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Bad day but overcoming the natural man.
By endure
7/14/2010 4:35:47 PM
Well, I had a understandable set back. At least that's what a therapist calls it when I heard him give a talk, so it sounds better than falling into failure. Several months went by (I'm trying not to focus on counting time) Anyway I have been paying attention to when and why temptation enters. What triggers the actions. Afternoons are deadly for me, weekdays. I spend so much time with intense focus all morning on work by afternoon by brain is tired and needs a break. When life stresses increase temptation increases. It usually starts by checking a news website for daily headlines. I try to find a site that does not have any suggestive advertisements but most of them do so I'll try something else. (Ironically some of the conservative news sites have the most suggestive material to get your brain going. argh!) Also, I get lackadaisical when several weeks go by with no problem, as if I conquered it or something. Anyway having an understandable setback attitude has help me feel some strength from the Lord.

So I'm trying to wrap my head around being totally porn free in a porn world. It's everywhere. (My heart aches for my son who has to grow up in a porn world. I wont be able to totally shield him from it hopefully I can teach him what to do when confronted with it. but you can avoid porn 100 times and than stare at it the 101st time and your hooked.) I worked with the Young Men for 6 years and I have them write anonymous questions they want answered on a card. I can tell you They are confused and feel helpless and are so afraid to talk to their own bishop. One thing is for sure. Male sexuality is powerful. One of my young men is very afraid how powerful is sexuality is. It's a daily battle, even when your not addicted. Male nature is not monogamous or abstinent. But we are all here on earth to change our nature.Overcome the natural man.

So with that said I have some concerns and I realize there may not be a good answer. I don't want to use these as excuses when I falter but I want to know why.

1.Speaking in generalities here. If a man weakness is his sexuality, and a woman's weakness is self identity. (remember speaking in generalities everyone is different) A man gives into his weakness he is not worthy. A woman dwells on her weakness she can still go to the temple. (although I realize it can eventually lead to breaking law of chastity if she is desperately looking to be loved )

2. Why is it that addictions (I think of porn, drug, eating disorders) usually cannot be overcome by oneself and God. Or even add the bishop. A professional therapist is needed. I know many bishops feel helpless telling a person to stop the addictive behavior to know avail. The person wants to stop, receives blessings, prays reads scriptures only to relapse. So therapist get involved to show the addict in short how to create new brain circuits and avoid triggers etc. If a person truly wants to change and they give themselves over to God isn't that enough. Why does the addict have to go through a therapist? (This question came up when I met therapist who spoke in our ward and he kind of came across as the addict cant partake of the Atonement unless he/she goes through me. Of course that really bothered me.) What did the pioneers do? There had to be some sort of addictions back then, but no therapist around.

3. My opinion we do not do a good job in our ward's teaching human sexuality. We are good at saying NO NO NO. Yes, this is the parents responsibility but if we are going to teach the Law of Chastity don't we need to spend some time teaching sexuality. The schools are taken the subject zealously. The priest quorum manual has a couple of paragraphs about porn in the law of Chastity lesson taught once a year. But they are tempted every day. By the way I have kept track of how many times porn was discussed in Elders quorum since 2003 granted Ive only been there evey other year cause I teach YM and we have a weird schedule but still. One lesson was on addictions in 7 years. The teacher was so embarrassed to teach it he spent the whole time talking about gambling addiction and the last 3 min on Porn. C'mon we cant walk on eggshells at church any more. According to our Stake Pres. a third of the quorum has porn issues. At least on our stake. It's a big problem. Our General Authorities are talking about it more in conference. so should we, right? maybe your ward is different but seven ward I've belonged to in 20 years were similar.

OK so this last concern is just me venting, but our Young Men are walking in a dangerous jungle.

so I threw in some concerns but I'm really curious what others have to say.

Finding strength through all your blogs,

Thank You

Comments:

Quick Response    
"Endure, thanks for the thought-provoking ideas. Here are my gut responses, if you are interested.

1. I don't think giving into weaknesses is what makes someone unworthy of the temple. I think breaking covenants makes you unworthy of the temple, because we make sacred covenants in the temple. If you are unable to keep covenants, you shouldn't be there. If a sister has an identity problem, she isn't breaking covenants. If an elder has a porn problem, he probably is.

2. I don't believe you need a therapist to overcome sexual addiction. I didn't/don't use one. Humbling yourself and turning yourself completely over to God is enough to overcome, but most people have no idea how hard that is and just how much you must dedicate yourself to God. Too many think five minutes of scripture study each day and 3 hours of church on Sunday ought to be enough. Wrong! If your addiction isn't getting better...try doing more to give yourself to God; do everything you can think of to show him you are serious, and then he'll help you overcome. (The 12 steps are a great way of helping individuals give themselves to God, and some therapists are good at helping people with them.)

3. I agree that we could talk about sexuality different in church, but I can understand most people's reluctance. Who will be the first to get up in church and say, "I'd love to teach that lesson; I'm an addict, so I figure I have a pretty good grip on this subject." Of course, we want recovering addicts to teach us in church, and those might be even harder to find...

PS I use FireFox to browse the internet, and I have installed the add-on called Adblock Plus, which is something you could even install at work. I don't see any suggestive advertisements when I visit cnn.com. However, unless you draw closer to the Lord and overcome your problems, it won't matter what software you are using to block the images, you will still seek your "fix.""
posted at 17:27:18 on July 14, 2010 by BeClean
Just curious...    
"Who says that women have a "self-indentity" problem? What does that even mean?

