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Porn, Divorce, and Modern Women  June 16, 2005

Miranda PJ — June 16 @ 7:44pm

A close friend of mine since childhood is divorcing her husband, because he cannot stop looking at pornography. Since they were married, I’ve become increasingly good friends with her husband, and so I’ve had a chance to talk to both of them about this in detail. The story, taking into account both sides, is like this:

He started looking at pornography when he was a teenager. Out of necessity, he stopped his addiction while he was on his mission, but as a returned missionary he only managed to avoid pornography for about a year. Then he started making occasional trips to the newsstand to purchase dirty magazines. At first, he’d throw them away after he looked at them. Then he began keeping them. He quit again when he married my friend in the temple, but this only lasted a few months. He then reverted to his occasional trips to the newsstand. Once they got broadband internet, he began looking at porn nightly. She caught him last year, and he came clean. He talked to their bishop about it, and promised again and again and again that he would stop, but he kept returning to pornography.

Now his attachment to pornography is driving him from the church. He believes that it doesn’t do anybody any harm, so that it’s nobody else’s business. He even claims that he sees no reason why his wife shouldn’t look at pornography with him. He has stopped going to church, because he’s started to blame the church for his marital difficulties, and he increasingly believes that the church’s other behavioral guidelines are also nobody else’s business.

My girlfriend has had a hard time getting support for her decision. Her bishop has counseled her to continue to work with him, and only a few people think that divorce is a good move. The usual argument is that she shouldn’t take children from their father just because he enjoys looking at lewd pictures and movies.

If you ask me, I’ll say that she’s making the right decision, but not because pornography is so terrible. I don’t share the revulsion that many women feel toward it, but the church has commanded members to avoid it. My friend should feel comfortable divorcing her husband, because he’s doing something that makes her profoundly unhappy and he won’t stop. It is a tragedy that our society pressures women to remain in marriages that make them unhappy. In the whirlpool of stigmas and fears about loneliness and broken homes, nowhere is the genuine happiness and fulfillment of the woman discussed.

A century ago, women had about a 1% chance of dying whenever they gave birth, and life expectancies were substantially shorter in general. It was rarely the case that marriages could last as long as they’re expected to last today. This shorter time horizon and its accompanying difficulties made the issue of freeing women from emotionally draining relationships secondary. But since medicine made childbirth less risky and life expectancies have risen dramatically, women are have often been stuck. Luckily, divorce for women in our society has become more accessible and acceptable. Unfortunately, this is one area in which the culture of our church lags behind.

165 Comments

  1. My friend should feel comfortable divorcing her husband, because he’s doing something that makes her profoundly unhappy and he won’t stop

    That’s a good line there. Many people try to talk about little sins that really hurt no one. They forget that the victims of sin may be hurting inside more then anyones knows.

    gunner — June 16, 2005 @ 8:14pm
  2. That’s a tough situation, but I find it hard to fault her. I just hope this doesn’t turn into a debate on whether pr0n is addictive, because I think there are greater issues here, namely, how far do couples need to work together and when it is appropriate to draw a line in the sand.

    Steve Evans — June 16, 2005 @ 8:17pm
  3. It is also an interesting excercise to consider 19th century Mormon attitudes toward divorce.

    J. Stapley — June 16, 2005 @ 9:47pm
  4. I definitely sympathize with your friend. Her husband definitely needs to work on his problem. But is divorce the answer? Leaving him alone and bitter will most likely drive him deeper into his addiction.

    I don’t know what the sealing ceremony says but even in the “till death do us part” ceremony you promise God, your spouse and the community to stay together “for better or worse, in sickness and in health.” Her marriage is clearly in the “worse” part. Her husband is definitely sick. She swore to stand by him through these things and if she goes through with the divorce, she’s breaking her vow. Worse, she’s damaging her children’s faith in marriage.

    All that is not to say that she should martyr herself in this marriage. That’s not a good example for the children either. A separation may be what’s called for. Tell him he’s hurting his family with this problem and until he gets it under control they (or he) will have to live elsewhere but that they want him, love him and hope he’ll come back.

    harpingheather — June 16, 2005 @ 10:05pm
  5. Harping, while I agree with the importance of the marraige committment, you paint this situation as one where the husband is merely ’sick’. Looking at Porn is not just a personal issue, it is being unfaithful to his wife. No one should feel obligated to stay with a spouse who is unfaithful and unrepentant.

    Karl Butcher — June 17, 2005 @ 12:47am
  6. I don’t think our church is behind the times on divorce. I think we have a practical and sensitive attittude, by and large, while still feeling that it should be avoided. From the pulpit our leaders have to generalize, in person they are more compassionate.

    We had a funny thing happen once. My husband never uses the computer, he’s pretty illiterate, anyway, once I helped him get on-line and he typed in something to find out the price of a boat or something like that and he must have put in a key word, because all these pictures of naked women popped on. He was absolutely mortified. It took me five minutes to get out of there and I knew what I was doing, relatively speaking. So porn gets you.

    A patriarach that I knew got involved with child porn and was arrested quite publicly awhile back. I don’t know what eventually happened, things were kept very quiet, but his wife stayed with him. I would have left. Not because of being against the church or anything, but I would have been too revolted to stay with him. There is also the element of infidelity, when the porn involves adult women and men. Infidelity is black and white with me. So I think your friend is doing the right thing for herself. Hang with her, divorce is very tough.

    annegb — June 17, 2005 @ 8:29am
  7. Since no one else is stepping up, I think I will have to. I think it is probably a good thing that these people are getting a divorce. They certainly sound like they have irreconcilable differences to me.

    I think, however, that the Church and by extension its members have a very unhealthy attitude toward pr0n and sexuality. We have criminalized normal human feelings and inclinations in such a way that pushes people into addictive behaviors. I can’t help feeling that if this couple had been a non-member couple, they could have dealt with this issue without getting a divorce. I don’t think it is a positive thing when the Church’s teachings drive families apart.

    I discuss this topic in uncomfortable yet euphemistic detail on this thread, in case you are interested.

    NFlanders — June 17, 2005 @ 9:02am
  8. My wife and I find porn is comical. I’m sure there’s more going on there than porn. She’s leaving him for other reasons too. And he’s probably already seeking greener pastures if he hasn’t found them already because he’s not actively doing anything to save the marriage. Sounds like this one’s been over for a long time and the divorce is just paperwork.

    Steve EM — June 17, 2005 @ 9:18am
  9. Ned,
    Read your thread. It’s a little behind the times, sort of like your calling yourself inactive on a more recent tread. My kid’s say Bishops don’t ask about self pleasuring anymore, so obviously the church has moved on from that nonsense. Yeah, it’s too bad past generations were made to feel bad about a normal activity that prepares one for meaningful relationships later, keeps the plumbing healthy, etc, but the church does continuously improve, albeit perhaps too slowly for you and me. G-d bless.

    Steve EM — June 17, 2005 @ 9:30am
  10. I’m not qualified to speak about the state of this couple’s relationship and I don’t think any of us are, but I think taking away children from a father is not something that should ever be done lightly or without careful consideration. Even if the father is an unrepentant porn addict I think Miranda’s friend should take steps to ensure the children have a relationship with their father and get to see him often and that he isn’t demonized for his problem.

    SeptimusH — June 17, 2005 @ 10:15am
  11. Thanks for all of your thoughtful responses. I’d like to add that both of my friend and her husband emphatically state that everything was fine in their marriage before the problem with pornography came to the foreground. I think that you’re right, NFLanders, that in a non-LDS setting, this would not have led to a divorce. In all probability, it would have led my friend to sample pornography with her husband and perhaps experiment with using it during sexual activity, and then she would have either opted in or opted out of using pornography. Since an increasing number of women are opting in, there’s no reason to think that my friend would be any different.

    For that reason, I don’t agree with Karl Butcher or annegb that it involves infidelity. Men and women have impure thoughts about people that they aren’t married to, and they even indulge such thoughts in some detail, but they are not being unfaithful so long as they don’t reach out to make an inappropriate emotional or physical connection with that person.

    J. Stapley is right to point out that the stigma associated with divorce is of recent origin, and that 19th century Mormons didn’t share our scruples concerning divorcing, and I agree completely with gunner. The question isn’t whether in some other environment their marriage would be fine, the question is whether it is fine in the environment in which both of them are committed to living. For her, this means temple marriage and following a rather strict view of the commandments. For him, this means leaving the church and adopting a different moral perspective.

    Sadly, what makes these environments even less reconcilable is that Steve (FSF) is probably right that my friend’s husband probably has already moved on to other relationships.

    annegb, that’s a real shame about the patriarch. Sexual habits can lead people to strange places, and it’s important to understand that these passions dominate our lives in one way or another and in ways that even we do not understand ourselves. But child porn crosses a line, and I agree with you that I could never stay with a man whom I thought had a taste for that kind of thing.

    And thank you, Septimus for adding your sagely wisdom. I think that it’s key that my friend keep the faults that she finds in her children’s father from her children, and she must recognize their need for him to take an active role in their life.

    Miranda PJ — June 17, 2005 @ 12:44pm
  12. Steve (FSF): My kid’s say Bishops don’t ask about self pleasuring anymore, so obviously the church has moved on from that nonsense.

    Wishful thinking, big time. Just because a particular Bishop has not explicitly asked doesn’t mean the Church has “moved on” on this issue. Try this experiment: Go to your Bishop or Stake President and tell them you don’t think masturbation is wrong and you intend on doing it regularly on an ongoing basis. See how fast your recommend is collected and you are asked not to take the sacrament.

    Christian Y. Cardall (TSM) — June 17, 2005 @ 1:32pm
  13. I completely disagree with your assuming that it is not being unfaithful, as I believe it is. But maybe faithful in the way I am using it is more strict, obviously, than you see it. But whether we define it by “unfaithful” or something else, it is still damaging the relationship between husband and wife, not completely like, but similar to a spouse having an extramarrital affair. What makes that so bad? Is it the actual act of love making that makes it adultry? What if you spouse just got undressed and read stories with another lady, undressed, but nothing else happened, no touching, just feasting with the eyes? Wrong or not? Unfaithful or not? When I say feasting with the eyes, what is that person doing? Probably thinking about the actual act, to some degree or another. How did the Lord describe this? He said: “But I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman, to lust after her, hath committed adultery already in his heart.” So if we say adultery is being unfaithful, which I hope is unarguable, then the Lord sees lusting after somebody as being adultery being committed in their heart, then I would assimilate “unfaithful” to looking at pornography.

    With that said, can it be worked through? yes. Does she have the right to leave him? Yes, but that is between her and the Lord and not for me to decide whether she does or she doesn’t. For me, for a first offense, I would probably want to help my spouse. Second, third, fourth and on, I would start to have my doubts. At some point I have to decide if this person is going to be my helpmeet or not. Luckily the Lord can help me to know when to forgive and not to trust any longer and to make the decision of whether to leave or not.

    Sad thing is, is if he is searching for greener pastures, he will one day regret his choices and know that the greenest pasture was the one right under his feet.

    N Miller — June 17, 2005 @ 1:47pm
  14. Remember what the scriptures say will happen eventually to a man who looks upon a woman to lust after her, and does not stop.

    1. lose the spirit
    2. deny the faith

    Every individual situation is different, but how much does a wife have to put up with? If a person is completely unrepentant, it is the eternal destiny of the whole family that could be at stake.

    Jordan — June 17, 2005 @ 1:53pm
  15. Christian, I remember when I was at BYU, I wrote a short pamphlet entitled, “A Beginner’s Guide to Confessing Sins.” It had all kinds of useful tips on how to confess your sins without getting in trouble. One such tip was along these lines:

    Engage your bishop in small talk, and then casually drop your sin into the flow of the conversation. For example, you might try saying, “I was ironing my shirt, and I went to use the bathroom, so I forgot about the iron. I fornicated, and it burned completely through my shirt. So that now my best shirt has a hole in it the shape of an iron. Black edges and everything!”

    DKL — June 17, 2005 @ 1:58pm
  16. DKL,
    Ha, ha LOL :) That one made me chuckle. I wonder how many people try to do things like that, though.

    N Miller — June 17, 2005 @ 2:17pm
  17. since this is clearly a decision to be made by the couple; why is it even up for discussion here? how seriously they take their temple covenants is between them, their church leaders and God…not how socially acceptable it is/should/shouldn’t be.

    lyle — June 17, 2005 @ 2:26pm
  18. Good point, Lyle.

    But for the sake of argument…. ;)

    Jordan — June 17, 2005 @ 2:29pm
  19. N Miller, since I wrote the pamphlet for humorous purposes, I never actually tested any of the tips. But I’ve had occasion to share some of the tips with several bishops since then. They were entirely unacquainted with them, and found them to be genuinely humorous. Sadly, it seems that my tips never really caught on.

    DKL — June 17, 2005 @ 2:33pm
  20. Either that or the bishops never caught on and the sinner got away scot free!

    N Miller — June 17, 2005 @ 2:36pm
  21. Very true, N Miller. Perhaps I didn’t give myself enough credit (an unusual occurrence, I assure you).

    DKL — June 17, 2005 @ 2:38pm
  22. My bishop asked about it, granted, that was 8 years ago, but it seems pretty fresh in my mind.

    N Miller — June 17, 2005 @ 2:57pm
  23. DKL, I’ve deleted your crude comment. I’m in a good mood, so I’m leaving the rest of your threadjack alone. I’m being as polite as I can be here: Keep it on topic, OK?

    Miranda PJ — June 17, 2005 @ 3:12pm
  24. Christian,
    I think we’re talking to each other through a time displaced wormhole. It’s 2005 and I’m a member of the CofJCofLDS. You’re in the church I grew up in, the CofJCofLDS of the perv bishops obsessed with youth m*. Once BKP has passed to his reward, that church will be a distant memory.

    Steve EM — June 17, 2005 @ 3:16pm
  25. Aww, Mirandie-poo. Do you have to be such a spoil sport? Some of us like to read dickle’s comments, you know.

    So dickle — what did you say that ticked her off?

    Jerry Bruckheimer — June 17, 2005 @ 3:40pm
  26. There was a story in the Readers Digest, oh, about ten years ago, about a woman living in New York who had a parrot. The parrot learned to say pickle. Then it learned to say “I like Ike. Ike and Dick.” Finally, it started saying “dickle” all the time, to refer to president Nixon.

    Anyway, reminded me of that, Jerry.

    Where’s Anne GB been lately? I like her comments. You guys ought to invite her to blog with you.

    Rex — June 17, 2005 @ 3:48pm
  27. who are you and what have you done to the real Miranda?

    I wasn’t necessarily making a blanket statement comparing watching porn to infidelity, but if my husband did it, I would feel that he had been unfaithful to me. I’m pretty sure if I looked at pictures of naked men, he’d feel the same way.

    annegb — June 17, 2005 @ 5:10pm
  28. Steve (FSF), I think we’re talking to each other through a fog of wishful thinking. Your bluster is unimpressive. Faith without works is dead, put your money where your mouth is, and so on: try the experiment I suggested, and then I’ll be impressed.

    Christian Y. Cardall (TSM) — June 17, 2005 @ 5:40pm
  29. Christian,
    I’m afraid we’ll have to get someone else to do the experiment. I’m an obvious passionately in love w/ my wife father of five. The Bishop/SP would just think I was pulling their leg.

    When they’re old enough and I think they’ve discovered it for themselves, I tell my kids it’s normal adolescent / single adult behavior and it’s only a problem if it becomes obsessive. I have a son on a mission who’s never been asked about it, Bishops, SP, MP, nobody’s asking anymore. When I was young, the leaders obsessed over it, and I had less of an issue than most because I was an early fornicator. I was often perplexed why one of my Bishops seemed more fixated on self pleasure than my bigger problem. After I got my act together and went on a mission, I realized the guy must have been a major perv. Things have definitely changed for the better in the church.

    Enough said. G-d bless.

    Steve EM — June 17, 2005 @ 9:18pm
  30. What does the FSF mean? Are you Steve Evans or another guy who has FSF at the end of his name?

    annegb — June 17, 2005 @ 9:30pm
  31. Another Steve. FSF stands for former serial fornicator. It’s a scarlet letter I gave myself when T&S kicked me off.

    Steve EM — June 17, 2005 @ 9:40pm
  32. annegb, after DKL’s comment earlier today, I was ready to say quite a few things. But I conferred with my co-bloggers, and I’ve decided to show more moderation in my reaction to DKL. I think I’m off to a good start, don’t you?

