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What's the Point of a Disciplinary Council?
By dstanley
6/6/2011 1:09:32 AM
I just have to say that I'm not sure I got anything out of the last one, and as I look at another one possibly, I'm not sure I see the point. I don't think there's anything that they can do that is going to impact my recovery. Not taking the sacrament hasn't and isn't helping my recovery. Maybe it provided some motivation at one time, but it clearly wasn't a big enough deterrent or I wouldn't have relapsed in the manner I did. Frankly, if I get disfellowshipped or ex'd I think it may do more harm than good. My second husband wasn't dis'd or ex'd and he'd been to the temple, was a major repeat offender, and was convicted of domestic violence on the woman he cheated on his wife with and was living with. About 4 months later he was called to be the Sunday School President. Maybe it has to do with only being a member for 4 years, but I just don't see the point.

Anybody have any feedback? Anybody feel like there's a point?

D

Comments:

DC    
"As I understand it the point is 1) Help the individual heal 2) protect the innocent and 3) protect the good name of the church.

I don't know, but I guess that one or more of these factors come into play with DC's, but it is probably to varying degrees and very, very individual. I bet your Bishop can help you better with this question than anyone. If it doesn't help now, then just keep reaching for the Lord. Everything happens in it's own time....which makes me think of your post about patience...maybe there is a connection here..."
posted at 08:40:29 on June 6, 2011 by maddy
DC    
"You can read my comments on my experience. I was told by many people that it would be a wonderful experience .. It wasnt. It felt more like a first step disclosure at group therapy. I was told afterwards that it was wonderful for them. I guess that means they chose the right path for me. I agree with Maddy. In my case, #1 and #2 were probably the deciding factors.

Reason #1 -- I have had so much shame in my acting out that I still worry that I haven't remembered it all to confess it. I logically know that I can get perfect forgiveness via the sacrament but deep down I struggle with feelings that Im unloveable and unworthy. Going through a period of non-membership followed by baptism will help my pysche heal and focus me on the recovery at hand. If I slip, I will give myself less shame as well. It's good all around. I like to imagine it's like a a do-over on a video game. I get to relearn my testimony. I get to learn to believe in Christ. I get to be baptized and start all over. All good.

Reason #2 -- I feel that I need to be excommunicated to give my wife the best chance to heal. she needed to see that that the church saw the damage I caused. I fell like she needs to be validated that she was innocent and was strong for staying with me.She has told me that she doesnt need me to be excommunicated to feel that justice was served but I think it speeds up the healing for her. This just shows how strong she really is.. Im amazed at her patience toward me.

Reason #3 didnt really apply to me since I isolated my acting out from everyone. No one at work, friends, spouse, family had a clue that I was acting out.

I kinda wish the church would have a couple of flavors of excommunication. I feel that Im actively working towards changing myself (true repentence). I think the nature of my sex addiction is very different than being excommunicated for rebellion or apostasy.

that being said, I dont feel shunned. I went to church like normal. I was happy. I got new home teachers. Im still being allowed and encouraged to serve on the scout committee and to organize this years high adventure -- as a dad and not as a leader. I do worry about someone saying something to my family or kids. Im sure that is unreasonable but its on my mind.

I hope you get the best outcome that serves your healing."
posted at 10:21:31 on June 6, 2011 by hurtallover
Hmmm...    
"I can't say that the last one helped me heal, there are no innocent to protect, and the church doesn't need protecting either. Maybe someday I will feel like it helped me heal. Maybe I'm worrying too much about this next one. This last relapse is so much better than all that happened before the last DC, so surely the outcome won't be worse. Maybe I'm minimizing, but I had sex. I'm not married and I've never been to the temple. Maybe it's just my addict talking, but I feel like a DC has more potential to harm than do good. Taking things away that help me isn't going to help me recover. I suppose that being able to take the Sacrament has at times been a motivation. I guess maybe I'll just have to be patient. :)

D"
posted at 00:10:27 on June 7, 2011 by dstanley
Taking the sacrament...    
"To me, being able to take the sacrament each week is huge. That is our part of the bargain. That is how we show the we are willing and recommit to actively fulfilling our part of the baptismal covenants. When you are unworthy to partake of the sacrament that fact alone says volumes about your condition in the covenant itself, that is, you are not in good standing before the Lord.

Maybe I am wrong here, someone correct me if I'm off, but I have always felt that removing your ability to take the sacrament removes the promise of the blessings contained there in.

Without regularly confirming your willingness to take upon yourself the name of Christ, what do you have to show for your commitment to Him? How is He to know that you are committed? If He were to come today and ask if you are and have been willing to keep His commandments as you have covenanted to do how could you possibly say yes?

Same goes for the Holy Ghost. Can we expect the companionship of the Holy Ghost when we are not actively renewing the very covenants that promise His support and blessing? When we are not worthy to take the sacrament we deny ourselves the support of the Holy Ghost, or at least force ourselves to put in a much greater effort to invite Him into our lives. If we still do not make that greater effort, we are left more to ourselves.

I take comfort in taking the sacrament now. When I was unable to do so, it truly hurt knowing I was not where I promised Christ himself I would be. If missing out on the sacrament does not provide any motivation to you, maybe that is a subject you should focus on in your studies. It is a serious matter and one that should be better understood.

I'm grateful for you D. You humility and willingness to come back and still try to motivate others even when you are down has been a blessing to me. I hope you can find the understanding and motivation that the gospel can provide."
posted at 10:40:24 on June 7, 2011 by paul
Paul    
"That's exactly why I think that for someone who is trying, being disfellowhipped or ex'd could do more harm than good. It's not that the Sacrament doesn't provide motivation, I worked hard to be able to take the Sacrament again after I lost the ability initially, but there's much more to overcoming addiction than motivation. I have plenty of things to motivate me. My kids, the temple, a patriarchal blessing, dating again, and the fact that my addiction will literally kill me if I continue. Until I solve the underlying issues, and until I learn to trust God, I'm going to struggle. Wouldn't I be better able to do those things with the Sacrament? I will admit that I'm not sure I have a testimony that taking the Sacrament helps. Plus I realized that I'm bitter about it because my second ex comitted adultery, lived with a woman, was convicted of assaulting her, and less than 6 months later was the ward Sunday School President."
posted at 12:15:27 on June 7, 2011 by dstanley
I better understand what you mean now...    
"I'm sure I misunderstood what you meant the first time I read your post. Sorry about that.

