1987
Church Leaders Combat Pornography
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“Church Leaders Combat Pornography,” Ensign, Feb. 1987, 78–79

Church Leaders Combat Pornography

Church leaders from many denominations met in Washington, D.C., November 13 and 14 to discuss how to combat child pornography and other forms of degrading obscenity. Members of the coalition, known as the Religious Alliance against Pornography, said that obscenity is not entitled to protection under the U.S. Constitution.

LDS delegates to the conference included Elder Loren C. Dunn of the First Quorum of the Seventy and president of the North America Northeast Area; Young Women General President Ardeth G. Kapp; Dr. Bruce C. Hafen, dean of Brigham Young University’s J. Reuben Clark Law School; and Dr. Richard P. Lindsay, managing director of Church Public Communications and Special Affairs.

Elder Dunn, who represented the First Presidency at the alliance, said: “It has been an inspiration to me to see representatives of the major religious denominations in the United States come together and form a united front to fight the vicious problem of pornography.”

In her remarks to the conference, Sister Kapp noted that “today’s youth needs meaningful challenges and a moral purpose. They need role models with moral courage. To help our youth reject harmful evils like pornography and chemical dependency, we need parents and leaders who are willing to speak out and teach that these things are wrong.”

Brother Hafen discussed the first amendment to the U.S. Constitution as it applies to obscenity. He said, “Society’s right to limit certain forms of speech is now established beyond question. Society does have the right to regulate offensive expression.”

Resisting the notion that the quest for knowledge can be divorced from the quest for virtue, Brother Hafen stated, “The justices of the Supreme Court have understood what the ancients understood: some sense of restraint is absolutely essential to maintaining a free, democratic society over the long term.”

Noting that pornography affects more than just the consumer, Brother Lindsay said, “Absolute free speech is neither desirable nor required by our Constitution and laws.

“We are here to tell our fellow citizens that there is a consensus in this nation in support of positive moral values. We are prepared to help shape the moral purpose of the communities of our nation.”