could explore this connection. Sexual assault in intimate relationships is a major problem.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 28, 2014 10:29 p.m.

    I have not seen this film, but I find it interesting that this blog does not discuss the matter of sexual abuse in intimate relationships, including marriage. Any sex act in marriage forced on one party by the other is rape - and it is common.

    Does porn lead to sexual assault? It may, but if so it would seem to me this would be a major theme of those opposed to porn.

    As to sexual assault in general. Most victims are women. For them sexual assault itself is a much bigger deal than porn per se. But we LDS are pretty quiet about sexual assault while we attack porn.

    So, my question, is a major factor in sexual assault, pornography?

  • brainoncapitalist Orem, UT
    Aug. 28, 2014 9:38 p.m.

    @USALover: I think you have an addiction if you simply can't stop using whatever it is you are addicted to. The frequency isn't as important as the inability to stop. When I finally hit rock bottom, I was to the point where I would act out every day, sometimes multiple times per day, whenever I had the opportunity. It's a progressive problem and what might start out rather innocently as a curiosity can quickly turn into a lifelong addiction that continues to get worse and worse. People who say there's no such thing as porn addiction have no idea what they are talking about (either that or they are in denial about their own addiction).

  • FelisConcolor North Salt Lake, UT
    Aug. 28, 2014 4:47 p.m.


    Women have always been big consumers of pornography in the form of "bodice rippers" and other romance novels. They are far less visual and more verbal and descriptive, and thus aren't automatically considered to be as "obscene" or "explicit" as XXX videos or photos. The novel "50 Shades of Grey" has achieved a level of respectability and mainstream acceptance that porn studios which cater to male audiences can only dream about.

    Which brings up another point: Much of the revulsion towards pornography in society is just man-bashing in disguise. Internet pornography provides an easy sexual outlet for men and thus undermines the status of women as the gatekeepers of sexual fulfillment in marriage. For a frumpy, slightly overweight 30-something mother of three, the availability of pornography on the internet is just as threatening to her as having a sexy single woman who mows the lawn in her bikini move in next door. She has to "raise her game" to keep her man's attention, and many married women simply don't want to be bothered.

  • FelisConcolor North Salt Lake, UT
    Aug. 28, 2014 4:31 p.m.

    Father of Four:

    I think what you are seeing reflected in this article is a unique view of what constitutes an "addiction".

    In LDS culture, a man who views pornography more than once every few months -- or even at all -- would be viewed as a "porn addict". Elsewhere in the United States, his "habit" would be considered unremarkable or even normal.

    I doubt there are as many LDS persons who are truly addicted to porn -- as in, their porn viewing causes damage to their marriage and adversely interferes with their daily lives -- as this article makes it appear.

  • jeanie orem, UT
    Aug. 28, 2014 4:17 p.m.

    "Irrational worries"? "Obsession"? Hummm. I think you need to chat with family members who have suffered because of a loved ones addiction to porn. Maybe let's start with the boy I know who's father chose his porn over his family. That doesn't affect a young man? He was in college and still carried the scars of abandonment. Think of all the pain you are aware of due to drug or alcohol addiction. It's no different than the ripple effects of porn addiction. Fantastic that the LDS church would take this on!!

  • skrekk Dane, WI
    Aug. 28, 2014 2:45 p.m.

    @RedWings says: "The devastation of porn has nothing to do with religion. The entire time I was involved with my addiction I was completely away from any religion."

    That sounds like a problem with addictive or compulsive behavior which could apply to a wide variety of things. But the LDS church's obsession seems to revolve around things related to sex.

    Aug. 28, 2014 1:42 p.m.

    @ skrekk -

    The devastation of porn has nothing to do with religion. The entire time I was involved with my addiction I was completely away from any religion.

    Tell the wife whose husmand ignores her but spends all night staring at porn on the computer screen and treats her lika n object to be used as he wishes that her fears are irrational.

    Tell the kids whose dad does not interact with them in any meaningful way that their fears are irrational.

    There is not one thing about porn that is positive or contributes to the benefit of society. Not one thing....

  • happy2bhere clearfield, UT
    Aug. 28, 2014 1:42 p.m.


