One day when I was eight years old, I went down to the mailbox to get the mail. Lying in the grass near the mailbox was a magazine with a solid white cover. I assumed some of our mail had escaped the mailman and went over to pick it up. The magazine fell open in the middle, and for about three seconds I stared in amazed horror at the hard porn in front of me. A dozen conversations and statements that my Dad had made about such things came rushing to my mind.
Once during a trip to Memphis with our family, I recalled seeing on a downtown street a half-dressed woman being jerked around and slapped by a man in a pink suit.
“She’s a prostitute,” Dad told us. “He’s a pimp. She works for him, selling her body to lascivious men who will burn in hell, so that she can continue to buy drugs to satisfy her addiction. God hates prostitution and pornography, kids. It destroys lives and families.” We kids stared in horror at the man and woman who were now stumbling into a building with neon signs and blacked out windows.
“Do you know what pornography is?” Dad persisted. We stared at him, still shaken by what we had just seen. “It is photographs of naked men and women… and other things I won’t even tell you about.”
“Why do those women let people take pictures of them when they are naked?” we asked.
“Most of those women were molested when they were kids, by their uncles, their brothers, friends, or even by complete strangers. They have no self-value. They feel worthless, and so they don’t guard their bodies. Instead, they sell their bodies for money to other worthless men who are molesting other women and girls.” We all swallowed hard and shuddered.
“God hates this kind of sin so much, that when the children of Israel went into Canaan, he told Joshua to kill every man, woman, and child because they had all been involved in sexual sins. God says that it is better for a man to have a big grinding stone tied around his neck and then be thrown into the sea to drown than to face the wrath of God that will come on him if he messes with little kids that way.” We all nodded. It would be a just retribution for such an evil person.
“Whenever you see pornography, kids, I want you to turn away from it—don’t look at it, because it will stay in your mind and bother you for years. Wad it up and burn it, or throw it away so no one else will ever see it. And don’t trust anybody. If an uncle or cousin wants to talk to you about this kind of stuff—or touch you—I want you to scream at the top of your voice, and run away and tell on them. Don’t be polite or wait to see if he’s really a bad guy or not. The first minute you feel as though something is wrong, run away from that person…” Dad went on to give us detailed instructions about protecting ourselves and our minds. All of this came to my memory the moment that pornography magazine fell open in my eight-year-old hands. Even though I had never seen pornography before, I instantly knew what it was. A righteous indignation swelled up inside of me, and I crumpled the magazine up as small as I could get it and carried it home. I took it straight to Dad and told him about it. We set it on fire, and I felt a grim satisfaction for having destroyed one small piece of evil in my world.
When my brothers were ten and twelve years old, they found pornography stapled to the trees in the woods where some filthy hunter had left it for the Amish kids to find. My brothers reacted the same way I had. They turned their backs and approached each tree with their backs to it, pulled down the pages and wadded them up into tight balls, stuffed them in their backpacks and brought them home to burn.
I have often wondered what our reaction to pornography would have been if Dad had never told us about it. What if we hadn’t known what kind of people create it and use it, and what God thinks about it? He even told us what to do WHEN we ran into it...not IF! Dad knew the world was so corrupt that there was no way he could shield us entirely. So he equipped us to handle the corruption ourselves. If I had never heard of pornography that day when I picked up the magazine, I think my own shocked curiosity would have led me to turn the pages and begin the searing of my conscience. Then, my sense of guilt would have kept me from telling my parents what I had found. And what would I have done with the magazine? Hidden it? I don’t know. But the truth and knowledge I held that day assured my freedom and safety. I thank God so much for what Dad did for us!
When I was 14 years old, we (my brothers and I) were swimming in the creek with our neighbors. They had three boys the same ages as we were: 14, 12, and 10 years of age. A perverted looking local drove by our swimming hole repeatedly, leering out the window at us. My brother Gabe made a comment about his probably being a queer. The 14-year-old friend looked curious and asked, “What’s a queer?”
My brother replied, “You know—a faggot.” The boy shook his head in confusion. Gabe said, “A homosexual.” Still not understanding, the 14-year-old, homeschooled neighbor boy just shook his head. Gabe laughed, sure that his friend was playing dumb.
