Definition of messing up?
By anon16
12/16/2011 11:51:45 AM
My Bishop has said that I need to go 30 days, before I can take the sacrament again. First time he has said that. First time I asked him, to his face(he is really good about ignoring or not responding if it's not in his face)

That's my challenge. I can go around 21 days, but then I mess up. Again. I told him that I screwed up on the 1st, as far as mb. The reason was because I realized when I met with him, that he considered my doing a bad google search, and reading/looking at things that weren't good, and "almost" completely giving in. He considered that as a screw up.

Until that point, I'd always looked at it as very black and white. If I masturbated then I screwed up and was "bad" If I didn't, and controlled myself, even looking at something bad, or listening, or reading or whatever, I wasn't. It took me a while to get to the point of realizing that I can't "resign myself" to the fact that I'm going to screw up, and it's just a matter of time.

Today I read fan fiction again. First time in quite a while. I used to be extremely into that, when my romance novel supply was cut off, another means to an end.

I stumbled across a picture while looking to see if a story was finished. And I read something where the author played with making it sexual, but it really wasn't. A parody if you will.

And now I wonder. Is this something my bishop would consider a screw up? Is this something that will prolong the 30 days? And should I ask him what his definition of it is? If I find out that what I did today does count as a screw up, and I have to push it back further, then I will be extremely pissed off. And I will just give up, mb, maybe look at worse stuff, and potentially not tell my bishop.

I'm ready to be done with not taking the sacrament. I hate it how I feel pressure in it. I have a major time constraint on this. And if I have to go back to lying, so be it. I'm not sure if I can do it or not, fool my bishop or not(he said he'd call me on it if he felt I was) but I could try. And if I completely screw up on this, so be it. I just really don't want this temptation. I don't want to screw up, and know that I could stop myself. There was a period when I couldn't, but because I've controlled myself, I can. And I can say no. I'm just not sure that I want to.

Because if I have messed up? I'm screwed.
So, my question is, should I ask my bishop what his definition of my messing up is, and what is yours? Would it be listening or reading anything just the littlest suggestive?
Mine had been black and white, but I'm having to rethink it now. And I really really hate that.


godly sorrow    
"I think the definition of messing up is different for each individual. For addicts like us, it doesn't take much to be messing up. We know we should stay far, far away from anything like our sins. We are messing up when other people might not be.

Anyway, I can't tell you if you messed up or not. That is between you, the lord, and your bishop.

You seem frustrated with your bishop, frustrated with what he's asking you to sacrifice. You are ready to be done skipping the sacrament, and you definitely want to go to the temple. You're not excited to sacrifice your favorite books.

Are you feeling sorry because of the sins you have committed, which offend the spirit? Or are you feeling sorry that you cannot take the sacrament, that people may notice, and that you cannot attend the temple with your friends?

May I suggest that you make a serious study of the topic of godly sorrow? Look it up in your scriptures, or even on the internet.

Godly sorrow is difficult to achieve, and it makes us want to do anything to overcome our sins and repent and be clean and have the spirit again. When we have godly sorrow, we don't care who knows about our sins, we don't care who sees us at group meetings, we don't care what we miss, or what we have to sacrifice, or what we have to do, as long as we are repenting and overcoming our sins. We just want to be clean and have the spirit again, no matter what the cost. We are even willing to give up our favorite media and books (our weapons of war) because, like the Lamanites, we would rather die than sin again. That is real godly Sorrow, and I'm not even sure I have ever felt It, but I want to.

Godly sorrow is the only way to repent. It is very difficult to achieve. Perhaps it is impossible to achieve without prayer and without the spirit. If I want it, I have to work very hard to achieve it. It doesn't come easy for me.

Worldly sorrow comes more naturally for me. Worldly sorrow is the kind of sorrow we feel when we are sad that we were discovered or caught, or sad that someone knows about our sins, or sad that someone might see that we have sinned. Worldly sorrow makes us feel sorry that we told our bishop.

