Thursday, September 10, 2015

a conference to fight "the new drug"

I'm re-posting my post about the annual "Building Strong Families" post from a couple years back.

Because it's coming up again THIS WEEKEND and I'm sure it will be pretty amazing...all kinds of tips and resources for "fighting the new drug" which is pornography. 

And my thoughts are exactly the same as they were back then, so here you go:


I believe with all my heart in something very simple:  strong families are the building blocks of society. 

If we can create strong families, we have built-in units to raise up the future with love and compassion.  With strong families we can survive so much of the craziness that goes on in the world around us.  And parenting is key in this.  (I wrote all about my strong feelings on this in a semi-controversial blog post back HERE if you'd like to read it.)

I believe that our world is a good one.  There are so many wonderful people striving to do what is right and light.  But there is also much darkness and corruption in the world that we need to be aware of and fight against.  If we don't take a strong stand for families and raising our children to be the best they can be, it is so easy to slip a little here or a little there until we are in the darkness and we wonder how in the world we got there.  It's so easy to think "oh I guess that is ok because the other neighbor kids are doing it and I trust their parents," or "I guess that television show is ok, not exactly my standards but kind of funny..." blah blah blah. 

If we all slip quietly down the slippery slope making excuses for not looking up and going the other direction, it doesn't take long to let go of a few things here and there that we realize too late that we should have held a vice grip on.

Deliberate parents can raise up children to be noble leaders, to make good choices, to be honest in all their dealings, to not be ashamed to push a different direction from that often slippery slope of justifications.  

But it's not usually the easy road.   

And often not the popular one either.

There is a conference this weekend with a goal is to fight pornography.  And sometimes it seems that pornography is taking over the world.  

There are all kinds of statistics that show how pornography breaks up families.  It is heart-breaking.  It is powerful.  And I believe it's one of the strongest powers of the adversary.  I mean, really, if you wanted to break up a strong family unit, how smart is it to aim something tantalizing and addicting at a poor teenage boy who's curious hormones are raging?  Or at a husband who is tired and wants a little excitement?  And I'm not leaving women out...I know the statistics of women viewing pornography is growing quickly too.  Yes, if you wanted to break up a family, the pornography option sure is a smart one I tell you. 

This is one of the biggest reasons we sat down and made up a "technology contract" for our kids last year.  (You can find that back HERE.)  We are in unchartered territory with all this technology because it's bombarding us from every angle and we didn't grow up with it so it's so hard to know the best way to deal with it.  

I'm so excited to see what all these people have to say about it all this weekend.  I'll take any advice I can get.  There is also much more information HERE (interesting "5 simple truths" there) and HERE (resources and tips for critical conversations). 

Us parents need to have deliberate, sometimes seemingly awkward talks with our kids.  ALL THE TIME.  We need to have open communication with them and let them know WHY.  The ins and the outs.  And we need to be loving about it but also very blunt.  I believe in that with all my heart.  So boy howdy are Dave and I ever trying.  We never want to look back and say, "oh man, why weren't we open with our kids about that?  Why didn't we have the guts to discuss it?"

My parents spoke at that conference a couple years ago and it was pretty awesome.  I wrote my thoughts about that back HERE.

We missed it last year since we were in China, but I'm excited to get inspired again this year.

Here's all the information you need to know if you're close-by and want to attend:



So grateful for this group of people who put so much effort into putting this together to help fight for strong families and what it takes to keep them that way.

Whether we can attend this conference or not, may we all have the courage to talk openly about these things with our kids and help them be aware of the dangers of pornography and how it can affect them and our society.

May we set up action plans when it infiltrates into our homes (which it will, no doubt, despite all our efforts).

And may we all, single or married, child-less or overwhelmed-with-children-crawling-all-over-us, fight to keep families, the building blocks of society, strong and whole and good to the best of our abilities.

Strong families can change the world. 

16 comments:

  1. Fun to see you post this...Clay Olsen is my awesome cousin :)

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  2. I appreciate this post. My husband is currently fighting to take control of his pornography addiction, an addiction that unfortunately began when he was six years old. It started long before the internet, it started because his father bought magazines and his mother left them on the night stand. When the Bible mentions the sins of the father being passed on to the following generations? Yes, this would be an example. Can I place blame entirely on his parents, absolutely not. We must all stand and take accountability for our actions, for our choices. I can say however, it is extremely important to protect our children, it is extremely important to educate our children. We must equip them. I am not in AZ, I am not a member of the LDS church but I do encourage anyone who is able to attend conferences like this one. I will be praying many lives are touched and strengthened over the coming weekend, it's so important.

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  3. I don't this pornography is a drug; I think pornography is pornography. I hope all this anti-porno stuff from the church isn't code for negative talk about masturbation. I know that in the LDS church sex is for marriage. I hope they are positive and respectful of young people enjoying and learning about their bodies in private. No matter how busy you keep a kid with Eagle Scouts, varsity level sports, etc a teenage boy has a raging sex drive. No need to shame him for it.

