By New Era Magazine
Note: Responses are intended for help and perspective, not as pronouncements of Church doctrine.
Pornography is powerfully addicting, so get some help in overcoming it. The Lord, your bishop or branch president, your parents, and a professional counselor can all help.
- Replace this problem with positive and uplifting activities.
- Do your best to consistently live the gospel. That will invite the Holy Ghost into your life and help you desire to do what is right.
- Avoid situations where you will be tempted, and change your thoughts as soon as an unclean thought enters your mind.
Pornography, like drugs, is addictive and may be too powerful to overcome alone. Somebody who will support you in changing this behavior needs to know about it. Your bishop or branch president, your parents, and LDS Family Services (firstname.lastname@example.org ) can all help; they need to know what is going on before a habit of looking at pornography progresses and becomes an out-of-control addiction. They will be kind, patient, and understanding because they want what's best for you.
Your bishop or branch president can help you overcome pornography. It will begin to lose its grasp on you as you talk to him about it. You can also ask him or another Melchizedek Priesthood holder for a blessing.
While others help you with this problem, there are some things you can do yourself:
- Find spiritual strength by praying and reading the scriptures daily, attending church and seminary, and keeping the commandments. Healing comes from the Savior, and it comes through His Atonement, which will apply in your life as you repent. Over time, consistent righteous living will convert you so that this temptation will no longer appeal to you.
- Avoid situations where you know you will be tempted. Don't use the Internet alone. Throw away inappropriate videos or magazines. Turn off the television.
- You can't simply avoid looking at pornography. You must avoid it and do something positive in its place. You could play sports, read wholesome books, listen to good music, spend time on a hobby or interest, or be with your family and friends.
- Set goals to progress in the gospel. Overcome pornography so it won't stop you from worthily enjoying blessings such as serving a mission, marrying in the temple, and if you are a young man, serving in the priesthood.
Despite your best efforts, at first the temptation to look at pornography will keep coming up. When it does, immediately change your thoughts and the situation. Invite the Spirit by praying, singing a hymn, and reading the scriptures. If you pause to think about whether you will give in or resist, the problem will likely win.
If the temptation wins from time to time, don't lose hope! All is not lost. No matter how long it takes, you can overcome this problem with your best efforts and the help of the Lord and other people.
I too have had a problem with pornography. I have found some things that help me resist the temptation. When I read my scriptures and pray daily, the temptation is much less. If I am feeling weak, I will turn off my computer and do something else. Sometimes I have had to find people to be around to keep my mind off it. I work to find other things to think about because if I start thinking about pornography, it's much harder to avoid acting on those thoughts. It's hard work, but the Lord will help you. He loves you, and He will forgive you as you work to repent.
If you really want to stay away from pornography, pray and fast for God's guidance. Whenever the temptation comes to mind, read your scriptures and think of Christ and the words of the prophets.
Ejokeoghene Faith Imoh, 19, Mini-Okoro Ward, Port Harcourt Nigeria Stake
To stop looking at these abominations, deeply repent from the bottom of your heart. Pray, fast, and read the scriptures more, and ask for help from Heavenly Father and local leaders. The Lord will help you overcome because He loves the sinner but not the sin.
Rodrigo Barros Soares, 19, Nilo Wulff Ward, Porto Alegre Brazil South Stake
First, don't give up hope! The Lord desires to help you. Pray for His guidance, and never forget He wants you to pray to Him no matter how deep in sin you get. Second, talk to your parents about your problem. They can help you avoid tempting situations. Then talk with your bishop. He loves you and can help you think of ways to overcome your temptations and get you onto the road of repentance.
Matt Smith, 18, Oak Forest Second Ward, Layton Utah North Stake
Always remember that you are a son or daughter of our Father in Heaven. Make Him the center of your life so you will not fall into Satan's trap. Enroll in seminary or institute; teachers can help you make good choices. The Church also provides us with good magazines to read.
Maria Veronica S. Peñafiel, 15, Bata Ward, Bacolod Philippines North Stake
Stay away from the Internet as much as possible. That is where Satan will tempt you the most. Do not socialize with people who discuss pornography. That will tempt you to view it again.
Kyle Rushton, 13, Crescent Valley Ward, Tacoma Washington Stake
Try blocking all porn sites from your computer. But if one accidentally pops up, turn off the computer and study your scriptures until you stop thinking about it. Throw away anything that portrays pornography or anything close to it. Try to spend time with people who will encourage you not to look at pornography.
Lauren Semadeni, 17, Skyline Ward, Queen Creek Arizona East Stake
Seek direction from your bishop. Together you can establish goals that will spiritually edify you. You will discover that the pleasures of the world are fleeting and the joys of the gospel are eternal.
Moisés Francisco da Silva, 18, Brazlândia Ward, Brasília Brazil Taguatinga Stake
Pray to the Lord. He will not leave you without help, but you have to continue fighting the urge. Try not to stay up too late because the temptation will be stronger. Try to read the scriptures every night before bed. If you're going to use the computer, have someone by your side.
Natalie Hill, 16, Harrogate Ward, York England Stake
This article was originally published in the August 2005 New Era magazine.