I wish I could find the seminary video for Godly Sorrow online. It's a video that you watch in seminary during the new testament year. Maybe you will do a better job of finding it, if you search for godly sorrow videos online."
posted at 21:46:34 on December 16, 2011 by beclean
Amen to Beclean    
"I just want to add my +2 to what BeClean said...if you are looking for "where the line is" then you've got your sights set on the wrong thing. I don't want this to come off as a reprimand, it isn't meant that way and Heaven knows you don't need or deserve that. You are doing great. But just to answer your question about the definition of messing up....there is no definition set in stone. The Spirit knows it when it has happened and before it will happen and so the only thing we can do is get closer to the Spirit everyday and let it guide you.

I am a little worried about your paragraph about getting angry if today does count as a mess up...good for you for saying how you really feel! And I don't want to discourage you from venting here because that is part of what this place is for. But like BeClean suggested, there is something much deeper on the road of real recovery than the repentance born of duty or expectations for ourselves or others. When Godly Sorrow it comes into our hearts then we don't fight against things any more and anger isn't a part of our reactions to the consequences of our addictions.

Trust the process and simply worry about today and making today the best it can be. If you have to ask if there has been a mess up then there has been. Does that mean your 30 calendar starts over, no, not necessarily. But remember the goal isn't to take the sacrament or to get to the temple....the goal is to be right before the Lord."
posted at 22:07:27 on December 16, 2011 by maddy
Symptoms of a Disease    
"This is such a common feeling. And its a good question, in that there is no obvious answer. When someone says "if you do X then you will be following the law and if you do Y then you will be breaking the law," it is only natural to ask a lot of questions about what exactly X and Y are. But the question, as fair as it is, shows that you and your Bishop might be talking past each other -- you might have different goals for yourself than he has for you. I have two thoughts.

First, God usually tells us in our hearts when we need to talk to a Bishop (Moroni 7 talks about the "way to judge" being plain). Whether we have messed up or not has little to do with what we have seen, it has more to do with our intentions. If we saw something we shouldn't have, that doesn't mean we necessarily have to tell the Bishop; but if we stuck around, and looked around, and spent some time in a place that we would be embarrassed for our Bishop to find us, the whole while thinking "I haven't really messed up yet, I don't have to talk to the Bishop," then our intentions were wrong. Intentions are what "defines" sins, not just actions. So ask yourself what your intentions were.

Second, you are focusing on technical compliance with what your bishop has asked you to do instead of focusing on healing. What if you had a heart attack and the doctor saved you and gave you some blood pressure medication and said, take these pills twice a day for 30 days. So you focus on taking the pills as directed, but you still eat cheeseburgers every meal and never work out. 30 days later, the doctor says "did you do what I asked?" You took the pills, so you say yes. You are technically telling the truth, but you are not really helping yourself heal at all. In many cases, high blood pressure is just a symptom of clogged arteries. The blood pressure is not the real problem, it is just a manifestation of the problem. If you only focus on attacking the symptoms and never the disease, you won't be able to stop either one forever; they will keep coming until they exhaust you. The real solution is to take the medication to control the blood pressure but also stop eating cheeseburgers every day and start working out to clear your arteries out (or whatever, I am not a doctor). It's just an example.

Similarly, MB/P are symptoms of a deeper disease. They are not the disease itself. They might be symptoms of a variety of problems, like a cough might be symptom of a variety of problems. The diagnosis may be different for each person suffering from MB/P. They might be symptoms of past abuse, or of low self esteem, or of a lack of connectedness with others, or of selfishness (pride), or of shame, or just of plain old spiritual weakness from forgetting to "work out" regularly (I think that last one is my disease).

If you just focus on not looking at a certain kind of pornography or not actually masturbating so you won't have to tell the Bishop, and you don't start trying to fix what is really the problem, then you will have a harder time truly healing.

I don't think that focusing so hard on how many days it has been since P/MB, or even focusing so hard on what constitutes P/MB is necessarily a helpful thing. At least, in MY experience, it has not been particularly helpful. The reason is that I get so caught up with technical compliance that I let my guard down up until the "line."

