Acknowledge my unworthiness? Step 1 - Honesty
By Gracefull
9/6/2010 7:15:14 PM
I'm a mid 30's virgin who has wrestled with porn/masturbation since 13 yrs old.
I haven't had a temple recommend in 10 years (with the exception of a 3 month period of time) I qualify for a recommend in every other regard --- (tithing, fast offerings, callings, etc..) I also have helped the missionaries whenever, however for the past 10 years. I make 6 figures, have no debt, exercise 3x a week, dress well, not gay, etc... so.... all my friends who are girls ask

"Why aren't you married yet!!!???"

my ex-girlfriend asked me that... "you seem too perfect... what's the catch..."

then I told her "uh...throughout my life I've struggled from time to time with pornography and masturbation" (nothing more than the typical 2 min video on the internet a few times a week)

so...after that (and numerous others) went up in flames... I learned that 'vulnerability' doesn't work with modern day women.

99% of the men I've spoken to at 12 step meetings, ARP meetings are married and I've never met 1 person in my life who has married someone in the temple after telling their lady that they have had an addictive relationship with porn at some point in their life.

I don't want to LIE... but I'm starting to think it's in the woman's best interest.

President Hinckley said " a girl would be out of her mind..." "treat it like the plague..." Julie Beck said to the effect 'treat someone like that as a red flag, in drop them'

Local Leaders amplify & inculcate these messages and many young men digest the belief that I am "UNWORTHY" "UNACCEPTABLE".

It's one thing to eradicate that belief in yourself (I wear heavy armor when I go to church) ... but it's quite another to eliminate the belief in others...

So.. (assuming I keep up with my honest attempts at changing my life... keep up my honest attempts at fulfilling my sacramental & temple covenants)

- How long should I wait to start dating? (after day#1 of sobriety)
- Should I be dating at all?
- Should I date outside my religion?
- Should I tell bride-to-be anything at all?
- Should I tell her if I have a slip? a relapse?
(if so,... then why not just tell her everything from date #3)
-Then... how to tell her?

even though this entry may seem anxious/little bitter... deep down... I love the church and all that it tries to do. I know deep down that we are just people trying to do the best we know how to do... with the resources we have.

I've made peace with the fact that I may never get to marry in this lifetime... I've also heard god whisper to me that he has a special person for me. I will keep trying to do my best and change.


Alma 24:27    
"I married my wife in the temple after revealing to her I had an addictive relationship with porn. Don't know that either of us had a clue what we were in for...but she knew.

Im pretty sure (i was about to put his user name but in favor of confidentialiality wont) wife knew before they got married in the temple and they, from what I can tell, have one of the raddest relationships out there. They were my wife and i's first AR missionaries. My wife and I were going to their meetings before we got married and to this day we both look up to them a great deal.

So there's two couples for ya. Doubt it helps much. But God is watching you...wish he'd bless me with six figures ;) jk"
posted at 20:21:47 on September 6, 2010 by They Speak
"that means A LOT to me! there is hope!

I've always felt like, if I could just figure out the combination.... it would lay the foundation for an incredible marraige.

my struggle has given me so many amazing gifts (sounds wierd)

but I've been able to meet all sorts of great people, learn about Grace and Mercy, experience Miracles!, understand the gospel, have sympathy/compassion for all sorts of people, understand 'men's issues', learn about journaling, meditation, etc...

posted at 21:31:10 on September 6, 2010 by gracefull
This may sound coarse--but ask for the Spirit as you read it...    
"Of course you know: you need to decide whether you truly want an eternal, spiritual, holy relationship with Heavenly Father and one of his beautiful daughters...or the relationship you have with videos and photos. If you truly want the former, you will do EVERYTHING in your power to follow him (think: what are you not doing that you CAN be doing?), and as you humbly do so, he will make weak things become strong.

Perhaps one of the things you are asking with your post is, "Is it possible for someone so tainted and unworthy as I am--and yet so honest about it--to marry in the temple and enjoy an eternal marriage?"

The answer is, of course, "NO!"

While we are tainted and unworthy, it is IMPOSSIBLE for us to enjoy an eternal marriage.

But through the atonement of Christ, if we have faith in him and turn our unmanageable lives over to him and serve him with all our heart, God will remove the taint and the unworthiness, and we most assuredly WILL enjoy an eternal marriage.