That being said, I will stand by my post but replace the word motivation with humility. I understand as well as anyone that addiction is not conquered by motivation. It is given away through humility. A realization that we're not in good standing in our covenants should humble us. That humility allows us to sacrifice or do anything and everything that is necessary to improve our situation. Being denied the opportunity to take the sacrament and in more extreme cases, going through a disciplinary council should humble you, hopefully to the point that you are willing to seek repentance above all else.

We also cannot forget 1 Corinthians 11:29. If we are unworthy to partake of sacrament and do so anyway, we are just digging a deeper pit for ourselves.

Unrelated to that. You should not worry about what your Ex seemingly got away with or didn't have to go through. Maybe he lied to the bishop. Maybe his bishop had is own problems and couldn't help him effectively. If his sins warranted a DC or excommunication and it was never given to him then that will one day be sorted out with whoever dropped the ball. Either way, it has no impact or bearing on where you personally stand before the Lord. You know you can be better and you are seeking for just that. You alone know your standing and your Heavenly Father alone knows your potential. Don't worry about missionaries acting out on missions, they'll have to answer for the lives they might have helped had they been clean. Don't worry about your Ex, he'll have to answer for his sins when the time comes. All you can worry about is where you yourself are and where you're going.

To me, that is the purpose of a DC or being denied the sacrament. If either of those happens, we know without a doubt that something HAS to change, or we will lose our exaltation. And when those blessings are restored, when we have the spirit with us again... at least for me, I finally understood why the Holy Ghost is called the comforter."
posted at 12:58:40 on June 7, 2011 by paul
Don't Get It    
"So then I just don't get it. I don't feel like I need someone else to tell me I screwed up. I figured that out all on my own. I guess some of it comes from not growing up in the church and not being used to having someone else decide if I'm worthy. I come from a background of asking God for forgiveness and being forgiven. I don't think God is holding on to my mistake, so why should the church? I've moved on. If they're going to do a DC, then they should do it sooner. I want to do everything I need to do to recover. I may not totally be there yet, but that's part of why I have a counselor. Maybe it would be different if I had a bishop I felt understood addiction. I don't know. I'm not trying to be confrontational, I just don't get it."
posted at 13:58:49 on June 7, 2011 by dstanley
Sister D    
"It is as simple as boundaries. The Lord has boundaries set for behavior in His Church. Partaking of the sacrament unworthily will bring damnation not blessings to you. The Priesthood is commanded to not let anyone unworthily partake of sacred covenants. Do a scripture study on that topic and you will receive your answers from the Lord himself. If you believe the scriptures to be the word of God. Being an addict does not excuse you from the consequences of your acting out behavior.

Being humble and having a contrite heart is what the Lord requires. Honoring your covenants and harkening to His voice. The only way we can hear his voice is through the Scriptures, His Prophets, and those chosen to be His mouth piece. Your Bishop!

Love to you D "
posted at 14:12:24 on June 7, 2011 by Hero
I don't get it either    
"Maybe some of my experience can help you. Your experience will be your own so take what you will.

Back in January I told my wife everything and as a result talked to the bishop so she would have the support she needed. At the time I told the bishop was it not for her I would not be there for I believed confession held no weight in helping me recover. For some time I had felt that a third of the 3 fold mission of the church (perfecting the saints) was a farce. Or at least the stereotypical systems and prescriptions they had in place to bring that about. For I felt I had worked and tried those systems and prescriptions, from confessing to the priesthood to reading more scripture to getting priesthood blessing, for over fifteen years - half my life, to no avail; no repentance; no healing. Madness.

The irony of my, what could be construed as negative, belief is that, having accepted it, it actually helped my attitude. Because I accepted the belief that the church could not help me either way in my addiction, which was the focus of the matter, I was comfortable and affable about what ever course was taken concerning my membership etc. That did not mean I didn't feel the Spirit when I served in the church or took the sacrament or met with the bishop. But since I felt that had nothing to do with my current state of affairs I chose to compartmentalize and focus on the issue at hand. My addiction and the ramifications. Which again, in my opinion, church function and my place in it had little influence over so why worry about it? My thinking was as I took care of the addiction the church and my membership in it would take care of itself. Not the other way around.

I didn't realize how much this feeling/belief (true or not) helped me in my approach until 2 weeks or so ago.

About 2 months ago my stake was split. Great news for a dude like me right smack dab in the middle of the confession/disciplinary council process. Yup, great freakin news... :/ Up to that point I had been working one on one with my stake president. The future of the course was semi ambiguous and at the time for the time the only thing laid out was meeting every couple of weeks and talking about scriptures and such. It was understood that eventually a disciplinary counsel would be held. I felt heard and was able to listen and challenge and be challenged. Over all it became a great experience.

Then 2 weeks ago I meet with my new bishop. Hell of guy. Hell of guy. But unfortunately for both of us I went unprepared. I thought "meh, i've already confessed everything so just go in there fill the in the blanks and see what happens." But I had forgotten where I came from. Where I was. And I wasn't focused. In short as the meeting went on I found myself getting more and more frustrated and down. Felt like the ol devil was right in that room filling me with all kinds of darkness. I couldn't tell why. At length and after weighing my experiences against each other I concluded or realized it was because the meeting in my mind digressed back to the age old Mormon adages like "read ponder pray" "the church is here to help" and presto you'll be a good upstanding gentleman again *fingers crossed*. Believing in my heart that those things, help me feel the Spirit as they may, do not in and of themselves help me stay sober, which again is the real issue. And where as prior I had accepted and was cool with that understanding, believing church convention could do little about my sobriety in any lasting fashion and in turn about my membership, in this meeting I felt I once again found myself being reeled back into the belief that the church could help and resenting God and the church for feeling in my heart that "all that" (being an active "good" mormon) isn't enough to keep me sober...to perfect this saint.

