What Do Utahns Google?

Original article here

Interesting quotes:

“Utah ranks No. 1 in the nation — and sometimes the world — for using Google to search the Web for such terms as “Jesus,” “family history,” “Harry Potter,” “Mormon,” “Lord of the Rings,” “NBA,” “snowboarding,” “home storage” and “Mitt Romney.””

“Utah and/or Salt Lake City also rank tops in the nation in searches for “pornography,” “naked girls,” “striptease,” “topless,” “nude,” “strip poker,” “lingerie,” “blonde” and “brunette.””

“”I think the culture holds very high standards in terms of the ‘light’ things, so it’s not surprising that the dark things would also be pretty extreme,” says Ray William London, a former Utahn who is CEO of the Human Studies Center in Irvine, Calif., and is both a psychologist and an Internet law expert.”

“Britt Minshall, a psychologist who is also a United Church of Christ pastor in Baltimore, says bluntly that finishing No. 1 in Jesus and pornography “is called hypocrisy. Church people are loaded with it.””.

Your thoughts?

105 comments for “What Do Utahns Google?

  1. October 12, 2007 at 10:20 am

    Hypocrisy means being one thing in public and another in private — it’s hard to see a public element in Googling “Jesus” or other generally religious terms, and I don’t think it’s safe to assume that the same people are running both sets of searches.

    Personally, I think the second set of searches is all being run by the relatively small set of people who write letters to the SLTribune. Yeah, that’s it.

  2. October 12, 2007 at 10:46 am

    There are three kinds of lies… I want to see the statistics on this one. What numbers and stat profile actually generated the words \”ranks top in the nation\”? And as pointed out by Ardis, those numbers are meaningless without any data tracking who\’s actually making which searches. Remember: the average American has one breast and one testicle.

  3. k l h
    October 12, 2007 at 10:47 am

    Although there’s much to be said about avoiding the appearance of evil, even in google searches–couldn’t it also be possible that anti-pornography activists google the word pornography? Couldn’t folks wanting supermodel/actress/celebrity/sports-mag-swimsuit-issue level pix google blondes, brunettes, and redheads? Concurrently, maybe where there’s much sanction of sexual expression, there’s also a somewhat increased levels of secret deviances (e/g incidence of troubles among the “religious” in Roman Catholicism?)

  4. k l h
    October 12, 2007 at 10:50 am

    not sanction but the opposite

  5. MikeInWeHo
    October 12, 2007 at 10:54 am

    Sure, that’s it Ardis! Anybody been in SLC long enough to remember the AIDS scandals of the early 1980s there? This article reminded me of that period. The comments from the psychologist are dead on. Consider the fact that Saudia Arabia apparently also leads the world in pornography downloads (and there, it’s readily available on their more advanced cell phone systems). It’s hard not to see the similarities.

    I happen to live here in West Hollywood where it’s just the opposite. No dark underbelly here; sleaze is barely concealed, if at all.

    I’m not sure which is worse.

  6. Peter LLC
    October 12, 2007 at 10:56 am

    I played the SLC club scene in the mid-1990s in an industrial band when NIN was selling out the Delta Center and it was easy to imagine that the city had an underside as seamy as any other city. If you wanted to pop pills while tapping a foot to some goateed goth rockers playing in front of a display showing a faces of death video, you could. If you wanted to grind with the opposite sex to the chunes of top international DJs in temples of decadance, you could do that too.

    But while we might as well admit that the moral decay in Salt Lake is not likely to be different in kind to the rest of the world (though I would argue that it is in degree), I’m not convinced active mormons are behind it all.

  7. queuno
    October 12, 2007 at 10:58 am

    As mellifera said, this sounds like bunk. You CANNOT draw conclusions. without correlating the searches.

    “Utah and/or Salt Lake City” also shows a lack of understanding about the demographics of SLC relative to the rest of the state.

    Here’s a telling part of the Desnews article:


    [Google Trends] analyzes a portion of Google Web searches made over time to estimate their popularity, making best guesses about where queries originate by evaluating the address of Internet servers used by searchers.

    Google spokeswoman Heather Laird Spain says Google “normalizes” data by essentially dividing all Web searches for a term in an area by all the overall searches made there — essentially showing how popular a term is among all local searches.

    If Google simply counted raw numbers of searches for terms instead, New York City or Los Angeles would top most results because so many searches come from their large populations.

    While Google provides data about where individual search terms are most popular, it does not show what the top searches overall are in given areas. Spain says top searches “are usually not very exciting,” anyway, and tend to be “the same across the board, namely ‘weather,’ ‘e-mail,’ etc.”

    Of note, Google Trends is still in the early stages of development. “We hope you find this service interesting and entertaining, but you probably don’t want to write your Ph.D. dissertation based on this information,” its Web site warns.


    Indeed. Even a very naive PhD student wouldn’t use this data. All they’ve proven is that there are a lot of people in SLC interested in pornography. I blame the evil democrats. ;)

  8. Adam Greenwood
    October 12, 2007 at 10:58 am

    What’s so wrong with googling “blonde Mitt Romney”?

  9. queuno
    October 12, 2007 at 10:59 am

    Peter – Club DV8, perchance?

  10. Janet
    October 12, 2007 at 11:00 am

    ….or the second set just googles those particular words very frequently. I know little about porn addiction, but if it’s like other addictions wouldn’t *frequency* be a key component? Thus a relatively small portion of the populace could artificially drive up the numbers. Until I see proof otherwise, I’m going with that. It’s preferable to imagining that everyone on my street is sitting around their computers googling “nude girls” and “Harry Potter” in the same evening.

    mellifera: you made me laugh with the breast/testicle bit. Excellent.

  11. Peter LLC
    October 12, 2007 at 11:02 am

    queno, indeed.

  12. queuno
    October 12, 2007 at 11:03 am

    If googling “snowboarding blonde topless Mitt Romney” is wrong, then I don’t want to be right.

  13. Janet
    October 12, 2007 at 11:04 am

    No, no, queno–It can’t be the local democrats. If we were to buy pornography, we’d get the print variety at the corner market in order to support local business owners. You know, *principled* sleaze-buying practices ;).

    I do think there’s something to the idea that secrecy breeds curiosity, but loose data like this can’t prove causality.

  14. queuno
    October 12, 2007 at 11:05 am

    Peter – Ah, the memories. Saw Fishbone there. And 311. And Rage Against the Machine. Took a few years, but my eardrums recovered.

  15. Janet
    October 12, 2007 at 11:05 am

    I think DV8 closed down. I was such a naive zoobie I went there many a time without noticing anything other than that the girls were really really friendly!

  16. October 12, 2007 at 11:10 am

    Julie, thanks for the post.

    I don’t know if Britt would even embrace the high standards of scripture. But I do know from Paul in Romans that the elevating of moral law stirs up the sinful nature. There is nothing wrong with the law; the problem is human nature. I’m thankful for grace.

