I belong to a small message board of Latter-day Saint (LDS) mothers, and recently, there was a thread about the level of concern pornography was for us as wife and mothers. I was absolutely s.h.o.c.k.e.d. to learn that over half of the women polled replied that pornography was of little to no worry to them. These women, all of which are members of the LDS church and know our leaders' great level of concern regarding pornography, simply didn't believe the issue will touch them and their family. I am telling you now...pornography is an issue I strongly believe affects everyone to some degree, whether it is your son, husband, friend, brother-in-law, cousin, or co-worker.
There are 40 million adults who regularly visit Internet pornography websites in the United Sates alone. The largest consumer of Internet pornography is 35 - 49 age group; those are not hormonal adolescents, but men and women with spouses and families. The industry is expanding at an alarming rate: in 1988 there were 1,300 hardcore pornography titles released in the U.S.; in 2005 there were 13,588, and the numbers continue to rise. When I searched the subject of pornography on lds.org, I brought up 831 results. Eight hundred and thirty-one. To say the brethren are concerned about pornography is a serious understatement.
Pornography is absolutely devasting to a marriage It takes what is beautiful and sacred and turns it into filth and evil. Pornography degrades sex. It dehumanizes the participants and those who witness it. The sexual side of the marriage is no longer just between the man and wife, but the man, wife, and playboy bunny he's been "seeing" on the side. It hurts wives. It bewilders children. It destroys families and marriages.
One of my biggest concerns is the apathy towards pornography and masturbation that is evident in today's society. Time and time again I have attended classes and read articles that inform me both things are normal and even natural. That as a mother and wife, I should not attempt to prevent and disallow these things, but that I should accept them or even embrace them. When readers and students ask how to counsel our children and help our husbands avoid pornography, we find no help, instead are accused of being narrow-minded and over-protective.
Our children are at high risk. The amount of pornography available is increasingly rising and our children's access to it, whether they're actively seeking it or not. The average age of a child's first internet exposure to pornography is 11 years old. As of 2002, 9 out of 10 children aged between the ages of 8 and 16 have viewed pornography on the internet, in most cases unintentionally. If you don't talk to and protect your children from pornography, who will?
I'm not going to claim I'm not telling you this to alarm you, because I am. I want you to be alarmed. I want you to go to great lengths to protect your families from this plague. This is an imminent danger that we need to address now.
While we can't guarantee that our husbands and children won't be exposed to pornography or seek it out themselves, we can protect our homes from it to the best of our ability. Keep your computer in an open area in your home and, if possible, filter it. Put uplifting messages around it. Talk to your children about what they're looking at on the internet and the dangers that lurk there. Keep talking with them about it. Ask your husband if he's being true to you, physically, emotionally, and mentally. Continue to ask him. Send a picture of your family with him when he's away on business. Help your family avoid the traps. I know these seem like silly, little things, but they will add up and hopefully, protect your family. You can't make the decisions for them, they have their free agency, but you can provide them with a loving, spiritual haven to come home to, giving them a reason and helping them find the ability to stay clean.