I think part of my other frustration was as I get into the nitty gritty of church discipline, which was more the focus of this last meeting, is it hinges in part on future projections. And as all addicts well know we can give you 24 hours sometimes 24 seconds and when a priesthood leader or anyone else want's you to go beyond, when you have a life time of proof that going beyond is damaging, it can be insidiously frustrating. Frankly my experience is that talks of discipline and re-fellowship etc. are all based on credit - faith in a future founded on the past...a future an addict just can't project too and a past an addict just can't trust. At least not this addict. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof and if the judges in Israel can decide where I stand based on the day then we have a deal :) I think if I stand firm in this philosophy my next meeting with the bishop will go a lot better.

In-spite of all that I believe Joseph Smith saw The Father and Jesus Christ. I believe that the priesthood was restored by John the baptist and others. I believe the Christ does lead the church and I believe with President Uchtdorf that it is on course. I believe that that transcends over through my local leaders and have witnessed for myself that they are lead by God and doing His work even when they themselves may be unaware of it and even when it all seems like petty nuance to me. I know that the Spirit of God testifies that these things are true and I have hope that if God want's me to participate in His kingdom he will lead beside the still waters and green pastures giving me the knowledge necessary to do so, if I will.

Good luck D-ude :)"
posted at 16:59:28 on June 7, 2011 by They speak
D    
"I get it. Your feelings are completely valid! There does seem to be a double-standard in the workings of local church governance sometimes. And I think all these trite answers only help to alienate someone who is already struggling with having a testimony.
You are still new to the church. I just want you to know that if you are not comfortable with the DC you don't have to go through with it. This particular DC was probably called for the purpose of helping you heal and if it is having the opposite effect you should let your bishop know. Bishops and stake leaders are human beings like the rest of us and even though nobody likes to admit it, they make mistakes. Also, sometimes their decisions may LOOK like mistakes to onlookers when they are actually the right decision. Take your exe's situation, perhaps NOT excommunicating him was the harsher punishment. Being called as the Sunday School President isn't a reward. Quite the opposite! It can be torture to attempt a priesthood calling while still in one's guilt. It is normal for new members to see callings as some kind of achievement when in actuality they are tests and trials.

Rejoice in wherever you may be in your faith and testimony. Maybe all you know for sure right now is that Jesus is real. That is a start. Don't let the peripheral things get in the way of you having a personal relationship with Him everyday. It is completely normal for doubts to creep in after being baptized-especially when a new convert is knee-deep in the hard task of bringing their lifestyle into alignment with church standards. It is not a quick process. It doesn't surprise me that you had sex again. Sometimes it is "three steps forward, two steps back..." but your overall direction is still "up" Try not to expect so much of yourself so fast. It took me a good 5 years to permanently be rid of things that the church frowns on. The whole time I felt like such a loser because I was comparing myself to everyone around me. You and I weren't raised in the church so I think the Lord gives us time to work on getting our lifestyle in line with church standards. You were lonely and life was falling on top of you. I get it. The trick is to find other ways to fill that lonelieness, whether it be recovery, service work, a new friendship. We are social creatures. We need intimate social contact. But it doesn't have to be sexual anymore. When we neglect our social needs the dam tends to bust and catch us in a week moment and the next thing we know, we are wondering who's bed we woke up in.

I don't condone people trying to make you feel guiltier. Don't let them. When it comes down to it, it is between us and the Man upstairs-and no one else. We're allowed to get angry. We're allowed to have doubts. We're allowed to judge ourselves and others around us. We're allowed to make mistakes. But it is important to keep the lines of communication open with the only One who truly knows us. Keep up the good work, D. YES, YOU ARE DOING PRETTY GOOD!!! I know it doesn't feel like it but remember, "Feelings AREN"T facts.""
posted at 17:18:54 on June 7, 2011 by Anonymous
Thanks    
"@Hero - I get the boundaries, and my intent is not to take the sacrament unworthily, I'm just not sure I get why someone else gets to decide that for me, and I definitely don't think it should be a year or more. I don't expect that being an addict would excuse me, but I think that there definitely should be different consequences based on the situation. I'm actively working to recover which is different than someone in denial. I have no choice but to go along with whatever my bishop believes (unless I want to leave the church), but I don't totally agree or like it. I'm not sure what topic you're suggesting a scripture study on.

@They Speak - It is nice to know I'm not the only one who doesn't get it. I don't know if I can be as honest with my bishop as you were, although I probably need to. I don't believe that the church is going to help me with my addiction. I think spirituality is part of my recovery, but I don't think that it is the cure all, or that church discipline is somehow going to change my recovery (at least not in a good way).

@Anon - Also, it is great to know I'm not alone. Your right. Telling me that praying and studying more is the key to my recovery just pisses me off and makes me question what I'm doing in this church. Do I really have a choice about the DC? I thought you only had a choice about rather or not you show up and that not showing up just makes it worse. I'm giving a lot of thought to letting my bishop know how I'm feeling. I personally think that part of my ex's situation had to do with the fact that his dad was his bishop. You're right about neglecting our social needs. I'm not a real big social person, and being an unemployed single mom with a new baby doesn't help. It's getting better, but it definitely contributed to the relapse. I really just wanted someone to talk to and hold me and be close to. I want to do the right things, I just don't think that losing being able to take the sacrament will help. I don't need anyone else to tell me that I screwed up. I don't need anyone else to tell me when I've repented enough. I made a mistake. I did something that doesn't align with my values, but God forgives me, and I'm still a good person. Not being able to take the sacrament feels like somebody rubbing my mistake in my face every week, which makes me feel not good enough, which is something that is likely to cause more slipping/relapses."
posted at 00:08:01 on June 8, 2011 by dstanley
an unconvential approach    
"GIVE UP! who cares... surrender... just totally let go of the church.. let go of all the judgements they send your way.. the looks, the disciplinary counsel... just let it all go.
go ahead... I dare you... leave the church... stop letting them guilt you,shame you,etc...