    Miranda PJ — June 17, 2005 @ 9:45pm
  33. I’m glad you cleared that up, Steve. I thought it stood for Free Software Foundation, the primary sponsors of the GNU project (GNU stands for GNU’s Not Unix) which makes all of the Unix like command line utilities that are used by Linux and freeBSD/netBSD/openBSD and which sponsors the most often used open source software licenses.

    I can just imagine why you got thrown off of T&S.

    DKL — June 17, 2005 @ 9:57pm
  34. Aren’t we a crew? Miranda, I clicked on your name and you are quite lovely.

    It has troubled me infrequently over the years because that patriarch gave my daughter, who is an innocent believer, gave her her patriarchial blessing. She never reads the paper, and I guess nobody’s talking, because she doesn’t know. I know she would feel really betrayed, his arrest came right after that. I’ve thought about what I would do when and if she finds out. He gave her a beautiful blessing and I hope she can see the power of the priesthood in it that negates individuals, but if she couldn’t accept it, I’d support her in getting another.

    Steve, hon, you are a good person and God’s child. It seems like you are limiting yourself by labeling yourself in that way. Are you punishing yourself, because it’s over. And, okay, here comes the vultures, but I will venture to say that in your whole life, that will turn out to by far not the worst thing you’ve done. There are lots worse things. I think it’s good to share your experience, but not to define yourself by it. We are all sinners.

    annegb — June 18, 2005 @ 8:49am
  35. Porn is dirty and a waste of time. Miranda, you seem to have a bad opinion of couples not in your church–experimenting with it and using it in their sex lives. That happens I’m sure. But most of my cousins who are married think the way I do about porn and would have serious problems if their spouses used it. This guy obviously has an addiction and, like any other addictive, destructive behavior, should get professional help with it. Is there professional help for porn addicts? Some type of detox clinic or something? Rural Pennsylvania might come close, if anyone’s interested. About the divorce, I don’t feel qualified to say anything about it. My parents are still married, but there are probably cases where it’s right.

    Greg Fox — June 18, 2005 @ 9:43am
  36. Greg, I don’t take a negative view of couples that use pornography, because I consider it to be their business. Much pornography is very offensive to me. But most of it strikes me as depicting a naive but well groomed sexual utopianism.

    There is still some a social stigma associated with pornography. This stigma is stronger among women than among men. The stigma is generally becoming less and less severe. Most couples who use porn to spice up their sex life treat it as they do any other sexual practice. Few couples discuss oral sex with their friends, and they certainly do not shout it from the rooftops that they use pornography.

    Pornography is increasingly used by women. In 2003, Nielsen Netratings found that more than 30% of online viewers of porn were women. The vast majority of internet pornography users are men, but a very substantial fraction are women. Men use the internet at higher rates than women. So the fraction may be more substantial than it appears. Hardcore porn that caters especially to women is now a multibillion dollar industry.

    It is logistically difficult to use internet porn as a couple. Almost all women using internet porn are logging on for personal use. It is a safe bet that women who view porn for personal use are also using it with their husband when they’re married. “Couples porn” is a very large part of the pornography industry. In spite of it’s stigma, pornography has become acceptable enough that Fortune 500 companies own interests in major pornography media outlets. Our country is dripping with porn.

    Miranda PJ — June 18, 2005 @ 11:17am
  37. annegb, thank you for complimenting me. You’re very kind to say that.

    I understand what you mean about the priesthood vs. the holder. When I was a child, I idolized the bishop and my father and even my home teacher, so when I got blessings it was as though I was receiving them from on high. Now that I’m older, the Bishop is closer to being a peer. Some day, I’ll have a bishop that is substantially younger than me, and he’ll seem to be just a child. It is, admittedly, harder to accept when gross unworthiness is involved rather than simply perceived humanity. But it’s an adjustment that people need to make. But I can certainly understand why anyone would want another blessing.

    Miranda PJ — June 18, 2005 @ 11:46am
  38. Wow, Miranda, well you’d better chalk me up as one of those “many women” who are revolted by pornography and, even more violently, by pornography users. (In all fairness I should qualify : I’m revolted by the idea of pornography and the idea of the porn addict, since I’ve never encountered any pornographic material harder than a couple of Playboys at a house where I used to babysit, and, to my knowledge, I am not well acquainted with any pornogrphy user. It’s been so effortlessly easy for me to avoid pornography, in fact, despite my extensive use of the internet–I’ve never received porn spam, never accidentally stumbled on porn sites, never been accidentally exposed in any way–that I’m highly skeptical of those who claim to have been assaulted and enslaved against their will.)

    I’m fully aware that I’m judgmental and unChristlike in my attitude–and take your best shot, everybody, I’m expecting it–but I think of pornography users as pathetic, weak, dirty, juvenile losers. They’re revolting and utterly unmasculine, in my mind. If I discovered my husband were a regular porn user, I’d almost certainly divorce him–not because I felt betrayed or wounded, as your friend seems to feel, but because I could never, ever again be sexually attracted to somebody as sad and contemptible as that. In all honesty, I think I’d be a lot more likely to forgive an extramarital affair than a pornography addiction: I do, in fact, understand that sexual attraction is perhaps the most powerful force adults contend with, and I understand, I think, how and why affairs can happen. But a secretive, masturbating porn user who can’t even manage a real-life relationship–I’d never again be able to share a bed or a house with him.

    Rosalynde — June 18, 2005 @ 3:09pm
  39. “but I think of pornography users as pathetic, weak, dirty, juvenile losers.”

    You really do have a harsh side, don’t you? Wow. I think you’d be surprised, Rosalynde, at the variety of personalities that have problems with pr0n. Your post indicates that your exposure to that world is limited, as it should be. But I can’t help but think you’d be more compassionate if you were in a position to actually know which of your friends and neighbors were in fact pathetic, weak, dirty, juvenile losers.

    Steve Evans — June 18, 2005 @ 3:17pm
  40. I really feel bad for the kids in this whole mess. My parents divorced when I was very young so I know the difficulties of that unfortunate situation. I hope if the problems get worse and they do get divorced, that they don’t end up so bitter that they use the kids against one another.

    On a complete side note, I have a couple of questions for Miranda.

    First, I’m curious what the post was by DKL that you deleted. He seems like a humorous sort who tries (though not always suceeding) in writing some funny and lighthearted quips.

    Second, your giving DKL grief for thread-jacking yet in a earlier thread you posted:

    Justin H, I don’t believe in thread-jacking. Threads go where they go.

    Just wondering what’s up with that?

    Albert VonGrongel

    Albert VonGrongel — June 18, 2005 @ 3:17pm
  41. Rosalynde, I agree with you that Miranda has erred way too far on the side of permissiveness. I find myself reading her bland, but graphic discriptions and scratching my head (where does this stuff come from?) I also agree that it’s impossible to become an habitual porn user on accident. That said, Playboy isn’t much more pornographic than the Swimsuit Edition. If you find Playboy offensive, there’s really no hope for you.

    You talk about the “secretive, masturbating porn user,” but you’re piling on perjorative words that are meanlessly redundant. First of all, almost everybody masturbates alone (Felini’s group masturbation scene in Amarcord notwithstanding). So nearly all masturbation is done in secret. Second, every functioning man has masturbated (and therefore secretively masturbated) on a regular basis at some point in their life; just ask your husband (or your father, if you’re feeling gutsy). Surveys show (in spite of the fact that it seems unlikely that people would confess masturbating to an utter stranger) that almost all functioning men (single or otherwise) currently masturbate regularly. Moreover, almost all men (mormon men included) have done so with with porn at some point. You may actually be one of the lucky few who feels that strongly about it and managed to find a man who’s never looked at pornography (and you may already be a winner for that matter), but most Mormon women will do well to have an honest sit-down with their husband about pornography before they go off half cocked about how revolting it is.

    DKL — June 18, 2005 @ 4:08pm
  42. Rosalynde,

    I have a dear friend- one of the best sorts of people- who was sexually abused as a young man. The perpetrator, a highly trusted acquaintance of his, exposed my friend to pornography as part of his abuse at a very tender age. Years later, my friend is married with children, serving in ward leadership callings, and severely addicted to pornography. It has been a year or so since his last look, but he always worries that the next is just around the corner. My heart aches for him. My prayers plead for him.

    Fortunately, his wife does not see him as a pathetic, weak, dirty, juvenile loser. She has stuck by him and helped him with his troubles- he is very repentant but still addicted. Despite their strength, the addiction has caused major struggles obviously. As has the memory of the molestations. (As for the wife, if he were fully unrepentant it might be a different matter…)

    Fortunately, the Lord does not see him as a pathetic, weak, dirty, juvenile loser. He has spent hours on his knees, pleading for strength to overcome addiction. He has worked with Bishops and church leaders in a quest to become free. He has occasionally stumbled back into the habit (though, as I understand, not in the last year or so). He has received assurance of the Lord’s great love and hope for him in blessings and quiet meditative moments, some of which experiences he has shared with me. When I am with him, I can feel the Lord’s great love for him.

    So in the end, I guess it doesn’t matter what Rosalynde Welch thinks.

    Jordan — June 18, 2005 @ 4:17pm
  43. And I highly disagree with DKL and am offended at the implications of his words. There are many more men untainted by this ill out there than he seems to think. So take heart, Rosalynde, I am sure your husband, and certainly your father, are some of them. They are good men.

    Jordan — June 18, 2005 @ 4:19pm
  44. Jordan, there simply aren’t that many men that have never succumbed to the temptation of pornography. If your one of the few, then good for you.

    If Rosalynde has boys, someday they’ll be teenagers and it’s more than likely that they’ll be exposed to porn at some point and they’ll definitely feel the temptation (what with all raging hormones among immature teenagers with too much time on their hands). I hope that they’ll always heed the words so often repeated by our general authorities about the dangers of porn. But if they falter, I honestly think that Rosalynde will approach them with more sympathy and compassion than when she discusses it in the abstract as she has today.

    DKL — June 18, 2005 @ 4:34pm
  45. What if you’re a pathetic, weak, juvenile loser and you don’t even have the benefit of a porn addiction as an excuse? I’m just asking.

    SeptimusH — June 18, 2005 @ 5:05pm
  46. Jordan, thanks for sharing the experience of your friend. I fully admit that my judgment has the harsh surface of the naive; like I said, I have almost no experience with pornography or pornography use, and what I’m expressing here are simply visceral reactions. Clearly your friend is in his present state due to the sins of another, and I would consider him (and other such victims) in an entirely different category–although, in all honesty, I’m not sure I could marry or stay married to him, but bless his wife for doing so. Listen, I’m a decent person with sins of my own, and I’d never condemn any individual personally for his or her struggles with pornography in the strong terms I’ve used here; like Dave said, it’s different when the focus shifts from my personal reaction to the personal struggles of another.

    I can also say, though, that I am as sure that my husband is not a regular porn user as I am of my own children’s paternity. I’m equally sure that my father and brothers don’t use pornography. I can only hope my sons take after their father and grandfathers—and in all honesty, I think it would be much harder for me to deal with a teenage son into porn than with a sexually active teenage daughter—but if they don’t, of course I’ll love them and support them and do what I can to help them develop a healthy sexuality (which, probably, will require me to stay almost entirely out of it and let their father deal with it!).

    As for DKL’s discussion of men’s sexual habits, and Mormon men in particular, I’m not at all sure where you’ve gotten your numbers from. But if you’re right, I guess I’m in no danger of succumbing to attraction to another man, since they’re almost all pathetic, adolescent losers! :)

    Rosalynde — June 18, 2005 @ 5:11pm
  47. Rosalynde writes

    “I am as sure that my husband is not a regular porn user as I am of my own children’s paternity.”

    Well, that’s either a strong affirmation or a pretty scandalous confession, Rosalynde.

    I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt on this one and read it as an affirmation. ;)

    Kaimi — June 18, 2005 @ 7:05pm
  48. Rosalynde, I’m curious to know what drives your revulsion. Would you feel similar contempt for an alcoholic, tobacco user, illegal drug addict, legal drug addict, or compulsive gambler? (I’m guessing you have as little exposure to these and their use as you have with pornography and pornography use.) Would you feel similar contempt for someone who indulges with real flesh and blood instead of photographs, frequenting strip clubs, having casual sex with many partners, or multiple and habitual longer-term, emotionally involved extramarital affairs? How about eating disorders? Or overeating? Or channel surfing? Or compulsive blogging? ;)

    All of these often involve secrecy and escape from real-world relationships and other pressures. What I’m curious to understand is whether it’s the general lameness of addiction, secrecy, and escapism you find revolting, or intrinsic nastiness of all the vices listed above, or only the particulars of pornography and masturbation.

    Related to this, I’m also curious to know if your feelings depend on degree of use. For example, one may feel revulsion at a homeless drunk in the gutter puking and pissing on himself, while having no disaffection at all towards someone who has an occasional glass of wine with dinner. Do you see any such distinctions with the several guilty pleasures listed above? Or are some of them of an all-or-nothing character?

    I’d be a lot more likely to forgive an extramarital affair than a pornography addiction

    it would be much harder for me to deal with a teenage son into porn than with a sexually active teenage daughter

    Rosalynde, you know I have the highest respect for your thinking and sensibilities in general, but I confess I find this rather unbalanced. I wonder if it’s an unfortunate byproduct of very conservative cultures like ours, which put the full-court press on borderline behaviors, and build them up into such monstrous things on their own that the original rationale for guarding the outer boundaries is lost sight of (sorry for ending with a preposition—a vice up with which I usually do not put!) Can continually putting a spotlight of shame on a few particulars result in a kind of unhinged holy fetish?

    It seems to me the reason behind pornography prohibition in its original, sensible perspective was articulated well by N Miller in #13 above, deriving from the Sermon on the Mount: to keep one far away from the act of sexual immorality with real flesh and blood, which you seem to suggest in the quotes above is less serious. The Savior deployed characteristically insightful imagery when describing this sort of pharisaic myopia, particularly when accompanied by harsh, judgmental feelings: straining at a gnat while swallowing a camel, tithing anise and cummin while neglecting weightier matters, etc.

    On how widespread pornography use in the Church is… I agree with you about claims to being suddenly surprised on the internet to be spurious, and that such expressions are cause for suspicion. Like you, I’ve never received the legendary spam, had pornography suddenly pop up unbidden, etc. I also agree that there are in fact many men in the Church who haven’t masturbated or had much more exposure to pornography than you have. But I do think the strength of your claims to know what might go on in the private lives of your extended family members is a bit too bold. After all, some of us don’t even know how our spouses feel about polygamy! (Sorry, couldn’t resist the jab. ;) )

    Christian Y. Cardall (TSM) — June 18, 2005 @ 8:06pm
  49. Rosalynde, you’ve misread my argument if you’ve taken me to state that nearly all (or even most) Mormon men are regularly looking at pornography. This is important, so I want to be as clear as possible about what I said:

    First, all functioning Mormon men have masturbated on a regular basis at some point during their life (this is actually where I dared you to check with your father to verify).

    Second, the overwhelming majority of these men have done so with porn at some point.

    Third, nearly all Mormon men have succumbed to the temptation of looking at pornography.

    What this amounts to is this: At church tomorrow you can look around and pretty much every man that you see there will have done the three things described above. Most of them will have struggled with it at some point, and a few of them may be currently struggling.

    I think this is important, because your original comment expressed something approaching a zero tolerance policy toward viewing any porn at all. Your follow up comment is more tentative. But nothing that you’ve said implies that the habits that I’ve asserted do not exist.

    I’d also like to take issue with the intense revulsion that you feel. Even viewed within the context of Mormonism and the commandments we receive from priesthood leaders, your revulsion is out of all proportion. For example, I find thievery to be much more repugnant and outrageous as a behavior than porn seeking. It does much more harm to others, and I’d much rather live next to a closet user of legal porn than a kleptomaniac. And your statement about a sexually active daughter bewilders me. A sexually active daughter is risking her health and playing with the powers of creation in a way that will dramatically alter her life. A porn obsessed boy is playing with fire, to be sure; but he is not courting nearly so much danger and his activities can be entirely washed away by the atonement of Christ (children resulting from teenage sexual activity can’t).

    Lastly, and just to clarify, I have no personal stake in this argument over how a porn viewing habits rank in the scale of sins.

    (I wrote this before I saw Christians comment, which I agree with except that I think the functioning Mormon man who’s never masturbated is a fantasy, and disturbing one at that.)