  17. queuno
    October 12, 2007 at 11:10 am

    My officemate suggests that perhaps it’s because Utahns don’t know where to find porn (and thus have to google it), whereas the rest of America already has figured it out.

    In all seriousness, the fact that the searches aren’t correlated by searcher is pretty bad. They don’t even have to divulge actual data on people, just show data like, “4.3% of searches for pornography came from people who also spent time googling Bronco Mendendall”, or something to that effect.

    It’s not even acceptable Master’s thesis work, let alone PhD dissertation work…

  18. k l h
    October 12, 2007 at 11:10 am

    What’s so wrong with googling “blonde Mitt Romney”? –Adam Greenwood

    See article “Finally we have the Romney girls!” ( http://bostonist.com/2007/08/09/finally_we_have.php )

  19. Matt W.
    October 12, 2007 at 11:11 am

    People everywhere else use the term porn… And seriously, these are all very “goody two shoes” terms for dirty deeds. When Utah starts ranking first in a cuss word, wake me up…*

    *- and I don’t mean fetch

  20. queuno
    October 12, 2007 at 11:19 am

    Interesting to note that this article was put online the same day Al Gore won the *Nobel Peace Prize*. Is this some sort of uncorrelated ironic performance-art celebrating misleading or unsettled scientific interpretation?

  21. Adam Greenwood
    October 12, 2007 at 11:23 am

    Curious that these are mainly soft-porn searches.


    I know little about porn addiction, but if it’s like other addictions wouldn’t *frequency* be a key component? Thus a relatively small portion of the populace could artificially drive up the numbers.

    Yes, but you’d still have to explain why its higher in UT than elsewhere.

    A few possibilities:

    (1) Mormons who do get into porn get into it more than the average person (perhaps because they feel guilty and drown their guilt with more porn?)
    . . . . . Dubious

    (2) Non-mormons in Utah are ideologically committed to using porn to differentiate themselves from Mormons
    . . . . . Dubious

    (3) Mormons lack social networks that alert them to porn sites, porn search engines, etc., and that swap porn files. Consequently they have to resort to googling more.
    . . . . . likely

  22. Matt Evans
    October 12, 2007 at 11:28 am

    It’s important to remember that they’re ranking search queries, not internet use. The rest of the world finds porn based on their buddies’ recommendations, or from ads in their porn magazines. Utah’s moral culture suppresses the spread of word-of-mouth information about pornography, leaving those looking for it to turn to anonymous tools like Google.

  23. Patrick
    October 12, 2007 at 11:46 am

    #5: Not to get off on a tangent, but where do you get your info on Saudi Arabia? All ISPs in the Kingdom connect to the Internet through a central, government-controlled portal that filters all content to weed out morally (as well as politically) “inappropriate” sites. It seems extremely unlikely that Saudi would be anywhere close to “leading the world” in pornography downloads.

  24. October 12, 2007 at 12:08 pm

    Matt (22) not only does the rets of the world know direct addresses have porn, or they have it bookmarked, or their friends told them, but when they DO google it, I think only the most naive would think the relevant terms are “lingerie” “blonde” and “nude”.

    seriously, judging from personal experince, recent spam messages, and actual sites I’ve seen, those search terms are not very relevant.
    so I guess 1) Utah googlers include lots of naive porn begginers
    or 2) the article is misleading and collected words that together imply “porn” to us readers but when really used in search have innocent meanings because actual porn googlers use other terms. You know, with expletives and naming specific practices or ages or ethnicities or orientations. not “brunette”!

  25. October 12, 2007 at 12:10 pm

    It’s all research for General Conference talks.

  26. Adam Greenwood
    October 12, 2007 at 12:15 pm

    I’m reliably told that Mormons all the time google “organizations that fight for decency and against topless nude lingerie striptease blonde brunette naked girls porn”

    To make it simpler on them, we should just found the thing. Brothers! Who’s with me? For O.F.D.A.T.N.L.S.B.B.N.G.P. and JUSTICE!

  27. Adam Greenwood
    October 12, 2007 at 12:16 pm

    actual porn googlers use other terms. You know, with expletives and naming specific practices or ages or ethnicities or orientations. not “brunette”!

    Or so we hear.

  28. October 12, 2007 at 12:25 pm

    You may also be interested in some other searches we commented on recently on Our Thoughts.


  29. MikeInWeHo
    October 12, 2007 at 12:33 pm

    re: 23 There were various articles a while back about Saudis using their cell phones for porn. I don’t have time at the moment to dig it all up, but you can start here at the BBC:


    I retract my “leading the world” comment because it’s not supportable. That was some early-morning-pre-caffeinated hyperbole on my part. Saudi Arabia often comes to mind in a conversation like this, though, because it’s such a great example of a society dominated by a single conservative religion. While SLC hardly compares, it seems like parts of Utah still do.

    FWIW, from an outsiders’ perspective both Mormons and Evangelicals seem almost obsessed with discussing and fretting about porn; it’s really quite striking. Not surprising that this leads to obsesssive, clandestine use in a certain percentage of those subcultures. The extent of it? Who knows! You can dispute Google’s methodology all you want, but its data certainly provide some clues.

  30. October 12, 2007 at 12:34 pm


    It seems actions speak louder than words. You want the data there it is.

    … unless of course you happen to think that GOOGLE IS CONTROLLED BY SATAN!!!

  31. Janet
    October 12, 2007 at 12:41 pm

    The porn discussion has me curious: for the past while the PS of GC has had at least one warning to avoid pornography and usually more than that, yes? I used to assume the prevalence of the anti-porn warning reflected the severity of porn’s possible effects but that the talks were aimed at a relatively small Mormon male demographic. Now I’m wondering if it’s a wider-spread problem. Does anyone know of reputable studies regarding Mormons and pornography consumption?

    And seriously: do secular people really do all that file-sharing, tale-telling, porn swapping out in the open like y’all are suggesting? Seriously? Before living in Utah we were in a largely Catholic town. I have apparently been living in a bubble. Soft porn is everywhere, but are people really that cavalier about the really debased junk?

    (sorry, threadjack. I’m agog, though.)

  32. October 12, 2007 at 12:50 pm

    Does anyone have info on the availability of porn magazines at Quickie-Marts in Utah v. the rest of the world?

    This kind of reminds me of something I noticed after moving to Florida from Provo. The homeless people here are drunks and junkies (drunkies!), whereas the homeless population in Provo seemed to be folks with definitely mental illness problems but all inexplicably sober… at least in terms of alcohol. I’m pretty sure that’s not because they’re going to Sunday school, because I can imagine the word of wisdom going right out the window when you’re hearing nasty voices. Here’s my reasoning:

    -The amount of beer it would take to properly drown your sorrows is too clunky to lug around town, therefore not a very good solution for a wandering bum.

    -Anything stronger than beer only comes from the State Liquor Store, which is too far out of town to be convenient if you’ve got no car and the public transportation situation in Provo doesn’t go anywhere useful, so I’m sure the liquor store is not on a route. And they probably turn bums down anyway.

