In my ward yesterday, there was an over-the-pulpit announcement plugging an anti-pornography gathering by something called UCAP, or the Utah Coalition Against Pornography. Also mentioned was that Mark Willes, the LDS Church’s top media guy, will be speaking. I was also reading a magazine that noted that Sen. Orrin Hatch has co-signed a letter demanding that U.S. AG Eric Holder prosecute adult pornography crimes.
My church has been on a huge anti-pornography campaign lately via its media outlets, including the Deseret News. It’s no coincidence to me that it started soon after an academic study noted that Utah had the highest ratio of online pornography subscribers, read It’s not an outlandish stretch to assume that a healthy number of LDS men are online pornography subscribers. I’ve never signed up for any pornography or paid for it, unless you count “Prospero’s Books,” early John Waters, or “The Cook the Thief, His Wife and her Lover” as porn. (I’m sure some do)
This new church/state crusade against porn reminds me of the fuss a couple of years ago over whether watching porn is adultery. A “sex expert” on Fox News said it was. The idea gained a bit more steam from Ross Douthat, then with The Atlantic, who argued that paying to be sexually aroused by watching a person other than your spouse engage in sex is closer than most think to adultery Read An opposing viewpoint came from several pundits/bloggers, including Will Wilkinson of the Cato Institute, read who wrote, “for most people whose minds have not been addled by religious dogma, the distinction between touching yourself and touching someone not your spouse or committed monogamous partner is well nigh categorical. One’s just wrong, one’s just not.”
That about sums it up, but it’s perfectly appropriate for any church to discourage pornography if it clashes with said organization’s belief system or concerns its hierarchy. I’m a little more skeptical of Hatch’s crusade — there doesn’t seem to be any evidence that legal porn destroys marriages or causes crime. If it did, Utah would have a lot more problems.
As for myself, I find porn tempting but it’s been at least 20-plus years since I’ve watched a hard-core film or anything that would go beyond an NC-17 rating. My concerns with porn is that it can harm intimacy with the one you love by presenting an objectified facade of lust, and I wouldn’t want to treat my spouse that way.