    DKL — June 18, 2005 @ 9:06pm
  50. Check your food storage, everyone, because I’m agreeing with DKL.

    But seriously, Rosalynde. An affair more forgivable than p0rn? Only in hyperbole-land.

    You can’t get an STD from your husband’s p0rn usage. You can’t get AIDS from your husband’s maturbation. Your husband’s Playboy magazine or sex.com site subscription won’t be bearing bastard children — actaul real, flesh-and-blood children — who will be linked to him (and through him, to you) for life.

    And you husband is highly unlikely to leave you, at age 50, to move in with his p0rn habit. But if he starts having an affair with his secretary, the odds of abandonment — “trading you in for a younger model,” as people say — are frighteningly high.

    Yes, p0rn is destructive and bad and wrong. But let’s keep a little perspective, here!

    Kaimi — June 18, 2005 @ 9:14pm
  51. David, I have no idea of the actual statistics, but I’m uncomfortable assuming that everyone has done something. I simply can’t know that, and am unwilling to impute it to everyone. At the same time, I am skeptical of assertions of certainty that certain people have not, because (as you say) it will be a strong temptation for all “normal” men at certain times in their lives, and it is such a private thing that it’s hard to know.

    Christian Y. Cardall (TSM) — June 18, 2005 @ 11:11pm
  52. I agree with the boys. (DKL, Christian, and Kaimi).

    BTW — #15 was really amusing DKL

    Geoff J — June 19, 2005 @ 12:39am
  53. Guys, you’re all making cogent points about the relative destructiveness of porn use, and I don’t disagree with any of them, I don’t think. I wasn’t trying to construct a differential moral rubric for ranking sexual sins; but if I were, the scriptures clearly put adultery/fornication at the top, and I have no reason to quibble. As far as I’m concerned, Christ’s grace is sufficient to save adulterers and porn users and judgemental wretches like me; precisely as Jordan said, it doesn’t matter what Rosalynde Welch thinks of the porn user–at least not in any meaningful moral way. But were I ever in a position of ecclesiastical or personal authority over a porn user, I would do my utmost to govern and judge with the Christlike compassion the position requires.

    Miranda shared her friend’s personal reaction to her husband’s porn use, and I was merely contrasting my own unschooled hypothetical reactions. Mine is a personal and very probably idiosyncratic response—aesthetic, as much as anything else—to the depressing spectre of the internet porn addict, himself as solipsistic and unimaginative and, uh, unsubtle as the material he obsesses over. For me, imagination and subtlty are sexy and exciting; so for me, pornography and its users are unsexy, unexciting and, like I said, more than a little revolting in their vulgarity and cliche. So yes, Christian, there’s a particular disgust I feel for the porn user that I don’t feel for the other types you list above–precisely the kind of disgust that would make it impossible for me to live with him as a wife. And yes, the feeling is sensitive to differences in degree: somebody could indulge or succumb once or twice, decide the material was untitillating or nasty and foresake it and repent, and I’d be okay with that. But the kind of person (I imagine) who would find pornography sufficiently arousing to become dependent on its use—well, that’s somebody whose sexual (and aesthetic) sensibilities are so different from mine that I don’t think I could get over it. (I must say, though, that some men’s repeated protests that they are at the mercy of their libidos, helpless in the face of a scantily clad woman or dirty magazine, makes me a little suspicious that someone who indulges once every really could foresake it entirely.) I don’t think this is about my own prudish internalization of a “holy fetish” (nice phrase) of liminal behavior; I’m actually quite open in my own media consumption, and in general I’m not a “bright liner”. Although I personally don’t, say, drink caffeinated sodas, or wear two earrings or have tattoos or play online poker, I have no particular repugnance for those who do. I think this is simply about personal taste.

    About affair v. porn, well, I was being a little provocative–but mostly what I said was true. Both are wrong, and the affair probably more than the porn. But I can understand how a person could find pleasure and excitement in an extra-marital affair

    Rosalynde — June 19, 2005 @ 7:35am
  54. Oops, accidentally posted before I was done. The point is, I think I could forgive and still be attracted to the kind of person who might be tempted to engage in an extra-marital fair. But I don’t think I could be attracted to the kind of person who would find pleasure and excitement in habitual porn use. Again, this is simply about my personal sensibilities, not about comparative sinfulness.

    On my attitude toward masturbation: well, it’s been irreparable shaped by Philip Roth’s Portnoy’s Complaint. What can I say?

    Rosalynde — June 19, 2005 @ 7:38am
  55. Somewhere I missed that the topic was about couples using porn. I guess if it’s okay with both parties, it’s okay, kind of sick, but between them. My second husband was always wanting to experiment and tried to get me to watch porn with him to spice things up, sorry, guys, that grossed me out.

    Speaking for myself, but I think for a lot of women, sex is about love, not much real emotion in pornography. I’m with Rosalynde, it would make me respect the guy less–if he were habitually using porn to gain sexual satisfaction.

    But I’m also with the guys who say probably every guy has tried something like that–masturbation, whole different baby, as far as I’m concerned. It does seem sort of natural.

    I personally used to read my first husband’s Playboy magazines all the time, I actually read the articles, and one caused my proud vote for McGovern. Looked at one a few years ago and though, ew, where was my brain?

    annegb — June 19, 2005 @ 8:35am
  56. I think that Miranda’s friend may be on the verge of making a horrendous mistake.

    I am the fifty something father of sons and daughters. My twenty something son is one of those pathetic losers. But let me tell you a few other things about this son. He is one of the most faithful people I know. He is unfailingly kind, generous and thoughtful. He is a brilliant student and excellent athlete. Everybody who knows him loves him. His sisters adore him and use him as the standard by which they measure the young men they date. Every mother in the stake wants their daughter to marry him. Fomer missionaries in his mission have made a point of telling me that he was the best missionary they ever knew. And yet he struggles with this problem. HIs mother has no idea, but I do because we have talked about it.

    The last thing people like him need is more shame heaped upon them. That is part of the problem, not the solution. The problem is complex, and I don’t pretend to have all the answers. However, I am convinced that it is also exaggerated by our repressive attitudes. We tell people over and over how they should be revolted, and by golly, they get revolted by those who succumb. There are a great many vices that I would find much more threatening in a future son in law than this one. That does not mean that this behavior is acceptable. However, the problem should be dealt with by understanding and addressing the root causes, rather than by heaping shame upon some otherwise outstanding people.

    DKL is basically correct, although he weakens his argument with his hyperbole. I don’t think the problem is universal, but none of us has any way of knowing. However, it is certainly extremely common. If all of these people are pathetic losers, then you have just written off a great number number of the teachers and priesthood leaders for whom you once had nothing but respect.

    Joe — June 19, 2005 @ 9:17am
  57. Joe, now I’m the one who feels ashamed. Reading my comments from the perspective of someone who struggles with porn use, or of the parent of someone who does, they do come across as unduly harsh. I hadn’t thought of my audience as porn users themselves–as I said above, I would change my approach when speaking personally with somebody who has this problem–but perhaps I should have realized that they would be among the readership. Let me reiterate: I have full faith that Christ’s atonement covers your son’s sins, that he is worth redeeming and fully capable of seeking that redemption.

    I’m not at all sure what the “root causes” are that you refer to above, and so I’m not sure how to go about understanding them. And I think that shame, when experienced and processed in a normal way, can serve a useful social function in deterring undesirable behaviors, so I’m not prepared to retract my statements (which anyway were simply an expression of my personal feelings on the matter, not, as I said, a general moral condemnation). As for the magnitude of your son’s problem on his future wife, well, that’s for her to decide, but I expect that many if not most women would be deeply distressed and troubled by this issue if it’s a recurring one for him, so I don’t think it’s as trivial as you suggest.

    Still, though, before I step out of the conversation, I want to apologize again to you and other readers who may have been offended by my comments; they were unnecessaily harsh, but please try to understand the implied context and audience. All of God’s children are sinners, myself included, all deserve human respect and compassion, and all are worthy of God’s love.

    Rosalynde — June 19, 2005 @ 9:57am
  58. Rosalynde,
    Would you recommend Portnoy’s Complaint? Roth is one of my favorite authors, but I’ve stayed away from that one because from what I’ve heard it’s the American novel meets American Pie. You can email me directly at rorachan at gmail dot com, if you prefer.

    Laura — June 19, 2005 @ 10:14am
  59. Laura, in a word, no. In fact, I didn’t even finish the book. I’ve also enjoyed other Roth offerings, but Portnoy was just too unremittingly vulgar and explicit to enjoy.

    Rosalynde — June 19, 2005 @ 11:18am
  60. What a great discussion.

    Rosalynde, your very strong reaction surprised me. I’m still surprised after your moderated restatement. Thank you for expressing your opinion. I value it very highly as another woman’s point of view, and you brought some lively and thoughtful discussion to a thread that was on the verge dying.

    I dated non-Mormon guys in high school whose parents bought them Playboy or Penthouse, and they went to the same country club that we did. The non-Mormon women I know that are my age, many of whom are single, take it for granted that men look at porn. Over the years, I’ve talked at length with my close non-Mormon friends that I grew up with about their relationships with men. They are all completely irreligious, and they have had a variety of reactions to porn, but it ranges from an active un-interest to approval. I do realize that many women are revolted by porn, but I’ve never heard a reaction as strong as yours, Rosalynde.

    Sadly, few Mormon women have any idea that their husbands regularly masturbated when they were teenagers and often even later. Even mormon women who have comical stories to tell about how their brother got caught with a Playboy never think to ask their husbands about it. And any woman who does not understand the regularity with which men masturbate fundamentally misunderstands the nature and the extant of male sexuality. And you cannot know why men commit adultary without understanding why they masturbate. Read several really good books on sex, and you’ll find it hard to imagine that most mormon men and many mormon women don’t harbor deep secrets about the degree of sexual satisfaction they enjoy in their marriage.

    Jordan and Joe, thank you for sharing your stories. It really underscores what a profound struggle it is to rid oneself of sin. It provides a different perspective than that of my friend’s husband. If he had taken that the tact that your friend and your son have taken, his marriage may still have a future. After all, each of us has certain sins that present unusually strong challenges for us.

    Albert VonGrongel, Justin’s tangential comment was OK because he wasn’t trying to talk about himself. Ever the dysfunctional child, DKL relentlessly drives threads toward himself so that he can bask in the attention. That is a threadjack in anybody’s book. DKL’s deleted post was of no consequence.

    And Septimus, surely you are not inquiring on your own behalf.

    Miranda PJ — June 19, 2005 @ 3:25pm
  61. Rosalynde: Thank you for your kind comments. I was not at all offended by your earlier remarks, even though I disagree with many of them. No need to worry about giving offence however. That is what discussions like this are for.

    I risk threadjacking this thread if I elaborate much. However, I will offer another personal anecdote to help you better understand my perspective. I am completely mystified by homosexuality. The thought of it is revolting to me. However, after getting to know some gay men years ago, I changed my attitude quite significantly. I cannot even imagine being attracted to another man. But gay men are in attracted to others in ways that are completely foreign to me. They are different from me in profound ways which I do not understand. Sexuality is a powerful and poorly understood (at least by me) force. Some are powerfully attracted to others of the same sex. Some have foot fetishes. Some have low libidos and find even normal heterosexual sex boring or even repulsive. That some men are powerfully attracted to pornographic images is one other manifestation of the power of sexuality. I am not at all convinced that those who do not find themselves attracted to pornography are of superior moral character. For the most part, it is just not a big deal to them. Those who are so attracted should not be despised.

    Joe — June 19, 2005 @ 8:01pm
  62. Miranda,
    I’m still amazed that there’s not more to your friend’s leaving than the porn, but you’re obviously close to the situation and in the know. Any chance the sex books you mentioned might help your friend to understand hubby’s issues better and maybe work with him to wean him off the porn rather than expect him to drop the stuff cold turkey? Also, since you’re close to the situation, was/is insufficient sex a contributing factor that, if corrected, might help such a weaning process? Let’s put the cards on the table, even the most highly charged guy in that department has energy limits. At some level of intimate activity in the marriage, he’ll have less and less interest in porn.

    As I commented earlier, his disturbing passivity to date in this may mean it’s already over, but until the fat lady sings, maybe there’s still hope. Also, it might be helpful to point out tactfully to your friend that future romance may be more of a problem than guys being scared off by her kids. By leaving hubby over porn alone, a lot of guys may peg her as some kind of malcontent that just looks for problems and then fixates on them. Like a gal I knew once who freaked about stuff as silly as leaving the toilet seat up or prophylactic disposal (emphatic on flushing, trash was verboten).

    Annegb,
    You may well be right that it’s time for me to move on from the FSF part of my Bloggernacle handle. Given LDS culture, however, I don’t see how I can express my unorthodox opinions outside the context of my past. Even my very loving wife of over two decades says she couldn’t understand or accept me outside the perspective of my entire past. But your advice is certainly worth considering and I will do so.

    Steve EM — June 19, 2005 @ 8:15pm
  63. Rosalynde “If I discovered my husband were a regular porn user, I’d almost certainly divorce him—not because I felt betrayed or wounded, as your friend seems to feel, but because I could never, ever again be sexually attracted to somebody as sad and contemptible as that. In all honesty, I think I’d be a lot more likely to forgive an extramarital affair than a pornography addiction:”

    and

    “Reading my comments from the perspective of someone who struggles with porn use, or of the parent of someone who does, they do come across as unduly harsh. I hadn’t thought of my audience as porn users themselves—as I said above, I would change my approach when speaking personally with somebody who has this problem—but perhaps I should have realized that they would be among the readership.”

    For starters - I hope you truly have some wiggle room for your tolerance of those who are addicted. But the two tones you take make me wonder how sincere your compassion truly is with those afflicted with this problem.

    Unfortunately, as I have discovered in my own life - those we feel are “pure and clean” of pornography, may in fact be very adept at hiding it. I say this after discovering my own father, a respected church leader at the time, had a stash of Playboys hidden under his bed. I was too young to know what to do, so I have held it to myself for close to thirty years. As a young boy I learned that sometimes those we respect the most have their own secrets.

    I also want to not that, in the hypothetical, if your husband did have a problem, your unflinching condemnation of those with this weakness would, in fact, keep him from truly repenting. As is the case with addictions, the shame of the addiction can add to addiction itself. If I am feeling shamed, unloved, and unworthy, then the only way to escape that shame is to indulge in the addiction. The best way to brake that cycle is to open up and share your troubles with a trusted loved one - in this case preferably your spouse and Bishop, who can offer support, encouragement and a realistic view of the addict as a loved child of God. If a spouse has declared that the marriage would end if this was ever discovered, why would anybody want to take the risk to come clean and start on 0a new path? Either feel loved by God - or lose my family - I know many that would choose family over a clean conscience, feeling in the end, the Lord would hopefuilly forgive them their choice.

    Anonymous with good reason — June 19, 2005 @ 11:21pm
  64. Okay, I think Rosalynde has taken enough heat for her attitudes. I think she’d be the first one to admit she chose some of her words poorly. However, her revulsion to porn is more than justified in my opinion.

    The first thing to clarify is that there are huge differences between masturbation, looking at porn, using porn on occasion for sexual gratification, using porn frequently for sexual gratification, and porn addiction. It seems like much of the discussion here has used these terms interchangably when there’s a wide spectrum of severity in terms of sinful behavior.

    For reasons I can’t quite understand some of the commenters here act like they’re on a personal crusade to inform Mormon women how much the men they love have masturbated, but that’s a much different issue from pornography. Granted, the majority of Mormon men have probably masturbated, seen porn, and even perhaps used it for sexual gratification on an occasion or two, but that is not the same as frequent, or habitual use, or the same as porn addiction, which I believe is what Rosalynde was revolted by.

    The true evil of pornography is not that men get sexual gratification from it. It is that it exploits the daughters of God. This, I believe, is what truly enrages Heavenly Father. No thought in this discussion has been given to those victims and quite frankly although I have sympathy for the men that have problems with porn they do not deserve my sympathy nearly as much as the women that are harmed from it.

    Most women involved in pornography production typically get involved because they have been abused by men in their past. It’s a sad and self-destructive way that they can assert a tiny amount of control in their lives. Pornographers, mostly men, can get away with paying them next to nothing for the acts they’re asked to perform. The end product is then shipped out world-wide where it further objectifies women, stunts the capability of men to have healthy relationships, and fosters to some degree further abuse of women. It’s a sick cycle and it generates billions of dollars that ends up in the pockets of guess who, primarily men. It’s an industry ran by men, catering almost entirely to men, fueled by the lusts of men, and at its heart is the desire for men to make money. The porn industry is perhaps the purest example of men systematically victimizing women and treating them as consumer goods and products. It’s more than foul and the damage it does to the daughters of our Father in Heaven is uncalculable.