“Come on! You got to know what a queer is. You know, guys that mess with other guys or boys. Perverts!”
To this day I can remember the look on the other boy’s face. It was NOT a look of surprise and curiosity. It was a look that said, “There’s a word for it? You know about that? Do other people know about it? Do you know…?” I felt sorry for our friend that day. I wondered what experiences he had run into—unprepared and unwarned.
Many times as a child I remember standing at Dad’s side when he would go into a gas station to prepay fuel. If the station carried pornography, Dad would scrape his money back off of the counter and tell the cashier that he could not buy gas there because he just noticed they promoted rape and child molestation. The cashier would look shocked, and Dad would point at the porn magazines behind him. The cashier ALWAYS looked guilty and ashamed. He would glance at us kids; we would all be looking at him with suspicious shock (are you a child molester???) before we turned and walked out. These incidents burned a sure reaction into us. Dad’s reaction and openness about sin, and God’s hatred of sin gave us assurance in dealing with the world when Dad wasn’t around.
Our parents also made sure we understood the difference between righteous sexuality and evil sexuality. There was a clear distinction in our minds. When we were very small, Dad candidly explained that God created all beings, male and female, for pleasure and reproduction. God created sex to be pure and holy between one man and one woman, who would eventually be Mommy and Daddy to a whole passel of kids. There wasn’t supposed to be any confusion or shame in that relationship. It was intended by God to be whole, functional, and happy.
When our dogs were mating, Dad called us outside to see what they were doing, then told us to go back inside and give them some privacy. Inside, at the kitchen table, he sat down with some paper and a pen and drew a picture for us of sperm swimming up a canal to an egg. He gave us a thorough, practical explanation of reproduction. We were 8, 6, 4, and 2 years old.
I was so excited about the miracle of the whole process, that when my cousin came over later in the day (she was 9 years old), I got out Dad’s diagram and tried to tell her what he had told us. Fortunately, I couldn’t remember the exact names of parts, and went to ask Mom. She hastily took the paper from me and said that it was up to my cousin’s parents to tell her all that stuff, and that I wasn’t supposed to talk about it outside the family. Later on Dad explained to me with more detail that the facts of life is a subject that just isn’t discussed in public, even though it isn’t shameful. I didn’t understand fully, but took his word for it.
Our parents gave us a happy understanding of marriage by letting us see them hug, kiss, and enjoy each other’s company. They never gave us the specifics of sex, but often assured us that marriage was great and God had someone wonderful in store for each of us if we stayed pure and walked in righteousness until it was time to get married. This great example, contrasted with occasional glimpses of the ugliness of sin, and made it easy for me to make up my mind to wait for the best.
Many parents write us saying that they are trying to protect their children’s innocence. They don’t want them to know about the evil in the world. I understand their concern. It is a sad thing that we live in a world where evil has such free reign, where child porn is a legal and accepted part of society. It is sickening. I hope the Lord returns for us soon and breaks the teeth of the ungodly before He casts them into the lake of fire, where they will be in torment for eternity. But the truth is, children are going to come across the reality of our corrupt society one way or another. They will either hear it from a twisted pervert, another clueless kid who is making poor guesses and choices, Hollywood, a book, the Internet, or... from you. Which source do you want them to get it from first? Dad made sure he was the first to tell us life’s secrets; he made sure his information was the most thorough and complete; and he made sure we knew everything from the standpoint of good, rather than evil.
I know a girl who is twenty years old and is still a virgin. She is beautiful, outgoing and smart. There is a constant stream of guys vying for her attention. She smiles at them and shakes her head, “no,” when they ask her to go out with them. “I’m not ready to get married yet,” she tells them. I once heard her telling some other young people that when she meets the man she thinks might be the one, and he asks her out, she is going to bring her family along on their first date as a surprise. She has two sisters and two brothers and a very lively mom and dad. If he is still interested after that first date with her very rowdy family, she says she’ll consider him. By now you may have a mental image of a very spiritual homeschooled girl with long hair and a denim jumper, plus a solid history of innocence. Not so. This girl was raised in an unbelieving family until she was ten years old. Her dad was an alcoholic before he got saved. She went to public school (bad public schools) from kindergarten through high school. Her parents impose no rules of clothing, music, dating, or anything at all, really! She can come and go as she likes, and date whomever she likes. But she never has. Why? She is walking after the Spirit of God and her parents, and not after a list of rules.
