I know looking at pornographic pictures is wrong, but what about reading books with “romantic” scenes?

young woman reading

Photo illustration by Craig Dimond

We always seem to be encouraged to read more, because, well, everyone knows that reading is a good thing. But not all books are worth reading, and just because sexual material is written about rather than photographed or video recorded doesn’t mean that it’s less morally hazardous. Making a common display of a sacred intimacy that’s intended to only be part of a marriage relationship is wrong—whether in words or images.

If something you’re reading contains explicit sexual descriptions that imprint themselves on your mind and arouse sexual feelings in the same way that looking at pornographic images would, then guess what? It’s pornography. Remember the counsel in For the Strength of Youth: “Choose wisely when using media, because whatever you read, listen to, or look at has an effect on you. Select only media that uplifts you” ([2011], 11).

For more, read one woman’s story of struggle and recovery in “Addicted to Romance Novels?” at lds.org/go/romanceNE8.

If I don’t have a burning desire to share the gospel, does that mean I don’t have a testimony?

President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, has said, “Each of us must come to our own personal testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ. We then share that testimony with our family and others.”1 It can sometimes be easy to question the depth of your testimony when you compare yourself to people like Brigham Young, who once said, “I wanted to thunder, and roar out the gospel to the nations. It burned in my bones like fire pent up.”2 So, what if you don’t feel fire in your bones?

Hopefully your lack of desire doesn’t come from a lack of concern for your fellowmen. As your faith in Jesus Christ grows, so does your love of all people, a love that is a mark of the true followers of Christ (see Moroni 7:48; John 13:35).

It’s likely, however, that your hesitancy simply comes from fear and anxiety about speaking to others. For many people, such feelings can be overwhelming. Even prophets have had doubts about their ability to speak to people (see Exodus 4:10; Moses 6:31). They, of course, had no reason to question their testimonies—and neither should you if you are studying the scriptures, pondering, praying, fasting, repenting, and doing all the other things that help bring the Spirit into your life.

If you feel you just need a little extra courage to share the gospel, visit lds.org/go/shareNE8 for ideas.


  1.   1.

    Boyd K. Packer, “The Witness,” Ensign, May 2014, 96.

  2.   2.

    Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young (1997), viii.