I grew up in the church... and a few years ago I got so mad about the sacrament thing (should I take, should I not because I looked at porn on tuesday).. that I left the church for a time.... I just gave up the guilt/the shame and went to other churches... thinking that would be the answer. as I went to other churches I found some good things... but I didn't find the concentrated truth the LDS church has. One of the great things however (as a lifelong mormon) was that at an evangelical church I did find unconditiional love... I would stand and sing the simple songs they had.. and my heart would break... knowing that I truly did love god and want to serve him... through that experience it helped me see that I was a good person (not an unworthy, untouchable the church had made me feel like) In the evangelical church, I was just a sinner like everyone else professed to be.. and in that place I was able to worship god and give him all the glory in the world... and it made we want to change.. and made we want to try.

the funny thing was that everything the minister would say.. was said better in the Book of Mormon. The challenge I have had (I guess) was that these passages in the Book of Mormon were not shared ever in my worship services at the LDS Church and I never really seemed to ever be able to get into my HEART at the LDS church.. just always thinking and feeling shame.

So... I guess what I'm trying to say.. is that I had to GIVE UP.. before I really GOT God's grace (the ability to not look at porn/mb and act out)

After all is said an done... your walk on this earth is only between you and heavenly Father/Jesus Christ/holy ghost.... somehow I believe Jesus wlll meet us one by one... and will be our advocate.

While you have sacrificed so much already.... I believe all that Heavenly Father/Jesus Christ want is for you to give YOU (not saying you haven't) but for me... I thought I had... but I reallized there were still some rooms in my house.. I did not allow them to access... (pride stuff)

I know for sure that as you take the biggest risk of your life.. and really trust ALL of GOD... and honestly invite him into every room of your house to do whatever he will... that he will come through for you. he really will... but he has to be at the absolute center of your life.. In my life it feels like a marriage of sorts... (wierd way to put it I guess) but basically.. that I make room for him, I sacrifice for him, I listen to him, I serve him, etc.. etc..

P.S.
I totally agree with you on the Sacrament.. I feel like we shame people all the time with this really wierd concept of unworthiness. It doesn't seem fair to many 'gospel lawyers/accountants' that someone could get such a great deal as forgiveness/grace... It doesn't make any sense.. but that is what makes God so worthy of praise. He has the ability to unconditionally love... and he ALWAYS is ready to help us.. whenever we are ready to turn our lives over to God...

some other points that I think bolster my case that sacrament should be given to all humble followers of Christ.
-Ressurection is a free gift to all who live on this earth, sacrament symbolizes the ressurection
-the blessing on the bread says WILLING (not I WILL)
-the baptism covenant, as I understand, is to bear others burdens (not be perfect)
-the temple questions DO NOT APPLY to the SACRAMENT - they apply to the TEMPLE.
-as long as you honestly can say the prayer.. why can't you take the sacrament?
-you don't need to go to the temple to get to the celestial kingdom, only take the sacrament
-we allow people to get baptized who had sex out of wedlock weeks before their baptism.. as long as they get married.. no penalty there
-the atonement is about Grace - the ennabling power...shouldn't the sacrament be about accessing grace... not just analyzing your past week for how bad you were
King Benjamin and Alma the younger said that we need to acknowledge our unworthiness.isn't a part of remembering God.. and taking his name upon you.. a way of acknowledging that we are all unworthy/all beggars...

It would be fun to see how many could take of the sacrament if SUGAR Was classified as an addiction... and anyone who acted out could not take of the sacrament for 1 week...

ahh mormonism.... we need more mormon comics... we're so hard on ourselves."
posted at 02:05:37 on June 8, 2011 by Anonymous
Anon2 and anon1 before    
"Anon2 I have lived with an addict mind for most of my life and I will tell you that I know how to justify principles and compromise on many truths. I am sure you are trying to help out here but your advice has the philosophies of men mingled with scripture.

Quoting the book of mormon is great and using it in your case to allow all immoral sinners misses the point in one simple way.

It was the savior himself that told his disciples to not allow any unclean or unworthy individual to partake of the sacrament. That's it, case closed. If we are unworthy and I know I know when I am unworthy, it is a no go, no justifications.

On the willing issue, it says willing to take upon them the name of thy son but then the next verse AND ALWAYS REMEMBER HIM.

I do not recall him anywhere near my thoughts and heart in front of the filth.

I will not go into all the others because I have little time but what we need is Christs approach not any unconventional one.

Anon1 I like a lot of what you said and it is important to share feelings with church leaders. I want to say that the DC is not an event of men, it is a meeting with the Lord and his judges. No final decision is ever a mistake (it cannot be with a council of 15 priesthood holders). The Lord makes the decision and lets the Judge know that will very clearly.

D go and talk about your fears and feelings, turn to the Lord and he will comfort you.
Go with a humble heart and llet the Lord decide your consequences"
posted at 09:48:24 on June 8, 2011 by ruggaexpat
Loss of ordinances or the things we need    
"This post both makes me think and makes my heart cringe.

This is what it comes down for me, faith. To take it down to it's simplest components this is how I relate: The Lord asks me to go through things that I do not feel are particularly helpful. The Lord has asked me to sacrifice things that I needed...not wanted...needed. He has torn things from my life that could have sustained me in my hours of deepest pain.

I don't know why He has done that to me. It is painful enough to have things that are sinful ripped from my soul, but He chooses, in His infinite wisdom, to rip things that are good out as well. With all that said and as confusing as it may be to me, this is what I do know: When I trust in Him, I find true joy through that journey.

We can compare ourselves forever to who had more of a disciplinary action or less and it will never get us anywhere. We should not speculate. We can see that men, even and especially Bishops or Priesthood leaders make profound mistakes sometimes, but looking in that direction will not get us anywhere either.

I have found in my life that the real question is never, "Is this what is best for me?" it is "Who will I turn to?". The question is not if being disallowed from taking the sacrament is best for you. If your focus is there, you will never find peace. It may not be best for you. That is not the point. It may be best for you and you don't see it. That is not the point either. The point is to whom will you turn in your pain? It doesn't matter if the pain comes from your own choices and mistakes or someone else's choices and mistakes. If you have faith in Christ, then this experience will bring you closer to Him.