    Many have already responded to your point. I would only echo others in saying that in general, society sees no harm in pornography. Neither do they see problems with drugs, alcohol, tobacco, promiscuous sex or adultery. At least not to the point that the LDS Church teaches, which is total abstinance from all of those things. The reason being that human weakness can easily addict anyone who endulges a "little", only to find themselves becomming enslaved to their worldly passions, as some here have alluded to. The LDS Church does see life ruining problems with those activities and as such you will see and hear much from the leaders about helping people avoid those landmines of life. Or in other words, rather than warn people about falling off of a cliff, tell them it's much safer and easier to not go near the edge in the first place.

  • skrekk Dane, WI
    Aug. 28, 2014 1:04 p.m.

    It seems like these irrational worries about pornography are common to many patriarchal and misogynistic religions.

  • 1978 Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 28, 2014 12:32 p.m.


    The problem exists everywhere. To assume it is a bigger problem here because it is talked about more by LDS church leaders is an invalid conclusion. I know of people not of the LDS faith who are addicted to porn who don't view it as that big of a deal.

    I had a former work associate and friend that just died from alcholism who was also addicted to tobacco and porn. His attitude was "It is my life and I can do whatever I want!" He eventually lost his marriage and job before he died. The sad thing was that he was very good at his job and was fun to be around before his life spiralled out of control.

  • Kaotic USA, UT
    Aug. 28, 2014 11:39 a.m.

    @ FatherOfFour,

    You are so right about "there must be a problem here", even in the small communities of Utah. Porn addiction is a very big problem among the membership in Utah and it is getting worse, just like drug addiction and alcoholism. I see most of the commenters relating porn addiction to men, but I can certainly can tell you that more and more women have a porn addiction for whatever reasons. What is more astonishing is the adultery among married women in Utah. There are certainly some underlying reasons, but you can only hide behind the church for so long and then everybody knows. There are a lot of "everybody knows" in this small community.

  • USAlover Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 28, 2014 10:44 a.m.


    You're an inspiration. I'm curious as a Church Leader to know what really constitutes a "porn addiction". In your 12-step program, were the people there using porn "daily", "weekly", "monthly", a "couple times a year", "Once!". What would you say?

    Thanks, and again, your story is inspirational.

    Aug. 28, 2014 9:57 a.m.

    FatherofFour: "The church membership must seriously have a real problem here for it to be addressed so much."

    LDS kids don't grow up with a liquor cabinet in the house, so alcoholism is not a big an issue for the church as porn. It exists, but is not the number one problem.

    Another Perspective: "A man with a cold aloof wife is tempted to look elsewhere."

    True enough for the adulterer, but for us porn addicts this is largely not the case. Porn addiciton is not about sex. As with any addiction, it is a symptom of "other causes and conditions" (see he AA Big Book).

    My experience is that the "drug" eases the pain of my character defects and my separation from God. When I truthfully looked at my defects and worked on them, porn lost its power over me.

    Great comments and discussion on this board! It is great to see this epidemic be brought out into the light so society can understand and address it....

  • BKB Chantilly/USA, 00
    Aug. 28, 2014 8:41 a.m.

    A recent convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints told me that one of the appeals the church had for him early in his investigation was that it addressed the pornography problem head-on and didn't ignore it or try to brush it off as a minor problem.
    It is a problem worldwide, regardless of religious affiliation. I'm grateful that the church is raising awareness and providing solutions. I'm grateful that the Deseret News also publicizes the problem and makes known solutions.
    I'm also concerned about all those suffering from the problem but not seeking help. The Addiction Recovery Program works but can be scary to begin. Some may want to start with a more private program, such as Power Over Pornography, before attending ARP meetings.

  • brainoncapitalist Orem, UT
    Aug. 28, 2014 8:13 a.m.

    @FatherOfFour: It is a huge problem these days, if the numbers attending 12-step meetings is any indication. And that's just the ones who have decided to get help. There are many, many more who are still hiding it or are in denial about the seriousness of the problem.

    I remember when I was single thinking that once I got married, I would be able to control my addiction. Boy was I wrong. In many ways, being married made my addiction stronger. And my wife was always very accommodating. She would take care of me any time I wanted, as often as I wanted, and it was never enough to keep me from acting out. It kills her now to realize that she was hurting herself by taking so much responsibility for keeping me sober. It was MY responsibility, not hers.

