Belief

Inside the Bizarre World of Mormon Porn—Which Is Freaking out the Church and Utah Lawmakers

Sites find countless ways to sexualize sacred religious practices, ceremonies and leadership roles.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com/braedostok

Utah has declared pornography to be a “public health crisis,” but it isn’t because of Mormon porn addiction; it’s because of porn usage. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints doesn’t screw around when it comes to members of the church engaging in sexual activity, even if it isn’t consensual.

The advocates for restrictive access to pornography are no match for technology, where anyone with a smartphone can excuse themselves to the men’s room for a self-satisfying afternoon delight. Leaders in the LDS church are paralyzed in the face of First Amendment law and the ease of privacy. All a Mormon masturbator must shoulder is his or her own guilt, and the church plays up the shaming to the extreme.

The market is hungry for young men and women disrobing down to their holy temple garments, before pausing with trepidation as the recognition of the forbidden acts cross their faces. In the LDS Church, God’s chosen priests, the sacred seed bearers, are tasked with rebuilding the lost tribes of Israel. That means spreading their “seed” as liberally as they see fit to the daughters of Zion.

The pornography site MormonGirlz.com features these “seed bearers” calling young virgin women to their offices. Some have been caught kissing other women and are in need of some sort of forced recommitment to heterosexuality. Others are called to temple leaders’ offices for secret sexual rituals. Some of the women even play the role of married Mormon women whose husbands must submit to the “desire of the church” to inseminate their women with this so-called sacred seed. The site finds countless ways to sexualize sacred religious practices, ceremonies and leadership roles.

Utah’s porn usage isn’t quite as overwhelming when compared to the majority of other states in the country. In 2015, the adult site PornHub recorded 16 visits per capita from Utah visitors, half of what Washington, D.C.’s rate. While Utah lawmakers reject LGBT-friendly laws, their citizens are hungry for lesbian pornography. It is the top search term in the state, but it’s also consistent with a majority of states in the country.

Utah’s “health crisis” legislation is primarily ceremonial and places no actual laws or consequences surrounding pornography or access to it. It is, however, 50 percent more likely than other states to search for Mormon pornography on PornHub than any other state. It isn’t just lesbians and watching fellow Mormons get their groove on that satisfies Utah’s taboo desires. They are also known for searching for Hentai pornography, threesomes and anal sex. Perhaps the search traffic is why pornography depicting Mormons is becoming more prevalent.

The site was started by former Mormon Brooke Hunter who met her business partner Legrand Wolf (not his real name), founder of MormonBoyz, when the two attended Brigham Young University. Like most Mormons, Wolf went on his mission trip in his late teens, but the time away from home helped him come to grips with his homosexuality.

MormonBoyz, like it’s sister site, features gay themes mixed with the religious practices. Young men going on their mission trips are alone with other young men and away from home for the first time. Inevitably, it leads to sex. Many of the stories mirror Wolf’s own experience, he told Vice. After months of innuendo and agonizing build-up, Wolf’s sexy French mission “companion” finally initiated sex and the two developed a loving relationship.

Beyond overt Mormon-specific pornography, there is another tactic used to help Mormons who seek to satisfy the itch for female nudity without actual nudity. “Bubbling” photos falls in the gray area of the Mormon porn ban. Photos of women in bathing suits are taken, and graphics strategically placed over them to make them appear as though they might be nude. It is essentially church-sanctioned pornography.

Utah’s greatest problem is more their constraint of an open and healthy sexuality. A 2014  study directed by psychologist Joshua Grubbs, of Case Western Reserve University in Ohio shows a correlation between those who consider themselves to be very religious and those who consider normal sexual behavior is addiction.

“We were surprised that the amount of viewing did not impact the perception of addiction, but strong moral beliefs did,” Grubbs said to Science Daily. “We can help the individual understand what is driving this perception and help individuals better enjoy their faith.”

The Utah Coalition Against Pornography believes that their state’s usage of the sexual content will impair a child’s brain development and that all people should be protected against pornography. They claim that the support of prohibition is entirely founded on the “think of the children” argument. According to PornHub’s data, however, users aren’t 10-year-old children coming home from school and searching for lesbians or MILF’s instead of practicing their multiplication tables. Sixty percent of the users of the site in Utah are in the Millennial Generation.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles is on a crusade of his own to stop pornography. “[No] real headway can or will be made in this battle until there is a much deeper, much broader, and, frankly, much more fearful concern about the actual threat of pornography than we presently see in society in general,” he said in a speech.

That’s where the church’s guilt and shame becomes a factor. On a message board for exMormons, an anonymous poster explained his own history of being told he was a porn addict by his church. “Most Mormon ‘porn addicts’ are not addicted at all,” he writes. “The ‘addiction’ is due largely in [part] to the taboo nature of it.” He asserts that some simply have higher sex drives than others, but the church refers to them as addicts.

“I realized this was true when a therapist suggested I attend a non-[Mormon] sexaholics anonymous group,” he said explaining he had been to LDS ones before. “I realized that my ‘addiction’ of 1-7 times/week would get me laughed out of such a meeting.”

“The human body is a beautiful thing and there is nothing wrong with wanting to look at it,” he concludes. “Couples need to decide between themselves, without help from the church, what is acceptable to them and then stay within those limits.”

 

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Sarah K. Burris covers digital media and politics for Raw Story.