28 January 2012

If I weren't Mormon-would I still believe pornography is bad?

I've often asked myself if I weren't LDS, would I still feel the way I do about pornography? I've thought much about this and I have to say, yes. I would still feel the way I feel now, about pornography.  I'll elaborate, of course.

It is a difficult question to ask, because my religion is the foundation of my morality.  But my experiences have caused me to be reasonably sure that even if I took religion out of the equation, I would still consider pornography as fundamentally wrong.  It is harmful to relationships, it is an avenue to futher sexual deviancy, and as with all addictions- it can destroy the soul of the individual.  (And that is not even to speak of the souls of those in front of the camera.)

The LDS church preaches strongly that pornography should be avoided.  But it preaches the same about gambling, illegal drugs and alcohol. The church takes a clear stand against all addictive substances and behaviors.  This makes sense to me.  On an intellectual level I concur with these teachings. 

I will admit that in the beginning a significant amount of my emotional pain came from the shame I felt because this behavior is looked down on and condemned so harshly in my religious culture.  But often our initial reactions aren't our hardest ones to overcome, and I believe now that both Pete and I have moved past that embarrassment.  When appropriate we are both comfortable talking about it. 

So I want to address the three reasons I mentioned above, why I think pornography is fundamentally wrong.

1.  It is harmful to relationships.  After desperately searching online for some support from other wives, I came across a forum on Cafe Mom called WoPA.  Wives of Porn Addicts.  Although there are some very kind women who mediate the forum, it can be a very depressing place.  Occasionally I came across women of my own faith, but many were not.  Many doubted their feelings of hurt and wondered if they were over-reacting or unreasonable.  But I've come to believe that pornography is a form of infidelity and it is natural, even scientifically explicable, for wives to feel betrayed.  Issues of trust arise, and once a woman has been wounded emotionally, she no longer feels comfortable in a sexual relationship, resulting in issues with intimacy.  I need not say more about damaged relationships. 

2.  It leads to other sexually deviant behaviors.  I have encountered many women whose marriages have ended tragically or continue to suffer because their husband's pornography addiction led to affairs, molesting children -even their own, and questioning their sexuality.  [Personal beliefs aside, questioning your sexuality may not be a problem, unless you are in a relationship with a woman and you decide you'd rather be with a man.]  Pornography addiction, when unrestrained can lead to financial ruin, prison and destroyed lives.  Which leads me to #3.

3.  I hold it to be true that all forms of addiction canker an individual's soul.  Addiction leads to lives that become unmanagable. Ask any alcoholic.  Self-esteem withers as addicts feel out of control.  Guilt over the hurt the addict causes his/her loved ones becomes so difficult to cope with that often the addict will withdraw, act out in anger or other defensive ways which leads to a lonely and miserable life. I could go on and on, but I think I've made the point.

If you are one of the women who wonders if you are being unreasonable, if your husband is telling you that it is his problem alone, assuming he even acknowledges it as a problem, don't discredit your feelings.  Learn about it, and use your knowledge to communicate with him in a non-confrontational way.  It IS wrong.  Don't be afraid to believe that or to say it.

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