As to whether the ‘church’ can help you heal from your addiction…If there is anything I have learned in my years of dealing with addiction and especially over the past few months in particular is that you cannot expect to find all the support you need in one place. That is not God's plan. He meant for us to find healing through variety so that more than one witness will attest to His power. For me I have found I need, a good therapist, a spiritual priesthood leader, family support, a sponsor( or two of three or ten,) a 12 step support group, and church attendance. If you take one of those away then a critical pillar of mine starts to crumble. Interestingly that is exactly what is happening to me right now, and like you in this post about not taking the sacrament, I am questioning the purpose, and why God would do this to me. But I am trying to have faith that He has something for me to learn. If I think the church alone can heal me from my issues, then I am wrong….BUT….if you or I think for one instant that we can do it without it, then we are even more wrong.

He could heal me today if He chose to. But He doesn't choose to. He asks me to suffer. I am trying to bow my head and bend my knee to His will with faith knowing that he will make my burden light…eventually.

What I am trying to say is that for some reason we accept trials that come from a 'negative' source much easier than the trials that come from a 'positive' one. When our enemies hurt us we find it simpler to turn to God, but when the blow comes from a friend it is much more difficult. I hear bitterness in some of these posts towards the pain that comes from what should be a place of comfort…church, Bishops, the church ordinances…and boy do I understand that. But eventually, I’ve always had to learn that going down that road will never bring me comfort.

I have to put this into different terms to give a painful example in my own life. As a loved one of an addict, the ordinance of my sealing falls into question. The blessing of that ordinance takes two and due to no fault of my own, my ordinance may become null and void. Why God? Why would you take that from me? Why would you make a plan, a gospel that removes blessings from people? Is that what is best for me? NO!!!!!!!!! No, it was never best for me to lose that. But it happened none the less. Did it heal my broken heart? No. Quite the opposite. Did it help me? No. But here I am. And looking at how much it has hurt me, only hurts me more. So I will look to Him instead.

Many here have ‘lost’ the blessing of ordinances too, but please do not let it pull you down or make you question. I’ve done that. It wont work. “The Lord giveth, the Lord taketh away.” My only job is to submit to the will of the Lord. He will bring me peace and joy. And I pray that I will learn to praise Him as I go through the sacrifices He has called me to endure. Even when he asks me to sacrifice something wonderful and good, that I need."
posted at 09:54:32 on June 8, 2011 by maddy
Wow Maddy    
"That was really cool to read.
Thanks"
posted at 10:01:13 on June 8, 2011 by ruggaexpat
Thank you Maddy    
"D. If anything I said felt like I was trying to make you feel guilty then I sincerely apologize. That was not my intent. Similar questions have been on my mind lately and those are the thoughts and conclusions I have come to.

Maddy, That was an excellent post."
posted at 12:23:30 on June 8, 2011 by paul
Hmm    
"I'm gonna play the anon's advocate here and say I liked what he had to say. I only read it twice but I just saw scripture mingled with scripture.? Also I didn't get the impression he said leave the church because it's a hilarious laughable hypocrisy bringing woe and shame upon the heads of all those who participate. I felt he was saying leave the church because it's true and if that will help you gain a healthier relationship with yourself and in turn the church and proceed within it in stronger faith...then do it! I can dig that. An unconventional approach may be Christ's approach. Who are we to say? Just what ever you do D trust in God and pray that he guides you in your imperfection. Which I know you will.

And I've got to say Rugg, and you know I respect you, by your standard President Monson shouldn't be taken the sacrament. Am I wrong?

Oh and p.s. 3 cheers for Maddy just bein kick ass! I think I spy an LDSAR Rookie of the year. Again, am I wrong? Go you Maddy. Go you :)"
posted at 14:37:25 on June 8, 2011 by they speak
bishops still getting educated...    
"The new handbook for bishops discourages them for initiating discipline for porn addicts. That said, most bishops still need education about our problem. A wise bishop will tell you that the sacrament is a vital part of your weekly objectives to recommitt yourself. I never saw much sense in restricting people from something that has the ability to remind you of your covenants and focus on the atonement. We are on the front lines of the battle. Spend the fifteen bucks and buy your good bishop a copy of Don Hilton's book. It will change the way he thinks about you and deals with you.
Chefdalet- current Bishoo"
posted at 22:59:38 on June 8, 2011 by chefdalet
i think you missed the point of the DC    
"The point of the DC is primarily to protect the sinner from further distancing themselves from the Lord. Each time we sin we distance ourselves that little bit more, condemn ourselves that little bit more, and we sin against the covenants we have made a little bit more. By removing the blessing of taking the sacrament we are limited in doing more damage to ourselves. In that humble state of pain as we find ourselves cut off from somethings we need we should be able to turn from the sin and turn back to the Lord. It's just a way of saving us from adding more fuel to the fire.

I have been ex'd twice, I am working on coming back. It is tough. I wish I had taken the opportunity the first time to fix the things that I had broken in myself and my life. Take the opportunity you have been given and stop worrying about everybody else as you seek to justify your sins. Trust me it will only hurt more and the truth is you will never be able to justify your sins."
posted at 17:04:55 on June 9, 2011 by Anonymous
sorry me again    
"Can someone comb through D's comments and tell me where she actually justifies her sins? I see an invitation to justify the consequences. Which frankly I haven't seen anyone here do very well and if anything only her bishop can do or even better the Spirit can do. I don't think calling her out for something that she's given us little reason to conjecture she's doing is going to help. I think, especially given what she's seen as a new member, that she is very...justified...in asking for reason."
posted at 19:12:20 on June 9, 2011 by They speak
DC you will do fine.. have faith that the Lord is on your side    
"I know it's a scary thing for you. It was for me. The Lord wants the very best for you. He knows you and your bishop. Have faith that the process works. Go in with a broken heart and a contrite spirit and all will be well regardless of the outcome. It's such a small amount of time compared to even this mortal life. I am rooting for you."
posted at 21:50:08 on June 9, 2011 by Hurtallover
yeah    
"So this is my first comment on anyones post. But here goes. I have been put on restriction from sacrament a few weeks ago. Since then ive gotten worse. For me sacrament was not only a spiritual renewal but a metal one. It was a constant reminder of why i need to work on this. It reminded me of my goals for the temple therefore it pushed me.
now i feel like i have nothing. I dont pray anymore. I dont read scripture.
The restriction pushed me away rather than pulled me closer. But like i said in my previous post.... im not wired right"
posted at 22:31:06 on June 9, 2011 by taintedlove
Thanks All    
"I'm not trying to justify my actions. I had sex, it was wrong. I understand how I got to that point and I'm trying to fix those things (do the things I was neglecting and work on the emotions). I just don't get how not taking the Sacrament is going to help (especially if it's for a year or more). I didn't take it for about 3 years while I was in the worst of my acting out. I was anxious to take it again, but I'm not sure that I feel like it helped. I did send my bishop an email kind of letting him know how I'm feeling about things. He hasn't replied back yet. I worry a little that it will just make the outcome of a DC worse. I'm trying to have faith in the process, but I'm not sure I'm there yet. I guess I'm just scared that I'm going to get disfellowshipped or excommunicated. I don't know if I can deal with either. Especially because I just got put on probation before and I'd done more and worse, but since I'm still not off probation, so I don't know why he would call another DC if he's not contemplating disfellowshipment or excommunication. I fear that without the hope of the temple or at least my patriarchal blessing I have nothing to work for. I already feel like those things may be too far out there. I need all the help I can get to get through this. I don't know that I'm totally sure that taking the sacrament helps me, but I know it's supposed to, so it just seems like the battle is going to be all that much harder without it. I'm trying to keep praying and studying the scriptures, but I feel like this issue is hurting my spirituality all the way around, which is not helping me overcome my addiction. Hopefully it will work out.

