“Wow – five hundred thousand images?” said YWAM executive director Peter Warren, when told the number of pornographic pictures police said they found on Murray’s computer.
Murray had once trained at YWAM to be a missionary. Warren said Murray’s peculiar behavior was a major factor in holding Murray back from overseas mission work.
“He made inappropriate comments of a sexual nature, but I didn’t know that he had been involved in that much pornography,” Warren said.
“He talked about sexual and fantasy-type stuff to his roommates. Some students were freaked out by his behavior. He did and said really unusual things. It would put us in a precarious place if we let him go into a different culture, with its different pressures and around children. We have to be careful,” Warren said.
YWAM watches for immature and inappropriate behavior among its 18- to 25-year-olds and offers guidance through prayer and counseling, Warren said. It also brings in speakers to address topics such as eating disorders and sexual issues.
Any attempt to download pornography on YWAM computers would have been flagged, he said.
For YWAM’s young members, the best protection from serious obsessions like Murray’s is their genuine desire to help others and to work together in an open, God- centered community, Warren said. Pornography festers in secrecy, “and anyone living a secret life in any form is a dangerous thing.”
“What pornography does is make people begin to view other people as objects rather than valuable individuals, made in the image of God,” Warren said. “That can lead to violence.”
Stephen Arterburn, co-author of the Every Man’s Battle series on overcoming sexual addictions, agreed.
Arterburn said Thursday he wasn’t surprised to hear that pornography played a role in Murray’s life. Not only does pornography dehumanize, but like any addiction, increasing amounts are needed to be satisfied – a deadly recipe for those prone to violence.