From the day her parents got saved, they began to seek God with their whole heart. Not religion. Not Church. Not even the Bible. Just God, and God alone. They laid aside their vices completely to follow Him. They seek him daily on their knees, and minister day and night to the people around them. They are not trying to balance their Christianity and their comfort. They seek to please God, not themselves. Their home is full of needy people all the time, people I wouldn’t want my kids to be around. This girl saw the change in her parents. She has watched their 100% sincerity for ten years now. She has seen the fruit of that dedication. She wants it. Rules would never have persuaded her to turn away from the world. Their love for God did.
Children will usually follow the spirit of their parents. I have met a few young people who have heroically decided to be godly and real, despite their parents; but this is the exception, not the rule. The father doesn’t have to be a porno freak for the son to get involved in it. All he has to do is sit with his arm around his wife at church and then show disregard for her at home. The mother doesn’t have to be a prostitute for her daughter to take that road; all she has to do is show scorn for her husband and disobey his requests. This hypocrisy will communicate to the children that there are two rules of law in the universe: pleasing the crowd, and pleasing yourself. They’ll grow up believing that if they can maintain a religious front at church, what goes on at home is their own business. God is actually out of the picture for such a family.
Any measure of hypocrisy will undermine the moral strength of your children. Absolute consistency-on any level-will strengthen and enable them to be even greater than you are. Consistency communicates that God is to be feared; inconsistency communicates that God is only “let’s pretend.”
The world used to be out there on the perimeters of our lives. It was possible to shut ourselves away and remain untouched by the filth we heard rumors of. In order to be a porno freak, men had to drive to an adult bookstore, and go inside to buy a magazine from a nasty looking character they would never want to be associated with. Now, pornography barges into our sight on billboards, commercials, and web-pages. Whether you are looking for it or not, it will find you.
The most amazing thing about the rise of pornography on the internet is not how many children have gotten involved, but how many “mature, responsible people” went off the deep end. People who thought they were safe in their own righteousness have fallen into immorality. No Greater Joy receives letters from pastors, elders, and fathers who have professed Christianity for years but are now in the tangle of pornography. They were unprepared for temptation in their own home. They never learned to stand and fight and resist the devil.
Shutting evil out of your life is not really an act of righteousness. Just about the time believers (and stoic, clean-living non-believers) learn to deal with pornography on the web, some greater and more insidious evil will be introduced by the world at large. The answer is something more aggressive—and more fundamental! The answer is to believe the gospel, the reality of your sanctification-that you are dead to sin and alive unto God. In this stand of faith you will worship God in the Spirit and have no confidence in the flesh. You will walk after the Spirit and thus not fulfill the lust of the flesh. You will be free from sin right down to the most secret and fundamental part of your being. When Paul wrote Romans and told the believers that they should “through the Spirit… mortify the deeds of the body,” he wasn’t talking about some Sunday-school rules that they should abide by. Half-baked “Churchianity” is never enough to overcome the world. If you are not overcoming sin, you need to listen to Mike’s audio series called “Sin No More.”
Even the most secluded and conservative families will be assaulted. Shutting out as much evil as you can is your God-given duty to your children, but you will never be able to shut it all out. On top of that, you cannot make your children pure by insulating and isolating their circumstances. You must train, teach, and prepare their minds to respond to the Spirit of God.
You are the future. I won’t tell you that waiting for your mate isn’t hard. It is. I have wondered a million times why God gave teenagers such powerful, raging hormones. Why couldn’t He have placed that hormonal curse on the old folks that have all the patience and discipline in the world? It’s hard just to keep your thoughts straight sometimes. But if you knew what is waiting for you… if you only knew how good it could be! You would never accept a toy car in the place of a real, shiny red Porsche.
Don’t listen to the disillusioned and bitter couples who talk about how hard marriage is, struggling to get along and trying to make it work. If they talk like that, you can bet they messed up somewhere in the past and have no idea what marriage was intended to be. They think their broken product is the way all marriages are constituted. They are wrong. Out of dozens of marriages (good marriages, but not trouble free), we know of only three that came from pure pasts on both sides, neither of them bringing into the marriage any regrets or moral downfalls. Those three marriages were fantastic from the start.