TaintedLove - You are wired just fine. I totally get what you are saying. Don't sell yourself short. Your addiction does make you any less of a person.

D"
posted at 00:53:29 on June 10, 2011 by dstanley
Thank you, chefdalet,    
"That was a good point.

I don't agree with rugga's believing that a group of priesthood holders can't make a mistake. In my experience, it is naive to think they are above making uninformed decisions. They don't intend to do this but it happens. We are just now learning how to properly deal with addiction. That being said, I DO believe Heavenly Father compensates for any mistakes that are made by His servants. Our history has proven that many leaders "decided" their way right into apostasy and took groups of people with them. I don't believe we must have blind faith in our leaders. Those communes of fundamentalist mormons are full of people who blindly follow some pretty odd ducks.

D- When a bishop suggests you not take the sacrament he is probably hoping that it will move you along in your repentence. It is a consequence-no doubt-(I couldn't take the sacrament for years because of tobacco), but it is really meant to be a way of assisting you in the repentence process. Sort of like..."I really miss being able to renew my covenants, maybe I should get this repentence over with so I'll feel better."
Doctrinally, as far as the "damnation to your soul" That is some strong imagery for what amounts to a very graceful principle. Damnation is nothing less than, "an acute awareness of ones sinful state." It could be argued that if one takes the sacrament unworthily he or she will experience the torment of a damned soul... which will move them towards repentence. What addict isn't very familiar with that feeling already? What addict HASN'T taken the sacrament unworthily???

The first sacrament prayer we promise to take Christ's name upon us and keep His commandments. A tall order...even for a mere seven days. So we have the second prayer which reminds us of the Blood which was shed for us BECAUSE we will INEVITABLY FAIL at keeping all of His commandments during the week. It is impossible to live a sin-free week.

Sometimes when we are struggling with more serious sins the consequences are more "official" but if we are not yet sorry for what we've done or are not sure that we are done doing the behavior, than we wouldn't feel comfortable taking the sacrament anyway. If we are truly penitent and are pretty sure we're ready to forsake the sin I don't see why we wouldn't be "allowed" to take the sacrament. It is NOT supposed to be punishment. That is why it worried me a little when D felt like she was being punished.

Either way, I hope you were able to tell your bishop how you were feeling, D. It is hard being an addict. Many will disagree but our recovery must come first. Yes, before church. Because without recovery, there is no church for us.

Disclaimer: These are just one persons opinion."
posted at 00:57:21 on June 10, 2011 by Anonymous
D. "Topical guide"    
"D. Go to your Topical Guide in your Scriptures. (Sacrament). You will find your answers!"
posted at 03:03:04 on June 10, 2011 by Hero
Thank you, chefdalet,    
"That was a good point.

I don't agree with rugga's believing that a group of priesthood holders can't make a mistake. In my experience, it is naive to think they are above making uninformed decisions. They don't intend to do this but it happens. We are just now learning how to properly deal with addiction. That being said, I DO believe Heavenly Father compensates for any mistakes that are made by His servants. Our history has proven that many leaders "decided" their way right into apostasy and took groups of people with them. I don't believe we must have blind faith in our leaders. Those communes of fundamentalist mormons are full of people who blindly follow some pretty odd ducks.

D- When a bishop suggests you not take the sacrament he is probably hoping that it will move you along in your repentence. It is a consequence-no doubt-(I couldn't take the sacrament for years because of tobacco), but it is really meant to be a way of assisting you in the repentence process. Sort of like..."I really miss being able to renew my covenants, maybe I should get this repentence over with so I'll feel better."
Doctrinally, as far as the "damnation to your soul" That is some strong imagery for what amounts to a very graceful principle. Damnation is nothing less than, "an acute awareness of ones sinful state." It could be argued that if one takes the sacrament unworthily he or she will experience the torment of a damned soul... which will move them towards repentence. What addict isn't very familiar with that feeling already? What addict HASN'T taken the sacrament unworthily???

The first sacrament prayer we promise to take Christ's name upon us and keep His commandments. A tall order...even for a mere seven days. So we have the second prayer which reminds us of the Blood which was shed for us BECAUSE we will INEVITABLY FAIL at keeping all of His commandments during the week. It is impossible to live a sin-free week.

Sometimes when we are struggling with more serious sins the consequences are more "official" but if we are not yet sorry for what we've done or are not sure that we are done doing the behavior, than we wouldn't feel comfortable taking the sacrament anyway. If we are truly penitent and are pretty sure we're ready to forsake the sin I don't see why we wouldn't be "allowed" to take the sacrament. It is NOT supposed to be punishment. That is why it worried me a little when D felt like she was being punished.