    -Thus, your average bum in Provo is pretty sober or turns to meth. So availability of materials just might affect people’s behavior vis a vis their vices of choice.

  33. Adam Greenwood
    October 12, 2007 at 12:53 pm

    Janet, in depends on the age group and the setting. Among men aged teen-something to around 30 or so, in a non-professional environment, yes. The same sort of settings where people feel comfortable talking about drinking or non-specific references to marijuana use.

  34. October 12, 2007 at 1:00 pm

    Melifera, I think homeless everywhere have a high incidence of mental illness. However drug abuse is a problem in the Provo region as well although perhaps a different kind of drug than elsewhere.

  35. McCoy
    October 12, 2007 at 1:02 pm

    mayben no one actually cares, but SLC ranks higher (according to mr. google) in searches for ‘no war’, than San Fran. Curiously it is behind, you guessed it, Portland and Seattle, but comes in a nice third. So I wonder what that means in terms of anything. if the discussion that DesNews has about jesus and porn, then this should also mean something, right? im probably wrong.

  36. meems
    October 12, 2007 at 1:44 pm

    I live in Saudi Arabia and I have no idea about cell phone downloads, but I can tell you that when we bought this satellite dish that picks up “local” channels (by local I mean from the middle east region and parts of Italy and Germany), I can’t tell you how many channels we had to delete. The weirdest ones were women wearing their black scarves and veils standing there naked with a phone number to call. What would happen when you called the number? Would they take their scarf off?

  37. MikeInWeHo
    October 12, 2007 at 1:58 pm

    re: 36 LOL, that is hillarious. What an image to contemplate.

    Mellifera’s observation in #32 is spot on, btw. I’m sure the lack of booze in Provo keeps the homeless people more sober.

    What has changed, then, is access. Middle class people everwhere now can easily obtain porn via the Internet and often cable or satellite TV.

    Imagine if every home suddenly had a magical, limitless minibar hidden away somewhere. Would that impact WoW compliance?

  38. October 12, 2007 at 2:00 pm

    I recall, several years ago, walking through the downtown are where there were several magazine shops. Each shop had an ‘adult’ area where men could ‘browse’ ‘adult’ magazines prior to purchasing them. To the shock and surprise of my recently-returned-RM naivete, I observed the ‘celestial smile’ worn by many of the men in the bookstore. Of course, they were probably just doing research for Sunday School (this was pre-Google).

  39. Matt Evans
    October 12, 2007 at 2:17 pm

    Janet, I haven’t seen any studies, but I’ve heard two local leaders (a stake president at BYU and a bishop of a ward back east) both use the same number when estimating the number of brethren who’d come to them for help with a pornography problem: 1/3.

  40. October 12, 2007 at 2:52 pm

    This is anectodal to an extent and I never saw any “proof” of the actual numbers but…

    In a conversation with professors in the psychology dept. at BYU this summer I was told the two main problems for the church right now in terms of mental health are pornography addiction for men and eating disorders for women. One professor said that in the Provo stake he served in as Stake Clerk they asked him to put together an anonymous poll to give the men to fill out – the poll was trying to determine the extent of the pornography problem to figure out where they could start working towards solving the problem (all these talks in church did not seem to be doing the job) – trying to figure out the root causes, I guess. The poll showed that in the past month, among married mormon men in this Provo Stake over 60% had looked at Porn online or otherwise.

    It’s not for nothing that the church leadership is constantly harping on this problem.

  41. October 12, 2007 at 2:57 pm

    #34- It’s true, but I guess I figured it was such common knowledge it wasn’t necessary to specify. : )

    Back in the zoobie days we had a lot of bishoprics and stake leadership come out of Alpine (a hoity suburb somewhere north of AF) since that’s where a lot of successful LDS businessmen go to retire, and there’s all that leadership stewing up there with nothing to do otherwise. And according to one of said bishops there was a divorce or two every year in Alpine because of pornography. Ick!

    Because of the rampant pornography problem in Utah Valley, LDS family services started doing an Addiction Recovery support group modeled on AA (12 steps and everything, along with a parallel support group for wives) and hosting a couple a week on the UVSC campus. Also according to said bishop, they filled up pretty quickly and LDSFS is busy getting some more together. After these experiences at BYU, my belief is that the anti-porn GC talks are definitely based on actual need for members to avoid and repent- not out of unwarranted paranoia or obsession by the 12.

    (Which is not to say that Google data still can’t be warped. : )

  42. October 12, 2007 at 3:01 pm

    Maybe this is why books like “Between Husband and Wife” are coming out these days? Trying to address various “body issues” from a supportive angle?

    PS: Don’t worry, I’m not enough of a goober to think more footsie in a marriage is going to solve of prevent a pornography problem. But then again, understanding how a marriage is supposed to function and the importance of chastity, the sanctity of bodies etc can help prevent all kinds of the grief in life that people are subject to- isn’t that what “Souls, Symbols, and Sacraments” was about? Sorry for the threadjack.

  43. Ben There
    October 12, 2007 at 3:13 pm

    Must…finish…20 minute talk about Jesus for church this sunday…so I can go download some porn already….hurry up Google!

  44. Janet
    October 12, 2007 at 3:14 pm

    Holy cow, this is depressing both because I didn’t realize how widespread porn is (or some anecdotal evidence suggests it might be, anyhow) or that a porn-viewing habit might require a 12-step program. More threadjacking–does looking at smut rewire the brain or something? There’s a physiological component to drug and alcohol addiction and withdrawal physically hurts (in fact, you can die from booze withdrawal). But wouldn’t porn-withdrawal just reduce the frequency of a physical sensation rather than do both that AND create physical pain? I really am threadjacking. Sorry Julie. I’ll desist. But thanks to those of you who provided me with some feedback regarding my previous question.

  45. k l h
    October 12, 2007 at 3:33 pm

    3 blonds associated–well, at least minimally–with Romney’s campaign:

    – Maybe our future first lady? ( http://tangopublishing.com/tangotogether/presidentialcandidates/2007/05/02/mitt-and-ann-davies-romney/ )
    – Alone in her category of punditry? ( http://downwithtyranny.blogspot.com/2007/03/why-wont-mitt-romney-disavow-ann.html )
    – Paid to clean out disorderly conduct in airports through playing notgay! footsie? ( http://www.officer.com/web/online/Top-News-Stories/Rising-Minneapolis-Officer-Netted-Sen-Craig/1$37657 )

  46. Kaimi Wenger
    October 12, 2007 at 3:38 pm


    I think there are a lot of factors at play.

    Some people develop destructive porn use habits. They are unable to control themselves, or they use it in particularly destructive or illegal ways (i.e., child porn). Those people need real help. Those people are not a significant slice of the population.

    Other people use porn occasionally. They look at pictures or videos or internet porn sometimes, and avoid the illegal stuff. They are the porn equivalent of social drinkers.

    To a non-LDS observer, that’s probably just normal behavior, not to be viewed as problematic. However, the church attitude towards porn is such that _any_ porn use by a church member is viewed as a very serious problem.

