PORNOGRAPHY AND THE LOSS OF POLITICAL FREEDOM
(About the author)
John L. Harmer is the author of “A War We Must Win.” In that book he recalls nearly forty years of experience in fighting against pornography. As an attorney and an elected state official in California brother Harmer carried on in this battle in the courtroom, the legislative chambers, the public arena, and the media. The editors requested that he prepare this chapter on the subject of “Pornography and The Loss of Freedom.”)
My first courtroom appearance with regard to a pornographic publication was in 1964 in the Superior Court of Los Angeles. From that time until now I have observed with great anxiety the ever increasing presence of pornography in our society, and the ever increased degree of degenerate carnality, vileness, and perversion contained within the various forms of pornographic materials now awash in the American culture. For many years I asked myself the question, “¼where will it all end?” The answer is now all too clear that if the present trend continues the “end” will soon come with the ultimate loss of our freedoms and liberties as endowed to us by the nation’s founding fathers. That loss of our freedom will be the direct result of the inundation of our society with pornography.
I am not a therapist but I have had numerous occasions to talk with individuals who have become addicted to pornography. Some of them were truly contrite in yearning for deliverance from the monster that had captured their minds and hearts and souls. For the most part, however, these addicts have been defensive and defiant, rationalizing away what little light remained within their darkened souls. Depending upon the degree of contempt or even hatred of virtue to which their addiction had carried them, they generally followed this pattern:
-they become insensitive to things “spiritual.” Prayer is no longer a sweet experience.
-they experience a loss of “charity.” They become discourteous and unkind, particularly towards family members or those who as teachers or leaders have the stewardship of their spiritual welfare.
-they begin to express what Father Lehi referred to as the “rudeness” of Laman and Lemuel. (See 1st Nephi 18:9; and 2nd Nephi 2:1.
-they become contemptuous of those who are virtuous in thought and action.
-If their consumption of pornography continues they become aggressively hostile, and will engage in violent behavior towards others.
-When the darkness in their souls that inevitably takes place when the images of pornography in their mind and heart reaches a critical mass they become carnal and lustful. They are filled with the delusion of sexual gratification in the perversions that they have willingly embraced from various forms of pornography.
-When they actually engage in the perversions that are the essence of the pornographer’s deception and learn that there is neither pleasure nor gratification in these perversions they become hateful, despising those who are possessed of light and virtue.
Finally, if their addiction to the perversions of pornography continues unabated, they will become “past all feeling” (Moroni 9:20, 1st Nephi 17:45) and are now capable of the ultimate expressions of murderous hatred.
As this process of decent into darkness takes place the “light of Christ” is totally driven out of their souls. The prisoner of pornography will lose the capacity to exercise any agency. They become as those Nephites that Mormon described to his son Moroni as having become “¼past all feeling.” At that point nothing is beyond their capacity for inflicting harm and injury upon others. Neither law nor conscience are capable of imposing any restraint upon their actions. Their addiction has enslaved their entire body, mind, and spirit.
As an individual becomes addicted to pornography that capacity for self restraint is eroded away. The greater the degree of perversion in the visual and written materials being consumed by the pornography addict the less capacity there is for self discipline under the influence of the spirit and the written law. Husbands become abusive of wives and children. Women who have become corrupted by pornography become contemptuous of those attributes of true femininity that are the nature of a virtuous woman. Women involved with pornography more easily become Lesbians as they search for “safe” ways to express their lustful desires. Young people of both sexes abandon all restraint in language and behavior. The becomes course and rude, especially toward those who have remained faithful to the counsel and guidance of God’s prophets, living and dead.
When a sufficiently large enough segment of the population become thus estranged from the virtues and the norms that are the legacy of our nation’s founding fathers we are then in danger of losing our constitutional freedoms. The Constitution of The United States was based on the premise that the individual citizens were possessed of those virtues that enabled them to be self governing under law. Americans have been free of tyrannical despots because they were willing to honor the laws of the land and capable of the self restraint that such freedom under law required.
Law enforcement officials have repeatedly confirmed that in the overwhelming majority of crimes involving the infliction of violent sexually oriented abuse by one person upon another, the assailant has been and is currently involved with pornography. They also estimate that at most one out of four or five, and perhaps only as few as one out of ten cases of rape, particularly statutory rape of a minor, are ever reported to the authorities.
Many commentators on our society’s mores have noted the pathetic loss of most elementary courtesies that has taken place in the United States during the past several decades. One need only read such commentaries as that of former Appellate Court Judge Robert Bork in his work, Slouching Toward Gomorrah, to realize how pervasive this loss of civility has become. It is no accident or coincidence that this has taken place at the same time that the content and the volume of pornography has become so much more prevalent.
