my question blog
By kaybee
1/24/2011 1:32:35 PM
i i was reading the ARP manual and i realized that i have a lot of questions, and rather than just make a new blog when i want to ask one, ill just put them all on one blog. so my first question has two parts. the first part is a common quetion: can we ever REALLY overcome our addictions? and the second part is this, many people on here say they have been sober for x months/ years and yet they are still "addicts" and have to work hard everyday to stay that way. but my bishop says that if i can stay clean for 90 days, i can go on a mission. so would i be going as a recovering addict, or a someone who would just have to fight temptation just like everyone else? (i dont mean to say that addicts dont have normal temptations, just that there is that repetition to the point of being an ingrained habit.) i know it is a confusing question, but insights from anyone who has more experience than me (almost everyone), would be helpful.


what im really wondering    
"how can i go on a mission after only 90 consecutive days of being clean if some of the people on here have fought with this addiction for years without being fully over the addiction"
posted at 00:46:29 on January 25, 2011 by kaybee
Sin is Addictive    
"The Book "The Peacegiver" says that sin is addictive.
So.. if we are all sinners (which we are) then... we are all addicts in our own little ways.

the truth is that we are all addicts... to pride, to sugar, to carbs, to 'looking good', to anger, to money, to fear, etc.. basically.. to false gods.
Spencer Kimball has a great talk (The False Gods we worship)

The book of mormon & colleen harrison emphasis the term "He did deliver me from Bondage"
Bondage implies that we are whole human beings that are enslaved for a time. I like that.
I'm cool with using addict... because it just works... it makes me remember(another word used a lot in the Book of Mormon) that I have a dual nature.. and if I'm not 'yielding to the Spiritual side' ... the natural man (addict) is going to get his one way or the other.

some of the best missionaries in my mission.. were REAL people.. who didn't act like ROBOTS.

"Real people who want to make real changes in life are attracted to real conversations from other real people who have made real changes in their life""
posted at 01:00:05 on January 25, 2011 by gracefull
"that is a perfect anwer."
posted at 01:22:30 on January 25, 2011 by kaybee
You will be going on mission as a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ    
"That simple.
On mission you are his servant, not an addict, his servant, chosen by him.
When you get back you rely on him and the support program he has in place to remain a true and humble and wise servant to him and your bros and sis.

Get clean - Serve a mission - remember where you came from and move on."
posted at 10:51:01 on January 25, 2011 by ruggaexpat
a few more thoughts...    
"I feel strongly that you can't get clean for 90 days (white knuckling it) and then pretend all the core issues of your porn/mb is going to go away.
Miracles do happen everday.. and God willing, it will happen... and you should definitely move forward with faith.

But in my mission, my mission president (very practical guy) asked each missionary when the last time he masturbated on the first interview he had with them! I've heard from numerous people that ~50% of missionaries mb during the mission. (that's from 2 mission presidents I spoke with & others in leadership positions). I'd bet $500 bucks on it & yet nobody wants to talk about it.

I felt like incredible shame for half of my mission... because I mb once in awhile about a year into it.(no porn) I had noone to talk to besides the random mission pres interview. Shortly after a slip after about a year of 'sobriety' I asked to be sent home once because of it & my mission president just loved me and told me they don't send missionaries home because of it (imagine if they did!!!)

The more work you do on this now.. the more doors you will be able to unlock in the mission field. The best missionaries (and in my opinion) the best people... don't look around and wonder.. hmm... I wonder what my girlfriend would think... or I wonder what the LDSAR people would think... They instead they look up to God and care about what he thinks and just take action.

Love is at the core of all this... not fear, judgement, anger.

some people will not agree with this, but I was always a fan of the idea that everyone who takes the sacrament (not to mention the Temple) is 'taking the name of Jesus Christ' upon him... to be a witness of hiim at all times, in all places.. (that's pretty close to being a missionary). It's also very close Step 12

so... just remember there is a much larger story going on.. besides just the mission.

I'm praying for you!

