Sutherland Newsletter – December 3, 2009


As part of Sutherland Institute’s ongoing effort to protect the family as the fundamental unit of society, the Utah-based public policy organization has joined with the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C. to release a new study that comprehensively details the effects of pornography on marriages, children, communities, and individual happiness.


The study, The Effects of Pornography on Individuals, Marriage, Family, and Community, synthesizes all available research on the effects of pornography on families and communities.


According to the Family Research Council, pornography distorts an individual’s concept of the nature of conjugal relations, which, in turn, alters both sexual attitudes and behavior.  In undermining marriage, it is one of the major factors in the undermining of social stability.


Social scientists, clinical psychologists, and biologists have begun to clarify some of the social and psychological effects, and neurologists are beginning to delineate the biological mechanisms through which pornography produces its powerful negative effects.  Among the study’s findings:

  • Men who view pornography regularly have a higher tolerance for abnormal sexuality, including rape, sexual aggression, and sexual promiscuity.
  • Married men who are involved in pornography feel less satisfied with their conjugal relations and less emotionally attached to their wives.  Wives notice and are upset by the difference.
  • Pornography engenders greater sexual permissiveness, which in turn leads to a greater risk of out-of-wedlock births and STDs, which in turn lead to still more weaknesses and debilities.
  • The presence of sexually-oriented businesses significantly harms the surrounding community, leading to increases in crime and decreases in property values.
  • Child sex offenders are more likely to view pornography regularly or to be involved in its distribution.
  • Pornography eliminates the warmth of affectionate family life, which is the natural social nutrient for the growing child.


The report’s author, Dr. Patrick F. Fagan, also adds that the main defenses against pornography are a close family life, a good marriage, and good relations between parents and children, coupled with deliberate parental monitoring of Internet use.


“Given the massive, deleterious individual, marital, family, and social effects of pornography, it is time for citizens, communities, and government to reconsider their laissez-faire approach,” he said.



Since 1987, Utahns have been able to divorce without regard to innocence or fault.  In fact, the current law actually creates incentives for a party unhappy in their marriage to seek a divorce knowing that they cannot be effectively opposed and may, in fact, be rewarded regardless of their conduct during the marriage.  Sutherland Institute scholars, Dr. Bryce J. Christensen and William C. Duncan, J.D., have teamed to produce a series of essays that focus on the problems with Utah’s no-fault divorce law.  The first of the essays, released today, addresses false allegations of child abuse.


Combating the Abuse of Truth tackles the issue of false allegations of child abuse.  According to the essay, in 2007, Utah officials could find evidence supporting only 41 percent of the 20,340 child-abuse referrals.  The essay highlights the growing number of false reports of child abuse motivated by the desire to gain an advantage in custody battles.  Christensen and Duncan recommend that policymakers should increase penalties for fraudulent accusations of child abuse in divorce proceedings.


“Because false accusations of abuse compromise efforts to fight real child abuse…,” the authors write, “stiffening the penalties is the least Utahns can do.”



Sutherland Institute congratulates the five winners of the Transparency Scholarship Essay Contest.  Those winners are:

  • Sogand Alipour – Jordan High School
  • Andrew Miller – Bountiful High School
  • Dani Peterson – Mountain View High School
  • Chelsey Roberts – Timpview High School
  • Brandon Witte – Provo High School


The State of Utah has launched a new website,, to increase public awareness of state spending.  In an effort to encourage Utahns to use the website and to promote responsible citizenship, Sutherland Institute sponsored an essay contest for Utah high school students.  Contestants were asked to base their essays on information found and make suggestions on how best to use the website to improve Utah’s schools and governance. Students were also encouraged to explain their experience using the site and to include specific facts found on the website.


Each of the five winners will receive a $1,000 scholarship to be placed in an educational savings account.  The awards will be presented at a reception at the Sutherland Institute office in Salt Lake City on Tuesday evening, December 15, at 7:00 pm.  The Honorable Wayne Niederhauser, chief sponsor of the legislation that created the transparency website and member of the Utah Transparency Advisory Board, will present the awards.  A representative from the Utah Educational Saving Plan will present information regarding educational savings accounts.


The five winning essays will be published at following the awards reception.