Words can not describe the shame
By thestruggle
2/17/2015 4:25:53 PM
I am a recovering pornography and masturbation addict

I am 17 years old, turning 18 soon, aaronic priesthood holder and preparing to serve a mission

I was exposed to pornography when I was 10, back then it was just a few inappropriate photos of celebrities that I liked but things did escalate very quickly when I was 11/12

The first time I heard the word "porn" and "masturbate" was when I was 11. I didnt really fully understand what they were but I was and still am a curious child. I remember the first time I found myself watching things that were REALLY explicit, as an 11 year old I found it disgusting yet I kept looking at it??? I discovered masturbation when I was 12/13, cant remember how old I was, deacon age. At that time I was completely clueless to the fact that masturbation was a sin because in school we are taught that it is a normal and healthy thing for growing teenagers to do. I never had ONE church lesson on it, never heard any talks about it and never received any counsel from anyone about masturbation. The closest wouldve been a lesson on the law of chastity where my teachers quorum adviser said ONE sentence that was something like, "and also not a pleasing thing to the Lord either..." something like that. I was 15 then and had already become addicted to it as well as porn. Growing up through the early stages of puberty I got the "big talks" from my dad about puberty and sex and stuff, but never about this.

In the worst part of the addiction, when I was 15, I finally understood what it means when we are taught that pornography changes the way you look at other people. Especially girls. I constantly had lustful thoughts which would lead to myself feeding my addiction.

This next part really disgusts me so much I really hate myself for it. There was a very short period of time, (maybe a few days/a week, honestly cant remember how long but it was very short) where the impact of the addiction resulted in me being tempted to view child pornograpghy, how ever I couldnt find it as any attempts to do so always failed (THANK GOODNESS) except for one occasion (I THINK, would be fair to say that it was but not 100% sure), I saw as little as a few pictures then stopped and went back to regular porn. I hate myself for having this stupid curiosity in me that lead to viewing pornography in the first place. (Should I turn myself in to my bishop AND the police? I never downloaded anything and have never gone back to those disgusting lusts of mine)

Because of this I also used to inappropriately touch a cousin of mine whos 3 years younger than me. Never went as far a forcing the action and definitely not rape but Im so ashamed of it.

I know that the Lord can forgive this because it wasnt denying the Holy Ghost or murder but I still feel kinda hopeless.

All I want to do is serve a mission, get married in the temple, and have a family. During the worst part of my addiction I got my patriarchal blessing, I dont know how that worked because since then Ive been taught that one needs to be worthy to get it but I got mine. In it I was promised that I would serve a mission, marry in the temple and have a family so long as I do the "if" part of course.

After receiving that blessing I attended my first EFY (SMYC) which really changed my life and I confessed to my bishop the following week after church. Since then I have confessed to him 3 times about relapses and I eventually volunteered to do the addiction recovery program in my stake. I got up to step 3 before deciding that Im doing alright and dont need to attend this class anymore (stupid mistake). Ive moved wards since then and I have confessed to my new bishop once when he called me to be his first assistant. This was early last year. I have relapsed several times since then, today even.

(Just a side note, Ive always known that sexual sins and the law chastity to be a common problem among many members and non members, but I never knew just how great of a problem it is. Looking to the side where is says "blogs by category" the ratio of sexual addiction blogs compared to all the others is so much!)

I really want to serve a mission when im 18, return with honour, get a degree, marry in the temple and have a family and have this addiction under control.

I have not confessed my one time of viewing child pornography (again im not sure if it definitely was) or the inappropriate touching and thats what Im afraid of. Disciplinary action, possible disfellowshipment and having this giant mark on me that my family, friends and loved ones will see. I actually forgot about this part of my life until recently where I was doing step 4, the inventory, I looked deep into my past and remembered all those things and Im so loathsome of myself because if it.

