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vicarious fornication
By robin
1/7/2009 11:20:00 AM
I am angry this morning and appoligize in advance for this post.

I was listening to general conference. One of the talks deemed pornography "vicarious fornication". I could not agree more. However, things just don't add up for me. We believe that vicarious work for the dead is real and binding. Why is vicarious fornication treated so lightly? Yikes! It scares me when I start thinking this way. But I am confussed and I have to admit mad at more than my husband this morning. Why was it left up to my husband as to whether or not to tell me about his porn problem. WHy would he still take the sacrament, hold church callings, attend the temple ....basically go on like nothing was going on for 19+ years when his priesthood leaders knew about the problem?

Where does this leave me and the value I thought I had?

I hate my husbands addiction. It scares me, it hurts me...but I think I hate myself more at times. I hate the anger I feel towards him, priesthood leaders and even the Lord. I am afraid I won't make it. I won't be able to feel good about what is acceptable in the eyes of those with authority. The quote "my ways are not thy ways" terrifies me.

Comments:

The spirit    
"I have found that I do better with my addiction when I am taking the sacrament, going to the temple and have a calling to fulfill. It's important for addicts to have the opportunity to feel the spirit. If everything was taken away (and sometimes it is...) it can be a lot harder to get where you need to be."
posted at 11:50:33 on January 7, 2009 by Anonymous
Curious    
"What is it about the quote "my ways are not thy ways" that is troublesome to you, Robin?"
posted at 17:12:21 on January 7, 2009 by Anonymous
When I'm Angry    
"Sometimes I take comfort in the fact that my spouse will be held accountable by Heavenly Father; he will have his "day of reckoning"--one that will be both more strict AND more kind than the judgement he gets from me or anyone else.

I think priesthood leaders are doing their best, can be inspired, but sometimes may perplex us. I don't think any of them would have intentionally wanted to hurt you, or think sexual sin is ok. Sometimes I'm amazed by the miracle that plumbers and engineers and doctors and farmers can get callings that put them in such difficult circumstances--helping addicts, and their families, for goodness sake. Christ IS a Teacher of teachers, and Leader of leaders (and King of kings, and Lord of lords) quite literally--each of us has the opportunity to serve in ways we would never have imagined without our membership in the church. I think we really are invited to be Christlike, and get callings, and sometimes trials, that hasten the process.

I am sorry that you have such a weight of sorrow, and anger. I hope tomorrow will be better. You are such a neat and loving person--I hope you can turn some of that talent for love to yourself. "
posted at 17:51:13 on January 7, 2009 by Anonymous
sorrow for you    
"Sometimes our priesthood leaders are frustrating to me too. My husband has been unfaithful to me throughout our entire marriage. He has committed adultery in his mind hundreds of times. He finally sunk to even further depths and actually physically committed adultery...twice. It sickens me the things he has done--literally. My Bishop, who I really like and think highly of, told my husband after three 1/2 months after he came clean about everything, that my husband was ready to get baptized. I was so hurt! There's no way he's ready for baptism yet. My husband is doing very well...he's been clean since August 7th. But 3 1/2 months is not long enough. I have yet to talk to my Bishop about this whole issue--I need to. Despite his human frailties, I am still trying to have faith in my Bishop, maybe he didn't mean it literally.

By the way, Christ does not treat vicarious fornication lightly. "But I say unto you, That whosever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." (Matt. 5:28) This is a very serious sin. I have to agree with some of the above comments that our priesthood leaders really are trying to do their best, can be inspired (not always in my opinion) and may perplex us. I don't know what to tell you--I know I would be absolutely angry that I was never told about my husband's problems if he had ever revealed them. Your husband has violated his temple covenants and your marriage covenants. You have a right to be angry but don't let that anger destroy you. I know you have been changed by this whole experience, how could you not be? I know I am in the process of rebuilding my life. I died the night my husband came clean. I feel like a tornado has ripped through my soul and left little bits and pieces of me strewn everywhere. I don't know who I am anymore. So I am trying to sort through the wreckage, finding bits and pieces I can use, and trying to rebuild somehow. I am trying to trust God that he will make up for all of the wrongs in my life especially the ones not caused by me. I think it really sucks that I have to suffer so incredibly much because of my husband's transgressions.

Somehow we have to make it through this and I don't know what the answers are. I pray most days to be guided to people who can help me and to be guided to books to read. The self-esteem issue is huge for me too.