Either way, I hope you were able to tell your bishop how you were feeling, D. It is hard being an addict. Many will disagree but our recovery must come first. Yes, before church. Because without recovery, there is no church for us.

Disclaimer: These are just one persons opinion."
posted at 06:07:17 on June 10, 2011 by Anonymous
Chefdalet, Hero and Anonymous    
"Chefdalet - I'm not sure I have the guts to buy my bishop the book, although maybe I'll get it and read it and see if that changes.

Hero - Thanks. I'll work through those scriptures as I do my scripture studying.

Anonymous - I agree that mistakes can be made, especially when the facts are not all out in the open. My ex went on a mission after molesting 4 children and has since served in Nursery. Sometimes I get the feeling I'm missing some understanding of the repentance process because I don't get your statement that "I really miss being able to renew my covenants, maybe I should get this repentence over with so I'll feel better." I don't get the idea of repentance being some long drawn out process. I'm not sure I've ever felt like I've taken the sacrament unworthily. At the time I've taken it, I've been serious about doing better and not acting out again. Just because I have slipped doesn't mean I wasn't worthy at the time (in my opinion). I agree, no one can live a sin-free week and I'm no different, so why would I not take it. I'm sorry for my behavior. I'm as sure as I can be that I'm not going to do it again (of course as an addict I can tend to be wrong about that often). I just don't feel like my bishop can judge better than I can if I'm ready to forsake, and again, as an addict I can't promise never, I can only promise one day at a time (or sometimes on hour or minute). I have now told my bishop how I'm feeling, and he wants to meet to discuss his response (which scares the crap out of me)."
posted at 00:04:51 on June 12, 2011 by dstanley
Fath and Fear cannot co-exist!    
"Dear Sister "D".

Have Faith!

Prayers and Love,"
posted at 14:31:01 on June 13, 2011 by hero
Reading About the Sacrament    
"I read the scriptures from the topical guide under Sacrament. I can't say I found them totally helpful, but I wasn't in a great mood either. I did read something on the church website today that I thought was interesting.

"As long as we are trying to improve and be a better disciple of Jesus Christ, we are worthy to take the sacrament.

On the other hand, committing certain serious sins may disqualify us from taking the sacrament, particularly if we are not trying to repent of them. If we are willfully sinning without any inclination to repent, then we should probably refrain from taking the emblems of the sacrament when the bread and water are passed to us." (http://lds.org/liahona/1999/04/questions-and-answers?lang=eng&query=worthiness+take+sacrament) />
To me that sounds like if we're trying to do better (to recover from our addiction) then we should take the sacrament. I don't get why the seriousness of the sin is so relevant. I'm trying. Clearly I didn't do as well as I wanted because I had sex again, but it's been almost 3 weeks now and I haven't had sex since (although I have had slips with mb). It just seems to me that it should be more about the attitude and desire than the sin."
Hero    
"I'm a little bit short on faith right now. This whole question about disciplinary councils has drained it. I'm not sure how to get it back. I'm really struggling with prayer and scripture study, which has led to several slips."
posted at 01:06:36 on June 14, 2011 by dstanley
when is the DC?    
"be humble. have faith. it will all work out for the best. that's what faith is."
posted at 06:46:37 on June 14, 2011 by Anonymous
Don't Know When    
"The DC hasn't been scheduled yet. Knowing my bishop, he probably won't until we've talked about my feelings about it He'll want to make sure that having it won't send me into a spiral. That's what he did before."
posted at 08:51:56 on June 14, 2011 by dstanley
I think your bishop is doing the right thing    
"I think it shows that he is using the DC as a tool to help you and not as punishment. I agree with anonymous. Humble yourself that the Lord loves you and wants you to succeed. The DC will be a tool to your advantange. "
posted at 11:01:04 on June 14, 2011 by Hurtallover
Geez, Alot of useless advice.    
""Be humble, and have faith" to someone who is struggling with faith is like saying "You're doing it wrong. There's something wrong with you." You might as well say, "All you need to do is be nine feet tall."

How about some practical advice or don't give any at all. We "act" our way into faith. We doni't magically conjure it up by thinking real hard. D, it is normal for an addict to feel exaxtly how you feel right now-overwhelmed. Church principles are a tall order. If you make recovery and the small daily actions you need to do a priority, faith will come. At different times we are better at keeping up with our recovery than others. The challenge is to not get discouraged during the low points. You have a lot on your plate. I know you are doing your best right now. Heavenly Father knows you struggle with depression on top of being a single mom and trying to get your lifestyle in alignment with church principles. I like how you know that He is very graceful with your situation. I like that you know that you've already been forgiven for your last slip. I believe that, too.

A lot of the stock answers just don't work with us. It's annoying when everyone is telling you to do this or that. The underlying message is that you are doing it all wrong. Baloney. I wish everyone could feel what it feels like to be in complete despair and have someone tell you, "You just need to have faith." (Oh, really? Thanks, Einstein)

Some of us know exactly how you feel and know that you are doing your best."
posted at 12:08:12 on June 14, 2011 by Anonymous
Anon. Really    
"That is presumptuous to think we do not know where she is at, or that we haven't been there. I can tell you I have been there. Maybe not for addiction. But I have been there. So yes D, have FAITH. Take action for faith, pray when you do not feel like it or want to. Tell your Heavenly Father how you feel and why. Instead of coming to this blog, go to Him first. Faith is confident expectations! So expect for it all. Open your scriptures when you do not want to. This is not about what you want. Unless what you want is recovery and freedom."
posted at 13:41:38 on June 14, 2011 by Hero
excuses    
"The Lord is in charge no matter how you guys have tried to justify past mistakes by previous leaders. The Lord is well aware of what is in D's heart so telling her she must not go if she does not want to is just crazy.

Chefdalet it has nothing to do with how educated the bishop is, bishop training for addiction is global now and the same training you get is the same her Bishop will get from similar sources. I agree that leaders need so much more training but that excuse for the addict is old now. The church is dealing with training the leaders and warning the members, so how long do we keep at the bishops qualification excuse? The church has the tools for true recovery, one of them has always existed - Church Discipline. You are inspired for your flock, D's Bishop is for his. That is the difference, True church discipline for an individual is inspired.