    It seems that the only intelligent response from an intelligent woman to these facts is revulsion.

    As much as I feel bad for the good guy in Elder’s quorum who’s addicted to porn the reality is that by buying porn product he is contributing to the destruction, abuse, and exploitation of women on a massive scale. In the end he will have much more to answer for than the person who is revolted by porn use. Rosalynde’s most offensive comment was that porn users are “pathetic, weak, juvenile losers.” I don’t think there’s any question that porn can reduce a man to such a state.

    To me it’s a little disturbing to hear mostly men chide Rosalynde and chime in on how widespread porn use is as if that in any way justifies it, or mitigates it, or requires its use to be looked on with greater tolerance. Rosalynde expressed disdain for the sinner as well as the sin. Her contempt is much more mild a sin than that of the regular porn user and I find it hypocritical to argue for compassion for one offender while simultaneously criticizing the other.

    Brian G — June 20, 2005 @ 1:40am
  65. “by buying porn product he is contributing to the destruction, abuse, and exploitation of women on a massive scale. ”

    As any american should feel for purchasing products made overseas, which exploit and deprive many workers of basic human rights.

    As for criticising Rosy, I think most of the men were merely trying to inform Rosylande of her apparent ignorance and intolerance to such an extensive problem. It would be difference if she were forming her conclusions from emperical evidence; however, she was not, so it seemed a bit naive and out of proportion.

    Just Joe — June 20, 2005 @ 2:17am
  66. Brian, I share your disgust for the porn industry and what it does to people. And I agree with your distinctions concerning levels of looking at porn; those distinctions are exactly what I tried to introduce and restate, only to see them repeatedly collapsed by people wanting to attribute hyperbole to me. That said, I think that most of the rest of what you’ve said is sheer nonsense.

    Your statement “the true evil of pornography is not that men get sexual gratification from it. It is that it exploits the daughters of God” is simply incorrect. First, it puts gay porn and transsexual porn on higher moral footing than their heterosexual competition. Second, porn is bad whether the pornography comes from a money making, exploitation hungry porn producer or from pervert neighbors who have filmed themselves and want you to watch.

    Nobody here has tried to justify porn use or urge tolerance of porn. Nor is anybody on “a personal crusade to inform Mormon women how much the men they love have masturbated.” That said, Mormon women will be better wives and mothers if they understand the issues and the frequencies surrounding the different level of masturbation and porn usage we’ve discussed. There is a reason why Joe and his son have both kept Joe’s son’s problem from Joe’s wife. Most deacons in most wards will probably indulge in pornography at some point before they become Elders. The revulsion indicative of such a naive position on pornography and masturbation serves to isolate these boys from the influence of their mothers. Thus, I think that it is fair to say that Rosalynde’s initial formulation and your defense of it are cruelty masquerading as morality, and I am encouraged to see that her statement was roundly condemned and that she moderated it.

    Far from the only intelligent response to pornography, I do not think that the revulsion that you defend is an intelligent response at all. Nor do I find it to be the result of a proper upbringing. Such revulsion is a product of the preoccupation of Mormon culture with the taboo and with its labeling of pornography as taboo. Indeed, I believe that such comments fit nicely with the pattern of behavior typically found within a culture fixated on taboo-based morality. Comparatively benign sexual activities prompt deep revulsion, when much worse sins are accepted with aplomb. There is no taboo against compulsive forgery or counterfeiting, for example, and so playful movies with protagonists who are con men (e.g., The Sting) are deemed appropriate for young teens.

    Bertrand Russell wrote,

    If throughout your life you abstain from [violating the 10 commandments]… you are conventionally held to deserve moral admiration even if you have never done a single kind or generous or useful action. This very inadequate notion of virtue is an outcome of taboo morality, and has done untold harm.

    If what Joe said is true about his son’s virtuous behavior aside from porn, I’d much rather have him for a son-in-law than someone who was porn-pure, but who infrequently did anything kind, generous, our useful. And a rational viewpoint can understand the evils of pornography within a context that provides for compassion and an understanding for how lucky we are that our own sins aren’t the peculiar object of revulsion by people trading in the taboo.

    DKL — June 20, 2005 @ 3:19am
  67. But I think taking away children from a father is not something that should ever be done lightly or without careful consideration

    Not to mention, no judge is going to do it. He will still get visitation, the children will just be a great deal less happy and poorer and less successful.

    Basically, the friend is sacrificing her children. The question she is asking, is her own self fulfillment and happiness worthy hurting her kids for. The answer she seems to be giving is yes. She feels that the problem is one that she can not get past, so that it is worth the pain and sorrow it will cause others to draw the line the way she has.

    nowhere is the genuine happiness and fulfillment of the woman discussed, though, in many situations, that is all that is discussed.

    I’ve seen divorce from both sides as a lawyer (those doing it in spite of what it did to the kids and those doing it in order to protect their kids) and I can appreciate why some people are so hostile to divorce over personal fulfillment.

    The husband looks at porn for personal fulfillment, the wife divorces him for the same reason. They could both be wrong.

    Stephen M (Ethesis) — June 20, 2005 @ 6:28am
  68. Rosalynde -

    Are you Rosalynde Welch? Your style is very similar to hers, but I think you are masquerading as her.

    Stephanie — June 20, 2005 @ 6:59am
  69. LOL!

    That’s the real deal Stephanie!

    Steve Evans — June 20, 2005 @ 8:46am
  70. Brian,

    I’m agreed (again) with DKL — reducing the discussion to “harm to actual women” misses a lot.

    Yes, one of the harms of porn is the effect it has on its “actresses.” In this sense, it’s the same as prostitution or strip clubs, in that it denigrates actual, living women who our Heavenly Father cares very much about.

    But as porn moves from the strip club / Playboy stage to the internet stage, we’re rapidly moving into the age in which porn can be generated through entirely articifial means.

    We see the harbingers daily. Photoshoppers take some famous actress or celebrity who closely guards her image and does not make pornography — Britney Spears, for example — and digitally alter pictures of her to get computer images of “Britney Spears naked” or “Britney Spears having sex.” (If I had a dollar for every spam that claimed to have pictures of Britney Spears naked, I’d be a rich man).

    And you can read online, that these people file lawsuits to shut down those operations. (There was a well-known lawsuit a few years ago by Alyssa Milano that was in the news).

    Similarly, the Supreme Court has been dealing with the pixel-versus-reality problem in the child porn context. It’s legal to have pornography depicting 18-year-olds; it’s not legal to have porn depicting 13-year-olds. But photoshoppers can take legal porn involving 18-year-olds and digitally alter it to make it look like it’s 13-year-olds.

    In addition, some porn already doesn’t even pretend to involve real people. We regularly get nasty spam over at T & S advertising Japanese pornographic anime sites — yes, apparently there are people who like to watch cartoon characters performing sexual acts.

    The bottom line — yes, in many instances there is a concrete harm to real people. That’s an added harm in porn.

    But we’re to the age where, with a sophisticated computer, I can create porn purely out of pixels. No “actress” needed. And if people are addicted to that porn, viewing it daily, getting their sexual fix from it, is it really not a problem simply because it doesn’t involve actual exploitation of a living woman?

    Kaimi — June 20, 2005 @ 10:33am
  71. What does President Hinckley really mean when he warns against ponography?

    Is it a euphemistic way to rail against masturbation? Is it a warning against wasting time? Is it just to make people feel guilty for being human and having sex drives? Is he just flapping his gums?

    And why is porn a spiritual problem when other addictive behaviors aren’t?

    Nedra — June 20, 2005 @ 10:46am
  72. The son of family friends is in prison for, I think, ten years, for sodomizing children.

    She swears up and down it started with his experimentation with porn.

    annegb — June 20, 2005 @ 11:57am
  73. Ted Bundy also claimed to have started with porn. I think that is a conveinent way to pass the buck and not take responsibility for your actions.

    Scott — June 20, 2005 @ 12:11pm
  74. Nedra, annagb, and Scott: Let’s not play the game of extremes. Specifically, the fact that I vehemently disagree with one extreme does not align me with the other. Let me be as clear as possible: When someone plays with porn, they play with fire, and nothing good can come of it. I consider this point to be off the table as far as discussion goes, since arguing otherwise requires one to believe that leaders like Hinckley, Monson, and Oaks (all of whom have frequently and articulately railed against the evils of pornography) are completely off their rockers, and they clearly are not. If you think I’ve written otherwise, then reread.

    That said, there are tens of millions of porn users and comparatively few pedophiles and extremely few serial murderers (though still too many by anybody’s count). But what reason do we have to trust the self-diagnosis of psychopaths anyway? Statements about how Ted Bundy or this or that pedophile started with porn are exactly the kind of hysterics that I’m talking about. Why isn’t it sufficient to repeat the prophets’ words inveighing against porn?

    When I was in my ward’s young men’s program, I railed against the temptations of pornography as often as I could. I also told the deacons in the quorum I advised that whatever problems they had and whatever sins they struggled with, they should talk to their parents about them. They asked questions like, “What if it’s really embarrassing?” and I repeated without fail, “Your parents were kids once, too. Talk to them.” Rosalynde’s initial reaction to porn is the kind of thing that makes me worry that perhaps I shouldn’t have been so emphatic.

    DKL — June 20, 2005 @ 1:26pm
  75. My sister knew Ted Bundy, he dated one of her roommates. The girls all thought he was the cutest and the nicest of the boys who came over. Goes to show you can never tell.

    annegb — June 20, 2005 @ 1:41pm
  76. I am close to someone who was used as a “model” for kiddie porn. If you were to ask her, Rosalynde’s reaction is too mild. She not only detests porn; she fears it. She lives in constant fear that one of those images of her will show up on an internet site one day, and it will be seen by somebody she knows and respects.

    alamojag — June 20, 2005 @ 1:56pm
  77. I write to address arguments that justify pOrn as being “that person’s business.” There is not a positive 100% match between viewing pornography and activity that is more damaging, but there can be no question that viewing pornography contributes to a greater likelihood that people will engage in acts of this nature, whether of an illegal and immoral bent (child abuse) or immoral only (adultery). PoRn is essentially a selfish habit, which takes sexual relations and sexual pleasure out of their proper place as an expression of love and commitment and all of the attendant sacrifices thereto and allows people to gain fulfillment of desires outside the bounds the Lord has set. Further, as Joseph Smith said, an immoral man is a liar, and those who view porn almost always become possessed of this lying, duplicitous spirit to hide their actions.

    Additionally, secular studies (not religiously motivated) show an increased difficulty in maintaining intimate relationships for those who consume pornography. I don’t think that anyone should justify pornography as a “sexual aid” for couples. This corrupts the marriage relationship, and I believe that the evidence bears out that those men who view pornography are likely to become much more irritable with their wives and more introverted. Justifying its use using man’s libido is a cop-out. I agree with Steve (somewhat) that when sexual relations between the husband and wife are regular and proper, there is less likelihood the husband will be tempted. However, even in those circumstances, some will persist. To paraphrase a good book recommended to my friend by his bishop upon marriage (The Act of Marriage) written by a Christian author, a man has the ability and duty to resist those temptations no matter what, but his wife can make this less difficult for him by understanding the proper role of sexual relations within marriage. I believe that sexual relations are right and healthy and even righteous, when used properly.

    This does not mean, however, that a man is powerless to resist the temptation of pornography when he is not having regular relations with his wife, at least not at the outset, though I do believe that at some point, pornography addicts, as all addicts, genuinely lose their agency in this area (as the adversary still tries to deprive us of our agency). We are talking about an appetite, If we starve an appetite for porn, it will not grow.

    With regards to Rosalynde’s comments (and I understand your retraction, Rosalynde, so this is for discussion purposes only), my wife and I have had discussions regarding what she’ll notice on television versus what I notice. If cleavage is showing, I notice it almost immediately, and I believe that is the purpose of its placement in ads, sitcoms, etc. (it is not natural for most women to have cleavage with normal shirts). She was astounded that I noticed it and I was equally astounded that she did not. To argue that a man is bad for noticing a beautiful woman is fundamentally flawed and the remnant of a false tradition inherited from early converts’ existing dogma and not from the restored gospel. It is that desire in myself (among other things) that attracted me to my beautiful little wife. I warrant that Rosalynde’s husband notices other beautiful women and appreciates their beauty and sexual attractiveness just as he notices his wife’s. No one is arguing that desire is wrong, but let me state here anyway that sexual desire is good, healthy and righteous. We have too many people who misunderstand the doctrine and teach philosophies of men that sexual desire is bad. That simply isn’t true.

    Incindentally, by way of refutation, my mother explained to me early when I was a very young (10?) and asked her what “masturbation” meant (I had read it in old medical encyclopedias I was reading) that it was wrong and that Heavenly Father was not pleased with it. Consequently, though I understand that it is as high as 95% occurrence among young men, I have never engaged in that behavior, though I do not condemn those who have. I articulate this only because of some of the comments made above. I imagine that there are many more like me. I don’t think it is fair to say that everyone has done this, nor that everyone has viewed pornography (though this is becoming increasingly unlikely given its nature on the internet).

    My first exposure to internet pOrn was in the BYU library performing a search for a Supreme Court case, Garcia v. San Antonio Metro. Transit Authority, and I receive a BUNCH of porn email unsolicited. I imagine that the spammers sort for male names, knowing that is their most likely audience.

    Anecdotally, my wife’s uncle just became a bishop here in Texas and aside from the obvious comment that porn was the biggest problem he encountered, he stated that it was just as much among the women as among the men. I venture that this is at least partially a product of some of the false traditions taught above to these people when they were younger by well-meaning but ill-informed leaders who did not understand the true doctrine — namely, that truth is the protection that is to be girt about the loins to protect them, not extremes.

    Daniel — June 20, 2005 @ 2:36pm
  78. First, I want to say that we’re not discussing heinous, violent, or illegal pornography activities. These will and should get people in trouble with civil authorities as well as religious authorities.

    annegb, you sure are acquainted (though often with some degree of separation) with the oddest group of sinners.

    Stephen, thanks for the insightful words. I’m not sure that I agree with you entirely. I’m going to have to think about it. But you’ve broken through the “his fault” vs. “her fault” paradigm.

    Daniel, thanks for the interesting explication. You are right about how easily men are led around by their genitals.

    Brian, thanks for sticking up for Rosalynde’s point of view. It has come under a lot of fire, but you make some points that are worth considering, like your point about supporting the porn industry.

    Miranda PJ — June 20, 2005 @ 5:12pm
  79. Miranda, your point that men are so easily led around by their genitals reminds me a line from Manhatten, where Woody Allen is at a party and there is an Allen-esque mantage of nonsense party talk. A woman to whom Allen is listening to says, “I finally had an orgasm, and my doctor told me it was the wrong kind.” To which Allen responds, “Did you have the wrong kind? Really? I’ve never had the wrong kind, ever. My worst one was right on the money.”

    DKL — June 20, 2005 @ 10:07pm
  80. “Rosalynde’s initial reaction to porn is the kind of thing that makes me worry that perhaps I shouldn’t have been so emphatic.”

    Oh come on, Dave, give me a little credit here! If my thirteen-year-old son came to me with an admission, I could handle it: I wouldn’t call him a pathetic loser, et al, I’d be gentle and supportive and so on, and do what I could to help (not much, as his mother). Listen, if a fourteen-year-old has a little trouble controlling his eyes or his hands, that’s to be expected and forgiven; it’s the married adult man who allows his taste for porn to deform and debase his sexuality so that it never matures beyond the pimply, awkward thirteen-year-old’s self-centered self-gratification–that’s the guy who revolts me. (And incidentally, I haven’t retracted my statements re: my personal aesthetic reponse to porn and its users—but since everyone else insisted on transplanting my statements into the realm of general moral judgment, I had to repeatedly clarify the distinction.)

    Rosalynde — June 20, 2005 @ 10:46pm
  81. Why don’t you give me a little credit here, Rosalynde. I don’t regret telling the deacons to talk to their parents, but I do worry for them nonetheless. Things sometimes seem so much more difficult for them than I remember it being for me. At any rate, I do give you the credit that you claim I have withheld, since I expressly predict that you will act exactly as you have just described you would act (in my second response to you above). Moreover, I think that you underestimate your influence as a mother.

