Internet and Other Technologies

Elder Dallin H. Oaks, as president of Brigham Young University said: “We are surrounded by the promotional literature of illicit sexual relations, on the printed page and on the screen. For your own good, avoid it. Pornographic or erotic stories and pictures are worse than filthy or polluted food. The body has defenses to rid itself of unwholesome food. With a few fatal exceptions bad food will only make you sick but do no permanent harm. In contrast, a person who feasts upon filthy stories and pornographic or erotic pictures and literature records them in this marvelous retrieval system we call a brain. The brain won’t vomit back filth. Once recorded, it will always remain subject to recall, flashing its perverted images across your mind and drawing you away from the wholesome things in life.” (General Conference Oct. 1997)

President James E. Faust

“. . . the most significant events in the last 2,000 years were not the marvels of science, technology, and travel. They were the Savior’s Atonement and the restoration of the gospel. . . [Back in those days] there was no air travel, no E-mail, no fax machines, no Internet. There has been an explosion of secular knowledge. I believe that God has opened up these treasures of intelligence to enhance His purposes on the earth.”

“. . . Increases in technology, scientific inventions, and medical miracles have been marvelous and incredible. But we must use them properly to bring us joy, and that requires spiritual and moral leadership. . . . While computers are a great convenience and wonderfully helpful in reducing drudgery, we are reminded that the Nephites “lived after the manner of happiness” even without computers. Electronic marvels can actually bring some pitfalls. For example, surfing the Internet may draw us into that which, if pursued, can destroy our marriages, our homes, and even our lives.” (General Conference Apr. 1999)

“Satan . . . is aware of this great progress in technology and likewise takes advantage of it for his purposes, which are to destroy . . . . He delights in the pornography on the Internet and the sleaze in many of our movies and television shows. He has even engineered some of his own satanic messages into some of our modern music.” (General Conference Oct. 1999)

“As the traffic on the communications highway becomes a parking lot, we must depend more and more on our own personal moral filters to separate the good from the bad. Marvelous as it is in many ways, there is something hypnotic about using the Internet. I refer specifically to spending endless time in chat rooms or visiting the pornography sites.” (General Conference Apr. 2000)

Elder Dallin H. Oaks

“For good or for evil, devices like the Internet and the compact disc have put at our fingertips an incredible inventory of information . . . and images. Along with fast food, we have fast communications and fast facts.

“Because of modern technology, the contents of huge libraries and other data resources are at the fingertips of many of us. Some choose to spend countless hours in unfocused surfing the Internet, watching trivial television, or scanning other avalanches of information. But to what purpose?

“We have thousands of times more available information than Thomas Jefferson or Abraham Lincoln. Yet which of us would think ourselves a thousand times more educated or more serviceable to our fellowmen than they? The sublime quality of what these two men gave to us—including the Declaration of Independence and the Gettysburg Address—was not attributable to their great resources of information, for their libraries were comparatively small by our standards. Theirs was the wise and inspired use of a limited amount of information.

“Faced with an excess of information in the marvelous resources we have been given, we must begin with focus . . . We also need quiet time and prayerful pondering as we seek to develop information into knowledge and mature knowledge into wisdom.

“We also need focus to avoid what is harmful. The abundant information and images accessible on the Internet call for sharp focus and control to avoid accessing the pornography that is an increasing scourge in our society.

.” . . many of us are overnourished on entertainment junk food and undernourished on the bread of life.” (General Conference Apr. 2001)

Pornography

President Gordon B. Hinckley

“Pornography, with its sleazy filth, sweeps over the earth like a horrible, engulfing tide. It is poison. Do not watch it or read it. It will destroy you if you do. It will take from you your self-respect. It will rob you of a sense of the beauties of life. It will tear you down and pull you into a slough of evil thoughts and possibly of evil actions. Stay away from it. Shun it as you would a foul disease, for it is just as deadly.

When you are young, do not get involved in steady dating . . . you boys who are in high school don’t need this, and neither do the girls. . . . Do things together, but do not get too serious too soon.” (“Some Thoughts on Temples, Retention of Converts, and Missionary Service,” Ensign, 49-51) (General Conference Oct. 1997)

Elder Richard G. Scott

“Strongly tied to the sacred, private parts of the body are powerful emotions intended to be used within the covenant of marriage between a man and woman in ways that are appropriate and acceptable to them both. They are an important part of the love and trust that bond a husband and wife together . . . These emotions are not to be stimulated or used for personal gratification outside of the covenant of marriage. Do not touch the private, sacred parts of another person’s body to stimulate those emotions. Do not allow anyone to do that with you, with or without clothing. Do not arouse those emotions in your own body. These things are wrong. Do not do them.