    This creates a few wrinkles. It certainly keeps many members from ever _becoming_ social-drinker type porn users. On the other hand, for members who _are_ occasional users, it potentially creates negative feedback — excessive guilt, the feeling that the occasional user is the equivalent of the serious addict.

    That is, part of the porn problem among LDS culture may be created by the LDS reaction to porn. Mellifera writes about spouses divorcing over porn. I’ve absolutely heard the same — instance of LDS couples divorcing over porn. On the other hand, many non-LDS observers would say that’s a silly thing to divorce over, and that a spouse’s porn use should not be a big deal. (See, e.g, this discussion on one advice site ). (Link via those porn fiends over at BCC).

  47. Kaimi Wenger
    October 12, 2007 at 3:48 pm

    Also, Janet,

    Elisabeth’s book review from a year ago probably remains the bloggernacle’s best discussion of the many questions and issues relating to porn use and church members. It’s at http://www.bycommonconsent.com/2006/04/confronting-pornography-a-book-review/ .

  48. Ranbato
    October 12, 2007 at 3:54 pm

    I wonder how many of the \’bad\’ searches were for ways to block it.

    I have accompanied several people to some of the church\’s AA/NA meetings. They are actually very spiritual. They are also held several times each day around the SL valley; it if frightening how many of the meetings there are and how well attended they are. (And this was several years ago) I believe that looking at that stuff does rewire the brain; not like the physical issues with drugs and alcohol; but in the way they perceive and interact with people.

  49. Steve Evans
    October 12, 2007 at 4:07 pm

    Much of the debate is focussed on the word “addiction.” Many, such as DKL and (IIRC) Dave, believe the term is oft misused and should not apply to pornography use. I think the issue is more a question of whether someone is capable of controlling their own behavior. If they are not, it may be time to seek help.

    Matt, your 1/3 number is low.

  50. cyril
    October 12, 2007 at 4:09 pm

    I have to agree with Kaimi here. I think we may be labeling people addicts that are considered pretty normal human beings by most measures.

    To be sure, the natural man is an enemy to God, and there are sex addictions and porn addictions that cause devious, criminal, and seriously sinful behavior. And I fully acknowledge that the church has to and should take a zero tolerance policy when it comes to this potentially soul sucking black hole. At least, formally anyway. What happens at the ward level is very different than what is stated as the standard at the conference level, else wards would not function (if the 30% number is accurate, and I think from my experience that the number is pretty darn close. Remember, that is 30% of people who care, who go to the Bishop, who want to be better men. Take into account those who don’t, and the numbers would certainly be higher.)

    All of that said, there is a danger in calling an otherwise normal human being an addict — the label can often be fulfilled in the prophesy and the person will become worse off than before. And, divorcing over minor to moderate porn viewing is illogical and dangerous, in my view.

    Sexual appetites (at least in most males with whom I have ever associated, whether a brother, a missionary companion, a teammate in a locker room, a lawyer in the court room) are like culinary appetites. They never go away for very long and there are various ways to satisfy them. The difference is that a series of unwise choices in one may hasten physical death while a series of unwise choices in the other may hasten spiritual death.

  51. Fly-on-the-wall
    October 12, 2007 at 4:13 pm


    Interesting belief that looking at porn rewires the brain. I wonder, if a person were to watch sports too long would that also rewire the brain? Now if one were to connect the release of endorphins to porn then that may rewire the brain. But that is also questionable because having a healthy relationship with ones spouse also releases endorphins. Does the brain know which release of endorphins is healthy and which one is not? Does the brain know which release to become addicted to?

  52. Marcia
    October 12, 2007 at 4:18 pm

    Empirical evidence may not yet bear it out, but I think the anecdotal evidence leads one to believe that porn addiction is prevelant in the church. Porn has touched my family. Listening to Christian Radio the porn problem seems to rampant among that population also. Somehow the libido is not under regulation. Maybe we need a prohibition-like movement engergized by women to shut down porn-production houses and purveyors and educate families, (particualarly women )to secure their computers. ( I know women can be involved in porn too.) Something needs to be done. Obviously the many GC talks have not helped. An earthquake damaged some of the porn production buildings in Burbank CA a while back. ? Marcia

  53. k l h
    October 12, 2007 at 4:20 pm

    From the http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/exchange/node/345 webpage:

    Sexual acts…changes the chemical reactions and firing rates in the brain; so why is it that viewing pornography, which is a mainly optical activity, can change the brain, and even more than that, create an addiction? Simply put, pornography addiction is the “abuse and overuse” of various types of pornography…. It raises both medical and social questions, and it is uncertain if the answers to these questions will ever be agreed upon. It is one of the few addictions that are just considered to be a psychological addiction; possibly because of that, most doctors do not consider it an actual addiction, but instead as a sub-condition of obsessive compulsive disorder. While it is not considered a legitimate disease by many, pornography addiction does have similar symptoms: those affected are not able to control how often they engage in the behavior, engage in it to rid themselves of stress, work up a tolerance to it, and engage in the behavior instead of having social and personal interactions.

  54. James
    October 12, 2007 at 4:20 pm

    This is a fascinating article for me from the perspective of a IS researcher. But, I think that while the relative standings are interesting, they are also lacking in context. Are there people in the SLC area who are ‘addicted’ to porn? Yes, without question. They are not just isolated there either. The information that can be derived from analysis of web traffic isn’t going to tell us what percentage of the population has that problem. There are lots of ways to fiddle with that kind of analysis that would totally invalidate it’s usefulness in predicting social or marketing behavior. For those reasons, this article was interesting from a technical perspective but not of great value for the behavioral side of IS research.

    I put addiction in quotes here because my early years were spent in pharmaceutical R&D and I have intellectual issues with calling anything an addiction that does not involve pumping, slurping, smoking, or snorting a deleterious chemical into the body.

  55. kevinf
    October 12, 2007 at 4:54 pm

    I’ll just add a note from a conversation I had with an employee of LDS Social Services who is familiar with the addiction recovery programs here in the Puget Sound region. He didn’t give me any hard numbers, but the common factor in all addictions is porn. Almost without fail, anyone in the program for drinking, drug, gambling or (goes without saying) sexual addiction, also had porn addiction issues. Steve, from my experience in wards and stakes, I would say it probably is slightly less than 1/3 here in this area, just because we are googling “no war” all the time.

  56. k l h
    October 12, 2007 at 4:55 pm

    I have intellectual issues with calling anything an addiction that does not involve pumping, slurping […] a deleterious chemical into the body. –James

    The apostle Paul’s “natural man” is addicted to anything that produces a high: beauty, food, power, sex…

    How to control these “addictions”? Decide they are repulsive, when they’re outside their proper place.

    Of course, various cultures define the boundaries of these things’ “proper places” in various ways–but they all define them. Too energeticallyl forking and slurping down dinner (unless we know, I don’t know, the person has just come home from a long, hard day’s work, maybe?) while in public tends to seem unattractive and rude. And that society tends to be “fattist” has the benefit of tabooizing gluttony. Yet ironically maybe this taboo in its essence has less to do with anti gluttony per se and more to do with ideals of beauty involve well-proportioned, healthy forms unmarred by mounds of fat.