The Bible says, “Be not deceived, God is not mocked; whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” If you sow trouble with your flesh before marriage, you’ll reap trouble later on. If you sow purity—oh, yes! It can be soooooooooo good! Take it from us: a pure youth makes for a fantastic marriage, without regrets, without heartache, and without fear. Neither one of us has had second thoughts, and we never will. Be assured: waiting is worth it!
A few weeks after I married Gabe, he told me something funny. He said one of the things he most valued about me was that I wasn’t an “accidental” virgin. He said he had met conservative homeschooled youth from a dozen families who were virgins just by happenstance. They hadn’t personally made a choice to be pure. The parents had made that choice for them—which is good—but the kids had never made that choice for themselves. He said there was no telling how many of them would have given away their virginity if they had been placed in new circumstances and allowed to do whatever they pleased.
Have you made a choice yet? Are you doing as much as you can get away with in the confines of your parents’ ruling, or are you personally walking after the Spirit of God? Do your convictions change with the crowd you’re in, or do you know who you are?
Even the Bible college for missionary kids that I attended in 1992 taught a watered-down form of righteousness for the single person. They discussed whether or not dating, holding hands, kissing, sexual deviances, etc., were okay. Everyone had different standards. One day a frustrated student called out, “Why didn’t God just tell us what we ought to do? Why didn’t He just give us a list of do’s and don’ts?” The professor couldn’t answer him. At that time, I didn’t know the answer either. I felt just like that student. Why couldn’t there be a list of rules to go by?
God actually was specific. The word “fornication” in the Scriptures is sexual activity outside the confines of marriage. That means, any activity or thought that you pursue for sexual pleasure. This law of God allows for different standards for different people. A thirteen-year-old boy won’t be able to look at or do things that a sixty-year-old lady could, with a clear conscience.
Sexual highs are meant to be enjoyed by one man and one woman in a context that is sacred and safe from the intrusion of other people. But in order for marriage to be holy, those who enter into it must themselves be holy.
Imagine a couple standing at the altar in their wedding finery. Both of them having slept around, more recently with each other. What does the “holy bonds of matrimony” mean to them? What privileged act of pleasure are they going to receive now that they are married? What could have been is now spoiled and gone. They have the same stolen goods they took before their vows, plus doubt, mistrust, and a nagging sense of discontentment and shame. There is no elation or joy in the perfect gift of physical union. There is no gift at all; only spoiled, stolen goods.
Sex is not just a pleasurable act of procreation. It is an act of kindness, care, and generosity. For a woman, it is like an act of worship; for a man, it is an act of joy in the blessings and gifts of his wife. Those highs are righteous, glorious, and pure. God gave us these intense feelings and pleasures as a gift to be enjoyed. He also gave us boundaries to protect that gift, boundaries to insure maximum enjoyment and freedom, and boundaries that prevent guilt, shame, regret, and ultimately the destruction of that gift. When the boundary of sexual purity until marriage is disregarded and violated, the enjoyment of His gift is lessened and corrupted. Persistent violation of those safe perimeters will eventually replace all enjoyment with shame and fear. Many couples get married only to discover one or both of them is broken in the area of enjoyment due to the violation of boundaries in the past. God, in His grace and mercy, can mend the broken pieces, but…oh, the joy of having no broken pieces to begin with!
Maybe your parents have a marriage that you admire and desire for yourself; maybe they don’t. If they are working through their past mistakes and are making a go of it, I’d say their efforts are admirable, to say the least; I wish more couples had that fortitude. But don’t take their example, however good or bad, and aim for the same. Aim for higher, better, purer, and more glorious examples! Make a decision within yourself to stay pure for the spouse God is preparing for you. There are some folks who need a list of rules; but the highest standard flows out of a sincere love for God. He will show you by His Spirit and with your own conscience when to draw the line. Believe that it is worth it. Be a virgin by choice.