To my peers I guess Im this example of a 'good boy'. I graduated seminary, highschool, starting institute, have always held a leadership position in my aaronic priesthood quorums. Im literally a few pages away from finishing reading the book of mormon for my first time and I have a new commitment to the 12 steps.

Im up to step 5 now, the confession, my bishop and the 'trusted person' know about the past porn and MB addiction but not about any relapses since I told then.

I really dont know what to do, or rather Im afraid of what I feel like im going to have to do.

The thing I fear the most is losing trust and respect from my family, friends and loved ones, but of course the most important opinion to be concerned about is our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

This is what Ive been thinking of doing. Im going to ask my dad for a blessing to help me with "mission preparation" and if anything in that blessing hints at what to do then Ill do it. Im going to pray and fast more. Im planning on expressing a sincere apology to my cousin for that stupid stuff I did years ago. We see each other often and interact as if it never happened, I have no clue if she ever thinks back to it. And I feel that confession to my bishop is necessary.

However I would appreciate some straight, up front, bold feedback on what I need to do. If it means I will face disciplinary action, Ill do it, heck if it means jail time Ill do it. I know theres no other way around this than to repent, its either get help or get worse.


You are not defined by your sin    
These type of questions are always difficult. I am not your bishop, so I can't give you all the advice that you need. Nevertheless, my story is similar. I got into the same things that you did around the same age. I was blessed in that I quit earlier than you. So I may not be able to speak fully to all of your problems.

However, you are definitely trying. Good on you for that. God sees your efforts and desires to serve Him and still loves you immensely. You will go on to do great things in life and become a powerful servant in God's kingdom.

Slow down on the worrying though. You need to have the guilt of your sins harrow you up unto repentance, but sometimes worrying is counterproductive. You won't face disciplinary action because you are not endowed and are not as accountable as endowed members. There are certain covenants that endowed members make in the temple regarding the law of chastity. The reason people face disciplinary action is when they cheat on their wives and such (since it is directly breaking a temple covenant). However, I can see why these things are worrying. The child pornography incident must be really stressful. Don't worry about its legal implications. You really shouldn't be worrying about this aspect. The law is to stop creepy middle-age men from doing terrible things to younger ones, not to punish confused teenagers. If you still are stressed out about it, talk with your bishop.

Your plan sounds good. Definitely talk with your bishop about your cousin (especially if it's recent). My personal view is that it is better to tell everything to your bishop than not tell anything at all. A sincere apology to your cousin would also be great. Your bishop will be able to help you as how to best do this.

Addictions can take a while to get over. Don't put so much pressure on yourself to go exactly when you turn 18. You may not be ready then. Do, however, make the commitment to yourself and God that you will serve a mission when you are adequately prepared (God and your Bishop will be the judge of that).

Do your parents know about your addiction? From your question, it seems like they don't. There are some people who will tell you that you don't have to involve your parents, but I advise you to make sure they know about it. They will be a great resource in helping you overcome your addiction and provide healthy coping strategies.

I have confidence in you that with God's help, you will serve a mission. You will make many of his children happy because of the joyous gospel. You will get married to a great woman and have a great family. Just put forth your effort and rely on God's grace."
posted at 18:40:26 on February 17, 2015 by intothewest
Thank you for the encouragement    
"Reading some of that is very comforting, Im actually tearing up a bit as im writing this.

To answer your questions, the incident with my cousin was years ago, say 3-4 years. We see each other very often cause Im pretty close friends with her older brothers that are my age. We talk and interact as if that never happened and we appear fine on the outside, as I said I actually forgot about this part of my like until I did the inventory of step 4.

I never fully understood under what circumstances would a disciplinary council be needed so thank you for that information, a little stress has been lifted.

I know this is kind of cutting corners, but if I were to confess of pornography, should I have need to say the child porn part? since it falls into the category of pornography? I know thats really a half-truth and therefor a lie I guess but I feel the need of hearing someone else say, "You need to do this" or "No, you dont have to do that but you should still do this" kinda thing?

