There are some things we lack common sense about. One is the word “addicted”. We tacitly excuse someone of what they are doing if we think they are addicted. We think it isn’t their fault any more.
One way in which this has been applied is with pornography. It is certainly true that men or women who begin indulging in it may find it very, very difficult to stop doing so.
But we think this is something new. It is some feature of pornography itself. And it is not, it is something old.
After all, let us assume we have a young man living together out of wedlock with an attractive young woman. He wants to repent, and so he swears off having sexual relations with her. But he doesn’t move out.
Does his commitment to be moral last?
We likely have the common sense to know that it won’t last indefinitely until he either marries the girl, as is proper in such a circumstance, or, at the very least, moves to a separate house from her.
And pretty much everyone used to have that much sense. At least, any man familiar with his own drives, and equipped with basic honesty knew that the man is not going to stay chaste as long as he continues living with that girl. Absolutely so if he had already been sexually involved with the girl.
But what is different is that we didn’t used to call that “addiction”. In fact, we may still have the sense not to call that case addiction, even though, no matter how firmly the man commits, he is going to keep on failing and coming back to his immorality as long as he remains living with the girl.
And what we call pornography addiction is not really any different than that circumstance. The difference is that with pornography the man usually chooses to continue living with the girl. She is always nearby.
That makes it very difficult for those who become involved to overcome. Thus the brethren have warned against it as addicting. And their intention in calling it so is perfectly spot on.
But for us to then turn around and decide that the person is not accountable for it, and to start coddling those in pornography because we think they are not accountable, is a horrible misconstrual of the reality of the situation.
Yes, it would be hard to get over, because it is hard to “move out”. One cannot simply leave the source of one’s temptation behind if one starts to become involved in pornography these days.
But no, one is still fully accountable for each instance one partakes of it. Period.
As the scriptures put it:
Mosiah 3:12 But wo, wo unto him who knoweth that he rebelleth against God! For salvation cometh to none such except it be through repentance and faith on the Lord Jesus Christ.