doubt

AdamF Mormon 383 Comments

A seminary teacher I had in high school is in some BIG trouble.

This wasn’t just any seminary teacher either. Brother Pratt was one of those teachers who made me feel important every time I talked to him. He inspired many to live good and clean lives.

Apparently there are “hundreds” of text messages between Pratt and a 16 year-old student, some of them explicit. That is all the evidence so far, but the “story” unfortunately goes MUCH further. He has not been found guilty yet, but it seems overwhelmingly like he is.

The dissonance is too much right now. I need to condemn something – blame it on Satan and the male sex drive, decide Pratt really was a wolf in sheep’s clothing, etc. Those are the easy ways out, and I really want to take one of them.

It is hard to sit and wait. Even harder to just sit with the fact that someone who has helped so many people may be guilty of something like this. Hard to resist picking up a stone.

May our prayers reach out to all. May we all be free from suffering and the root of suffering.

Comments

comments

Comments 383

  1. It’s a common problem with people that are the focus of other’s praise and adulation. They start believing their own press clippings and after all is said and done the best they can say is that it seemed like a good idea at the time.

  2. I would be stunned to hear this guy, or anyone in his situtation, say that it seemed like a good idea at the time. It is very sad for everyone involved, including brother pratt. I understand he has a wife and three children. Tragic.

  3. I agree, may our prayers reach out to all. However boneheaded of a mistake this was, my concern is for the unnamed student. Can you imagine walking through school hearing whispers of “Oh, yeah, she was the girl who _________ the seminary teacher”, knowing you’re the subject of those whispers, and the focus of those whisperers’ muffled comments. I pray that the girl, however complicit she may be in the matter, will have the privacy enough to afford her another start. Finishing out high school as “the Seminary Seductress” would be traumatizing. Poor families, poor friends, all who were led by some means into accepting what they thought was innocent.

  4. What is hard to understand is the risks he was willing to take for momentary pleasure. My heart goes out to the teenage girl who will have some very hard days ahead of her. Also, his wife, who is surely suffering greatly as well. It is hard to watch someone take the trust that others have in them so lightly. When you cross certain lines, such as he has done, I don’t think trust can every be restored fully in this life. I really hope that the families that have been so devastated by this will be able to work through their pain and find the support and help they need. I also hope that Brother Pratt gets the help he needs and will sincerely recognize what he has done and try his best to repair what damage he can.

  5. When I hear of cases like this where someone has a secret life, I think of a talk given by James Faust in a Priesthood Session.

    He said: One of the great myths in life is when men think they are invincible. Too many think that they are men of steel, strong enough to withstand any temptation. They delude themselves into thinking, “It cannot happen to me.”

    He also had this great quote:

    I remember hearing President J. Reuben Clark Jr. tell of the time when one of his children was going out on a date. He asked them to come home at a certain hour. “Chafing under that constant, urgent reminder, the [teenager] said, ‘Daddy, what is the matter, don’t you trust me?’

    “His answer must have shocked her as he said, ‘No, my [child], I don’t trust you. I don’t even trust myself.’

    I would think that the characteristic to justify a little wayward behavior must have started small and grown bigger in order to find oneself in such a situation. Thus, even though outwardly one can appear to practice what they preach, inwardly they are struggling. While others visibly struggle, some hide it and project a form of godliness.

    I’ve asked myself repeatedly how the calling of so and so could have been inspired when a later secret life has come out. I will probably ask myself that question again in the future.

  6. A couple of things. First, this looks like a case of the seven year itch, middle aged male infatuation. My first job in Texas, my boss warned me about it, given the number of guys he knew who had ended up having affairs with their secretaries. I’ve seen a lot of people, male and female, develop infatuations. Those that did not take J. Reuben Clark, Jr.’s approach often indulged in them.

    Second, I have to agree with J.Ro that we should all pray for the child involved.

    But it is always so sad when people allow themselves to be driven by their emotions, which they have not controlled, whether it is in turning against God or following an infatuation. It is the sort of thing that devastates families, individuals and communities.

  7. Adam,

    what is it that you doubt? You title this piece “doubt.” Is it what this guy taught you in Seminary? Do you doubt the ability to lead a clean life because he who helped inspire you to lead a clean life himself isn’t leading a clean life?

  8. Dan – it was just a take off of the movie, Doubt. I was going to use “dissonance” as the title, which would have been a more accurate description, but I had already used that in a title of a post.

  9. I just don’t get what this guy was thinking with each decision he apparently made on this path. This was not a “moment of weakness” but rather a slow buildup with clear and repeated violations.

    A book I read on affairs suggested that the distance from innocent interaction to a kiss is MUCH bigger than from the kiss to intercourse.

    The author also provided a helpful guide to protecting against infidelity – I think it is fitting to share here:

    Seven Facts about Infidelity
    1. A happy marriage is not a vaccine against infidelity.
    2. The one having the affair may not be giving enough rather than not getting enough.
    3. It is normal to be attracted to another person, but fantasizing about what it would be like to be with that other person is a danger sign.
    4. Flirting is crossing the line because it is an invitation that indicates receptivity.
    5. Infidelity is no only about love or sex—it’s about maintaining appropriate boundaries with others and being open and honest in your committed relationship.
    6. You do not have to have sexual intercourse to be unfaithful.
    7. Emotional affairs are characterized by secrecy, emotional intimacy, and sexual chemistry. Emotional affairs can be more threatening than brief sexual flings.

    [From what I could tell about Brother Pratt, he had a great home life. He was also VERY engaging, and I could understand if some of his behavior was flirtatious. Previous to this, however, I would not have suspected anything. These points also help me to realize that he was unfaithful when he first realized he was flirting with the girl, and then didn’t tell his wife about it]

    Seven Tips for Preventing Infidelity
    1. Maintain appropriate walls and windows. Keep the windows open at home. Put up privacy walls with others who could threaten your marriage. [this refers to what we share with our spouses and others]
    2.Recognize that work can be a danger zone. Don’t lunch or take private coffee breaks with the same person all the time. When you travel with a coworker, meet in public rooms, not in a room with a bed.
    3. Avoid emotional intimacy with attractive alternatives to your committed relationship. Resist the desire to rescue an unhappy soul who pours his or her heart out to you.
    4. Protect your marriage by discussing relationship issues at home. If you do need to talk to someone else about your marriage, be sure that person is a friend of the marriage. If the friend disparages marriage, respond with something positive about your own relationship.
    5. Keep old flames from reigniting. If a former lover is coming to the class reunion, invite your partner to come along. If you value your marriage, think twice about having lunch with an old flame.
    6. Don’t go over the line when you’re online with Internet friends. Discuss your online friendships with your partner and show him or her your email if he or she is interested. Invite your partner to join in your correspondence so your Internet friend won’t get any wrong ideas. Don’t exchange sexual fantasies online.
    7. Make sure your social network is supportive of your marriage. Surround yourself with friends who are happily married and who don’t believe in fooling around.

    [I could totally see the environment of an out-going seminary teacher as dangerous. Many students our pouring their hearts out to them, often in a confidential setting. Emotional intimacy would grow quite easily, I think.]

  10. It’s very hard to understand why adults do this. Especially women sex offenders getting extrememly light penalties for messing around with boys. Not only are those boys probably never going to trust women, they will probably turn into rapists themselves. So why light penalties for female sex offenders?

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    “they will probably turn into rapists themselves”

    Jon, from what I understand, this is not normally the case. Most of these kids do not become abusers. Regardless, if you have any research or stats on the issue I am interested.

  12. It is always tragic when a person in a position of power takes advantage of that power over someone less experienced and naive in the ways of the world. My heart goes out to everyone involved especially the victim and the family of the perp, in this case. They are the innocent in all this. He should have known better.

    AdamF, the fact that you had him and trusted him as your seminary teacher makes it all the more troubling for you personally as well as others in your shoes. Rely on the fact that Brother Pratt was a great teacher and what you received in his class rather than the tragedy that unfolded as a result of a serious lapse of judgment.

    This is not much different than what happens to celebrities when confronted with fame and adulation. What a shame for everyone.

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  14. What if the offender happened to be the prophet instead of just a seminary teacher? In many people’s minds, both Joseph Smith and Brigham Young committed more serious sins than this seminary teacher did. Were they good people? In a lot of ways they were. Did they go terribly wrong on multiple occasions? Yes, they did.

    We all make mistakes. Maybe we should be a little more forgiving when people fall and a little less adoring when they don’t.

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    Bill, I agree, we should be more forgiving, and less adoring. What is difficult about this case is the contrast and the personal connection. If he had been a businessman, or an artist, or even a regular school teacher, it would not be as big of a deal. But one of the most inspiring (as reported by MANY students) seminary teachers in one’s life? That is what makes it difficult.

  16. AdamF, the personal connection does make it more difficult. Its one thing to academically understand that lots of people die everyday. Its quite another thing when someone close to you dies unexpectedly.

    I’m sorry.

  17. I think it is very possible that Brother Pratt was all the things you thought he was up to a few months ago. And then for whatever reason he slipped. Unfortunately stories like this are as old as history. King David was a king and a prophet and he fell in the same way.

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    Maybe he was, Kevin. That makes it uncomfortable – e.g. that any of us could “slip” like that. It is easier to think that maybe he was having issues for years or most of his life that no one knew about.

    Bill, thanks. A friend of mine (whom I think knew Bro. Pratt) said it kind of feels like someone died.

  19. A few comments:

    I don’t like the term complicit used with the 16 year old VICTIM.

    I don’t like how many of you seem to characterize this as two consenting adults “slipping.” Predator Pratt is to blame and I hope he pays an appropriately long penalty behind bars. My sympathies go out to the 16 year old victim.

  20. AdamF-

    I believe Brother Pratt was probably having issues for quite some time to do something as serious as this. It takes decisions over and over again to get to the point that he did. If we think of what he was willing to put on the line (job, church membership, losing family and reputation, etc), it is obvious he has been making poor decisions (mentally, emotionally) for some time.

    I think it is really important to be accountable to your spouse. I think it makes all the difference when they know where you are and what you are doing, as well as being familiar with your friends and co-workers. I wonder if his wife was feeling like something was wrong for a while but couldn’t put her finger on exactly what it was. Many times, women feel like something isn’t quite right, but they don’t know what it is, especially if the man is very good at hiding things.

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  22. While someone’s “issues” may be interesting on some level, I think they are largely irrelevant here. We all have “issues.” The only issue that matters, however, are Pratt’s actions.

    Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy very much learning about the details of someone’s life that may help paint a picture as to why they did a certain thing. For example, if the Zodiac killer were discovered and a movie came out about his childhood that had some relevance to his actions I would find that interesting. And it would not only apply to infamous people, I am similarly interested in the life of Abraham Lincoln and what experiences may have shaped him to become the great man he was. But these types of stories are interesting to me years AFTER THE FACT. However, when hypotheses about Pratt’s “issues” start rolling around within days of the alleged crimes and before the trial they seem to send out a vibe of justification for his actions or make him appear to be less responsible somehow, which is harmful, in my opinion. I think everyone needs to recognize that no matter what issues he may be dealing with, he did terrible and unacceptable things. (Assuming the accusations are true).

  23. “However, when hypotheses about Pratt’s “issues” start rolling around within days of the alleged crimes and before the trial they seem to send out a vibe of justification for his actions or make him appear to be less responsible somehow, which is harmful, in my opinion.”

    On the contrary, he is very responsible for whatever brought him to the point of choosing to behave the way he did. When people make those types of choices they have to be thinking about them prior to actually doing them. We may all have issues, but that doesn’t mean we are considering doing the things he was considering doing. He is responsible for what he was thinking about before he ever decided to go through with what he did. We do know for sure that he was texting the girl sexually explicit texts and that is the perfect pre-cursor to doing what he chose to do.

  24. Jen, I understand. But you can’t really disagree with what I said, because I was saying that TO ME, that is the vibe it sends out. I recognize others don’t see it that way. But that is the vibe I get and perhaps others do as well.

    My point is that I don’t see the point in all the hypothesizing about how bad his marriage must have been or how long he’s been planning this. That is all interesting as an ABC after school special but for now I think the issues are what did he do and how can it be proven so that justice will be served. (Again, assuming he did what has been alleged).

  25. #15–“We all make mistakes.” Not this big, not with these long-lasting ramifications for so many. However, you don’t go from a great seminary teacher to a statutory rapist of someone under your church authority without having made many other horrendously bad mistakes along the way.

  26. “My point is that I don’t see the point in all the hypothesizing about how bad his marriage must have been or how long he’s been planning this. That is all interesting as an ABC after school special but for now I think the issues are what did he do and how can it be proven so that justice will be served.”

    Dex, I understand your position as well. But TO ME, it is interesting to discuss the issues now and not later as an ABC after school special. I recognize you don’t see it this way, but this is the way I feel and perhaps others do as well. 🙂

  27. #6 – I don’t really think it’s appropriate to equate “turning away from god,” which is a matter of belief or philosophy, with a married man “following an infatuation” with a child, which is a deliberate action, and a criminal one at that. There are scores of agnostics and atheists who do not and would not do what this man did. This is a simple matter of right and wrong and has nothing to do with religion or god. I think the point is particularly appropriate since this man was and, I assume, remains, a true believer. Let’s judge people for their actions and not their beliefs.

  28. So, Pratt is a real person, not just a Mormon version of Philip Seymour Hoffman?

    It is a discouraging fact, but I agree with those who’ve said that charismatic individuals are simply prone to these kinds of temptations. They love the attention, they are good at captivating it, it becomes hard to say no. But a 16 year old child entrusted to your spiritual guidance? Ew.

  29. Gosh, Jen. Your post in 27 was exceptionally well written. Very impressive. It’s almost like you modeled it after a brilliant writer, but just switched some words around.

    As far as the point of your post, I agree completely that some people see it that way and I understand the different sides of it. Like I said, that’s just the vibe I get when people go into someone’s issues. But I respect that intelligent people can feel differently.

  30. #15- “We all make mistakes.”

    I am going with Holden on this one. This is not a mistake. A mistake is locking your keys in the car. when you didn’t want to. This was a deliberate act, a specific choice. Was it a supreme error in judgment? An exploitation of an innocent person? Yes and yes. But a mistake, no.

  31. “What if the offender happened to be the prophet instead of just a seminary teacher? In many people’s minds, both Joseph Smith and Brigham Young committed more serious sins than this seminary teacher did. Were they good people? In a lot of ways they were. Did they go terribly wrong on multiple occasions? Yes, they did.

    We all make mistakes. Maybe we should be a little more forgiving when people fall and a little less adoring when they don’t.”

    I think the spin I would prefer to put on it is that perhaps our strong emotions connected to contemporary example ought to serve as an indicator of how unforgiving we should be towards Joseph Smith and company. I see a easy willingness to blow of his conduct, as a religious leader in a position of trust, as just a simple human error. Perhaps these modern examples can help serve as an example of just how serious these offenses are, including an understanding of just how complicated the situation can become.

  32. Are you all assuming it is a young woman and not a young man or has that information been released? Just curious, as I have not heard any confirmation in the news story. I think it would make a difference.

  33. cwc – I totally thought it was a boy from AdamF’s post. The comments were assuming a girl. I haven’t read any actual news article on it.

  34. No, not worse. It would reflect differently on the church though. A closeted gay man may be more prone to marry a woman and molest a teenage boy if his sexuality was actively condemned by his church. It is still molesting a minor, it is still CLEARLY condemned by the church but yes, the context would be different. The conversation about the fallout and how does the church keep this from repeating itself would likewise be different.

  35. cwc,

    “A closeted gay man may be more prone to marry a woman and molest a teenage boy if his sexuality was actively condemned by his church.”

    I think that you will find that the vast majority of sexual predators of young boys are not necessarily “closeted gays” but sick individuals who prey on defenseless young people. Others here are more expert on this subject than I.

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  37. Adam,

    I’m sorry to hear that this has happened, for your sake and for many others who have had to see someone they held as a role model seemingly fall. Its hard to watch someone who is capable of such good seemingly fall so far. Its also hard to reconcile in the mind. My best to you as you deal with this.

    Kate

  38. I’m generally among the crowd that will gladly be first to call foul when it is percieved that the Church is somehow at fault on an issue. Even so,I don’t think the Church could ever be blamed for the sexual conduct of closeted gay men who “act out” based upon feelings of repression that arise from conflicting interests. The Church is entitled to establish a moral code, which they define, for those wishing membership to adhere to. Even if this type of conduct was an outgrowth of a personal struggle to maintain balance between desires and a particular societies expectations, it is the individual who bears the responsibility of defining their own identity. Acting out in response to the unenforcable policies of a Church is striclty a personal matter, or personal problem. The Church represents ideas and a culture largely, and incompatability issues are not a reasonable defense for illegal actions that bring harm to others. If a person truly felt that their emotions “would” require that they engage in homosexual behavior, they could do so legally and with some social approval, if they seek out adult aged partners. The line rhetoric that would blame the Church for repressive beliefs fails to acknowledge the actual level of freedom we each have, as well as it strips all religion of teeth, ie the ability to take moral stands.

    For the record, I do not hold issue against the Church for it’s internal policies regarding homosexuals, as said policies relate to membership eligibility. I do take issue the type and level of political activism employed recently by the Church, to enforce religious will.

  39. This was not a sudden change for Pratt. There are always thoughts and even actions long before a sin and crime of this magnitude. Two scriptures always come to mind when I hear of things like this.

    “…and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell.” 2 Ne. 28:21

    “For the Spirit of the Lord will not always strive with man. And when the Spirit ceaseth to strive with man then cometh speedy destruction,…” 2 Ne. 26:11

    The key words for me have always been “carefully” and “speedy”. He may have fought this in his mind for a long time, but when the Spirit finally left him to his own devices, it didn’t take long for the next act.

  40. Its really hard to understand why people seem to be perceiving this situation as an affair. Or as a “mistake” on Pratt’s part. This is a case of sexual abuse (alleged). There is no such thing as an affair between an 37 year old and a 16 year old. Further, such actions have nothing to do with the perps. marriage or other aspects of his life. It should not be shocking at all that this man is also inspiring and well like. Being a sociopath may come with the territory.

    cwc,

    “A closeted gay man may be more prone to marry a woman and molest a teenage boy if his sexuality was actively condemned by his church.”

    Not to put too fine of a point on it but this is a wonderful bit of long standing misinformed, homophobic, nonsense. Being a pedophile has nothing to do with being gay or straight.

    “We all make mistakes. Maybe we should be a little more forgiving when people fall and a little less adoring when they don’t.”

    This misses the point, our emphasis should be on protecting children and teens from sexual predators. It has nothing to do with “mistakes” or being forgiving etc. Its about protecting our kids. After that, its about doing what is necessary to make sure perps. don’t repeat offend. This can mean a lot of different things.

    The only ways that forgiveness matters is 1)In relation to the teen or child that has been abused. At some point in the healing process forgiveness will be necessary. But no one can dictate when or how or what form that forgiveness should take. Its a unique aspect of that individuals experience. The survivor must also forgive themselves. Most survivors hold themselves to be responsible to one degree or another for what happened. So they need to let go of that claim of responsibility, which is an act that has several dimensions including forgiving oneself. 2) The parents and families of the person who was abused, can they forgive themselves for not seeing it, or not following up on the feeling that something was wrong? 3) The family of the perps often have guilt associated with that person’s behavior and feel like they should have known, or could have done something. Well, maybe they could have, maybe they couldn’t but in the end they can not cling to responsibility.

  41. #45

    I don’t understand the point. And I don’t agree. Why does it matter if this was gradual or not? Sometimes people gradually prepare for something. Sometimes they just impulsively act when an opportunity arises.

  42. #45 – This comment has absolutely no basis in fact. Is it likely that there were events, thoughts or desires that precipitated these acts? Yes. But nether you, nor anyone else is in any poition to know what was going on with this man before this whole escapade began. It is not impossible to imagine someone living a good and relatily righteous life, and in that moment of temptation, simply failing to make the right choice. This does not mitigate his actions in the slightest. He is responsle for what he did. However, it is pointless to sit here and speculate about all the other wrongs he must have done prior to this one. My opinion is that engaging in such speculation is nothing more than whistling past the graveyard – an easy way to distinguish ourselves from him, telling ourselves that it couldn’t happen to us because he was CLEARLY doing other wrongs that prepared him for this. The lesson to be learned here is not that this man was a worse person than anyone else,but that if we’re not vigilant, any one of us could find ourselves in a similarly precarious situation.

  43. I also think terms such as “pedophile,” “child molester” and “child rape” may not be totally appropriate in this situation.

  44. Dexter:

    Your point would be served to note that according to the recent press on this matter, police are not currently aware of how long or what exactly led to this outcome. So it is very difficult to employ the scriptures at this point, as a way of explaining how one thing led to another.

  45. My points stand alone. Just kidding. Thanks Cowboy. But although you say it is “difficult” to employ the scriptures it simply is not difficult for many to hear of an event and point to a scripture that applies. I, of course, disagree with this mindset.

  46. Going along with what brjones said in #49, the reports from the police seem to indicate that the acts were consensual:

    From http://www.deseretnews.com/article/705316062/LDS-seminary-principal-is-arrested-in-sexual-abuse.html

    “Police are in the process of obtaining a warrant to gather the exact content of the messages, said Utah County Sheriff’s Sgt. Matt Higley of the Utah Valley Special Victims Task Force.

    Higley said the acts were consensual. Pratt, who is married and has children, has no prior criminal record, Higley said. There is also no indication of other victims.”

    Since the accuser was 16, this makes the case an issue of statutory rape rather than child molestation.