Also, you and beclean are both wrong to assume an addict needs a therapist or doesn't need one. The answer is completely individual. Some addicts do need a therapist to deal with deeper issues.

Many of us overanalyze this thing and meanwhile neglect taking the actions that are PROVEN to heal our addiction.

And finally, it is my personal opinion that we are at church on Sunday to worship, not talk about porn. It is quickly reaching the point where everyone who struggles with addiction has heard of the ARP, PASG, or SA programs. THAT is where recovery takes place. They can choose to take advantage of these programs or continue the rat-race of devising their program and see how well that works for them.

It's been my experience that as soon as we get a little clean time under our belts we become the "go to" authority on addiction. That is a dangerous place to be in. It is a breeding ground for pride and pride and recovery can't coexist for very long."
posted at 18:34:07 on July 14, 2010 by Anonymous
To clarify    
"I completely agree with Mr. or Mrs. Anonymous that whether or not an addict needs a therapist is an individual issue. Endure seemed to be asking, "Why is a therapist needed?" I was simply answering, "A therapist is not always needed." It is possible to overcome without one. However, whether you use a therapist or not, recovery is a very, very difficult process and is only possible through humility and the grace of God.

Please tell us which actions you believe are PROVEN to heal our addiction."
posted at 21:04:13 on July 14, 2010 by BeClean
I'll give you a hint...    
"if you find somone with this addiction who has been clean from it for a LONG time, as in many years, that person might be someone you should ask for help. With few exceptions, these people are usually active members of one of the Twelve-Step felloships. Anyone can white-knuckle it for several months or a year. Others can ride a pink cloud of religiosity and stay clean for an extended period of time. But the ones that have 5 or 10-plus years of uninterrupted clean time under their belts have probably found a solution that really works for the long haul."
posted at 08:38:17 on July 15, 2010 by Anonymous
self indentity    
"Instead of self identity I could have said self esteem. I was merely pointing out the two main differences between the genders as far as their natural weaknesses. Hopefully that helps anonymous. I agree with you 1st priority is to worship at church especially in sacrament meeting. Another reason is to learn. Learning can be a form of worship too. 3 hrs of church hopefully worship, learning, and service have all taken place. I believe General conference sets the foundation for what we should learn and that should extend to our meetings. Several General Authorities have given very great talks on Porn.Thanks for your reply "BECLEAN" good stuff. I do recall E.Eyring saying the day has come where a small prayer and a few scriptures a day is no longer enough.

"Anonymous", I think you are right getting several years under your belt is the key. We are all looking for ways to do that. If you have any more hints please share."
posted at 14:03:29 on July 16, 2010 by endure
Getting the Word Out    
"Endure,

You bring out a really good point that we need to make sure the Youth of the church of the tools they need to face this world. We also need to acknowledge that addiction is addiction. I have often gone to Church leaders seeking help. I was grateful for the help I recieved. But as I have come to realize that I am an addict. I have started attending a 12 step program and I have made great progress. I just recently got a sponsor and I am hoping to continue moving forward with Recovery. I have been applying the 12 steps in my life for several months now. I want others to have these tools. I am somewhat open with those I know that I attend the group. Because I want others to have the courage to also attend if they are struggling with addiction. I have finally found the resource I need to make recovery possible. I can't do it alone. I need the help of God. I need the support from the group. I also hope that I can be a resource to others. I think many in the Church would benefit from learning more about what addiction really is and how how to make it through recovery."
posted at 19:05:09 on July 22, 2010 by Anonymous
Times have changed.    
"My Brethren, I have enjoyed all of your responses. I have been "sober" from Porn since 1990. The time has arrived for me to examine my armament and re-tool. Yes, I go to Sacrament to worship. Far too many of my brethren think that porn is not a problem. Elders Quorum Presidencies, High Priests Group Leaders, even those on the High Council have forwarded so called spicy e-mails that were outright "Soft Porn" Every time I get one I am (IN THEIR FACE) I do reprove with sharpness and then show an increase of love towards them. They are my brothers.
As a former Deacons Quorum Advisor, Young Mens President and a counselor in the Stake YM Presidency I can say that 100% of our YM have been exposed. Get yourself a copy of Bro. Hilton's Book "He Restoreth My Soul immediately. Every parent, every Bishop, every person involved with our youth and our Returned Missionaries needs to read this book.

Ask your Stake President how many disciplinary councils are had each month involving returned missionaries, even Melchisedek Priesthood holders. It will shock you. Check out thelightedcandlesociety.org which is an organization founded by LDS to fight this everspreading scourge.

As for me. I am 60 yrs. old. I am just as vulnerable to Porn as I was when I was a young man. I hope to become a facilitator in the LDS AR program. Believe me, we have brethren in their 60's and 70's still struggling with this.

Let's get serious and suit up for the battle."
posted at 21:05:28 on July 24, 2010 by migail3
Amen, Migail    
"What inspiring success. Thanks for sharing.

I'm here to fight the battle with you...and everyone else on this site."
posted at 16:05:45 on July 25, 2010 by BeClean


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"I have come to know that thoughts, like water, will stay on course if we make a place for them to go. Otherwise, our thoughts follow the course of least resistance, always seeking the lower levels. Probably the greatest challenge and the most difficult thing you will face in mortal life is to learn to control your thoughts. In the Bible it says, as a man ‘thinketh in his heart, so is he’ (Prov. 23:7). One who can control his thoughts has conquered himself. As you learn to control your thoughts, you can overcome habits, even degrading personal habits. You can gain courage, conquer fear, and have a happy life. "

— Boyd K. Packer

BYU, Speeches of the Year, 26 Sept. 1967