Legal fight against pornography

This week I met someone who I believe will be a hero and role model to me for the rest of my life.

One of my life ambitions — though not the strongest — has been to go to law school and become an attorney. (I worked one summer at a great law firm in Las Vegas and really enjoyed the work, the people, and the “banker’s hours”.) I envisioned practicing law for ~20 years to support my family, then retire early and use my legal degree and experience to mount a legal front against pornography.

This week I attended a luncheon with John Harmer, Chairman of the Lighted Candle Society, who has been doing this for decades. Mr. Harmer practiced law in California, became a state senator, and then in 1974 was appointed to be Lt. Governor under Governor Ronald Reagan. He has been litigating against pornographers since 1964. At the luncheon he explained the history behind the battle:

  • In 1960s porn was produced by organized crime. Now there are four publicly-traded hard-core porn companies on Wall Street.
  • In the 60s, it was easy to get a conviction in court against lewd material. Now mainstream magazines like Cosmopolitan and Vogue contain material more lewd that the material with which Mr. Harmer obtained convictions in the 60’s.
  • Litigating against pornography became harder in 1973 after the Miller vs. California Supreme Court decision, which sets three criteria for defining what is considered lewd, one of which is that lewd material violates “contemporary community standards”.
  • Up until 2004, AT&T made $220M/year from an adult TV channel it owned, one of many mainstream companies that profit from pornography.
  • In 2004 Forbes said pornography was a $56 billion industry.
  • The porn industry has used fake witnesses in court, who have received phony sexology degrees from mail-away colleges, to argue that pornography doesn’t violate “contemporary community standards”.
  • Pornography is a huge productivity drain on businesses — 70% of pornography usage happens at work.
  • Cherilyn Bacon, who hosted the luncheon, asked Kevin Rollins of Dell about pornography when he spoke at the BYU Management Society meeting last week and was impressed with his answer. Mr. Rollins said Dell has a zero tolerance policy for pornography — employees found using it are immediately terminated.

The point of the luncheon was to raise funds for the Lighted Candle Society. They have five goals or “smooth stones” (a reference to the David and Goliath story) — Prevention, Action Programs, Research, Guarding the Light, and Healing. Money donated to the society might fund, for instance, medical research to show the negative physiological effects of pornography or resources to help local attorneys properly prosecute pornography cases.

Come with me to the Lighted Candle Society’s fundraising dinner in May. A table of 10 costs $1500 so I’m hoping to get at least 9 other people to pitch in $150 each to go in on a table with me. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland will be the speaker that night, and the money will go to what I consider a great cause. It’s on May 3 at 7:00 PM at the Little America Hotel in SLC. If you’re interested, leave a comment below or email me at richardkmiller AT gmail.

I believe time will prove that pornography is damaging enough to families and societies that it’s worth fighting like an illegal drug. I also believe there are people ensnared in it that want our help to escape it. We can be the ones to do it.

24 thoughts on “Legal fight against pornography”

  1. Hey, Hope this fight is still going on. It is a dream of mine to someday see the industry burn. I am a teen and I have seen the damage it causes and how common it is. It is a blight on our society that we have yet to rid ourselves of this disgusting industry.
  2. Richard,

    The majority of workers statistically do not have access to the internet porn within there jobs, which makes watching porn more difficult.
    most company’s take a hard line on porn in the work place. in my experience working in offices in the uk there is very little scope for staff to watch pornographic material and if caught, they suffer harsh consequences providing an affective deterant.
    adult DVDs still equate to a large slice of the total revenue pie within the industry. Are you telling me that workers take there dvd’s into there work place to watch them in non privacy? no they watch them in the privacy of there homes. as do the majority of porn users.
    As an estimate, in my opinion, about 5% of pornography usage happens at work.
    that aside, i agree that considering the truly enormous world wide usage of porn, it must surely cost industries and the economy a considerable amount of money.

    i would also agree that pornography poses a serious problem for some people. propagating idealistic views of women and having a negotive affect in many ways. i would agree that its most certainly addictive, but to say ‘Almost every teenager is addicted to porn’_PeAcE_ is laughable.
    making nonsense claims does not help your cause, it just makes you appear fanatical.