    Even so, I stand by my assertion than your revulsion is more indicative of a pre-rational, taboo focussed morality than rational consideration.

    DKL — June 20, 2005 @ 11:02pm
  82. I don’t want to beat a dead horse here, but imagine if Rosalynde had said the exact same thing about people struggling with a different moral temptation: “but I think of [people who engage in same sex relationships] as pathetic, weak, dirty, juvenile losers. They’re revolting and utterly unmasculine, in my mind.”

    Hmm. Not so cool anymore, huh? I don’t think it’s unimportant to point out that you are revolted by what you do not and cannot understand. I am not justifying this habit. Frankly, I have a lot more respect for Brian’s pov; at least he is actually concerned with some real victims here. But the reason you could forgive an affair is that you understand the temptations, you are subject to them also. You (apparently) are not subject to temptations of this sort, so scorn is your only response.

    NFlanders — June 21, 2005 @ 8:22am
  83. DKL,

    Do you own a mouse pad, or do you just use a book of Bertrand Russell quotations?

    More importantly, I owe you a debt of gratitude for convincing me my post was “sheer nonsense.” You’ve helped me see the light. I now realize we’re wasting our time teaching youth that p0rn is taboo when the true danger they face is the two great twin temptations of counterfeiting and forgery. Deacons and teachers everywhere are hanging paper and sneaking into their basements to print up 20s and 10s—all because of that vile piece of entertainment “The Sting.” God knows the kids today are crazy about that movie that came out in 1973.

    If you think the Church doesn’t teach such crimes are wrong, or that they are as pervasive a threat to our children as pornography you need to get real.

    And although I find your Better Motherhood through Masturbation Awareness campaign novel I think you underestimate the understanding of Mormon mothers. Your approach clouds the issue. If you agree that there is a world of difference between common teenage masturbation and adult porn addiction then you shouldn’t really keep dragging the discussion back to the former. When Jacob had to address issues of sexual immorality it grieved him that he had to do so before “wives and children” and remarked that their “tender and chaste and delicate” feelings were pleasing to the Lord. I’m not saying frank and open conversation is unnecessary, but the vigor with which you want to proclaim everyone is doing it runs contrary to that sentiment.

    I apologize if you really think I was reducing the evils of p0rn to what it does to women when I was only pointing out that’s the greater crime. In spite of the ability of the p0rn industry to create various niche markets, by far the vast majority of p0rn is bought and used by straight men—it has always been that way and always will be that way—as a result the biggest victims of p0rn are and always will be women. To assume I’m not also disturbed by perverse home videos that my neighbors might hypothetically make is an unfair rhetorical tactic that’s pretty transparent. Let me put it this way, although both cases would concern me, as an earthly father I would be much more enraged if my daughter posed in a p0rnographic way (I get sick just typing out the thought) than if a son indulged in self-gratification. I believe our Heavenly Father feels much the same way, and therefore revulsion to habitual adult p0rn use is a warranted reaction that members of the Church, especially women, shouldn’t be condemned for.

    And if I can just quickly address Kaimi’s supposition that digital technology and computer imaging will supplant the harm that p0rn does to real women; I find that doubtful. First, p0rn doesn’t only harm the actual women who pose in it—it objectifies all women. Secondly, the p0rn industry has gone through a number of technological advances such as video, the internet, and DVD technology and each advance has only made p0rn more widespread, accessible, and harmful. The techniques Kaimi brings up will only create a new product market and will in no way curb people’s desire for the real thing.

    Finally, and I’m getting sick of writing about p0rn because I find it depressing, p0rn is far from a taboo topic in Church. We hear about it constantly. It’s discussed frequently by leaders on every level and by members in forums such as this one. As enchanted as you are by Bertrand Russell’s quote about taboo morality, I’m afraid it just isn’t relevant here.

    Brian G — June 21, 2005 @ 9:17am
  84. I’m with Brian on this one.

    I have seen the pernicious effects of this evil in the lives of my friends. While I feel great sympathy, as noted above, and fully support my friend in his efforts to overcome his biggest challenge, the consequences of this sin are real and weighty, and they can include the loss of everything, including the family-offered up on the altar of lust.

    There has to be a point where enough is enough. And the best people to judge that point are those affected in consultation with the Lord. Miranda’s friend is probably making a good, courageous decision. It can’t be easy to face such a decision. I can only hope that those around her would support her and treat her with respect, not like some sort of intolerant fundie who just couldn’t take a “normal” man.

    I must disagree with statements that normalize these sins or make them seem less sinful than how our prophets, seers, and revelators say the Lord views them.

    Jordan — June 21, 2005 @ 9:27am
  85. Rosalynde, adult males cannot possibly “deform and debase [their] sexuality so that it never matures beyond the pimply, awkward thirteen-year-old’s self-centered self-gratification.” Their sexuality never matures beyond that point in the first place. I remember a joke from an Eddy Murphy video that my brothers watched one weekend when my parents were away. Eddy Murphy said that the main difference between sex for boys and sex for men was the faces they made during orgasm. This is funny because it touches on an unspoken but obvious truth. Whether it’s Samson or King David, George Washington with Sally Fairfax or Thomas Jefferson with Sally Hemmings or Ben Franklin with just about anyone, FDR and his mistress or JFK and Marilyn Monroe or Bill Clinton with Monica Lewinsky, the lesson that history should teach women about men is that the world is their blue dress.

    I remember my father telling me that he never felt like an adult until both his parents had died. Maturation is a process brought on by external events that creates adaptive behavior but does not change the individual. Within every man there remains the urge for the “pimply, awkward thirteen-year-old’s self-centered self-gratification,” and we call it the libido.

    Miranda PJ — June 21, 2005 @ 9:36am
  86. I have a friend who is facing a dilemma similar to that of Miranda’s friend. She has been married for 25 years to a man who, by most standards is a great guy. He is well respected and faithful church leader. He is a good father and loving husband. He is a very successful attorney at a large law firm where makes several hundred thousand dollars per year. They live in a beautiful home and have 6 happy, well adjusted children. However, although this man and his family live the life that most aspire to, he has several brothers and sisters who live in abject poverty. Some have already starved to death, and others are on the verge if starvation. Some of his sisters have sold themselves into prostitution just to get food for their children. Others have tried to bring the plight of this man’s brothers and sisters to the attention of this man. They even broadcast pictures of some of their children with distended bellies and sunken eyes lying in make shift hospitals. Sometimes this prompts him to make a few token contributions to help. But night after night he drives home in his BMW and sleep comfortably in his million dollar home, oblivious to their pain. Last night at family home evening they planned their next family vacation—a Mediterranean cruise to celebrate their 25th anniversary.

    My friend can stand it no longer. She can longer bear to hear him give touching talks in Church about charity while he leads this double life. She is terrified that their children will absorb these values and be the goats rather than the sheep at the judgment day. She says she can understand other sins, like porn and could probably even bring herself to forgive adultery. Having grown up in a different country, she has more liberal attitudes about these issues than many of her friends. But how can she continue to live with a man who is so willfully blind to the plight of his own brothers and sisters? How can somebody so flagrantly break the second most important commandment? Their family could live comfortably in a house half the size, and could drive cars that are half as expensive. This money could liberate some of their brothers and sisters from slavery and poverty. Many of their children could be fed and clothed and educated. She feels nothing but revulsion for this man who has made sacred covenants to live the law of consecration and then justifies his own luxurious lifestyle while others are in such desperate need. Their children are already showing signs of pursuing a similar lifestyle, and so she thinks she has no choice. She must divorce this man for the sake her children and her own eternal salvation.

    What advice should I give her?

    Joe — June 21, 2005 @ 9:45am
  87. Miranda,
    You are perpetuating a false tradition about male sexuality that I find greatly offensive. You are totally wrong here. Your view of male sexuality as expressed above is just plain wrong and contributes to the feeling of shame that men feel about their God-given sexual drive. The drive itself is not wrong, but rather can be used wrongly. If you carry this view of male sexuality over into your relationships, I imagine your husband must feel badly about his righteous desires.

    Please reconsider your comments. I didn’t take offense at your first comment because I figured it was just an oversight. But your second comment is over the line. This is wrong. I’ve got to run to an apppointment, so I’ll comment more later on why, but I am hoping that others will join in here to further articulate why this is an unhealthy view of male sexuality.

    Daniel — June 21, 2005 @ 9:48am
  88. My husband is a mature, caring, attentive, affectionate person who does not fit the profile of comment #87. We giscuss these issues and I have no naive illusions, but I don’t consider men to be a step up from either robots or dogs.

    Visiting — June 21, 2005 @ 9:57am
  89. oops I mean comment 85.

    My spouse’s intellectual, spiritual and emotional maturity inform his sexuality. He’s not just a tall 13 year old in a suit and tie.

    And some teenagers abstain.

    Visiting — June 21, 2005 @ 10:04am
  90. Let me get this straight: this rich guy in America has had several relatives starve to death? Who made that up?

    The subject was addiction to porn, not adolescent masturbation. Addiction.

    If your wives spent all her spare time on-line looking at and lusting after naked men, would you care? Honestly, would you care or would you just figure she was a passionate woman?
    Are men different from women with that? My husband would care. Do you think it would change the way her mind worked? Where is the Lord in that? Or is it okay for men, normal for men, but not for women?

    Rosalynde’s right.

    annegb — June 21, 2005 @ 10:12am
  91. annegb: The rich guy’s brothers and sisters are the millions of people all over the world who live in abject poverty while he enjoys a life of luxury. Perhaps I was too subtle in my description. I am new at this. This is my way of wondering why we are so revolted by some sins but quite accepting of others. I am inclined to think that DKL’s point about taboo based morality has merit. Which sins are worth busting up an apparently otherwise happy family over?

    Joe — June 21, 2005 @ 10:44am
  92. You really know a woman who would divorce her husband because “brothers and sisters” she doesn’t even know are starving to death? Even Jesus said “the poor are always with us.” She doesn’t need a divorce lawyer; she needs a shrink!

    Incredulous — June 21, 2005 @ 10:56am
  93. Come on guys, admit it. Miranda’s statements on male sexually are generally true. The greatest compliment my wife pays me is a rephrasing of a superficial line from the movie Tin Cup, “I married you for your _____.” Never gets old, love to hear it every time. The reverse doesn’t work except at the height of sexual passion; we men generally reciprocate with much higher level compliments. I think guy’s who wouldn’t be thrilled to hear the superficial Tin Cup compliment are a small minority.

    Steve EM — June 21, 2005 @ 12:30pm
  94. Brian, your comment does not give me much to respond to, since its arguments are entirely beside the point. Its is, nevertheless, very funny. I love your idea for “Why I Am Not a Christian” mousepads.

    For the record, I own more than 50 books by Bertrand Russell, and I’ve read nearly all of them. Sometimes it takes me a bit of time to put my finger on the exact quote that I’m looking for, because there are so many books. The situation isn’t helped by the fact that the size of my burgeoning family forces more and more of my books into boxes in the cellar, so that I have to rummage through piles of unsorted books to find any particular book that I’m looking to reference. At any rate, sometimes I’m forced to paraphrase when I don’t have the quote memorized. The above one came directly from either Human Society in Ethics and Politics or Marriage and Morals, though I can’t remember off the top of my head because I was paging through both of them to find it. This is a long answer to a short question, but it should set us right on the issue of Bertrand Russell quotes.

    I think your example is great, Joe.

    DKL — June 21, 2005 @ 12:32pm
  95. Steve,

    If my wife said that, I would consider it crude, crass, and everything that my wife isn’t which was one reason why I married her. Really, Steve, we live in polite society. We’re not a bunch of cretons.

    Jordan — June 21, 2005 @ 12:40pm
  96. I married my husband for the wholistic individual he is. His sexuality and his _____ are just part of who he is. If he ever engaged in the level of adolescent fancy that told him (”addiction” or not) that he is is ____ and is slavishly controlled by it, I would likely be in Miranda’s friend’s position.

    Visitor — June 21, 2005 @ 12:48pm
  97. [comment deleted]

    DKL — June 22, 2005 @ 1:57pm
  98. That’s pretty crass, DKL. I would not marry a woman like that.

    Jordan — June 22, 2005 @ 3:00pm
  99. That’s inappropriate, DKL.

    Jenn — June 22, 2005 @ 3:02pm
  100. DKL, that’s your second strike. We’re not going to turn this into your proposed, “The Kink Kontroversy” thread. The reason I’ve been showing moderation toward your comments is that Aaron, Jenn, Sep, Mari, Greg, and I have agreed that if you don’t straighten up then we’ll follow the lead of Times and Seasons and ban you altogether. Grow up or get out.

    Miranda PJ — June 22, 2005 @ 3:12pm
  101. If you can’t handle a mature and very direct post then don’t read this. Multiple honest and direct thoughts are going to be discussed…

    Guys and Porn
    (as written by a guy who is old enough to have seen his own friends marriages end over porn, who is honest enough to tell you what you may or may not be ready to hear, and who is still young enough that he could NOT be your dad)

    1) Guys are attracted to porn with the same drives that attract them to females in general. Attraction is normal. However, attraction does not need to be acted upon. The naked female body causes a hormone release that produces a physical high. Some guys get hooked on the testosterone rush that visual stimulation produces.

    2) Porn is much more common than you would think with male LDS members. No, seriously. … If you are a female, it’s more common than you could conceive of. As you know, nowadays it’s usually internet porn. Guys can look at the stuff and then delete all traces of the sites that they visited. They can even just delete the porn sites and leave all the normal sites that they visited. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that “your” husband would tell you. It is very easy to justify keeping “a private struggle private” while the guy tries to figure out how to beat the problem on his own. Given the way many LDS women would react to finding out, keeping his mouth shut during the struggle might keep a good marriage from needlessly going down the toilet.

    3) If you honestly and directly plan to ask your husband about porn, you better be prepared to handle the answer. You better convince him that if the answer is “yes” that you are committed as his forever-partner and that you aren’t going to go postal on him.

    4) Porn addiction is like a roller-coaster ride. Guys will do well for a while and poorly for a while. Once the guy thinks he has it together, the guard drops and he is flying down-hill until he again puts on the brakes. Dealing with the temptation is a life-long process. Spouses: Don’t expect an overnight fix. You should expect honest effort coupled with honest communication.

    5) Sometimes part of the thrill is the risk of getting caught. Open communication about his struggles will help in this area by getting things out in the open.

    6) Not all guys like hard porn with all sorts of sex acts and wild poses being depicted. Some like “natural” porn (think playboy) where it’s a picture of a naked woman just standing or sitting and not doing much else. Some guys are even more attracted to nearly-naked women than they are to fully naked women.

    7) Porn should be taken seriously, but don’t believe everything you hear. –A true case with one of MY best friends: Janet caught Steve looking at porn. Steve admitted he was addicted to it. Janet hung around trying to help him. Then Janet’s Dad found out and freaked out. Janet’s dad is a cop and he knew that all child molesters he questioned admitted to looking at porn. Using horrible logic, Janet’s dad surmised that since Steve looked at porn, Steve was very likely to molest Steve and Janet’s daughter. He convinced Janet to run from her husband. A savable marriage was destroyed. More damage will be done by the daughter not having a father in the home than would have been done if Janet had given Steve incredible support and a reasonable amount of time to tame his addiction. (For those who think Janet’s dad’s logic was correct consider this: Almost all heroin users have drunk alcohol. But have almost all alcohol drinkers used heroin? … Same thing. It is not an A=B so B=A logic problem. It is an “if A then B” logic problem where B and A can’t just be reversed and always be true.) Porn is bad, but is realistically no where near the level of “Prodigal-Son”-chasing-harlots-bad. And Jesus tells the “Prodigal Son” story as a story of hope and renewed joy.

    8) Morals aside, another huge problem with porn is often neglected. Internet porn wastes a lot of time. Most guys look at it after their spouse has gone to sleep. They end up staying up way later than they intended to. This results in fatigue as they go through their day. Others look at it when their spouse is not home. Some even look at it with their spouse in the next room (see #5). Fatigue and/or wasted time can crush their studies, their jobs, and their relationships with their wife and their relationships with their kids.

