By Mark Wright
LDS Church Member, Utah's 'Porn Czarina,' Gets National Attention
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- Paula Houston, a returned missionary and active
member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has spent
some time viewing hard-core pornography. While these seemingly
incongruent facts may bring pause, Houston is only doing her job.
Houston is a conservative 41-year-old graduate from Brigham Young
University and is also the newly appointed "Porn Czar" for the state
While officially know as the "Obscenity and Pornography Complaints
Ombudsman," the press has opted for the shorthand "czar" moniker when
reporting on Houston's office and activities. In her new capacity,
Houston is charged with providing a resource for residents in Utah
communities looking to curb pornography. She will also attempt to
craft a model ordinance for cities and counties to outlaw obscenity
While Houston is single, she believes in the family-centered
teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ and has seen the devastating
results that come from pornography addiction. Prior to accepting her
current position, Houston was a prosecutor in nearby West Valley City
and worked on several cases involving pornography. Her personal
experiences with real-life people led to a viewpoint that mirrors the
stance of the Church on the destructive nature of pornography. "I see
how pornography always played into domestic cases, often men whose
passion for it had eaten away at the family's core." Houston said. "I
know statistics don't suggest a causal relationship, but there is
enough of one for me."
Predictably, the ACLU and other liberal watch-dog organizations are
expressing concern and have vowed to make sure that Houston doesn't
trample on the Constitutional rights of the citizens of the state of
Utah. Many such free-speech advocates have already sounded the alarm.
"This position isn't necessary. There are laws in existence to help
protect citizens from pornography," says Carol Gnade, executive
director of the ACLU's Utah branch.
Given the prominence the Church and it's well-known stand against
pornography, some people have gone so far as to insinuate that the
Church is responsible for the new position. "It's crazy," says Salt
Lake City Mayor Ross Anderson, a critic of Houston's new office.
"Some of us get a little tired of the Church moralizing through
legislation like this." Clearly, Houston has her work cut out for her.
Whether you agree with the appointment of Houston or not, everyone
agrees that she is moving forward in a very challenging role. It also
seems that, at least for the present, Utah is standing alone in
taking this bold step to try and stem the tide of pornography. No
other state has created nor implemented this kind of government
office and action. Whether or not Houston and Utah will be successful
remains to be seen.
'Porn czar' Utah lawyer takes on job to shield residents from obscene materials
USA Today pg1D 5Mar01 T2
By Marco R. della Cava: USA Today
Utah's 'porn czarina' targets an elusive purveyor: the Net
Christian Science Monitor 21Feb01 T2
By Paul Van Slambrouck: Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
Porn Czar Says Inexperience Is Irrelevant
Salt Lake Tribune 11Feb01 T2
By Kevin Cantera and Michael Vigh: Salt Lake Tribune