    So the trick is moderation at the least, and sometimes complete “anorexia” for those most heavily burdened with whichever the spiritually deadly lusts: e/g, maybe a compulsive liar would have to become a compulsive truth teller. (Which reminds me of the BoM telling about the anti-Nephi-Lehites who became anorexic with regard to war… ) http://www.timesandseasons.org/?p=973

  57. October 12, 2007 at 5:00 pm

    I’m not sure about the validity of the internet searches in terms of whether or not Utah is looking at porn more than the rest of the country.

    I’m also not sure if there is any reasonable possibility that mormon men are looking at porn more frequently than non-mormon men.

    When my husband was bishop he wondered frequently about whether mormon women are more frigid than non-mormon women and if that, coupled with easy access to porn which did not exist with previous generations is causing more of a “acting out” problem among mormon men. If porn provides a release that other men might use on occasion, but mormon men use more frequently in a way that is the start of a vicious cycle. Often, when wives find out about porn usage, their sex lives certainly get worse, not better. Which sometimes causes the problem to get bigger and bigger.

  58. Ben There
    October 12, 2007 at 5:04 pm

    Marcia wrote:

    I know women can be involved in porn too

    I do not know dollar figures, but I would guess that women probably buy nearly as much porn as men do, when you consider the HUGE market for smutty novels. In fact, Wal-Mart does not carry porn mags, but they have whole shelves full of smutty romance novels. Has any one here ever even looked through one of those books? They are in fact full of smut and anyone who thinks that the written word is less smutty than pictures is deceiving themselves. Reading tales of forbidden lusts and passions is every bit as stimulating as looking at a porn mag. In many ways I suppose it can even be more arousing, because like radio was te theatre of the mind, so too is a book: we can make the images EXACTLY like we want them to be, rather than what a videographer or photographer wants them to be.

    Yes, women are involved in porn. It is just more socially acceptable (at least in LDS circles) because it is the written word. I had a faithful church attending otherwise very spiritual grandmother who read three to five smut novels a week. She had a massive collection of them. When I was finally old enough to know what she was reading, my first reaction was “EEEEW! Old ladies read that stuff????” Yep, they sure do.

  59. Adam Greenwood
    October 12, 2007 at 5:05 pm

    #49: wise.

  60. Curtis DeGraw
    October 12, 2007 at 5:11 pm

    Ditto, #57. #49 is profound.

  61. Matt Evans
    October 12, 2007 at 6:29 pm

    “Matt, your 1/3 number is low.”

    It isn’t my number, it’s the number mentioned by two different local leaders. It was the number they were *counseling*, so the number in their stewardship *struggling* would be higher.

  62. Steve Evans
    October 12, 2007 at 6:35 pm

    Matt, fair enough. Just so long as we have LOTS of people struggling, I agree.

  63. Eric Russell
    October 12, 2007 at 7:23 pm

    If this report is true, then this thread itself is bound to become a magnet for Utah googlers.

  64. A Girl
    October 12, 2007 at 7:27 pm

    I’m confused. I went to the Google trends site (linked in the article) and tried a few of the terms for which Utah supposedly comes up number 1. But the results didn’t show any Utah cities ranked anywhere in the top ten list for any of those terms (“naked girls”, “pornography”, “strip poker”). Can someone help me figure out if I did something wrong? Am I misinterpeting the list?

  65. Jacob M
    October 12, 2007 at 7:29 pm

    61 – and how disappointed will they be. After all, http://www.timesandseasons.org/?p=3922 this is a PG13 blog!

  66. MCQ
    October 12, 2007 at 8:24 pm

    I blame marriott corp

  67. October 12, 2007 at 8:35 pm

    Ardis Parshall said:

    Personally, I think the second set of searches is all being run by the relatively small set of people who write letters to the SLTribune. Yeah, that’s it.

    Yes. Outside agitators.

  68. timer
    October 12, 2007 at 10:46 pm

    Okay, enough idle chit chat. Let’s start experimenting. Everyone go to google.com/trends (the site the article was based on) and type in “pornography” and see what happens. Here are the top ten cities I see:

    1. Delhi, India
    2. Melbourne, Australia
    3. Brisbane, Australia
    4. Sydney, Australia
    5. Seattle, WA, USA
    6. Los Angeles, CA, USA
    7. Chicago, IL, USA
    8. Toronto, Canada
    9. San Francisco, CA, USA
    10. New York, NY, USA

    The data are not terribly surprising. Within the US, the actual quantity is nearly identical for the top cities, which is what you’d expect. (Why should LA be radically different from NY or SF on this score?) Then click on United States and you get

    1. Salt Lake City, UT, USA
    2. Portland, OR, USA
    3. Denver, CO, USA
    4. Boston, MA, USA
    5. Pleasanton, CA, USA
    6. Seattle, WA, USA
    7. Philadelphia, PA, USA
    8. Chicago, IL, USA
    9. Los Angeles, CA, USA
    10. Irvine, CA, USA

    and the Salt Lake City is WAY higher than any other city. Enough to make you suspicious. Can it really be that SLC residents watch 60% more porn than all of the other leading US cities (which are all about tied)? SLC is less than 50% Mormon. If this is really due to the Mormon population, those Mormons must have more than a mild addiction.

    Stay in the US and type in “porn” and you get a list of cities, all roughly tied, nothing surprising (not even that fact that Irvine, where they actually make the stuff, has a slight lead):

    1. Irvine, CA, USA
    2. Tampa, FL, USA
    3. Orlando, FL, USA
    4. Los Angeles, CA, USA
    5. Pleasanton, CA, USA
    6. Phoenix, AZ, USA
    7. St Louis, MO, USA
    8. Portland, OR, USA
    9. Philadelphia, PA, USA
    10. Chicago, IL, USA

    Can it be that Utahns watch a lot more porn than everyone else, but they are unaware of the abbreviation? Or does the term “pornography” get a lot of usage because of people preparing Sunday School lessons on the subject? I can’t imagine anybody looking to view actual porn would type out the whole word “pornography” — can you? Go ahead and try typing “pornography” into google: you get wikipedia, encarta, “Concerned Women for America,” and NO actual porn. It seems that someone who was actually viewing the stuff would not make the mistake of typing “pornography” into google more than once.

    Okay, let’s try to think of some searches that people who would actually be viewing the porn would use. Type in “penthouse.” Up comes an assortment of cities, all of about the same magnitude. No SLC or Utah on the list. Try “playboy” and “bondage” and “leather” and “fetish” — and a whole host of rather off color terms that I won’t repeat here — and you get an assortment of cities of about the same magnitude, with no SLC on the list. If SLC has 60% more sex addicts than anywhere else, why do they search the word “pornography” and none of hard core terms?