“Satan knows that those powerful emotions can be aroused by things you could see, hear, or touch. When stirred, those emotions can be used to lead one to destructive experimentation, then to serious transgressions. He uses pornography through videotapes, movies, magazines, computer images, or contaminated music for this purpose. Close your eyes, ears, mind, and heart to it.” (General Conference Oct. 1998)

Elder Vaughn J. Featherstone

“Pornography is evil. I love the story told at the funeral of Henry Eyring’s father. When he was a young man coming across the border from the Mexican colonies to the United States, the customs man said, “Son, do you have any pornography in your suitcase or trunks?” He responded, “No sir, we don’t even own a pornograph.” It’s wonderful to be that pure and naive. We know pornography is addictive and destructive. It has companions it travels with: drinking, smoking, and drugs. It uses some types of music, dancing, the Internet, and television. Those who produce it are godless and have no conscience. They know the consequences, but they don’t care. Like those who peddle drugs, they will never be around to pick up the pieces when you’re all broken up.” (General Conference Oct. 1999)

Bishop H. David Burton

“The consequences of pornography are catastrophic. Keep in mind Satan does not want us to be happy . . . His goal is to capture our hearts by enticing us to participate in terrible things such as pornography. Stay away from it. We must discipline ourselves to avoid books, magazines, music, pictures, videos, DVDs, movies, Internet sites, television programming – anything that contains pornography or sensual material.


” (General Conference Apr. 2000)

President Gordon B. Hinckley

“If there be any man within the sound of my voice who is involved in this or who is moving in this direction, I plead with you to get it out of your life. Get away from it. Stay away from it. Otherwise it will become an obsession. It will destroy your home life. It will destroy your marriage. It will take the good and beautiful out of your family relationships and replace these with ugliness and suspicion.

“To you young men, and to the young women who are your associates, I plead with you not to befoul your minds with this ugly and vicious stuff. It is designed to titillate you, to absorb you into its net. It will take the beautiful out of your life. It will lead you into the dark and ugly.” (General Conference Oct 2000)

Elder David E. Sorensen

“Today on the Internet, trouble is just a few mouse clicks away. To avoid such temptations, be like Captain Moroni of old; set up “fortifications” to strengthen your places of weakness. . . . When you’re on a date, plan to be in groups and avoid being alone. I know men, young and old, who have simply determined not to turn on the TV or surf the Internet anytime when they are alone. Fathers, it is wise to keep computers and televisions in the family room or other high-traffic areas in your home—not in children’s bedrooms. I also know of fathers who, while on business trips, wisely choose not to turn on the hotel television. (General Conference Apr 2001)

Elder Dallin H. Oaks

“Pornography impairs one’s ability to enjoy a normal emotional, romantic, and spiritual relationship with a person of the opposite sex. It erodes the moral barriers that stand against inappropriate, abnormal, or illegal behavior. As conscience is desensitized, patrons of pornography are led to act out what they have witnessed, regardless of its effects on their life and the lives of others.

“Don’t accommodate any degree of temptation. Prevent sin and avoid having to deal with its inevitable destruction. So, turn it off! Look away! Avoid it at all costs. Direct your thoughts in wholesome paths. Remember your covenants and be faithful in temple attendance.

“. . . do not patronize pornography. Do not use your purchasing power to support moral degradation. And young women, please understand that if you dress immodestly, you are magnifying this problem by becoming pornography to some of the men who see you.” (General Conference Apr. 2005)

Modesty (also avoiding piercings, tattoos, profanity, crudity, etc.)

Elder Harold G. Hillam

“What a tragedy if you deprived yourself of life’s opportunities by willfully disfiguring your body or numbing your mind with drugs. Don’t use your body for immoral acts. Clothe it modestly, and leave the sloppy dress craze behind. When you have the courage to dress modestly and avoid fads in clothing, you will find that self-respect is a companion of obedience and that the Lord will help you.” (General Conference Apr. 2000)

President Boyd K. Packer

“Avoid immodest clothing. Dress and groom to show the Lord that you know how precious your body is.

“President Hinckley has warned you not to decorate your body with pictures or symbols that will never wash off or to pierce your body with rings or jewelry after the manner of the world (see “Your Greatest Challenge, Mother,” Ensign, Nov. 2000).