I pray for you often Robin, and have put your name in the temple often as well. Keep fighting! Never give up! It sounds like Satan is working overtime on you. You are valued here, I've missed your comments and posts. I too am so sorry for your pain (teardrop)."
posted at 01:46:21 on January 8, 2009 by bikermom
hi bikermom!    
"I can't write, but just wanted to tell you thank you. You have helped me a great deal tonight and always."
posted at 01:51:09 on January 8, 2009 by robin
A comment if I may    
"Part of repentance is restitution. I beleive that it is the spouses responsibility to restore faith, hope and love back to the individuals we have so horribly destroyed before the repentance process can be complete. I will not even consider approaching my Bishop until both my wife and I receive the same answer to do so. That the atonement has taken affect in her life as well as mine. That I have done everything I can do to help RESTORE to her her self confidence, her self-esteem and self-worth and SHE feels, from the Spirit, that both of us are ready for me to come into full fellowship with the church.

It would pain me to come into full fellowship, use my priesthood and my wife not having good feelings about it. You and your Spouse are ONE before God. Not Individuals. It is his Sin but BOTH were affected, not just one. If the wife is not ready, then neither is the husband in my opinion. God Bless you in your efforts."
posted at 09:00:29 on January 8, 2009 by nyronian
thanks    
"Thanks Nyronian, I always appreciate your comments. My husband did not go in and say he was ready to be baptized again, it was the Bishop who brought it up. I believe that my husband feels the same way you do. He sees the pain and sorrow I experience still on a daily basis and wants to do all he can to repair the damage he has caused in my life. He has been so loving and caring and concerned for my well-being that I know if I opposed his baptism then he would give it more time and not complain. He has strong desires to try and make up for 14 years of misery to me and so far he is doing great--it really helps me to keep going each day. But I have a mountain of "stuff" to overcome and so I still struggle. I've been reading and working through the book "Lord, I Believe; help thou mine unbelief" and hope that this will be a good tool to help me as well as seeing an LDS therapist who has training and experience in working with individuals involved in sexual addictions.

So, we keep going, we never give up even when we want so desperately to do so. I do have a testimony of the gospel and a deep love for our Savior, Jesus Christ. I love him and am so thankful for the Atonement. I can't imagine where I would be today without this amazing gift. God lives and loves every one of us--deeply, unconditionally. He knows of our struggles and will help us.

By the way, I very much long for the day when my husband will be baptized again. It will truly be a glorious and sacred day in our lives."
posted at 19:51:40 on January 8, 2009 by bikermom
I disagree    
"I think the bishop has a certain level of inspiration that we don't. I know that we have personal revelation, but the bishop, his counselors and the Stake president have all been set apart by servants of the Lord, so that they can do their calling the way it needs to be done. I think as a wife we need to go through the steps as well. We need to be able to forgive our husbands. If the bishop is getting inspiration saying that are husbands are okay and that they can take the sacrament again (or however severe their situation is... ) then we also need to be in tune enough with the spirit to be able to agree with the bishop.. after all when he was called didn't we sustain him in that calling? How's he supposed to do it right if we're not going to support his decision..?

Sorry just some thoughts.. I love and respect my bishop. Along with the wisdom and experience he has had with sexual addictions. I just thought I would give him a shout out.
Sorry if it came off as rude."
posted at 20:59:37 on January 8, 2009 by scully
Just men    
"Bishops are men. Bishops make mistakes. Bishops try their best but are not always in tune. A Bishop we know in a different ward is getting divorced from his wife because he had an affair. Bishops are just regular people. Just like all of us."
posted at 21:21:29 on January 8, 2009 by Anonymous
Bishops etc.    
"I actually agree with both of you. For me I have been greatly blessed during my life through my bishops. I do believe that it is important to pray about the counsel we receive. Maybe I am just rebelious? I can't go with something I don't pray about and get a good feeling about. I love my bishop and feel he has been very inspired in helping us. I don't even mean to sound judgemental of the bishops we have had. I just don't get where the church stands or draws the line. I think my biggest fear is that my husband has minimized and justified and I am not sure that the council he received helped him. It certainly didn't stop (I hope it has) until he had to face me and himself. I know there is no easy answer. I just feel that I was cheated on. My priesthood leaders knew it, and I was left thinking everything was hunky dory. Maybe I didn't have the right to know, but that , so far has felt very wrong to me. Maybe I am too proud. I realize that. I have saved myself for my husband my whole life. I have put my whole self into our family and marriage. It is devistating to realize what has been going on and could have kept going on.

