The winds of history have shifted on your watch. If the Lord tarries, you can tell your grandchildren that you lived through the last righteous generation before the moral apocalypse. You are experiencing the transition, and the reculturalization of the entire world is nearly complete.
I am not a prophet, nor the son of a prophet. Nor am I discouraged as was Elijah when he cried out, “I, even I only, am left.” The reality is that you—and every generation before you—were raised in one era, but your young children will come to maturity in an entirely different world, the likes of which has never existed before. You have made a heroic effort to shield them, but Satan has released his weapon of mass destruction. It is not measured in megatons, but in megabits.
Twenty years ago we were able to place our children beyond the reach of Sodom by homeschooling them, but I now see depravity spreading from one Christian homeschool family to the next. The moral shift you are witnessing is much like that of Lot. One day Lot and his children were walking through the wilderness with Abraham, part of a pilgrimage of faith, and the next day they were living in the midst of a culture of perversion and violence. Granted, you have not moved to Sodom, but Sodom has moved to you, one byte at a time. Like Lot, we already vex our righteous souls “from day to day with their unlawful deeds” (2 Peter 2:8).
For 2,000 years Christian families have sought to protect their children from undesirable elements and unnecessary temptations. You have built a fence and kept out the bad dogs, wolves, and other threatening varmints. But there is a new threat that is airborne; it comes in “the cloud,” and it is almost impossible to prevent your children from being exposed. The pandemic spreads so quickly because children can catch the moral plague secondhand from other children who may not yet manifest outward symptoms. It is a disturbing fact that your children indirectly access Sodom through other children who live in Sodom. And church is as good a place as any to be exposed. “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3).
Dear Debi Pearl,
I debated whether to write to you, and decided it couldn’t hurt. I have read your books and articles and feel you have the gift of wisdom. I am desperate to know what to do. I am a homeschooling mom of four and a wife of nine years. I married a wonderful, godly man. I had hoped he would save me from myself. I thought marriage would fix my sexual obsession; instead, in all these years of marriage, every touch from my husband has caused me fear and revulsion. He had no idea what he was marrying. He thought I was his dream come true. I was raised in a God-fearing home, so how could he guess what I was? I am deeply ashamed to admit the truth. I was nine years old when I was introduced to porn. Those couple of minutes changed me forever. I can only remember one image, but it is forever seared in my mind. From that first encounter I have lived for porn and the self-gratification that goes with it. By the time I married I had been active with myself for many years, and the habit was consuming. I know it is gross.
It breaks my husband’s heart. At first he was shocked, horrified, and repulsed. After a while he started to cry and beg me to stop my porn use and what goes with it. He has tried to get me help, but I can’t tell the truth of why I don’t want him as a man, and he is ashamed to tell the truth as it is so vulgar. I know that my female needs are from God to be met by my husband, but my brain is so programmed that all I have with him is fear. Sometimes an evil oppression sweeps over me causing imaginations that are perversions involving things best not said. They are almost like a safe haven.
No one would ever guess. I live in fear of hell, yet everyone I go to church with thinks I am a Christian because I serve God. The love of God and the love of my husband haven’t been enough to set me free. I have cried over my sin, which has many times driven me to depression, panic attacks, and anger toward those who love me. I have hurt my husband a thousand times. He tries to just live day to day for the kids’ sake. I totally control my husband because I NEED to control. It is like, if I can control his every thought then I can control this demon driving me, but instead I am more out of control than ever. I don’t want the future to be a repeat of my past. I need help to overcome this awful habit. Satan has a stronghold in my life and has since I was nine years old. For twenty-five years I have allowed the walls of this fortress to stand around me, and I despair I will ever be free.
—From a reader
Dear Reader, view my video series, Science of Addiction and the Brain. It will be of tremendous help.
The advent of the web with ready access to porn has changed the dynamics of temptation and the degree of immersion into the worst perversions known to man, and there is no going back. According to a 2013 Common Sense Media study, 83% of five- to eight-year-olds know how to use a smartphone or tablet. Add to that the $3-billion mobile porn industry, and experts say exposure is inevitable. “If they have a phone, it’s likely that they’ll get exposed to pornography,” said Todd Olson, co-founder of LifeStar Network. Or they will be shown it. Olson said that “a few years ago the average age of first exposure was eleven—now it’s nine.”