Step 12 - Key Principle
Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, share this message with others and practice these principles in all you do."
posted at 23:36:14 on January 25, 2011 by Anonymous
"I like what you said about not caring what other people think and instead caring about what God thinks. My bishop has been saying that to me a lot. It's not about disappointing friends, family, or support people, it's about disappointing God. I'm working on that one. :)"
posted at 23:49:44 on January 25, 2011 by dstanley
"i am appaled that they DONT send missionaries home for MB. but what is it that you are trying to say in the first paragraph anon? in my blog i didnt mean it to sound like after 90 days everything is going to be all cheery and fine and ill never have to deal with this again, just that after 90 days my bishop basicly says ill be temple worthy and he would be able to sign off on me going on a mission with full confidence."
posted at 01:18:12 on January 26, 2011 by kaybee
"In The Miracle of Forgiveness, President Kimball stated...

"Prophets anciently and today condemn masturbation. It induces feelings of guilt and shame. It is detrimental to spirituality. It indicates slavery to the flesh, not that mastery of it and the growth toward godhood which is the object of our mortal life. Our modern prophet has indicated that no young man should be called on a mission who is not free from this practice."

I think what Anon is saying is that your true goal here isn't 90 days, or going to the temple so that you can go on a mission, or even a mission itself. Those are your intermediate goals, stepping stones towards full recovery. Addiction is a symptom of other underlying problems, those underlying problems need to be resolved. Otherwise, after white-knuckling for 90 days, you will go to the temple, you will leave on a mission, and you will continue to struggle.

It is obvious that missionaries should be completely free from this practice. But missionaries are human and subject to temptation. Many missionaries are able to clean up before and during their missions only to fall after they get home.

The fact that you are appalled that they aren't always sent home speaks volumes about your commitment to a total recovery. You are a Son of God, and you are meant to do great things. Your potential is greater than you know. But you are at a turning point right now.

I don't have an answer as to whether you'll be a 'recovering addict' while on your mission. That depends on your commitment to total recovery, not just abstinence, and is between you and the Lord.

What I can tell you is, you're on the right path, and the Lord is on your side."
posted at 09:47:46 on January 26, 2011 by paul
"i do agree that those are intermediate steps, but they ae neccessary steps, and my question no longer seems important..."
posted at 15:43:00 on January 26, 2011 by kaybee
I Wish    
"I think my bishop is expecting a lot more than 90 days before he'll let me go to the temple. I struggle a bit with the difference in how things are handled by different bishops, and the fact that I don't have a firm you need to be sober for x long and then you can go to the temple. I try to not let it bother me though.

I'm a bit shocked as well that they make you abstain before you go on a mission but they let you stay even if you masturbate. Do they take away your temple recommend?"
posted at 00:17:32 on January 27, 2011 by dstanley
a possible explaination    
"maybe the reason there is no set number of days is that everyone, and everyone's situation is different. bishops are set apart to receive revelation and guidance on behalf of the ward they preside over to do what is best for each individual member."
posted at 02:37:07 on January 27, 2011 by kaybee
"I believe Kaybee is correct.

However, that might be something you could/should discuss with your bishop D. If you believe that a better defined goal would help you keep you motivated. That sounds like it is worth a try. Ask him if you could set a date and so long as you are able to keep clean for that time, you could get your recommend. That is what missionaries ask investigators who are battling smoking and/or other habits to do before baptism. Goals should ALWAYS be well defined."
posted at 09:49:13 on January 27, 2011 by paul
"well put paul"
posted at 10:48:59 on January 27, 2011 by Anonymous
I'll Try that    
"I get that everyone is different, it's just frustrating sometimes to see the differences in amounts of time.

I'll try asking my bishop if we can set a date. Maybe it won't help, but I think it might. Thanks."
posted at 11:10:22 on January 27, 2011 by dstanley
Bishops and time    
"Every person needs a different amount of time. The variance isn't by bishop, but by person. In my AR group there are those who have been sober for much less time than I have and gotten there recommends back. The reason: they were different people with different problems. I was naturally it takes me longer to get my recommend. I was refellowshipped at the beginning of the month and the Bishop told me that as soon as the paperwork reaches SLC and back I can have an interview! That is so exciting to me. I am not jealous of the men in my group who became sober after me and have already gotten their recommends. I am quite happy for them. I realize that I did things that merited being disfellowshiped, they didn't. This is also why Katie is sure I am one of the worst out there! But, with God's grace I have been sober, been refellowshipped, avoided divorce and now all I have to do (as if this is a small thing) is win Katie's heart before the judgment day comes and she can choose dead soldier boy. This will be no small task compared to getting my recommend back!

