Latter-day Saint Life

Elder Oaks: Not All of It's Addiction—4 Types of Pornography Use & How to Recover from It


MR says: Even without being an addiction, viewing pornography can damage our souls and cloud our minds. But Elder Dallin H. Oaks shares ways we can keep ourselves and our loved ones safe from every type of pornography use.

A primary reason for the growing problem of pornography is that in today’s world, words and images with sexual content and influences are everywhere: they can be found in movies, TV programs, social media, text messages, phone apps, advertisements, books, music, and everyday conversations. As a result, it is inevitable that all of us are being exposed to sexualized messages on a regular basis.

I. Levels of Involvement

To help us deal with this growing evil, I wish to identify several different levels of involvement with pornography and to suggest ways we should respond to each of them.

In earlier times and circumstances, our counsel about pornography focused principally on helping individuals to avoid initial exposure or to recover from addiction. While those efforts are still important, past experience and current circumstances have shown the need for counsel addressed to levels of pornography use between the polar extremes of avoidance and addiction. It is helpful to focus on four different levels of involvement with pornography: (1) inadvertent exposure, (2) occasional use, (3) intensive use, and (4) compulsive use (addiction).

  1. Inadvertent Exposure. I believe that everyone has been inadvertently exposed to pornography. There is no sin in this when we turn away and don’t pursue it. It is like a mistake, which calls for correction rather than repentance.
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