Goldsmith, a therapist, has treated children in the first, second, and third grades who have been exposed to pornography. “We’re seeing, even with four- and five-year-olds, a sophistication with sexuality that we’ve never seen before,” Goldsmith said. “Once they’ve seen that, kids want more. There is an addictive quality that we know about seeing pornography.” Olson says of children, “They’ll misuse it, and then they’ll abuse it. Then they become dependent on that. Then they become addicted.”
A few statistics:
The greatest sorrow, the most shocking and horrible of all statistics, is that a quarter of all web use is porn, and of that, 48% of porn downloads are far outside the sexual mainstream, depicting bestiality, incest, and pedophilia. Imagine what such images would do in the mind of a young child, and then know that you have far underestimated the damage. What does it do to the worldview of an eight-year-old to have his first exposure to sex be graphic images of adults having sex with children and animals? I am sickened to even write about it. Damn the entire pornography industry and most of Hollywood. May a disease worse than AIDS sweep through the porn industry and decimate their ranks with the same level of destruction God rained on Sodom and Gomorrah. Don’t doubt it; that is a prophetic prayer.
“But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matthew 18:6).
One child behaviorist says, “Unfortunately, the question seems to be no longer if our children will be exposed to pornography but when—and how they will cope.” The letters we receive at NGJ reveal that the damage done in the hearts and minds of children exposed to porn is horrific and long-lasting, and it affects every area of their lives.
The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers reports that 56% of divorce cases involve one party having “an obsessive interest in pornographic websites.”
“Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children . . . who loved the wages of unrighteousness”
(2 Peter 2:14–15).
“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof . . .” (1 John 2:16–17).
Just yesterday, I went to visit an old friend who has protected his children from the world. The boys, ranging from about three years old to nineteen, work with their father on a farm, always busy driving tractors, mending fences, and repairing farm equipment. But as I drove down the driveway to leave, there was his young son, about twelve years old, sitting on the tractor parked at the end of the row, talking with a sixteen-year-old that I would not allow to be alone with my dog (literally, not figuratively). His foul mouth is the first indication of where his heart is. But this father believed his son to be safe, not knowing that the devil was chatting him up at that very moment. I am sure there was a cell phone in the sixteen-year-old’s pocket. How long would it take to expose the young farm boy to the darkest, most deviant debauchery? About ten to fifteen seconds. And he would never be the same—NEVER!
It is significant that the evil comes on the net—the Internet. “Thou broughtest us into the net; thou laidst affliction upon our loins [the lower abdomen, groin, and genitalia]” (Psalm 66:11). “The wicked desireth the net of evil men: but the root of the righteous yieldeth fruit” (Proverbs 12:12). “The heathen are sunk down in the pit that they made: in the net which they hid is their own foot taken” (Psalm 9:15). God is a wordsmith, creating associations from ancient texts that have profound modern application.
Dear Mr. Pearl,
This letter is in reference to your article of Jan/Feb 2015 called “The Sodom Generation.” It really hit home.
We have been married thirty years and have seven children. Years ago we decided we wanted our children to have a better, safer environment than what we found in a traditional church. We joined a very conservative Mennonite church. Fast forward . . . as our children began getting close to the mid-teens we made the decision that they would not have cell phones until age eighteen. It just offered too much temptation.
Somewhere, someone must have opened up his phone to our second son, because he developed an overwhelming desire to have one. Unknown to us, he rode his bike over ten miles to buy one. Before we found out, it had consumed him. We found it and destroyed it. He managed to get another. We found it, but he got another. He spent all his time on it and even refused to do school. Long story short, he left home at sixteen.
Our daughter did wait until she turned eighteen to get a phone, and she hasn’t been off of it since. She has no life, never goes outside, has men sending her nude photos, etc. It is a private, disgusting world parents know nothing about. We filtered our Internet, but our younger daughter bought a secret router in order to play in her ugly, trashy world of make-believe.