I have never told my parents about my addiction but I am assuming they know. When I told them about the program all I said was, "may I attend a meeting at the chapel each week at (xyz) oclock? They asked questions like, "oh is it a youth/mutual thing? or "playing basketball with the boys?" I answered no and then they stopped asking questions but thanked me or telling them and said, "Well, if its at the chapel, its a good thing, thats all I need to know." My dad is very good with computers and Im sure he knows how to get around deleted history and stuff like that.

I turn 18 in April, not planning to go straight away but asap after I have other things sorted out like money, fitness, drivers license, etc."
posted at 19:44:57 on February 17, 2015 by thestruggle
"Ok, listen up. I know the world seems like a dark place with this hanging over your head but the truth is that you are just clearing out your basement and you are going to be so free and so happy that you wont even believe it when you get this all cleared up.

Let me talk to the practical points first: Yes, you should talk to your bishop about the child porn and the cousin issue. With your cousin, if you were younger than 16 and it wasn't very serious then I doubt that there will be any major repercussions because many bishops will parallel laws with that and that tends to be how civilian systems view those issues. I wont make light of it. It is a big deal, but you were also a child and confused and curious and misguided. Looking at the truth is hard, but you need to look at the whole truth which includes your immaturity and decision making processes. Child porn is also serious, no way around that, but you were a child looking at child porn which will probably grant you some leniency as well. You are coming forward early, you feel terrible and all these things show this are just mistakes.

Now let me say the important part. None of this has the power to stick to you. You have the right attitude of remorse and you have a righteous focus. Just don't let shame eat you up. Jesus is bigger than all of this and believe it or not all these experiences can help you be more tender and nonjudgmental with other people. You'll be a better man for it.

I know it is scary but just take the plunge and get it over with. You will feel so much better once you get this off your chest. Don't let fear hold you back. You'll be amazed at the liberation waiting on the other side of this for you."
posted at 20:47:34 on February 17, 2015 by maddy
Thankyou Maddy    
"Thank you for telling me straight and up front. I will take the plunge asap. I realize there is only one way out of this yet there are thousands of ways it could get worse if I don't do anything. Thank you. Every time Ive confessed in the past I was never asked to do things like, not partake of the sacrament or not to exercise my priesthood, Im kind of expecting SOMETHING to happen this time. But I know its necessary, Thanks again."
posted at 22:59:35 on February 17, 2015 by thestruggle
update on progress    
"After remaining clean of the addiction for a full day (which is a big accomplishment for me at the moment) I apologized to my cousin. A big chunk of the stress I had has been lifted as she accepted my apology. I have yet to see my bishop but Im hoping to very soon"
posted at 23:20:59 on February 18, 2015 by thestruggle
"Way to just jump straight into Step 8! That often take people years to work up the courage. You are obviously very serious about setting things right.

Very proud of you."
posted at 13:23:32 on February 19, 2015 by maddy
You're Awesome    
"TheStruggle, it is amazing how strong you are. You're now fully in the repentance process (which is far from over), but it's amazing how much joy is in that process. When I've repented of sexual misdeeds, I feel so good."
posted at 01:17:18 on February 20, 2015 by intothewest
Thankyou guys :,)    
"Haha, I guess Im just impatient to let the process take its necessary time and want the feeling of being worthy again so I can breathe. Although I did part of step 8 I wont skip 5, 6, and 7 :) These past few days Ive been very clean, havent seen my bishop yet, currently unavailable to reach but I will asap :) Dealing with some personal adversity at the moment aswell which unfortunately broke me down enough to relapse (not the molesting or child..i dont want to say it) Im far from over this addiction but I know Im on the right track -.- ...So Im promptly admitting that Ive messed up as it says in step 10 i think? But thanks for all the bold advice and encouragement :)"
posted at 14:43:58 on February 23, 2015 by thestruggle

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"One of the great myths in life is when men think they are invincible. Too many think that they are men of steel, strong enough to withstand any temptation."

— James E. Faust

General Conference, April 2002