On a happier note. I know the church is true. I have wanted to leave or quit going since I found out. I realize that I would be miserable if I did so and that I need to learn to accept what I cannot change and be happy. The day I started this blog I had so much to do to take care of my family and was overwhelmed with self justification for my anger about how I feel things should be handled and aren't. I remembered Pres. Holland's talk about how we literally have angels watching over us. I asked the Lord to send someone to help me even though I didn't deserve it. I was amazed at how my day turned around in the next couple of hours. He really does want to help me if I will just let Him. He really is there and I am so blessed to know it. I thank you all for your prayers, your love and your putting my name in the temple. I feel I have been picked up and comforted several times and have felt the love of my Heavenly Father stronger than at any other time in my life. ...even though I have been angry with Him. How does He do it? When my kids are poops I don't want to be around them.

gotta run"
posted at 11:07:50 on January 9, 2009 by robin
You're the daughter of a heavenly King.    
"How you feel about God doesn't change how He feels about you. Please don't let Satan twist your relationship with your Heavenly Father because of the men you know on earth (husband, bishops etc.) Satan had me convinced for years that God thought I was a big disappointment. That is what I felt my dad thought of me, so it was easy to think the same thing about my Heavenly Father.

Don't be mad at your bishops, even though they hold special keys and are entitled to inspiration they are still mortal men. I told my first bishop in the late 70's and didn't find one that really understood the problem until 2000. Before that I had quit talking to them about it for a number of years because I was so frustrated. The last one particularly didn't seem to think it was that big of a deal. Actually part of the frustration was he didn't really say much about it, but seemed to think I could hold a temple recommend even though I didn't feel I should. I don't remember if any of them told me I should tell my wife, because she already knew. I told her before our marriage when I thought it was behind me. I told her later when I started having trouble again, but there were still times when she confronted me because she felt I was acting out and I lied right to her face. I think your husband did have a responsibility to tell you, so he falls into a different category.

Why some men never face some kind of discipline, I can't say. Maybe it was my attitude and the fact that I always went to them of my own free will, but I was never even put on probation. One side of me was trying to do the right thing and I would try not to hinder my fulfilling my callings with my addiction, but it would always come back and mess things up. I can't speak for your husband, but some of us addicts are really trying to do the right thing whenever we aren't trying to get a fix, and others are just trying to put on a good front.

I guess the bottom line is, you don't hang a guy for thinking about killing someone. So if your husband was able to limit his addiction to pornography and masturbation, he shouldn't receive the same punishment as someone who has committed adultery. I am not minimizing anything. I think that is why it says adultery or anything like unto it. I also think that is why they changed the temple recommend question from asking about "sexual intercourse" to "sexual relations". I think there were too many people finding loopholes. I also think either P or M qualify as relations with someone besides your spouse, but I come to a point where I am completely open with the bishop and leave the judgment up to him. Each situation is unique, but if mistakes are made, I know Heavenly Father will make things right in the end.

Pray for your husband and then put him in God's care. You can't control him anyway.

I hope you can find the "gift" in all this and come to see yourself as the wonderful daughter your Heavenly Father sees."
posted at 23:33:49 on January 14, 2009 by justjohn
Thank you.    
"It is nice to hear things from your perspective. I have a long way to go. Anonymous asked what about the quote "my ways are not thy ways" bothers me. I am afraid I will never feel good about some of the things in church history pertaining to marriage. I am afraid I will never feel good about some of the things that have gone on in mine. I am afraid these things are part of His plan and the way they will be. I find them so unacceptable and foriegn to what feels right to me. I have always trusted in things I can feel good about and I don't these. I am afraid of myself, that I just won't be able to accept "His ways". It has scared me ever since I was a little girl. The more I try to study these things the worse it seems to get, so I bury it, but it always comes back.

I apoligize. I know this is not an "upper" blog. I don't mean to be negative. I just need someone to talk to at times."
posted at 11:47:20 on January 15, 2009 by robin
Robin,    
"You don't have to apologize for your feelings. I completely understand where you're coming from. You know, if I had to choose between what's taught to be right and what I feel to be right in my heart I would go with my heart every time. I think God gave us certain feelings to help us discern what is right and what is wrong.