And we are not alone. The conservative Mennonites who wouldn’t have a TV or radio in their home now download R-rated films on their phones. Our safe environment is gone. It seems to be a losing battle.
This is an awful time to be raising a family. My husband says he feels it is honestly an end-time onslaught by Satan. If only young parents could see ahead. Is there any hope?
Church is no longer a sanctuary. Just about a month ago I was a guest speaker in a church on Sunday morning. As I was speaking, I saw four boys, twelve to fourteen years old, on the back row passing a cell phone around and laughing at the content on the screen. By means of a cell phone, children show other children vivid video of orgies involving multiple adults, children, and animals. Things that were illegal in a porn house forty years ago are now on television, available in virtually every home, and sometimes viewed in church while the preacher is preaching.
Television and videos are just the gateway drug; the smartphone and computer are the mainline, hard-core poison of choice. There was a time when one had to be a sailor on leave in Bangkok, Thailand to see a small portion of what is now available to every child in America. And children are better at operating the gadgets than are their parents.
Without question, your children will abide in a world that is fifty shades darker than it has ever been. If six thousand years of moral history could be put on a graph, you would see an inverted bell curve that plunged downward in the past fifteen years, and it is now off the page. The devil has his feet propped on his desk and is laughing as he surfs the web. It looks like he has won. Believers have become ashamed of the words of God (Luke 9:26), discarding the inspired words of God for counterfeit versions, and with the saints disarmed the progressive left is feeding on the dying flesh of the lukewarm Laodicean church as it brags about its prosperity and relevance to today’s culture (Revelation 3:14–18).
It is heartbreaking to have parents come with their defeated stories of discovering their children engaged in sodomy or incest. Even as I regularly warned them to be vigilant, I have had parents say to me, “But I trust my children.” The devil’s greatest weapon is parents’ confidence in the incorruptibility of their children.
Many times over the last thirty-five years as I have discussed this subject, I have been challenged—sometimes publicly—with a question from the audience: “But don’t you trust your children?” I have answered with an incredulous laugh, “Of course I do not trust my children; they are flesh—sinful flesh, lustful flesh, sons of fallen Adam.” I trust that my children are like I was when I was a young teenager. I would have seized every opportunity to view any titillating images available to me. And I was raised in church, saved at an early age, and was the most dedicated Christian I knew. But I was sixteen years old before I would have even felt a compelling need to exercise self-denial. Thank God, little was available to me as I was growing up.
If you think my estimation of the severity of the moral shift is rooted in ignorance of the past, you are mistaken. I am in my seventieth year on this earth, and I have not lived a protected life. Since I was a teenager, I have preached in bars, hippie coffeehouses, homeless shelters, street and military ministries, and boys’ homes, and spent over 2,000 hours in prisons ministering to the worst of the worst. I have been in a drug house where everyone was naked, and I have sat on the curb talking to prostitutes. I have seen sodomites and lesbians come to faith in Christ and be completely delivered from years of perversion. I have seen a number of devil-possessed people be freed from the spirits and then overcome the Wicked One.
Yes, there has always been some form of erotic depiction available to the very few who could travel to where it was displayed and who wanted to risk their reputations viewing it, but children were spared by the very geography of it. The glaring difference that has come upon us is that the debauchery that once was only found in the big city is now in the hands of nearly every child. Psychologists tell us that what we have today in the form of moving pictures in high resolution with lifelike sound has exceeded the sensual stimulation of the real thing. There has never been a time in history when an adult or a child could view all forms of pornography on a daily basis, much less images that are more real than life. I have heard men say they would rather watch the Super Bowl on television than sit in the stands, because with the various camera angles and close-up shots of the action, they are more intimately involved in the game. We live in a new age, and it “is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death” (Proverbs 7:27).
So it is from a perspective of being well informed that I tell you we have entered a new dispensation, the likes of which has never existed in any place on earth at any time in history. It is perilous to the family and will be the final ruin that causes God to come down as he did in the days of Sodom when he said, “I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me . . .” (Genesis 18:21). When God viewed the earth in the days of Noah, he said, “the end of all flesh is come before me . . .” (Genesis 6:13). I do think the end of sinful flesh is once again come up before the Righteous Judge.