  47. Consent means nothing unless the child reached the age where she is capable of consent, which I don’t believe is the case. If one is below that age, they can say yes or act like they want to all they want, but it is still not consent.

  48. I think 16 might be that age in Utah. You are right though Dexter, we can use the scriptures to support about any case we want to make. I believe this what the scriptures call, “wresting the Scriptures to your understanding”.

  49. I agree with Dexter. I wasn’t so much pointing out that the acts were consentual as that a sixteen year old is much different than a true child. Again, that doesn’t absolve him of any responsibility for what he is alleged to have done. It is wrong and horrible standing alone.

  50. GBSmith – I don’t live in Utah, so I haven’t read the Des or Trib. I only assumed a boy because AdamF deliberately used the gender-neutral term “student” and the title of the post refers to a movie/broadway play where the accusation was based on a priest with teenage boys.

    I would agree that there is slight difference between statutory rape and pedophilia. But the guy has major problems. He’s married with kids, and she’s half his age.

  51. I think “half his age” is putting it lightly. If he were 40 and she were 20 she would be half his age. But that would not be anywhere near as inappropriate as this is.

    I feel bad even correcting Hawkgrrrl because I have found her to be the best poster, in my opinion, of not saying things that ever deserve criticism. So this is a very minor clarification and not really a criticism of Hawkgrrrl at all.

  52. Listen, there’s no question he has problems. I was really just pointing out that our culture finds the underlying desires of a pedophile repulsive and sick. There’s nothing inherently repulsive about a 37 year-old being attracted to a 16 year old. The repulsive aspect is his behavior.

  53. I can’t help but giggle at cwc being called out for homophobia. Anyone familiar with her history with us peculiar people would laugh at the irony.

    Although she is more than capable of defending herself, let me just clarify that she was in no way arguing that gay men are more likely to be pedophiles.

    More like, if this particular case involved a 16 year old boy, it puts things in a different light. Reprehensible, yes. But still different. If an individual closeted gay man, married with children and a high-profile religious job, facing swift condemnation of his feelings from his community and struggling to control those temptations, happened to meet a boy who was comfortable engaging those feelings, the temptation would be severe and different than just a flirty teen girl. It would be inappropriate and wrong, but far different than pedophilia.

  54. #61 – in fact, don’t even bother. If you think it is outside realm of possibility that you would ever personally find a 16 year old attractive, then bully for you, Douglas. The fact is, if her parents gave consent, she could legally marry a 37 year old tomorrow, and people would scarcely raise an eyebrow. Furthermore, if you’re an active mormon, you consider as the greatest prophet in the history of the world, a man who had sex with multiple girls of that age, including a 14 year old. So please save the faux indignation.

    I’m clearly not in any way justifying what pratt did, which was unequivocally wrong and also disturbing.

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    I don’t think attraction is inherently repulsive. We are all attracted to others in many different ways, including physically, whether we are married or not. Now, if it had been a 3 year old, I would be repulsed by the “attraction” idea, but 16? Seriously. We’re hard-wired to be drawn to each other. No problem with your comment, brj.

  56. #47 and #48, Take it easy guys, just saying’, ya know? I’m not judging him here, I’m just saying these things don’t come out of the blue. More than that I’m not qualified to say past that fact we should examine our own lives and make sure we’re not walking too close to the edge. And yes, Dexter, people can act impulsively when the opportunity arises, but it seems that for that to happen in this case strains credulity a bit. And brjones, I’m not sitting here throwing stones. Those two scriptures I cited have personal meaning for me and apply to all. I should have made that clear in my original post.
    And as far as “speculation’ goes, come on, 87.3% of the bloggernale is speculation (I speculate).

  57. #64 – Thank you, Adam. Many 16 year olds are impossible to discern from 18 year olds and some look even older. The repulsve aspect is getting ivolved sexually with someone he knows is not mature enough to understand or manage those feelings. It’s predatory and disgusting, but the attraction is not unnatural.

  58. “if you’re an active mormon, you consider as the greatest prophet in the history of the world, a man who had sex with multiple girls of that age, including a 14 year old.”

    Is the average member OK with whatever JS did, but outraged at what Pratt did? How can we say that Pratt was an immoral predator while singing “Praise to the Man” who was much more involved in this type of stuff?

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    Bill and others – there are MANY discussions (esp. the Salt Lake Tribune) that are covering that issue quite well. It is obviously not a point that goes unnoticed, and I won’t delete the comments, but I just don’t want the thread to turn into a JS bashing forum – NOT at all saying that’s your intention, however.

    Fwiw, I am not comfortable with anyone in our history marrying any 14 year-old girl. I don’t think the average member is comfortable with it either. At the same time, the culture must be taken into account. Not that that makes anything better, but marrying a 14 year-old 200 years ago is obviously not the same as it is today.

  60. Unless I am mistaken, while Joseph Smith was known to have been married to Helen Mar Kimball, there is no evidence (in her case) that the marriage was conjugal. That makes a slight difference, though her individual circmumstances were poor nevertheless.

    “The fact is, if her parents gave consent, she could legally marry a 37 year old tomorrow, and people would scarcely raise an eyebrow.”

    Despite the technical legality here (my sister was married at 17, though to a man only two years older) I think society would raise an eyebrow, just not an iron fist – because, again legally they can’t.

  61. #67, Bill,

    “Is the average member OK with whatever JS did, but outraged at what Pratt did? How can we say that Pratt was an immoral predator while singing “Praise to the Man” who was much more involved in this type of stuff?’

    Gee Bill, why stop there, go back all the way, What about God and Mary? Or Joseph and Mary depending on your belief. Can you condemn that with the same fervor?

  62. “I feel bad even correcting Hawkgrrrl because I have found her to be the best poster, in my opinion’

    Hawk, a new BFF!

  63. I was under the impression that it was a fairly well accepted fact that Fanny Mae Alger was 14 years old and also Joseph Smith’s wife.

    My intention is not to bash JS, but only to point out the double standard being employed by some. And, for the sake of argument, Adam, I’ll accept your argument about differing cultures. That still only speaks to cultural norms, not whether such attraction is natural. I maintain that it was then and is today.

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    BRJ – I can see the point of the double standard, and I agree that attraction probably has not changed much, although what is considered attractive does change over time and across cultures. Perhaps JS is not quite as disturbing to me because of lack of a living, personal connection. I have always felt that had I lived in Nauvoo, I would have told him off and moved to Texas had he propositioned my wife or daughter, or asked me to take a second wife. Even God would have to do some mighty good explaining for me to be convinced on that one.

  65. Adam,

    #59,

    I’ve left Utah, but I can’t leave it alone!

    I have. Or am I, by commenting on whether or not I leave it alone, prove that I don’t leave it alone?

  66. AdamF-

    “I have always felt that had I lived in Nauvoo, I would have told him off and moved to Texas had he propositioned my wife or daughter, or asked me to take a second wife”

    Why Texas? 🙂

    “Even God would have to do some mighty good explaining for me to be convinced on that one”

    Would an angel appearing with a sword be convincing enough? haha JK

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    Jen – Hah! You got me… uh, because 1 – Austin is pretty nice, and 2 – if you say “I’m goin’ to Texas” in a George W. accent it sounds kind of funny.

    Re: angel and a sword – nope. I’d be all like, “gettup outta my grill fool.”

  68. This is one thing and that one thing is tragic. Lives have been altered forever. Those who have been taught by Bro. Pratt like AdamF are left with many questions. Those of us who are casual bystanders really have no skin in this except to bring all of our “expertise” to the matter.

    At the end of the day if you have a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ we are bound to forgive regardless how long it takes. The fact is that if Bro. Pratt truly repents (and he can) the Lord is there to forgive (immediately). Our problem is that we are caught up in our culture and there are too many who will never be able to forgive even when we are not directly effected. All of the sudden his former burdens become our stumbling block.

    Not to long ago I attended a youth fireside where our CES coordinator spoke and related the stories of individuals who made mistakes through history and no matter what good they had done in their lives previously the only thing we remember them for now is the mistake they made. He then went on to talk about how when we as members commit serious sins and errors it is the same that no matter how much good we have done previously and in spite of repenting that it does not matter because unfortunately we are damaged goods.

    Unfortunately this is true in Mormon culture but it is not the gospel of Jesus Christ. Ultimately if Bro. Pratt truly repents he will have to be forgiven by those he has injured. If they are unable to do that then their progression is in jeopardy. So AdamF seek the Lords guidance. Seek to understand how you can forgive and leave the judging to those who have been called to do so. Pray for his family and pray the Bro. Pratt will someday be able to return in full fellowship. I know I will be.

    Hey Hawk this only goes to support my sweeping generalization on a former post correct?

  69. AdamF-

    “Re: angel and a sword – nope. I’d be all like, “gettup outta my grill fool.””

    I would pay good money to see that! Ha!

  70. Dex-

    Nachos with steak on them? Are these at like 7 eleven? Ewww…..

    So that’s the stipulation huh? I was hoping that you would just pray out of the goodness of your heart. Guess I have to keep working on that…..

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  72. Actually, they are at what I consider to be good enough restaurants. I’ve had them at ESPN Zone in Las Vegas and at Lumpy’s in SLC. Delicious.

    If 7-11 offers them, let me know if they are any good.

    It’s not that my heart is no good, it’s that I can only utter so many names in a prayer, and Pratt would not make the list even if I prayed for hours. And my whole lack of belief in God sometimes shortens my prayers.

    As far as your offer to work on my heart, I appreciate the gesture. If you are offering a free therapy session, I have always wanted to lie on a couch and tell someone about my childhood. Are you licensed? Do you have any references? I might waive the reference requirement if it is free.

  73. #78-

    I think it is important for people to forgive when children/minors are hurt or abused, but they don’t ever have to trust them again. For some, forgiveness can feel the same as saying that what the person did was ok. This can be a difficult obstacle to overcome, especially when it involves minors. Forgiveness is quite a process in situations like this, but I do agree that we are required to forgive all, so it is best to get started now rather than later.

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    Dex, I’m not licensed yet, but what evs. I must say though, that there will be absolutely no lying on couches in my office…

    That is for psychoanalysis, not psychotherapy.

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  77. Dex-

    “And my whole lack of belief in God sometimes shortens my prayers” I was wondering about this part. I’m glad to know that you still pray, even if they are short.

    “If you are offering a free therapy session, I have always wanted to lie on a couch and tell someone about my childhood. Are you licensed? Do you have any references? I might waive the reference requirement if it is free.”

    As far as a license the only one I have is to drive….sorry. I have heard though that AdamF is really good at therapy, isn’t that true Adam? I’m just not sure about the free part. 🙂

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    78 – Thomas B. – Thank you for your kind and insightful thoughts. Perhaps the difficult thing with forgiveness in this case is I have to accept that he was no better than me or anyone else. It is tempting to hold certain people up to higher standards.

  79. As I have thought about this situation today, I have been thinking about Brother Pratt’s wife and children. I can’t imagine the hell she is going through right now and I wonder how she will explain to her children why daddy is gone away. I know that it depends on their ages, but aside from all the other pain and suffering she is dealing with, this has got to be causing her severe stress. If she tries to protect them in anyway, other children who hear about it in their homes will most likely inform them of what their dad did. What a nightmare for her. I hope she can get away for awhile and have time to figure out what to do.

  80. I don’t know if I have anything constructive to add to this discussion. You’ve covered this pretty well from several perspectives. The law is very clear in this case if the allegations are proven true. Mr. Pratt committed several first degree felonies and in all likelihood will end-up spending a minimum of 15 years in the state prison, the church will eventually excommunicate him, and if his wife is smart, she’ll move on.

    Now considering the seriousness of the crimes and the requirement in Utah that those convicted of said crimes be subject to minimum mandatory sentencing requirements of “15 years to life” makes it clear that not only I, but a good many of our state legislators understand that this young lady could not have consented to the abuse and therefore is a VICTIM (survivor) instead of a slightly underage female.

    I’m incensed by the prejudice of the Deseret News. In that article, they play the game of giving just enough facts to convey the perception of a Seminary Principal who fell victim to a consensual relationship with a 16 year old girl. If you read the Salt Lake Tribune article, you get a much different take on the situation. http://www.sltrib.com/news/ci_12810566

    What part of the following charges seem like a consensual sex to you? “Three counts of AGGRAVATED kidnapping, one count of AGGRAVATED FORCIBLE sexual abuse, 10 counts of FORCIBLE sodomy, one count of OBJECT RAPE. “ Let’s not forget that all the information used to formulate these charges came from the victim, according to the article. The Deseret News article also seems to imply that the church found out about the relationship, terminated his employment, and contacted the authorities. (Wow they’re real heroes here…) Anybody want to bet me that they didn’t react to this until after Mr. Pratt was arrested and the girl had already spoken to the police? I’m willing to take odds…

  81. What amazes me is the ineptness of both papers. Can one journalist out there realize that perhaps the age of consent is something a reader might want to know about when reading the alleged facts? Pathetic.

  82. #98 – Dexter, we put in our own work around here. Don’t hijack this thread more than you already have with your lewd solicitations of free couch sessions.

  83. Wow. Doug, you make a great point about the Deseret News. The first article the Deseret News printed on this, which I posted a link to in comment 38, begins with the following:

    “Police arrested an LDS seminary principal Thursday after they say he spent several months grooming a 16-year-old student for a sexual relationship.”

    That is the first sentence of the first article on the matter. If you read that sentence alone, it sounds like all he did was lay the groundwork for a sexual relationship but didn’t actually do it. This is the opening line of an article. Many people only read the first line of an article to decide whether to read on. This is weak and biased journalism if you ask me. It distorts the truth. It is downright misleading. Pathetic.

  84. #99 and #102 – I think this is a little bit of a reach. The term “grooming”is fairly common and has pretty clear negative connotations. Additionally, the term “forcible,” as used in that context, is a legal term of art applied when a minor is involved, because the law does not recognize her ability to consent. It does not mean he forced her to do anything against her will. Once again – NOT A JUSTIFICATION. Simply a clarification in response to the above referenced comments.

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    Doug, no one said the church was a hero in this case. I don’t know where you get that from.

    It doesn’t seem like it in this case, but I don’t think anyone should be “fired” until something seems likely (i.e. due to an arrest). Otherwise they should be put on suspension, imo. Firing someone prior to something like an arrest may lead to innocent people losing their jobs. However, that does not “seem” to be the case here.

    As for consent, I agree, she could not legally give “consent” nor would I consider the relationship to be “consensual” – HOWEVER, there is a difference between what apparently happened between Pratt and the girl, and a situation where someone is forced to have a sexual relationship. Pratt’s case seems more about sex and possibly manipulation. If there was no consent (the pragmatic kind) it would have been more about violence, not sex.

  86. Dex: If I ever pass through I would be more than happy to buy you the nachos.

    Jen: I did not mean to slight Sister Pratt and the children (and I know that is not what you meant in your post). They may of course never recover emotionally.

    AdamF: I am with you my friend. It would be akin to my Mission Presidents doing something on par. I would be devastated. We do put to much stock in our fellowman particularly the charismatic ones.

    Let me add some personal perspective. I have a relative that molested his daughters and evidently one of my cousins growing up. He still acts like nothing happened and things should just be hunky dory. I forgave him years ago but I have nothing to do with him. I would do anything for his kids and that goes without saying. To say they were not damaged is an understatement. They have made some poor choices in life but are moving forward and trying to find sanity.

    Last week my mother told me he was interested in communicating via newsletter. I let her know I am not interested in a subscription. By the way he really has not done anything to change. I am sure he thinks time has healed everything.

  87. “Once again – NOT A JUSTIFICATION. Simply a clarification in response to the above referenced comments.”

    Well said. Does Utah have an exception for sexually experienced minors like some states do (which touches on the Lawrence v Texas rights that are also implicated in minors and abortions)? The law in some of these cases can be a swamp.

    I think the lesson to draw is the 7 and 7 that was posted above about how to avoid problems and how to protect against them.

    Though I listened to the “man down” talk from Conference this morning.

  88. The trib article starts with:

    ” An LDS seminary principal connected to Highland’s Lone Peak High School was arrested Thursday afternoon after an alleged two-month sexual relationship with a student.

    Police say Michael Jay Pratt began exchanging text messages with a 16-year-old girl on May 1. Pratt would check her out of school and take her to various locations around the Utah valley for sexual acts, according to Sgt. Matt Higley with the Utah County Sex Crimes Task Force.

    The locations included Provo Canyon, Alpine, Highland, Goshen and Eureka, Higley said. Pratt also took the girl into at least one unoccupied home, he said.

    Higley said the encounters involved a range of different acts — “basically everything but full intercourse.” The victim told police about the alleged crimes earlier this week, Higley said.

    “She gave us some great information concerning the extent and nature of their relationship,” he said. “We made contact with [Pratt], he came down and met us at our office, and he was taken into custody at that time.”

    Investigators are still determining how many times Pratt allegedly rendezvoused with the girl. Higley said it was unclear whether she was one of his seminary students or if Pratt only oversaw her in an administrative role as the principal.”

    The Deseret News makes him seem much more of a predator than this does.

  89. 41 and 46 Jeff & Douglas- Sorry, I wasn’t more clear. I agree with you a thousandfold re homosexual/pedophile being apples/…a dissimilar thing that is not a fruit. I appreciate you making the distinction and apologize if I encouraged anyone to believe that a pedophile was in the same boat as a gay man. Years past I would have cried foul at the very idea as you ,Jeff, have done. However, a number of gay men, who I respect very much, have been very persuasive on not pedophiles, but hebephiles who act out as a result of repressed gay sexuality. How gross is it to parse the language of molestation? Very. But since I stepped into this I feel an obligation to clarify.

    44 Cowboy- Sorry, again, I should clarify. Do I support the church’s right to discriminate against gay people? Absolutely. I must if I hope for parity for myself or, more idealistically, because I adore the Constitution. I would never join the church and would certainly not give them money, but I would defend…to a very large degree (but who are we kidding, short of death) their right to do so. That belief that the church should have the legal right to actively discriminate against whomever they chose does not excuse them from the consequences of that discrimination.
    I don’t want to derail this conversation, particularly as it has been established that the victim was a girl and not a boy but I will say that it is my personal belief that dysfunction created by the dissonance gay Mormons feel is real and the church bears some if not all of the responsibility for that.

  90. Perhaps this isn’t the place for this question, as it is a thread jack, and may seem like it is condoning Mr. Pratt’s actions (which I’m NOT, but perhaps for a different reason, as follows). But, what is magical about the ‘age of consent’? Are 18 year olds suddenly able to understand enough about their bodies, mental development, social interactions to make good sexual decisions? How about a 17, 16, or 15 year old? I think that perhaps we don’t give teenagers enough credit for being mature, or perhaps we don’t expect them to be that way, and so many of them aren’t pushed to be mature.

    Having said that, my main problem with Mr. Pratt is not the age of the victim, but the abuse of his ‘leadership’ role as Seminary teacher. That in my mind is worse than the victim’s age, as it will hurt her relationships with future ‘leaders’, people who could play a huge role in helping her heal her heart and mind. Pratt probably has destroyed much of her ability to trust anyone, including close family and friends, including future Church leaders. I shudder at the thought of living my life without some people that I can trust absolutely. To me, this adds another dimension of the grief and sadness in this story.

    And that loss of trust in people extends over to others, like Adam, who are familiar with those involved directly. Perhaps we begin to see the reason for including hope as a major Christian virtue — those of us who are burned by the Pratts must have Hope that others will not be like that if we are to continue to build relationships. My prayers will be for you Adam, for the victim, and for Pratt in my hope that he can see his faults, be willing to accept the consequences of his actions, and develop a desire to change.

  91. AdamF “Doug, no one said the church was a hero in this case. I don’t know where you get that from.”

    Hum, lets see… From the article:

    “(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) condemns abuse of any kind and expects the highest moral and ethical standards of its seminary employees,” Farah said. “The church terminated Michael Pratt’s employment as soon as allegations surfaced and immediately reported the matter to law enforcement.”

    HOWEVER, there is a difference between what apparently happened between Pratt and the girl, and a situation where someone is forced to have a sexual relationship.

    You know Adam, I realize this is close to your heart, so I’ll try and go easy. Are you kidding me about this statement above though? I mean really… What part of forcible sexual abuse, forcible sodomy, and rape with an object, do you not find violent? Its people with your kind of perceptions about situation like this that makes victims lives truly hell. They blame themselves, they hate themselves, and they think your right. They must have caused the problem and somehow made this guy want to do the unthinkable.

    Look, this guy is a predator who used his position and popularity to seduce and rape a 16 year old girl. Twist it anyway you want, but this guys going to jail for a very long time and he deserve every day of incarceration he’s sentenced to. Too bad we couldn’t horse whip the guy, that might send a message to anyone else who thinks that this was just a mistake between an adult and a silly teenage girl with a crush.

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    Fair enough Doug – so you would have wanted the church to say “The Church is sorry that it had a pedophile for an employee, and we really feel bad about ourselves. Man we stink.” ? 😉 Anything more, from the PR lady (whom I have other issues with, re: gay kissers) of all people, is considering making them into a hero? I think this is more about your stuff rather than anything objective. But that’s just my take. 🙂

    “It’s people with your kind of perceptions about situation like this that makes victims lives truly hell”
    Wow Doug that’s pretty harsh. You don’t know me well enough to make a judgment like that. Apparently that was you trying to go easy, which I thank you for, but that was over the top. We agree on this aspect. He messed up big time, and regardless of how much “consent” the girl gave, she will probably face some serious consequences. What you are suggesting, however, is that a girl like this gave the same amount of consent as those who are raped at gunpoint, for example… that certainly may not be what you are saying, but that is how it sounds.

