The Improvement Era, May 1968

Some things in the Church change, some things never will.


  1. There’s a cross-dressing joke just waiting to be told…

  2. Eve Tassen says:

    Some things that never change in the church.

    Good people fight against the evils of pornography. Those without testimonies seek to encourage pornography, and mock those who warn against its use.

  3. Aaron R. says:

    Eve, your comment sounds like you are accusing mmiles of not having a testimony. It would be wildly insensitive and judgmental to suppose such a thing from this post and so you might want to rephrase your comment without the accusatory tone. Moreover, you also seem to think, on the basis of evidence cannot see, that mmiles is encouraging pornography.

    Perhaps give the post another read.

  4. Eve Tassen,
    I loathe pornography. The Church will never change its stance, and neither will I.

    What I find funny about this article is that J Edgar Hoover wrote it–the head of the FBI. And it’s Hoover, he’s kind of famous, kind of infamous. You won’t see that in Church publications again.

  5. Hoover was invited to speak at BYU’s “Law Day” observance on May 1, 1968, but responded with “While I certainly appreciate your thinking of me, and very much wish it were possible to be with you on that occasion, I regret that a prior commitment, which has already been confirmed, will preclude my having that pleasure. I am sorry it will not be possible to be with you but wish you all success in your observance of this program.”

    Looks like we heard from him that month after all! Nice find, mmiles.

  6. StillConfused says:

    I find it interesting that this article was written back in the 60s. We seem to act as if porn is something new. It is a good reminder that porn has been around for quite some time.

    I too thought it was pretty interesting that J Edgar Hoover had written this. It is widely believed that he engaged in some alternative lifestyle practices. (I am not sure if that has been proven or is just believed.) But I don’t recall any of the accusations about his lifestyle to have involved porn. As I recall, his assumed behavior dealt with cross dressing. In any event, it is cool that he was the author of this message.

  7. StillConfused,
    I don’t know if it’s cool, but it’s certainly ironic given what he claims porn leads to.

  8. Proud Daughter of Eve says:

    Given how he talks about the effects on impressionable youth, I wonder if he felt that he himself had been damaged in some way. His stance isn’t “do as I say, not as I do” so much as “this happened to me and I want to ensure it doesn’t happen to others.”

  9. sorry for the noob question, but what is this publication? is it an LDS publication? and they had the FBI director write in it?

  10. Andy,
    Yes, it’s an LDS publication. It’s the precursor to the Ensign and the New Era. They used to have advertisements, government experts, university presidents and scholars write articles. They also featured general authorities of the Church. It was much different than it is now, much less devotional for one.

  11. Coffinberry says:

    Andy, that was a good question and I’m glad you asked it.

    It is too easy for those of us who remember getting the Improvement Era in the mail (with its little calendar in it for when lessons should be taught, divided according whether the school year started in September for the northern hemisphere or in March for the southern, and new color pictures for the ward librarian to mount on posterboard using mounting tissue and a hot press so that we would have illustrations for Junior Sunday School) to forget that most people who are members today have no idea what day-to-day life was like for church members in the mid-20th century.

  12. StillConfused says:

    Was Mr. Hoover Mormon?

  13. No.

  14. More info about Hoover and his lifestyle choices from a reliable (in my estimation) source:
    The Straight Dope- Was J. Edgar Hoover a Cross-dresser?

  15. Mike Parker says:

    Some things have changed, though. Hoover opines:

    “It is impossible…to assess the volume of sex crimes attributable to pornography.”

    More recent evidence indicates that widespread and easy access to pornography does not increase the rate of sex crimes, and may actually decrease it.

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