The loss of respect for dignity, virtue, and the rights of others is the ever present result of the darkness of pornography. Thus, the protection of our individual rights, both legal and spiritual, requires that we do all in our power to protect ourselves and our loved ones from being seduced by pornography. The pornography addict’s reaction to having lost his or her own freedom to the filth of pornography is to seek to destroy the freedom of those who have been strong enough to remain outside the pornographer’s enslavement. When that jealousy of the strength and virtue of those who refuse to become involved with decadence becomes strong enough it turns into hatred that will not rest until the addict in some way destroys the object of that hatred. That object can be an individual, or it can be the collective group of individuals who maintain the standard of liberty, or it can be the laws themselves that so far have ensured the freedom and liberty of the righteous.
If there could be any doubt about the imminence of the danger that pornography could become pervasive throughout our land one need only look at the incredible speed with which the perversion of homosexuality and lesbianism has been turned from a carnal vice into a civil right. The homosexual conspiracy began their campaign to promote the acceptability of their perversion by changing the label and the definition. It was just thirty years ago (1973) that the homosexual and lesbian advocates under the guise of being “gay” rather than practitioners of perversion literally stormed into the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association and intimidated that organization into removing homosexuality from its list of mental disorders. Conduct that from the creation of man until the present day that had been categorized as sinful, perverse, and immoral was now to be considered “normal” or an “alternative life style.”
In that thirty year period the homosexual and lesbian practitioners have successfully turned the schools, the media, the medical profession, and of all things, in many instances, even the churches, into not just passive acceptance of their perversion but as passionate advocates of it. Now we have a plethora of laws that impose upon most business enterprises the necessity to hire such individuals and further, to assure that they are protected from any communication written or oral that defines such conduct for what it is, a perversion of incredible decadence.
In that same thirty year period reliable research has confirmed that what an overwhelming majority of Americans once regard as contemptible behavior that same majority now regard as acceptable and defensible. Our nation has passively allowed this conspiracy to come to such a point that one who speaks as I have written here is now condemned as a bigot, a person possessed of vicious bias toward those individuals whose only sin is to openly express their love for one of the same sex. With the active financial support of the nation’s entertainment media, and their wholly owned subsidiary, the American Civil Liberties Union, that same campaign is now being waged on behalf of the pornography industry.
The voices of warning regarding the ultimate loss of our political freedom if the decadence that is so pervasive in pornography becomes accepted in our society are too numerous to completely summarize here. However, from scripture, from the writings of the founding fathers, and from the honorable men and women of our own day have come ample testimony of the terrible fate that awaits us if we do not awaken to the awful situation that now confronts us.
After forty years of personal experience in confronting the pornography industry I can state with absolute certainty that there does exist a very real secret combination of powerful forces who are determined to see among the American people the same change in attitude toward pornography as they have experienced toward homosexuality. This secret combination includes a variety of huge corporations, such as AT&T, Time-Warner Corporation, Echo Star Communications, many of the major hotel chains, and above all, the entertainment industry. It is international in scope, and utilizes billions of dollars in pursuit of creating an acceptance of pornography. In the same manner that they created an acceptance of homosexuality, they propagandize that “¼ pornography is innocent private entertainment that in many instances is therapeutic for otherwise lonely or dispirited men and women.”
More and more we see the big lie being accepted and repeated by presumably responsible medical and educational authorities. Thus, we can assert with absolute certainty that the ultimate result of the present trend will be the loss of our political and personal freedoms.
It will only be a few years until the present day youth of twelve to eighteen years of age citizens. Consistent with the total lack of conscience that permeates the pornography industry they have now embarked on an extensive campaign to seduce these youth into the addiction to pornography. That campaign is being orchestrated through the music that these young people listen to night and day. It is now common knowledge that one of the nation’s most powerful and well financed pornographers, Larry Flint, has entered into contractual relationships with a variety of performers in the Rap and hard rock music industry. The youth who are the principle audience for these individuals are now being brainwashed into accepting pornography through the recorded lyrics and the live performances of these individuals.