    I’m not condoning what he did, in any way. But you can’t tell me a 17 and 364 day old girl is less consensual than an 18 year-old. By the law, of course, but not in reality.

  93. #109 –

    “but I will say that it is my personal belief that dysfunction created by the dissonance gay Mormons feel is real and the church bears some if not all of the responsibility for that.”

    Thanks for the clarification, but I am not sure I am buying it. Any more than the reasoning that I should be allowed sex outside of marriage because I didn’t have enough sexually active girl friends in my youth. Not confessing here, mind you it is a hypothetical. Most people have the ability to control themselves. You are casting aspersions on good people who might have tried to do the right thing for the wrong reason.

    Call it what you want, but sexual attacks on younger aged person is wrong, period.

  94. Brjones,

    “I think this is a little bit of a reach. The term “grooming”is fairly common and has pretty clear negative connotations. Additionally, the term “forcible,” as used in that context, is a legal term of art applied when a minor is involved, because the law does not recognize her ability to consent. It does not mean he forced her to do anything against her will. Once again – NOT A JUSTIFICATION. Simply a clarification in response to the above referenced comments.”

    You and I usually are on the same page my friend, but in this case you are horribly misinformed. Forcible is not uniformly applied for victims over the age of 15 years. There are charges for having sex with a minor under the age of 18 when the adult is more than four years older, but they are not first degree felonies. I would suggest you go the state of Utah’s website and look up the charges specified and what constitutes forcible sodomy, and forcible sexual abuse on sixteen year old minors. The girl had to tell police that he forced her to do things against her will for those types of first degree felonies to be filed.

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  96. “forcible sodomy, and forcible sexual abuse on sixteen year old minors. The girl had to tell police that he forced her to do things against her will for those types of first degree felonies to be filed.”

    For 2 months? Hmmm.

  97. AdamF,

    I’m not going to apologize to you because I need to make a point here. When a 37 year old man seduces and rapes a 16 year old girl, the last thing that girl or her family needs is someone saying that she was consenting. The law understands why they can’t consent, but more importantly, people in special positions of trust with lots of charisma can take most any 16 year old admirer to bed if they have a mind to. That why we have such laws with serious consequences. Now if your friend ends up getting convicted of a second or third degree felony for unlawful sex with a minor, then fine, she was consenting and he’ll do his 3 to 5 years in jail and be free. That’s not what I’m seeing with the present charges against this guy…

  98. GBsmith,

    “forcible sodomy, and forcible sexual abuse on sixteen year old minors. The girl had to tell police that he forced her to do things against her will for those types of first degree felonies to be filed.”
    For 2 months? Hmmm.

    How about five years? Last how long my children were molested by a church leader and I suppose you’re going to tell me that was consensual too?

    Look why don’t we just wait and see what this guy gets convicted of?

  99. Doug G,

    I don’t know what your situation was and am sorry for what you and you family have gone through and I agree that we’ll just have to wait and see what happens to him. But I’ve had too many 16 year old patients that I’ve talked with about STDs, birth control, unwanted pregnancies and just being sexually active with their 16+ year old boy friends to see them as incapable of consent.

  100. #114 – Doug, if this is in fact the case then I was indeed misinformed and I appreciate the clarification. I happen to agree with you fully regarding not only the seriousness of the offense but also your indignation at the acts. As I stated before, even if she fully agreed to everything that happened, I think he deserves whatever is coming to him. If there was (overt) force involved, then the crimes become that much more heinous. Obviously, as has been stated several times, at this point the allegations are just that, and we’ll have to wait and see what really happened, but I think, when a 16 year old is involved, physical force is an ENORMOUSLY mitgating factor. And I also agree, Doug, that the amount of time this was going on is in no way determinative as to whether there was force being exerted by the man. There have been far too many examples of people who have been abused and raped over long periods. To invoke a local example, let’s not forget the pictures of Elizabeth Smart sitting alone in a room full of people while she was being held a prisoner. She had many chances to escape and never even tried. It’s a disservice to minimize the emotional control adults can wield over children and even adolescents.

    Again, thanks for the clarification, Doug.

  101. 120,

    “But I’ve had too many 16 year old patients that I’ve talked with about STDs, birth control, unwanted pregnancies and just being sexually active with their 16+ year old boy friends to see them as incapable of consent.’

    I hear what you are saying, but there is a significant difference between the consent of minors acting together than it is for one adult with a power position over the minor to gain an informed, mature “consent.”.

    In the former case, it is the same type of consent that two teenagers would agree to bury each other up to their noses in sand. And one dies of suffocation. Yes, they agreed, but it’s not very informed consent. And just plain dumb. Kids have sex is the same.

  102. ” Most people have the ability to control themselves. You are casting aspersions on good people who might have tried to do the right thing for the wrong reason.”

    No snark, I actually don’t understand that statement. Could you clarify?

    “Call it what you want, but sexual attacks on younger aged person is wrong, period.”

    Now that’s just nonsense. You are implying that by differntiating between a hebe- and a pedophile, the crimes of a closeted gay man and the crimes of a straight, that I somehow concluded that one of those was not wrong? That’s insane. Either you skipped the parts where I said:
    “No, not worse”
    “it is still molesting a minor, it is still CLEARLY condemned by the church ”
    and ” I appreciate you making the distinction and apologize if I encouraged anyone to believe that a pedophile was in the same boat as a gay man.”

    I, too, believe it is wrong. I don’t see a need to make a hierarchy of wrong, but I do not think that the crime is a lesser crime for the victim because of those circumstances. I would say though that if we were interested in how to prevent these crimes in the future we would do well to look at Ted Haggerty et al who Do Not seek out healthy, same sex partnerships, rather act out the shame and dysfunction that repressing something as essential as your sexuality leads you to. Still culpable. Still wrong. Maybe more preventable.
    :

  103. Jeff, I agree there is a difference and in this case the power was likely the aura of an inspiring religious teacher who could do no wrong. Teenagers have an astounding ability to ignore consequences in spite of the times they’re admonished as to “choice and accountability”. It just that making Pratt out to be a drooling, shifty eyed, greasy haired pedophile just doesn’t quite fit.

  104. To AdamF and those seriously following this issue and long-term implications. This is my first post here, but your conflict has hit me squarely between my eyes as I am struggling to see daylight after being introduced to a similar situation in our small town…only in our case the authorities dealt with it quickly, and although he was sentenced, it never recieved any media attention, the individual served less than 60 days in county jail. Not only did he have multiple offenses, but it (in my situation) was known that he was a repeat offender in a previous location, other than that the facts are very similar, 16 year old girl, Utah, supposed “consent”. If you would like to contact me directly on my yahoo account of same name I will go into more detail, but fear he would sue me if more is posted here. The thing I struggle with is that this individual did not get any prison time and the media never learned about it. Equally troubling is the fact that he now has a very visible church position and because he has moved to this location, individuals are not aware of his past. Some would say the miracle of forgiveness has been realized, I say a preditor waits in the shadows to strike again. I have expressed my concerns to church leaders and they say I must forgive, but I can not bring myself to enter the same church where he instructs us as to the doctrine of the church. Maybe I am wrong for not letting go, but there seems to be something wrong with this man teaching as he does…I can not even look him in the eye. If this man had previously had a word of wisdom problem, I do not think he would be teaching, but it was “only sex” and “consentual sex” at that.

    I will watch this closely. But if you and others view this as I have, many will begin to question many things and how we react and hide those in public positions to protect the reputation of the “church.”

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    Doug, no apology necessary. Your point is well taken. If anything, I am sensitive and took your comment too personally, when you were trying to make your point, which was very important.

    I esp. agree with the points about Pratt (who I had as a teacher–he was not a friend) and others who are in a position of authority. That is a bigger deal than the age (although that is still an issue). As a therapist I am well aware of the issues surrounding this.

    sundayboy – Unfortunately that is ALL too common. I have worked with many boys who have been abused… you said you are from a small town – is the county small too? Often these serial predators like to move to small counties where there isn’t enough money to go around to prosecute all of them. It’s sick. After working in the field a few years, I would NEVER move my family to a small county… (I guess that rules out Texas Jen!)

    “I say a preditor waits in the shadows to strike again”
    Unfortunately, you are probably right. You don’t need to let this go completely. Forgiveness has nothing to do with keeping up boundaries and protecting yourself and those you care about. No reputation should be “protected” to hide things like this. Feel free to email me shenpawarrior@gmail.com if you want to talk more offline. I’m no expert, but have had some experience in the last few years.

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    I would also add that not only do these offenders move around, often the people in the new areas just love them. “Oh him? He’s SO good with the kids! Everyone loves him!” And they stay there until something comes up, and then move again. One case I’m aware of the father did all sorts of unspeakable things to his 5 kids (you don’t want to know, it was sick), and he was prosecuted but got off with some stupid meaningless charge, and later moved and admitted he was looking for a “smaller county.” Ug. Makes me ill.

  107. As I have served on a jury where the trial was of a similar nature to this one, I was curious as to the actual definitions of the counts being discussed. This might help us to all be on the same page, rather than “guessing” as to the meaning of these things. I looked up the following definitions in terms of how Utah law describes them. All of this is from http://law.justia.com/utah/

    76-5-401.2. Unlawful sexual conduct with a 16 or 17 year old.
    (1) For purposes of this section “minor” means a person who is 16 years of age or older, but younger than 18 years of age, at the time the sexual conduct described in this section occurred.
    (2) A person commits unlawful sexual conduct with a minor if, under circumstances not amounting to rape, in violation of Section 76-5-402, object rape, in violation of Section 76-5-402.2, forcible sodomy, in violation of Section 76-5-403, or aggravated sexual assault, in violation of Section 76-5-405, the actor who is ten or more years older than the minor at the time of the sexual conduct:
    (a) has sexual intercourse with the minor;
    (b) engages in any sexual act with the minor involving the genitals of one person and the mouth or anus of another person, regardless of the sex of either participant; or
    (c) causes the penetration, however slight, of the genital or anal opening of the minor by any foreign object, substance, instrument, or device, including a part of the human body, with the intent to cause substantial emotional or bodily pain to any person or with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person, regardless of the sex of any participant.
    (3) A violation of Subsection (2) is a third degree felony.

    76-5-404. Forcible sexual abuse.
    (1) A person commits forcible sexual abuse if the victim is 14 years of age or older and, under circumstances not amounting to rape, object rape, sodomy, or attempted rape or sodomy, the actor touches the anus, buttocks, or any part of the genitals of another, or touches the breast of a female, or otherwise takes indecent liberties with another, or causes another to take indecent liberties with the actor or another, with intent to cause substantial emotional or bodily pain to any person or with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person, without the consent of the other, regardless of the sex of any participant.
    (2) Forcible sexual abuse is a felony of the second degree.

    76-5-403. Sodomy — Forcible sodomy.
    (1) A person commits sodomy when the actor engages in any sexual act with a person who is 14 years of age or older involving the genitals of one person and mouth or anus of another person, regardless of the sex of either participant.
    (2) A person commits forcible sodomy when the actor commits sodomy upon another without the other’s consent.
    (3) Sodomy is a class B misdemeanor. Forcible sodomy is a felony of the first degree.

    76-5-402.2. Object rape.
    A person who, without the victim’s consent, causes the penetration, however slight, of the genital or anal opening of another person who is 14 years of age or older, by any foreign object, substance, instrument, or device, not including a part of the human body, with intent to cause substantial emotional or bodily pain to the victim or with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person, commits an offense which is punishable as a felony of the first degree.

    Here is a description of “aggravated” in terms of sexual abuse, from the same website:

    (4) A person commits aggravated sexual abuse of a child when in conjunction with the offense described in Subsection (2) any of the following circumstances have been charged and admitted or found true in the action for the offense:
    (a) the offense was committed by the use of a dangerous weapon as defined in Section 76-1-601, or by force, duress, violence, intimidation, coercion, menace, or threat of harm, or was committed during the course of a kidnaping;
    (b) the accused caused bodily injury or severe psychological injury to the victim during or as a result of the offense;
    (c) the accused was a stranger to the victim or made friends with the victim for the purpose of committing the offense;
    (d) the accused used, showed, or displayed pornography or caused the victim to be photographed in a lewd condition during the course of the offense;
    (e) the accused, prior to sentencing for this offense, was previously convicted of any felony, or of a misdemeanor involving a sexual offense;
    (f) the accused committed the same or similar sexual act upon two or more victims at the same time or during the same course of conduct;
    (g) the accused committed, in Utah or elsewhere, more than five separate acts, which if committed in Utah would constitute an offense described in this chapter, and were committed at the same time, or during the same course of conduct, or before or after the instant offense;
    (h) the offense was committed by a person who occupied a position of special trust in relation to the victim; “position of special trust” means that position occupied by a person in a position of authority, who, by reason of that position is able to exercise undue influence over the victim, and includes, but is not limited to, a youth leader or recreational leader who is an adult, adult athletic manager, adult coach, teacher, counselor, religious leader, doctor, employer, foster parent, baby-sitter, adult scout leader, natural parent, stepparent, adoptive parent, legal guardian, grandparent, aunt, uncle, or adult cohabitant of a parent;
    (i) the accused encouraged, aided, allowed, or benefited from acts of prostitution or sexual acts by the victim with any other person, or sexual performance by the victim before any other person; or
    (j) the accused caused the penetration, however slight, of the genital or anal opening of the child by any part or parts of the human body other than the genitals or mouth.

    (Emphases are my own)

    Basically, from what I am reading here, the police are piling on any count that might “stick,” since some of the lesser charges are negated by conviction of higher charges. Also, it would appear that the position of authority that Br. Pratt had with relation to the individual was sufficient to make the counts “aggravated”. This is NOT to imply that other force as not used – merely to indicate that a charge of “aggravated” does not necessarily = a gun or other physical threat when you are dealing with a teacher, principal, etc.

    Note that I am not saying that this is what happened, or implying that such things mitigate the circumstances. Rather, I thought it might be good to have some definitions to work from.

    – Kate

  108. I realize that this is likely a moot point, given that some of the counts above require that the act not be consensual (and 16 IS the age of consent in Utah). However, I do think that it is important to point out is that the “age” of the victim isn’t as relevant as their maturity, etc. For instance, I was barely 17 when I left for college. My first college roommate was 16. She dated several seniors, which would have made them about 6 years older than her at the time. And many were the days that I found a rubberband on my door warning me not to enter, since she was in there with her boyfriend. I think if you had asked either of us if we could give “consent” to sexual activity at that age, we would have probably argued that if we are old enough to live on our own, pay for college, etc., then we were old enough to make out with someone. Even if that someone was older than 18. I would still agree with that sentiment, even though I am now 30.

    The above scenario is in NO WAY indicative of what is going on with Br. Pratt’s situation. Its merely an overall commentary on how we pick the magical “age of consent”. I wanted to bring it up, since there seems to be some argumentation that somehow consensual sex with a 16 year old is equivalent to child molestation. I would definitely argue that SOME 16 year olds probably DO have the life experiences to be able to give consent, whereas SOME 19 and even 20 year olds do NOT.

    Just my 2 cents.

  109. Wow, AdamF – this has really blossomed today! I don’t have a lot to add except to say that in Jane Austen’s book Emma, the 21 year old Emma marries her 38 year old brother-in-law Mr. Knightley (sorry for the spoiler of a 200-year old book). I thought it was creepy then, but it was certainly more common back in the day. And I imagine we would feel differently if the 16 year old had been consensually involved with the Portland Trailblazers last year and the year before had been consensually featured in one of Rob Lowe’s home movies. I suppose in that situation we might be raising an eyebrow at her conduct as well as the oversight of her parents. I am absolutely not saying that to blame the actual victim, just to add the context that not all victims are entirely passive in all situations. I say this as a former 16 year old only. As a mother of a 14 year old son, I am disgusted by my comment. I’m going to go wash my own mouth out with soap.

    Regardless of her mental state of willingness or unwillingness, Pratt seriously needs help. This is more than just a lapse in judgment and violation of the trust of his position and his marriage. There’s something inherently wrong and broken in a person who would engage in a relationship like this. He crossed the not-so-fine line between sexy and creepy. Like Sting.

  110. GBSmith,

    “It just that making Pratt out to be a drooling, shifty eyed, greasy haired pedophile just doesn’t quite fit.’

    100%. This was probably a crime of opportunity where all the wrong things fell into place. More likely a situation which when described to Pratt would have been dismissed as “never going to happen, I know my limits, I would never cross that boundary.”

    That is far different than the slimey, repeat offender who targets younger children, who have no consent and no defense.

  111. 11. AdamF
    Jul 14th, 2009 at 6:42 am
    “they will probably turn into rapists themselves”

    Jon, from what I understand, this is not normally the case. Most of these kids do not become abusers. Regardless, if you have any research or stats on the issue I am interested.

    Intersting story
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080513101605.htm

    I hope no one thinks that the problem of female sex offenders (older females having sex with underage males) is a victimless crime.

  112. Post
    Author

    Thanks for the article Jon.

    However, that article suggests that most offenders were at one time victims. It specifically says that most victims do NOT become offenders: “While it appears that only a minority of girls who are sexually abused become offenders…”

  113. Kate…you say “16 is the age to consent” in Utah…where do you find this? Is this Utah code?

    Pratt, as I understand it, is not actually an employee of the Mormon church, rather he is an employee of CES, which the Church pays to teach high school and college education courses, but does not directly get involved in employment, discipline or compensation of CES employees. Try to find out how much a CES employee makes, what their compensation package is, retirement, ect., you will be amazed with two things (1) how difficult it is to get information, (2) how much they are actually compensated–compared to other educators–how much they can retire with (if they are willing to move their last assignment to a college campus). CES is swimming over this right now and the Churces legal and PR offices are doing the same.

    Kate…the issue here is not what “legal age” a person can consent at…although I am not convenced yet it is 16…the issue is was Pratt in a position of authority that allowed him to seduce the 16 year old. Pratt was paid, and paid well I might add, to keep his distance and be a professional. He had the trust of this girl, as well as every other student. He violated that trust. Although one might argue that in a college setting, sex between a professor and a student should not result in discipline of the professor, absent college policy to the contrary, however, in a highschool setting, it is wrong on many levels.

    I am not sure this is the right forum to open this question, but I have been amazed at how we sometimes teach in the Church it is bad to smoke or drink or masterbate…but sexting (texting sexual–which some suggested happened here) is “way bad”. Maybe we encourge this type of behavor when we ignore what many professionals feel are natural outlets…masterbation. If a male has strong sexual urges, and is unable, for what ever reason, to have sex with spouse, these urges can be naturally vented through masterbation. Do we not understand and should we not teach that masterbation by ones self is less of a sin than sexting or having sexual contact with another?

  114. Post
    Author

    sb99 – Actually, I agree with you in a sense. The problems with masturbation are that it is often associated with things like pornography, because it involves a dopamine rush that can be addictive and mess people up for future relationships, and it separates love from sex (as does porn use). Those are just my thoughts on the matter though. I agree though, there are MUCH greater sins, no question, and solo infrequent masturbation by someone is WAY down the list in my mind should I ever be a bishop or etc. and have to help people with this kind of stuff in a church setting. At the same time, I don’t know about the idea of teaching someone to commit a smaller sin in order to avoid a larger one (I don’t know if that’s what you meant, however).

  115. ” But I’ve had too many 16 year old patients that I’ve talked with about STDs, birth control, unwanted pregnancies and just being sexually active with their 16+ year old boy friends to see them as incapable of consent.”

    It abso-freaking-lutely breaks my heart to think that the person who wrote this is in any position of authority over a child.

    As others have said, consent is not merely the function of saying, “yes.” While I would love to claim a more sophisticated representative of this point and my own epiphany re consent between unequal power relationships, I can’t. It was Rosie O’Donnell. I was one of those people people who believed firmly that Monica Lewinsky was a consenting adult who should not be made out a victim; it could only tarnish all women and our right to claim our sexuality. Then I caught Rosie talking about her relatively minor status as a talk show host, a far stretch from leader of the free world. Yet HER interns still flattened themselves against the wall when she walked by, vied to do her dry cleaning and, in short, exhibited all of the normal signs of an uneven power dynamic.
    It reminded me of hanging out with my (single) high school English teacher the year after I graduated. I pretended to be on equal footing- he was no longer my teacher, we were both adults, I was third wave etc… It was only years after that I realized how naive and mistaken I’d been. Even though we would sit and talk for hours and hours, I would never use his bathroom, I would let myself feel extreme physical discomfort, my bladder distended and throbbing because the idea of him knowing I was urinating in his house was too mortifying for me. Yeah, we were equals.
    Power dynamics exist. The idea of a 16 year old seminary student “consenting” to any adult, let alone one who was her church’s chosen representative, responsible for imparting lessons of faith, morality and integrity, well, I would say that was laughable, if it wasn’t so ever loving sad.

    sorry- i opened the computer this morning and realized i never hit send- hope this isn’t too late to the conversation.

  116. Jane Austen’s book Emma, the 21 year old Emma marries her 38 year old brother-in-law Mr. Knightley

    I was just reading Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (at least the simplified version) to my 7 year old daughter and was somewhat appalled at the strong friendship of a man in his late twenties with a 13 year old girl that included unsupervised sleigh rides with her and her same age friend. It progressed to more romantic overtones as she moved into her late teens, and I guess the conclusion is left to a sequel.