My wife knew about my addiction before she agreed to marry me. We were sealed in the temple as planned, a few months after I proposed. She has been on my team as my best friend and companion ever since. We are still working towards a truly eternal marriage, sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise, but I feel we are getting closer every day.

God is good. He loves you, and I am certain he DOES have a special person for you. My wife is a very special person. Yours is coming. Prepare yourself for her, and pray for her, wherever she is, that she is preparing herself for you."
posted at 22:52:17 on September 6, 2010 by BeClean
PS Don't wait    
"Don't wait for your own perfection before you date and seek a temple-worthy wife. That is exactly what Satan wants you to do--to continue sinning and to use your sins as an excuse to put off doing what is right.

Instead, immerse yourself in doing what you know you should be doing right now. That includes scripture study and prayer, church and (outside the) temple attendance, institute attendance, ARP attendance, and even dating in preparation for a temple marriage. Do everything you know you should be doing, and don't put it off.

You are not your addiction. You are so much more than your addiction. Start focusing on the other parts of yourself, and let God take care of the addiction while you serve him.

I suggest that you don't date anyone who can't marry you in the temple. That means not dating nonmembers, unless they are working to become members (which shouldn't take long). Of course, your date will be thinking the same thing about you--"Can he take me to the temple?" Serve God and work to become temple worthy, and you will be able to take her.

Should you tell your bride-to-be? I think we all agree unequivocally: YES!!! You do NOT keep this a secret from your future companion; you tell her EVERYTHING and never, ever hide anything from her. If one girl refuses to marry you when you tell her, keep serving God and keep looking. When and how do you tell? At the time and in the way that you decide, with God's approval, but definitely before the wedding invitations go out."
posted at 23:10:19 on September 6, 2010 by BeClean
"I love hearing it blunt, straight, unfiltered.... forgive me if my reply doesnt' make sense...I'm still trying to 'make some sense'

Here is what I heard... Do, Do, Do, Do, Do, Do, Do, Do
(that's what I've got from the ~20 bishops I've visited as well, so i've built up a shell against hearing that argument - None of them told me to 'Do Everything' though... that's a new one.

The funny thing is that, I think the 'razor's edge' of Mormonism requires you to GIVE everything - so I do agree with your theme of serve with all your heart, do everything,etc... It's part of what appeals to me so much... is that a small thing (in the world's eyes) like occasional porn/masturbation..... derails a man from dating/marrying in the LDS faith.

My problem with the nuclear option (DO EVERYTHING) ... (if it can even be said as a problem) is that I feel like I just get addicted to 'doing everything' and the CORE issues doesn't get solved. by the way, when I'm addicted to religion... REALLY addicted... I'm not exactly a great guy to be around either... prideful, judgemental, exclusionary, tightwad, constantly thinking of some grandiose 'Build the kingdom idea', constantly intellectualizing gospel doctrine to the nth degree, etc..etc... (NOT the type of girl I want to end up with)

God has whispered to me more than a few times... that I need to be willing to do everything to offer 'compete surrender' to him... which includes being willing to be unashamed of him and his gospel.
When I have been able to do that... I feel like a spiritual Ferrari.... the slightest sensitivities I can feel, miracles happen,etc... it scares me a bit to be honest. I just want to drive a toyota and live in the suburbs.

So.. letting someone see ALL of my spiritual balance sheet is really scary for me, because it's been my experience that it's better to play small, say you listen to John Mayer, Coldplay and get back in line.

to allow ALL of myself to be seen & to feel loved, regardless of that nights 'performance' might be a dream... but it seems like deep down the most honest wish of my soul.

I've been able to visit this Loving place a few times throughout my life to get a taste for it. Those precious few conversations with Good friends, 12 step groups, on the therapists couch, praying on a bench outside the temple, at a few evangelical services, and when reading the book of mormon/praying.

