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Digital Mists of Darkness by Dr. Charles D. Knutson is a book for LDS parents and leaders, written to help you navigate the intersection of technology and moral life. The full text of this book is available online at no charge at

Charles Knutson is a retired BYU professor who hosted the Internet Safety Podcast and started The Internet Safety Project.

The following is a portion of the book’s opening chapter: 

A glowing light in the middle of the night…

Cue dark foreboding mood music, fade from black to a solitary scene in a suburban neighborhood. It’s what most people consider the middle of the night. A bluish diffuse light illuminates a corner of the room…

It’s 2:00 a.m., and Jeff, a high school senior, is out of bed and logged into the family computer in the kitchen. His parents have been asleep for three hours. They have no idea why Jeff is so tired these days, or why he’s been moody and difficult to deal with recently. Jeff doesn’t seem to have a good spirit with him lately, and his parents have no idea what’s behind it. Maybe it’s just a phase and he’ll grow out of it, they tell themselves.

The reality is that Jeff has become addicted to Internet pornography and has been struggling for the past six months. He’s not sure that he’s addicted, so he hasn’t talked to anyone yet, but several nights a week he sneaks out of bed and logs into the family computer to surf the web alone. When he’s done visiting inappropriate sites, he’s careful to clean up after himself, deleting the browser history and covering his tracks. His parents have never followed his trail on the computer because, frankly, they don’t even know where to start.

I wish this were a rare and isolated incident, but it’s not, even in good LDS homes. The negative influence of the Internet is extremely strong, and it’s destroying more of our youth than we’d like to admit. It’s also destroying marriages and families, because mom and dad aren’t immune to its draw either.

What do you do with a force that’s so powerful and yet so potentially destructive? You’ve got a few options. You can pull the plug. Let’s be honest, that’s extremely satisfying at a certain level. But does it actually protect your kids? In your home, sure, but your house is only one of several points of access to the Internet for your family members. Besides, the Internet isn’t the only place technology intersects with your family life.

To read the rest of book online for free, visit