Thus, it would only be a few years until we have a large group of adult citizens who have been so desensitized by the pornographer’s message that they will have no ability to identify with the standards of decency and self restraint that are essential for a society that is to be ruled by law and not by force. The Rap music industry is also featuring porn stars on their national tours, where thousands of young fans become acquainted with the top names in pornographic motion pictures and videocassettes. These national tours generate millions of dollars in profits when they sell out stadiums and concert halls all around the country. There is no age limit on these shows. The porn producers are supplying autograph and merchandise booths to cater to the thousands of young fans who attend these live Rap shows. There is an immense amount of money changing hands here. When a major porn producer like Flint is able to team up with an industry that sells millions of albums to children as young as thirteen (and listened to by younger children) the porn industry gains a new market among the vast number of early teenagers who worship the Rap icons.
In completing his father’s work regarding the history of the ancient inhabitants of the American continents Moroni came to the task of editing the twenty-four gold plates that comprised the record of the Jaredites. Having seen with his own eyes the destruction of the Nephite nation by such secret combinations, he is amazed to learn from the Jaredite record that that nation too was similarly destroyed by the emergence and the dominance of such secret combinations. Then, under direct commandment to do so, Moroni issued a prophetic warning to us, whom he knew would one day receive his record, regarding such secret combinations. In that warning he clearly and explicitly prophecied of the loss of our freedom if we allowed this secret combination to prevail. Please carefully consider his somber warning:
“And whatever nation shall uphold such secret combinations, to get power and gain, until they shall spread over the nation, behold, they shall be destroyed; for the Lord will not suffer that the blood of his saints, which shall be shed by them, shall always cry unto him from the ground for vengeance upon them and yet he avenge them not.
“Wherefore, O ye Gentiles, it is wisdom in God that these things should be shown unto you that thereby ye may repent of your sins, and suffer not that these murderous combinations shall get above you,¼
“For it cometh to pass that whosoever buildeth it up seeketh to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries; and it bringeth to pass the destruction of all people, for it is built up by the devil¼”
Ether 8:22-23, 25
Such venal and corrupt individuals as Larry Flint are not the only ones engaged in the conspiracy to destroy our liberties by destroying the moral foundation of our society. In testimony given before the United States Federal Communication Commission (FCC) regarding the incredible increase of pornographic material being broadcast into American homes, Janet LaRue, Chief Legal Counsel for Concerned Women of America, made the following well documented statement:
“Some mainstream corporate giants, allured by immense profits, have reached a new low trying to reach a new high on Wall Street. Profiting from porn-peddling is a dirty ring around the white collars at AT&T, MCI, Time-Warner, Comcast, Echo Star Communications, GM’s Direct TV, Hilton, Marriott, Sheraton, Radisson, VISA, MasterCard and American Express. The corporate prospectus and reports to shareholders of these “Porn-Wallers” will never mention that videos such as “Throbbing Threesome,” “AD/DC Sex-Alternatives,” or “Spring Break Pantyhoes,” are revenue producers. It is no surprise that most corporate leaders are unwilling ‘¼to speak publicly about the sex side of their business.’”
Continuing her testimony Ms. LaRue quoted one major Wall Street Investment House executive, who in a response to a request as to how he could justify the recent initial public offering of the shares of stock of a firm that produced and distributed hard core pornography, said: “I’m not a weirdo or a pervert, it’s not my deal. I’ve got kids and a family. But if I can see as an underwriter going out and making bucks on people being weird, hey, dollars are dollars. I’m not selling drugs. It’s Wall Street.”
Few events in our history, if any others at all, awakened the American people to an awareness of the threat to their freedom as did the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001. In this instance the threat originated with the world wide conspiracy of terrorists who are determined to destroy governments based upon democracy. Because of the subtlety and ease with which pornography enters the lives and homes of its victims we see no corresponding awakening to the danger to our freedom and liberty from the secret combinations extracting billions of dollars per year in profits from pornography. Those who in government have attempted to awaken the nation to an understanding of this peril are universally derided as “eccentric religious fundamentalists.” In an insightful response to the question as to why government should concern itself with the danger of pornography , a British jurist, Lord Patrick Devlin, as Chairman of a Royal Commission on the issue of pornography in the United Kingdom wrote as follows:
“An established morality is as necessary as good government to the welfare of society. Societies disintegrate from within more frequently than they are broken up by external pressures. There is disintegration when no common morality is observed and history shows that the loosening of moral bonds is often the first stage of disintegration, so that society is justified in taking the same steps to preserve its moral code as it does to preserve its government and other essential institutions. The suppression of vice is as much the law’s business as the suppression of subversive activities.”
(The Enforcement of Morals, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1968.)