Its like when people have been told that they can't watch rated R movies, so they just shut off their own thinking brains and say "okay, I can't watch any rated R movies, but I can watch any and all PG-13 movies no matter how filthy they are." That is the wrong attitude. Instead, that person should consider WHY he has been counseled to stay away from rated R movies and guide himself by the principle. For example, if the reason is that rated R movies have a higher chance of implanting bad thoughts, language, or emotions then the real rule should be "avoid movies and other media that gives you bad thoughts, language, or emotions, regardless of the rating."

So here's the application to your situation. Why did the Bishop give you the 30 day rule -- is there something magic about the number 30? No. It is because your Bishop probably believes that 30 days will be hard for you but not impossible (if he is wrong about that, then you should talk to him about shortening it to a more "possible" accountability period). Your Bishop asked you to go 30 days because he wants to see if you are trying or not. So here's the irony -- if you go 30 days and call him and say "hey, I went 30 days, now I am going to go look at porn." he would not let you take the sacrament, right? Because the 30 days isn't the point. The point is where your heart is.

So, to recap: you know if your intentions slipped long enough that you should talk to your Bishop; drawing fine-line distinctions about definitions is a natural tendency, but it ultimately shows that you are too focused on technical compliance rather than on truly healing the underlying disease, and it indicates that you are trying to move the moral decisionmaking to the Bishop instead of owning it yourself and then turning it over to Christ by obeying the Spirit with your whole heart.

Here's what I suggest: talk to the Bishop as soon as possible. Don't wait for the 30 days to be up; instead YOU go to him and say, I slipped up. I did really well for a few weeks, but I messed up. I don't want to feel like it is "too late" because I am afraid that would make me give up. I don't want to give up. I want to keep trying. I have made a commitment to strengthen myself spiritually by reading my scriptures and praying every day. I want to set up an accountability system with you -- but not one that just focuses on the MB/P, I also want to be accountable for my scriptures and prayer.

He might say that you need to start the 30 days over, he might not. I don't know. But I do believe that a conversation like that will help you both move your focus from getting caught up in the distinctions and definitions surrounding the symptoms to instead focus on the actual cure.

I am new here, and I hope I haven't gone too far in sharing my thoughts about this. They are just thoughts. This isn't THE only right way to think about this stuff or whatever. Most important, I want you to know that I will pray for you. I know Christ cares about you so much and believes in you and in your goodness. Christ wants to heal you, but this life was not designed to be easy. Follow Christ, and one day, in this life or the next, he will heal you; he will perfect you."
posted at 22:15:59 on December 16, 2011 by DH
By the way    
"I hope my post didn't come off judgy or preachy.

I think it is obvious from your post -- and from the fact that you are even on this site -- that you are not trying to "get away with" something. You clearly want to be clean and pure, you are just frustrated right now.

I've been there."
posted at 22:23:38 on December 16, 2011 by DH
What do you think?    
"Do you feel righteous or worthy when you look at stuff? Not do you feel ok... Ok is not good enough. The best is what we are after. I say don't ask the Bishop what his definition of screwing up is. Because when you do, if you are anything like me, you will accept anything til that point as good. And it's not. So you screwed up. You can still do this. Forget the deadline. Forget what anybody else wants. YOU want the sacrament. So get yourself there.

One scripture that I read this week that stood out was D&C 88:22-24. It talks about how we choose where we end up based on what law we want to live. Each kingdom has a law. If you want to make it to the highest kingdom, you obey te highest law. So sure you can take the easy way with less rules, but is that taking you where you want to go? I don't think so.

Hold yourself to the highest standard. No pictures, no music, no reading that doesn't uplift you. Think of this whole thing as a down escalator. You walk down, you go down faster. You stand still, you go down. The only way to move upwards is to run up. So run. Don't stand there. Don't say that bad things are ok. No exceptions. You DESERVE the highest law because that is what the HAPPIEST people live. And you deserve to be happy.

Keep going. I believe in you."
posted at 02:24:06 on December 17, 2011 by Iamstrong
Please read my last post I need help.    
"Please read my last post I need help. I an not allowed the sacrament for a couple of weeks I am devastated. I have felt like not going to church for the past month cos I don't felt the spirit like I use too, I feel very awkward spiritually."
posted at 14:23:01 on December 17, 2011 by Another_Dad
I remember a talk in sacrament meeting a few years ago    
"and the speaker talked about how a young man asked the question, "How far can I go before I have to talk to the Bishop?" Is that where you are right now? Trying to think of how much you can get away with before you have to "start over?"

