If you know me at all, you already know of my deep and abiding hatred of pornography. You've undoubtedly heard me lament the awful hurt that it causes, the good men and women it enslaves with its awful chains, the sweeping destructive power it possesses. I know no greater evil that is so persuasive, so convincing, and yet so deadly. I have watched helplessly as friends and loved ones have succumbed to this plague, and I feel driven to bear witness of the reality of the power of this great evil, "in all [its] dark and hellish hue," for:
"It is an imperative duty that we owe to God, to angels, with whom we shall be brought to stand, and also to ourselves, to our wives and children, who have been made to bow down with grief, sorrow, and care...by the influence of that spirit which hath...filled the world with confusion, and has been growing stronger and stronger, and is now the very mainspring of all corruption, and the whole earth groans under the weight of its iniquity. It is an iron yoke, it is a strong band; they are the very handcuffs, and chains, and shackles, and fetters of hell" (Doc & Cov. 123:6-8).
In this respect, the devil's power is frighteningly real. He knows how much good we can do, how much godly power we can have if we live worthily, and he wants to destroy our ability to do good, to enslave us, to sap our power. If you hadn't noticed yet, this is war. And we are the casualties in this war. Satan isn't alive, so it's our lives he's fighting for.
"Wherefore, he maketh war with the saints of God, and encompasseth them round about" (Doc. & Cov. 76:29).
The Lord has something very frightening to say about pornography:
"And verily I say unto you, as I have said before, he that looketh on a woman to lust after her, or if any shall commit adultery in their hearts, they shall not have the Spirit , but shall deny the faith and shall fear" (Doctrine & Covenants 63:16).
For men [or women] who use pornography, the Lord says, there are three inevitable consequences:
1. They will lose the Spirit. The Spirit can't dwell in unholy temples. The Spirit leaves, "and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man" (D&C 121:37).
2. They will deny the faith. This means they will lose their testimonies, their relationship with God, their ability to understand the gospel. A covenant is a very, very powerful thing, and when you keep a covenant, you gain great strength and power. When you break a covenant, Satan gets great power and strength in your life. He really is a master of deceit, and he manages to really confuse people. The Spirit isn't there to make things clear to the covenant-breaker, and they lose their way. It's like letting go of the rod of iron in the middle of the mists of darkness--you wander off in forbidden paths, because you're just plain lost (see 1 Ne. 8:23).
3. They will fear. If you lose the Spirit and the protection of the priesthood, and you're turned over to the power of Satan--well, there's not much that's scarier than that. But this also affects people around the transgressor. A person in such a condition not only can't have the Spirit, he also can't have a relationship with God. Since God is love (1 John 4:16), a man who can't be close to God can't love his wife/girlfriend/family/etc. A person given over to fear, the inevitable consequence of lust, cannot love: " There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment" (1 John 4:18).
These are laws, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundation of the world (D&C 130:20). If you think you're the exception--trust me, you aren't.
Thankfully, there are the more comforting laws, which proclaim there is a way out for all of us, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). Christ is that Way. He proclaimed Himself the Resurrection and the Life, the Truth, a God who cannot lie. The Prophet Joseph Smith proclaimed: "We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel" (AoF 1:3). For "he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed...[for] the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." (Isaiah 53:5-6).
The Lord Jesus Christ, whom we worship, knows how to succor [run to rescue or help] his people, "and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities...[for] the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me." (Alma 7:12-13).
I echo the words of Alma, of Isaiah, and of the Lord himself. None are beyond the reach of the Atonement. None are exempt from its saving and transforming power. The power of the devil is indubitably great, but the power of the Lord is infinitely greater. His Atonement has the power to heal, to cleanse, and to make new. Of these things I testify, for, as with Alma, this is the testimony which is in me.