    BTW, I think Mr. Pratt should have taken a Larry Craig lesson on looking shocked and disgusted when his mug shot was taken.

  117. CLEARING UP THE AGE OF CONSENT

    Kate, you are wrong about the age of consent.

    You quoted a few statutes but you left out the one that deals with consent, which I pasted below.

    Let me sum up the important parts.

    If the victim is younger than 14, there is no possibility of consent, period.

    If the victim is 14, 15, 16 or 17, then there is no consent IF the actor is more than 3 years older than the victim and the actor “entices or coerces the victim to submit or participate.”

    Clearly, the 3 years older rule exists to protect against a 19 year old who has sex with his 17 year old gf. I think most would agree this is not as egregious as a 45 year old having sex with a 16 year old.

    However, I don’t see the need for “entices or coerces the victim to participate” because that creates a difficult issue to sort through. I think the law would be better if it simply said there is no consent for a 15-17 year old if the actor is 3 years older. Period. But I don’t write the laws.

    There are other sections of the statute that deal with consent that could come into play here.

    Specifically, if the actor is in a position of special trust with the victim there is no consent, again, if the victim is younger than 18. “‘Position of special trust’ means that position occupied by a person in a position of authority, who, by reason of that position is able to exercise undue influence over the victim, and includes, but is not limited to, a youth leader or recreational leader who is an adult, adult athletic manager, adult coach, teacher, counselor, religious leader, doctor, employer, foster parent, baby-sitter, adult scout leader, natural parent, stepparent, adoptive parent, legal guardian, grandparent, aunt, uncle, or adult cohabitant of a parent.”

    Also, there is a separate provision for a health professional or religious counselor that could come into play. “health professional” means an individual who is licensed or who holds himself out to
    be licensed, or who otherwise provides professional physical or mental health services, diagnosis, treatment, or counseling including, but not limited to, a physician, osteopathic physician, nurse, dentist, physical therapist, chiropractor, mental health therapist, social service worker, clinical social worker, certified social worker, marriage and family therapist, professional counselor, psychiatrist, psychologist, psychiatric mental health nurse specialist, or substance abuse counselor; and “religious counselor” means a minister, priest, rabbi, bishop, or other recognized member of the clergy.

    Utah Criminal Code 76-5-406:

    76-5-406. Sexual offenses against the victim without consent of victim — Circumstances.
    An act of sexual intercourse, rape, attempted rape, rape of a child, attempted rape of a child, object rape, attempted object rape, object rape of a child, attempted object rape of a child, sodomy, attempted sodomy, forcible sodomy, attempted forcible sodomy, sodomy upon a child, attempted sodomy upon a child, forcible sexual abuse, attempted forcible sexual abuse, sexual abuse of a child, attempted sexual abuse of a child, aggravated sexual abuse of a child, attempted aggravated sexual abuse of a child, or simple sexual abuse is without consent of the victim under any of the following circumstances:
    (1) the victim expresses lack of consent through words or conduct;
    (2) the actor overcomes the victim through the actual application of physical force or violence;
    (3) the actor is able to overcome the victim through concealment or by the element of surprise;
    (4) (a) (i) the actor coerces the victim to submit by threatening to retaliate in the immediate future against the victim or any other person, and the victim perceives at the time that the actor has the ability to execute this threat; or
    (ii) the actor coerces the victim to submit by threatening to retaliate in the future against the victim or any other person, and the victim believes at the time that the actor has the ability to execute this threat;
    (b) as used in this Subsection (4) “to retaliate” includes but is not limited to threats of physical force, kidnaping, or extortion;
    (5) the victim has not consented and the actor knows the victim is unconscious, unaware that the act is occurring, or physically unable to resist;
    (6) the actor knows that as a result of mental disease or defect, the victim is at the time of the act incapable either of appraising the nature of the act or of resisting it;
    (7) the actor knows that the victim submits or participates because the victim erroneously believes that the actor is the victim’s spouse;
    (8) the actor intentionally impaired the power of the victim to appraise or control his or her conduct by administering any substance without the victim’s knowledge;
    (9) the victim is younger than 14 years of age;
    (10) the victim is younger than 18 years of age and at the time of the offense the actor was the victim’s parent, stepparent, adoptive parent, or legal guardian or occupied a position of special trust in relation to the victim as defined in Subsection 76-5-404.1(4)(h);
    (11) the victim is 14 years of age or older, but younger than 18 years of age, and the actor is more than three years older than the victim and entices or coerces the victim to submit or participate, under circumstances not amounting to the force or threat required under Subsection (2) or (4); or
    (12) the actor is a health professional or religious counselor, as those terms are defined in this Subsection (12), the act is committed under the guise of providing professional diagnosis, counseling, or treatment, and at the time of the act the victim reasonably believed that the act was for medically or professionally appropriate diagnosis, counseling, or treatment to the extent that resistance by the victim could not reasonably be expected to have been manifested. For purposes of this Subsection (12):
    (a) “health professional” means an individual who is licensed or who holds himself out to

    be licensed, or who otherwise provides professional physical or mental health services, diagnosis, treatment, or counseling including, but not limited to, a physician, osteopathic physician, nurse, dentist, physical therapist, chiropractor, mental health therapist, social service worker, clinical social worker, certified social worker, marriage and family therapist, professional counselor, psychiatrist, psychologist, psychiatric mental health nurse specialist, or substance abuse counselor; and
    (b) “religious counselor” means a minister, priest, rabbi, bishop, or other recognized member of the clergy.

  118. As a practical matter, can a 16 year old say yes? Sure. Sadly, I believe there are plenty of vulnerable young men and women that would (and do) say yes to many foolish things. That age is a time of great insecurity and great instability for many. Many turn to drugs, alcohol, sex, or anything else they are offered. Some want to do it. Some may even flirt with adults hoping a sexual encounter occurs. To this I say, SO WHAT??????

    That age is too young. Even if she begged Pratt for sex and appeared to be totally in her right mind and proved to be a mature, responsible young woman who appeared to be capable of making all sorts of grown up decisions, I would still happily convict him if I was on the jury. The responsibility is on the adult to not do these things. Anyone who disagrees, please, speak up.

  119. Let me retract the word “happily” from the last post. I would still convict him. I don’t think any part of the process would be done happily. I did not mean to use that term.

    I sympathize (a little) with men who are put in jail when a 16 or 17 year old lies to them about being 18 or 19. But in this case, where Pratt was in a position of authority and knew her age, or had an easy way of determining it, I don’t really sympathize with him at all. I suppose I feel bad that he made those choices but it’s not like he was tricked into it. If they had a sexual relationship, even if her actions would have constituted consent if she were 18, I think he should go to prison for a long time.

  120. I know that this is going to get some comments, but as I have thought about this case with Brother Pratt, I would be very surprised if he isn’t involved in pornography. I read this article this morning: http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=7167792 (I don’t know how to link it in, I asked but no one told me how to do it) and found it very interesting, well, more disturbing than anything, but interesting.

    Viewing pornography over and over again makes people do stupid things. The “high” they are able to reach viewing certain types of pornography isn’t enough over time, so they turn to more perverse and degenerate pornography, such as child pornography or beastality. Eventually the risks of acting out don’t matter and they take ridiculous risks, like losing their job, their family, their church membership, and going to jail. I realize this doesn’t happen to some people and there will be arguments against it, but I have heard them all and the reality is that what I am saying is true. If Brother Pratt was not involved in pornography to some degree I will be very surprised.

    Alright, I’ve said what I need to say. I already know Dex will have a comment or two on this one.

  121. What happened to the edit button!? I realized after I posted my comment that the link automatically turns blue and I don’t have to do anything else. Good to know.

  122. Jen,

    You said, “Viewing pornography over and over again makes people do stupid things.”

    Do you really think this. If you want to say viewing pornography CAN LEAD to other things, in some cases, I might accept that. But viewing pornography CAUSES people to lost control and DO stupid things? I would disagree.

  123. Dex-

    Yes I really think that. There is too much evidence to prove it to be true. Let’s say that people who view pornography over and over are at work. They take risks that they otherwise wouldn’t to view it at work. Do you know anyone that has lost their job over viewing pornography at work? Maybe I should say, viewing pornography over and over again make people stupid instead of makes people do stupid things. That might be a better way to put it.

  124. Yes I do know someone who did that. And I say, he chose to do it. Pornography didn’t make him do it. He stupidly chose to do it.

    You can point to a million people who viewed pornography and then did a stupid thing.

    But you can’t explain the million people who viewed pornography and then DIDN’T get fired, or didn’t molest someone, or didn’t do anything stupid or criminal.

    I certainly agree that many people have viewed pornography and they then chose to seek further thrills that eventually led to some serious consequences. But your statements make it sound like that always happens. I disagree. It happens for some. It doesn’t for others.

    Sometime marijuana is a gateway drug to heavier stuff where lives are ruined. Some people smoke pot and only pot. Some people smoke pot and never smoke pot or do any other drug ever again. Same situation.

  125. Post
    Author

    I think you’re both right. Porn REALLY affects some, although it seems to be the compulsive users who really have other significant problems related to it. At the same time, most people who look at porn now and then DO NOT become child rapists, molesters, adulterers, etc. Either way, I believe abstinence is definitely the best in this case. Too risky otherwise, and definitely not worth it if one is in a relationship.

  126. “Pornography didn’t make him do it. He stupidly chose to do it” Your right pornography itself didn’t make him do it, but choosing to view pornography did. It becomes a drug and people will view it at any cost and eventually want to act out what they watch. If married or in a relationship, they will most likely be asking or expecting their wives or partner to be doing things they don’t want to be doing sexually.

    “But you can’t explain the million people who viewed pornography and then DIDN’T get fired, or didn’t molest someone, or didn’t do anything stupid or criminal”

    How do you know what people do in the privacy of their own home? Just because someone doesn’t get fired, you don’t know if they have molested someone, or expected things from their wife that are hurtful or uncomfortable, etc. You can’t see the damage it may be doing within their personal relationships, or the financial struggles it may be causing. In other words, just because we can’t see negative effects, doesn’t mean they aren’t happening.

    My feelings are that you can’t view pornography and maintain a healthy outlook on women (or men)’ or relationships in general. Women (or men) become objects to people who view pornography. The reality is what you watch effects what you think and feel, especially when it involves sexual feelings.

    Sometime marijuana is a gateway drug to heavier stuff where lives are ruined. Some people smoke pot and only pot. Some people smoke pot and never smoke pot or do any other drug ever again. Same situation.

    I don’t think you can compare sexual addiction to drug addiction. Not the same.

  127. EDIT BUTTON ANYONE?!

    Dex said: “Sometime marijuana is a gateway drug to heavier stuff where lives are ruined. Some people smoke pot and only pot. Some people smoke pot and never smoke pot or do any other drug ever again. Same situation.”

    Not me.

  128. Post
    Author
  129. Jen, I do not have a problem with your views if you were willing to say “some people” and then x and y and z. But your universal blanket statements I do not agree with. You assume that every house in which pornography was viewed has a dark problem of finances or cheating or a bad relationship. Says who? It just reminds me other universal statements like you can ONLY be truly happy if you are following the gospel. I disagree. And the drug comparison is not to say the addiction is the same. I’m saying that some things lead to major problems for some people. For others, it doesn’t. Like AdamF said.

  130. AdamF-

    “At the same time, most people who look at porn now and then DO NOT become child rapists, molesters, adulterers, etc”

    I agree, but how many people just look at porn now and then? Again, you can’t see the damage that may be caused in cases where people view it moderately. It skews people’s thinking. You can’t view women (or men) as objects and body parts, or view others having sex, doing things that seem enjoyable (and most likely aren’t) and expect it not to affect your perception of men, women and children. It doesn’t matter how often you do it, it matters that you are willing to view people as objects rather than as a whole person.

    Again, if Brother Pratt wasn’t involved in pornography I will be highly surprised.

  131. Jen, I think there is something to what you are saying, but you are being far too liberal with the principle of causation. There is simply no way to determine whether pornography is the cause of such compulsive behavior. It is equally possible,if not moreso, that such a person has an innate problem and that pornography is simply the vessel through which it expresses itself. I think this is particularly true of the child pornography issue. Studies have demonstrated pretty conclusively that men who are sexually attracted to children have a natural proclivity to it, and that it is innate and irrevrsible. Again, I think it is possible that viewing pornography may in some way “unlock” such feelings in some men, but I think it is just unjustified to say that porn causes such behaviors. The fact is, most men, to some degree, have an involvement with pornography, and it is a very small percentage of men who are engaged in child porn or who are child predators, or even who would look at porn on a work compuuter.

  132. Post
    Author

    That may be the case Jen, and given the rampant problem it is in LDS culture, I would not be surprised.

    I imagine there are plenty of people who look at it “now and then” – but I don’t think very many of them are LDS. The compulsive cycle is made much more difficult to get out of when there is all the shame and secrecy involved. I DO think it is addicting, just like any other activity that provides a significant dopamine rush.
    I also agree that what we look at every day affects who we become and how we view the world. Just give Dex some more time here at MM, and he’ll shape up, lol.

  133. brjones-

    I don’t think I am being far to liberal with the principle of causation. I disagree that a person may have an innate problem and it is expressed through porngraphy. I believe viewing pornography can absolutely be the cause of changing a person’s thinking from rational and healthy, to illogical and unhealthy.

    I would like to see the studies you are referring to about men who are sexually attracted to children. You are aware that the same high that is produced from watching say, a man and women have sex, will soon not be enough to attain the same high and that a person will have to pursue something more “exciting” or say forbidden? This in and of itself can lead a person who never would have considered looking at child pornography to do so eventually. Just ask those who have found themselves involved in it. One thing leads to another and I really don’t agree that they have to have some innate problem from the beginning. It is simply a matter of making one bad choice after another.

  134. Jen, I’ll use your own words – how do you know what’s going on in all those millions of other homes? How many people just view porn once in a while? That’s the point. You have no idea. You’re taking all the extreme cases you’ve seen and heard about and calling them the rule. The fact is, if there are millons of men out there causually viewing porn and never acting out in a harmful way you’ll never hear about it. You view the dearth of those stories as proof they don’t exist. You’re using a negative to prove a positive. It’s unfouded.

  135. Jen, you are not appreciating the things in people’s brains that are just there. Some people are predisposed to be this or that, and one of those things is attraction to children. We are not born a blank slate. Even if we are, by the time we are old enough to make conscious choices, there are predispositions. Some people become addicted to alcohol quite easily. Some people drink every now and again for years and never become addicted. You seem to believe that everyone is affected by things the same way. This is simply not true in the case of pornography or anything else.

    And by the way, can I not get a thank you for my extensive research on the age of consent in Utah? For the love of all that is holy on this earth.

  136. Dex

    #155-

    “You assume that every house in which pornography was viewed has a dark problem of finances or cheating or a bad relationship.”

    I never said every house. I said that you can’t see many of the problems it may be causing because I am sure many people don’t want to talk about it, it’s embarrassing. Also, it can get people in a lot of trouble if they do talk about it. That is why so many people keep it a secret.

  137. Post
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  138. You are just making too many assumptions. And it is impossible to debate this if you are convinced that everyone who looks at porn has a serious problem, and the ones you don’t hear about on the news are just suffering in silence and keeping their dark filthy secret.

    That’s what I think about everyone who doesn’t watch the show “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” Their lives are empty and hollow. They have no happiness. They don’t see the world, nay, can’t see the world that way I do. My life is rich and full of color because I watch it. Theirs is dirty. And they all want to watch it, but some don’t. And those who choose not to are so ashamed. They wouldn’t admit it to my face, but inside they hurt and cry and know that they should watch it. But they are scared to change. Sigh. If only they could see the light.

    Now, if you told me I was nuts I would just say, they are so ashamed they don’t share their fear and pain, but its there. You could not disprove this. We would be at an impasse.

  139. Sigh. ***Theirs are.

    Jen’s mistake MADE me do it. I saw her mistakes, and now I can’t help but do stupid things.

  140. #162

    brjones-

    I have had enough conversations with women who are being hurt deeply by their husbands because of things they are asking them to do in bed that they aren’t comfortable with, to know that it is going on much more than we realize. Many men will watch something pornographic and then want their partner to perform the same thing. If you were to start talking to women who are having to deal with husbands viewing pornography, it will open your eyes quite a bit. Women don’t talk openly about it because it is embarrassing. They feel they are not enough for their husbands because of the fact that they are viewing other women (and men) and being sexually aroused by them. I can see your view, believing that damage isn’t occurring, because you are a man and see things differently than a woman. You are also able to compartmentalize and women don’t do that. Many women are deeply hurt when a man views pornography, and yes there are always the exceptions, but most of the time women feel it negatively.

  141. Dex-

    I never said people who view porn have a serious problem. I did say that it affects a person’s thinking and how they view others. Are you going to disagree with that?

  142. Of course it affects people’s thinking and how they view others. But so does everything else. You have definitely softened your stance, which I appreciate very much.

  143. Dex-

    I think if you were to involve yourself with many of the people who have been deeply hurt by the effects of spouses, partners, etc. viewing pornography you wouldn’t make so light of it. It causes severe damage to many relationships and tears families apart. It is a serious problem and just because you don’t see it as such, doesn’t mean it isn’t happening to many people.

    It is fine for you to say that I am making too many assumptions, but are you not as well?

  144. Jen, hold on here. I never said it hasn’t deeply hurt many people. I am well aware of many. Many of my best friends have told me that their husbands’ use of pornography hurt them very deeply, some to divorce. I have not made light of it. My only disagreement with you is when you make blanket statements about how it caused this and that and that it has hurt EVERYONE. I agree it is a dangerous thing that has caused tons of pain. I sympathize with those whose lives have been adversely affected by using it or by a loved one using it. I simply don’t agree that in all cases it leads to doom and destruction. Like I said before, some people who try marijuana go down an awful path to worse things. But some don’t. That is all I’m trying to say.

  145. But I also think that many of these terrible stories where pornography was described as the catalyst of evil had many other problems as well. I am pretty confident children were sexually abused before pornography was piped into the home via the internet. I am pretty sure child molesters existed before pornography. I am pretty sure many married couples where pornography became a problem would have had issues whether or not pornography entered the fray.

    And Jen, what exactly is your objective? Are you seeking the pornography be outlawed? Or are you simply a strong believer in informing people of the dangers of it so they will be more careful?

    But let me conclude by restating that I agree that pornography can cause a lot of pain and can lead to serious problems. I just don’t like the “always leads to” serious problems type of arguments.

  146. I understand what you are saying in relation to all cases leading to doom and destruction. What I am trying to say though is I see no positive benefit to it whatsoever. One day, when you have a daughter (if you don’t already) think about whether or not you would want her going out with a man who views pornography vs. one who doesn’t. Maybe that doesn’t matter to you, but to me there is nothing of any worth to be gained by viewing pornography. To me, it only diminishes the worth of a person by making them into something they are not…an object. Would it be ok for your daughter to be a porn star? Would you mind having men view her in that way? What about your mother or your sister? My point is all the people that men and women are viewing belong to someone and they are of worth, not some piece of meat to be viewed for sexual arousal. So, even though all cases may not lead to doom and destruction, they definately are not leading to anywhere good.

  147. Jen, of course not. But I wouldn’t want my daughter to smoke pot, either, because it can lead to problems. We all agree that pornography can lead to problems. I never said otherwise. We agree. I am glad you see it my way. 🙂

  148. #168 – Jen, your logic is fatally flawed. You’re saying that my experiences are not representative of the larger populace but yours are, and only because you say so. On what do you base this? You have no idea who I have talked to or what I have seen, yet your anecdotal experiences are somehow more valid or correct than mine? On top of that, you purport to explain to me how men think, and this is the best part, because women have told you. This is tantamount to me condescendingly explaining to you how women feel and think while experiencing post partum psychosis because I’ve talked to men whose wives have gone through it. You are basing your global view of this issue on a limited number of second hand anecdotes. It’s fine that you feel that wa personally, but to extrapolate your views to everyone is unsupportable. Furthermore, you are completely discounting the fact that these women belong to a church that supports male spiritual and temporal dominion over women (of course they make them promise to do it righteously), and one that rails regularly about porn being the greatest evil in the word today. Have you ever stopped to consider how THOSE factors affect how porn use plays out in LDS homes? The fact is, porn is viewed MUCH differently outside of fundamentalist religious cultures. It is more logical to conclude that a mormon man would feel unusually justified in forcing his wife to do things against her will, and that a mormon woman would be unusually traumatized to discover that her husband has viewed porn, both resulting from mormon teachings and culture.

  149. I would say that, as a young man who graduated from a regular high school in a regular (non-LDS) state, I would conservatively estimate that, of my male friends I knew, probably 90% had viewed pornography. Maybe 60% on a regular basis. If everyone that viewed pornography ended up being a child molester, then I know MY state would be under water, rainbows or not.

  150. brjones-

    First of all, I never said that my experiences are representative of the larger populace, I said that there may be much more going on than we realize inside of homes where pornography is viewed. This is not based on my anecdotal experiences either. I have researched much in this area, reading experiences of men and women in and outside of the church.

    Also, my explaining to you how men think comes from MEN explaining to me how they think about it, not women. I have no problem with you explaining to me how women feel if you have had women tell you. How was it that I was condescending anyway? Was it this comment? “I can see your view, believing that damage isn’t occurring, because you are a man and see things differently than a woman. You are also able to compartmentalize and women don’t do that” Are you saying that isn’t true, because not only have I read this to be true, but have talked to men who say it is as well. Men and women do see viewing pornography differently. That is a fact, and it is also a fact that men are able to compartmenalize. What is condescending about that?

