Penny for your thoughts {Christ's Light}

Let's see how a new page looks on the ol' blog! I'm not completely sure how it goes, but for some assignments in class we have been asked to become child and family advocates, which if we are being honest I felt like I already was.  Children are my passion and family is what makes life worth living so how can you not be an advocate?
As for the homework side of things (I don't really think of this as homework) I was asked to talk about something that has been destroying families and the topic given was pornography.  I wrote a paper on it using resources that were only from  The site is great to say the least! Anyways it isn't the best most refined paper, but it gets my point across in the quickest way possible. Enjoy this penny :)

The Bark Beetle of Today
Hailey S. Paul
Brigham Young University Idaho

The Sneaky Attack of Pornography
President Thomas S. Monson (2001) said, “In our private forest of family and friends, life is richly rewarding and abundantly beautiful.  Then suddenly, there appears before us in this generation a sinister and diabolical enemy—pornography.”  In this same talk President Monson makes a reference to elm trees and how elm trees stand strong, but there is a destroyer that is harmless in appearance yet deadly in the result that it brings.  This “destroyer” is the bark beetle.  The bark beetle slowly diminishes the tree down starting with the smaller branches at the top and continuing down to larger branches until it has not only destroyed that one tree, but the whole forest.  Just like the destroyer today, Satan takes things that seem harmless and turns them into damaging pieces of wreckage that destroys the family and the person with the addiction.  
Satan sets out the net and patiently entices us to come closer to what he desires us to do. As soon as we step onto the net we are so far into the addiction that we feel caught in his trap, unable to get out. R. Conrad Schultz (2002) said the following about Satan and his sneak attacks, “One of the sneaky ploys of the adversary is to have us believe that unquestioning obedience to the principles and commandments of God is blind obedience.”  While Satan works day in and day out for us to believe his lie we need to work hard day in and day out to learn from God for ourselves that our obedience to Him is for our benefit and gain. If we follow God in blind obedience, as Satan would have us believe, then we are not following God out of faith, we are following Him out of obligation or tradition.  When we blindly follow God, lacking a firm testimony, Satan’s influence becomes strong and his crafty deceptions become harder to identify.  
Believing Satan is what leads us to the deadly trap of pornography. Satan uses the trap of addiction to ensure that we are not worthy for the many blessings that God wants to give us.  Satan is jealous of the mortal lives we have and most of all jealous that we have bodies when he does not.  If the Great Destroyer can do anything to stain or depreciate our value of human bodies he will do just that.  He will take the body of women and men and turn them into objects for others to view, disrespectfully and ill-mannered. 

Affects on the Family and Others Involved
“But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). This scripture can apply to both men and women as pornography affects both genders.  Pornography affects the family because the spouse in a way may feel betrayed because once the husband or wife has viewed pornography it is a form of adultery.  When we have thought about a sin we have already committed it in our hearts as was mentioned in the scripture. We need to be clean in what we view to keep the relationship with our spouse or significant-other pure. This can change the way trust is felt in the relationship.  Trust may be broken because of what has happened and the couple will need to work hard together to build that trust back and keep their relationship strong. Satan tries to break the relationships apart using a clever technique that ensnares individuals and captures them in the net, most times without them knowing how stuck they are. Only Christ-like love can effectively heal broken hearts, and free loved ones from the snares of the adversary.
Pornography can threaten to tear a family apart if the threat is not handled in a way that would help the family protect itself against the harm it causes. Many men and women who struggle with pornography addiction hide it from their significant-other in the hopes that they can handle it themselves or with the fear of what others will think and how they will react. When a couple can talk about the issue and support each other in moving towards what God wants them to be the challenge feels more manageable rather than a net they will forever be caught in. 
One way that couples choose to handle a pornography addiction within a relationship is to talk about it, but if one individual only expresses their hurt feelings and lack of trust, the resulting desire to change by the other individual will stem only from a feeling of guilt rather than a feeling of optimism and encouragement. As time goes on the person will not change and their significant-other will feel more and more hurt.  The couple will slowly drift apart and won’t be able to bring themselves back together. 
Another way that a pornography addiction may be handled within a relationship is to communicate about the issue by mutually expressing how it hurts them and why.  They can then move into how it makes the person with the addiction feel. They work together to use the atonement for forgiveness and healing in the relationship.  The one without the addiction lovingly encourages the other to keep being strong and reading their scriptures.  Eventually the couple will build up walls that the adversary cannot break through.  They are then strong in each other and in the Lord who has cleansed their relationship and made it so they can keep their relationship pure and clean through Him. 

Pornography and The Great Plan
Pornography can greatly affect our life and how we move through The Plan of Salvation. Pornography affects our families, our home lives, our work lives, our bodies, but most importantly it affects our very spirit. Pornography has tried and succeeded at destroying many families and lives throughout the years. Pornography isn’t something that is newly affecting the world it is just something that is becoming more known and threatening to everyone.  It affects the presence spirit we have, the spirit that lived with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, the spirit who so greatly wants us to choose the right and be spiritually and physically healthy.  Unfortunately, the natural man has a different idea of what makes us happy and satisfied.  The thing about natural man is it can be controlled and with the help of those who love us and most importantly our Heavenly Father, who loves more than anyone can or has loved us, we can overcome those natural man tendencies. 
Heavenly Father wants us to return to live with Him for forever. With His great Plan of Happiness we can be just that, happy. He has given us the atonement through the sacrifice of His Son.  We need to use that sacrifice to become clean again, and others will use it to see us as clean too. To keep on the right path in The Plan of Salvation we shouldn’t wait to fix the addiction, we should take steps to prevent it from ever entering our doors. 
Dallin H. Oaks (2005) said, “Pornographic or erotic stories and pictures are worse than filthy or polluted food. The body has defenses to rid itself of unwholesome food. With a few fatal exceptions, bad food will only make you sick but do no permanent harm. In contrast, a person who feasts upon filthy stories or pornographic or erotic pictures and literature records them in this marvelous retrieval system we call a brain. The brain won’t vomit back filth. Once recorded, it will always remain subject to recall, flashing its perverted images across your mind and drawing you away from the wholesome things in life.”
If we prevent pornography from ever entering our doors even our minds we can keep our mind clean and pure from the bad images that pornography can engrain in our minds. To protect our minds, spouses, children, and homes we should always stay close to God and what He wants us to do. We should do the basics such as, scripture reading, praying, and going to church.  Beyond the basics we should go above what God tells us in primary answers, serving others, seeking out those in need of help, and asking God what He would have us do that day. 
Pornography is a destructive force that is spreading around the globe. We need to be aware of the causes and aware of how we can fortify our homes and families. I know that if we stay close to God He will help those that are in need of it and He will help us to see “the bark beetle of today”, avoiding its parasitic destruction before it begins. I believe that everyone has a trial that they may be going through, but no matter how hard the trial or how big the sin the atonement allows us to become clean again and to become the person that our Heavenly Father sees and knows us to be. 

Dallin H. Oaks (April 2005). Pornography. Retrieved from 
R. Conrad Schultz (April 2002). Faith obedience. Retrieved from 
Thomas S. Monson (July 2001). Pornography the deadly carrier. Retrieved from
(Scripture cited in text Matthew 5:28)

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