landscape photo of a desolate land

Pornography Is Not Love

Chop down the tree of pornography by cutting off the roots of lust. Through Christ’s healing and forgiveness, you can overcome pornography addiction.

photo by Circe Denyer

photo by Circe Denyer

Pornography addiction is a real issue that affects us all in some way: it can destroy self-worth, relationships, and—most importantly—true love.

In his address “Place No More for the Enemy of My Soul,” Elder Jeffrey R. Holland describes the immorality around us today as “a global cesspool of perceptions that could blast a crater in [our] brains forever.” Chopping at the branches of the problem (pornography and other sins) will get us nowhere. According to Elder Holland, we must “strike more directly at the root of the tree[;] not surprisingly we find lust lurking furtively there.”

Lust “defiles the highest and holiest relationship God gives us in mortality—the love that a man and woman have for each other and the desire . . . to bring children into a family intended to be forever.” Lust destroys the Spirit by objectifying others and gratifying physical pleasure. Lust self-indulges with an open appetite.

Each person who struggles with pornography addiction is different. Some may view pornography because of low self-esteem or in an effort to numb themselves from difficulties and problems. Whatever the surface-level issue is, Elder Holland says, the root problem can be traced back to lust.

Lust is not love; neither is pornography a substitute for a loving relationship. Pornography prostitutes the real meaning of true love. Because pornography causes the viewer to turn away from love in order to feed lust, it can destroy families.

photo by Ken Kistler

If you have fallen into pornography addiction, take courage in this truth: “If we want [forgiveness and healing] dearly and deeply enough, that enemy can and will be rebuked by the redeeming power of the Lord Jesus Christ.” Lust can be replaced with love, and addiction can be replaced with freedom through the Savior’s grace.

Watch or read Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s address “Place No More for the Enemy of My Soul.”


—Allen Warner, Mormon Insights

feature image by jim trodel

Find more insights:

See a short video about addiction, and read about how an addiction can affect us.

Read about one young man’s battle with pornography.

Read a family therapist’s advice for parents with children struggling with pornography.

Check out a Mormon Insights article by Jessica Porter, “The Atonement: The End to Addiction,” to learn how Christ’s sacrifice can help us overcome addiction.

Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Good post. Though personally, I feel that generally we have yet to truly strike at the roots of our issues, pornography in particular. We vaguely say to eliminate opportunities, but we don’t want to admit that that may mean to get rid of our smartphones, to unsubscribe from Netflix, to have your spouse put a password on your computer, etc. Those are just some basic examples, but the point is that if we really believe porn is such a problem, why don’t we actually nip it in the bud?

    I’m glad that seeking professional help is part of the advice, but I don’t think “control your thoughts” is very good advice. That’s akin to saying “just stop doing it.” Unless an addiction is still in embryo, that’s very, very difficult to do. Even putting aside the idea of hurting someone’s feelings, “control your thoughts” is simply not helpful.

  2. Great article – addressing the symptoms is never a replacement for curing the disease!

  3. It is so important that this topic be addressed. I think the more we talk about it and get it out there for discussion, the easier it will be to face it and overcome it.

  4. I agree with Leah. I think that we often talk around pornography. We talk about it often, but we don’t really explain it well. We say that it is bad, but we as Church members fail to elucidate early on (to young men and young women) what it is and what to do when you almost inevitably stumble upon it. When does it cross the line to addiction? Not everyone who views porn has a legitimate porn addiction, but we talk about porn as if everyone who views it has an addiction. How do you deal with it if your spouse has a problem? How can you know if you’ve truly repented of it? These are practical questions that I don’t think Elder Holland addresses adequately in this talk. A conference talk is perhaps not the best place or mode for this practical advice, but it needs to come from somewhere.

Leave a Reply

Each comment will be reviewed by a staff member before it will appear on the site. We reserve the right to not approve any comments that do not meet our community standards. View our community standards here.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *