We spend a lot of time in the bloggernacle analyzing, critiquing, and otherwise discussing the church and its culture. I think there is value in this for those of us who need this type of engagement. However, Mormonism (like many other religions) is a topic that few are able to dispassionately discuss. Some of us lean toward criticism, others toward apologizing. I do not know how those in the b’nacle (those who actually read what I write) perceive me, but my posts are not exactly oozing with praise most of the time! 😉
But I want to give credit where credit is due. If you have not seen the church’s new Combating Pornography website, may I suggest you check it out. It is not just for those struggling with the addiction of pornography (yes, I said addiction), but for spouses of those struggling, parents, leaders, etc. I think everyone could glean some useful insight about an epidemic that has proved to invade nearly every life in one way or another.
In short, I think the site is brilliant, and I give much kudos to the church for the content and purpose. I really think it’s great! Here’s what I like about it:
- The star article (IMHO) is a well researched, well documented, elaboration on the nature of pornography addiction, by a renowned expert in the field. The second to last paragraph is my favorite:
Why is it important to understand that compulsive pornography use is an actual addiction? By recognizing this, we will treat it with the respect required to overcome an addiction. For instance, no spiritual leader would tell a member who confesses an alcohol addiction to pray and repent without recommending counseling and 12-step support in such programs as the Addiction Recovery Program with LDS Family Services and Alcoholics Anonymous. Similarly, with the proper perspective on sexual addiction, we should also recommend that those afflicted with pornography and other sexual addictions, in addition to proceeding through the steps of repentance, will also seek recovery with therapy and group support.
- The site references sources and scholarship about overcoming pornography. While I am not a social worker, or clinical psychologist, I recognize the most commonly accepted patterns in treating addiction/depression. See here, and here for great examples.
- There is practical advice in Mormonism’s favorite form – a checklist. 😉
- There is a good mix of emphasis on moral cleanliness, openness in discussing human sexuality, physical reality, and spiritual ideology. When I read the articles I get the impression that we’re not in the business of simply condemning this as sin and parroting to people they “pray and read scriptures” more diligently. We are acknowledging a deeper problem in human psychology/biology that warrants our most sincere efforts.
- The church is sincerely dedicated to helping people with this problem. There are conference talks (at least one every six months), there is a website, there are very inexpensive counselling and other professional services, there is a booklet and associated meetings for overcoming addiction, etc.
I really do believe that the LDS church does a lot of great things in this world. There are people who are hurt by the culture, there are social and cultural problems I wish were different, and there are issues in our theology that don’t work for me. But for this very uncertain Mormon, I am truly grateful to be a part of an organization that does try, in many ways, to influence people for the better.