THE BLOG
11/28/2011 04:57 pm ET Updated Jan 28, 2012

Priests and Porn Addiction - A Full Scale Farce

Up until recently, Peggy Fletcher Stack had remained off my radar screen. A journalist for The Salt Lake Tribune and a lifetime member of the famed Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints published a piece cleverly titled "Utah Faith Leaders Battle the Hidden Sin: Porn Addiction."

This of course caught my attention. At first, I began to read simply out of curiosity; but as my eyes took in the information she provided, I quickly became infuriated. Words such as "smut" and "lust" radiated off the page, portraying the priests as innocent victims falling prey to the evils of sex. She explains that if it weren't for pornography these clergymen wouldn't have been tempted to view such 'unhealthy imagery.'

Correct me if I'm wrong but sex was around far before pornography was. Before the cyber age, I'm sure priests, rabbis and clergy from all religious affiliations were aware it existed. It didn't take porn sites and web cams to bring it to their attention.

My question is this: Is the porn itself to blame for the so-called addiction that these Utah priests are facing? Or does it stand to reason that these priests are grappling with a much larger issue? Could it be that quite possibly it's the foundation of their religious views and decision to become a spiritual guide that has reached shaky ground? If one is revered as a church leader and falters into temptation of what would be considered a sin, isn't it the priest who should be held responsible? It seems to me that the counseling should focus on their faith and not to a porn addiction. They clearly had an intention of viewing a pornographic site as they typed the words into their search engine the very first time.

Utah has always been, for lack of better terms, an overtly religious state. Their views of sex, its role in society and relationships are often straight out of the Dark Ages, in my opinion. It seems of little wonder to me that Utah reigns within the top 10th percentile for suicides and sex crimes. If no one is willing to acknowledge that humans have sexual desires and that there may be a large scale version of the blame game going on -- I don't see any end in sight to their rise in the rankings. It may be possible that journalists such as Peggy Fletcher Stark and organizations such as the Utah Coalition Against Pornography would be better served finding real reasons why their clergy and congregation have felt the temptation in the first place. It seems easier for them to blame the pornography and develop 12-step programs against porn addiction (like the one developed by Mormon therapist Michael Gardner) than to deal with the fact that they may have a faith issue on their hands.

I'll be the first to admit that the internet is completely over-saturated with porn sites. But, hey! Guess what? The beauty of the modern day internet is that if you don't type it in -- it won't come up. If you aren't tempted -- you won't search it. This is a fact that seems to have escaped all of these radical anti-pornography crusaders. Pay more attention to your children's internet habits, talk more openly in your marriage and open doors for your clergy and congregation to speak in an open non-judgmental forum about issues they may have with their wavering faith. Leave the pornographers out of it.

I've grown weary of the latest catch-all phrases such as porn addiction and sex addict. All too often when the reality of a person's private life begins to unravel and the truth begins to shine through, we allow them to hide behind contemporary verbiage to explain away what some may view as deviant behaviors. It's all just an attempt to shirk the personal responsibility associated with their actions. It becomes harder and harder to determine who is really suffering from the perils of addiction and who is just crying wolf. To the millions of Americans truly suffering, my heart goes out to you. To those playing the sympathy card because the gig is up -- shame on you.