Thursday, December 4, 2014

Fifty Shades of Shame: LDS Women and Their Pornography

Sometimes it is a book. Sometimes it is a movie. Sometimes it is just pictures of shirtless guys. Sometimes it is the dark corners of the internet. Wherever we find it, it is the same thing. It is pornography.

While some of our sisters are trapped deeply in the shame, secrecy, and pain that comes from pornography addiction, others flaunt their pornography involvement and have somehow been given the social "okay" to do so. 

Women are sexual beings, just like men. It is a natural, God given desire. But like all things from God, Satan has found a way to perverse that which is good. It is an alluring trap. And he has tricked some of us into thinking that trap around our ankle is a piece of jewelry. 

It is no coincidence that I chose to play on the title of the popular pornographic book, and now movie, for the title of this post. It is frightening to me how many LDS women openly admit to reading the book and loving it. 

I once accidentally checked out 50 Shades of Grey from the library. I often add best sellers to my request list without knowing about the book. Such was the case with 50 Shades. I sat down to read the book one night and didn't even make it past the first page. I flipped to the book description and was mortified. What had I just let into my home? I returned the book to the library first thing in the morning, embarrassed and worried that the librarian would think I read the whole book in one night. I just hoped no one would ever find out so there would never be a misunderstanding. 

And then I heard friends at church talk about how much they loved it.

Wait, what? How could LDS women be reading this book? Let me tell you, it is 100% pornography. 

Romance novels with graphic sexual scenes are big money makers. Lots and lots of women read them. I have heard many women excuse reading these books.

"It's not like I'm masturbating." 

My dear sisters, I say this with absolute love, but let's be clear here: If you are reading or looking at things that makes your vagina feel good, then you are checking out pornography. 

I have had to unfollow Pinterest boards of some of my LDS sisters. They pin shirtless men, sometimes ones that reveal hair that I have no interest in seeing. They call their boards things like "Hot Stuff" and "Me Likey" and "Give Me Some of That."

Let me take a little liberty with the words of Jesus from Matthew 5:28

"Whosoever looketh on a man to lust after him has already committed adultery in her heart."

Maybe we need to read The For Strength of Youth a little more often in Relief Society. You can read the standards for Sexual Purity HERE and Entertainment and Media HERE

They don't just say not to look at videos or pictures of naked people having sex. They say not to arouse sexual feelings within yourself outside the bonds of marriage. This does not mean that since you are married you can do what you want. 

These socially acceptably forms of pornography will destroy you in the same ways that an old fashioned porno movie can. 

Let's look at the prophetic consequences of pornography use:

1. Weakens your self-control
2. Destroys your feelings of self-worth
3. Changes the way you see others
4. Lose the guidance of the Spirit
5. Damages your ability to have a normal relationship with others
6. Limits your ability to feel true love

Do you see these consequences in your life? 

Even a sex scene in a chick flick can make you see those consequences are real. It warps your view of sex and love. Let me tell you, my sex life doesn't mirror a romantic comedy and I don't know that many do. 

What is on the screen isn't real. What is in the book isn't real. It isn't what God wants for us. 

Looking at those half naked men on Pinterest? What will that do to your relationship with your husband? What if your husband had a bulletin board in the house full of women in bikinis with a big sign that says "Me Like"? Think your marriage would improve? 

Reading those steamy romance novels? Does it make you feel good about yourself? Does it improve your dating life? Does it teach you what to look for to recognize true love?

Sisters, we can do better. It's not just the young women that need to return to virtue. It's us "old" women too. Clean up your life. De-clutter your book shelf, free up space on your kindle, lose a Pinterest board or two. Your life will only improve. 

Let us stand for truth and righteousness at all times and in all places...

...including Pinterest and the book store. 