    “The fact is, porn is viewed MUCH differently outside of fundamentalist religious cultures”

    I am very well aware of how porn is viewed in much of the world.

    “It is more logical to conclude that a mormon man would feel unusually justified in forcing his wife to do things against her will, and that a mormon woman would be unusually traumatized to discover that her husband has viewed porn, both resulting from mormon teachings and culture.”

    When I was talking about women having their husbands asking them to do things they were uncomfortable with, I was talking about women outside of LDS culture as well as within. In other words, it affects women negatively in many different cultures, not just the LDS culture. If you take the time to look this information up and read about women’s experiences, you will find that what I am saying is true.

    BTW, you are more than welcome to make a stand for pornography. I would be happy to hear your arguments for it and all the great things it does for our society.

  151. #178-

    Arthur-

    I am loving the way that everyone is assuming that I am saying everyone who views pornography will be a child molestor. How about reading what I am actually writing? That would be a great start.

  152. Wow, I go to bed, wake up, and the entire conversation has changed.

    Thanks, Dexter, for finding the info on the age of consent. At 3 am, I was having a hard time with that.

    I’m not touching the current topic with a 10-ft pole.

    Kate

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    It’s okay Jen, not everyone is saying that. I think we’re all bringing a lot of personal stuff to the table here that is getting in the way, when we probably have a LOT of agreement: porn is not good, many people look at it, some of them have serious problems with it, etc.

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    “Kate-

    “I’m not touching the current topic with a 10-ft pole”

    Why not?”

    Jen, that’s just another way of asking Kate to touch the topic, lol. 😉

  155. AdamF-

    That’s true. I think that it is time for me to walk away from it myself.

    I bet this post will drag on for sometime as new information comes forward about Brother Pratt. Hey, maybe you’ll even get to 1000 comments! 🙂

    Have a great day.

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  158. #185

    Kate-

    There is nothing logical about pornography so I don’t see why you have to bring logic into this. 🙂

    Anyway, thanks for explaining.

  159. #178 – Thank you Arthur. The fact is that mormons are taught that porn is the end of all morlity and those who view it are vile perverts. That’s why all mormon men act outraged and repulsed by it (even though most of them are or have been involved in it) and most mormon women feel like their world is ending when they find out their husband has done it. In my opinion, the LDS church’s lack of perspective on this issue is the cause of a lot of the pain that Jen has witnessed.

    And Jen, as to whether your daughter will date someone who does or does not view porn, there is almst no question. The question is whether he will be mature and open about his desires and activities. Ironically, if he is active LDS the answer to that question is almost certainly no.

  160. Post
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    I once heard an LDS friend say that when she was in the dating field she would ask the guy when the last time he viewed porn was. If he said “never” she wouldn’t go out with him again. If he said sometime recently, she wouldn’t go out with him again.

  161. Pornography wasn’t really the point of this post anyway.

    I think the problem, Adam, is that we naturally want to put people in categories. “This man is a good man.” “This man is a bad man.” “This man is kind, wise, generous, evil, whatever.” Maybe tv and movies make us think that people fall into black and white categories.

    I remember one of my dear friends getting into BIG trouble in high school and just wondering whether it made her a “good person” or a “bad person.” I thought she was good, and I was friends with her. Was I wrong? Is she “bad?”

    Having complexities is more difficult for our brains, probably. We can’t categorically put everyone in little plastic bins they can never get out of. However, I guess it’s an exercise in learning to separate the GOOD things this man undoubtedly taught you in an official capacity, and the BAD things that he has done. I guess this skill is more useful in this world anyway.

    Because life maybe is more about learning to love and forgive (and yet see that justice is served) in a fair way. This is probably why I’m still a member of the Church despite knowing troubling things about its history… because, to me, learning to love imperfect things is more useful than just loving some sort of impossible ideal (unless you count Jesus of course).

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    I would recommend a researcher named Ana J. Bridges for some less-biased and less-emotional info on pornography. Do a google search, or better yet, if you have access to a university library you can get some of the research papers. Good stuff.

  163. #191-

    “In my opinion, the LDS church’s lack of perspective on this issue is the cause of a lot of the pain that Jen has witnessed”

    Before I walk away, I have to say….give me a break. PLEASE. Like I said, it causes a lot of pain in AND out of the church. I have noticed you really like to ignore many things that I am actually writing and twist them into what works for you.

    Also, I never asked the question whether my daughter would date someone who has viewed porn now did I? I already know the odds of that. I think your disdain for the LDS church is deeply clouding your ability to even listen to what others are saying.

    Enough of this topic for me.

  164. Post
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    Fwiw, I think porn is very logical, even if I don’t agree with the use of it. Man looks at porn. Experiences dopamine rush without having to consider his wife. Man feels guilty. Man does it again because he feels guilty. Again, the dopamine rush. And thus we see…

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    Jen, if you need to check out due to becoming to upset, feel free. However, please don’t leave me alone here with brj and dex! *shuddering*

  166. AdamF-

    I don’t feel like what I am saying makes any difference AND I actually need to get something productive done before the day is shot.

    Sorry to leave you alone with those two, but I trust you can handle it. 🙂

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    I would like to post a bit from a paper I wrote a few years ago in a research class. I think it applies well here, even if it has strayed from the original topic… My prof and I worked a LOT on making sure the biases were taken out of my writing and language for the paper, fyi. The paper was a research proposal regarding the use of pornographic materials in couples and sex therapy. I found that many so-called “professionals” seemed to be telling women in advice columns and such that they should join their husbands in the porn use. Hence, the idea for the study.

    “As pornography has become increasingly widespread and easily accessible through the Internet, much debate and research has taken place regarding both the merits and the potential negative effects of pornography use in marriage. Some psychologists suggest that for some couples the use of pornography together may be a positive and normal part of improving marital intimacy (Gottman & Gottman, 2007). In some instances, sex therapists prescribe the use of pornography by couples to improve their sex life (Buehler, 2007). In addition, the use of sexually explicit material is common in the treatment of sexual dysfunctions (Kelley, Dawson, & Musialowski, 1989). One qualitative study showed that from a therapist’s perspective, the use of pornography has been beneficial in therapy more often than it has not (Robinson, Manthei, Scheltema, Rich, & Koznar, 1999).

    However, some researchers feel that caution is necessary when interpreting results from data collected only by therapists (Bryant & Brown, 1989; Whiteman, 2003). While therapists may be convinced that their prescribing of pornography is therapeutic, there is a need for sound research to support the practice (Court, 1978). Research from the client’s perspective regarding the mutual use of pornography by couples in sex or marital therapy situations is not widely documented. This study will investigate women’s attitudes regarding the mutual use of pornography in a therapy setting and will measure its effects on the overall feelings of marital intimacy of wives according to the WIQ (Waring Intimacy Questionnaire). For the purposes of the study, pornography is defined as images or video produced with the intent of erotic stimulation for the viewer.

    In a review of the related research, Manning (2005) found that the majority of people who struggle with sexual addictions or compulsivities involving the Internet are married, heterosexual males. In another study, Daneback, Ross, & Månsson (2006) found that sexual compulsives are most likely to be in a relationship. Research has also shown that the wives of compulsive users of pornography frequently report “feelings of betrayal, devastation, hurt, mistrust, diminished self-esteem (especially unattractiveness and personal inadequacy), fear, anger and degradation (Bridges, Bergner, & Hesson-McInnis, 2003, 4).” Manning (2005) also found that “heavy pornography use, including cybersex, is associated with decreased sexual intimacy (20).”

    Among a more general sample of women, who may or may not be married to a compulsive user, a study shows that while the majority of women feel neutral to slightly positive about their partners’ use of pornography, 42% thought that their partners’ use of pornography made them feel insecure, 41% felt less attractive and desirable because of their partners’ use, and 39% believe that pornography use had had negative effects on their relationship (Bridges et al. 2003). In the same study, Bridges also found results related to the mutual use of pornography: 50% of women did not enjoy the time spent together viewing pornography (36% were positive and 14% neutral). One psychoanalyst suggests that couples’ use of pornography together might be damaging to their relationship and intimacy (“Men and Porn,” 2003).

    Overall, the research implies that for wives of compulsive users, distress is high, with many negative effects on intimacy, trust, and self-image (Bergner & Bridges, 2002). For the general population of women whose partners use pornography, those distressed by it are less than half. With sex and marital therapists prescribing the use of pornography by couples, research needs to be done regarding the effects of this kind of use. The proposed study will assess women’s attitudes toward the use of pornography in therapy, and will provide outcome data on the effect of the mutual use of pornography on the marital intimacy of women.”

    Please feel free to do whatever you want with the info, but if you use any of it in a paper or public setting, etc. either go straight to the references, or cite my paper directly (let me know if you need the citation, although I don’t think anyone will–we’re not all stuffy grad students here, thankfully)…

  168. Adam, is this just the beginning of a longer work on this issue? If so, I would be interested in reading the entire manuscript. Is it published and can you provide a link to it? If you would rather, you can e-mail it to me at katie.edmondson at gmail.com. This is a topic I have been curious about for some time.

  169. Post
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    Kate, that part is the most interesting and relevant. The rest of the paper is just a proposal for a study that I thought about doing, but so far have to has my interests have shifted a little, so, it was not published. However, I do have some great articles by others that were published, and I could email you them (and anyone else, if you’re interested).

  170. Please do. I’ve read a few marital advice books (including two by Gottman), and always found the recommendation of viewing porn together as a couple… curious, for lack of a better word. I’ve also had friends who embrace it in their marriages. And so I’ve long been curious about whether it really generates a positive response for the marriage as a whole, or if the women (as it would appear from some of the above quotes) just ignore some of their negative feelings. I can’t imagine that a wife’s suppression of her negativity would be beneficial to the long-term survival of a marriage. Have any of these studies looked into that (i.e., long-term ramifications of mutual porn watching in marriage)? What about the effect of individual porn use in a marriage where mutual porn use is being used? Does that affect the outcomes?

  171. Post
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    Great questions, and I don’t know! 🙂

    I think the secrecy and separateness is a huge issue though. I’m not sure about using it as a couple (my wife and I don’t) but I DO think that is WAY better than alone.

  172. Jen,I have no desire to defend or glorify pornography. Generally I agree with the way you have categorized it. I think it’s unfair, though, for you to criticize others for misrepresenting your comments as overgeneralizations when that’s not what you meant. Perhaps you should re-read your original comments, which were spectacularly broad. You essentially said that men who view pornography over and over WILL, not may, eventually lose the ability to control themselves and will move on to worse and worse things such as child porn and beastiality.

    “Viewing pornography over and over again makes people do stupid things. The “high” they are able to reach viewing certain types of pornography isn’t enough over time, so they turn to more perverse and degenerate pornography, such as child pornography or beastality. Eventually the risks of acting out don’t matter and they take ridiculous risks, like losing their job, their family, their church membership, and going to jail. I realize this doesn’t happen to some people and there will be arguments against it, but I have heard them all and the reality is that what I am saying is true.”

    It’s clear from your comment that “I realize this doesn’t happen to some” that you believe it happens to most. I still maintain that these comments are unsupportable.

  173. As I said in 176 I am glad you agreed with me, Jen. I just thought your comments leaned too much toward sweeping generalizations but you have softened your stance and we agree. I don’t see how I am causing anyone to shudder.

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  176. ThomasB, 106. Thanks for the kind offer. You are truly a champion of the human spirit. Please note I am implying that the rest of you are not.

  177. I don’t know how I came to be in the position of defenfing men who look at porn. I have no desire to do that. In fact I agree that porn use by married men causes much pain and mistrust, both in and out of the church, and women have the right to feel betrayed in that situation. My point was never whether porn is objectively good or bad. It was whether porn users inevitably become sexual deviants who can’t control themselves. Jen argued that this was the case, at least most of the time, and I disagree.

    I hope there are no hard feelings,Jen. Whatever our philosophical differences, I respect that you try to help people in pain, regardless of the cause. And it’s so rare that I ever get to feel the joy of one of your smiling emoticons anyway.

  178. I’m sorry to go back 100 posts but I am calling out the following people for their posts.

    AdamF 105

    So forcing an adult to have sex is worse than manipulating a child into having sex? I disagree.

    AndreJDavis 110

    You asked, what is magical about the age of the consent? I think you are missing the point. Whether 18 possesses some magic potion to where the child suddenly understands is not the issue. The issue is, whether 18 is old enough or not, the legislature has determined that under 18 is NOT old enough and EVERYONE, including Pratt, was on notice that you DO NOT TOUCH BELOW 18 because there is a huge likelihood that they are not old enough to consent and not old enough to deal healthily with trouble that comes their way. I find it shocking that you are more concerned with Pratt using his position of trust than the age of the child. They are one and the same. The position of trust is a much more powerful position because she is so young.

    GBSmith 110

    Your comment was very offensive and disgusting in my opinion. She could not consent. I don’t care if they did this for ten years, SHE IS NOT TO BLAME.

    Ditto for 120 GBSmith.

    129 Kate

    So, because when you were 17 you felt you were old enough to decide? I don’t see how that is relevant at all. 6 year olds think they should decide what they do. But they shouldn’t or they’d eat candy all day and watch sponge bob for 20 hours a day. It doesn’t matter what the 16 year old thinks.

    If Pratt did what he has been accused of, I don’t care if she was 17 and 364 days. His actions were extremely reprehensible, and she could not consent, and it therefore was forcible sodomy, etc.

    In fact, I disagree with anyone asserting that 16 is old enough to alleviate any of the wrong done here by Pratt, allegedly. I agree that the younger the child, the worse it would be. If the girl were 11 it would be worse than 16. BUT, 16 is not 18. Several posters alluded to the fact that 16 is old enough or is close enough to being old enough that what Pratt did was not that bad, or that because it went on for 2 months somehow the victim should have told the cops sooner, etc., etc. To all of you, I say you are extremely naive on this issue, you are extremely

  179. Sundayboy 99, (post 125)

    If he was convicted it is public record. I don’t see how you could be successfully sued for stating the truth.

  180. Dexter (214) –

    Perhaps you missed my bold “The above scenario is in NO WAY indicative of what is going on with Br. Pratt’s situation. Its merely an overall commentary on how we pick the magical ‘age of consent’.”

    I clearly did not intend my comment on the magical consensual age to be applied to Br. Pratt’s situation, or to “lessen” his culpability.

  181. *called out*

    You always keep us on our toes! 🙂

    I don’t know about “worse” which I didn’t say, but it is not the same thing. Bad either way, I think we agree.

  182. 216

    I know, but I was simply trying to illustrate that the consent age is what it is. Of course some 17 year olds are mature enough (if there were no law on the matter) to consent and some 19 year olds are not mature enough.

    But 18 is where the line is drawn, to prevent case by case analysis where the Pratt or Pratt equivalent says, “but she is so mature, and she consented.” It avoids the burden of the state having to prove that the girl did not consent, which is a good thing.

  183. I’m just saying having sex with a child IS by force. Period. The child cannot consent, not just in the eyes of the law, in my opinion, the child truly cannot consent to it in any way. So it is force.

  184. I agree – the “force” in this case may be manipulation.

    At the same time, I am uncomfortable with the idea that a man manipulating an 8 year-old into sex is the same as manipulating a 16 year-old. In my mind, the former case is a lot worse, although both are evil.

  185. Dexter –

    I agree with you from a legal perspective, as well as from the perspective of protecting the accuser. I also agree that when we are talking about an issue of abuse, its important to err on the side of protection – no matter the age.

    All I was doing was trying to make an important distinction between “statuatory rape” and “pedophelia”. This is particularly important where you have instances of premarital sex between, say, a 20-year-old and an otherwise independent 17-year-old, and the parents of the minor (not the minor themselves) charge for statuatory rape. From my brief reading of the Utah law, it would appear that they account for such things anyway. However, it should be noted that I am not a student of law.

    I’ll say this again, in case there is any confusion – this is not to be applied to the situation with Br. Pratt.

  186. In 214 I said, “I agree that the younger the child, the worse it would be. If the girl were 11 it would be worse than 16.”

    So clearly I agree with you on that point. I agreed before you said it. 🙂

  187. #212

    brjones-

    “My point was never whether porn is objectively good or bad. It was whether porn users inevitably become sexual deviants who can’t control themselves. Jen argued that this was the case, at least most of the time, and I disagree”

    Well, I don’t feel that I was arguing that porn users inevitably become sexual deviants who can’t control themselves. Because I don’t have all the studies here in front of me (I read most of them in books), I cannot quote them right now. I will say though that compulsive porn viewing (or viewing porn over and over as I mentioned) leads to more perverse and degenerate porn and this has been found in studies done on compulsive porn users. Also, when viewing porn, a funnel like thinking takes over and the porn viewer is not able to clearly think of how this may be affecting their job, their wife and kids, etc. until they are out of the funnel. In other words, they take risks and do things that can greatly affect their relationships, work, etc. I would love to get all the studies together, but right now I don’t have the time (too many kids to keep track of). Maybe I will work on it over time and see what I can get together.

    The reality for me is I see nothing good about pornography. To me, it has no reedeming value. I don’t see it as an enhancer to relationships, but an intrusion. For me, if you want to work on your sexual relationship with your spouse, focus on them, not someone else having sex. It only allows thoughts of other people to intrude upon your mind rather than the person you are trying to connect with amd it makes no sense to me whatsoever (note to me, I realize many don’t feel this way and I am not trying to start an argument!)

    There are no hard feelings brjones. I realize this topic incites great emotion. I am probably not the best person to talk to about it because I will fight against it til the day I die. I will never see how watching people promise young girls money to get in their van and have sex while they video tape them, and then after video taping them, dumping them off, not paying them and leaving them wherever they land is a good, positive thing. This is just one of the more popular porn sites out there. Disgusting, despicable and not worthy of ANYONE’s attention.

    Anyway, I don’t want to get started again on this topic so I will stop while I am behind. If I get the studies together I will try to post them if the post is an appropriate thread to do so.

    And just so you know there are no hard feelings, well…. 🙂

  188. brjones-

    “What an active day it’s been here at dextermatters.org”

    Just wait until he starts promoting his Dex doll again. The sad thing is last time I saw it, it was in the discount bargain bin. Yes, 90% off. I guess his popularity has waned significantly. Just don’t tell him that. 🙂

  189. First, Dexter does indeed matter.

    Second, you admitted to being a proud owner of a Dexter doll. Heck, you brought it up!

    Third, we all know what happened with the Jen Doll Debacle of 2008. Please don’t make me revisit that.

  190. “Third, we all know what happened with the Jen Doll Debacle of 2008. Please don’t make me revisit that.”

    Dude…where have YOU been? Jen Doll 2009 is THE most popular item on the market. You really don’t get out much do you? Maybe you need to spend less time on MM and go shopping more often.

    Oh, and I am sorry to say, my children mutilated my Dexter doll. Last I saw it, it had 52 bb gun shots through it. I guess the good news is I can replace it very cheaply!

  191. I didn’t want to go here but you have left me no choice. The 2009 Jen Doll? Please. You and I both know the Jen Doll was proposed to be given for free to sick dogs as a chew toy, because selling it to anyone was just a real laugher. The dogs were mostly blind and had only gums left, and so their aching jaws and diseased gums could have really benefited from something to chew on. But even they avoided the test product so heavily they decided to pull the plug.

  192. Ah Dex-

    We all know you’re just jealous because my doll is successful and yours, well, ISN’T. Don’t let your jealousy get the best of you, it really isn’t pretty.

    Now go get some popcorn and watch a soap opera for a while. That will make it seem like your life is better than it really is and it will help you see how jealousy really is not a pretty thing.

  193. Nice comeback but I think it is clear that King Dexter is the King of Smack as well.

    I guess you haven’t seen the studies about soaps, they MAKE everyone who watches them turn lame. But you know that from experience. OH SNAP!!!!

  194. When widespread pornography bevcomes available in a society, sexual offenses plummet, like by 85%. Check easy to find statistics for Japan, Scandinavia, and even the USA. While I’m at it, high religiousity (i.e., a person being really really religious) is correlated with pedophilia. I’ll find the refs, if required. So, Porn = less sexual assault, country wide. Religion (is correlated with) more child sexual assault. Refs also available, but you might think about the current Catholic Priest sex scandal in the US and the terrible abuses now admitted from Ireland. It’s Science. Argue.

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    djinn – the science there is still about correlation. Doesn’t mean you don’t have a good point, but that it is a good corrational point. It also says nothing about what aspects of high religiosity are correlated with pedophilia, nor what we should do about any of it.

  196. “If the victim is 14, 15, 16 or 17, then there is no consent IF the actor is more than 3 years older than the victim and the actor “entices or coerces the victim to submit or participate.””

    What does being an actor have to do with it?

  197. 236

    Take it up with the Utah Legislature.

    But I will take a guess. It’s always the actors fault! Stupid Hollywood.

  198. #232-

    Dex-

    Well, considering that I don’t watch soaps, I wouldn’t know anything about being lame. I just heard from all the lame people what they are about and figured you’d enjoy them since it suits your style.

    I don’t know about anyone else, but I think it is time we had a Queen instead of a King. The King seems to be quite proud and we all know what comes next…..

  199. Wait, I remember this one from second grade. I’m not sure what comes next – is it Dexter chasing Jen under the swings and pulling her pigtails or is it Jen telling Dexter he has cooties and running away giggling?

  200. Jen, I’m not sure age difference is the best defense considering the story that brought about this initial post. Let’s just move on to another topic, shall we? 🙂

  201. All my good references for religiosity (got it spelled correctly that time) and child molestation seem to have retreated behind firewalls. Feel free to ignore the earlier comment, as I can’t currently prove the point made in it. Drat. Mock, too, as I deserve it.