[note]Note: This article was written many years ago, so many of the suggestions listed here are now out-of-date. However if you do your own research you can easily find comparable solutions to the ones mentioned.[/note]
In a general homeschool environment where the kids know way more about the computer than you do, you (not the kid next door, or your smartest kid, YOU) need to take control and educate yourself. Pornography of the vilest sort will literally be looking for your kids; perverts (ages 9 to 99, believe me…) with completely destructive intent will be trolling the chat-rooms for the naïve. There is no reason for a child who is not yet worldly-wise to even have the opportunity to encounter these things. Make them worldly-wise on your own terms in your own time. Now let me give you some basic suggestions:
Q: How can I control the internet in my home?
A: The best way to control the internet in your home is to have a password system that allows only the one who knows the password to access the internet. You also have to understand that there is more than one password that you should be aware of. If you have an internet connection, there is already an existing password that allows you to log in to your internet account. That is NOT the password I am talking about. The password you need will allow or disallow internet access of any type on your computer.
To learn how to set up a password for internet permissions through step-by-step instructions, go to
onlinesight.com/userpermissions [note]Note: This website is no longer available. Please do your own web search to find a way to set up an internet password[/note]. This method will allow you to know about all access to the internet through your computer. Your children will have to come and ask you to type in the password so they can use the web. There will be no secret night-time web-surfing.
Q: If the password is discovered, how can I change to a new one?
A: The same place on your computer that allows you to change user permissions will allow you to change the password for those permissions.
Q: Is it possible to check which websites were visited during someone’s use of the internet?
A: Yes. You can check the “history” in your “internet browser” by opening your internet service and typing Control-H (pressing the “control” key and the “H” key simultaneously). The recent history of your internet viewing will appear when you type Control-H. Most people, however, who have any computer savvy will be able to erase their tracks. So don’t depend on this alone. Watching and being aware is the surest method.
Q: I’ve heard about internet filters or filtered internet. How good are they? How can I get one?
A: First of all, filters don’t work that well; some pornography will still get through. Let’s say this: if your filter promises to keep out 99.99% of all porn, and there are 10 million sites with some pornography on them, then you still have 1,000 porn sites that can get through to you [note]Note: As of 2014, there are now over a billion websites online[/note]. In many cases, it’s good that you cut out so much, but you can’t really depend on the filter to keep porn out of your computer.
Secondly, most internet filters also cut out a lot of internet information that doesn’t have anything to do with pornography. For instance, if you want to check out a news page and there is some reference to sex on the page, you may not be able to access the news. As a matter of fact, you may not be able to access this article! Some of those instances of information might be well worth living without. You make that decision. However, I believe that learning to live knowledgeably in a highly technical society will be necessary for most of your kids.
If you decide you need a filter, the best one I’ve run across is
surfcontrol.com [note]Note: This site no longer offers an internet filter. Instead, check out SafeEyes.com or NetNanny.com[/note] There are also filtered internet services that are often advertised in Christian magazines.
I believe that the problem with porn and other deviant content on the web is not insurmountable. We do need people to help in the fight. If you are a programmer, or otherwise involved in web services, find out how you can help at
onlinesight.com. [note]Note: Unfortunately, this website is no longer available.[/note]
I suggest buying a glass door for the computer room. This will shut out the sound for those who need to study in silence, but allow for constant observation and accountability. The doors on the offices of the No Greater Joy ministry are glass. No one is allowed to have secrets. You might also consider moving the computer room to a highly trafficked area where people are walking by continually.
Dad built our house so that all the bedroom doors facing the main living room/family room. None of our doors had locks on them until we were older, and then only the girls. We were never allowed to spend time in our rooms behind closed doors. The door could only be closed for five minutes of clothes changing. If a door was closed for a longer period of time, Dad was likely to walk in unannounced to see what we were up to.
The next step to safeguarding your family is to teach them how to react WHEN (not if) they encounter immorality. Here is a short list of topics to discuss:
In our quiet little Amish community where kids are sheltered like nowhere else, one day there came a family who had been “around the block,” with each other, with their neighbors, and their pets. Very gross things! They dressed Amish and talked the talk. But one day, soon after they came, their ten-year-old son was playing with the other boys after church service. He offered to tell the boys how to copulate with a dog. One of the boys in that crowd had been raised by a daddy who had prepared him for such an assault. The young boy refused to listen and walked away to tell on the kid who was offering his perverse information. The family, who hung around for money and other hopeful evils, was asked to stay away from our church and community. This safety for the whole Church was provided by one daddy who told his son how to react in such an ungodly situation.
