See also: D&C 63:16; D&C 89:4
There is the matter of pornography. It has become almost a pornographic world. Now, you leave it alone! If you have any, destroy it! And if you know somebody that has it, help them destroy it! And do not look at it, not ever! It is destructive, and it will take you on a path that is not consistent with who you are and what you can decide. Do not watch it, not ever! — President Boyd K. Packer, “The Instrument of Your Mind and the Foundation of Your Character,” CES Fireside for Young Adults, February 2, 2003, p. 7
There are tens of thousands of pornographic web sites in operation today, with some 200 new sites being added every day. Pornography thrives today on the supposed anonymity of the viewer, President [Merrill J.] Bateman said.
“But we know and God knows what we are watching. . . .
“How we approach the physical and spiritual will exalt us or stop our eternal progression.” — BYU President Merrill J. Bateman, “Conference examines dangers of pornography,” Church News, February 22, 2003, p. 4[Pornography is a sin.] It is devilish. It is totally inconsistent with the spirit of the gospel, with personal testimony of the things of God, and with the life of one who has been ordained to the holy priesthood.
. . . Suffice it to say that all who are involved become victims. Children are exploited, and their lives are severely damaged. The minds of youth become warped with false concepts. Continued exposure leads to addiction that is almost impossible to break. Men, so very many, find they cannot leave it alone. Their energies and their interests are consumed in their dead-end pursuit of this raw and sleazy fare.
The excuse is given that it is hard to avoid, that it is right at our fingertips and there is no escape.
Suppose a storm is raging and the winds howl and the snow swirls about you. You find yourself unable to stop it. But you can dress properly and seek shelter, and the storm will have no effect upon you.
Likewise, even though the Internet is saturated with sleazy material, you do not have to watch it. You can retreat to the shelter of the gospel and its teaching of cleanliness and virtue and purity of life. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “A Tragic Evil among Us,” Ensign, November 2004, p. 61
The plague of pornography is swirling about us as never before. Pornography brings a vicious wake of immorality, broken homes, and broken lives. Pornography will sap spiritual strength to endure. Pornography is much like quicksand. You can become so easily trapped and overcome as soon as you step into it that you do not realize the severe danger. Most likely you will need assistance to get out of the quicksand of pornography. But how much better it is never to step into it. I plead with you to be careful and cautious. — Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, “Press On,” Ensign, November 2004, p. 102
Pornography is one of the hallmarks of our time. Its producers grow rich on the gullibility of those who like to watch it. In the opening lines of the revelation which we call the Word of Wisdom, the Lord declares, “In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days, I have warned you, and forewarn you, by giving unto you this word of wisdom by revelation” (D&C 89:4).
He then goes on to talk about the food we put into our mouths. The same language might be applied with reference to that which we take into our minds when we indulge in pornography. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, May 2003, p. 58
Participation in pornography in any of its lurid forms is a manifestation of unbridled selfishness. How can a man, particularly a priesthood bearer, not think of the emotional and spiritual damage caused to women, especially his wife, by such abhorrent activity?
Well did inspired Nephi declare, “And [the devil] will . . . pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, . . . and thus [he] cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell.” (2 Nephi 28:21) — Elder Richard G. Scott, “To Acquire Spiritual Guidance,” Ensign, November 2009
In our day the dreadful influence of pornography is like unto a plague sweeping across the world, infecting one here and one there, relentlessly trying to invade every home, most frequently through the husband and father. The effect of this plague can be, unfortunately often is, spiritually fatal. Lucifer seeks to disrupt “the great plan of redemption,” “the great plan of happiness.”
Pornography will always repel the Spirit of Christ and will interrupt the communications between our Heavenly Father and His children and disrupt the tender relationship between husband and wife.
The priesthood holds consummate power. It can protect you from the plague of pornography – and it is a plague – if you are succumbing to its influence. If one is obedient, the priesthood can show how to break a habit and even erase an addiction. Holders of the priesthood have that authority and should employ it to combat evil influences.
We raise an alarm and warn members of the Church to wake up and understand what is going on. Parents, be alert, ever watchful that this wickedness might threaten your family circle. — President Boyd K. Packer, “Cleansing the Inner Vessel,” Ensign, October 2010
I recently had an insightful conversation with a 15-year-old Aaronic Priesthood holder. He helped me understand how easy it is in this Internet age for young people to almost inadvertently be exposed to impure and even pornographic images. He pointed out that for most principles the Church teaches, there is at least some recognition in society at large that violating these principles can have devastating effects on health and well-being. He mentioned cigarette smoking, drug use, and alcohol consumption by young people. But he noted that there is no corresponding outcry or even a significant warning from society at large about pornography or immorality.
My dear brothers and sisters, this young man’s analysis is correct. What is the answer? For years, prophets and apostles have taught the importance of religious observance in the home. (President Gordon B. Hinckley introduced “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” in the general Relief Society meeting in September 1995. President Thomas S. Monson presided over changing the first chapter of Handbook 2: Administering the Church , “Families and the Church in God’s Plan.”) — Elder Quentin L. Cook, “Can Ye Feel So Now?” Ensign, November 2012
. . . At a recent training session for General Authorities, the question was asked: “How can we help those struggling with pornography?” Elder Russell M. Nelson stood and replied, “Teach them their identity and their purpose.”
That answer resonated with me, not only as a response to that specific question but as an appropriate response to most of the challenges we face in life. — Elder Tad R. Callister, “Our Identity and Our Destiny,” BYU Education Week, August 14, 2012