By Kris
10/26/2007 1:31:14 PM
Earlier this week I had lunch with an old friend. We spent some time catching up on each other’s jobs, kids, and church callings, hers as a Stake Singles’ Rep and mine as a Church Service Missionary. I told her the story I have been telling to anyone who would listen since last Thursday.

A local stake president was concerned about the growing problem with pornography in his stake, and particularly with the suffering of the sisters dealing with the aftermath (wives, daughters, mothers, sisters, girlfriends). He asked his stake Relief Society Presidency to come up with a lesson on the subject (identifying, resources, helps) to present to the sisters in the stake. They worked on it from March to October. Two members of the presidency came to my 12 step (for wives of porn addicts) meeting (for wives of porn addicts) a couple of times so they would know what it was like before recommending it to their sisters. Then two weeks ago the presidency split up and went to each of the wards and presented their lesson to each sister in their stake on the same day.

They told me at the last meeting they attended that they hoped they would send me some new sisters after they gave their lesson. On the Thursday after they gave the lesson I prayed all day for the sisters to have the courage to come. We even set up the room with a larger-than-usual circle of chairs. And then the sisters started arriving. We had eight new sisters! We even had to enlarge the circle a couple of times. I could not have been more thrilled.

My friend’s first comment was “That’s too bad,” as if having eight new sisters attending meant that the problem was spreading. I don’t know if she thought that the RS lesson made the sisters aware that their husbands had a problem or if the program were somehow making men addicted to porn (Of course she meant that it is too bad there are that many sisters who need help, too bad that the problem is so widespread. Yes, it is too bad, but that is our reality). I quickly told her no, it’s not too bad, it’s wonderful that more sisters are finding hope. I told her that I know there are so many women out there full of despair, not knowing where to turn. Every woman who finds out about the program can share it with more women (I told two friends, and they told two friends, and so on, and so on, and so on).

A program I saw on TV last night offered a perfect analogy. The following quote touched me to my core: “Fairy tales don’t teach children that there are dragons. Children know there are dragons. Fairy tales teach children that dragons can be slain.” Whoa. Of course. That is exactly what I was telling my friend. The addiction recovery program does not teach women that they are dealing with a serious problem. They know they are dealing with a serious problem. The program teaches shows them that there is help available. By coming to meetings and working the 12 steps, they learn that there is hope of healing and a chance for change.

Additional note—I’m not so sure this particular dragon can be slain. But it can be confined to its cave and the villagers can be kept safe. It takes constant vigilance and many safeguards and warnings. The children must be taught about places and circumstances to avoid, and the parents must be watchful, always.


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"By emulating the Master, who endured temptations but “gave no heed unto them,” we, too, can live in a world filled with temptations “such as [are] common to man”. Of course Jesus noticed the tremendous temptations that came to him, but He did not process and reprocess them. Instead, He rejected them promptly. If we entertain temptations, soon they begin entertaining us! Turning these unwanted lodgers away at the doorstep of the mind is one way of giving “no heed.” Besides, these would-be lodgers are actually barbarians who, if admitted, can be evicted only with great trauma."

— Neal A. Maxwell

General Conference May 1987