  202. Whoa, hang on. That last reference djinn relates the religiosity of the victim, not the perpetrator, if I read the abstract right.
    ” Persons sexually abused by a relative were more likely to be affiliated with fundamental Protestant religions.”

    This seems to be unrelated to the question of the perpetrator’s religiosity.

  203. Dexter

    “Your comment was very offensive and disgusting in my opinion. She could not consent. I don’t care if they did this for ten years, SHE IS NOT TO BLAME.”

    I’ve never been called out before. This is interesting. You have, on the basis of several news pieces convicted and condemned Pratt. My sense is that if you could lynch or horse whip him you would do it. He’s not had his day in court and no substantive facts have come to light. At the same time you know nothing about the girl, other than she is 16 and according to a police spokesman, the acts were consensual. You say “she could not consent” and legally that is true and on that basis alone you say in caps she is not to blame. On what basis do you say that. She is well past the age of accountabilty. Is she totally excused from any and all actions because of her age? What do you know of her motives in this business? I know nothing. Why are you so fervent in her defense? I have nothing at all to base an opinion on. Why do you seem so angry and disgusted at my comments? God and the law will judge who is right in a legal and a moral sense but is she to be the white in this business and Pratt the black based at this point on disappearingly little in the way of facts and a lot of over the top, self righteous rhetoric?

    I realize she could have be manipulated into this business and that Pratt as an adult should have know better but until we know who started it, why it continued, who or why it ended and how it all came to light, it would be nice to be reserve judgement. If this is anything like the feelings in Utah county then Pratt will have to be tried in Minot, North Dakota, to find a fair and impartial jury of his peers.

  204. #249 – BGSmith, I would love to help you out here, as I think Dexter’s condemnation of your comments was a little harsh, but you’re making it really difficult with this last comment. I understand the general point you’re making about consent, but are you seriously going to argue that “who started it” is a mitigating factor? If it is, what in the world is the point of having statutory rape statutes at all? It is completely irrelevant who started it, why it continued or why it ended. You are right that condemnation should be saved until he is proven guilty, but unless someone stole his phone and sent hundreds of illicit texts, he is certainly guilty of at least some of the allegations. I fear that your comments are moving ever closer to advocating that the girl, a child, was equal or almost equally culpable in this sordid affair. If that is not the case, please make that clear. If it is, then I would share Dexter’s disgust. If this man had a sexual relationship with a student who is 21 years his junior, his actions are that of a pig, and he will deserve everything that is coming to him, and I would be shocked to hear anyone seriously argue otherwise.

    I should also point out that your comment about the age of accountability is relatively useless in this conversation. It assumes that everyone accepts the age of 8 as an objective age of accountability, which is obviously not the case, and it is certainly not the case with the authorities. Unless you are mormon, that point is meaningless, and even if you are, I’m not sure it means that she is responsible for everything that happened in this situation. I would be interested to know from those here who are believing LDS whether they interpret the age of accountability in this situation as requiring accountability from this girl, as you seem to be suggesting, GBSmith. Again, I would be surprised if that was the consensus opinion.

  205. Brjones,

    I agree as a motter of law who started is not a mitigating factor and that there are good reasons for satuatory rape statutes. But the tone of the conversation is to make her status in law as a total excuse for any responsibility in her actions. Is that what you’re saying? We’re not talking about a 7 year old and a pedophile. You and others continue to refer to her a a “child”. A sixteen year old girl is by and large physically an adult. Mentally she likely shares the tendency of teenagers to believe they’re immortal and to have a limited view of consequences and the future but they are not children in the sense that word is thrown out in these arguments. If she committed murder, theft, assault or any other felonious act she would be held responsible, likely as an adult. If the law says this is different and she is not culpable in any way in this case, so be it. But that’s the law. Nobody seems to want to look at this side of the story but it’s there whether we’re comfortable with it or not. I am not suggesting she is responsible for “everything” in this case but without more information I’m not willing to say she’s responsible for nothing.

  206. Actually, most of the Utah criminal law code regarding sexual crimes stipulates the term “minor” for persons aged 14-16, “child” for those < 14, and has a whole other category for those aged 16-17. So, the legal definition of child is < 14, at least per Utah.

    Not taking sides here, just noting the specifications of the law.

  207. Not that P*rn is good, but when it is seen as extra bad it turns out to be extra, uh, fun for the person involved. Po*n + guilt = a positive feedback loop, ‘vuz that’s the way se* works. The more forbidden, the more attractive, and around the carousel goes. So, relax, and watch the problem dissipate.

  208. GBSmith:

    First, I have repeatedly said in almost every post on this matter, that my opinions stand IF he did what he was accused of. If we want to wait to see the jury verdict then there is no point in discussing it at all. Your bullwhip allegation was ridiculous.

    Second, what does the age of accountability matter? So if she were nine she should have known better? This view makes me nauseous.

    Third, you continually act like the victim wasn’t COMPLETELY at fault, implying that some of the blame lies with her. I find this to be absurd.

    Fourth, you mention we don’t know who started it, why it continued? I cannot believe you are asking those questions? She is 16. He is her seminary president and is 37. If they had a sexual relationship, HE STARTED IT. Even if she flirted with him, or said, I want to have sex with you, he is the adult, he has the responsibility to avoid her. It started and continued because of him. Period. I cannot believe you seem to be treating these two as equals, as if they were equally complicit in this.

    Fifth, you said “If the law says this is different and she is not culpable in any way in this case, so be it. But that’s the law. Nobody seems to want to look at this side of the story but it’s there whether we’re comfortable with it or not. I am not suggesting she is responsible for ‘everything’ in this case but without more information I’m not willing to say she’s responsible for nothing.”

    And you say I am self righteous? I don’t really care to think about or discuss whether or not she did something wrong in the eyes of god or her father. I am only looking at this from the law’s point of view. Anything more personal is none of my business. If you want to theorize about what her conversation with her bishop will entail go right ahead, but it seems odd to me to discuss that here.

    And even though I find your accusation that I would lynch him to be absolutely preposterous, I would rather people viewed me as capable of that than as someone who assumes the child must have asked for this, as you seem to suggest because good old joe said age 8 is the age of accountability.

  209. Post
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    While she may not be responsible (and in this case if he’s guilty he should get ALL the blame) I think it is a mistake to say she ultimately has ZERO responsibility–I mean this ONLY in the sense that to say so would be to say she had no ability to choose. At the same time, the influence of his position and charisma seems to trump a lot of that. I just can’t buy that a 16 year-old has absolutely NO ability to choose ANYTHING in this kind of situation, as it seems some have said. I do see the danger is saying that though, because I agree, the victim does not need to feel guilty. However, I am uncomfortable with the idea of no freedom of choice here.

    AndrewDavis – so, it appears if a child is more religious (not the perpetrator) they are more likely to be offended on… I wonder why this is… perhaps they are more trusting of authority figures?

  210. Again I say, in the eyes of her father I am sure there is some disappointment, depending on how she was raised. But I think it is foolish to assume she has any responsibility in the eyes of the law, or in mere conjecture because that type of sentiment is inevitably tied to a justification or a removal of some of the fault from Pratt, which I find reprehensible, if the allegations are true.

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  212. When did this turn into crime 101?

    Are you saying if this 16 year old has responsibility the girl in the Pratt situation should? Or is this an independent question?

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    Seems like an independent question to me, but it is still interesting… I mean, what if a 16 year old was manipulated by a charismatic and powerful person 20 years older into assisting in a murder? How should the 16 year-old be tried?

  215. I am not saying anything about the situation with Brother Pratt because I don’t have enough information. I am wondering in this situation with the 16 year old boy being charged with murder, what the deciding factor is in charging him as an adult. Does anyone know how this comes about?

  216. There are key differences. If a 16 year old (or a 14 year old for that metter) kills someone, there are a whole bunch of issues that are irrelevant to a 16 year old who is in a sexual relationship with an adult. No matter how brainwashed or manipulated a 16 year old who kills someone may be, society needs to try and protect itself from someone capable of killing others. A brainwashed 16 year old who kills someone could do it again. A brainwashed 16 year old who has sex with a 40 year old could do it again too. But no lives would be ended if that happened.

  217. #253-

    One of the problems I see with this correlation is the amount of people who never report being raped. When I was trained at a crisis center for rape victims, there are those who are not willing to report a rape, especially if it was someone they knew that raped them. To me, that is too big of a variable to not consider and to just say when porn goes up, rape goes down.

  218. But Jen, how would porn change the likelihood of someone reporting rape?

    If only 10% of rapes are reported, wouldn’t that number stay the same before and after porn’s legalization?

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    253/265 – I also wonder what porn being more available looks like… It’s obviously quite available in Utah, for example (or anywhere with a computer, really), so that would mean then that there are a lot less rapes there then there were prior to the Internet?

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    Another thought – according to those porn/rape stats, the implication is that there are potential rapists who don’t actually go through with it because they have enough porn? No way I buy that.

  221. #266-

    Not necessarily, because the same people aren’t being raped. Everyone has different personalities and some are more likely to report being raped, whereas others would never even consider reporting it. So, some of it has to do with who is raped that year and whether they are willing to report it.

    My point is there are too many other variables to say there is a direct correlation IMO.

  222. One obvious difference is that in the murder case, the 16 year old is the criminal and in the pratt case she is the victim. That’s a big difference when you’re talking about how to view a 16 year old. In pratt’s case, the only reason to discuss her responsibility is in deciding how much to mitigate his (alleged) criminal acts. It’s really apples and oranges.

  223. Post
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    Not only is it not a direct correlation, correlations by themselves mean pretty much nothing.

    For example, there is a correlation between “clothes-conscious” women, and marital happiness. Really. You can find correlations between all kinds of things, and it doesn’t mean jack.

  224. #271

    brjones-

    I don’t see it as apples and oranges. The 16 year old boy could have been told that he was expected to do what he did or else and he could very well be a victim as well. We know that most 16 year olds rely on adults to care for them still, so doing what they tell you do is a big part of their thinking still.

  225. #269 – Jen, This makes no sense. You can still measure the # of reported rapes, and if that # goes down, it is safe to assume that the overall # of rapes has decreased. The only alternate explanation would be that for some reason less women were reporting rape. There is no reason to assume that when you’re looking at years of statistics. By that rationale, we can never know if rapes are increasing or decreasing. Your point makes the statistics meaningless.

  226. I am just curious what makes them decide to charge a minor as an adult. Is it because it was premeditated? Apparently the suspects were practicing this crime for 30 days before they implemented it. It sounds like it would have gone off without a hitch if the person who was supposed to take care of the survelliance system would have done their job.

  227. #274-

    “You can still measure the # of reported rapes, and if that # goes down, it is safe to assume that the overall # of rapes has decreased. The only alternate explanation would be that for some reason less women were reporting rape.”

    That is a big factor though brjones. If different women (and men) are getting raped each year, there are a lot of factors that contribute to whether or not they will report it. I wouldn’t say that the statistics are meaningless, but, for example, how many men report being raped each year? Also, if a husband rapes a wife, it is highly likely that she will not report it due to fear of being harmed more extensively by him or concern for their children, etc.

    While the statistics are useful to some degree, they leave out important pieces of the whole puzzle IMO.

  228. BrJones, thanks for repeating what I said without giving credit to me.

    Jen, this is simply not a variable. It is a constant. Why would the number of reported rapes change due to porn becoming legal or available? Unless porn becoming available somehow causes the number of reported rapes to change, then the stats must be defeated by something else.

  229. 272

    Come on Adam, I don’t think that is a fair statement. You act like all correlations should be thrown out the window. Sure, some have nothing to do with anything. But plenty are related and help scientists and anyone else determine causation, which is gold.

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    No, don’t get me wrong, I just don’t think they should be given much weight, given how difficult it is to separate all the variables. Pardon the hyperbole, I learned it from watching you! 😉

    Really though, there was a study where clothes conscious women were shown to have happier marriages.

  231. Re #142- I was thinking the same thing. Several months ago I was watching the news and was shocked when a friend of a friend (not someone I knew but someone I had heard friends speak of often) was arrested for child porn. He was a firefighter and had been spoken of highly by our common friend.

    I don’t care if some people can view porn and not have a problem, it seems like such a victimless crime but can and often does lead to much more serious crimes.

    I’m sure when the firefighter started looking at porn he’d never have imagined that it would lead to child porn, and arrest, and the loss of his job. Not to mention what it did to his wife and children.

  232. Look at the nature of rapes that take place now. Date rape is common and drugging the victim (putting something in her drink, etc.) is a common way to go about raping a woman. She may not to be able to remember clearly what happened due to the nature of the drug, but she was raped nevertheless. These type of rapes were not common years ago because the drugs were not readily available. What are the odds that this woman will report this rape? She may or may not remember the rape and it may be someone she knows as well, so those factors alone may keep her from reporting it.

    Just the fact that men are raping women in this way is a factor that needs to be considered because you cannot compare it to statistics when date rape was much less common. Looking at the factors behind why a person may or may not report a rape is key IMO and it doesn’t necessarily mean rape has gone down if the people who report it that year are less than the year before. Again, I don’t think the statistics are meaningless, but they don’t tell the whole story and that needs to be considered.

  233. I understand there are a million stupid correlations. Temperature has been increasing in AZ for 30 straight days. Violence has decreased in Iran for 30 straight days. THEREFORE, AZ heat wave brings peace to the middle east!!!!!!

    BUT, when the issue is extremely related, it can have a lot of meaning. Darren Williams retires to Montana. Jazz season ticket sales drop. Clearly, this would be correlation that you can safely say leads to a safe conclusion that Darren Williams’ retirement CAUSED a drop in Jazz season ticket sales.

    Here, I haven’t read the study, and I am not claiming it is true. But if you take a society where rape rates decline heavily at the same time that pornography became legal and available, it’s not a terrible conclusion to say it had some effect. Sure, there could be another reason or they could be unrelated but it should not simply be throw out like the AZ temperature example. Further, the “but not all rapes are reported” argument really wouldn’t make a lot of sense. Because they would go unreported before porn and they would go unreported after porn. But there are other variables that could cast doubt on the conclusion.

  234. 281

    Jen, I agree there could be other issues. If the date rape drug became prevalent in the society at issue at the same time that porn became legal, you would definitely have a good argument. I don’t know if that is the case in the example given. But simply saying “not all rapes go reported” isn’t.

  235. Well, Adam, I learned hyperbole from the king himself. Bill Walton. Here are 2 of my favorite quotes of his:

    Kobe Bryant just hit a literally impossible shot!

    Robert Horry is a champion of basketball….and of the human spirit.

  236. Dex-

    Another factor could be that men are given the impression when they view pornography that women are ready, willing and want to please them. It even goes as far as showing that when a woman says no she really means yes. This can give some men the impression that when a woman says no she couldn’t possibly mean it. With these types of attitudes permeating in our society, it can make a woman begin to believe that they are correct and she is at fault for some reason for not wanting to be ready and willing to perform at any given moment. With the rise in porn and the attitudes that permeate within it, it can create a shift in how women see themselves, especially if they have a man who watches porn regularly and expects them to as well. They will see women in constant “ready mode” and begin to believe they are expected to be as well. She can begin to believe that if a man forces himself on her, it is just because she should have been feeling more up to it, just like all the women in the porn, and it really is her fault, not the man’s.

    Well, I have to bow out and get something done. Check in later.

  237. Jen, please.

    It could be that Jazz season ticket sales fell, at the same time as Darren William departure, because the ball going through the hoop was suddenly understood to be a metaphor for sex, and violent sex at times with all the slam dunks. But I doubt it.

    Anyone can come up with some theories but frankly, yours in 285 is more of a stretch then the one I just made about the Jazz season tickets.

    I mean, really? Porn goes up, rape goes down. And you say this is due to an attitudinal shift that happened overnight where women suddenly think they have to give it up all the time and it’s not rape?

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    BTW, my comment #9 about prevention of infidelity is from the book “Not ‘Just Friends'” by Shirley Glass. I had one inquiry about where it was from, so here is the reference.

  240. Dex-

    You go ahead and defend that “as porn goes up, rape goes down”. Anyone who reads the link can see that it is nothing more than a correlation which means little to nothing when you don’t take into account all the other variables.

    Understand also, that as porn goes up and our society pays for it and watches it, so does the drive to create child pornography to make money off of it. So thousands of children are being raped, molested and harmed and then it is put on the internet for others to view, but HEY! As porn goes up, rape goes down. YEAH. Good luck with all that.

  241. I’m going to comment on the “rape down, porn up” essay.

    First, it should be noted that the paper was not published in a peer-reviewed journal. It was one of a series of research papers done by lawyers at Northwestern Law.

    Second, if you read the actual article being cited, the author does not try to imply causality – he clearly states that the results are correlations only. He does say that he personally thinks there might be causality, but does not prove it. He also gives a few reasons for why porn increasing might decrease rape incidence, but does not test them.

    Third, the paper makes no attempt at eliminating confounders, which would go a long way to answering the causality/correlation issue. Essentially, he takes two statistics, relates them, and calls it a day. I think drawing any further conclusions from the paper would be unwise.

  242. Jen

    Why are you putting words in my mouth? I emphatically stated earlier that I didn’t read the study and that I do not know if it is true. Why are you so hell bent on accusing me being pro porn? Read my 1,000 comments on this issue. A million times I have said I do not think it is a good thing. I think porn does more harm than good, if it does any good at all, which is doubtful. I think child pornographers should be killed. So please stop characterizing my comments directed at your poor logic as a defense of pornography. I initially attacked your sweeping generalizations about porn CAUSING death, doom and destruction, and only asked that you say it leads to death, doom and destruction for SOME, but not all. Then, more recently, I have criticized your argument that rape rates could go down due to unreported rapes. This does not make sense. BUT I HAVE NEVER SAID PORN IS GOOD OR THAT PORN REDUCES RAPE. When I said, “Porn goes up, rape goes down.” it was as a hypothetical premise to show that your explanation that maybe women suddenly don’t know how to say no is ridiculous. This was in the same post as the other hypotheticals I introduced to explain correlation and causation. The AZ temperatures was made up. The Iran violence stats were made up. Darren Williams didn’t really retire. I have no idea what Jazz ticket sales are doing. I thought my comments were clearly fabricated to make a point about correlation and when it is applicable and when it is useless. Are you related to McCarty at all? Because you are really good at assuming I am a porn defender just because I disagree with the logic behind those who attack porn. Let me restate, I am not a champion of pornography rights! I do not believe Pornography is good. Seriously Jen, I feel that you attack me as supporting porn when I don’t, just because I disagree with your logic.

  243. Sorry if I got a little carried away there. But that is offensive to me.

    In 286 I could have made it more clear that when I said “Porn goes up, rape goes down” it was in reference to the hypothetical proposition, to show that Jen’s hypothetical explanation for it made no sense. I think this is clear if you have read all my posts. But if someone were to read 286 alone, without reading my other posts, that could have been confusing.

  244. “Why are you putting words in my mouth?” That’s laughable coming from you. Let’s see: “Come on Jen, play fair. You make generalizations based on chatting with some relief society pals” Relief society pals? Show me where I said anything that even relates to that. Oh then there’s this one: “And you say this is due to an attitudinal shift that happened overnight” Show me where I said any attitude shift happens overnight? I never suggested that, in fact I know that attitudes take time to form.

    Just so you know Dex, I never said you were pro-porn, not even once. You did make it seem as though you were defending the idea that that as porn goes up, rape goes down in #286. That was what I was eluding to. And my point in bringing up child pornography is to show that CLEARLY this idea that when porn goes up, rape goes down, is ridiculous, at least if you want to include everyone in that statement.

    If you want to accuse me of accusing you of being pro-porn that’s fine, but frankly if anyone is putting words in someone’s mouth, it is you putting them in mine.

  245. My posts speak for themselves. I invite anyone to read them all. Not that anyone would want to. Sure I exaggerated about the relief society pals comment, but that is not the same as accusing someone of being for a policy that would lead to an increase in the prevalence of child pornography. This accusation was baseless and I would like an apology.

    And you read all my other posts so your misinterpretation of 286 is not my fault. My posts made it clear I did not believe that. I said I never read the study and did not know if it was true. I was making a point that if that is the hypothesis, your arguments attempting to defeat it, did not make sense.

  246. #280

    Allie-

    “I’m sure when the firefighter started looking at porn he’d never have imagined that it would lead to child porn, and arrest, and the loss of his job. Not to mention what it did to his wife and children”

    I have several friends who have members of their family in prison now for child pornography. They are locked up for a very long time and it is was very shocking to them to imagine that they were capable of doing what they did. It is sad to see someone destroy their life and lose everything because of porn. I think it is hardest to see the effects it has on the family left to deal with the big mess.

  247. Ooops, 294 should say, “Sure I exaggerated about the relief society pals comment, and for that I apologize, but that is not the same as accusing someone of being for a policy that would lead to an increase in the prevalence of child pornography. This accusation was baseless and I would like an apology.”

  248. Dex-

    What leads to an increase in child pornography is the drive to make money. If people are willing to support it the demand increases. That is why I said that as porn goes up, so will rape and molestation of children, because the demand will increase. Not everyone will agree with this statement. In fact they will find lots of reason to disagree with it and to support porn as something that is good and relate child porn to something completely different. Are you saying that you agree with what I have said? Because if you are then you are disagreeing that as porn goes up, rape goes down. Every possible variable that I gave as to why this many not necessarily be true you shot down and said it makes no sense. But when I do give one that makes complete sense you get highly offended and take it personal. Like I said, I never said you were pro-porn, so I don’t feel that I have anything to apologize about. I was making a point that if you want to support the idea of porn going up, and rape going down you are going to have to consider what I believe is correlated with porn going up….child pornography. Unless you agree with that (and I have no reason to believe you would agree with anything I say in relation to this, really) then I can see how you might take it personal. If I have made it clear that it wasn’t personal though, and I was making a point, it is time to get over it.