  • fowersjl Farmington, Utah
    Aug. 28, 2014 8:12 a.m.

    @fatheroffour, the LDS Church is very concerned about the plague of pornography and in helping its members heal from and shun it because of how it destroys families. Outside the church there is not much concern for it, because many people think that looking at pornography is acceptable and normal behavior. Yes, there is a problem in the LDS church, but certainly not more than outside the church. But, who is going to speak against it outside of churches?
    I am so glad the LDS Church is working to educate and give hope to those who might otherwise be destroyed by this flood of evil.
    @anotherperspective, the most attractive, warm, and loving wife will not satisfy a man addicted to pornography. Why? Because it distorts and damages a brain to the point that there is only lust, not love in that brain.)

    Aug. 28, 2014 7:18 a.m.

    I am not LDS and there are several aspects of the culture that I am not familiar with. But I notice these porn articles in the DN almost every day. The church membership must seriously have a real problem here for it to be addressed so much.

  • jeanie orem, UT
    Aug. 28, 2014 7:17 a.m.

    Another perspective,

    Men may look at porn because their wives are cold, but a porn addict is something altogether different. That was Pops point. It doesn't matter if a wife is georgeous and available. If a man is an addict ultimately nothing she offers will be enough. This article is about addiction and the comments speak to that. That there are cold wives is true, but that takes counseling, not a 12 step program.

  • C-3P0 Saint George, UT
    Aug. 28, 2014 6:51 a.m.

    @ Another Perspective is not totally wrong in this matter. Pornography is something all men are tempted by, even if they don't admit it. Some men are just stronger than others when it comes to avoiding it. A lot of the time the issue is a lot deeper, its usually to fill a void in their lives. And sometimes this void is a unhappy marriage, with lack of communication, and lack of intimacy. I agree that women should be taught about why a man is having this struggle and how they can help, instead of just hearing lessons over and over again on how evil pornography is.

  • Lambo Clearfield, UT
    Aug. 28, 2014 6:35 a.m.

    @ another perspective

    A wife's availability/warmth toward her husband would help a great deal in reducing propensity toward pornography. I agree it should be emphasized much more to women who would likely find dramatic reduction in their husband's cravings. Imagine for example a starving dog smelling red meat outside the yard. The dog will be suffering with desire. Telling the dog to go against its instincts and just control itself is only part of the solution. The dog owner needs to understand the cruelty of starving a dog/rarely providing the dog high-quality food. Women cannot expect sexually starved men to not be dying with temptation and likely to cave to the mounting pressure that is now sadly so easily accessible. When a man gets rejected by his wife, the temptation skyrockets. Caving to that temptation is wrong no matter the circumstances, but it is also foolish/cruel to starve a man to the point where he is so vulnerable to extreme temptation. God taught that with the temptation he will provide an escape and that "escape" from temptation regarding pornography can very well be a loving, available, interested spouse.

  • Another Perspective Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 11:45 p.m.

    To AZ Rods

    Your response to me was presumptuous and incorrect.

  • Another Perspective Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 11:42 p.m.

    To Pops

    If you thing a man made hungry by the aloofness of his wife never looks elsewhere you are the one who lacks some understanding.

  • I know it. I Live it. I Love it. Provo, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 11:32 p.m.

    Another Perspective,

    My wife should doll herself up more, then I'd stop looking at porn.
    My wife should change her attitude, then I'd stop looking at porn.
    My wife should simply be a porn star, then it would all be okay!

    See the problems here?

    If we live our lives as animals, grasping for anything that tempts our fancy, then yes... we may expect that our wives put forth every effort to make themselves more appetizing than the porn offerings. However, we ought to be more than that. Love and lust aren't the same thing. And I added the last two examples just to further illustrate that every time people try to justify any type of change expected of their spouse... the problem is within.

    If only people told me what I wanted to hear, then I'd be willing to listen.

    Expecting my wife to circumvent my own denial isn't being honest with myself and certainly not fair or reasonable to my wife. Women damage themselves to satisfy that type of reasoning from men.

  • Heidi T. Farmington, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 10:32 p.m.

    Blaming and justifying are distortions in our thinking and stand as dangerous components for unhealthy behavior. We must stand with the Savior and keep our lives clean in spite of others' behavior.