90 days may seem like forever or not long enough...I guess it depends on you. Even if the Bishop signs your papers in 90 days, you still have to stay sober while you wait for the call, wait to go to the MTC, stay on your mission and the rest of eternity! The mission can be a great blessing. Repentance is a greater blessing. Embrace both! I guess I am saying that when I was sober 90 days that my bishop wasn't ready to trust me. You have shown yourself trustworthy enough to be considered well on the repentance track at 90 days! That shows what a wonderful person you are."
posted at 13:45:45 on January 27, 2011 by hubster
Congrats Hubster    
"That is exciting news. I hope to get there some day.

I don't think you're one of the worst."
posted at 22:58:10 on January 27, 2011 by dstanley
Great line hubster - "Repentance is a greater blessing"    
"I've struggled my whole life with the worthiness card (as a teenager going to do baptisms, sacrament? temple worthiness after I had a recommmend but slipped, etc..etc..)

Putting worthiness ahead of repentance... has created a lot of anxiety and frustration for me... with not only Bishops recommending different amounts of time, but also entirely different ways of viewing recovery.

In my life.. I have so desperately wanted to heal up right quick.. and get back to being normal and join the cool club. Thankfully, with God's grace.. I can lose that desire to want to appear normal and perfect. that belief doesn't serve me.

what does is it profit a man.... if he gains the temple... but loses his sobriety.

One time, (without a temple recommend) I just decided to go to the Temple, and sit outside and pray.

It was an amazing spiritual experience. God knew my heart on that day... and rewarded the my sacrifice... and it was a small sacrament.. in which I renewed my covenants on the bench... tears came down my face... as I realized that even though bishops ARE HUMAN!! and even though I'M HUMAN!! I could feel close to God and feel cleansed by God.. and feel empowered by God... and feel protected by God.

and I totally felt welcomed by god to come visit him anytime... "
posted at 23:22:53 on January 27, 2011 by gracefull
Repentance and Worthiness    
"These are hard and frustrating topics for me. They're new to me and I don't feel like I get them. The idea of having someone else decide if I'm repentant and worthy is new too. I know I should probably just worry about doing what I need to and let those things take care of themselves, but when I'm struggling it doesn't help to feel like the temple is an unknown goal I'll never get to. I get to a point where I feel like if almost 8 months twice wasn't good enough, how the heck long enough is. I know my bishop is trying to help keep me from making covenants I'm not ready to keep, but then when I hear someone only needs 90 days to go on a mission and can slip on the mission and stay, it gets me worked up again (which I know it shouldn't).

I went to the temple yesterday. I put my son in the stroller and made a couple loops around the temple. It was nice, and a nice reminder of where I want to be."
posted at 01:16:38 on January 28, 2011 by dstanley
why talk to a bishop    
"the reason to talk to a bishop isnt to decide if you have repented, that is something that occures in your heart between you and God. bishops are there so that they can help get you on the track TO REPENTANCE. also, they are a judge of isreal, and when it is time to be at the judgement bar, they will be there to say, yes, he did that, but he went through ALL the steps of repentance that were required of him. (i hope i pharase this in a way as not to sound proud or offend anyone) maybe the reason why my time period before i can go to the temple is so short, is that the only covenents i have taken were at baptism. i doubt this makes you feel any better stanley, but is is more painful to know that you have broken sacred covenents or that you are currently not able to go inside the temple? again, i hope not to offend you stanley or anyone else, but these are my thoughts about that."
posted at 02:48:08 on January 28, 2011 by Anonymous
Talking to a Bishop    
"If it isn't his job to decide if I have repented then why is it up to him when I can go to the temple. I can't say that I feel like he's helping me repent. I feel like I'm on my own (and with some help here) to figure out the repentance process. I also have only taken baptismal covenants. The only time I've been in the temple was to do baptisms with the youth shortly after I was baptized into the church. There were things I did that were more serious, but those are over 2 years in the past. To be honest, it bothers me more that I can't go to the temple. Not to say that it doesn't bother me that I'm doing something I shouldn't be doing, but I do struggle with where masturbation fits in the spectrum of wrongness. BTW...I'm not offended anonymous.
posted at 12:36:39 on January 28, 2011 by dstanley
The Last Question    
"The last question in a temple recommend interview, and in my discipline hearing earlier this month, is "Do you feel you are worthy to attend the temple (be refellowshipped, etc.)?" When you have an interview you go through all the general questions and then you have to be introspective. While the Bishop is a judge, he is human.

