Sunday, August 21, 2011

Pornography and your future son-in-law

We discuss pornography a lot in our church meetings. Our bishop shared this article with me and his 2nd counselor today. Take a read and let me know what you think. I'm interested in what you think about this approach to dealing with pornography and your future son-in-law.


Mike and Adrianne said...

Mike wouldn't have appreciated having this talk with Dad. He would have wanted to say, "I have a current temple recommend and that's all you need to know." He was exposed to pornography by a friend when he was 8 years old, but has never had a problem with it. If Dad started asking him questions like, "How have you dealt with your problem with pornography," Mike would not have tolerated it. A lot of the questions the guy suggests in the article are those trick questions, "When did you stop beating your wife?" They presuppose that the action is already taking place. To him it seems like a good way to establish a strained relationship with the in-laws.

My opinion is that there is no need for the dad to bring it up with his future son-in-law if the couple has already discussed serious topics such as pornography. What would talking to him change about the situation? I could see the father saying to the daughter, "I'm not comfortable with you marrying him" but in the end, she still has to make that decision and hopefully, she has already made it considering all the discussions she has had with him--pornography included. I just feel like having one discussion with a father-in-law is not as important as the history that the couple should already have together.

I thought this was a very interesting article and it makes me sad that pornography is such a bad problem that there is a need for this article. I'm interested to see what the rest of you say.

GrumpyJaxMomOf3 said...

I know that you might have been just asking your family, but I loved this article. I think it would be awesome if future father-in-laws would have this conversation with their future son-in-laws it would not only help them to face and overcome this problem before marriage, but also allow them to gain a trust and a relationship. As satan's grasp gets stronger, we must fight harder to protect our families whether or not it might be awkward. I am a mother of three young girls, and I pray my husband will have the courage to talk to our future sons.

Thank You for sharing!!

chelsey said...

This article lead to a good discussion with our son. I was reading it when he came in, looked over my shoulder and asked what the article was. It opened the door for a long talk about pornography, the article, and how to protect himself from it. We've had these talks before, but it's always good to have these talks over and over -- in a non-threatening way.

I can see two different ways that conversation with a son-n-law could go. I can see the young man being irritated that those questions assume there has already been a problem and take offense; then there's the side that appreciates the fact that the father in law cares enough to ask.

Of course, it is safer to assume that your daughter's future son in law has viewed pornography. It's naive to think he hasn't. It doesn't mean he's actively searched for it. Men don't have to -- it's thrown in their faces every day. Just a stroll around any mall these days will show you that! Maybe the better question would be to ask if that future son-in-law has talked about the dangers of pornography with the daughter. Make sure that discussion is happening -- and it should continue to happen throughout the marriage. What will they be doing as a COUPLE to ensure the safety of their marriage? She plays a role in it too: i.e, Does she sit around watching trashy shows that parade immodesty? Does she/he spend too much time on social media sites? The list could go on and on really.

I can see how that line of questioning could get anyone defensive. The father in law would need to be very prayerful in how he delivers the questions. I think the response Adrianne shared of being a current temple recommend holder carries a lot of weight. The fact that the issue should be addressed from one priesthood holder to another is a valid and important one though!

Jason said...

I am not going to re-write what I just unsuccessfully posted but suffice it to say that I agree with Adrianne. Problems with pornography are to be addressed with the Bishop, not the father-in-law. A current temple recommend should be adequate.

Mike and Adrianne said...

Chelsey's comment made me think of something else. I think the more important conversation would have to be between the daughter and the Dad. I think it would be a much better approach for the father to sit down with the daughter and ask in a non-threatening way, "These are things that have helped in our marriage and things that make marriage strong" then list some things and then you could follow up with the questions that Chelsey mentioned, "Have you talked about debt? Have you talked about pornography with your boyfriend? How can you as a couple combat the temptations he will be faced with? Have you talked about children and how many you want, when to start a family, etc.?" I think that way, the father can bring up questions that she might not have thought about and then she and her boyfriend can discuss them. Because ultimately, it's the couple that will have to work through these things and I think it's best to start talking about them before they get married.

The Duke said...

I would never ask a future son-in-law these questions. Ever. I think this is a very private conversation that has to go on between the couple before they are married (as Chelsey says) and with a bishop. We are not judges of another's character. Jim is no longer a bishop and he would have no jursidiction over the young man even if he were. We cannot judge their state of repentance or even if they need to repent.
I think the article brings up a lot of valid concerns but I would never do this. I feel like it's a bit inappropriate, in fact, for the conversation to happen between two people that barely know each other.
I would hope that my daughters would have good enough sense and righteous enough spirits that they would be able to have deep conversations about this before getting married.

Jess and Jen said...

When I first read the article, I thought like many of you and said, "Whoa, that's a question the bishop is supposed to ask, not my potential father-in-law." I am a little uncomfortable with the approach suggested in this article, although I agree with the principle.

