Utah has all-but declared a war on pornography. A bill recently signed into law declares porn to be a public health crisis and blames the world’s oldest genre for hypersexualizing young people and normalizing the abuse of women. The law has no legislative teeth — it merely states that a crisis is at hand and that something must be done. But pornography isn’t the problem and the legislators behind this censorious bill are less focused on smut than on the internet, which delivers it to public libraries, restaurants, and anyplace else with free wifi. “If a library or a McDonald’s or anyone else was giving out cigarettes to our children, we would be picketing them,” Republican State Senator Todd Weiler, the chief sponsor of the bill, points out. “And yet our children are accessing porn on their tablets at these sites, and we seem to be OK with that. It is not OK.”

It’s a bit unclear which teens are going to McDonald’s to look at porn, but it is clear that Todd Weiler is fundamentally interested in regulating public internet connections. And no small wonder: Utah is a largely Mormon state and the Mormon church has long struggled to deal with the information aspect of the information age. Open access to pornography, sure, but also critical takedowns of religious doctrine threatens Salt Lake society. Sixty percent of Utah residents are Mormon, and Salt Lake City is the church’s cultural and religious center. The vast majority of state lawmakers, including Weiler, are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the few who are not must still cater to a majority-Mormon populous.

The crisis in the Mormon Church isn’t helping. That crisis arguably began online when, in 2005, A Mormon named John Dehlin started a podcast called Mormon Stories designed to explore questions of faith and doubt. “The thought of publicly disagreeing or doubting the church is almost incomprehensible,” Dehlin recently said on the Reply All podcast. Doctrinal discussion was like punk rock for Utah kids and the podcast became popular quickly, which was hard to handle for established members of a church without a talmudic tradition.

The LDS church has no reformist wing. Unquestioning belief in church leadership and doctrine is the norm — at least in public. The problem was and is that when your religion is 200 years old, it’s also pretty damn fact-checkable. And a lot of what church leaders have historically peddled as the absolute truth doesn’t track with public records or reality. And Dehlin wasn’t the only one who wanted to start a conversation about this. His listeners thanked him in letters sent by the hundreds, letters that delayed his eventual and probably inevitable excommunication.

Free to do as he liked, Dehlin surveyed more than 3,000 former LDS believers and found that most people left the church because they felt misled. Dehlin compares church officials to President Richard Nixon, pointing out that the break-in he orchestrated didn’t anger the public as much as the cover up that followed. And cover ups don’t generally work out too well in the internet age, especially when teens know how to harness the power of Google. What’s to stop curious young followers from finding damaging information online? How can Utah keep the internet away from the faithful?

Porn is a natural scapegoat. (Utah has, for the record, the highest per-capita rates of subscriptions to porn sites of any state in the country.)

Mormons line up to resign from the church on November 14, 2015 to protest its stance on homosexuality.

The Mormon Church and the State of Utah cannot go back to a pre-internet world. Information is out there, and people will find a way to access it. This is a threat to existing systems of power, and it should be. Leadership must be earned. Church officials must answer to the doubts and critiques of followers, politicians must answer to the will of the people, and parents must answer to the curiosity of children.

The internet is not the enemy. Pornography is not the enemy. The enemy is a culture of secrecy based on a desire to maintain power and control over people.

Photos via George Frey/Getty Images, moregoodfoundation/Flickr