When Katie left her first husband (long story-but he drove her away and it wasn't her fault) the Bishop she had took her recommend and said he would do so no matter what Katie's husband did to her. Before the divorce was final he finally came to see what a real jerk her ex was and was on her side. No other woman who went through what Katie went through had her recommend taken that we know of. This was back in a time period where it depended what priesthood authority I spoke to if mb was considered a no-no. I think that the General Authorities have been spending over a decade knocking it into local leaders heads how harmful it is. I think they saw how many marriages were ending throughout the church while a Bishop might only see one or two, and then might not even know if the problems were rooted in SA. I have discussed this with Katie and I think that at some training since then the man probably has smacked himself in the forehead as he realized what he did wrong with Katie.

I think that addiction to mb is a symptom of greater problems. For me, those were lust, selfishness, pride, and contention to name a few.Of course, for me mb was a gateway to more severe sins.

D. I hope that you can get at the root of the whys. I am glad that earlier in the thread you said you would try to set a date with the Bishop. When I turned myself in I presented a plan that I was going to do the 12 steps. Let your Bishop know that you are working on them. As part of my disfellowshipment there was a list of things I had to work on and do. Encourage your Bishop to help you set goals like daily scripture reading, prayer, FHE, attending church, monthly meetings with him that you set up, striving to mend relationships broken by your addiction. Write the goals down and when you meet with him let him know how you are doing on the goals. Time sober will obviously be a major component.

Repenting means turning to Christ and away from other things. Showing progress in whatever goals you set, including time sober, will help you and the Bishop see the change of heart you are having. If neither of you can see progress then you will be stuck in a holding pattern that will hold you back. That is why goals or measurements are so important.

I think all Bishops want to help, even if they make mistakes. My dad was released from being Branch President only 2 or 3 years ago and while he had received a copy of the AR manual he didn't know anything about the program. Let your Bishop know more about the program and your goals-especially the temple. I hope that together you can make a plan. Heck, I was so bad my poor Bishop sat down with me and the Stake President to get advice on whether to send me on up the ladder to be excommunicated. He wasn't sure by himself. He asked for help. I hope that I don't sound like I know all the answers. For all I know you have Katie's former Bishop and he hasn't learned a thing! I am actually hoping to come on here Sunday night or Monday and see that your Bishop and you set up a great plan! (You kept reading this far!?)"
posted at 13:48:39 on January 28, 2011 by hubster
Ah them Bishops    
"I know exactly how heavy that calling is.

They do have divine help when they ask and sometimes when they don't ask but there is a process and we need to trust them and their decision making.

For the record - No Bishop will haphazardly make a decision without a council.
Sure he will have the final say but that council is directed by the spirit incase the poor Bishop has had a rough day in the meeting.

Just trust him and the plan he sets out for you.

My Bishop did not know what hit him when I confessed. I was released from the same calling and moved into his ward to soon be called as his counselor. You can just imagine what he must have thought when I dropped the C-bomb.

Anyway he was the best bishop I have had and I love the guy so much for it.
Sure he has not been a perfect bishop to handle my complex family fallout but he was perfect in the way he handled my discipline.

Though I think I should have been excommunicated given the callings I held. At least got a disciplinary council at stake level - Thank heavens for grace and mercy.

