Support for legislation to protect children from pornographic exploitation and for a stronger federal role in combating obscenity was emphasized April 28 by a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy.In testimony before the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Crime, Elder John K. Carmack, also president of the North America Northeast Area, urged Congressional approval of the proposed Child Protection and Obscenity Enforcement Act of 1988.

"One of the noblest roles of government is to protect those who are least able to protect themselves," Elder Carmack said. He added that the proposed act would "protect children from exploitation; require record-keeping which would make prosecution easier against producers, distributors and retailers; andT make it clear that it is against federal law for even a parent to use a child in producing pornography."

The proposed law, he continued, would also "prohibit exchange of information concerning child pornography through computer networks, and address other deficiencies in our current laws."

Another reason the Church supports passage of the act is that it would ban the transmission of obscenity over cable or subscription television.

"For the same reason," Elder Carmack said, "we salute recent initiatives by the Congress and the Federal Communications Commission to eliminate so-called `dial-a-porn.' "

A stronger federal role in combating obscenity is warranted, Elder Carmack asserted, "because of the growing presence of organized crime in the multi-billion-dollar obscenity industry and because of the international scope of the problem."

While stating the Church's wholehearted support for the First Amendment, Elder Carmack noted that "the United States Supreme Court has clearly held that the First Amendment does not protect obscenity. This makes it possible to regulate it by law and prosecute criminals who violate the law."

The Church official said that it is "self-evident" that the production and distribution of pornography is "morally wrong." "One just knows that garbage and sewage on the streets and in contact with humans is destructive of good physical health, and that moral garbage created, distributed and used by humans is destructive of the morality of the community."

Furthermore, he added, "valid research has made the connection between obscenity and the harm flowing from it. . . . The use of obscenity clearly desensitizes its users and increases the likelihood of male aggressiveness against women and children. It also decreases both male and female sensitivity to rape and the plight of the rape victim.

"Those of us who have been called upon to deal with abused and blighted lives," Elder Carmack continued, "know that almost without exception these abused boys, girls, women and even men are victims of those stirred up in part to aggression and abuse by pornography."

Elder Carmack said his testimony also represents the position of the Religious Alliance Against Pornography, on whose steering committee he sits. RAAP is a national coalition of churches committed to fighting pornography and obscenity in concert with local, state and federal governments.