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.