“You would not paint a temple with dark pictures or symbols or graffiti or even initials. Do not do so with your body.” (General Conference Oct. 2000)

Bishop H. David Burton

“Stand tall in following the counsel of the prophets to attire ourselves modestly. “Immodest clothing includes short shorts and skirts, tight [form-fitting] clothing, shirts that do not cover the stomach, and other revealing attire” (For the Strength of Youth [2001], 12). Clothing that is modest, neat, and clean uplifts. Immodest clothing degrades. If there is any question, ask yourself, “Would I feel comfortable with my appearance if I were in the Lord’s presence?” (For the Strength of Youth, 13). (General Conference Oct. 2001)

President Gordon B. Hinckley

“Now comes the craze of tattooing one’s body. I cannot understand why any young man – or young woman, for that matter – would wish to undergo the painful process of disfiguring the skin with various multicolored representations of people, animals, and various symbols. With tattoos, the process is permanent, unless there is another painful and costly undertaking to remove it. . . . A tattoo is graffiti on the temple of the body.

“Likewise the piercing of the body for multiple rings in the ears, in the nose, even in the tongue. Can they possibly think that is beautiful? It is a passing fancy, but its effects can be permanent. Some have gone to such extremes that the ring had to be removed by surgery. The First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve have declared that we discourage tattoos and also “the piercing of the body for other than medical purposes.” We do not, however, take any position “on the minimal piercing of the ears by women for one pair of earrings” – one pair.” (General Conference Oct. 2000)

“Do not permit yourself to be tattooed. If you do, someday you will regret it. Only a painful and costly procedure can remove the tattoo.

“Be clean and neat and orderly. Sloppy dress leads to sloppy manners.” (General Conference Apr. 2007)

Elder H. Burke Peterson

“In magazines and books, on CDs and tapes, on our television and theater screens is portrayed more and more often a lifestyle that might even rival the excesses of those who lived in Sodom and Gomorrah. The screens, music, and printed materials, etc., are filled with a profusion of sex, nudity, and vulgarity.

“No man or boy [or woman or girl] can look at, read about, or listen to such explicit vulgarity, even in its mildest form, without bringing sorrow to a loving God and a terrible injury to one’s own spirit.

“I plead with you to leave it alone. Stay away from any movie, video, publication, or music

. . . where illicit behavior and expressions are a part of the action. Have the courage to turn it off in your living room. Throw the tapes and the publications in the garbage can.” (General Conference Oct. 1993)

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin

“Some of the world’s music is degrading, vulgar, and inappropriate and will drown out the promptings of the Holy Ghost.” (General Conference Oct. 1999)

Bishop H. David Burton

“Profanity and crudeness have become commonplace and are accepted by many as a normal part of their speech. Our sense of right and wrong has been dimmed. It is rampant in music, schools, sports, shopping malls, and in our workplaces. Much everyday conversation is laced with crude terms and sprinkled with outright profane expressions, sometimes under the guise of humor.

“Profanity and priesthood are not compatible. Neither is profanity compatible with missionary service. Profane and crude terms, if part of our conversation, need to be eliminated from our vocabularies. Conversation is one of the windows to our souls.” (General Conference Apr. 2000)

“As a normal part of everyday language, many people take the name of God in vain. Among our youth, vulgar and crude terms seem to come easily as they describe their feelings.


My young friends, now is the time to stand tall in eliminating these words from your vocabulary. You know the words to which I refer. Unfortunately, you hear them used over and over again in your schools, music, and sports. Will it take courage to stand tall? Of course it will. Can you muster the courage? Of course you can. . . . Profanity and crudeness do not exalt; they defile.” (General Conference Oct. 2001)

Conclusion

The Senate Majority leader, Harry Reid, visited missionaries in the Guatemala MTC in November of 2007. Among other inspiring things, he said: “I am a man of considerable power within the United States government, but you have power greater than mine—the power to change lives.”

To the youth of the Church I say: the power is in you, and you do have time here on earth. Of the preparatory time before the Savior’s Second Coming, President Boyd K. Packer has said:

“Teenagers . . . sometimes think, ‘What’s the use? The world will soon be blown all apart and come to an end.’ That feeling comes from fear, not from faith. No one knows the hour or the day (see D&C 49:7), but the end cannot come until all of the purposes of the Lord are fulfilled. Everything that I have learned from the revelations and from life convinces me that there is time and to spare for you to carefully prepare for a long life.

“One day you will cope with teenage children of your own. That will serve you right. Later, you will spoil your grandchildren, and they in turn spoil theirs. If an earlier end should happen to come to one, that is more reason to do things right” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1989, 72; or Ensign, May 1989, 59).

Carry on with the great expectations God has for you. Be steadfast and immovable as you take a stand on principles and doctrines that are unchangeable and everlasting. Always abound in good works, that Christ may seal you his, that you may be brought to heaven to have eternal life.