Pornography is astoundingly difficult to avoid; it literally surrounds me every day at school. People wear pornographic images on their t-shirts. You can’t control what other people wear, but you can choose whether or not your eyes wander towards such things. Satan can even get pornography right into our homes. The adversary is very cunning; he has been trying to worm his way into our lives for a very long time. He knows very well that pornography is a highly effective way to distort ones’ senses and destroy the family. Satan wants desperately for all of us to be miserable like unto himself. Because he is so desperate he will viciously attack us in our efforts to stay clean and worthy.
Many people say “It’s natural for people to view pornography.” The urge does come from the natural man; it is a natural desire. “The natural man is an enemy to God.” (Mosiah 3:19) The desires of the natural man need to be controlled. Alma counseled his son Shiblon, “See that ye bridle all your passions, that ye may be filled with love.” Choosing to view pornography has been shown to decrease ones feeling of love and affection towards their spouse. It also makes the spouse feel less appreciated and as if they are not good enough.
Viewing pornography has been shown to actually change your brain and affect it just like a drug would. Over time, if the addiction is not stopped, it will consume every thought and become the number one priority of the person suffering the addiction. This kind of scenario is real, it does happen and it would be an immeasurably sad and excruciatingly difficult experience for the sufferer as well as the family and friends of the sufferer.
Because of the immensely addictive and destructive properties of pornography, it is imperative that we stay as far away from it as possible. This is not easy to do. I can suggest some effective ways to help to keep ourselves safe from this damaging evil:
Keep the spirit with you. This is important because the spirit will guide you and direct you away from pornography. And if you do happen to make a mistake you will feel the difference and have a desire to have the spirit back into your life.
When on the internet always keep a tab open to lds.org. Those partaking of the sacrament witness to God that, “…they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him and keep his commandments which he has given them; that they may always have his Spirit to be with them.” (Doctrine and Covenants 20:77). It is very difficult to sin when we are thinking about Jesus. Having a tab open to lds.org serves as a little reminder of our covenant to keep his commandments.
Have a filter on your internet browser. There are lots of good filters that will help to reduce the availability and accidental viewing of pornography.
Have a Christ-centered home and a deep, personal testimony of the gospel. Sister Linda S. Reeves spoke in general conference about how this is the best defense against pornography. She said: “Brothers and sisters, because I know from my own experiences, and those of my husband, I must testify of the blessings of daily scripture study and prayer and weekly family home evening. These are the very practices that help take away stress, give direction to our lives, and add protection to our homes. Then, if pornography or other challenges do strike our families, we can petition the Lord for help and expect great guidance from the Spirit, knowing that we have done what our Father has asked us to do.”
Having such a home where these practices are in effect will greatly increase our resilience to Satan’s attempts to divert us from the straight and narrow path. If any of you have the opportunity to attend seminary or institute I would encourage you to do so, it is the perfect addition to your day and the understanding about the scriptures that you gain will help to deepen your testimony.
Sister Reeves also noted that doing family history work can bring great blessing and protection into our lives, “Remember that living Apostles have also promised that as we search out our ancestors and prepare our own family names for the temple, we will be protected now and throughout our lives as we keep ourselves worthy of a temple recommend. What promises!” (April 2014 General Conference)
I am continually amazed by the blessings promised to those who do family history work. It is a great work that God is very pleased with.
Sister Reeves continued by addressing young members who are often the most at risk with the environment around them at school. “Youth, take responsibility for your own spiritual well-being. Turn off your phone if necessary, sing a Primary song, pray for help, think of a scripture, walk out of a movie, picture the Savior, take the sacrament worthily, study For the Strength of Youth, be an example to your friends, confide in a parent, go see your bishop, ask for help, and seek professional counseling, if needed.” (April 2014 General Conference)
Parents should also try to help their children, whether they are struggling or not to avoid pornography. Talk to your children about the dangers of pornography and how they can avoid it.
To those of you who are struggling with pornography it is important to know that God will always love you, literally no matter what you do. The Saviour suffered an infinite atonement for your sins; he wants very much to see you get back onto the path of righteousness. It may be the hardest thing that you have ever done, but please, talk to your bishop about pornography; he is there to help you. As soon as you have confessed your sins you will feel a great weight lift off of you. There is no trial which you will go through which you cannot overcome. “Behold he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven and I the Lord remember them no more.” (Doctrine and Covenants 58:42). It doesn’t matter how far gone you are, the only thing that matters is if you are headed back towards the light.