Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Evil Designs...in the hearts of conspiring men

Law school has a substantial writing requirement, meaning that every student must write at least one thirty-page paper supervised by a professor. I wrote my paper on morality and internet governance, overseen by a professor who has done a lot of research on internet governance, focusing on pornography and the internet. She has helped work on the Internet Community Ports Act among other legislation.

In any discussion of law and "morality," people get up in arms about being "controlled" by another person's morality. In many people's view, the burden should be on the individual consumer to avoid offensive or harmful content without any limits upon the producer or other consumers. So I thought that this quote from Revelations of the Restoration (p. 653) was particularly interesting, even though it is originally talking about the Word of Wisdom.

In today's world evil abounds. Greedy and conspiring men seek wealth and power, marketing prostitution, pornography, weapons, drugs, vulgar music, and entertainment offensive to the light of Christ. A prime target for their avarice will always be our children. The tobacco industry markets an addictive and killing poison, knowing it to be such. Profit is their only concern. We have found it necessary to pass numerous laws that protect consumers in the supermarket, yet all manner of destructive influences are available on the streets, in our schools, and even in our homes through television and internet. 

There is no form of wickedness that someone will not make available for a price. To give their evil designs some sense of respectability, they hide them behind weak phrases: "If it offends you, don't buy it." We in turn are expected to be so foolish as to suppose that if we don't buy that which is evil or offensive we will be spared its effects. The logic is threadbare. Our choice not to operate a smelter will not protect us against another man's choice to do so. We all breathe the same air; nonsmoking sections in a restaurant provide precious little protection to the non-smoker. Again, one man's choice not to use alcohol will hardly protect him from drunk drivers.

Gratefully, the spirit and direction of the revelations of the Restoration are such that not only are we warned against the designs of evil men, but a path of safety is marked so that we can--to the extent possible--protect ourselves from their destructive influence in our society.

I really am grateful for the revelations of the Restoration, including the continuing revelation through our current prophets. The traps seem to be growing more pervasive and insidious, but we know how to tread safely.

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