30 Years After James Dobson Interviewed Ted Bundy, We're Still Haunted by What He Said

At 7:06 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 1989, 42-year-old Ted Bundy was executed in Raiford Prison in Starke, Florida. Bundy was one of America's most brutal and terrifying serial killers and rapists. He admitted to 30 homicides across the country between 1974 and 1978. The actual count is unknown and may be much higher.

Please understand that this story is not meant to infer that everyone who watches pornography will become a violent criminal. But some of the chilling comments he made about the effects of pornography on his horrible actions still serve as a warning about the harmful aspects of porn usage.

The night before his death, Bundy was interviewed by Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family. During the 45-minute conversation, Bundy told Dr. Dobson about the effect his pornography addiction had on his life.

Pornography Played a Major Role

As you read his comments, be aware that Bundy was well-known for giving conflicting information and often changed his facts about the same story several times to manipulate the situation at the moment.

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It could have been that Bundy was just trying to blame porn for his violent actions since he was talking with someone who was completely anti-pornography. So it cannot be known for sure to what extent pornography actually impacted his life. But it certainly impacted other lives—those of his victims and their families—and his statements are worth considering.

"Like most other kinds of addiction," he said, "I would keep looking for more potent, more explicit, the most graphic kinds of material. Like an addiction, you keep craving something harder, something which gives you a greater sense of excitement."

Bundy added, "I've lived in prison a long time now. I've met a lot of men who were motivated to commit violence just like me. And without exception, every one of them was deeply involved in pornography ...There's no question about it. The FBI's own study on serial homicide shows that the most common interest among serial killers is pornography."

Sex Crimes Often Involve Porn

Studies support that porn does play a major role in sex crimes.

  • A Michigan State Police report showed that in 41 percent of sexual assault cases, porn was viewed just prior to or during the crime.
  • A University of New Hampshire study showed that the highest rape rates are in states that have high sales of porn magazines.
  • Research found that adult porn was connected with each of 1,400 sexual abuse cases in Louisville, Kentucky. The majority of them were also connected with child porn.
  • Other studies found that heavy use of the type of porn sold at adult bookstores matched an increased willingness to commit rape or other forced sexual acts.

The FBI said porn is found at 80 percent of the scenes of violent sex crimes, or in the homes of the offender. Police officers say that porn use is one of the most common profile traits of serial murderers and rapists.

Dr. Dobson noted, "There is very little restraint on what the pornographers are able to produce and sell in this country. And remember this: Hunters read hunting magazines; fishermen read fishing magazines; computer specialists read computer magazines; and you can be sure that men who find it exciting to assault women sexually read magazines and watch videos that depict that terrible abuse."

Pornography Is Pervasive

While a man's porn addiction may never lead him to do such terrible crimes, porn is still harmful.

Porn use has mushroomed in the last 30 years. What was considered soft porn back then—air-brushed models in magazines—has evolved into unbridled, "anything goes" filth and perversion.

With the internet, pornography has become much more pervasive. What was once only available in adult stores is now available at the click of a button.

The Church Must Take Action

The church cannot remain silent and try to ignore the plague of pornography. Porn is not simply a problem of the unchurched. One study reports that 68 percent of churchgoing men struggle with pornography.

Here is a chilling statement from Bundy that is a wake-up call for all churches:

I was essentially a normal person. I had good friends. I lived a normal life, except for this one small, but very potent, very destructive segment of it that I kept very secret, very close to myself, and didn't let anybody know about ... I think people need to recognize that those of us who have been so much influenced by violence in the media—in particular pornographic violence—are not some kinds of inherent monsters."

We are your sons, and we are your husbands. And we grew up in regular families. And pornography can reach out and snatch a kid out of any house today. It snatched me out of my home 20, 30 years ago, as diligent as my parents were, and they were diligent in protecting their children. And as good a Christian home as we had—and we had a wonderful Christian home—there is no protection against the kinds of influences that there are loose in a society.

In other words, he seemed to be just like a guy sitting in your pews.

There Is Help Available

You do not have to fight your porn battle alone. In fact, studies show that most likely there are many other men in your church who also struggle.

If you are a church leader, you need to address this issue with your men now. There are more resources available now than ever before to help you address pornography in your community.

The Conquer Series is a powerful cinematic series designed to help men break free from porn addiction. It can be used in small group settings or done on an individual basis.

Matthew Cook is one of the nearly one million men who have been through the Conquer Series. He describes its impact on his life:

"This series has helped change my life. The healing it has caused has revolutionized my relationship with my wife, kids and the people at church. The only thing I regret is not having this 15 years ago."

Men like Ted Bundy remind us that pornography addiction is not to be taken lightly. But through God's grace and the teachings of the Conquer Series, you can find freedom.

Learn more at ConquerSeries.com.

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