It's such a temptation... SUCH! a temptation to fire up my willpower engines and go in and give one for the gipper one more time...but I'm going to do some self-care and pass on the invite to Do everything now.

sometimes throughout my journey, all I've ever really wanted deep down was a friend, a helpmeet.., a fellow human being to just acknowledge that they TOO in fact have challenges and that it's ok.

great.. I'm crying now."
posted at 00:54:31 on September 7, 2010 by gracefull
Graceful, that was very insightful.    
"You just can't "do" your way into sobriety from addiction. We don't earn "grace". If only it were that simple. Gracefull, you nailed it-surrender. That is where it is at. And if we aren't at the point of surrender, we pray for the WILLINGNESS to surrender. Step One. I think you already know exactly what you need to "do". You don't need advice. I want to offer my friendship as a fellow addict who still goes through depressive spells, even at 9 years clean and sober. Good luck to you. Just remember, this, too, shall pass. Keep writing. You have a lot to offer the people on this site."
posted at 01:54:37 on September 7, 2010 by Anonymous
I'm not trying to tell you what to do, Bro.    
"You asked some questions in your post to those who have been sealed in the temple after admitting their addiction. I am one of those people, and I gave my answers to your questions in love, hoping I could help. Looking over what I wrote, I've included in my response certain things that have worked for me. That doesn't mean it will work for you in the same way, but I hope it helps.

I have found that I cannot overcome my addiction--but there are certain things in life I CAN do to show that I love Heavenly Father and that I want to follow him. When I do everything I CAN do, then I feel it is by grace that I am saved from those sins I could NOT overcome. I have found that when I focus on my addiction and focus on trying to get rid of it, it gets worse, but when I focus on losing my life to God, I receive the strength to overcome.

In my life, I had to come to a point where I wanted to be free from my addiction no matter what it took. At that point, I learned that I had no power over my addiction, but I did have power to serve God (and his children) in many other ways, and by immersing myself in that kind of service to him, I was able to show my sincere desire to be free to him, and he was then willing to free me. (He was always willing and able to free me, but I had to show my willingness to accept Him as my King and my Master, for I could only serve one master.)

Again, that has been my experience, and I share it with a desire for you to have the freedom and the helpmeet you are seeking. I am confident President Benson's words are true, "When we put God first, all other things fall into their proper place or drop out of our lives." As you truly seek to put God first in your life, your eternal marriage WILL fall into place, and your addiction WILL drop out of your life. YOU can't make these things happen, no matter how long or hard you have tried, but HE can make them happen.

So, I'm not inviting you to do EVERYTHING, because you can't do everything--I'm just inviting you to do everything you CAN; those invitations are different. Please don't pass on serving him with all your heart; give yourself to him and become His servant; pledge your mind, heart, body, and life to him, not counting the cost or requesting specific rewards. As you so sacrifice, he WILL bless you immeasurably.

And if you are not ready to give yourself in that way or to do whatever it takes to be free, then just start by doing what anonymous said, "pray for the WILLINGNESS to surrender."

I, too, hope to be your friend, and if my words come across sharply or offend you in any way, please forgive me. I have learned from this site that I am terribly clumsy at expressing myself and helping people, no matter my intentions. I am no one, nothing. I pray the Lord will help, bless, and guide you in the way you need, and I pray that something I write will be helpful to you or someone else.

posted at 08:17:58 on September 7, 2010 by BeClean
Clumsy maybe. Unhelpful no.    
"Sometimes your approach seems a little abrasive. BUT your doctrinal logic is often impeccable. God forbid you deprive us of that because you have a "weakness in writing" Mr. Clean. And if folks here are getting up-itty about...well almost anything...then they've probly never been in or dealt with the throws of addiction. Ya dig? (wrong place to be offended).

My guess is also that Graceful wasn't offended but rather iterating to his own conscience clarification and best course of action etc. Ain't nothin wrong with that.

Beclean with out looking into it I think I'm safe to say you have never let anyone have it worse then you did me when I first arrived and you know what? were spot on. Quit worrying or reserving (if you are) about and over offending peeps. Just keep slapping us in the face with that logic. We'll figure it out and come around :)"
posted at 17:16:51 on September 7, 2010 by They Speak
"Am I the only one who thought "its better to play small, say you listen to John Mayer and Coldplay and get back in line" was solid gold hilarity?!"
posted at 17:58:14 on September 7, 2010 by They Speak
NOT offended    
"definitely not offended....

I love the ability to simply TALK about these issues.. and get them out in the air.
I consider 'A safe place' to be absolutely ugly,beautiful, loud, quiet,etc... and still know that you have a friend afterwards.

When I felt like I could say anything to GOD (getting angry at him,etc... ) I felt my relationship with him went to another level.

I think that simply speaking our burdens... is in fact a way of praying always.
How can the universal 'body of christ' heal those painful points... if those points never say they have pain.

one of those great sayings "you're only as sick as your secrets" has run true in my life.
so... just to get those secrets out is a huge weight off my shoulders.