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    1. You are so right, there is no need to shame a teenage boy for their sexuality. But it is possible to teach them higher standards and teach them to avoid pornography. My boys do not need to have their views of women and healthy sexuality altered by watching porn at impressionable ages. Teaching respect for women, for sexuality in general and teaching self control is my aim in teaching my children to avoid pornography like the plague.

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  4. Thanks for this! The hope, power, deliberateness in it give me courage when I think about raising my future children in a good world.

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  5. Have you ever seen the stats that the places that spend the most time fighting this (which is not new it's been around since the stone ages in various forms) have the highest use? Addiction is caused by shame. The less we dwell on this and realize what is *normal* the stronger families will be. It doesn't need to break up families by any means and mormons are some of the very few that actually see it as a marriage breaker -- thus breaking up families more than necessary. It's sad businesses like this start to prey on people's fears thus causing a worse problem than was there in the first place.

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    1. If you look at the science on pornography, it actually changes the brain especially in young brains. A pornography addiction can be harder to overcome than a heroine addiction. It can give unrealistic expectations of sex and women in general. I have 5 children and there is no shame involved in teaching them to avoid it and teaching them what it can do. It is degrading and I want my children to rise above those base desires.

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    2. I actually just returned from the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation put on the by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, and it was attended by leaders, scientists, therapists, lawyers, professors, academics, and non profits from every walk of life -- research, therapeutic, religious, non-religious, and every one of them were there because they're seeing the effects that pornography is having on children, culture, society, and the fueling of sex trafficking. It's most definitely not just a 'Mormon' thing.

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    3. While it's true that pornography has been around a long time, you have to see that the porn of today is VASTLY different than in previous times when you had to actually enter a store or someplace to purchase it and you were limited in what you could view. A never-ending stream of new and different and even extreme forms of porn is freely available to anyone with access to the internet. This is affecting our society in ways we don't fully understand yet and the social science will eventually bear this out but it takes time. In the meantime, we need to protect innocent children from having their view of sexuality warped by businesses trying to sell products and hook them for life. I agree with your point about shame feeding addictions but I would disagree that shame "causes" addiction. I would say that the "high" is what actually causes people to continue going after these substances/behaviors and porn definitely offers that. And to your point below, sex addiction is very real and people seek help for that all the time. Porn tends to be the first step down that path so why not try to help people stop before they get to the point where they are seeking pleasure from more and more risky/damaging sexual behaviors.

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  6. That "science" is hardly solid. It's not even listed as an addiction in the diagnoses manuals. Because something hits the pleasure centers of our brain and makes us desire more does not make it the same as a substance addiction. What people who preach that stuff don't tell you is that food, exercise, getting a right answer, all trigger those pleasure centers in the brain you mention with relation to heroin. An addiction is only such if it keeps one from holding down a job, taking care of themselves and living an every day life. How many times have you seen someone getting a hospital detox for porn? It's an "addiction" industry or viewpoint completely by religion and not nearly as big of a problem elsewhere. Do more reading.

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    1. Bobi, I won't argue with you, we obviously have differing viewpoints on this subject. But let me just say that I have seen men and women who choose porn over their spouses, families, jobs etc. I have seen it destroy families and people's careers and souls. It can damage lives and rip apart marriages. I have seen it with my own eyes. I have seen it be as much of an addiction as a drug addiction. That's all I will say about it, but I wanted to put that out there.

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  7. Since 19/20 users are over 18 why all the focus on kids? Adults trying to figure out how to keep kids away should probably be refocusing on how to keep themselves away. The 1/20 kids seeing it today don't make up the 19/20 that are using it 20 years from now.

    It's easier to get off heroin. It's easy to avoid a physical substance. You can be addicted to eating, or not eating, or exercise, or gambling or porn. The thing with porn is it's always in your mind. You can't forget what you saw and what effect it had on you. An image is a thought away. You can easily avoid having drugs or alcohol around. Behavioral addictions are very complicated.

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    1. KMS average age of exposure to porn is 8. I think the focus is to prevent an addiction starting at a young age and risk the brain being changed and views of women and sexuality skewed. I have 5 children and believe me porn is everywhere and easily accessible. It is vital to talk with and protect our kids. The porn industry targets kids and teens to hook them while they're young.

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    2. I'm perfectly fine with Internet safety including avoidance of that for parents and kids. But my point is statistically 19/20 are the alarming category. Not the kids. The other thing. The 1/20 visiting the sites under 18 aren't from atheist households. Those dealing with are mostly people who grew up in religious households. In fact a number of supports are faith based. Kids who were told and modeled about marriage. It kinda reminds me of wearing bike helmets. The parents go and make sure the kids get helmets. Tell them to always wear a helmet. Don't wear a helmet themselves and by the time they are 8 don't care if the kids still wear the helmet.

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    3. Oh I agree with you that young adults and adults in general have problems for sure! I just am focused on educating, teaching and communicating with my kids to prevent problems in the future.

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