The infallible Holy Scriptures have foretold just such a time. “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves [pornography encourages a person to make love to himself], covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away” (2 Timothy 3:1–5).
Some men become so deceived they somehow think looking is of no consequence, but God describes the pornographer as “Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children” (2 Peter 2:14).
When I read the statistics on the number of children exposed to pornography, and knowing that “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump” (Galatians 5:9), I am conflicted. On the one hand, I feel a deep discouragement like I have never felt before. I think, what good is it for me to teach men the Bible, or how to raise kids, when they are engaged in pornography?
On the other hand, we read, “. . . for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition” (2 Thessalonians 2:3). We live in the era of “falling away,” indicating the Judge of all the earth is about to come “[i]n flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power” (2 Thessalonians 1:8–9). Sounds good to me!
There is hope, the blessed hope of his glorious appearing (Titus 2:13). And until then there is hope for those who choose to live godly lives. “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). He has overcome the world. Therefore, “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished” (2 Peter 2:9). Our deliverance comes when we “. . . put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof” (Romans 13:14). I have already done a thorough work on how believers overcome sin. It is found in the audio series Sin No More. Hundreds have testified of becoming born again and of being able to cease the sin that beset them. Get this series and listen to it carefully. If you cannot afford it, I will send it to you for free. Just call and say, “I cannot afford to buy the series; please send me a copy.” You don’t need to apologize or try to convince us of your financial condition. We are ready to serve you freely.
The big question you ask is, “How do I make sure my children are not exposed to pornography?”
I don’t have space to say more, but now and in the near future there will be only one way to save your children from Sodom. You must move far away from its influence and not have any digital doorway to it in your home or on your person. This will mean different things to different people. But for most families it will entail engineering the family from the kids up. That is, you must first decide what environment is best for the kids. Where should you live? What kind of a lifestyle? How will you form positive association with other families? Then your vocation will be built around meeting the needs of your children. You may have to give up a lucrative occupation and band with other families of like mind to create a closed environment in which to raise the kids.
There will come a time—soon—when overcoming believers will live in guarded communities. There will be no other option if you are to save your children from this untoward generation.
It grieves me to be so negative, but I would be a Pollyanna to do differently. The world is going to hell in a hurry while calling it entertainment and freedom, and the church is only a few steps behind, quoting from a book God could not recognize, and normalizing sins that will keep them out of heaven.
While protecting your children from temptations, you must be active in engineering their environment so they have opportunity to exercise their wills to make wise choices in the face of temptations. They need to have good and evil options in their lives, and they need to feel the negative consequences of making wrong choices. But pornography is like dynamite; children cannot be trusted to learn by experience. If they see you turning off a video because it had borderline inappropriate content, they will learn by example the need to exercise discretion. If they become acquainted with people who testify of how pornography, fornication, drugs, alcohol, etc. ruined their lives, they will develop a sense of sowing and reaping without having to personally offend.
Ideally, the principle is this: as they are growing up, you want to expose them to temptation in a scaled and measured manner, so as to allow them to be tempted, but to always overcome. If there are temporary lapses or failings, you want them to be of such a nature as to not cause long-term harm. One temptation overcome is worth one hundred untried holy moments.
Keep in mind that your children will eventually face every temptation. It is our duty to prepare them to overcome. The unique thing about our present age, is that children are facing the worst adult temptations when they have not yet built up any defenses. To be made ready for battle, military members are trained with live rounds, but in a manner that does not allow them to be shot.
There is a haunting declaration in the last few verses of the Bible. The judgments have all concluded, hell is filled with those who did not repent. The pornographers will take no pleasure in the memory of the thousands of images they acquired. “And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night . . .” (Revelation 14:11). Satan is destroyed in hell, and the saints are all safe in the embrace of our Holy God. Resurrected children safely play in the streets of the New Jerusalem, on the new earth. Those who love righteousness are flittering around in joyous celebration. The angels who were ministering spirits to the saints are finally at rest. And a final announcement is made, “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still” (Revelation 22:11).
Eternity is fixed. Those who are his will always be his. Those who did not obey the gospel will be remembered no more, nor come into mind (Isaiah 65:17).