Porn conference this weekend in eastern Idaho

from www.kpvi.com – A conference this weekend in eastern Idaho will explore the effects of pornography. We’re using that conference as a way to explore the issue of pornography in eastern Idaho. Is it tearing families apart or is it just a form of adult entertainment?

This weekend’s conference is the product of the local group Citizens for Decency. Their one goal is to educate people of what they say are the harmful effects of pornography. But not everyone is a supporter.

Craig Cobia from Rexburg is one of the founders of Citizens for Decency. He says he went through most of his life ignoring pornography: not interested in it but not doing anything to fight it. That is until a woman came to his office saying her husband killed himself because he couldn’t give up pornography.

“I have proof right from our own community. A plea from a widowed mother who said, ‘please, help me,'” Cobia said.

That’s how this non-profit was born. This weekend Citizens for Decency is bringing in neurosurgeon Doctor Donald Hilton, Jr. to explain his research at a conference. Simply put, he says his research proves pornography is a potential addiction similar to drugs, gambling or overeating.

“Prominent addiction scientists are weighing in with this hypothesis and it’s becoming, I would say, as a fact by most that I’ve talked to,” Dr. Hilton said.

Dr. Hilton works with those recovering from addiction. He says an addiction to pornography is supremely difficult to overcome since no dealer needs to be called to get a fix.

“Understand that if a person tries to fight this problem privately without seeking adequate support, they will not succeed. It will continue,” Hilton said.

Most local adult entertainment store owners declined to give an interview for this story. But the owner of Alternative Video in Pocatello did mention three things. Steve DeRoche says his business complies with the strict city ordinances that govern him: his employees all are fingerprinted and have a background check.

He even says he has gotten a list of sex offenders from the police and compared the names on the list to his list of clients and never had a match.

“No one has ever died from an overdose of porn,” DeRoche said.

These are points echoed by a national organization.

“Adult entertainment is legal, vital quality of life issues for many consumers in the United States and across the world,” said Diane Duke,[pictured] the executive director of the Free Speech Coalition.

The Free Speech Coalition is the trade organization and political arm of the adult entertainment industry. Duke says pornography is a matter of behavior and not addiction and that it ought to be available to adults.

“This is an issue of censorship and personal choice, allowing adults to be adults and access materials that they can and if they’d like to should be able to access. And if people choose not to I completely respect their rights not to,” Duke said.

As for Craig Cobia, he’ll continue his own advocacy in eastern Idaho.

“I think history will write the accurate story of every major social ill,” Cobia added.

This weekend’s free conference is open to anyone. It will take place in Pocatello, Idaho Falls and Rexburg. Tickets are available online and at any local Deseret Book store.

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