The National Blessed Family Ministry (BFM) is making a conscious and deliberate effort to address the problem of pornography within the Unification movement. On October 12, 2011, the BFM hosted an unprecedented webinar titled “The Pornography Plague: Protecting Our Youth and Yourselves.” More than one hundred individuals, couples, counselors and pastors attended this webinar, which was presented by John Williams (UTS ’90), an experienced and well-received Unificationist counselor and marriage educator with a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. This was the first webinar on the topic of pornography to be promoted nationally through Lovin’ Life MInistries’ Sunday Services.
“I really feel very sympathetic with especially young men because they’re assaulted by the internet from the time they are children,” said Williams. “Pornography is very aggressive – it’s something you have to actively avoid. It plays on young people’s loneliness and curiosity. Many of our finest youth get involved with pornography, then feel ashamed and withdraw emotionally, without their parents’ or peers’ understanding of what’s going on. It’s like the plague with no name. People are suffering silently and alone.”
“In my opinion, we need to be proactive. We have to give our youth a vision of heavenly sex and help them understand why pornography is dangerous. I know young men who think pornography is stupid because in their hearts, they feel fulfilled. That goes to show that we need to meet our children’s needs and satisfy their curiosity in a healthy way.”
The webinar was promoted with the following information: “Internet pornography is aggressive, anonymous, available and highly addictive. Young people cannot escape being exposed to it, and indeed, it can seem harmless and technically ‘pure.’ Yet, too many struggle with a porn habit that threatens their spiritual and mental health, and even their Blessed marriage. Our research-based webinar will frankly explore how pornography and masturbation affect the brain, and how they undermine sexual satisfaction and intimacy in marriage. We will discuss how to help our youth – and ourselves – resist as well as recover from compulsive use of pornography.”
According to the Journal of Adolescent Health, prolonged exposure to pornography leads to diminished trust between intimate couples, belief that promiscuity is the natural state, belief that abstinence and sexual inactivity are unhealthy and belief that marriage is sexually confining. Studies show that in 2000, as many as 25 million Americans spent 1 to 10 hours per week viewing Internet pornography, and as many as 4.7 million spent over 11 hours per week viewing Internet pornography. Several studies have also shown pornography can lead to sexual violence, causing people to label sexual violence as a more sexual rather than violent act. The average age of first exposure for both boys and girls is about seven years of age. Recent research shows that half of male and one in six female college students spend up to five hours onine weekly for sex-related activities, and 21% of male students do this daily.
“This webinar we held was so well received,” said Rev. Schanker, Director of the Blessed Family Ministry in the United States “Over 100 people participated. As In Jin Nim has shared with us consistently, to become an ideal family we have to ‘deal’ with whatever challenges or issues are there. Pornography has become such an insidious and pervasive problem, affecting not only our young people, but also secretly buried in the lives of some Blessed members as well. The feedback was extremely positive. People appreciated the frank, open discussion of this sensitive subject, the deep insight into how pornography can impact their intimacy with their partner, and the practical solutions presented.
“Too many young people think that this problem will simply disappear automatically when they get Blessed, but for many it does not. Instead, it becomes a source of comfort or distraction when they are struggling. Too many elders justify this compulsion because they are not fulfilled in their marriages. But as we make more effort to help couples build healthier relationships, we are finding a growing number of people opening up and tackling this issue. As people begin to realize that there is help available, answers and support, they are willing to open up about this secret and struggling aspect of their lives. That itself is healthy.”
“We [BFM] have helped a lot of Unificationists with their pornography problems and have seen a lot of success cases,” said Kyunga Orr, Executive Assistant to Rev. Schanker. “At the last Blessing workshop on October 14 and 15, 2011, we had a men’s circle in which men were encouraged to speak freely about problems they’ve been experiencing. Several young men said that it was the best open-discussion brother-circle they’ve ever attended. Instead of keeping things secret, we’re trying to deal with everything as an issue that needs to be dealt with, and we’ve received much positive feedback from the members.”
The Blessed Family Ministry urges Unificationists to stay tuned for the schedule of future classes and expresses its appreciation for the support it has received to strengthen families and spread the breaking news of True Parents’ love through the Blessing.
Contributed by Ariana Moon.