    True, SLC does rank highest for the few soft core searches that the article mentions (“naked ladies” and “topless”) but only by a tiny margin, perhaps not large enough to be significant. (You never see the big gap you see for “pornography.”)

    What’s going on? I don’t know. But the data are consistent with the idea that SLC residents like to read _about_ pornography, and that when they do explore the online world of porn, they are more likely than others to use relatively innocent terminology. There are also some other funny glitches (like orderings of top cities changing when you switch from world rankings to U.S. rankings) that I didn’t know how to explain.

    Now, what to make of all the speculative experts rambling about hypocrisy and human nature in the Deseret News article?

    Not their finest hour, perhaps…

  69. A Girl
    October 12, 2007 at 10:56 pm

    Ah, I didn’t click on the U.S. link to see those cities. I was only paying attention to the global rankings.

    Thanks, Timer. And I had the same thought as you re the word “pornography.” I’m not sure how to explain away the other terms, though.

  70. Jon in Austin
    October 12, 2007 at 11:13 pm

    I’m surprised that no one posted the breakdown by city in Utah.


    Interesting that Spanish Fork and St. George lead the way with Provo and Orem at the bottom end of searches.

  71. Ray
    October 12, 2007 at 11:42 pm

    Not if you’ve seen the girls in Spanish Fork. (Sorry; they were our high school rivals, so what do you expect?)

  72. Jon in Austin
    October 12, 2007 at 11:44 pm

    My mom’s from Spanish Fork… Burn, Ray. Burn. ;)

  73. Ray
    October 12, 2007 at 11:54 pm

    Wow, Jon, that was quick. I expected to get reprimanded, but not that quickly. I would apologize, but your mother must be the exception that proves the rule. *grin*

  74. MikeInWeHo
    October 13, 2007 at 2:36 am

    re: 65

    They make porn in Irvine?? How on earth do you know that, timer? I’m pretty sure the porn industry is concentrated in the San Fernando Valley, which is at least 50 miles away from Irvine.

  75. October 13, 2007 at 7:36 am

    Hey folks – Justin Hart here from the Lighted Candle Society. We are a non-profit organizations fighting pornography in a unique way.

    Pornography addiction is a huge problem right now. Couple of points to back this up:

    1) Go ask your bishop what percentage of personal interviews are related to pornography (most will answer above 75%)

    2) Think about the divorces that you know personally. What % of those divorces were directly related to pornography or sexual deviancy?

    3) Take a look at this interactive crime database that we put together of 150 crimes related to pornography across the nation. Note: this represents crimes in the news in just the first two weeks of September:

    4) New scientific research is demonstrating that pre-teen pornography addiction can lead to serious consequences including a under-developed cerebral cortex

    We saw this local Utah trend taking shape late last year and informed the general authorities. They were also duly concerned but unsure what to do about it.

    It\’s a difficult challenge. Our solution at the Lighted Candle Society is a bit shocking but potentially powerful against this serious issue.

  76. timer
    October 13, 2007 at 8:22 am

    Am I really off by at least 50 miles? If there’s no porn production in Irvine, there must be some other fascinating reason why they search the term “porn” ten percent or so more often than residents of other major cities. :)

    Maybe they’re students at UC Irvine, looking to get jobs in San Fernando Valley…

  77. Talon
    October 13, 2007 at 11:37 am

    SLC topping the list for searches for “pornography” does not prove LDS male usage. If SLC topped the list for searches of “free pornography”, well then case closed.

  78. MBD
    October 13, 2007 at 1:18 pm

    #76 Truly insightful. :)

  79. October 13, 2007 at 1:27 pm

    76) very funny!

  80. timer
    October 13, 2007 at 2:03 pm

    Mormon frugality not withstanding…

    SLC fails to make the top ten for either “free porn” or “free pornography.”

    On the other hand, SLC is number one for “singles” by a sizable margin — almost the same margin by which NYC is number one for “Jewish singles.”

    Want to know which cities have the most lonely souls looking for “lds singles”?

    Check it out on google.com/trends — if your city’s not there, this may explain why you’re not married yet. :)

  81. timer
    October 13, 2007 at 2:18 pm

    More damning information about SLC:

    SLC is number two in searches for “girls.”

    However, in searches for “young women”, SLC is top, with nearly five times as many searches as then next highest city.

    (The phrase “naked young women” did not get enough hits to have a google ranking, but what do you want to bet SLC is number one there as well?)

  82. adcama
    October 13, 2007 at 10:20 pm

    #75 – Lighted Candle Society:

    I took a look at your sight….and I just wanted to clarify something. Have there been any studies or are you aware of evidence suggesting that the run of the mill pornlooker will, over time and repeated exposure, degrade into a pedophile? While I agree that the porn problem has serious social costs, I have not seen nor am I aware of any evidence suggesting that normal pornlooking will cause one who has no predisposition to child porn, turn into a child predator.

    I think this may be an important point – especially if someone is thinking of divorce over an adult computer hankerin’. I have spoken with mormon faithful who are convinced that their husband, brother (whomever) is sure to become a molester if he keeps up with his pornlooking. Again, not arguing that porn has no social ills – just want to clarify that there doesn’t seem to be evidence that pornlooking leads someone (not otherwise disposed) to kiddie porn. I have spoken with many who deal with child predators who have confirmed there does not seem to be a link…do you have (or are you aware of) data that suggests otherwise?

  83. Adam Greenwood
    October 14, 2007 at 1:23 am

    Timer, curse you and your research.

  84. October 14, 2007 at 3:18 am

    Further research also reveals other nefarious trends. “Bishop”, “Elder”, “Relief Society”, and other such insidious terms are leading trends in Utah as well.

    Most shocking of all, “Young Men” is ranked nearly as high as “Young Women”!

    Apparently there is no limit to the depths of depravity Utahns will indulge in unrestrained on Google.

    The horror… the horror…

  85. October 14, 2007 at 12:30 pm

    #82 I heard a saying the other day: “Not all Muslims are terrorists. That is absurd. But almost all terrorists are Muslims.”

    The same can be said for pornography addiction: “Not all porn addicts are rapists and pedophiles. But almost all rapists and pedophiles are rapists.” There are plenty of studies that will attest to this.

    In my mind, however, the most impactful effect of pornography is on marriage. One study in Science Quarterly noted that individuals who have had an extramarital affair are 3.18 times more likely to have used Internet pornography Another study found that people who have engaged in paid sex (i.e. used prostitution) were three times as likely to have used cyberporn than those who did not. The study also found that people who reported being happily married were 61 percent less likely to report using Internet pornography.

    Another study found that among women, pornography consumption is significantly associated with perceptions of emotional infidelity. People also perceive online acts of infidelity as being authentic and real as offline acts.

    Of course, on the extreme end, the stories speak for themselves. Take the tragic story of Destiny Norton, the 6-year-old from Salt Lake who was lured into a neighbor’s home, suffocated and then the unspeakable. The perp was a 20-year old porn addict who said he was playing out a fantasy he had seen on pornographic movies. That was July 2006

    Lastly, I should note this report from the UK Dept. of Justice noting that extreme pornography material induces “some harmful effects from … on some who access it. These included increased risk of developing pro-rape attitudes, beliefs and behaviours, and committing sexual offences.”