Adrianne is right about couples. However, how many of you ladies actually asked your potential husbands whether they had viewed pornography, let alone had a "problem" with it? It's a good idea in theory but I doubt many of you actually asked.

I also don't think "I have a current temple recommend" cuts it. We're told by our stake president that in discussions regarding this topic with "offenders" they report that when they're asked about the law of chastity in their interviews, they often justify in their minds that "well, the last time I saw pornography was the last time I'll ever do it, so I don't have a problem with it" and they say to the stake president or bishop, "Nope, I have no problems with the law of chastity."

When the stake president called me in to interview me for the bishopric, his question was "When was the last time you saw pornography?" Talk about supposition! "Seeing" isn't the same as "seeking" so he's not assuming you have problems with it but simply that you've been exposed to it. For me, I was first exposed to it at age 12 in Carmichael by my friend Will.

I think that for a potential father-in-law simply seeking to "preside, provide, and protect" his family, this is a very important topic to discuss...with his own child. He needs to encourage his child to discuss this with their fiance. If you had a doubt about your future son-in-law's testimony, or word of wisdom issues, or violent tendencies, wouldn't you do everything to make sure this concern is addressed before the marriage? How is that different than pornography? I don't think it's about jurisdiction; I think it's about stewardship of a father over his children. She ain't married yet!

I believe that we dance around pornography so much because we're afraid to talk about it. But let's face it, it's a common problem (86% of men saw it online in the last year?!?) and when we get over some of these fears, we may be able to make some progress.

I can't imagine I'll ever ask my future three son-in-laws these questions, but you can be positive I'll have long talks about it with my girls and encourage them to have the same talks with the slimy guys they'll want to marry. Dad, where did you say your shotgun was? -Jess

Mike and Adrianne said...

To answer your question Jess, I DID actually have this discussion with Mike before we got married. We talked about these things in my major and Mike and I had A LOT of serious discussions regarding pornography, masturbation, debt, when and how many children to have, family relationships, etc.

I absolutely agree with you that the father has every right to sit down with his daughter and advise her on the topics to discuss with her boyfriend.

And, I think if he wants to have this talk, I think it's more appropriate for him to set them BOTH down and ask them if they have considered XYZ.

Like I said, I think it's a really interesting article and it's created some good discussion, in my opinion.

LanceandNance said...

Well said both Adrianne and Jess. Nancy asked me very straightforwardly about pornography while we were dating. It is definitely something that needs to be discussed by all couples in a serious relationship.

Mike said...

While Adrianne has already shared my opinion about the author's suggestion to future fathers-in-law, I'd like to point out what seems to me to be a serious flaw with his position. He says, "I believe it’s safe to assume that the young man has already been exposed to pornography. One recent study showed that 86% of college-aged men had viewed online pornography in the past year. Forty-eight percent of those same men viewed it weekly." I think this is an example of deceiving with statistics. Would any of us be convinced if the article were instead about talking to future sons-in-law about alcohol usage and reported that 99.9% of college age students consumed alcohol at least 1 time per month? We wouldn't because we know that while it is extremely common for college age students to consume alcohol, it is relatively uncommon in our culture. I think the statistic that would have been more valuable would be to see the pornography usage among temple recommend holding, returned missionaries--whom we all presume our daughters will one day marry. If such data were available, I'm inclined to think that this article would seem to have a lot less value.


Lokodi said...

I definitely asked Hans about pornography before marriage. He was a convert and I was sure at some point in his life he had encountered that. However, I think Mike has a good point. The % of LDS men needs to be taken into account in this article. It obviously exists quite a bit within the LDS community, but I'd like to know what the percentage is with those temple recommend holders/returned missionaries, etc.

I completely agree with Adrianne on all points here. And, I'm extremely grateful Dad did NOT have this conversation with Hans when he asked for my hand. I would hope mom and dad would have had enough faith in me to know I would have those conversations with Hans before ever getting married. It is my responsibility to have those talks with him, not my dad. I do understand the need for a father to "preside, provide, and protect" his family. However, have that conversation with your daughter, not your future son-in-law that you don't even know that well. That's not a good way to start on the right foot with each other.

Also, what about the other 20% of guys who haven't been looking at porn? The way the author was talking, it made it sound like you should never believe the kid if he said he doesn't have a problem with it. Maybe, just maybe he doesn't. I know the odds are probably stacked against him, but it didn't say 99.9% of men.


Adam H. Clark said...

Lots of good points made. I think a question one could ask more appropriately is how the young man, as a father and husband, is going to help protect himself and his family from it in the future. That might be a bit more comfortable and still valuable. My past is not my father-in-law's business. I'm not marrying him and am not making a covenant with him. However, I wouldn't be offended by him asking how I was going to protect my family.

Anyway, lots of good stuff you have all said.