By John L. Harmer, Chairman

We at The Lighted Candle Society often receives inquiries asking us to explain how and why our society has arrived at such a state of pervasive hedonism. Usually these inquiries are prompted by the corrupt values and tolerance for the vulgar and carnal in our media. A similar version of that same inquiry is the frequent question, “…why can’t we just outlaw pornography and obscenity?” Both questions reveal a sense of frustration and enormous anxiety regarding the “griminess” of our culture as it is revealed in everything from highway billboards to the presumably most sophisticated publications.

From the perspective of my own forty plus years of active participation in matters of public interest, and particularly those issues that relate to the welfare of those who desire to live a life of virtue and dignity, I can cite at least four “mega-trends” that have culminated in the sleaze that passes for entertainment and commentary in our media.

First, during the past century in the religious and educational institutions of America the authority of biblical values has been replaced by the authority of the revisionist philosophers such as William James and John Dewey. This has been a gradual but overwhelming transition that has thoroughly permeated our schools and our churches. From the atheistic Sigmond Freud to the agnostic John Dewey any reliance upon revealed religion as a basis for human conduct was maligned, ridiculed, denigrated, and rejected.

Second, the discarding by the United States Supreme Court of moral values and centuries of legal tradition based upon biblical precedent as a basis for judicial decisions has eliminated the authority of God and religion as the standard for human behavior. So called “science,” meaning behavioral science more than biological, molecular, or chemical science, has become the ultimate authority in our legal system. Because of this transition that began in the ultra liberal law schools we now have a political climate in which the two vacancies on the Supreme Court of the United States will be decided on the basis of the acceptance by the proposed appointees to the court of abortion on demand and preferred status in employment and government largess for the practitioners of homosexuality and lesbianism.

Third, the fraudulent junk science of Alfred Kisney provided a presumably scientific justification for the unrestrained response to carnal appetites and passions. Kinsey’s fabricated research became the justification for the emergence of disciples who reaped enormous financial profits by exploiting the allure of lustful conduct. Just as Lenin and Trotsky provided the absurd concepts of Karl Marx with presumably justifiable conduct by government, so the advocacy by the slick magazine publishers of Kinsey’s perverted ideas of human behavior became the daily fare in the culture of western societies.

Finally, technological advances in the production and distribution of graphic obscenities made it possible for these morally and spiritually destructive forms of “entertainment” to be consumed without the restraint of public awareness. By various means those who were susceptible to losing the ability to restrain their most base appetites and passions now had the ability to ingest every form of deviant behavior without having to concern themselves with the danger of critical eyes beholding their conduct.

The prevailing philosophy among the rising generation could be summarized by saying that individuals were no longer morally responsible for their actions. A bumper sticker seen frequently on college and university campuses summed it up thus: “If it feels good-do it!” Goodness is defined on the basis of feeling rather than reliance upon revealed truth and the centuries of experience by western society. The presence among the faculties on the college and university campuses of an anti-religion anti Christian intellectual elite had an enormous influence upon the vastly increased numbers of students who now came to those campuses. The fruit of that influence was the erosion of moral restraints upon personal behavior. The influence of God and religion was abdicated to the pseudo scientists for whom there were no such verities in defining human behavior as “right” or “wrong.”

The mission of the Lighted Candle Society is to preserve the American Republic from the ultimate tragedy of disintegration that will inevitable come about if the current trends regarding moral degradation continue unabated. Our strategy for accomplishing that mission has been summarized in the metaphor of our “FIVE SMOOTH STONES.” The five smooth stones are: PREVENTION: ACTION PROGRAMS: RESEARCH: GUARDING THE LIGHT: AND HEALING.(Please go to the Lighted Candle Society web site to see a complete recital of the action programs created to accomplish these objectives.)