    Final and blunt note: Sometimes porn is just poor substitute for a guy who has gotten a little bored with his sex life. While it doesn’t justify his behavior, you might want to consider a variety of different ideas and find something that spices things up…
    First: With regards to what is permissive within marriage, we all heard that one bishop said this-or-that is ok and a stake president told a friend-of-a-friend not to do this-that-or-the-other. The best collection of advice that I ever heard first hand from a church leader was this, “Buy a book and try things out. When you’re done, if something you tried felt wrong, don’t do it anymore and try something else.” This was followed by, “If your motive is to give your spouse sexual pleasure out of love for your spouse, that’s the right idea. If your motive is to push your spouse for the sake of your own pleasure, that’s wrong.” Along with, “As you grow together and have open communication, you should find yourselves more open to new areas of intimacy.”
    Second: Men are visually stimulated. Some guys like lingerie. If you are money-poor students, take heed in the fact that most guys don’t care whether you buy it at Victoria’s Secret or Target. You might even feel dumb in it. Remember, it’s the effort that counts. You can start out more conservative and then progress as you feel comfortable. (And you can even leave some of it on sometimes) … Don’t always turn the lights out. … Buy him a $8 full length mirror and let him put it where he wants to (stick it in the closet the rest of the time).
    Third: Surprise him sometimes. … Be waiting at home “al fresco” (make sure the kids are gone). … Or pretend you are the one calling the shots for the evening. … Try something he doesn’t expect… wax… make your own video together or be the subject of his digital photo shoot (just make sure YOU delete the photos or destroy the tape, NOT him)… change rooms… whatever…
    Fourth: Some wives have spent years being slightly to very uncomfortable during intimacy when all it took was a $4 bottle of water-soluble personal lubricant to turn an annoyance into enjoyment.

    Lastly, communication and commitment is the key to everything. Don’t minimize the problem, but don’t freak out like the world is coming to an end. Pornography is an addiction (not unlike alcoholism) and needs to be treated as such… with compassion… patience… love… and support.

    Straight Talk — June 22, 2005 @ 4:43pm
  102. Hey Straight Talker great post ( #101). Thanks for a direct from the heart post. I could’ve used an older brother who would tell it like it is to me.

    Visitor — June 22, 2005 @ 4:49pm
  103. Nice post, straight talk. It explains the situation without glorifying or rationalizing the sin.

    I do think it was a little male-centered, however. Why should a woman have to wear lingerie if it makes her uncomfortable, just to please him?

    But overall, I think it was a good treatment of the problem,

    Jordan — June 22, 2005 @ 4:57pm
  104. I think the porn industry would be flattered to get all this attention. I think personally that it is all about the choices that we make and the accountability that goes along with it. I was exposed at a young age to porn-even with it being well hidden my brother and I easily found it-it changed who I was and created a lot of problems in my young life. Miranda’s friend has every right to walk away. How many times do you give someone the chance to not keep their word. It is better to be happy and alone than miserable with someone. Ultimatums can be very healthy things. Sometimes divorce can be the beginning of something more instead of the end of it all. People do what they do because they can and her husband keeps on getting into porn because he can. It is just like drugs, alchohol or any other thing in life that takes you somewhere that you choose to be. By not giving up porn he is taking her rights and choices away from her. You guys are all a crack-up !! This is all new to me-I just discovered this blogging thing- wow

    dmb — June 22, 2005 @ 4:59pm
  105. Very nice, Straight Talker. I am blushing, but I can see the logic behind your advice.

    Jenn — June 22, 2005 @ 5:13pm
  106. Jordan,
    That particular point wasn’t really about lingerie per se. That point was that sometimes we have to take a mini-step beyond our non-morality-affecting-boundaries to keep things interesting in a relationship. That involves every area as well. My wife grew up eating bland food at her home. Spicy food was new to her. Now she loves Mexican and Thai food. If she hadn’t stretched a little, she’d still only be eating meatloaf. —Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But, you shouldn’t stretch your boundaries in areas of moral significance. That is what caused this porn-problem thread to begin with.

    Straight Talk — June 22, 2005 @ 5:18pm
  107. DMB,
    Note that I said, “More damage will be done by the daughter not having a father in the home than would have been done if Janet had given Steve incredible support and a REASONABLE amount of time to tame his addiction.” (emphasis added) That implicitly implies that he clearly cannot continue his porn perusal ad nauseam.

    Jenn,
    Thank you. –And your blushing would only make a pretty girl even prettier. And I state that in a purely objective, Straight-talk kind of way.

    Straight Talk — June 22, 2005 @ 5:30pm
  108. Thought I would note that some of us are pretty out of touch. I did not realize the connection between prawns and marinade until I was 26 or 27 and one roommate left another one part of a playboy and the first guy made a comment and …. I felt pretty stupid.

    At the same time, it is always interesting to read which sins or weaknesses or failures we find important and which we don’t (not to mention, just how far could we drop our standard of living without harming our children)? joe — June 21, 2005 @ 9:45 am — do you really have such a friend or are you just telling a story/parable? I’d be interested in hearing about someone who felt that strongly and was ready to give up custody of her children and leave her husband, ceasing to be one flesh, over that.

    Addiction is a compulsive disorder. Kind of like the difference between someone who likes to drink and someone who is an alcoholic. Or situational depression and biological depression. I’ve felt situational depression, but I always knew that with time, it would get better. I’ve had friend who had chemical disorders causing depression, for them it was permanent (and if the meds didn’t work right, a scary thing).

    The same is true of porn habits vs. porn addictions — not to mention some people have problems where they are sexually involved with porn beyond just looking at it. Those things can create a lot of issues.

    But I think there are a lot more issues than “she is fat, so I am justified in leaving the marriage and finding someone thinner” no matter what terms you substitute for “fat” and for “she.” At some point the objectionable characteristic rises to abuse and to danger — I’ve spent up to 200+ hours a year handling divorces for legal services clients (on referals) who couldn’t afford attorneys but who were being abused. I’ve been on the boards of rape crisis centers and child advocacy centers. I’ve strong feelings that abuse should never be tolerated.

    But, sometimes, other things you do to your children are abuse. I’d say Joe’s friend (assuming he actually knows someone) is about to abuse her children.

    I don’t know all the answers, but I do know that I don’t know a lot of things (and am always afraid that I’ve missed something else that is “blindingly obvious” like I did when I was 26 or so).

    Stephen M (Ethesis) — June 22, 2005 @ 8:11pm
  109. Stephen M (Ethesis): “prawns and marinade.” That’s good.

    DKL — June 22, 2005 @ 8:34pm
  110. I guess my story was a bit confusing. Sorry about that. It was intended as a parable to illustrate your point, Ethesis. The person is not real, and that is the point of it all. We are very good at rationalizing some sins while expressing revulsion at other behavior. We have created a culture which expresses revulsion at the sin of p0rn, even as we swallow the camel of selfishness materialism while our brothers and sisters around the world starve. My parable was my way of provoking people to think about which sins and weaknesses they consider to be so important that they would break up a family because of them. Why is it that the sin of p0rn falls into that category for some people, but those same people would have no trouble living with somebody who is ignoring other sacred covenants such as the law of consecration and the law of charity? Should we divorce a spouse who is an unbeliever, or is a passive believer, or who drinks too much, or is selfish and materialistic? Why is p0rn in a league of its own? As mentioned above, I think it comes down to taboo based morality. All of those other sins will keep us out of the celestial kingdom just as surely as p0rn will, and all of them have a much better chance of infecting our children.

    Joe — June 22, 2005 @ 9:58pm
  111. Stephen M (Ethesis): “prawns and marinade.” That’s good.

    Not mine, I got them from the Angry Mormon who got them from Ned Flanders.

    which sins and weaknesses they consider to be so important that they would break up a family because of them

    Which I think is a good point. Paul struggled with it, David O McKay preached about it, Christ and Moses both talked on the subject.

    I’ve even got an essay on it. I’d forgotten that until just now.

    http://adrr.com/lingua/divorce.htm

    This conversation sure has legs. No threadjacks yet, even.

    Stephen M (Ethesis) — June 22, 2005 @ 10:27pm
  112. DKL,
    Please E-mail me the deleted comment when you get a chance. Thanks.

    Steve EM — June 22, 2005 @ 10:30pm
  113. men need porn because they are such lousy lovers, especially mormon men
    men are selfish and interested in their own orgasms
    figure out how to pleasure your wives and they’ll be a lot more enthusiastic about sex
    when you just use your wife as an elaborate blow up doll is it any wonder she sees it as a chore
    WIVES should be more sexy is part of the formula to stop porn addiction? i say men need to stop being so selfish and start making the women they love have orgasms
    when you not only fail to pleasure your wife but then also turn to other images of women it is an extra slap in the face
    all you guys know how to do is jerk off and you just keep doing it your whole lives even when you have a live human being who loves you and wants to share pleasure with you
    but NO you keep jerking off and exploiting anyone and everything to get your own rocks off
    without any regard to others feelings

    Nonna U. Beesenis — June 23, 2005 @ 4:23am
  114. Nonna,
    Whatever your real name is, if you are Miranda’s friend or someone going through similar difficulties, the problems in your relationship can be fixed. It’s heartening that you still love hubby and want to share pleasure with him even though his porn is indeed a slap in your face.

    My pre-marriage past is not typical for a presently active LDS guy. So, I wouldn’t be surprised if what you say about LDS men being clueless about women is generally true, at least early in a marriage. But I think a righteous, with-the-program, LDS couple is supposed to compensate for the lack of experience by open communication / experimentation within the marriage, and w/o assessing fault, that isn’t happening in your relationship. It might be nice if we addressed this issue of female needs organizationally in priesthood meetings, but that isn’t going to happen in our current church culture, and until then, couples are on their own to coach each other in the bedroom. I have to believe one of the sex books Miranda mentioned could help get your marriage off to a fresh start and get hubby weaned off the porn and into pleasuring you. The fact that you still love hubby and want to share pleasure with him tells me unless he’s brain dead you can make it happen. Good luck.

    Steve EM — June 23, 2005 @ 6:04am
  115. Steve (FSF) I think that it’s demeaning to Nonna to assume that she has a problem with her relationships.

    What straight talker said is in some ways incorrect and in other ways far too characteristic of the male dominated, male centric culture of Mormonism. Nonna has been quite blunt, but she is basically correct.

    Miranda PJ — June 23, 2005 @ 8:20am
  116. Miranda,
    Elaborate on post #115, because you are being way to vague.

    About lack of results…
    I think “clueless” is a much more apt description for most LDS guys than “selfish”. LDS teens are taught to avoid talking and thinking about sex throughout their youth, then suddenly it is fair game. Suddenly they are supposed to talk openly about something they know nothing about. The couples are pretty much in a case of the blind leading the blind. Most LDS guys I have talked to about sex, don’t really know much at all.Sometimes a woman has to take a guy by the hand and show him exactly what to do. Don’t tell him how to fish, teach him how to fish. A big problem in many cases is that many (not all) LDS women don’t know how to teach a guy how to give them pleasure, because the woman has never even figured it out for herself. You can’t communicate what you don’t know. Save the speeches on how women shouldn’t learn on themselves… You have to know your very subtle triggers and what works for you so you can let the clueless guy know he is headed in the right direction. If you can’t get over the “alone” issue, set aside various evenings that are all about the wife (no intercourse allowed) and practice manual techniques until he knows what he is doing and it works. It is just a baby step towards learning how to do everything at once. Heck, I am a dentist and it still pushes me to the limits of my coordination to be concentrating on four things at once, let alone a guy who can’t walk and chew gum at the same time.

    Straight Talk — June 23, 2005 @ 9:25am
  117. Nonna and Miranda,
    I think your comments speak more about your personal relationships and the Mormon guys you married rather than about the Mormon male population in general. I am so sorry you have had such a bad experience. The experience of my wife and I has been diametrically opposite of what you describe, so it is painful for me to read about your experience and those of people who have not yet found the joy in marriage my wife and I have found (though I assure you we’ve had our ups and downs like anyone else).

    I can guarantee you that my wife does not have these complaints, and we were both virgins when we got married. Of course, I echo Steve (FSF)’s comments above — we have not been shy about sharing our concerns with each other and relying on righteous sources that teach correct principles about male and female sexuality. I highly recommend “The Act of Marriage” by Tim and Beverly LaHaye. It is written by a Christian pastor and his wife and is excellent — was recommended to my best friend by his bishop when he married.

    There are some selfish males for whom nothing will work. The same is true of some women, perhaps more so because the female orgasm is so much more a mental process than the male orgasm. The truth is that only that couple can know what is happening in a relationship. We cannot judge from the outside. Accordingly, I think that only Miranda’s friend can know if what she is doing is right — she may have felt a prompting to divorce her husband. Absent such a prompting, however, I would be very wary. The effects of divorce are multi-generational, as I see the effects of my grandfather’s divorce in my own life.

    The Church membership still has inherited some false traditions towards sexuality from Protestant converts to the Church, dominant culture, etc., and has a ways to go. Then there is the difficulty of speaking generally about the single most intimate and personality-specific subject in a people’s lives, a subject which also happens to be a very sacred thing. These factors compounded have led to some unhealthy attitudes toward sexuality in the Church. A couple who is earnestly trying to keep their covenants, however, will be led by the Spirit to truth that will help them in their marriage.

    Miranda, has your friend counseled with the Bishop? A Bishop advised my grandmother in 1950 something to divorce my grandfather. She didn’t. My father still believes that had she followed the counsel of her bishop in those days, it would have jolted my grandfather back to righteousness earlier, rather than allowing him to harden in his iniquity and allow him to go on to greater sins. This is an entirely individual decision, though, and I can see how the decision to divorce in another situation with different individuals might also relegate a man struggling with this temptation (though it sounds like your friend’s husband is no longer struggling with it) to abandonment.

    Finally, a note of caution. My mother watched a discontent wife in a previous place we lived speak ill of her husband to another woman. Soon, they were both speaking ill of their husbands. My mother wisely chose to not participate. It wasn’t long before the complaining of the first woman had influenced both to divorce their husbands, with disastrous effects for two friends of mine, both of whose mothers were the complaining women mentioned above. A spirit of fault-finding rather than love is less likely to lead to help for her husband and may be a contributing cause of his habits. While he is ENTIRELY responsible for his actions, a loving wife who has helped him turn production on and who then is conscious of his needs makes it much easier for a man to resist temptation. A woman with issues about sexuality of her own, however, can fail on her end of the MUTUAL SUPPORT spouses owe each other.

    In a way that I had not understood before, Nonna’s comment demonstrates why the Church teachings speak against masturbation. I imagine it was some of this same thing that prompted Jacob to speak out against men who were not sufficiently valuing their wives — such that he had to resort to words that would hurt the tender feelings of the women and children.

    Nonna, I am so sorry you are having these trials with your husband. Perhaps you can lovingly prompt him to seek help from his bishop to address his masturbation and porn addictions. Your post

    Daniel — June 23, 2005 @ 11:09am
  118. first try with the bold thing. Sorry.

    Daniel — June 23, 2005 @ 11:09am
  119. Straight talk- what is reasonable amount of time-from the sound of it she has put more energy into fixing him that he has. At some point it is ok to drop them on their butt and then see what they will do about it. She has the right to be selfish and take care of herself and say enough. We don’t have the right to change others peoples lives without their permission. Ther are worse things for children than divorce. But he chose that when he did not keep his word after about the tenth chance. He really needs to grow up and take responsibility instead of blaming everyone else. I would say he isn’t committed to anything and that is all about him.

    dmb — June 23, 2005 @ 11:49am
  120. DMB
    I was talking in generalities about a reasonable amount of time. –More referring to my friend’s wife who dumped him the second her dad told her to than to Miranda’s friend. The point was don’t freak out and quit with out trying to overcome the challenge first.

    Straight Talk — June 23, 2005 @ 12:15pm
  121. Miranda, I’m speechless.

    A rant that makes huge generalizations about mormon men and that contains colloquial and (at least to me) offensive terms gets your seal of approval as “blunt, but basically correct”?

    “Men, especially mormon men, are selfish. . .lousy lovers. . . use wives a blow up dolls. . .exploit everyone and everything. . .go through life [masturbating].”

    Yup, I guess that describes me.

    Tell me something, Nonna and Miranda PJ. If I wrote something describing mormon women as frigid ice queens who need to stop blaming their men for their own lack of sexual pleasure, and who need lose some weight, and who and are only interested in using their husbands as walking ATM machines, would that also be “blunt, but basically correct”?
    Or is that too male-centric?

    I don’t know what DKL said to get onto thin ice, but I cannot imagine it being any more offensive that Nonna’s post.

    Mark — June 23, 2005 @ 1:27pm
  122. Just to satisfy everyone’s curiosity, I read DKL’s post before it was deleted and you’re not missing anything. It read like an exercise in self-parody. Sorry, DKL, not your best work and you know I’m a long-time fan.

