SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, March 15, 2016 (Gephardt Daily) — Pornography is like an insidious disease that eats away at moral fabric and strips the human spirit of its strength and integrity.
So said Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Holland spoke Saturday at the 14th annual conference of the Utah Coalition Against Pornography, attended by more than 2,700 people who crowded into the Salt Palace.
“This ought to be seen like a public health crisis, like a war, like an infectious fatal epidemic, like a moral plague on the body politic that is maiming the lives of our citizens,” Holland told his listeners.
“We do need to see this (pornography) like avian flu, cholera, diphtheria or polio,” he said. “It needs to be eradicated.”
Holland said society’s views about pornography use are becoming more lax. He cited statistics collected by the religious poling firm Barna Group, which are part of a study, entitled “The Porn Phenomenon,” to be released next month.
“It is reported that 89 percent of teens and 95 percent of young adults regularly have either ‘encouraging’ or ‘accepting’ conversations with their peers about pornography use,” Holland said.
“That means that of those interviewed only one in 20 young adults and only one in 10 teens say they and their friends think viewing pornography is a bad thing.”
It’s time to take the threat seriously, Holland said.
“I can’t tell you, really, much you don’t already know about the evils of pornography,” he said.
“I’ll tell you that pornography is steadily, inexorably, unendingly, that there is more of it, that it’s easier for everyone, including children, to access, and that it continues to rend the very moral fabric of our society whether that be the family, or the community, or the very state or the nation. That is because in every case, it rends the moral fabric of the individual.”
Holland said religious leaders from many faiths share the belief that pornography harms its users and, by extension, their loved ones.
“Catholic bishops, Protestant ministers, Jewish rabbis and Muslim mullahs have all spoken out on this sin because God Himself has spoken out on it. Yes, heaven abhors this practice,” Holland said.
“In this work, in this conference, we are on the side of the angels.”
Holland praised the 2016 Utah Legislature, which passed a resolution to declare pornography a public health crisis. It’s the first resolution of its kind in America. The resolution will be sent to Utah Governor Gary Herbert for his signature.
Holland also said the acronym FAST can help people who are struggling to give up pornography.
“F” stands for “flee,” meaning remove yourself from site of the temptation.
“My first admonition to anyone struggling with pornography is to leave the scene of the crime,” Holland said.
“A” stands for “ask.”
“Above all I would have a person struggling with pornography ask God for help, pleading for the mercy and grace of the Almighty to aid him or her in this difficult task,” Holland said. “I would ask and ask until my throat was hoarse. I would knock and knock until my knuckles were bloody.”
“S” is for “strive” to win the battle.
“It may take days, it may take years, it may take much of a lifetime, but I believe in the reward of persistent effort,” Holland said.
And “T” is for “triumph.”
“They need to have and to keep that hope always — to believe they can be victorious in this battle, that they can conquer this implacable foe.”