Note: Pornography addiction is a real issue that many LDS women face. If you are involved in the cycle of pornography addiction, please know that you are not alone. Read THIS article from the New Era. Read THESE two stories about women's addictions. Check out THIS blog that chronicles a woman's struggle with overcoming pornography addiction. Addiction requires help beyond which a Bishop can provide. See the Bishop. Get involved with a 12 Step group. Seek help from a competent therapist. There is nothing the Atonement of Jesus Christ cannot heal. You deserve to have Him heal you. 

22 comments:

  1. Thank you for posting this! I too was nearly knocked down when I saw and heard of women that I know (LDS or not) being In love with this book! WHAT. THE. HECK?! Like you said, we wouldn't (and or shouldn't) be okay with our husbands, sons and daughters doing this so why would we think it's okay for us?? This is such a real issue and thanks for making it black and white! (See what I did there?) haha.

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  2. In my opinion, as a concerned father of daughters, Modesty in LDS women has taken a similar detour from For the Strength of the Youth. Leggings are not pants! Spandex and sports bras alone are "tight and revealing." Not even body-hugging Sunday dresses! What example are we setting for the next generations? Also, what a distraction or stumbling block this can be for the opposite sex. Please, please, please: read and courageously follow For the Strength of the Youth.

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    1. Yes! :) I'm so glad that came from a male perspective. I've been thinking I was "old-fashioned" or fuddy-duddy when it came to leggings, but it is so true! Thank you!

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  3. It is NEVER the fault of the girl if the opposite sex rapes or is turned on by her. EVER!

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  4. Where the fault lies is clear, he is always responsible for his own thoughts and actions. Additionally, when we follow the prophets' guidance we will never sin. However, when we don't follow this inspired guidance, we have no such promise. For example, if an LDS woman (or any woman) leaves the gym in "tight or revealing" clothing (i.e. spandex and/or sports bra) and stops at the grocery store, she may be separately held accountable for any lustful thoughts she elicits in others. As with all sin (versus transgression), this accountability will be dependent on their understanding between right and wrong.

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    1. hmmm, I'm not really sure that is how it works. I'm pretty sure you are accountable for your own sins and not how you tempt others. You can be perfectly modest and elicit lustful thoughts in others. People are responsible for their own minds.

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    2. "She may be separately held accountable for any lustful thoughts she elicits in others." I have never read a more satanic statement. The only "lustful thoughts" a person is accountable for is their own. No person is EVER "accountable" for the thoughts in another person's head. Read the Articles of Faith: we are punished for our own sins, not anothers transgression. If you can't control your sexual thoughts by what a person is wearing, look elsewhere. Or better yet, get help with your own issues before you condemn another for not being able to control what is in your own brain.

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  5. You're saying it's possible to "tempt others?" To back up your claim, I'll help you out by quoting the "For the Strength of the Youth" pamphlet section on Dress and Appearance:
    "Your dress and grooming affect the way you and others act."
    Sincerely, please don't take this interplay as a challenge or competition. We are accountable for our own choices and the consequences they bring to ourselves. . .and others. If I set a bad example for my children am I not acountable when they copy me? I believe this argument is similar to the potential consequences of my immodesty.

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    1. I have to agree with the previous dissenter. We believe that men will be punished for their own sins. Perhaps she will be accountable for her immodesty, and you accountable for bad parenting, but clearly you are not responsible for another persons sins. A 9 year old is certainly not responsible for the lustful thoughts of a child molester are they? Am I responsible for having a bike that is awesome enough for someone to steal it? Am I responsible for asking a direct question that causes someone to lie? All of these things are examples of actions that tempt others. You will be responsible for your bad actions, and others theirs. We believe in the right to agency and resisting temptation. You will never be held responsible for another persons sins. It would defeat the entire plan of salvation.

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  6. This is fantastic! Nice work. Thank you for publishing this. :)

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  7. It seems no one wants to held accountable! We dress our 9 yr olds up like they're 20 and wonder why there are so many perverts out there. They sell "thongs" for 8 yr olds at JCPennys!!?? All the shorts in every store for girls are super-short! When are we going to hold ourselves accountable for the moral decline? This decline is weaving itself into the Relief Society and Young Womens (and the men)! We have to take a stand eventually and follow (and help our children follow) the guidance of the prophets found in FtSoY!