    FYI, You don’t make it very clear as to where you stand on things sometimes. Is part of it because you like to argue the other side, just to make things more interesting?

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    I don’t think all porn is the same, but it is still related. From the book “Pornified” I read a few years ago the author interviews a ton of people who described their porn use, and MANY of them got into sicker and sicker stuff – they described it as first being repulsed by something, then slowly being drawn to it, etc. etc. Obviously not all porn users end up with child porn, but I certainly think that could be the case.

  250. Dex-

    “but that is not the same as accusing someone of being for a policy that would lead to an increase in the prevalence of child pornography”

    This isn’t a policy we are discussing, this is based on someone’s research and their conclusions based on that research. FWIW, I never said you were for a policy that would lead to an increase in the prevalence of child pornography either.

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    I haven’t read that book, actually, but while my father was a bishop I saw it on his shelf… I think he ditched most of those books after he was released. He was pretty relieved to get out of all the muck I think.

    Another good book is by Michael Chamberlain, called Confronting Pornography, or something like that.

    Btw, I should add that the “Pornified” book is rather graphic in some of the descriptions, so read at your own risk!

  252. Are you serious Jen? How many times do I have to say I don’t believe that if porn goes up, rape goes down? I clarified that a thousand times. And you are still saying that I believe that. Hilarious.

  253. So what exactly is it you believe Dex? And what would be your purpose in saying that the variables I presented make no sense? I realize that many variables can attribute to why rape statistics go down. At least I offered several reasons why that could be possible. What did you offer besides a heckle fest about what I said? If you don’t believe that when porn goes up, rape goes down, then tell us why.

  254. AdamF-

    I have read Confronting Pornography, it is a good read. There is another very good book entitled “A War We Must Win” by John Harmer. I highly recommend it, it is very eye opening into the money making behind pornography.

  255. I have said this a thousand times.

    Pornography is not a good thing. But there are many not good things in this world. I believe pornography can lead to serious problems for some people. The same way I believe alcohol can lead to serious problems for some people. But I do not accept blanket statements like “IT WILL LEAD TO X, Y, and Z.” I simply believe it can lead to x, y and z for some.

    Porn and rape? I honestly have no idea if they are related. My gut says that they are not that related. I think rapes occurred before porn was accessible and they continue to occur now that is is accessible. I think extremely sexually repressed individuals may act out in more instances than those who are less repressed, like Catholic priests. But that is just a gut opinion. And I don’t believe that a society without porn is sexually repressed to the extent that if porn were introduced it would lead to rapes taking place with less frequency. But there could be some religious homes where children feel so sexually repressed if their parents place too large on emphasis on avoiding anything that could possibly arouse anyone that it could lead to acting out, which could include rape. But I don’t know.

    I believe that some people who view porn seek more and larger thrills and eventually will view more and more hardcore things. But again, as long as this is phrased as “some” and not “all.” I have a friend who looked at porn and became so frustrated with himself that he threw his laptop computer in the Provo River. You can see it from the shore if you know where to look. Anyway, I figured he was into some nasty stuff. He said he didn’t like seeing any sexual acts. He only liked looking at pictures of naked women. Unless he lied to me, which I doubt, if he didn’t want to tell me about his pornography issue why did he tell me he threw his computer in the river? Anyway, his story doesn’t matter. I believe that some will look for bigger and bigger thrills, but not all. Some will only look at certain things and they won’t progress towards bestiality or child porn. I said this yesterday, it’s like marijuana. Some move from that to harder drugs. Some stick with pot. Some try pot and don’t do any drugs after that. I simply disagree with the blanket statements that pornography leads to x, or y or z. I agree that pornography leads to x, or y, or z for SOME people.

  256. Oh, and another thing I don’t find persuasive is the belief that Pratt must of, or probably was, into pornography. What does that mean? That he would not have done this if he weren’t on pornography? Whether he was or wasn’t seems irrelevant to me. And I would think this would have happened whether or not he was into pornography. Perhaps he was into porn, and perhaps he would not have taken these risks if not for the porn, but, even if that is true, what does that mean?

    And Jen, you never answered my question. What is your goal in all of this? Are you for informing people of the dangers of porn or are you for making it illegal or what would you like to see happen?

  257. Dex-

    I think a lot of people have no idea what is really involved with porn. Some think it is still shot pictures of naked women (Playboy type pics) and that is it. They have no idea what pornography involves. I know women that have suffered great shock and sadness when they realize what their husbands or partners where viewing. Some don’t know it involves watching people have sex, etc. Educating people about it first is useful because you can’t bring about any type of change if you don’t know what is really happening.

    My biggest issue is with child pornographers. Porn is never going away, that’s a fact. The adults will do what they are going to do, but when they cross the lines into hurting children they need to be taken down. They make a lot of money because they are being supported by society. When viewing it, a person is supporting it and creating more reasons for them to produce more, meaning find more children to harm and abuse. If as many people who supported it by viewing it stood up and fought against it, we would live in a much better world.

    So, what I would like to see happen is a lot more people work to stop child pornographers. The first way to help do this is to stop viewing pornography that is minor based. Their are many sites that men love to go to that include teenage girls, or in other words, underage girls. As we can see on this thread, 16 is not an age where a girl can make well-informed decisions about sex, etc. so why are men viewing girls this age on pornographic sites and no one is making a stink about that?

    The reality is there are many people who may say one thing about pornography during the day, but at night they are engaged in viewing it and are contributing to the problem significantly. I would be interested to know how many men who view pornography have never crossed the line to just get a view of teenage girls or child pornography. Part of the problem is when in that mode, curiousity peaks and people cross lines they normally never would. The people we need to help fight against it can be our very worst enemy because they are the ones who support it by participating in it, even when they speak as though they are against it.

  258. Dexter 208:

    I think this is where to you nailed. It is a futile argument to suggest that porn use will does not necessarily lead to more porn use, both in terms of quantity and content. The more engrossed you become in a subject, the more fluent you will become in it’s culture. Jen’s strongest point, and the one she should have started with is that, regardless of whether porn use leads to direct sexual abuses by by it’s consumers, the porn industry, particularly in foreign markets, is based on sexual violence. I think it would be helpful for everybody to understand that the porn market is international, and while the consenting adult argument might work in most cases of american produced porn, across borders the porn market is directly tied to the sex slave trade. So in essence, the poor women portrayed in that media, may actually be there against their will. So again, for correlation to sex crimes, this is Jens strongest point.

    The above notwithstanding, it should be remembered Jen, that this coversation began with your unqualified opinion that Mr Pratt was likely involved in pornography prior to this incident. Now whether you have said this specifically or not, you are implying that therefore, pornography use led to his alleged illegal and abusive behavior. Not only do we know whether this is true, we also could not say with certainty if it is true, that this was even a contributing factor. The Utah statistics, but even national porn use trends would suggest that it is too pervasive to draw parallels to sex offenders. What are the social implications and harms, they have likely been fairly represented by Jen and AdamF’s comments. Yes, porn use is destructive to healthy family relationships, and can adversley healthy attitudes towards sexuality. So a blanket generalization that “porn is bad” will likely go unchallenged, but that is not the underlying premise of this discussion, rather that porn will ultimately lead to sexual violence, and or abuse, ie the Seminary teacher who prompted this discussion.

    Just as a quick observation, one of the experiences that directly influenced my perspectives on porn occured almost as passing observation while on my mission. My companion and I were in a drug store getting a prescription filled for my companion. While standing in line observing the stores customers I observed a woman, probably in her forties, who fit the description of just a typical stay at home mom (in truth I have now way of knowing what her circumstances were, but that was my impression) standing in the magazine isle casually flipping through a porn magazine. Up until that point in time I had sort of been conditioned into believing that pornography was almost strictly a product for men. Recently I have heard statistics that porn consumption amongst women is on a dramatic rise. I point this out Jen, because though I agree with you on the implications of porn in relationships, I am not certain how realistic the dichotomy you draw between men and women really is.

  259. Something I find interesting is that much of what Jen has to say is standard LDS “avoid parnography” faire. For instance, from her first post:

    “The “high” they [people who view pornography repetitively] are able to reach viewing certain types of pornography isn’t enough over time, so they turn to more perverse and degenerate pornography, such as child pornography or beastality.”

    I think I heard almost this exact line in a conference talk by Elder Oaks.

    I have a family member who is addicted to porn. His mother won’t allow him near my son because he looks at it. She is convinced that although he doesn’t look at it now (he generally looks at Japanese anime pornography, I’m sure it has a name but I don’t know what it is), he will eventually start looking at child pornography, which will lead him to molest our child.

    I understand her concern as I am a mother, but I wonder if this is the best approach to take when we are discussing and handling this addiction in people’s lives. Because for many men, it really isn’t much more than an addiction. A bad one, what have you, but an addiction nevertheless. Telling a teenager that they can’t go near their nephew because of their porn addiction to me seems to make this out to be a worse sin than it is. Yes, we as Mormons believe that looking at pornography is wrong, in that it hurts the way that individual thinks and women. Could it potentially turn into something viler? For instance, could it lead to their acting on violence? Perhaps. I don’t know. I personally think it depends on the individual. The church seems to suggest that pornography unilaterally leads to violence/rape/what have you, but then again I also have heard LDS members claim that homosexuality and pornography are connected (which I disagree with on principle).

    Its like asking whether a beer is going to make someone an alcoholic that will drive while intoxicated and thereby kill someone. Is it possible? Sure. Is it a guarantee? I don’t think so. Should people avoid substances that are potentially harmful and addictive? Yes, that is why we have the Word of Wisdom.

    In following this conversation, I would really like to see some hard, cold facts that are backed up by sound science. Perhaps I am asking too much, but I do feel that otherwise we are going to be going around and around in circles over this. For the record, I hate pornography, so please don’t immediately construe any of my comments here as pro-porn. I just think that we need to be careful about making too many judgement calls on those who are addicted to it.

  260. Dex-

    “Oh, and another thing I don’t find persuasive is the belief that Pratt must of, or probably was, into pornography. What does that mean? That he would not have done this if he weren’t on pornography? Whether he was or wasn’t seems irrelevant to me. And I would think this would have happened whether or not he was into pornography. Perhaps he was into porn, and perhaps he would not have taken these risks if not for the porn, but, even if that is true, what does that mean?”

    What that means is that porn can really mess up a person’s thinking, to the point of doing very irrational, stupid things. It is relevant because it helps others to understand that viewing pornography may not be worth the risk if it has affected others in this manner. If you read the article I linked written by Victor Cline, he talks about all the offenders he has treated and with several exceptions, all of them were involved in porn. Although it may not affect everyone in the same manner, those that it does affect can go on to hurt others.

    What it means to me, is that the risk of involving oneself in porn is not worth the possible negative outcomes it can bring. That is my personal thought on it though and I know others don’t agree.

  261. Cowboy-

    “The above notwithstanding, it should be remembered Jen, that this coversation began with your unqualified opinion that Mr Pratt was likely involved in pornography prior to this incident”

    To be honest I would be surprised if he were not involved in it, but I did not come out and say “I know for a fact that he is.” BTW, how do you know my opinion is so unqualified? 🙂

  262. Kate-

    “I think I heard almost this exact line in a conference talk by Elder Oaks” Just so you know, those are my own words. If they are very similar to his, that is a coincidence.

  263. Cowboy-

    I am aware that porn is a problem for women as well. Pornographers take a different approach with women, however, than men. They cater to the emotional needs of women by using a romance novel approach. With that approach it makes it more attractive to women, otherwise, many women would never consider viewing it.

  264. I know Jen because of your acknowledgement of that fact in even your response to me (#314). I understand that you have mentioned your mental health training in previous posts, but for the sake of making a case as an expert on this matter, I think you should clarify your credentials. Even so, when I referred to your opinion as being unqualified, I am suggesting that you have no direct relationship to this case, correct me if I am mistaken but your conversation suggests this, therefore you are making an assumption based strictly upon your basis of reasoning. But I would add, that though your statement originated with the alleged sex abuse, and digressed to assumptions on pornography, your implication was that pornography served as the catalyst to this event. In other words, had Pratt not been consuming pornography, he would not have committed the alleged crime(s). I cannot speak with certainty as to what the ratio is of men who view pornography, but I would venture that somewhere between the 60-90% that AdamF mentioned is probably correct. The statistics do not bear out that proportionately the same, or even close to the same number of men commit violent sex crimes, or have inclinations to do so. So while pornography certainly is a destructive element to society, that does not mean we can just overgeneralize that fact by assuming it is responsible for every social ill we would like to attribute it to.

    I would not take issue here if you were to argue that viewing pornography is wrong, unhealthy, or spiritually damning. But if you are going to make an argument that it (may have) lead to the behavior of a specific crime, you are not entitled to maintain credibility without being able to aptly justify your position. You have not done this. Again, you would also need to be able to account for the litany of men and women who consume pornography on a regular basis, and yet do so without ever delving into child pornography or beastiality, etc. More particularly, you will have to account for how the overwhelming majority do so without ever committing a sex crime. You will also have to do so with more than the questionable assumptions, such as the one Dexter challenged you on about the attitudinal effects pornography caused by objectifying women en masse to a point of insecurity and unwillingness to report an escalation in sexual abuse(and you did imply a short period of time here).

  265. Jen:

    The report I was referring to mentioned women “viewing” pornography on the internet and in books and magazines. Your example of sleaze novels has been the standard vice attributed to women for years, the new trends show women consuming the same media sources as men, and that is on the rise.

  266. I think when it comes to hot topics like these (wow no pun intended, lol), we all need to be VERY careful with what we say and how we say it. I for one found it very difficult to write a semi-scholarly paper on this issue (the part that I quoted earlier) — much more difficult, in fact, than a more neutral topic. It is SO easy to let biases creep in and let them take over understanding each other.

  267. Actually, my prof didn’t even want me to use the word “pornography” because of people’s reactions to the word alone. I think I used “visually stimulating erotic material” or something like that.

  268. Cowboy-

    “therefore you are making an assumption based strictly upon your basis of reasoning”

    Isn’t that what we all do? I would bet my farm (if I were a betting woman AND had a farm) that there are plenty of people who have thought it, but just didn’t write it in a blog.

    “So while pornography certainly is a destructive element to society, that does not mean we can just overgeneralize that fact by assuming it is responsible for every social ill we would like to attribute it to”

    But for those who do choose to act out in sexually harmful ways, we can wonder why they did that and try and make sense of it. Just so everyone knows this, I don’t think that everyone who views pornography is going to act out sexually in harmful ways. Now that I have said that, know that those who do act out in sexually harmful ways are much more likely to be viewing pornography. Not always, but most of the time. If you read my link to Victor Cline’s article you will see where he has written about this.

    “But if you are going to make an argument that it (may have) lead to the behavior of a specific crime, you are not entitled to maintain credibility without being able to aptly justify your position. You have not done this”

    So are you saying that sexual crime comes before pornography essentially? And you want me to prove that pornography can lead to sexual crime? Have you read the link I provided to Victor Cline’s article? I am curious to see what you think of it. He has credentials and experience in this area.

    As far as my credentials, I have a background in psychology as well as child development (bachelor’s degree). I don’t have a graduate degree if that is what you are wondering (not yet anyway). I don’t believe that we always have to have a degree in order to be well-educated about something either. I have spent a lot of time educating myself on this topic, through reading, talking with those going through it, and attending conferences about it. I am sure that is not enough to satisfy all the people that like to heckle me, but that is ok.

    As a disclaimer, as I write these posts, I am also caring for half a dozen or more children at a time (depending if friends are here or not). My writings may not be articulate because the reality is I don’t have the time to stop, reread and fine tune what I write. When I respond to a comment I am also making sure everyone else is taken care of here. I can do this because I have a laptop and I can move around. My point is, I think if I had the time to organize my thoughts and then write them, there wouldn’t be so many issues being taken up with me. Also, you are able to articulate yourself well Cowboy, and others just don’t have that gift without writing several drafts first, so when you say things like this: “Jen’s strongest point, and the one she should have started with”, recognize that I am at a disadvantage at this time in my life.

    “Again, you would also need to be able to account for the litany of men and women who consume pornography on a regular basis, and yet do so without ever delving into child pornography or beastiality, etc”

    And how do you know that people are not looking at child porn? Who in their right mind would EVER admit to delving into child pornography? It isn’t even realistic to think that someone is going to tell people they have done that. To do so is to admit there is something seriously wrong with you and who wants to do that? Not to mention child porn is against the law.

    My question to you is how can you prove that a litany of men and women consume pornography on a regular basis and don’t ever delve into child porn or beastiality? As if they would tell you if they did.

  269. Kate-

    I think when someone has an addiction problem, whether it be porn, drugs, alcohol, etc. we have to take measures to protect those who are around them, but we shouldn’t avoid them, unless of course they become physically harmful. I think it is wise to have supervised visits with those who struggle with addictions. It is important to know what is going on at all times, but it also allows time together with family, friends, etc. Supervised visits allow the everyone involved to feel more at ease.

  270. Jen:

    Let me start with your last question first. You have made a case that pornography consumption (almost invariably) is progressive. I am well aware of research which supports this, however your analysis does stop there. You also suggest the direction it progresses towards, ie, child pornography, bestiality, and sex crimes. You are responsible for proving this. Your counter position – that I am unable to prove that people are not delving into these baser forms of pornography – also by it’s very nature concedes your ignorance in the matter. Hence, you really don’t know what you’re talking about. In other words, you cannot take a default position that this is the natural course, so the onus is on you to prove otherwise.

    Regarding your personal challenges at home (caring for all of the kids), that is admirable, and frankly though we all participate here, nobody should routinely make there participation on these blogs the primary beneficiary of their time. In other words, I understand.

    Regarding your credentials, I have absolutely no desire to denigrate your education, formal or informal. However you should understand that the social benchmark for being an indirect witness, ie, “expert witness”, is generally a Masters Level or higher. I would think that in order to function as an “expert” in clinical psychology, most circumstances would require a PH.D. So unfortunately, I will stand by my position that your claim was unqaulified.

    “So are you saying that sexual crime comes before pornography essentially? And you want me to prove that pornography can lead to sexual crime?”

    I have no problem with the notion that if sexual compulsions, ie pornography, were related to violent behaviors, that the compulsion would precede the crime. Of course that is logical. I refuse to accept however that the crime is indicative of a specific compulsion, or more appropriately that a compulsion towards pornography bespeaks a tendency towards sexually violent behavior.

    You continue to draw correlation without determining causation in the third paragraph of your reply. There are a multitude of factors which can explain the correlation, such as the possibility that those with a predisposition/determination to commit sex crimes would also be attracted to pornography, perhaps even the extreme calibur. This would not require that pornography be the cause of these tendencies. In order for your assesment to stand you will have to disqualify all other potential factors.

    As for your first comment:

    “Isn’t that what we all do? I would bet my farm (if I were a betting woman AND had a farm) that there are plenty of people who have thought it, but just didn’t write it in a blog.”

    This is probably based upon an excercise of prudence on the part of those people, particularly if they realize this is not a case they could make with certainty. It is very clear that you have a particularly strong bias against pornography, and perhaps with good reason – you have alluded to experiences with the children in your care on other posts. You should note that no one here has been advocating pornography as being either harmless, or wholesome in any respect. You however, took an unwarranted liberty in implying it’s role in the case of this seminary teacher. For the sake of clarification, your statements bear no quality of wonderment, rather, you specifically charge this man Pratt with Pornography use couched with the obligatory disclaimer “I’d be very surprised…”

  271. “This is probably based upon an excercise of prudence on the part of those people, particularly if they realize this is not a case they could make with certainty”

    So, it’s ok to say make assumptions about JS, BY and so forth, even though we will never have all the facts, but we must use prudence in relation to all other topics here at MM? What case is it that we can make with certainty about anything we discuss here? Isn’t that part of the whole point of having discussions?

  272. “I refuse to accept however that the crime is indicative of a specific compulsion, or more appropriately that a compulsion towards pornography bespeaks a tendency towards sexually violent behavior”

    Well, if you have been willing to read the link I posted than you will get many answers from a man who has worked with over 350 sex addicts and knows what he is talking about. In other words, he’s got all the credentials that will satisfy you.

  273. “So, it’s ok to say make assumptions about JS, BY and so forth…”

    Are there any assumptions you have in mind, particularly that I have made, which you would like to address, or were just reaching for the silver bulletts and accidently grabbed this? The point of having a discussion is not to make railing accusations. Frankly, that is generally not tolerated with claims against Church leaders either. If you have reason to believe, more than what has been discussed here, that Pratt was involved in pornography – which led to this incident, I would be happy to re-evaluate my take on your position.

    I have now read your article, what would you like to know. Out of all of the articles that have ever been written, other than this one somewhat agrees with your overall position on the links between pornography and violent behavior, what about this one discounts all others? You will recall the authors acknowledgement of the controversial nature of this topic at the outset of his paper.

  274. Cowboy-

    Let’s get this straight. I NEVER said “I know that Brother Pratt is involved in pornography” Is that clear? I said “It wouldn’t surprise me if he was.” There is a difference between those two things. A railing accusation would be saying I know he is without any evidence. And BTW, To say that claims against church leaders aren’t tolerated on here is laughable to me.