Beclean.. just know that I CAN do quite a lot (or so I think)

I'm a product of the 'IF you think you can, you can.. if you think you can't, you can't' self help generation... OR the "If you can dream it, you can do it"

7 Habits of highly effective yadda yadda was the 1rst book I read in my life.

So.. in my personal battle... I have to watch out for whiteboarding sessions and mind-mapping sessions on how I conquer this thing... oh yeah, I like playing chess... so I'm quite comfortable waiting for D4XE5 pawn move so I can gain an 1.55 point advantage... I think too much... I need to go out in the field and yell more..

that would be something I could DO!

I get your intentions... and they are good - great to be in relation with wonderful people like you guys... in fact, my favorite people in the world (besides 5 year old black comedians)"
posted at 18:58:34 on September 7, 2010 by gracefull
Really helpful    
"That's actually really good for guys like me to hear that from guys like you (six figures, well dressed, "I can listen to banana hands Tony Robins and unlike most fools actually 'get the edge'" types) Cause one of my stumbling blocks was because I sucked at thinking and growing rich in life AND morally I thought I just needed more discipline, to DO more...ya know? Like the big hitters at the office and my mission president. I needed to be like those guys that, like you just said about yourself, could do alot. But apparently with addiction self help/personal management doesn't work any better for winners then it does for losers. Anyway, don't know if that makes sense but its interesting to note that from top to bottom, from the most disciplined umong us to the least, the answer is niether "you suck do more" like I thought it was for me nor is it Ali "your the greatest! do more." like it appears it has been at times for you. Its "come unto Me and be perfected" maybe I'm wrong but that doesn't seem like doing much...and I think it works."
posted at 20:03:44 on September 7, 2010 by They Speak
Makes a lot of sense    
"That's a really great insight.

I've felt like Satan has had much better jiu-jitsu skills than I for a long time (spelled that wrong) fighter... he'll use my God given weakness to bi-polar qualities of PRIDE(I'm the greatest) and DEPRESSION (I suck!) and try to keep me pinned.

Never been able to get the Galations 5 scripture out of my head... 'moderation is a gift of the spirit" Boyd K. Packer gave a talk around this... that the everyday member of the church doesn't have to be Grandiose,etc... (I still feel the legacy of 1950's hierarchy management styles still linger in the church) but where 2 or 3 are gathered.. and visiting the fatherless/widows is what Christ said was good church/religion.

I feel the addict in me wants to be grandiose...and GET SOMETHING DONE! something BIG!
kind of like the new church ad campaign... Hey look at me I run the United Nations and have 3 kids, and _surf__, and __play the harp__ , and _run marathons__.

It's so easy to pretend like we know what 'perfection' is... but nobody really has a clue what it is ... because noone has seen it. 'the world knows nothing of its greatest men''

Joseph Smith kept trying to tell people he wasn't perfect... but nobody could really grasp that idea... The greatest man to me is not the mission president or even the prophet, per se. God is not a respector of persons, so why should we try to play that game?

because I was raised in a blue collar town, I will always be a fan of the underdog, the 'guy in the ring'. the guy who is trying... the guy who is trying to get up after getting punched down for the umpteenth time... the guy stumbling towards God, in the dark, all alone...the guy who is willing to take punches on behalf of his family....

these average, everday men and women who give their lives to God.. and then endure ridicule/shame for his name's sake... are the people I respect.

p.s. there was a study just released that said after 75K (combined) most people's happiness level doesn't really increase. good to have those stats handy... along with a few scriptures when telling Satan... that you can't do anything with money. hehe."
posted at 22:45:38 on September 7, 2010 by gracefull

Add a Comment:

***Anonymous User***     (login above to post UN-anonymously)

" Is it possible to reclaim a life that through reckless abandon has become so strewn with garbage that it appears that the person is unforgivable? Or what about the one who is making an honest effort but has fallen back into sin so many times that he feels that there is no possible way to break the seemingly endless pattern? Or what about the person who has changed his life but just can't forgive himself?The Atonement of Jesus Christ is available to each of us. His Atonement is infinite. It applies to everyone, even you. It can clean, reclaim, and sanctify even you. That is what infinite means—total, complete, all, forever. "

— Shayne M. Bowen

General Conference October 2006