"...also trust no one to be your teacher...except he be a man of God, walking in his ways and keeping his commandments..." - Mosiah 23:14
There was another news article that came out April 15th , 2016 that (I felt) illustrated –once again- the problem with the term “pornography”.
How do we draw the line between “art” and “pornography”? Where is the line between ‘educational material” and “pornography”?
Who should make those decisions for us…and our children? Can I make that decision for yourself, and explain my reasons in a way that makes sense? Do I feel spiritually comfortable acting on such a decision?
I was only going to post the video clip of this new report and a link to my article “Mormons Take Pleasure In Sacred Erotica”, but my wife also felt I needed to also say a few words to help show how this illustrates the problem with the word “pornography”, and how I approach such moment. I posted the videos pertaining to this new report below. Hopefully, such a personal indulgence will be helpful to someone.
When I see an article like this, I can hear the arguments on both sides. One side saying, “If prisoners are not allowed to read this book, why are children allowed to read it? Society is going crazy with pornography, and we need to protect our children.”
Another side might say, “Mark Twain’s book, Huckleberry Finn, was once a banned book in public school libraries for being too obscene. This book has beautiful and tasteful illustrations and good information, and ‘church’ or ‘spirituality’ shouldn’t be a factor in children’s decisions about their bodies. Using cartoons to teach sexuality is not using real people, so therefore how can you count it as pornography?Our society hasn’t advanced enough to realize that sex is normal, and children need to learn about it without shame.”
When I then read the full article or listen to the full newscast (which we must – reading just the headline doesn’t count as reading the full article), I see elements within that help me make my decision one way or the other.
In this case, from my perspective, and based upon my past research and my understanding of and belief in LDS doctrine, I would say that this particular book is not appropriate for children to learn about sexuality – I would not recommend it for prisoners or children.
The information within the book presents what I feel to be an inaccurate and partial picture of sexuality in general - especially the highlighted statement on masturbation.
Many people who come from a worldly viewpoint focus strictly on the physical, and argue that masturbation ‘cannot hurt you’. That may be true when it comes to the physical body, but we are more than our physical bodies. We have minds and spirits as well.
Masturbation is not the greatest sexual sin that can possibly be committed, but that doesn’t mean it has no consequences. It makes it much harder for those who are trying to live the law of chastity to be successful at it. It has ramifications in relationships, both in and out of marriage. It stunts spiritual growth and progression. For example, I’ve read and heard too many examples of wives crying to their therapists and Church leaders, complaining that their husband prefers masturbation to having sex with them. Why create a future problem to satiate a present desire? Marriage counselor and sex educator Mark Gungor may agree with me:
Additionally, the instructions within the book are inappropriate for people who are not married, whether they be adults or children. Others may feel differently, but that is where I stand.
How can I make such a firm decision at all, and so quickly, based on what I’ve seen in this article?
Because I reject the word ‘pornography’ entirely, and I use instead the Lord’s terms of ‘sacred’ and ‘profane’. I would encourage all my readers to consider doing the same, and teaching their children to do likewise.
If I tried to do what the world does, and what many in Christian churches (including ours) do, and tried to make a decision on whether or not this book is ‘pornography’, the debate would go on and on within myself, and with others, ad nauseum. I can come to no definitive answer, with no firm explanation, if I rely on ‘pornography’ as an acceptable term. Pornography avoids consideration of ‘sacred’ or ‘profane’ in order to support secular agendas.
Please consider my article on the sacred and the profane, if you haven't already done so. The link to the news article previously mentioned is here:"And now I say unto you, all you that are desirous to follow the voice of the good shepherd, come ye out from the wicked, and be ye separate, and touch not their unclean things..." - Alma 5:57