    Brian G — June 23, 2005 @ 1:33pm
  123. Great comments here. I want to add that the other thing to consider is that an orgasm is nature’s heroin and that yummy sacrament jeff holland spoke of that brings you to a feeling you are sharing something godlike. if you ONLY go to your spouse for the drug, you will do all you can to please that spouse and make sure the brain drug is mutual so that you'’ll both get more. you naturally feel high and spiritually connected to that one source of the yummy brain candy orgasms/opiates. if you are masturbating, you’ll feel all high and loving about your computer screen instead of your spouse. It’s the jeffry holland sacrament and it should be shared by a couple and God, not by a dude in front of a computer.
    Women are more turned on by words. Maybe the sisters of the church will one day start retaliating by chatting about sex in chat rooms and then masturbating by themselves. Fair is fair!
    Women have a long way to go before they ever sink as low as the men. But with the rampant porno problem among the men, who knows.
    I know a fifty something woman who has never had an orgasm in the many decades of her marriage. She went to a sex therapist who advised masturbation. She refused because it is evil. I don’t know one man who would refuse that advice.

    Nonna U. Beesenis — June 23, 2005 @ 1:44pm
  124. Back to the main issue of whether an LDS woman in Miranda’s friend’s situation should actually *divorce* over all this–

    There are several issues at play that figure into a typical LDS woman’s way of thinking:

    1. “Righteous priesthood holders” don’t do x, y, or z. If the husband is perceived as being less than “righteous,” often the wife feels entitled to base decisions vis a vis her spiritual life along that yardstick. Members are told ad nauseum at Conference, in the Ensign and elsewhere that men who dabble in these activities are not “worthy priesthood holders.” Sometimes–right or wrong–women feel spiritually pressured to “trade up” for a “worthy priesthood holder” with whom they’d feel more comfortable going to the temple, etc.

    2. Sometimes LDS women are embarrassed that their husbands turn to porn, especially if they were both inexperienced/”righteous”/”chaste” or whatever else before marriage. To them, this could mean that the marriage was just a convenient way of having a warm woman in bed, and the rest was/is what the husband really enjoys. Sometimes sexual immaturity, naivete, etc. can be a bad thing.

    3. While sex in marriage can be about sharing meaningful experiences together, sometimes private sexuality is very important too. The church’s prohibition against masturbation (or, certainly, its refusal to recognize it as normal developmental behavior) makes it taboo in some marriages and pre-marriage life instead of a necessity for some people. This should be discussed before marriage, but often goody-goody LDS wouldn’t dream of talking so frankly about the ways in which their needs might differ.

    4. How is porn even defined? Some members think it’s a Victoria’s Secret catalog. Some even buy into the “walking porn” idea that was brought up in General Conference this past april. If someone wears a tank top, it’s “pornographic”.

    Just some thoughts.

    MA Molly — June 23, 2005 @ 3:21pm
  125. Brian G, Long time fan of DKL? I’m truly disappointed. You are the last person I’d expect to be taken in by his shenanigans.

    Straight talk, the reason why you think that I’m being vague is because you’re having trouble seeing past your male-centric point of view. But your post overall does have some merit even and I can understand why you’d find it to be one-sided. There were a few things that I did not like about your post. Your claim that a husband’s naughty behavior is somehow caused by the wife is outrageous. You limply qualify your statement by saying that the causal chain you posit somehow does not justify the result of the causal chain, but that is unconvincing. Your notion of male fixation on visual stimulation leaves you hard pressed to explain the success of the phone sex industry. You state that a woman should play the temptress — a classically mysogynistic stereotype — in order to please her husband. This is like asking a black man to conform to a racist stereotype for the pleasure of a plantation owner.

    Miranda PJ — June 23, 2005 @ 5:39pm
  126. “My friend should feel comfortable divorcing her husband, because he’s doing something that makes her profoundly unhappy and he won’t stop. It is a tragedy that our society pressures women to remain in marriages that make them unhappy. In the whirlpool of stigmas and fears about loneliness and broken homes, nowhere is the genuine happiness and fulfillment of the woman discussed.”

    1. You base your friend’s actions on her happiness, but do you honestly believe that your friend will be happier as a divorced, single mother? Do you understand how incredibly lonely it is to be divorced? Does she realize how difficult it is to ever remarry (or have any kind of social life) when she is older and is raising children? I don’t understand how divorcing someone who isn’t doing anything even illegal or abusive will make her happier? She’ll just be exchanging something bad for something worse. Why is she unhappy with him in the first place? Because he watches the computer screen for a couple hours a day, because he asks her to do have sex in a different position? Really, look at the consequences. She is trading in her and her kid’s happiness simply because everyone else around her (and her included) is disgusted by the husband not complying with an artificial sexual norm. Be thankful he is not abusive, be thankful that he works for a living, be thankful that he doesn’t go to Vegas on the week-ends…cause it could be worse. We all want reality to be better than it is, but she should look at what she has and stop worrying about what other people think.

    2. Really, I think this post is more about you, Miranda, and your marriage than it is with your friend’s marriage. You set yourself up as the “savior” for her, which must give you an incredible amount of power and esteem that you don’t feel in your own life, while justifying everything on the condition of happiness within marriage…maybe you are trying to justify your own actions within your marriage?

    3. When someone is in a relationship with children, for the sake of the children, they have a duty to make the relationship work (unless there is a case of physical, emotional abuse, or some kind of illegal activity). To leave a marriage and a father because he looks at the computer screen is ridiculous.

    The fact is, if you would step outside your Mormon hyper-spiritual bubble for a second, you would realize that p0rnography is not even illegal; but, making your kids suffer, simply because you (that is, your friend) would be less morally socially accepted by her acquaintances (not being able to go to the temple, not having FHE every monday, not having her husband at Church every Sunday) and being jealous of computer women -should be

    Robot — June 23, 2005 @ 5:46pm
  127. I have to comment from a male perspective about porn and masturbation vs. the pleasure from a real relationship, because some here seem to be equating the two. As I’ve commented elsewhere in the Bloggernacle, I’m pro-masturbation as a normal adolescent / single adult activity. It is kind of obvious that if a woman is inexperienced going into marriage, having successfully masturbated helps her communicate to hubby what works and what doesn’t for her. Also, my kids say Bishops don’t ask about it anymore, so the church has loosened up on it too. All that said, at least for me, sex is a quantum leap better than masturbation. Not counting phone sex with a lover while traveling, I don’t recall masturbating while in a relationship. I suspect that is true for a lot of guys.

    Nonna,
    Has your orgasmically challenged friend tried testosterone cream and/or an estrogen/testosterone shot? I had a gf once that swore by them, although I often wondered if it was just a placebo effect w/ her. Granted she was only ~20, but those methods might work for older gals too.

    Steve EM — June 23, 2005 @ 5:55pm
  128. Steve, the last i heard she had decided it was her wifely duty to participate though she didn’t get much out of it. Can you imagine any man staying in a relationship and having sex without having orgasms? Would he make that sacrifice for his eternal family?

    phone sex is fun and so is mutual masturbation…but ideally with a spouse….you just get attached to other things and other people if you don’t limit your orgams to the person your married to.

    but orgasms are orgasms and i’ll have them one way or another, if he’s willing to help GREAT if not, i can do it myself….i wish my “sister” had the same perspective

    Nonna U. Beesenis — June 23, 2005 @ 7:30pm
  129. Miranda (125):

    Your notion of male fixation on visual stimulation leaves you hard pressed to explain the success of the phone sex industry. You state that a woman should play the temptress — a classically mysogynistic stereotype — in order to please her husband. This is like asking a black man to conform to a racist stereotype for the pleasure of a plantation owner.

    Come on, Miranda. Both of these statements are fallacious. The following three statements are all compatible:
    1. Men are more likely than women to be turned on by visual stimuli. (Note: not saying this is true, only that it does not logically contradict the other two statements.)
    2. Men prefer visual stimuli to aural stimuli (eg phone sex)
    3. The phone sex business is thriving.

    As for your “comparison” equating a marriage with a master/slave dynamic, it’s flat out ridiculous, and, despite the terrible difficulty your friend is going through, completely out of all proportion. She is not a slave on a plantation, no matter how much you might imagine her to be, no matter how much she is actually suffering (and I don’t doubt that she is suffering real, heartwrenching anguish).

    Straight Talk couched his(?) suggestions as things “you might want to try”–not as orders from a plantation owner to a slave. If a woman is interested in remaining in the marriage, maybe she would like to try some of ST’s suggestions. Maybe not. ST explicitly notes that if a woman doesn’t want to do these things, she’s not to be held responsible, and the man is not off the hook for his own sins.

    In my experience, men and women don’t know much about each other’s sexuality innately–it pretty much all has to be learned (whether from books or from each other). ST is advocating such learning, and since you started the thread essentially asking for advice for a woman, ST was responding with advice for a woman. My impression was that he was providing the man’s point of view (what else could he provide?!?) in a sincere, non-judgmental attempt at explaining the other side of the issue.

    Justin H — June 23, 2005 @ 9:20pm
  130. I like DKL.

    annegb — June 24, 2005 @ 6:57am
  131. “Men need porn because they are such lousy lovers, especially Mormon men.” Sound like she has a problem relationship to me. Doesn’t sound like she was speaking rhetorically, or guessing. Sounded like personal experience to me.

    annegb — June 24, 2005 @ 7:01am
  132. Steve (FSF) — the Church has not loosened up on masturbation. I attended a stake meeting not too long ago where this was described as an epidemic among youth. The Church does not condone this behavior. Describing something as “natural” does not give you an out. Fornication as a teenager is natural, but not good. Masturbation falls into this same category. The natural man is an enemy to God. Please don’t justify sin. We all have weaknesses and it may take us time to get over them, but that doesn’t make them right.

    Nonna, you sound like you are speaking more from personal experience. Making generalizations based on personal experience is neither proper nor accurate, and probably contributes to the resistance you are encountering here. I know plenty of men that would take the challenge you describe because they love their families and, more importantly, love God more.

    Daniel — June 24, 2005 @ 10:12am
  133. I’m overwhelmed by your responses on this thread. I really admire the honesty and candor with which so many people have commented here, even those of you that I’ve disagreed with sharply.

    Mark, it is far more offensive to say that Jews are cheap money grubbers than to say that Koreans are. Both smears are racist, but the first smear relies on an entrenched racist stereotype that embodies centuries of oppression. The second smear does not. Insulting a Jew in that way adds insult to injury by dredging up the images of centuries of brutal racism and tacitly approving of it. The same principle applies with the insults that you’ve hypothetically slung at Mormon women. Classically misogynistic accusations hold a much deeper meaning when used against a woman. And it is impossible to make comparable insults to men, since they’ve never been subjugated for their masculinity. So even if we assume that Nonna is wrong, her opinion is far less offensive than your hypothetical insults. But Nonna’s opinion about general male sexuality is largely born out.

    Justin, everything stimulates men. Emphasizing visual stimulation is silly. And nowhere do I equate “marriage with a master/slave dynamic.” The exalted angel and slutty temptress are two of the sharpest arrows in the patriarchal quiver of stereotypes. Men have bludgeoned women with them for millennia. Any man who asks a women to play-act these roles must be prepared to accept that she may feel like he is trying to bury her femininity beneath the mountain of our culture’s history of cruelty. I believe that a black person is entitled to feel this way about the role that I mention above.

    Straigth Talk’s mode of suggestion sounds quite natural to you, Justin, because you already unquestionably accept the behavior as acceptable. If Straight Talk were proposing to you that “you might want to try” homosexuality, then I doubt you’d find it to be nearly so innocent. It’s the saturation of our culture with sexist assumptions that allows suggestions like Straight Talk’s to sound reasonable to the average listener.

    Miranda PJ — June 24, 2005 @ 6:33pm
  134. I have to say, Miranda, that you are quite a conundrum. You say in the original post that you don’t share the same revulsion that many women do to that type of media, yet you react violently to Straight Talk’s extremely tame suggestions. I agree that his attitude is offensive (the phrase “pretend you are the one calling the shots” particularly grates on my ears) but the response to his suggestions seems all out of proportion. What exactly is your objection? His underlying assumption that the burden rests on the woman (which, again, I agree is offensive) or is it something else entirely?

    NFlanders — June 24, 2005 @ 6:54pm
  135. NFlanders, you raise a very good question. It sounds like we are on the same page, but that the expression I’ve given to my feelings on porn are too fragmentary to prompt a good understanding. I do not find pornography repugnant, per se. But I do find some porn to be offensive. Most porn simply depicts a make believe sexual utopia in which men and women alike are able to give each other sexual pleasure in an environment in which nobody tires, everybody is healthy and well groomed, and there are no consequences whatever. This is the brand of porn that I am not repulsed by, and this is a far cry from the kind of points that Straight Talk is making.

    Miranda PJ — June 24, 2005 @ 7:08pm
  136. Err … Mark, it is far more offensive to say that Jews are cheap money grubbers than to say that Koreans are. do you have much Korean history? The invasions, the pains, the expulsion of all asians from several African countries as parasites?

    Stephen M (Ethesis) — June 24, 2005 @ 7:21pm
  137. Miranda, gosh, where to start? While I agree that it is important to retain historical perspective, I also think the “centuries of oppression” schtick gets tiresome. Not because it isn’t often true, it’s just that it is used without any sense of proportion. Oppression can mean anything from pogroms and Buchenwald to feeling dissed because a stranger didn’t smile at me. Can we agree that, while the mostly college educated, white mormon women who read this blog are sometimes entitled to feel their lives are made more difficult by their church or society at large, the oppression they feel does not rise to the level that jews or black people are entitled to feel? I hope so, because it would be silly to cotinue a discussion about why mo’ women can’t get no satisfaction in the bedroom in the context of slavery or the Holocaust! In short, while there are negative historical constructs and assumptions at work here, I think your use of terms like oppression and brutality is overdone, and unwarranted.

    I guess I did use some hyperbole in my previous post, and it probably sounded like hypothetical insults. Let me try again, and this time I’ll try to be less inflammatory. I think that many women, especially LDS women, should take more responsibility for their own sexuality. When we assert that our lack of sexual response is because our partner is a lousy lover, we are often making excuses. And I think it is a cop-out for a man to excuse his use of prawn by saying his wife is non-responsive.

    Finally, I’m mildly surprised that no other men reacted as strongly to Nonna’s opinions as I, and there are lots of men who read this blog, You may be right when you say that “it is impossible to make comparable insults to men, since they’ve never been subjugated for their masculinity.” Well, that might be the reason. Or, maybe it is because us guys are so everlastingly good natured!

    Mark — June 25, 2005 @ 11:09am
  138. Miranda: Emphasizing visual stimulation is silly.
    Fair enough. But citing the success of the phone sex industry to imply that visual stimuli are no big deal for men is silly, too. That’s what I was responding to.

    Miranda: Any man who asks a women to play-act these roles must be prepared to accept that she may feel like he is trying to bury her femininity beneath the mountain of our culture’s history of cruelty.
    Again, I agree, since this statement is much more reasonable than . The key here is that you seem to be assuming that ST’s hypothetical man is never prepared to accept this, and that ST’s hypothetical woman is always going to feel oppressed by this. It seems that you’re projecting your personal experience and attitudes onto women in general, and that sort of reasoning doesn’t hold. What gives you the right to speak for my wife, or her friends–all college educated, many with grad degrees, all self-identified feminists, all LDS–who enjoy “putting on a show” for their men?

    Miranda: Straigth [sic] Talk’s mode of suggestion sounds quite natural to you, Justin, because you already unquestionably accept the behavior as acceptable.
    No, not unquestioningly. I readily admit that ST’s suggestions will neither appeal to nor work for everyone–female or male–reading. I am totally with you that some women will feel that ST’s suggestions will be offensive and demeaning to some readers. But please note that ST was offering suggestions, not edicts nor condemnations. ST’s post places accountability clearly on men for their choices and actions. ST does not condemn women who feel uncomfortable doing any of his(?) suggestions. You seem unwilling to even entertain the possibility that some wome–in possession of their own reason, faculties, and selfhood–might feel secure enough in who they are to try some of ST’s suggestions–and to even like or want to try them or incorporate them into their sex lives.