    1. Steve, perhaps your personal experience is otherwise, but I actually came across a corroborating stat just last week:

      “according to SexTracker.com, a porn industry consultancy, 70% of internet pornography viewing is happening during business and school hours”

      source: FightTheNewDrug.com

      In any case, to me the location of pornography viewing isn’t the largest issue.

      I agree that to say something as unsubstantiated and unlikely as “Almost every teenager is addicted to porn” doesn’t help the cause.

  3. ‘Pornography is a huge productivity drain on businesses — 70% of pornography usage happens at work.’

    what a ridiculous statement, and obviously very untrue.

  4. Wonderful work!!! Porn is just like a drug. It has many bad psychological and physical effects. It’s hard to find a person who will not defend pornography. Almost every teenager is addicted to porn. They think about porn everyday and treat women as an object that will satisfy their sexual lust. People addicted to porn spend hours watching it, downloading movies and when they are not doing anything, they think about it so it’s pretty obvious that such addictions makes people stupid, when they waste their entire life looking at a naked woman and a man, they ignore other important work, they will have problems with their partners, they will have problems with their friends. Many rapists are inspired by watching porn movies which shows the act of rape as something wonderful, as if women enjoy it, they never show the scars and the wounds and the terrible state of mind the woman will have afterwards. Porn is an industry that makes lots of money by turning any foolish girl into a prostitute. Everything so addictive is always does damage, but people should know the bad side and not just get addicted to the pleasure. Porn stars have been sexually molested, they have sexually transmitted diseases, they have sex with more men than a normal person would do in many lives, they have been neglected by their families and real friends and it is a shame that they fail to understand that their beauty is only skin deep and would of course fade away one day. It is very sad to see how people change because of such silly things, it is sad to see that people living now have lost the valuable qualities of a human being. It is sad to see that the new generation is full of porn addicts. It is not bombs or bullets that destroys a person. Eventually it will not be pain but pleasure that will ruin people.
  5. ihave been in this blackdwell me too, now i have opened my eyes, for good!

    I will pray everyday that God destroys all the sickness, corruption, crime and misbehaving against good people.

    How can evil make you good, how can evilness give goodness..
    ..only good can give good
    ..and evil is always evil
    as darkness is dark and lightness is bright.

  6. Hi, Richard.

    I just wanted to get back to you on the Lighted Candle Society dinner. Although I have never been to a Lighted Candle Society dinner before and have no comparison to make with the dinner I attended last Wednesday, James Harmer announced at the beginning of the dinner that this would be the best one yet. 🙂 I was impressed with the words expressed, the passion evidenced, and the cause which unites so many from the community. Each attendee received a booklet with the speaker’s talk (Dr. Bryce Christensen from SUU), as well as stories from five women who were victims of their husbands’ pornography addictions. James Harmer called this booklet a treasure. Dr. Christensen’s talk addressed how pornography is one of the most powerful weapons used to destroy the traditional American family. Something that I found particularly insightful was his thought that “what we fight FOR is more important that what we fight AGAINST.” He asserts that we fight AGAINST pornography because we fight FOR marriage and family, etc. Compelling…