There was a conference talk in which the speaker said something to the effect of "Stay on the straight and narrow path -- No, stay in the middle of the straight and narrow path, don't even stray near the edges..." That's where you need to be. In the middle of the straight and narrow path.

If you stop the p/mb cycle, then you will have the right to the company of the best of God's holy angels, and they will aid you in every aspect of your life, and you will feel their constant presence.

Now something that applies to all of us addicts, and this comes from another conference talk. A boy saw a butterfly struggling to emerge from its cocoon. After a few minutes of watching the creature struggle, the boy took a sharp knife and with extreme precision, slit the cocoon so that the butterfly would be freed from what the boy deemed to be its prison.

When the boy told his grandfather about the incident, his grandfather looked sorrowful. The boy asked why he looked so sad. The grandfather explained that the butterfly would surely die, because God designed the cocoon so that the butterfly would have to struggle with all its might in order to develop its wing muscles. Without this struggle, the butterfly's wing muscles would never develop, it would not be able to fly, and it would die.

Your addiction is your cocoon, which requires a custom-designed struggle to develop your wing muscles. Now start struggling again, and don't give up.

And please, never lie, not to anyone, but especially not to your priesthood leaders. It's the same as lying to God when you lie to them. And lying to anyone is worse than your addiction. If you have to go without taking the Sacrament, then do so. If you have to delay your entry into a Church school, then do so. But please do not lie.

Everyone on this site is cheering for you. It is the pattern of most addicts to slip, fall, relapse, etc., before we find lasting true recovery. But you will find it as long as you keep trying. So keep trying."
posted at 19:13:18 on December 17, 2011 by dog
It's okay    
"I don't think Anon is really planning to deceive her Bishop. I just think she was frustrated because of a bad day.

It's okay, Anon. We all get frustrated with our weaknesses. You are okay -- you are doing great because you are trying to change.

Every time we mess up, there is a period where our pride pushes back and lashes out and says "I don't have to repent, I haven't done anything wrong."

Eventually, if we don't shut him out, the spirit takes our hand and helps us."
posted at 20:32:40 on December 17, 2011 by DH
Godly Sorrow    
"When I wrote this, several months ago, I was frustrated about the potential of my having to start over.

I think I understand better about Godly Sorrow. I don't know if I've really felt it, but I do know that I don't want to take the sacrament unworthily again. Yesterday I got very close to messing up. So close that I felt the need to ask my bishop if I was still able to take the sacrament. I realized as I was sitting there that if I was told I had lost the sacrament, I would accept it, and really try not to go further. Before I was trying to toe the line. Now I'm working to stay away from the line."
posted at 08:40:57 on March 3, 2012 by anon16
Godly sorrow works a mighty change    
"As we have all seen and mentioned before, your heart is changing.

You have begun to feel sorrow for sinning, instead of sorrow for being caught.

You are "fearing" what GOD thinks when you mock His Son (by taking the sacrament unworthily), instead of fearing what OTHERS think when you skip the sacrament.

You are starting to see the SIN as your enemy and your BISHOP as your friend, and not the other way around.

As you mentioned, you view the "line" that you mustn't cross as something to stay FAR away from, not something to get as close to as possible.

I bet you are also beginning to feel that the restrictive rules, which used to keep you locked away from the "fun" of the outside world, are actually there to protect you from pain, harm, and sorrow.

Your life will be much happier because of this change of heart! Keep drawing closer to God every day!"
posted at 13:08:18 on March 3, 2012 by BeClean

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"Now brethren, the time has come for any one of us who is so involved to pull himself out of the mire, to stand above this evil thing, to “look to God and live” (Alma 37:47). We do not have to view salacious magazines. We do not have to read books laden with smut. We do not have to watch television that is beneath wholesome standards. We do not have to rent movies that depict that which is filthy. We do not have to sit at the computer and play with ographic material found on the Internet."

— Gordon B. Hinckley

General Conference, October 2004