This idea that the church principles are a tall order is also an excuse. The ease at which we follow them is a simple function of desire, belief and action.

Thus we don't act our way into faith, we desire and believe with action.

Speak my good friend - What the hell are you smoking? Simple point is that if the Lord says no unworthy soul take sacrament, it means just that. It is a commandment to Bishops to forbid a member from taking the sacrament unworthily. Hey if you or any one feels all clean inside after breaking the law of chastity then go right ahead. We all know deep down inside whether we are clean or not but what good is the confession if we are not prepared to accept the next steps?

D could it be that the Lord would require you to believe in the process he uses to judge all members of his church? Then follow through with the inspired recommendations for you through his leaders?

You are not the first and won't be the last to go through the same experience. I really loved the advice given by the brother above who has been through it twice. That was the best advice in this discussion.

There is a tendancy for us recovering addicts to claim that no one understands. That is evident all the time and still is at times in my home as I find it difficult to shrug off the old ways of thinking. The Lord understands and that is good enough for me. He has helped my Bishop to understand me because I asked him to help my Bishop to help me get closer to him, not on my terms but his terms. It helped me be more humble and the Bishop saw that and all 3 of us were in unison. There was mercy extended and a spiritual recovery and healing.

Trust the Lord and his appointed judge and pray for the Bishop to help you. Don't harden the heart, that will not allow the Lord to heal you."
posted at 21:49:11 on June 14, 2011 by ruggaexpat
Ruggaexpat...    
"The points you make are excellent. I've not had the advantage of a bishop by side to shepherd me through the process. Sometimes im a bit envious of those who have. Your comments were spot on. Thanks for the reminders."
posted at 22:54:27 on June 14, 2011 by chefdalet
Rugga    
"It sounds like you're in a good place. If only all of us could see things as clearly as you."
posted at 01:19:36 on June 15, 2011 by Anonymous
I Wish....    
"I wish I could see the value of the last disciplinary council. How has it helped?
I wish I could have faith in the process.
I wish I could have faith in my bishop.
I wish I didn't feel like my heart was hardening.
I wish this issue wasn't getting in the way of my spirituality in general.
I wish I had what it takes to recover.
I wish my life didn't suck.
I wish I didn't hate myself and my life.

There's probably a million other things, but I'll stop there. It's late, and that's probably not helping. I will say that it is hard to be told to have more faith when you don't have a clue how to do that."
posted at 03:00:45 on June 15, 2011 by dstanley
i wish    
"I wished you and i lived near each other. Youre my sister in christ who shares a common struggle. Itd be nice to have a female friend like me who understood."
posted at 03:13:37 on June 15, 2011 by taintedlove
TaintedLove    
"I agree. It would be great. :) If you ever want to email, let me know and I'll create a temp email address to post here."
posted at 10:02:32 on June 15, 2011 by dstanley
:-)    
"Thatd be nice"
posted at 13:17:16 on June 15, 2011 by taintedlove
Huh?    
"Actually, i'm smoking meth and I haven't slept for a month. I'm sure after a good nights sleep I'll see things your way ;)

Really though, I don't feel like your really saying anything that anyone is arguing or disagreeing with Rugg. I just liked some of the points the anon made. And I felt like, and maybe you didn't mean it this way, that you were almost saying if you don't always remember him you are not worthy to take the sacrament. My point way no one always remembers him. We try. We're willing.

Also, one last thought that came to mind while reading your last post. I don't take the sacrament because I feel all clean inside. I take (used to take...bout 3 years ago) it because I don't feel all clean inside. Isn't that the point? Because regardless of how we feel we are not clean inside.? I don't know. I'm no genius"
posted at 20:26:27 on June 17, 2011 by they speak
Chasing the white dragon is the only way you will see things my way    
"I cannot tell you how greatful I am that my Bishop forbade me to take the sacrament, or participate in any form in the church for 9 months. My wife would go to the temple and I would sit in the welcome area with the kiddies until she had finished her session. We did this about 6-7 times. My Bishop told me after 6 months that he would reevaluate my progress. 6 months came I was clean but he felt I needed to wait a bit longer after seeking inspiration. I was so excited to get the green light because that same month we were to travel to a city and stop off at one of the most beautiful temples in North America. I will not give away the city because that might give me away on the site but I was so sad. Again I waited for my wife outside while she did a session. Absolute misery.

The 3 months later my Bishop sat me down and told me after much prayer that the Lord feels it is time to participate, have a calling, and full fellowship. Now I just love the temple. It was taken away from me and that taught me a great lesson about how special a place it is.

My current bishop was a good friend when we were both serving as bishops in the stake. As soon as we moved into his ward, he called me to serve as his 1st counselor. It was really tough confessing to him but I told him this in tears:

"Bishop I want to repent fully and be clean, don't treat me as your friend, treat me as a sinner who wants to come back. Please go and get on your knees for me and have the Lord tell you what to do with me. If I have to be kicked out the church I will because I want to change."

I was serious and he did it and came back to me after much prayer and fasting 3 weeks later and said I will not require a DC but will require informal probation. The Lord is merciful with us when we turn to him and trust his decisions. I know this to be true.

I still believe I should have been EXed. I hold the high priesthood and have made very serious covernants, but the Lord looks on the heart and never forget that. If we harden our hearts, we are left to ourselves and repentance is so much more harder to endure.

I now understand that if I cannot answer all of the temple recommend Q's with full confidence I will not take the sacrament. If I can answer with confidence I know I am worthy.

I suppose the Lord leaves it up to us in the end like tithing and home teaching and fast offerings and word of wisdom details.

This has been a good discussion and again these are opinions."
posted at 22:11:48 on June 17, 2011 by ruggaexpat


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"The Savior teaches that we will have tribulation in the world, but we should "be of good cheer" because He has "overcome the world". His Atonement reaches and is powerful enough not only to pay the price for sin but also to heal every mortal affliction… He knows of our anguish, and He is there for us. Like the good Samaritan in His parable, when He finds us wounded at the wayside, He binds up our wounds and cares for us. Brothers and sisters, the healing power of His Atonement is for you, for us, for all. "

— Dallin H. Oaks

General Conference October 2006