  • AZRods Maricopa, AZ
    Aug. 27, 2014 10:25 p.m.

    Great comment and best wishes to you Brain. Your description expresses perfectly what doesn't work and the best way to completely submit yourself to the Lord's will, in which you receive so much more strength than you could have by yourself alone.

    @-Another, you can't put fault/blame on your wife, much less the RS to justify an affinity for any inappropriate behavior.
    If you have a lack of love and warmth in your marriage, you should seek counsel with your Bishop or some other trustworthy source.
    You may find out there are things in your behavior that cause your wife to behave the way she does. Just saying, always two side to marital problems.

    Aug. 27, 2014 10:08 p.m.

    @Another Perspective

    I don't think you understand what causes pornography addiction.

  • Kiyo Washougal, Washington
    Aug. 27, 2014 9:23 p.m.

    ...I read read Deseret News, China news(Xinhua-English), and Japan today(English language), and have never been ambushed. These sites give a very broad view of current events(the best in my opinion), and are free of charge.

  • Another Perspective Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 9:06 p.m.

    One way to reduce men's affinity for pornography would be for their wives to be loving and available. A man with a cold aloof wife is tempted to look elsewhere. Why doesn't the relief society as part of their curriculum teach women the importance of being warm, loving and available when they become married?

  • JWB Kaysville, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 6:50 p.m.

    The sad thing is people don't have to go looking for these insidious things, they come to them when filters don't work and the deceitful people that lure innocent people into their lairs. Entrapment is easy when children get involved at their neighbors or friends house when parents are cautious or are cautious but know about all the traps and lures out there. Television and the Internet but some of the social media trap also. All these forms of media can bring the light and knowledge to the world but in a wink can bring misery and despair for years to come. Having worked with the substance and abuse and anti-violence groups in the state for almost 10 years, drugs and pornography cause similar problems but can also feed one another and lead to violence in and away from the home.

    The Church is responding in so many good ways to help people come out of addiction but the prevention is and has been talked about in conference for many years. The April conference by the Relief Society Counselor was a light to the world and church members. Pornography is not gender specific.

  • jeanie orem, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 6:36 p.m.

    Thank you, thank you to this couple for bravely sharing their story.

    If, in spite of vigilant parenting and open communication, your child should stumble into porn addiction, do not blame yourself. Get help. Hang in there. It's a tough ride, but like the video says - there is hope and healing.

    Brainoncapitalist, fantastic!

  • Hamath Omaha, NE
    Aug. 27, 2014 5:16 p.m.

    @ Brain, You go! Great job!

  • Kelliebelle66 West Jordan, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 5:08 p.m.

    I had a teenage son watch this video. I wanted him to see what might not seem destructive to him as a teenager really is destructive and how it can effect one's life in a serious way. It can destroy the family. The people telling their story were extremely brave in doing so. My husband and I have worked really hard to teach our children not to view things on the internet and we had protected all of our computers as well. One thing we forgot, the cell phone. Luckily the lines of communication between us and our children are open and our son came to us about this issue. People don't realize, especially kids, how things can turn into a serious addiction regardless of one's religious beliefs and it can have an effect on a person's ability to have normal sexual relationships. Thankfully, as this video depicts, we have the atonement and healing power of the savior to overcome these addictions and problems. When I was a kid things that were not easily available are a keystroke away and anybody can see them. Parents, be vigilant and talk to your kids.

  • brainoncapitalist Orem, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 4:20 p.m.

    I have struggled with a pornography/sex/lust addiction for over 25 years. Over the years I tried everything from praying more, reading the scriptures more, reading self-help books, going to therapists, along with numerous confessions to my local bishop. Nothing helped me for very long. I didn't realize at the time that I was doing what is known as 'white-knuckling' and that that method usually never works for very long. Understandably (at least in my mind), I had given up and it wasn't until I found the Church's ARP program that I started to experience real recovery. I now have 270 days of true sobriety and I understand how to access the atonement in my life. I have no doubts that if I strive to daily practice the principles I've learned from this program, and turn my life completely over to the Lord, that I will continue to experience the peace and joy of being free from this addiction. The Lord's yoke truly is easy and His burden is light!