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How can I resist pornography?

“Pornography, with its sleazy filth, sweeps over the earth like a horrible, engulfing tide. It is poison. Do not watch it or read it. It will destroy you if you do. It will take from you your self-respect. It will rob you of a sense of the beauties of life. It will tear you down and pull you into a slough of evil thoughts and possibly of evil actions. Stay away from it. Shun it as you would a foul disease, for it is just as deadly” (Gordon B. Hinckley, “Some Thoughts on Temples, Retention of Converts, and Missionary Service,” Ensign, Nov. 1997, 51). As we “put on the whole armour of God” (see Ephesians 6:11–17) and rely on the strength of the Lord, we can protect ourselves against the adversary’s attacks on virtue and keep our thoughts and actions pure.


Prepare yourself spiritually

Prayerfully study these scriptures and resources. How can you encourage the young men to resist pornography?

Genesis 39:7–21; Romans 12:21; 2 Timothy 2:22; Alma 39:9; Moroni 10:30; D&C 27:15–18; 121:45–46 (We must immediately turn away from the temptation to lust and instead fill our minds with clean thoughts)

Isaiah 1:18; Helaman 12:23; D&C 58:42–43 (We can be forgiven if we repent)

Matthew 5:27–28; Romans 6:12; Alma 39:9; D&C 42:23 (Lusting after a woman is a sin with serious consequences)

1 Nephi 17:3; Mosiah 24:14; Alma 26:12 (God will strengthen us in our efforts to keep the commandments)

Jeffrey R. Holland, “Place No More for the Enemy of My Soul,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2010, 44–46; see also the video “Watch Your Step”

Quentin L. Cook, “Can Ye Feel So Now?Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2012, 6–9

Linda S. Reeves, “Protection from Pornography—a Christ-Focused Home,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2014, 15–17

Let Virtue Garnish Thy Thoughts (2006)

Pornography,” True to the Faith (2004), 117–18

Entertainment and Media,” For the Strength of Youth (2011), 11–13

Videos: “To Look Upon,” “Pornography Addiction: Is There Hope?”

Let the young men lead

A member of the quorum presidency (or an assistant to the bishop in the priests quorum) conducts the quorum meeting. He leads the young men in counseling together about quorum business, teaches them their priesthood duties (from the scriptures and the Duty to God book), encourages them to share their experiences fulfilling their duty to God, and invites an adviser or other quorum member to teach a gospel lesson. He could prepare by filling out a quorum meeting agenda during a presidency meeting.

Begin the learning experience

Choose from these ideas or think of your own to review last week’s lesson and introduce this week’s lesson:

  • Write a phrase from last week’s lesson on the board, and ask a young man to explain what it means to him.
  • Display a white cloth (like a handkerchief or glove) and a small container of mud. Discuss with the young men what would happen if they dip the white cloth in the mud. Which would be affected, the mud or the white cloth? What effect does pornography have on our mind and spirit? Discuss President Hinckley’s quote found at the beginning of this lesson.

Learn together

Each of the activities below will help the young men learn how to resist pornography. Following the inspiration of the Spirit, select one or more of the activities that will work best for your quorum:

  • Show the video “To Look Upon,” and have the young men tell you to pause the video each time David could have made a different choice. What happened to King David after this experience (see 2 Samuel 11–12)? How did it affect his family? Why is looking at pornography so dangerous? Have the young men read Genesis 39:7–21 and look for how Joseph responded in a similar situation. Briefly compare the results of King David’s actions and Joseph’s. Why is viewing pornography a sin against God? What safeguards have the young men used or heard of others using to help avoid pornography? What wholesome activities or thoughts could they use to replace inappropriate thoughts?
  • Ask the young men why they think pornography is harmful to the soul. As a quorum, read the section about pornography in True to the Faith. At the end of each paragraph, take time to discuss the importance of what has been read. (For example, you could discuss with the young men the different places or situations in which they might encounter pornography. What could they do to safeguard against pornography? Invite them to plan what they will do when they find it accidentally.) After the third paragraph, discuss the power of the Atonement and how the bishop or branch president participates in the repentance process. Invite the young men to see the bishop if they have become involved in viewing pornography.
  • Invite the young men to imagine they are having a talk with their future 12-year-old son about why pornography is so destructive and how to avoid it. Assign half of the quorum to search Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s talk “Place No More for the Enemy of My Soul” and the other half to search Sister Linda S. Reeves’s talk “Protection from Pornography—a Christ-Focused Home,” looking for information or statements that could help him with this discussion. (They could also watch one of the videos in this outline.) Invite them to share what they find. How do their choices regarding pornography now affect their future happiness when they become husbands and fathers?
  • Invite the young men to imagine they had the opportunity to tell a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles about the challenges youth today face regarding pornography. What might they say to him? Give each young man a copy of the six paragraphs from Elder Quentin L. Cook’s talk “Can Ye Feel So Now?” beginning with the phrase “Sexual immorality and impure thoughts.” Ask half of the quorum to look for and share what Elder Cook learned from a 15-year-old young man, and ask the other half to look for and share the counsel Elder Cook gives. What can the young men do to help make their homes “places of refuge” from pornography?
  • Invite the young men to imagine that they have a friend who is struggling with pornography. What would they say to help him? Ask each young man to read “Entertainment and Media” in For the Strength of Youth or parts of the section titled “Finding Strength to Abandon Sin” from the booklet Let Virtue Garnish Thy Thoughts. What would the young men share from these readings with their friend? What other scriptures could help someone struggling with pornography? (See, for example, the scriptures suggested in this outline.)

Ask the young men to share what they learned today. Do they understand how to resist pornography? What feelings or impressions do they have? Do they have any additional questions? Would it be worthwhile to spend more time on this topic?

Invite to act

The young man who is conducting concludes the meeting. He could:

  • Share what he is doing to avoid looking at inappropriate things.
  • Encourage other quorum members to create a personal plan to avoid and escape from pornography.
  • Invite quorum members to see the bishop or branch president if they are struggling with pornography.