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    1. I can see you feel very strongly about immodesty and I don't think anyone disagrees that immodesty is certainly an issue in most Western societies. "Slut shaming" is rarely effective and contributes to a rape culture that degrades women and teaches them to be ashamed of their bodies, while not holding men accountable for their actions. No matter how you feel about modesty and the moral decline of society, women will never be responsible for a man's lustful thoughts or for his actions of masturbation or rape. Modesty is certainly a virtue to uphold, teach, and honor, but so is personal accountability, agency, and internal moral filters.

      The most effective way of combating evil is found throughout the Bible and Book of Mormon. It is found in preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ and inviting all to repentance and experiencing the redemptive power of the Atonement.

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  8. I really agree with this original article! Although, maybe instead of "looketh" from Matthew 5:28, based on the premise of novels and the thoughts they induce, we should say "thinketh?"

    "50 Shades" will be a movie soon. How many of our sisters will see it? Movies like this and shows like Desperate Housewives, Greys Anatomy, Sex in the City, etc. are meant to alter our ability to have "true" relationships. It's scary how prevalent these are watched even among church members!

    Proactively developing a closer, personal relationship with our Savior is the only protection.

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  9. In the final judgement, will the creators of pornagraphic material (film, internet, magazines, novels) be jointly accountable for the self-abuse and crime that is committed by their consumers?

    Additionally, studies show a directly proportional rise in promiscuity by victims of sexual abuse (easily searched on google). In the final judgement, will the perpetrators be accountable for this resultant change in the victims' behavior? Or, will the victims be solely responsible?

    While these are extreme scenarios, they show we can be stumbling blocks and jointly (though individually) accountable.

    How is immodesty by those who know better any different? As Miranda Sings (YouTube Celebrity) says, "don't be porn!" (Proverbs 7:10, 6-27).

    Luckily for all of us, only God is the Judge and Christ the Mediator--as they are infinitely just and know our hearts and trials.

    We have a responsibility to be a light and example to others, representatives of the Savior (Matthew 5:16). I'm passionate about this topic because my daughters are watching. I'm fighting against the "world" to help keep them safer. Modesty should not be interpreted with 50 shades of grey, but rather should be an easy thing to strive for. Help me be a light for them, please! (read the sources below)

    References: Jacob 3:10; Alma 4:11; Alma 39:3-4, 9-15. For the Strength of Youth (Dress and Appearance; Sexual Purity).

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  10. After all of that above, with the exception of certain sins, if any of the people above follows the true path of Repentance (including godly sorrow and attempting restitution), calling upon the atonement of Christ, neither will be eternally accountable.

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    1. And what sins mights those be?

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  11. Unpardonable sins: Alma 39:5-6.

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  12. Unpardonable sins: Alma 39:5-6 (or Matthew 12:31-32). Also, Doctrine and Covenants 132:27.

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  13. As a young woman who recently aged out of the Young Women program into Relief Society, I can tell you that I wish our teachers made it clear that pornography, like you said, isn't just images or videos of naked people having sex. I can remember being at the home of a girl in my ward and watching a movie that had an EXTREMELY inappropriate scene in it, but since it was funny apparently her family felt it was okay. I was shocked! And, sadly, I bet if someone had told that girl that that was pornography, she would have been shocked, too.

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  15. There is only one thing that qualifies as sin: Intent. Dressing with the intent to arouse is sin. Staring with the expectation of arousal is sin. If there's no intent, there's no sin. Sin, though, is a separate conversation from consequence. We can educate about risk and consequences without invoking the question of sin. It is foolish to pretend there's no correlation between provocation and risk. Blaming the criminal after the fact doesn't reverse the consequences of the crime. Failing to educate out of some misplaced desire to sever risky behavior from painful consequences is foolish. And dressing provocatively is a risk. Not a sin. A risk.

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