    “I have now read your article, what would you like to know. Out of all of the articles that have ever been written, other than this one somewhat agrees with your overall position on the links between pornography and violent behavior, what about this one discounts all others?”

    It doesn’t discount all others, but since credentials are important to you and he has an extensive amount of experience working with sex addicts, I assumed you would be interested in his writings. What did you think of what he had to say? Are there others writings that you are wanting me to read?

  275. One thing that does make me wonder about the porn issue is Pratt’s family sending his computer out of state right when all this started coming down… we’ll have to wait and see I guess…

  276. You don’t fedex your laptop out of state every few days?

    I think it may relate to instant messaging conversations with the victim and/or other girls. But it also could be a pornography issue. Or both.

  277. Ha!

    I didn’t think of the IM issue… What I was wondering (HUGE SPECULATION) was if Pratt’s family believed he was innocent, but he had a porn issue going on separately that they did not want to become public.

    Gosh, we really need an update to this case.

  278. AdamF-

    #332

    That was another reason I said what I said about Pratt ( I don’t dare say it again for fear I will be beheaded ). Sending the computer out of state was interesting indeed. In relation to IM, an e-mail account can be accessed from any computer so getting rid of the computer is not going to make any difference with that.

  279. #330 – Jen, for someone who draws the “you should go back and read my earlier comments” card so regularly, maybe you should do the same. You did not say “it wouldn’t surprise me if he was” involved in pornography, you said “I would be very surprised if he isn’t.” That is a huge difference. Your entire line of reasoning in this thread was started by the assumption (I think it’s fair to call it a strong assumption, since you said you’d be VERY suprised) that he was, in fact, involved in pornography, and further, that this outcome was a perfectly natural progression. You know nothing else about this man, and yet you are confident that he is involved in pornography. I think it’s fair to point out that this is not the first time you have thrown that comment out on this blog in relation to a man who was involved in some kind of trouble. This is clearly an issue you feel strongly about, and I think everyone here would agree that is perfectly fine. In fact, I don’t think anyone here is trying to tell you that your opinion is wrong. However, it is frustrating for you to continually and persistently proceed as if objective data consistently and strongly bears out your position. Without question, some of it does, but by no means is the matter close to as settled as you seem to believe it is, or at the very least you have not demonstrated that to be the case by any objective standard. Additionally, whenever you don’t have any facts to back up your argument, you attempt to prove your point by falling back on the tried and true “well you can’t prove it ISN’T true” standard. That’s always a winner because, not surprisingly, there isn’t really any way to respond to that kind of “logic.” Of all the people arguing different positions in this thread, you are the one that seems least willing to give an inch or concede a single point, even to say that even though you can’t prove it, something may just be your personal opinion. I mean seriously, are you going to stand behind the statement “you can’t prove they’re NOT looking at child porn”?

  280. #336

    *exasperated sigh*

    The best thing for me to do at this point is to stop trying to talk about this issue and just work on doing something about it. I’m not interested in arguing with you, Dexter or Cowboy about this issue any longer (BTW, thanks AdamF for feeding me to the wolves! 🙂 ) I have appreciated the views that have been expressed because it helps me understand others better, so thanks for that. As far as trying to prove any of the positions I have expressed, I don’t have the time to go back and find all the studies I have read and then post them. If you want to see that as a cop out, more power to you, but it is summer time and I have kids home everyday all day. I recognize that I have spent too much time here today already.

    Oh, and BTW, I have no idea what you are talking about when you say that I have thrown a comment out on this blog in relation to a man who was involved in some kind of trouble. Apparently, it must have been offensive to you though.

  281. Wow, I go to work and this thing grows exponentially. I just have a few thoughts…

    First, I’m extremely sensitive to the needs of the victims in cases like this one and I will always error on the side of the abused and assume that they were manipulated, groomed, and totally without fault. I do that because I understand the hell they are potentially going through and the pain of being put in situation where they literally believed they had no other choice. Having said that, if at the end of the day, this case turns out to be a joint venture between a very mature sexually active sixteen year old and a 37 year old man with poor self control, then I’ll concede some small amount of responsibility on the part of the girl even if the law doesn’t recognize it. Therefore Adam, you may have point and I shouldn’t have reacted so harshly to you.

    Now, let me try and explain why I believe in this case that the girl truly is a victim and totally without blame.

    1. She reported the crimes to the police. I don’t know what got her to the authorities, but when she went it’s very apparent that she cooperated fully with lots of details of the abuse she was subjected too. Had she been a willing partner, she would most likely have denied any physical contact with Mr. Pratt and worked very hard to protect him.

    2. There are charges of Aggravated Kidnapping. This infers that when he took her from school or from her home she told the police she didn’t want to go, but was afraid to tell him no or too embarrassed to let the school secretary know that she didn’t want to leave. For victims that have been groomed by a skilled abuser, they really do lose their ability to say no. People in special positions of trust have the easiest time getting victims to this point of no return. Abuse can continue on for years once the abuser has taken over their ability to choose. Once they’ve taken the victim beyond this point, the abuser can take far more liberties then a masked gunman with a ski mask could ever hope to accomplish. Therefore, grooming a student for sex is even more violent then holding a gun to their head.

    3. The church fired Mr. Pratt without even investigating. If there was a chance of Mr. Pratt being innocent, the most they would have done would be to suspend him until he was either acquitted or convicted. Obviously, the discussion between him and his supervisor left little doubt of his innocents.

    4. The large number of charges filed including several first and second degree felonies. Contrary to what someone said here earlier, the police do not just throw charges at the accused hoping some will stick. The arrest warrant must have good justification for each charge and Mr. Pratt has the right to a preliminary hearing to establish if just cause is present to proceed with a trial for each count of the indictment. The piling on of charges is actually a county/district attorney’s best leverage in getting a guilty plea. The defense will agree to plead guilty to two or three of the charges in exchange for the authorities dropping all the rest.

    5. Lastly, the type of charges filed indicates a certain amount sexual experience not common in 16 year old girls. They may be obsessed with being in love and have all the giddy infatuation that boys and girls of that age have that sometimes leads to intercourse, but not usually practiced at all the “other” types of sexual gratification. The fact that most of the charges are about sodomy, makes me think she was being manipulated.

  282. Jen, sorry for the late response. Again, yes I read the article, and I even googled the author. He seems quite experienced in researching sex offenders. There was a great deal of what he said that I can agree with, though I am left with some questions. First of all Jen, in spite of your insistence that you did not levy an accusation, your point behind insinuating that Mr. Pratt “likely” had pornography problem, was that pornography led to this “acting out” with a minor under his trust. Am I incorrect here? If so, you are making an argument for causation. From what I was able to gather, Dr. Cline’s work and observations begin’s with the sex offender, ie, those who have committed crimes. I am not so much at odd’s with the argument that sex offenders generally also had pornography habits. In fact it stands to reason that individuals who would be willing to seek out oppurtunties to commit crimes of a sexual nature, would also seek out sexually oriented media. What this does not tell us however, is whether pornography leads to criminal and/or violent sexual behavior, that would otherwise be out of a person natural character. Where his studies broadly appear to deal with the offender first, an assumption of causation falls short. In order to make this case, the study would have to more broadly start with routine consumers of pornography and then observe their behavior over time. So what you would need to show is that Mr. Pratt, otherwise would not have acted innappropriately had pornography not first led him down this path. And again Jen, Dr. Clines article still does not explain away the glaring inconsitency between sexual offenders and number of pornography consumers.

    Taking the above into consideration I think the matter gets more complicated than this. After all, what if it is determined that he did infact have a pornography compulsion. But to go further, not only was he looking at pornography, but he was looking at child pornography prior to his interaction with this young lady. What exactly would that tell us? Would that mean that the child Pornography led to his “acting out” with a minor in person, or could the use of child pornography be seen as him also “acting out” to a lesser degree, and this as a result of an even deeper rooted issue? So Jen, this matter is very complicated, much more than pornography made him do it.

  283. Cowboy-

    See my comment #337. I appreciate that you took the time to read the article by Dr. Cline. I found it very interesting, especially considering all the experience he has working with sexual offenders.

    FWIW, the statement that I made in relation to Brother Pratt was based on all of the comments made about him (there are a lot of them on newspaper websites) in the positive, the family sending the computer out of state, and the choices he made that were so risky and clearly had devastating consequences if he was discovered. Maybe a part of it is wanting to be able to find a reason why someone who inspired so many, was considered so wonderful and was in a position of authority and trust would do something so devastating. I think it is hard for people to just believe that he could have an underlying illness or sickness that no one saw or picked up on until now. I think many people just want to understand what in the world just happened to him.

    So, anyway, if you read my post on #337, I am dropping out of this one, mostly because I can’t meet the requirements of proving my position without a lot more time (which I don’t have). Thanks for the discussion.

  284. Jen:

    I think I need to clarify a misunderstanding here. I have no objection to any person, from any academic/professional background’s entitlement to comment here and be taken seriously. I generally try and place most of focus on the content of the comment, and not the assumed “expertise” of the commentor. On occassion however, we need to take exception to this. Given AdamF’s background, there are subject matters where I place more stock in his comments because of his background, clinical psychology/therapy being one. I have had discussions on other boards, even as recent as prop 8, where I placed more stock in the comments being made by a California attorney when matters ventured beyond ethical consideration, and into the realm of interpreting the Law.

    Early in our discussion I accused you of issuing an unqualified opinion of Mr. Pratt, to which your responded: Jul 16th, 2009 at 3:09 pm – “BTW how do you know my opinion is so unqualified”. I suggested that you should clarify your credentials so that I, including others, could determine how much stock I would place in your assesment. While I don’t discount your experience or education as irrelevant, it is largely insufficient (based on what you have said) to assume the liberty of expert status for accusations that are not effectively demonstratable. I accept that you still have valid points in many cases, and are by no means disqualified from commenting or raising rational points, but the burden for you, like the rest of us, is to prove it with much more than just “trust me” I’ve read a lot about this.

    In response to your question about my credentials, I should make note that I also would NOT be considered an expert in this issue, and am therefore under the same necessity of making my case as you are. My undergrad is Econ, and I am working towards a Masters in Econ with an emphasis in health care financing/policy, employee compensation/human capital management (compensation and economy of scales, no Human resources).

  285. Jen:

    Quick FYI, to be honest I have interpreted the computer issue with Mr. Pratt the same way as Br.Jones or Dexter (can’t remember and I’m not going to go back), that he was trying to erase his email or IM communications with this young lady. However, I agree with you that looking at it from another light, that does lend empirically to a greater possibility that pornography use may be at play here.

    As for wanting to understand, I can completely understand that. I think we are all experiencing that to some degree. Despite the many differences of opinion here regarding the Church, I think we all share the common expectation that Teachers in general, but particularly Seminary Teachers hold themselves to higher ethical standards, and safeguard the trust of guardianship given to them from parents, by virtue of their position and it’s inherent promises.

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    I think you’re right Cowboy. Seminary teachers and bishops and other leaders are held to a higher ethical standard. In the very least, people in those positions need to be extra careful to not–inadvertently even–use their influence or position for anything less than the best behavior.

    Thanks for your personal comment Doug G. It really helps to see some of what is behind your other comments.

    And Jen, it is not a cop out to check out–we have busy lives!

  287. Why not stop speculating about the people and their circumstances (and your “opinions” of the people) and leave them to their privacy (that some here claim to be praying for). It sounds like a bunch of old ladies sitting on the front porch gossiping. It sounds like a manifestation of an LDS mis-behavior we are taught to avoid but don’t.

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    touché JCP. touché.

    At the same time, this case is NOT a private matter (perhaps only private for the victim), and your comment was offensive to old ladies who sit on porches.

  289. I think Michael Jackson died due to overdose of pornographic pictures of Farah Fawcett. I mean, c’mon, how could it be any other way.

  290. You are absolutely correct about the old ladies. I’ll apologize to any old ladies I may have offended in the next Testimony meeting… (however there won’t be any because Jesus taught us to not take offense – I think – so there is no way an LDS person would ever take offense).

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  292. #344-

    Maybe all the old ladies will stop talking as soon as all the old men stop molesting underage girls.

    If Brother Pratt wanted to avoid being discussed by others he should have kept his hands where they belong. The reality is a lot of children, teens, etc. have questions about this situation and the adults are the lucky ones who get to try and explain it. It isn’t that easy when they don’t even understand what happened. There is a difference between trying to understand something and talking about someone just to gossip. Plus, AdamF started this whole thread, so blame him! 🙂

  293. JCP-

    There is a witness who saw him skinny dipping with the girl. The girl is not the one who went forward to the police, someone else contacted child protective services. There is a bunch of sexually explicit messages text messages as well. He has been charged with several felonies and the church fired him immediately. Why did the church fire him if he isn’t guilty of at least inappropriate contact with the girl?

  294. I don’t know the circumstances so I’m not going to comment on the particular case. This is why we have courts… at least theoretically. Hopefully they’ll go through everything and come out with the truth – I’d certainly then be more comfortable dealing with the outcomes. In the mean time, it is all hearsay and speculation. Did somebody really see him skinny dipping? Did YOU see him? Witnesses have certainly lied, people have agendas. Maybe there’s enough proof to convict him. Maybe, just maybe, he’s innocent (or somewhere in-between). I doubt any of us were there at any of the events. Some people think there is enough evidence to prove the moon landing didn’t happen (and in fairness I believe there is enough evidence to prove it did).

    I guess I want “Innocent until proven guilty” to be important and real.

    In short, I don’t think we can “understand what happened” or deal with it until we KNOW what happened.

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  297. JCP:

    You must be a hit at parties. Unwilling to discuss any topic unless the jury is in. Do you talk about movies only after the oscars are awarded? I wouldn’t want you to be touting some film before the final verdict is decided. And do you comment on Obama’s Presidency? It is a tad early don’t you think? Who knows what will happen in the next 3.5-7.5 years. Sports? Why would you. It’s not clear who will win the World Series. Can’t talk about that until it is over. In fact, why don’t we wait until we are all dead to talk about any of our lives? Until then, the jury is still out. So who is dead that we can talk about……hmmmmm……let’s discuss Abraham Lincoln. What a guy! Could you believe that Emancipation Proclamation? My word! And that Gettysburg speech was just too much. Speaking of Lincoln, the poor guy, he was shot by Booth and then Booth was on the run for quite some time. Too bad JCP wasn’t there to prevent everyone from talking about Booth because it is wrong to talk about someone who only MIGHT have shot the President. How unfortunate that JCP didn’t control everyone’s minds and thoughts to prevent them from considering why Booth did it, because, after all, he was never tried and convicted. In fact, to this day he has not been tried and convicted. Dang it, I AM SORRY I MENTIONED JOHN WILKES BOOTH’S DEEDS BEFORE HE WAS CONVICTED!!!!!!!!!!

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  299. No dissonance or anxiety necessary if he’s found innocent – I guess unless it’s based on why people would lie and why it came up etc.

    Myself, there’s no dissonance or anxiety whether he’s guilty or not. Good people can do bad things – we have more than a few scriptural references. That said, and in all fairness, I didn’t know him; but I’ve certainly know people whom I admired that did bad things.

    What I’m talking about is doing things like speculating “why he did it” (or mental state etc.) when we don’t even know that he did (or exactly what he did).

    However, I am guilty of jumping into a conversation I ran across accidentally doing an unrelated internet search (I’m not even sure who I’m talking to since I haven’t even check out mormonmatters.org homepage – just this thread). I should really bow out at this point.

  300. JCP-

    “Did YOU see him?”

    YES I DID! And just so you know, he looks much better clothed than naked. 🙂

    I understand witnesses can lie, so if this person is lying hopefully it will be discovered.

    I agree with the innocent until proven guilty as well. The reality is we may not ever KNOW everything that happened, yet I still have to talk to my teens who are aware of the situation right now and try and help them not lose trust in people that seem to be doing so much good. This man has a lot of people that he has influenced, so it is affecting many.

    What do you think? Do you think he would have been fired from his job if there wasn’t something to it? I can see the church suspending him until the investigation was complete, but to outright fire him seems too much if he is possibly innocent.

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    Nah, welcome to the blog JCP. Pass Dex some lemonade though.

    If Pratt wasn’t one of my teachers, and a favorite at that, I wouldn’t care much either. You are right–good people DO do bad things, it just normally happens to someone I don’t know. When you DO know them, things get emotional.

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  303. JCP:

    Innocent until proven guilty has nothing to do with whether people chat about this situation at the dinner table, or on the internet, or anywhere else. It is a legal standard for the legal system.

    And if you are coming in here to teach us about how mormons shouldn’t gossip it seems a little strange to me because your tone has appeared to me to be pretty judgmental and rude.

    But maybe that’s just my interpretation. Anyway, no reason to run off already.

    Jen, I don’t put any stock in the church firing him. I don’t think that means anything.

  304. 361.

    I absolutely agree, Adam. And to disagree I think is impossible. Look, perhaps we all have a different line of what would bother us. Perhaps Adam is bothered by this but JPC would not be if it were his favorite teacher growing up. But if it were your dad, or your brother, I think it would affect anyone quite a bit.

  305. Dexter,

    In the spirit of Ray, blessed be his name, your sarcasm is getting in the way of rational and civil discourse, IMHO. Remember nastiness never was happiness.

  306. AdamF-

    Totally off topic, but hey it’s comment #367 so who cares right?! Anyway, I have tried several times to post a comment on your website and it won’t allow me to do so. I’m assuming that you did that intentionally? haha JK I think it is the filter we have on our computer, because as soon as I hit ‘post comment’ it kicks me off the page and when I reenable access it says ‘sorry we could not process your request’ (or something stupid like that).

    Anyway, I read through some of your posts and wanted to let you know I enjoyed them, especially the movie one. My favorite is when someone brings candy in the loud plastic wrap and reaches in every few minutes to get a piece. Gotta love that theater “noise”!

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    Jen, some other people have complained about that as well, and it’s really starting to irk me… perhaps I’ll move to WordPress, I don’t know. Thanks for reading though! I really need to think of something. If there are any IT pros out there who may know what is going on, please let me know!

  308. JCP:

    Dexter was right on innocent until proven guilty, I think you have your courts confused. Innocent until proven guilty is the standard in a court of law, the bloggernacle however is in the court of public opion where I might add the standards are much lower – which is also what makes this court much more enjoyable. However, I think you are right that ultimately this post amounts to little more than gossip. Feeling forced to acknowledge this fact has given me a moment of pause, and having now considered the matter under serious introspection I have determined – “GAME ON!”

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    Here is an article from yesterday–apparently he has been formerly charged now… “10 counts of forcible sodomy, seven counts of object rape and two counts of rape” … not looking good. Looks like there will be another court appearance on Monday. If he IS indeed guilty, I hope he confesses, and as he said himself, that the “truth comes out at the appropriate time.”

  310. We have a number of countries where when porn became widely available sexual assaults all declined by 85%. That’s some pretty spectacular correlation. On the other side, we have massive hand waving. I have children. I don’t want them raped by their seminary teachers, or by anyone eles. Capiche?

  311. Jen, do you really care about actual small human beings (i.e., kids) or is all your energy spent in reinforcing some set impossible to change world view? I’m guessing the latter. Think about the children. On further thought, I suspect that your base belief is that the world revolves around you, and who cares about who is hurt by your beliefs. Cause, you know, world, you, etc. And so forth. Also.

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    That’s pretty harsh djinn. Just sayin’. No one wants their kids raped by seminary teachers.

    Regarding the correlation, what were some of those countries? Unfortunately for your correlation there porn already is widely available here, so I suppose we’ll have to find something else to make widely available and legal to further lower the percentage. Weed? 😉

  313. Djinn:

    While I clearly raised objection to Jens assumption that the abuses inflicted by Mr. Pratt upon a seminary student was the end result of an addiction to pornography, your off the cuff stat’s on the correlation between pornography and sex crimes in other nations leaves some stones unturned. Does your study take into account pornography production? In other words, where do the women come from? Were they willing volunteers/participants? If these factors have not been considered then your figures are meaningless. Some actual examples of which countries experienced this de-escalation would be helpful.

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    I’m also wondering, when porn became legal in those countries, what else took place? Other variables? Perhaps there are countries that had a “free the porn” movement that involved nothing else… I would like to know, either way.

  315. There is a very small subset of p*rn that is sex positive, that does take into account that there is something f’d up with people achieving sexual gratification at the expense of actors who are, in the majority, victims of sexual abuse. Annie Sprinkle, Betty Dodson, Susie Bright et al. It’s a start. I know this is veering widely away from the original topic but I wanted to differentiate mainstream, misogynistic p*rn and it’s opposite, as long as it’s being discussed.
    Djinn, I love you like mad but you are getting a little crazypants on this one.
    For the record, I am a big fan of sex positive erotica and my life hasn’t degenerated, my credit is ok and so far so good on avoiding disease laden prostitutes in back alleys…

  316. Jen:

    Just some feedback. I read the article, and was impressed with the research – but more importantly the fact that the matter of internet pornography, ie the kind being marketed in the home, is making it’s way through the appropriate legal channels. While content on the internet is being distributed by global suppliers, and therefore posseses inherent regulatory challenges, I would be all in favor of regulatory restrictions which would provide zero content without a customer first making and completing a purchase. This is not my idea, by one I support which would at least greatly reduce the number of child consumers. I completely agree with you that the effects on family relationships are disasterous.

    Anyway, I figured you might just deserve some positive feedback as well as “constructive” criticism from time to time.

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