Personally, I struggled to reconcile the whole polygamy thing. Then it occured to me that I didn't have to because it wasn't commanded of me personally. Luckily for me, it is only one wife for time and eternity. I don't fully understand the circumstances surrounding the plural marriage thing. Maybe Heavenly Father thought that this would be the most expedient way to raise a Zion-like society. Looking back on the church it's pretty astounding how quickly the new church grew to become a vital part of 19th century American history. Maybe polygamy is a commandment given only to a select few when God sees that it's needed. As for us, it is only natural to feel that we should have only one spouse because that is the reality for us. I don't see more wives for me in the afterlife. It just doesn't feel right to me. As for my marriage now, nothing but COMPLETE fidelity is required. So far my wife and I have both succeeded at that and I haven't ever felt compelled to do otherwise but because this is a "probationary" period I hope that if one of us stumbles there will be Grace and forgiveness on the other side.

What gives me a lot of hope is when I read about Brigham Young and Joseph Smiths first reaction to the commandment of plural marriage. They were both devastated and their reactions border on even "disgust". But they did as the Lord commanded."
posted at 12:53:57 on January 15, 2009 by Anonymous
I understand.    
"Robin. You are not the only woman that struggles with the concept of many wives. I know many people, myself included, that have struggled. It is especially hard when you struggle with the whole polygamy thing AND have a husband that has strayed. I think most women just want to have a man love them completely and fully. This means not sharing with other women. Whether they are real or in videos. I don't pretend to understand Heavenly Fathers "ways". We aren't meant to understand some things. All he requires of us is to have faith in Him. Please remember that His plan is called The Plan of HAPPINESS. Do you think he would force you to share your husband for all eternity knowing how much misery it would bring you? No, absolutely not. I believe that there are certain women that have no problem with it and would be more than willing to live that law. You and I are not one of those women. But we are still good people and He loves us and will not force us to do something that would be intolerable for us. I believe that your trial (and mine) is to be married to porn addicts and to try to help them get back to His presence. I believe with my whole heart that if I can do this...or at least if I try my best...that my reward will be to live with my husband..in a monogamous relationship...for all eternity. I have to believe it. I refuse to believe that Heavenly Father will make me go through this hell on earth and then I will get to the other side and he will say "Good job. Now help your husband pick out some women to marry." I can't believe that. God is fair and he is compassionate. He knows and understands how we feel. He knows we have been given a raw deal here on earth. We unknowingly married men with this problem and have suffered. He will make it up to us. I believe it. If our husbands can't get it together He will find us wonderful men to spend eternity with and we will be happy. It is the Plan of Happiness. Not the Plan of Misery. You are not alone. I almost left the church over this issue. It disgusts me. But I have faith. It will be alright, Robin. It will."
posted at 14:45:50 on January 15, 2009 by Anonymous
Sorry..    
"The comment above was from me. I forgot to sign in."
posted at 14:48:16 on January 15, 2009 by sierra
Thank you    
"I see your frustration and hurt and i must agree with everyone else that with God's help you will get better with time. I was reminded by a good friend that when we follow God's plan that even when circumstances don't get better, we do.

The reason that I was thanking you is that your honesty about your feelings gives a recovering addict like myself a chance to see how "the other half" feels. Addiction, or sin of any kind for that matter, is a very selfcentered thing. The deeper that we fall, the less we can see (or care) how our actions are affecting those around us, no matter how much we love them. Your post has given me alot to think about.

Yes, our Heavenly Father will make it up to you, not only in the next life but in this one as well. "
posted at 18:48:35 on January 15, 2009 by doc88401
You are good friends to me, thank you!    
"Thank you all for you love, encouragement and advice. You help me so much on days when I need it. You have given me support and hope. I think I could greatly benefit from the 12 step program. I am going to start today.

Welcome Doc88401. I worry that my venting will cause more harm than good. It helps me and spares my husband, but I often worry that I might hurt others here. I often blog, then worry later about how it might hurt someone. ;o) At first I thought I would just blog in the "loved ones only" section. I quickly realized how much wisdom and support "addicts" had to offer.The good men and women here have helped me see the other side of things. Hearing from others who struggle with the same challenges as my husband has softened me, I think. I see thier good and get a little closer to understanding how they feel. This website has helped me realilze over and over again of how much I love the good man that I am married to and that we are not alone. He is a good man. I am the one who will be in trouble in the end if I am not careful.

Much love to all of you my dear friends who have helped me so much. I pray for you always."
posted at 11:06:20 on January 16, 2009 by robin


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"[The Savior] is saying to us, "Trust me, learn of me, do what I do. Then, when you walk where I am going," He says, "we can talk about where you are going, and the problems you face and the troubles you have. If you will follow me, I will lead you out of darkness," He promises. "I will give you answers to your prayers. I will give you rest to your souls.""

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General Conference, April 2006