Another precaution my parents took was to limit—almost to nothing—our staying overnight with cousins or best friends. Now, as a mother myself, I plan to eliminate that possibility altogether for my children. Even the most conservative friends and cousins of mine had told me things I shouldn’t have heard as a kid. Now that I’m grown, I’m amazed to look back and find out that most of the few girls who spent the night with me once in a blue moon, had been molested, even during the very years I knew them. Once they grew up, they told on the criminals who molested them. Back then, they were silent through fear and were ignorant of the evil things that were happening to them.
The statistics of child molestation in America are horrendous. One out of every two girls is messed with, and one out of every four boys. Our pastor’s wife out here in Gallup, New Mexico, made sure her daughter stayed in the bedroom with them every time they had company. Even if the company was family! She didn’t trust her own brothers and cousins around her daughter. She was wise. Her daughter is now grown and free of any grief of that sort. The mother herself wasn’t so protected as a child.
There are so many stories I could tell of the despicable boldness of a molester who harmed a child, even when the house—and even the room—was full of people. Never let your little children sit on the lap of someone you are not absolutely sure of. And never be so sure as to fail to pay attention to what is going on. Make sure your little girls wear tights, under shorts, or pantaloons of some kind that make access to their private parts difficult, and make modesty easier. Don’t just close your eyes and hope they make it to adulthood safely. They won’t if you don’t fight for them. The Bible says, “watch and pray.” Praying for them must be accompanied by attentive “watching” for their souls and their safety.
The last, but not least, precaution I would recommend is to assure your children of God’s hatred for those who sexually harm children. My Dad read to us the scriptures about God’s judgment on those who “offend one of these little ones” and told us plainly what actions would be categorized as an offense. He described God breaking the arms (Psalm 10:15), and bashing in the teeth (Psalm 3:6; 58:6) of the men who rape little girls. He talked about them burning in the lake of fire for eternity. I was so convinced of God’s hatred for child molesters, I even felt sorry for them. If someone had molested me, it would not have crossed my mind to remain silent because I would have been so confident that I was being wronged, and that they were doing something evil to me. So many molesters put a guilt trip on the children and convince them that they are just being “loved.” I knew molestation wasn’t love. Assure your children of God’s righteous judgment on those who harm children, and enlist them to help you watch out for those evil people.
This should not be a one-time discussion. Let the information flow as naturally as possible. Let there be an openness in your conversation that will give your children confidence to continue to ask questions. Dad did not call a “church” meeting when he discussed these things. It was “a little here and a little there,” in the context of daily life. If we saw a broken individual, or read something in the paper, or heard a friend discussing a sad situation, Dad would speak of the sin, what the Bible said, and how the sin had cause such pain. He did not hide the gossip of sin from us; he used it as an illustration of good and evil. He made the concept of sowing and reaping part of our daily communication; evil brings judgment and death; righteousness brings reward and life.
Look into your children’s eyes when you speak of these ugly sins. Read their souls. Some of you will be shocked. If you gain their trust, in time you may receive some heart-breaking news. Your children will at last be emboldened to confess wrongs they have done or had done to them. Be prepared to minister to them with love and compassion. Be equipped with the gospel of Jesus Christ, which will cleanse them from the stains of sin that have been burdening them. Be prepared to weep with your children, and begin a process of healing. Your heart will break, and I have no consolation for you except that you now can prevent further harm, and can minister to your children while there is yet hope for their recovery.
To the rest of you; rejoice and walk circumspectly! You are saving the next generation from a crippling evil, which Satan is using to enslave boys and girls and men and women, to the destruction of families and nations. God will bless you for preserving boys and girls, enabling them to some day come together in fantastic marriages and strong families. God has placed their future in your hands. Read back through these materials regularly, studying the verses listed and the suggestions given. Prayerfully embark on a sure course that demonstrates your commitment to protect your children from this hideous, Satanic attack on the children. Finally, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen” (2 Cor. 13:14). Rejoice that the Godhead who created the family after His likeness is desirous that you seek His guidance, wisdom and strength to persevere in your holy task of bringing up your offspring to know and love Him, to His honor and everlasting glory.