The founding fathers of this nation left to us counsel that clearly confirms that if they were among us today their words would be to the effect that if the perversions of homosexuality and pornography are allowed to gain ascendancy in our society, and its basic institutions, the family, the school, and the church, then these perversions will ultimately destroy the republic. They regarded the teaching of moral values as the assurance that the nation would be protected by those moral values from the tragedy of hedonism and the loss of our political freedom that must inevitably come to pass with the loss of moral values.
Consider the following comments from some of our founding fathers:
“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens.”
“It is the manners and spirit of a people which preserve a republic in vigor. A degeneracy in these is a canker which soon eats to the heart of its laws and constitution.”
“Statesmen may plan and speculate for liberty, but it is religion and morality alone which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand.”
(source: The Founders Almanac, edited by Matthew Spalding and printed and distributed by THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION.)
In a more recent time, President Theodore Roosevelt observed, “Freedom is a gift that cannot be enjoyed save by those who show themselves worthy of it.”
(quoted by George Mellon in The Wall Street Journal of 11 November 2003)
Showing ourselves “worthy of it (freedom)” was the essence of the prophetic warning that came to us from Moroni as quoted above in the book of Ether from the Book of Mormon. The rationale of our founding fathers, and many since then such as Theodore Roosevelt, is very clear and concise. To be free of tyrannical government a people must be willing to be governed by the supremacy of law. The greater the commitment to the supremacy of law the greater their ability to be self-governing under law.
Clearly the same rationale applies to each individual. Those who cannot conquer the appetites and passions of the flesh are destined to live as prisoners to those appetites and passions. The inevitable and inescapable effect of pornography in the life of any individual is the loss of the will and the self-discipline to govern one’s appetites and passions. They are no longer capable of or worthy of living in a society that is free.
With regard to political freedom Edmond Burke wrote what I consider to be the most insightful analysis of why the increased production and distribution of pornography in America looms as the most serious threat to our continued survival as a nation and the preservation of our freedoms under our Constitution. He said;
“Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites – in proportion as their love of justice is above their rapacity; in proportion as their soundness and sobriety of understanding is above their vanity and presumption; in proportion as they are more disposed to listen to the counsel of the wise and good, in preference to the flattery of knaves. Society cannot exist unless a controlling power upon the will and appetite is placed somewhere; and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.”
(The Works of the Right Honorable Edmund Burke, comp. Humphrey
Milford, Oxford: Oxford University Press. 1907.)
In the presence of those who produce, distribute, and defend pornography, I have invariably felt the powers of darkness and the fearful sensation of impending evil. In the presence of those whose lives have become enmeshed with the consumption of pornography I have sensed the despair and the bitter sorrow of one who has lost his or her personal freedom and is now bound in the chains of hell.
There are communities in our land that have become so inundated with pornography that this same spirit of darkness and this same sensation of impending evil dominate the entire community. When the individuals and families that constitute a community have become so possessed, they and their community are destined to a tragic end.
I conclude by returning to the words of Moroni as found in the Book of Ether. Notwithstanding his very specific warning of the consequences that will befall us if we do not heed his words, Moroni leaves us with an understanding that his words combined with our works may yet save the day.
“Wherefore, I, Moroni, am commanded to write these things that evil may be done away, and that the time may come that Satan may have no power upon the hearts of the children of men, but that they may be persuaded to do good continually, that they may come unto the fountain of all righteousness and be saved.”
It has been my experience from numerous appearances before audiences throughout the United States that “¼they who be with us are far more numerous than they who be with them.” We have every reason to be assured that virtue will triumph over vice, that light will dispel darkness. An intense combination of faith and works by the decent people of this nation will yet be able to throw back the seemingly unstoppable tidal wave of degeneracy that is exploited by the pornographers.
The Lord knows the desires of our hearts to retain the freedoms so honorably purchased for us by our founding fathers. I do not know how it will be done, but I am certain that Moroni was not commanded to write these things just to see it all end when our society has to be destroyed by the sweeping powers of divine justice when the cup of iniquity is full.
I paraphrase the German poet-philosopher Goethe who wisely noted “¼that to truly possess anything inherited from the fathers we must earn it anew.” The founding fathers cannot be asked to return and once again deliver us from political slavery. Under the leadership of the Latter-day Saints the good and honorable people of this nation must arise and earn anew their legacy of freedom.
We learn from the Book of Revelations that the war in heaven was won “¼by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony¼” (Rev. 12:11) The war against pornography will be won by those who possess and express the testimony that only by following the Son of God and obeying his commandments can we preserve and retain the liberties that allow us to enjoy the full potential of the gospel of Jesus Christ.