The bishop of my home ward asked me to be in attendance when he led the Relief Society discussion about pornography, the first-ever such lesson with women in our ward. He knew about my three-year mission with LDS Family Services in the Addiction Recovery program before my current Primary calling. When I raised my hand to make a comment during the lesson, I was surprised by the power that flowed through me. I spoke about this latter-day challenge and the healing power of the atonement of Jesus Christ for addicts and their families.
That night I wrote in my journal, “I wonder why the Lord has called me to Primary if I still have such strong feelings about Addiction Recovery work?” The next word in my journal was “Duh.”
I realized that my Primary calling is not to teach lessons or administer programs, but to guide and defend children. Experts say that the average age of exposure to pornography is between the ages of 7 and 13 — squarely in the Primary years. Conversations about these matters should happen in the home, but perhaps there is a role for Primary leaders in supporting parents.
The November 2010 Friend magazine contained this heartbreaking letter from six-year-old Carson A. from Texas: “One Saturday when my little brother and I were watching cartoons, there was a bad show on. The girls in the show were not dressed modestly. I turned the TV off. I felt very good after I did. I knew I had followed Jesus Christ.”
A six year old boy. And his little brother. Watching Saturday morning cartoons. Satan can’t lay a hand on them, but pornography is already infiltrating their world. If I won’t be their advocate, who will?
Ideally a child will be adequately prepared before their first exposure, which means having age-appropriate conversations starting as early as preschool years. But parents report that there are few materials that explain these matters in kids’ terms.
At the direction of my priesthood leader, I wrote the materials posted here under the Pornography Prevention tab above, in collaboration with many, many others to whom I feel deep gratitude for their help with this work. I welcome your comments as well, since I view this as a work in progress.
These materials are written to be used by parents in the home, not in Primary — but Primary leaders can let parents know about this resource and encourage them to have these important conversations with their children. See Pornography Prevention tab above.
For Carson A. and Melissa M. and Gracie P. and all children everywhere who are vulnerable to what I consider to be Satan’s last, best weapon, I pledge my very best efforts to defend them with all my heart.