  86. October 14, 2007 at 12:31 pm

    The saying I botched should e: “Not all porn addicts are rapists and pedophiles. But almost all rapists and pedophiles are porn addicts“. Leave it to me to botch the punch-line.

  87. Kaimi Wenger
    October 14, 2007 at 12:44 pm

    Justin 85,

    Didn’t you just undercut your own argument? You’re saying, in effect, that the link between porn and rape is about as solid as the link between Islam and terrorism. You’ve also said that one way to fight rape is to campaign against porn. So I guess one way to combat terrorism is to campaign against Islam?

    Assuming you could show that nearly all rapists drank milk as a child, would it make sense to start a campaign to eliminate milk drinking?

  88. October 14, 2007 at 12:54 pm

    Kaimi #87

    I believe its been proven that the link between radical Islam and terrorism exits.

    And yes, in fact, one way to combat terrorism is to fight radical Islam. In my opinion, the only way to curb radical Jihad is for moderate Islamic voices to stand up against it. One way to curb the dramatic effects of pornography is for normal people to spurn and shun it.

    Indeed, at LCS we are under no silly illusion that pornography is going away. That’s not our goal. Rather, we envision a world where pornography is shunned, spurned and widely recognized as a serious threat to our way of life. We strive for a world where the negative consequences of producing and distributing pornography far outweigh the financial benefits.

    Tobacco, which has been proven to have serious social ramifications, is still legal today but carries with it a certain social pariah/mystique. We see pornography headed down the same path. This is where your “milk” rebuttal falls down. Almost all smokers also drank milk… did that cause their cancer?

    Again, we’re not about eliminating pornography. Rather our goal is to effect change on one of the most important social issues we face today.

  89. Kaimi Wenger
    October 14, 2007 at 1:28 pm


    What percent of adults have used pornography?

  90. k l h
    October 14, 2007 at 1:32 pm

    Justin rocks! (As does Kaimi)

  91. Kaimi Wenger
    October 14, 2007 at 1:43 pm

    The reason I ask, Justin, is because I tend to hear two different narratives, from anti-porn advocates, and those narratives seem to be is conflict.

    The first narrative is that some unimaginably large slice of the population uses porn. That 40%, or 50%, or 90%, of adult males, have used or are using porn. (And, of course, that the number is on the rise.)

    The second narrative is that porn has all sorts of horrific effects. It destroys normal marriage, turns men into rapists, and so on.

    And yet, when you combine horrible narrative #1 with horrible narrative #2, you get a result that just doesn’t comport with what I see. If they’re both true, then a huge slice of the population is doing horrible things, going around raping people. This doesn’t comport with my own observations.

    Frankly, it doesn’t comport with the stats, either. (At least, the ones I can find via Google). In the past fifteen years, the number of rapes in the United States has fallen by half. (See http://www.rainn.org/statistics/ ).

    That is, of course, the exact time frame in which the internet exploded, in which porn has become more and more widely available through online sources. In other words, the time frame of most widely available porn has seen a 50% reduction in rapes.

    The anti-porn narratives are interesting, but they just don’t add up. I’m willing to accept the idea that there are very good reasons not to use porn — religious, family, and so on. But the idea that porn will lead to rape so far seems to be quite unconvincing.

  92. October 14, 2007 at 2:14 pm

    First to the stats. As RAINN notes, the study excludes rapes of children 12 or under. One DOJ study estimates that 34% of rape victims are under 12. With 34% of rapes being excluded from these charts I can’t say what the true number of rapes really is.

    To reiterate, the vast majority of porn addicts do not become rapists and pedophiles. It remains a risk, but that is not our main narrative. Rather, we believe that it ruins marriages, families, and has a real impact on our society.

    Even, the staunch feminist, Naomi Wolf, has come out against pornography noting that it turns men off to real intimacy.

    But I’ll call your attention once more to the UK report (released just 2 weeks ago) noting that extreme pornographic material (which is on the rise) has a direct link to serious increases in violence.

    In short, consumption of pornography doesn’t guarantee your fate as a future criminal any more than consumption of alcohol or tobacco will make you an immediate home wrecker or cancer victim. But the ramifications of serious addiction across any one of these vices leads to unmistakable consequences.

    And, hearkening back to the original post, Mormons are struggling with this in a big way.

  93. adcama
    October 14, 2007 at 2:33 pm

    “Not all porn addicts are rapists and pedophiles. But almost all rapists and pedophiles are porn addicts”.

    So I guess that answers my question – that there is no evidence suggesting that porn will turn a non-predator to pedophilia.

    It seems to me that while the internet may facilitate the predator’s ability to access his sleeze, this internet porn problem is not turning those who simply look at “of age” women into 20 year old child molesters. We had those long before internet porn. In other words, it doesn’t seem like you can tell people that if they don’t quit googling “blonde”, they’re going to turn into Craig Roger Gregerson.

    Likewise on Kaimi’s argument re rapists?

  94. adcama
    October 14, 2007 at 2:34 pm

    Justin – you answered my question as I was responding….thanks.

  95. October 14, 2007 at 4:10 pm

    I suggest that this kind of arguing about pornography is singularly unproductive. Why not find common ground, instead of airing doubts and differences?

    Whether or not it is intrinsically and unequivocally bad, porn is inextricably linked with bad things. I think that assertion is enough to establish that it is worth some effort to limit social access to such things. At the very least, our Internet system ought to be organized in such a way that we could avoid contact with these things that disturb our sensiblities. Google only pays minimal attention to this issue, or none at all — or even goes to some lengths to contravene our efforts to avoid porn — and could definitely do more to keep porn out of reach of those for whom it is undesireable or inappropriate.

    We have unmistable warnings from Church leaders about pornography. I have never heard anyone address this subject without unequivocal condemnation. The opposition to common access and use of pornography thus gets my vote.

    Just don’t ask me to sign up with groups like these “Lighted Candle” guys. I think their campaign stinks of priestcraft.

  96. October 14, 2007 at 4:25 pm

    Jim. Thanks for your comments. I hope the back and forth didn’t seem tense. I found it to be very good dialogue with good points on both sides.

    I’m sorry you feed that way about LCS. Fee free to contact me offline. I’d love to understand your concerns more fully. By the by… are you related to George Cobabe?

    email: justin – at – lightedcandle.org.

  97. WillF
    October 14, 2007 at 5:18 pm

    Do a search at lds.org of ‘pornography cocaine’ and by reading the resulting artciles I think you will conclude that it is church policy to view it as addictive.


