LDS Church Tackles 'Pornography Addiction'

By McCarton Ackerman 08/26/14

A new video released by the Mormon Church hopes to curb the growing problem of porn addiction among its faithful.

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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is putting their energy towards stamping out pornography, claiming that it’s addictive and the work of Satan.

The Mormon Church has released a new video titled Overcoming Pornography Addiction: The Healing Power of Jesus Christ and included resources on its website about how to recover from pornography addiction. Several therapists and clinics in Utah County, considered to be the heart of the LDS community, also claim to specialize in working with clients to overcome addictions to porn.

"It is difficult to overcome. It's different than drugs or alcohol. We can put you in a room and clean your body of those," said Dr. Russell Gaede of the Life Enhancement Center in Provo. "Porn is in the brain. You carry it 24/7 and you can access it any time. It’s like a wave in the ocean. A mile out it may start out as a little tremor and it gets bigger and bigger.”

Adam Moore, clinical director of Utah Valley Counseling in Provo, said that nearly 80% of those who come to his clinic have some sort of sexual addiction. He rejected the notion that viewing porn is normal, believing instead that it destroys families and corrupts youth.

"It is becoming more and more known that compulsive sexual behaviors are damaging to relationships. It's a huge problem in Utah County,” he said. "The challenge kids face is the porn now days is not the same. It is more violent and deviant and they have instant access."

The LDS Chuch also utilizes a 12-Step program for its addicts that’s based on the program used by Alcoholics Anonymous. The programs are run by trained church service missionaries, but stress the same importance of anonymity in their meetings.

However, the church has disregarded the fact pornography addiction is not recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and does not consider it to be a mental health problem. The American Society of Addiction Medicine recognized “sexual behavior addiction” in 2011, but does not explicitly include porn addiction.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.