How do we explain the Church’s stand on pornography?

    “How do we explain the Church’s stand on pornography?” Ensign, June 1977, 39

    How do we explain the Church’s stand on pornography when nonmembers point to Paul’s statement that “there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean” (Rom. 14:14)?

    C. Gary Bennett, member of the Melchizedek Priesthood writing committee and a college curriculum writer for the Church Education System First of all we should note that Paul’s statement is referring to Mosaic law restrictions concerning clean and unclean meats. (See Rom. 14:15.) In Ephesians 5:5 [Eph. 5:5] the apostle writes that the unclean person has no inheritance in the kingdom of God.

    One of the great responsibilities of the Lord’s church is to promote and champion the eternal laws of God, all of which are given for the benefit of man. (See 2 Ne. 26:24.) As stated in the Thirteenth Article of Faith, “We believe in being … chaste … [and] virtuous.” [A of F 1:13]

    Pornography by definition is the display of that which is obscene and licentious. The Lord and his servants have always abhorred and commanded against such things. Those who would condone these matters by a misapplication of scripture are indeed wresting the scriptures to their own destruction. (See 2 Pet. 3:16.) It was the Master himself who declared, in his Sermon on the Mount, that he who looks on a woman “to lust after her hath committed adultery … in his heart.” (Matt. 5:28.) In our dispensation he reiterated this command and added that those who do so “shall not have the Spirit, but shall deny the faith and shall fear.” (D&C 63:16.) President Kimball adds his witness:

    “We hope that our parents and leaders will not tolerate pornography. It is really garbage, but today is peddled as normal and satisfactory food. Many writers seem to take delight in polluting the atmosphere with it. Seemingly, it cannot be stopped by legislation. There is a link between pornography and the low, sexual drives and perversions. …

    “It is ridiculous to imply that pornography has no effect. There is a definite relationship to crime. Murder, robbery, rape, prostitution, and commercialized vice are fed on this immorality. Sex statistics seem to reflect a relationship between crime and pornography. …

    “… We live in a permissive world, but we must make certain we do not become a part of that permissive world, that degenerate world.” (Conference address, Ensign, Nov. 1974, p. 7.)