    Miranda: If Straight Talk were proposing to you that “you might want to try” homosexuality, then I doubt you’d find it to be nearly so innocent.
    I realize that there is a great deal of discomfort surrounding homosexuality in our culture, but you’re barking up the wrong tree here. I can honestly say that homosexuality doesn’t bother me one bit. If ST or anyone else proposed to me that I might want to try homosexuality, I would not feel oppressed, uncomfortable, or offended (although I know some would). If the suggestion were offered in the tone in which ST’s suggestions here were, I would just decline–as all women are free to do with ST’s suggestions.

    Justin H — June 25, 2005 @ 12:54pm
  139. You base your friend’s actions on her happiness, but do you honestly believe that your friend will be happier as a divorced, single mother? Do you understand how incredibly lonely it is to be divorced? Does she realize how difficult it is to ever remarry (or have any kind of social life) when she is older and is raising children? I don’t understand how divorcing someone who isn’t doing anything even illegal or abusive will make her happier? She’ll just be exchanging something bad for something worse.

    That is only true for about 95% of the population.

    I was reluctant to put it quite so bluntly, but I’ve seen too much of that.

    One of the lectures I got in law school was about a client an attonrey got a “good” divorce for and how she never forgave him and how he didn’t now how to fix it afterwards. It has given me a lot of pause.

    Now I’m aware of abuse. There is a reason I did so much volunteer work and so much pro bono, most of it divorces for the Legal Services Corp. and all of it involving abuse. Those women were better off not being sold to pay off their husband’s prison debts, not being beaten with loaded shotguns, not being chained up like a dog in the yard …

    But I also saw a lot of people, once they had kids, who were so much worse off. Many very bitter that it isn’t easier to “trade up.”

    My own brother’s ex-wife left him to trade up and years later got mad at him when he remarried because she hadn’t succeeded at it yet and felt he had a duty to stay single so she could come back. Sigh.

    Anyway, other than starter marriage divorces without kids, and socialites with more money than the Rothschilds, there is a lot of pain and loss available in a divorce.

    Stephen M (Ethesis) — June 25, 2005 @ 6:19pm
  140. Start paying attention to the women you know, many of them don’t get orgasms out of intercourse.

    Now should Miranda’s friend divorce over a husband’s porno problem? That’s kind of extreme but I wish she would engage in dirty CHAT or phone calls to get even before she pulls the plug…just to give him a taste of the insulting hurtful behavior!

    That’s not very Christ-like I admit but it would certainly be educational to the selfish man who loves porno but likely doesn’t know how to satisfy a real woman because he’s so used to actresses who pretend intercourse sends them into ecstasy.

    Nonna U. Beesenis — June 27, 2005 @ 1:01pm
  141. […] ne 27, 2005 Aaron @ 8:04 pm I kept meaning to comment on Miranda’s post on divorce. But now there’s so many comments I’m afraid the important things I have […]

  142. Wow! I leave for four days and come back to see myself torn-up, defended, torn-up, and defended. I don’t know where to start… First, I appreciate Miranda’s intellect and open-mindedness enough to know that if she misunderstood me as much as I sense she did, then I probably didn’t develop my post well enough to begin with.

    Unfortunately in post #101, paragraphs numbered 1-8 and the final paragraph went largely by the wayside. My discussion about guys and porn were really contained in points 1-8. There, I was concentrating on porn in all its misery.

    Changing gears…

    Now, Miranda, read this carefully and concentrate while you read. Sometimes we jump so quickly to conclusions that we don’t actually read something well enough to understand the author’s intent. Maybe I can clarify and we can come to some points of agreement.

    First, can you agree at a basic level with this simple statement: “Sometimes porn is just poor substitute for a guy who has gotten a little bored with his sex life.”?

    Emphasize the word “sometimes”, as it was used deliberately. Specifically note that this basic statement does not place blame for boredom.

    Now, recognizing that boredom of any type does not justify the use of porn, I state, “… it doesn’t justify his behavior… ” At this point, I probably should have developed this further. I probably should have explicitly stated that guys are fully responsible for any use of porn. The responsibility is fully theirs (unless, rightly so, you choose to also blame the misogynistic society they were raised in). Actually misogynistic is defined in my dictionary as “of or characterized by a hatred of women”. That is perhaps just a teeny bit too strong. Perhaps I should use, “the historically (and currently) repressive, male-centric, female-exploiting, and female-marginalizing society”. … And don’t even get me started on the church and how it lives in a time warp where males and females are taught to play the male-dominate roles that were in place in the early 1800’s. —A contemporary Little House on the Prairie. But I digress…

    Now, having clearly started that wives bear absolutely no responsibility of any kind for any use of porn by their husband, let’s remove porn from the statement above. Can you agree with the following statement: “Sometimes a husband can get a little bored with his sex life.”? Again, this basic statement does not place blame for boredom. And while parts 1-8 were written to women, and I continued writing to women, I should again develop this more. Can you agree with this statement: “Sometimes a wife can get a little bored with her sex life.”? How about: “Sometimes a husband and a wife have a sex life that sucks.”? Or: “Sometimes sex can suck for one spouse and still meet the needs of the other spouse.”? Is that inclusive enough? Can you agree that couples need to continue to develop their sexual intimacy even if things are going well?

    Recognizing that sexual intimacy is a growing process, I continued and said the following:
    Is this part self-centered?

    Does “If your motive is to give your spouse sexual pleasure out of love for your spouse, that’s the right idea. If your motive is to push your spouse for the sake of your own pleasure, that’s wrong.” sound misogynistic? Is this not an attitude that would make males less “male-centric”? Is this not the absolute opposite of what you term “male-centric”? Does this statement not center on being focused on your partners pleasure and not your own? Is this not “partner-centric”? –What Nonna states LDS males need to become? Should not both be “partner-centric” in this way? This allows you to “grow together and have open communication”.

    When you are “partner-centric”, you actually seek ways to bring pleasure to your partner (but always within your own comfort level). And BOTH spouses should do this. You see, you read the post in a “this-is-what-this-guy-says-women-should-do-to-because-it’s-their-duty-to-please-their-man” type way. Wrong. I intentionally placed the “partner-centric” counsel where I did for a reason. –Now, remember that I was writing to women. And, I had to consider that a woman who was reading it might actually think “Hey, this partner-centric-while-staying-within-your-own-limits-stuff might have some value.” And that might even lead to a question about what kind of things might turn her husband on. –So I threw out a few ideas that a woman might consider (and then may or may not do based on her comfort levels and her knowledge of her husband). If I had been writing to guys, in a “you should expect your wife to do this” way, then all your criticism would be richly deserved. But I wasn’t. I was not setting up expectations of any kind.

    If I were writing to guys, I would start with the same quotes about serving your wife both in life and love. I would list things that guys might consider to increase their spouse’s sexual and emotional enjoyment. And while I think I could come up with quite a list, it would be what a guy thinks a woman would find to be an emotional and sexual turn-on. And it doesn’t seem fitting for a guy to generate that list. –That would be too male-centric. Miranda, maybe you might give that one a try for us.

    I hope I have clarified myself to some degree.

    As I bring this to a close, I leave you with first line of my final paragraph:
    “Lastly, communication and commitment is the key to everything.” —Everything.

    Straight Talk — June 28, 2005 @ 3:14pm
  143. Well put S.T.. I have enjoyed this thread and M-PJ might finally understand what you meant. As a woman, I think your point was not demeaning, but empowering.

    Sara — June 28, 2005 @ 5:31pm
  144. Straight Talk, I checked out after, “Now, Miranda, read this carefully and concentrate while you read.” I haven’t formed any conclusions about your arguments or your intent based on this statement, and I don’t begrudge you your opinions or your thoughtful expression of them. But your statement invites me to form some pretty severe conclusions about you.

    Miranda PJ — June 29, 2005 @ 5:07pm
  145. MPJ
    That same paragraph explained why I placed that line. Holy hypersensitive knee-jerk reaction. What a cop-out. I over-estimated you.

    Straight Talk — June 29, 2005 @ 10:50pm
  146. ST, you talk to her like she’s five and you expect her to continue the dialogue?

    Laura — June 30, 2005 @ 9:39am
  147. Don’t worry about it ST. You had no idea MirandaPJ would turn from a tough, hard-charging feminist to an over-sensitive female overnight. In hindsight you shouldn’t be surprised. I am sure she is a liberated feminist Monday-Saturday and suddenly turns into an obedient male-governed parishioner on Sunday. My bet is that Miranda read your last post (142), realized she misread your first post (101), and didn’t have the courage to own up to it.

    Lurch — June 30, 2005 @ 4:21pm
  148. Straight Talk, if you really aspire to be a straight shooter, you should refrain from trying to buttress your position by commenting under an alias.

    Miranda PJ — June 30, 2005 @ 4:55pm
  149. No need for that Miranda. Good guess anyway. Since we are speculating, my $5 guess is that your alter-ego is Nonna. But, maybe not. Who knows? Anyway, if I were an admin, I would delete Lurch’s comments. It doesn’t add anything to any of this. Lurch can be that way.

    I get enough satisfaction from the fact that the blogger that I respect the most, Jenn, seemed to understand my point. That is enough to have made it worth the effort. And it seems like Justin H actually read it as it was written and understood the tone that was implied. –Especially the degree to which I qualified my statements . It appears that you read it through the eyes of someone with somewhat of a chip on her shoulder due to multiple unfortunate experiences with typical guys, and because of that you never read it as it was written. Any attempt to explain myself would have required you to concentrate enough to overcome the preconceived notions you probably would have been looking to support. However, I am not above apologizing for what came across as a condescending tone. My sincere apologies. The sad thing is that we all missed out on what probably would have been a good reply from you to my post. Our loss.

    Straight Talk — June 30, 2005 @ 6:15pm
  150. Here’s a good link about Pornography, It’s Causes, and LDS Thought from Sunstone

    Lurch — July 3, 2005 @ 3:45pm
  151. Hope your friend is alright.

    Stephen M (Ethesis) — September 3, 2005 @ 1:30am
  152. Thanks for reminding me to make an update, Stephen. After a short period of separation, they’re trying to make their marriage work. They are in marriage counseling, and he’s getting counseling himself. He is staying in the church.

    This is still very difficult for her. She has an outlook closer to Rosalynde’s than to mine, so she can’t get passed the feeling that her husband is damaged goods. His pride is one of their main challenges. It surfaces as resentment for what he considers to be her self-rightious attitude. Maybe they’re long term prospects are fine. For the moment, their life together remains a disaster.

    Miranda PJ — September 3, 2005 @ 9:33am
  153. Thanks for reminding me to make an update, Stephen. After a short period of separation, they’re trying to make their marriage work. They are in marriage counseling, and he’s getting counseling himself. He is staying in the church.

    I’m so sorry she buys into the entire “damaged goods” mindset, and that his pride overcomes him, and I surely hope they are able to succeed in counselling. Thanks for the update.

    Stephen M (Ethesis) — September 4, 2005 @ 7:35pm
  154. 140–”start paying attention to the women you know” Uh, okay, I’ll sit in church and wonder who has had an orgasm lately.

    annegb — September 6, 2005 @ 10:21am
  155. …she can’t get passed the feeling that her husband is damaged goods. His pride is one of their main challenges. It surfaces as resentment for what he considers to be her self-rightious attitude.

    Miranda PJ, maybe this has already been worked over, and we are just splitting hairs now. But if she truly does consider him to be damaged goods, it is not his perception of her self-righteousness that is the problem. She actually is self-righteous.

    To put it another way - one solution would be for them both to acknowledge that they are both “damaged goods”. All fall short, no unclean thing, etc. Everybody needs forgiveness, all the time. It is probably really hard for her as the offended party, but I don’t see anything good happening until she develops the ability to look upon her husband with love. Maybe that is too much for her, though.

    I know a couple who divorced 12 years ago, as a result of the husbands adultery. He lost his membership, but was then rebaptized four years later, and is now living in another state, remarried, active in the church, and relatively happy. She, on the other hand, continues to be very bitter and resentful. She is disaffected from the church because she can’t believe the church let him back into fellowship after only four years. You can’t talk to her for more than 5 minutes without hearing what a rotten SOB her ex is. While the adultery was no doubt very hurtful, she has done most of the damage herself. Failure to forgive really is one of the worst sins.

    Mark — September 6, 2005 @ 11:50am
  156. annegb, you’re hysterical. I’d love to know the conclusions that your mental deliberations lead to.

    Mark, he should be a bit more grateful for the fact that she’s willing to work with him through all of these problems.

    Miranda PJ — September 6, 2005 @ 12:32pm
  157. Miranda PJ, you are right - they should both be grateful. I didn’t mean to sound sismissive of her concerns.

    However, I do think that any human being, male or female, who looks upon any other human being as damaged goods has a pride problem of his or her own. Fair enough?

    Mark — September 6, 2005 @ 8:56pm
  158. If my husband got addicted to porn, he’d be damaged goods because I would go at him with a baseball bat.

    I wish I could say that nobody would suspect me of having evil thoughts in sacrament meeting, the gray haired lady looking serenely around thinking of scriptures, but I’m pretty sure everybody figures I’m up to something.

    annegb — September 7, 2005 @ 11:02am
  159. All relationships are about power, especially two person relationships because you cannot have a democracy with two people. I mean, what’ll you do with one up vote and one down vote? Obviously they haven’t worked out who was in charge BEFORE the marriage. Now, I’m not a chauvinist supporter because either partner could be in charge. They just need to be on the same page.

    However, if you are going to discuss bishop, temple, and church in the same article, then here is a quote from the Old Testament (or Torah) from Genesis 3:16; Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you. If you are an atheist, either party can be in charge, but if you are a Christian or a Jew, then the leader in a marriage should be… surprise! The man.

    Regarding divorce, from Matthew 5:30; But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery. Malachi 2:16; I hate divorce,” says the LORD God of Israel. Since adultery is one of the 10 commandments as a mortal and abominable sin, she is going straight to hell. Since porn is not listed in the bible as a sin and divorce (in this situation) is, I’d say that he is right and she is wrong… clear as day. Unless you’re an atheist, if you were her true friend, you’d counsel them to stay together.

    Lilly — September 9, 2005 @ 9:58am
  160. By the way, he probably wouldn’t look at porn if she performed her wifely duty and had sex with him everyday. I mean, you said that he no longer looked at porn the first few months of marriage. That’s the honeymoon, when most couples have daily sex. So, he didn’t look at porn when he had daily sex, eh? Just tell your friend to do her duty and he will not look at porn anymore.

    Lilly — September 9, 2005 @ 10:03am
  161. annegb, if you hit him in the right place with the baseball bat, you’d be sure to cure his addiction.

    Miranda PJ — September 9, 2005 @ 4:42pm
  162. :) Miranda, do you know, as much as I bellyache about my husband, he is really quite a good guy. I trust him implicitly, he would just never do that, and not out of fear either. Although I’m pretty sure he’s scared of me, although he’s 6′4 and I’m 5′3″ LOL, men are so easy.

    Hey, you guys, do you think Lilly is a real person? I am wondering about all the people on the blog who come across sounding self-righteous (I do, and I am a real person), but I wonder if there are a lot of “Prudences” out there, just playing with us.

    Except for Septimus, who is immensely entertaining, although I wonder sometimes if somebody’s life could be that interesting.

    annegb — September 9, 2005 @ 9:45pm
  163. Lilly’s too blunt even for me. Gotta be another Prudence Brown.

    Steve EM — September 12, 2005 @ 6:50pm
  164. annegb, you are too funny. Lol on comment #154. Now I’m going to be wondering the same thing at church, thanks a lot!

    I think Lilly is a false name but I’m thinking it could be someone’s real beliefs but hiding their true identity. They’re tone is just not humorous enough to be tongue-in-cheek.

    kristen j — September 13, 2005 @ 4:29pm
  165. I mostly agree with Straight Talk. Thanks for the comments ST. I think that, with the exception of Anne and Lilly perhaps, the ladies on this thread need to lighten up a little. Why is spicing things up so oppressive to women? You talk as if sex were a chore you are slaves to instead of a wonderful, exciting fulfilling act that both parties should love and seek after.
    Men are not dirty, base creatures that women have to put up with. Men have a high sex drive for a reason, and in today’s porn filled society it can be a real struggle for many men (in the church and out) to remain unspotted from the filth.
    I think a wife who realizes this, doesn’t judge or condemn, and helps their partner feel fulfilled so the temptations are lessened, is doing a wonderful thing.
    A person’s unrighteous pride in labeling someone “damaged goods” for a common weakness/struggle does not seem to me to be the better person.

    Karter — October 7, 2005 @ 3:18pm

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