    “Pornography is as addictive as cocaine or any illegal drug. Without a doubt, pornography is addictive and is poison.” – James E. Faust
    “…It is addictive” – President Hinckley
    “…That caution pertains to pornography, which is highly addictive” – Russell M. Nelson
    “…It is addicting. ” – President Monson
    “…pornography is overpoweringly addictive” – Richard G. Scott
    “Pornography in all its forms is especially dangerous and addictive. What may begin as a curious indulgence can become a destructive habit that takes control of your life.” – For the Strength of Youth
    “Pornography is also addictive. A man who had been addicted to pornography and to hard drugs wrote me this comparison: “In my eyes cocaine doesn’t hold a candle to this” – Dallin H. Oaks

  98. WillF
    October 14, 2007 at 5:48 pm

    Jim Cobabe – (95) I was with you until your last paragraph… what is it about lightedcandle.org that suggests priestcraft to you? I’m assuming that you mean that they are trying to make money by insincerely fighting for a religious cause. I’m a little wary of this too, but I wouldn’t jump to the conclusion that they are priestcraft just because they ask for money.

  99. adcama
    October 14, 2007 at 6:26 pm

    Jim Cobabe-

    What gave you the impression that we didn’t have common ground? I was just trying to clarify something that seems to be misunderstood. No doubt we should stand up against porn, but let’s just do so honestly…and without pushing a connection that isn’t there. That was my point……

  100. October 14, 2007 at 11:35 pm

    I wouldn’t jump to the conclusion that they are priestcraft just because they ask for money

    I wouldn’t jump either, but it is certainly a red-flag indicator that raises my level of suspicion. I would especially beware of opportunists who suddenly appear as specialists in this market, just as the Church is escalating their anti-pornography campaign.

    Additionally, when I see the name “Judith Reisman” associated with such an endeavor, their credibility falls off sharply.

    No doubt we should stand up against porn, but let’s just do so honestly…and without pushing a connection that isn’t there. That was my point…


    For me, the “badness” of pornography is well enough substantiated. Those who are inclined to share this view are already on board. Those skeptics who are not will probably not be swayed by the results of carefully directed “research”. Little purpose in quibbling over statistics.

  101. Mi
    October 15, 2007 at 12:25 am

    FWIW, I personally don’t need to know stats or read studies or worry about location to believe (know) porn is addictive and wreaks terrible havoc on the family.

    Over the past 5+ years my extended family has been ripped apart by porn addictions and related issues. The “perps” themselves admit that their problems/sins/crimes can be linked directly to having started with “no big deal” minor porn viewing. It is pure hell, for those who have (and/or are trying to overcome) the addiction and for their families. It even affects everyone with whom the families come into contact. (Do you want your neighbor, or the parent of your child’s friend, to be on the Sex Offender registry?) It destroys trust, love, relationships, ad infinitum… It shatters definitions of safety, covenants, and family. It causes unimaginable anguish and discussions with children who are too young to be thrust into these adult dealings. “Why can’t Daddy baptize/ordain me?” “Why doesn’t Daddy [or Mommy] take the sacrament anymore?” The agony of these cries is deafening. Nobody, NOBODY, should have to go through all this for some simple, selfish, momentary pleasure that some would have us believe is normal and no big deal.

    From my observations, I believe that most people (particularly members?) who get trapped in pornography do not go into it thinking they won’t be able to leave it behind when they decide they’ve seen enough. It becomes an insatiable appetite they have to feed, at any expense. They sacrifice their conscience, integrity, family, everything. I’ve been told that some in my family KNEW it was destroying their spouse/children but they just HAD to do it, they could NOT let go of it. It was as if they became totally different people, unable to control or stop their actions. That is addiction. That is wrong, on so many levels.

    It may be anecdotal, but it’s good enough for me.

    *Getting off soap box now*

  102. Anonymous
    October 17, 2007 at 4:18 pm

    There may be additional explanations. Having suffered an addiction to porn myself, after viewing pornography, I would often search for spiritual websites to try to lighten my spirits and regain what I had just lost. I know it doesn\’t explain the data completely, but that may be one piece of the puzzle if other Mormon addicts act in the same way.

  103. Austin F.
    October 17, 2007 at 4:21 pm

    This may have been addressed earlier, but if you go to google trends, neither SLC nor UT pop up on the top searchers for the word ‘porn,’ rather than the more formal pornography.

  104. Andrew
    October 18, 2007 at 5:10 pm

    I apologize in advance for the length of this post, but this thread has had me thinking about this issue the last few days.

    I feel like this thread somehow avoided the 800-pound elephant in the room. Generally speaking, the discussion evolved from a general sense of skepticism and denial that porn usage would be higher among LDS men, followed by some brief discussion about whether the LDS “crackdown” on porn is at least partly to blame for porn usage among LDS men, followed by some discussion about whether porn is “really so bad after all”.

    But if, for the sake of argument, porn usage is actually higher among LDS men than the average male, why would that be? After reading the 100-some comments, I was surprised that more time was not spent discussing what one commenter (#57) mentioned in passing, i.e., the idea that LDS women may be more “frigid” than the average woman in the U.S., and that their “sexually-deprived” husbands are therefore driven into the arms of the porn industry to satisfy their natural desires.

    To be more neutral in phrasing the issue, I think it is fair to say that it is well-established that men desire sex more frequently than do women, both inside and outside the church. From my anecdotal experience in speaking with many LDS men and women, this is a common struggle in LDS marriages.

    In my opinion, the apparent prevalence of porn usage among LDS men (which appears to be higher than average) may be explained by the different in how the Church and the World address the question of how to resolve the “problem” of men wanting sex more often than women. I see “the World” encouraging women to embrace their sexuality, focus on learning how to “please their man” in the bedroom, and thereby increase their own sexual desire. (One need only glance at the covers of womens’ magazines at the grocery store to see that.) In short, the World solves the problem of men naturally wanting sex more often than women by encouraging and conditioning women to be “sexy” and to want more sex.

    By contrast, I see many LDS members interpreting Church teachings as implicitly requiring men to desire sex less often, or to at least “sacrifice themselves” by learning to live with the frustration of not having sex as often as they would like, all in the name of “putting off the natural man”. Obviously, many LDS men–who are surrounded by our overtly sexual culture–are failing to do so; hence the problem of porn among LDS men.

    To me, this was the 800-pound elephant that somehow got overlooked in the recent discussion. I think this topic desperately needs to be addressed head-on, and until it is, the problem of porn within the LDS church is only going to worsen before it gets better. We need to find a middle ground between the World’s lustful, pleasure-seeking attitude of sex as an end in itself, and the seemingly prevalent attitude among LDS members that the “solution” to the problem of men wanting sex more frequently than women is for men to learn to desire sex less often, or at least learn to live with sexual deprivation. In my opinion, both attitudes are destructive to marriages.

    I know I am a few days too late on this thread for this comment to have any impact, and I doubt many people will even see it. But if someone at T&S administration is reading this, I’d propose a follow-up blog to address this issue head on.

  105. truebluethru\'n\'thru
    November 7, 2007 at 12:07 am

    There is a Fox News “vid bit” getting play that has got these 20ish eatery wenches doing a Leo Buscaglia with the presidential candidate most googled in Utah.


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