To enable these five smooth stones to become realities in action we have assembled an outstanding Board of Trustees. These individuals, who donate their time and talents for the work of this society bring remarkable talent, experience, wisdom, and dedication to their task. I am honored to have their association with the Lighted Candle Society. I would like to have you learn a little bit about each one of them:

DR. MARY BEARD, M.D. Mary Beard is one of the foremost obstetricians and gynecologists in the United States. The list of various professional boards and honor societies of which she is a member is far too numerous to recite here. An outstanding advocate for moral values and an untiring opponent of obscenity and pornography, Mary brings a wealth of professional experience and wisdom to our board of trustees.

JIM CHRISTENSEN, Ph.D. Jim Christensen is the Vice President of the Lighted Candle Society. He has enjoyed a successful career as a corporate executive providing national and international financial, investment and management services to clients in the United States and many foreign countries. His work with and for the Lighted Candle Society has proven to be of enormous benefit to the financial management of our organization.

RALPH HARDING. Ralph Harding is the Chief Executive Officer of the Pretty Shield Foundation. He has enjoyed a wealth of experience in leadership positions with corporate entities, charitable programs, leadership institutes, and a host of civic enterprises. Ralph has provided leadership to the Lighted Candle Society programs of healing those who have become addicted to pornography. His recent membership on the board of trustees bring significant additional strength toward achieving and fulfilling the mission of the Lighted Candle Society.

PAUL MERO. Paul Mero is the President of the Sutherland Institute, the premier research entity within the state of Utah dealing with local issues of critical importance to the quality of life in our state. Before joining the Sutherland Institute, Paul served as the executive vice president of the Howard Center for Family, Religion, and Society in Rockford, Illinois. A veteran of many battles in the pro-family movement, he administered the Second World Congress of Families meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.

STAN PARISH. Stan Parrish’s list of credits and credentials far exceeds our limited space here. He has served the people of Utah in many positions of trust. A former Chief of Staff to United States Senator Orrin Hatch, Stan has also been the Chief Executive Officer of the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce, a leader in numerous other civic enterprises, and among other notable activities, is the Assistant to the President of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Stan is the CEO of Mighty Auto Parts with offices in Utah and Nevada.

DAN PAXTON. Dan Paxton is an experienced corporate executive, management consultant, and is a former professor and assistant dean of the School of Business Administration at Georgetown University. He also had teaching responsibilities in the areas of Business Strategy, Leadership and Entrepreneurship. He conducts executive coaching and behavior change programs for senior level executives throughout the United States. Dan’s membership on our board of trustees gives the Lighted Candle Society access to an incredible reservoir of knowledge and experience so vital to the success of the programs of the Lighted Candle Society.

JACK SUNDERLAGE. Jack W. Sunderlage serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of Content Watch, Inc., a provider of Internet protection software and services. Jack has enjoyed a long and successful career in the Information Technology industry. He currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Utah Informnation Technology Association. Jack has been doing contract consulting with the Utah Partnership for Education in developing business partnerships for the creation of six new high tech high schools in Utah. He is also a member of various advisory boards including the National Advisory Council for the Marriott School at Brigham Young University.

JOHN SWALLOW. John Swallow is an attorney and a graduate of the Brigham Young University. He is the President of On International, an innovative high-tech company. John served for six years in the Utah legislature, where he was named the taxpayers advocate of the year. John has contributed greatly to the ability of the Lighted Candle Society to recruit the volunteer and financial support of many of Utah’s most distinguished business leaders.


In order to more effectively pursue the mission of the Lighted Candle Society we have assisted in the creation of the Legacy Law Foundation (LLF). We anticipate that the Lighted Candle Society and the LLF will be working very closely together to mobilize the resources of legal talent throughout the United States that is so vital to the success of our mutual endeavors. We urge you to enlarge your support of the Lighted Candle Society by becoming acquainted with the LLF and its programs. You can learn more about this outstanding organization on its web site: We particularly urge your support of an event sponsored by the LLF in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, September 22, 2005. See the LLF web site for details.