D the Lord is in control and you will get through this."
posted at 14:47:50 on January 28, 2011 by ruggaexpat
"Well clearly there's a disconnect between my feeling worthy and my bishop thinking I am. I would have answered yes to that last question when I was on my second almost 8 month streak. I'm not even sure it would take me 90 days to say yes to it now. The lust part of it is gone, so I don't think it's a huge worthiness issue anymore.

I know that mb is a symptom of other problems. For me it is largely my inability to deal with my emotions and stresses constructively and my depression. It's how I deal with those things.

In the 3 or so years I've been dealing with this with my bishop we never really set goals. We've talked about scripture study and prayer, but nothing that isn't said to everybody. I like my bishop, I'm just frustrated with the way things are being handled and not knowing what he's expecting of me before I can go to the temple. It isn't so much that I don't trust him, I just feel totally in the dark.

I sent my bishop an email (that's mainly how we communicate). We'll see what happens."
posted at 16:11:22 on January 28, 2011 by dstanley
"Being disfellowshipped was a blessing. I think part of that blessing-besides having a leader say- Yes! This is serious- was having set goals. I can imagine the frustration of working though this with only an ambiguous end point! Hopefully your email will have the desired effect."
posted at 16:17:42 on January 28, 2011 by hubster
It Didn't    
"I told him I was irritated, didn't really care what anyone else thinks of where I'm at, and that I didn't want to meet with him right now (not that I could even if I did because I still don't have the number for the new secretary). I'm just going to do my own thing and work with my counselors (my addiction counselor is a member). I can't let my frustration with him and the process affect my recovery."
posted at 17:28:34 on January 28, 2011 by dstanley
"I'm sorry to hear that. Well, don't give up! Keep seeing your counselor. Hopefully things will work out in time."
posted at 17:51:59 on January 28, 2011 by hubster
Not Giving Up    
"I slipped this morning, but I'm feeling better about where I'm at than I have in a while. I'm working really hard at practicing not being too hard on myself. I prayed afterwards and I've been reading talks. I made a mistake, but I'm moving on. I know I'm committed to recovery. What my bishop thinks doesn't matter except for going to the temple. He doesn't know what's inside of me."
posted at 18:04:33 on January 28, 2011 by dstanley
"Katie and I both were just saying how much we admired your faith to try and work on this when you have a testimony of the church regardless of your feelings of where it falls "on the spectrum of wrongness." It takes a strong, good person to try so hard in the face of such odds. I know Katie joins me in commending your efforts. I am glad you are so committed to recovery. Will pray for you."
posted at 18:08:10 on January 28, 2011 by hubster
"I'm trying to do the right thing for me and for my kids. I'm not always sure how that lines up with the church stuff, but I don't want to let that stand in my way."
posted at 00:48:53 on January 29, 2011 by dstanley
Always an addict?    
"Kaybee, I like your question about if we're ever REALLY over our addictions, or if we'll always be a "recovering addict". That's a topic that I've thought about before. I'm just at the beginning of the recovery process, but I'd like to share my thoughts, if I may.

I like how Gracefull put it, that we are dual-natured. We're never standing still, but always moving in one direction or the other. So if we're not moving toward God, we're moving away; toward or away from our addictions. In a way, everyone is "recovering", because we're all in a fallen state, and trying to "recover" our life with God. Life is all about learning to move forward on the path, and when we fall off, just get back on and keep moving forward.

As Ruggaexpat mentioned, on your mission you're a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, not simply a recovering addict. But as others have said, you definitely want to become clean first, not just so you can go on your mission, but because the sooner you become clean the more the Lord will be able to work through you once you're on your mission. You can hit the ground running, as they say. ;)

Hope some of that makes sense. Best of luck!"
posted at 01:40:37 on January 29, 2011 by JustMe

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"Freedom from your transgression will come through sincere faith, true repentance, willing obedience, and the giving of self. Why the giving of self? Because selfishness is at the root of your problem. Where selfishness and transgression flourish, the Spirit of the Lord can’t enter your life to bless you. To succeed, you must conquer your selfishness. When your beacon is focused on self, it does little more than blind your vision. When turned outward through acts of kindness and love, it will light your path to happiness and peace. "

— Richard G. Scott

General Conference May 1990