To help family members recognize when they receive poisonous bites from the serpents of pornography and understand how the Savior, the Great Physician, can help us when we receive these bites.
Atonement of Jesus Christ
- Review the story of Moses and the brass serpent in Numbers 21:4-9
- Invite one of your older children to study Numbers 21:4-9 and prepare to share the story of Moses and the brass serpent.
- Read Elder Dallin H. Oaks’ talk entitled Pornography (Apr 2005)
- Ready a powerpoint or short picture slideshow on your phone or computer of several scary looking snakes.
- Print this page of Spiritual prescriptions.
Be Thou Humble, Hymn 130
Show your family the slideshow of snake pictures and ask them how they’d feel if they were bitten by one of those snakes.
Tell your family that there is a story in the Old Testament of the Israelites and they were plagued by scary, venomous, snakes that were biting many people. Remind your family that the Israelites were God’s chosen people and they were travelling to the Promised Land after they’d been liberated from slavery in Egypt by Moses.
Invite your child who prepared to share the story of Moses and the brass serpent to present to the family. Tell your family to think of how the Israelites felt during this experience.
Ask your family the questions again – how do you think the Israelites were feeling during this time?
Tell your family that we are not plagued in our day with fiery serpents, however, we have a different kind of threat – on our spirituality. The adversary has a hold of the hearts of many people and there are many spiritually venomous snake bites we can receive.
Discuss this message from David E. Sorensen:
Tonight I would like to talk to you about the dangers of petting poisonous snakes. The ones I refer to do not have long, slithering bodies but come in many other forms. Often the world makes these dangers look harmless—even exciting and interesting. But petting such snakes fills the mind with poison—poison that drives away the Holy Spirit. (You Can’t Pet a Rattlesnake, David E. Sorensen, April 2001)
Ask your family what kinds of poisonous snakes they believe David E. Sorenson is talking about. (bad music on the radio, attractive but immodest clothing)
If they hadn’t already listed it, discuss with your family how pornography is like a poisonous serpent. Ask your family to listen for what stands out to them in this message:
“Pornography, though billed by Satan as entertainment, is a deeply poisonous, deceptive snake that lies coiled up in magazines, the Internet, and the television. Pornography destroys self-esteem and weakens self-discipline. It is far more deadly to the spirit than the rattlesnake…” (You Can’t Pet a Rattlesnake, David E. Sorensen, April 2001)
Learn from the Scriptures
Read 2 Samuel 11:2-17 with your family. This is the story of David and Bathsheba when David sees her as she was bathing. Read the story as your family follows along in their own scriptures (this helps them feel the Holy Ghost’s individual teachings for them) and have them underline and look for when David was bitten by the poisonous snake of pornography and what it lead to.
Help your family understand that David was bitten when he saw Bathsheba, which was not a sin, just an accident. But David sinned when he sent for and slept with Bathsheba and had her husband, Uriah, killed to over his sin.
Ask your family to recall the Israelites and the poisonous serpents. Any died from the bites, but what saved the ones who lived? (looking at the brass serpent)
Show your family this picture and ask them why they think God would have the Israelites look to this brass serpent for healing and how this pointed to Jesus Christ and His atonement.
Ask your family to discuss how we can avoid the majority of pornography snake bites. (be careful while online, watch wholesome movies, go to parties with parents home – basically do our best etc.)
Ask your family how someone who is trying to keep the commandments and be righteous might still be bitten by one of these fiery serpents of pornography even when they avoid them as much as possible. (Make sure to bring up that we can be bitten unexpectedly in all forms of media and with friends).
Tell your family that the Israelites looked to the brass serpent, but we can look to the Savior to heal us from the venom of these kinds of snake bites.
Have your family listen for why it is immediately getting healing help from the Savior is important when bitten by the serpent of pornography in this message from Elder Dallin H. Oaks:
“Pornographic or erotic stories and pictures are worse than filthy or polluted food. The body has defenses to rid itself of unwholesome food. With a few fatal exceptions, bad food will only make you sick but do no permanent harm. In contrast, a person who feasts upon filthy stories or pornographic or erotic pictures and literature records them in this marvelous retrieval system we call a brain. The brain won’t vomit back filth. Once recorded, it will always remain subject to recall, flashing its perverted images across your mind and drawing you away from the wholesome things in life.” (Dallin H. Oaks, April 2005)
Ask your family how we should look to the Savior for healing when these pornography serpents bite us – as in what things can we DO to look to the Savior? (read conference talks, read the scriptures, listen to good music, pray, etc.)
Pass out the prescription cards (this page)and invite your family to write themselves a prescription for immediate help for a future time when they will be bitten by the fiery serpent of pornography. Have them ponder what scripture, song, or prophetic quote they can keep ready in their mind as an immediate antidote when they are bitten so they can avoid more bites and have time to seek more healing from the Savior.
Let each family member share their prescriptions.
Invite whoever says the closing prayer to ask for Heavenly help for your family that they will remember to take their prescriptions immediately when they are bitten and seek more healing from their parents and Savior so they can live a life free of the poisonous venom of pornography.
Additional material to Include in this FHE or Use for a Subsequent FHE
Read this following excerpt from Elder Dallin H. Oaks’ talk (found here) and have your family underline what we can do to avoid pornography:
My brethren who are caught in this addiction or troubled by this temptation, there is a way.
First, acknowledge the evil. Don’t defend it or try to justify yourself. For at least a quarter century our leaders have pleaded with men, and also with women and children, to avoid this evil. 2 Our current Church magazines are full of warnings, information, and helps on this subject—with more than a score of articles published or to be published this year and last year alone. 3
Second, seek the help of the Lord and His servants. Hear and heed President Hinckley’s words:
“Plead with the Lord out of the depths of your soul that He will remove from you the addiction which enslaves you. And may you have the courage to seek the loving guidance of your bishop and, if necessary, the counsel of caring professionals” (Liahona and Ensign, Nov. 2004, 62).
Third, do all that you can to avoid pornography. If you ever find yourself in its presence—which can happen to anyone in the world in which we live—follow the example of Joseph of Egypt. When temptation caught him in her grip, he left temptation and “got him out” (Gen. 39:12).
Don’t accommodate any degree of temptation. Prevent sin and avoid having to deal with its inevitable destruction. So, turn it off! Look away! Avoid it at all costs. Direct your thoughts in wholesome paths. Remember your covenants and be faithful in temple attendance. The wise bishop I quoted earlier reported that “an endowed priesthood bearer’s fall into pornography never occurs during periods of regular worship in the temple; it happens when he has become casual in his temple worship” (letter of Mar. 13, 2005).
We must also act to protect those we love. Parents install alarms to warn if their household is threatened by smoke or carbon monoxide. We should also install protections against spiritual threats, protections like filters on Internet connections and locating access so others can see what is being viewed. And we should build the spiritual strength of our families by loving relationships, family prayer, and scripture study.
Finally, do not patronize pornography. Do not use your purchasing power to support moral degradation. And young women, please understand that if you dress immodestly, you are magnifying this problem by becoming pornography to some of the men who see you. (Dallin H. Oaks, April 2005)