    1. Hey Heidi, thanks for letting me know how it went! It sounds like it was good. I wish I could have been there. I like that idea of framing the fight in the positive instead of the negative.
  7. Hi, Richard! I’m heading to the Lighted Candle Society dinner tonight (the November dinner), and I’m looking forward to it. I did a google search in an effort to find out a little more info about it, and I found your post. 🙂 I’m impressed with the organization, as well. My company (Reading Horizons) has donated to the Lighted Candle Society on several occasions in the last four years since I’ve been with the company. We’ve had service auctions at our company parties and donated the money to this organization. Also, my company “bought” a table for the dinner tonight, and I’m one of the lucky ones from the company who gets to attend. It’s amazing to see how interests and connections and experiences intersect. It’s certainly a small world…
    1. Hey Heidi! Funny we should run into each other this way. Have fun at the dinner tomorrow. I wish I could be there. I have tickets but I won’t be in town to make it. I’d be curious to hear what you think afterwards.
  8. Hi to all,I hope you’re all still as focused on the goal that you mention above,perhaps one day we can regain the strength of push to remove this poison from society,speaking from experiance this disease is a soul destroyer.
  9. your enormous task is the best any human can do to humanity. i must confess i was knee deep into pornography. but ”’JESUS”’ raised me out from the pit. what can i do for you in India ? i run a small D T P work in Palakkad District of Kerala state in southern INDIA. let us do everything for our future generations.

    COMMITTED TO ”’JESUS”’
    COMMITTED TO HUMANITY.

    BABU JOHN P

  10. Hi Richard, This is the first encounter I’ve had with you, glad I found you. Thank you for your braveness and actions. I’ll make this short and to the point, but would love to talk with you. I’m hoping you could give me some direction in fighting against porn that is openly placed in stores/public places etc, without either being covered up, put behind the checkout counter or video’s being put in a place out of plain view. I am outraged at how porn is popping up in local “deli and grocery” stores and other public places without any discretion. I don’t know where to start.. I’ve called local Police who only refer me to the RCW’s for WA state. What are my rights? What is the WA state law on it? Is there a group out there already fighting against this? Thank you for your help. Rachael
  11. Hey 🙂 I started working on an anti-porn campaign today and came across your blog! It has really helped! Thanks.
  12. Mark Hutchison
    Richard, this is a great and worthy endeavor that you’re pursuing. Thanks for the law firm plug, and keep up the good fight! If I were near SLC, I’d love to go to the fund raiser. But I’ll sponsor a person instead. So let me know (via email) where to send the $150 check, and you pick my proxy to go with you. Thanks.
  13. Mitch McClellan
    Richard, I won’t be able to attend but would love to contribute to this cause so let me know where to send the money.

    Sincerely, Mitch

  14. Thank you, Richard, for your summary. Well done!

    One point to emphasize about the May 3rd dinner: the money raised will go toward the costs of medical and legal research, which is necessary to prove a causal relationship in a court of law to more effectively prosecute pornography producers and distributors.

    We are also launching a business initiative with the working title “Businesses for a Prosperous Economy” to create a roundtable of business leaders who are concerned about the effects of pornography in the work place and community and wish to begin working together. The Salt Lake and Provo-Orem Chambers of Commerce have wholeheartedly endorsed this initiative. We are meeting to flesh out the details later this week.

    In addition to the Chamber, after only two small private lunches, we also have the personal endorsements of the Dean of the Marriott School of Management, Ned C. Hill and the following business leaders:

    1. Doug Horne, Horne’s Lodging Properties
    2. David Jensen & Lamon Milner, Aviacode, Inc.
    3. Arthur McKinley
    4. John K. Carmack
    5. Lynn C. McMurray, Kirton & McConkie
    6. Frank Overfelt, Delta Healthcare Consulting
    7. Carl W. Bacon

    This is only the beginning. The time for fence-sitting has past. Either community leaders support pornography directly with their action (or inaction) or they oppose it and are willing to endorse this initiative and commit to assisting with their time and/or resources.

    If anyone reading this blog would like to invite any key business leaders you know to a lunch or briefing to get on board with us, please email me at CherilynBacon@comcast.net

  15. I’d be interested in that too. My goal is to get a J.D. someday too, for the sole purpose of “changing the world.” Count me in too.
  16. Rich, that sounds incredible. And if Elder Holland is the speaker you know you have my interest.

    Count Candace and I in for two tickets. Let me know when/how to pay.

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