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The Pornography Problem: Unavoidable, but Not Unconquerable

For those who have been wounded in the trap of pornography, there is hope for healing, no matter how serious the injury. 

"Any individual can escape the trap of pornography and fully recover, but this is possible only through drawing on the power of the atonement." Dallin H. Oaks

The word “pornography” is often associated with addiction. Pornography addiction is a serious and real problem. However, “addiction” doesn’t necessarily describe every user, and the term shouldn’t be automatically applied to everyone who struggles with pornography.

In “Recovering from the Trap of Pornography,” published in the Ensign and Liahona, Elder Dallin H. Oaks lays out the degrees of pornography use, ranging from accidental exposure to addiction-level use.

Elder Oaks says that it is important to understand the difference between deliberate pornography use and use that has intensified to become compulsive pornography use. No matter where someone falls on this spectrum, these are the steps that Elder Oaks prescribes to anyone whose life may have been infected by pornography.

  1. Humility
  2. Discipleship
  3. Commitment to a plan
  4. Accountability and support
  5. Endurance in faith

But prevention alone is not enough to deal with this issue. Pornography is so prevalent that we are frequently exposed to it without our consent. Accidental exposure, like coming across pornography when we are walking down the street or changing the channel on television, is not a sin. However, we must respond righteously so that the Spirit can guide us to safety.

“All of us need the Atonement of Jesus Christ,” says Elder Oaks. “Those struggling with pornography need our compassion and love as they follow needed principles and steps of recovery. Please do not condemn them. They are not evil or without hope. They are sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father.”

Read Elder Oaks’ article “Recovering from the Trap of Pornography” in the Ensign or the Liahona.

Sources: Ensign and Liahona
—Nicole Day Olson, Mormon Insights

Find more insights

The Church has a 12-step program, and a new video series describing those steps.

Overcoming Pornography is a Church website devoted specifically to pornography addiction recovery and focuses on how to apply the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

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  1. This is a great article. We shouldn’t feel ashamed for stumbling across pornography. Come on, it’s everywhere! I plan to raise my children with an awareness of this device of the adversary, rather than never bring it up. I think if we are honest about the topic and warn our children from an early age, it won’t become something that they feel like they can’t talk about or have to hide.

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