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» Nauvoo Forum » Nauvoo Classic Forum » Mormon Life » Dr. Laura vs. other's opinions (kinda long)

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Author Topic: Dr. Laura vs. other's opinions (kinda long)
Opinion seeker
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So here's a question... I've struggled on and off with pronography for a long time, more off than on, but the internet has made the "on" times so much more accessable. Elder Oaks' conference talk really woke me up, and I've been "perfect" (in this regard, at least) since. I'd like to think that I'll be able to stay clean from this temptation, but knowing that I am mortal and have weaknesses, I realize that this may be a naive way of thinking.

I should note that I am married and a father and otherwise a very good Mormon, so to speak. My wife has no idea that I've given in to this temptation. If she did, she would be devastated and most likely blame herself and feel extreme guilt. I don't doubt that our marriage would survive if she knew, but I don't know that our relationship would, if that makes any sense.

I have not yet confessed this transgression to my Bishop, but I think I will. I have a sincere desire to be clean, and I have prayed mightily about this and feel the Spirit often, confirming that I am on the right track, if nothing else. I should note that my temple recommend is currently expired, and I know that my next temple recommend interview will elicit a discussion of this matter. Now assuming that I do go several months and stay clear of any and all contact with porn, overcoming my tendency to indulge in it, what's the right course of action? Dr. Laura, and several other people I know, say not to burden my wife with it. Why make her to suffer when it's "in the past" and the most prevelant impact that would have would just be to injure her and for her to wonder what she did wrong and all of that? I know my wife, and I know that she would feel anger towards me, but at least as much if not more towards herself.

I don't consider myself an addict, per se, as to me an addict is someone that can't go without, or that hungers for his next "fix" when he's not indulging. I have been tempted once or twice since deciding to become clean 2 1/2 weeks ago, but have not had a difficult time at all in resisting that temptation. It is indeed true that if you "resist the devil and he will flee from you." I have held long, involved, detailed conversations in prayer and feel that I am doing the right thing, but I just thought I'd put this out there for others' opinions.

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Homestar Runner
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Hi OpinionSeeker,

It sounds like you are on the right path. Congratulations on seeking to rid yourself of this influence in your life. I can tell you that you are in some very good company with this particular struggle. You might very well find yourself needing to expend energy to avoid this stuff for the remainder of your life here on earth. But, it sounds like it won't take that much energy, so I'm sure you'll do fine.

Your next step is indeed to confess to your Bishop. He has received training on this issue, he has access to the spirit to guide him, and most likely, he will have heard the exact same story from other members sitting in "the hot seat".

Here's my opinion about telling your wife: Ask your Bishop if you should. His answer will depend on your own personal circumstances and that of your family. Sometimes, a bishop will say yes, sometimes no. A big part of the answer will have to do with what you need to properly and fully repent - and that's just something we message-board readers can't say.

Let us know how it goes!
HSR

p.s. I really respect Dr. Laura, and agree with her about 90% of the time, but she can't read your heart either.

[ April 19, 2005, 03:36 PM: Message edited by: Homestar Runner ]

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Cindytee
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I’m familiar with Dr. Laura’s position that too many men (and women when the roles are reversed) relieve their own guilt by confessing to their wives, thus dumping the suffering on them. For this reason, she advocates not telling the wife if there’s no reason for her to know. My opinion on this (and I’ve heard Dr. Laura say so too) is that if there’s been adultery which brings a risk of AIDS, pregnancy, STDs or other consequences that could affect the other spouse and/or the whole family, then the wife should definitely be told. It is a risk to a wife’s health and even her life not to know if her husband has had an affair. However, in this situation, is there really anything to be gained by telling your wife? Will she be in a position to help you resist this temptation, or will it drive a wedge between you that will drive you further apart and possibly push you into further temptation? My advice is to talk to your Bishop NOW and let prayer and your Bishop’s counsel guide you.

I’m debating with myself over just how much to share here... but I’ve had an experience as a wife being hit with similar (but much, much worse) news. It was devastating, but I really believe I was much better off knowing. And just for the record, I handled it better than I thought I would. If you had asked me before hand, “If your husband ever came to you and said...?” my answer would have included the concept of murder. But when it actually happened, I cried, I ranted, and I figured out how to deal with it. ( It was my ex’s inability to resist further temptation that finally resulted in our divorce when I finally came to the conclusion that he had no intention of actually changing his habits.)

Please, don’t wait, go see the Bishop NOW.

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Jason
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If you have completely overcome this and there is no possibility of reverting, then you don't need to tell your wife. If you are going to struggle and want her help, then talk with your bishop about your situation and follow his counsel. Praying and fasting will help, as well as attending the temple often, once a week. Spend extra computer time doing family history work.
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Fiona
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First, I want to echo the good wishes expressed earlier in this thread. I hope you can put your past behind you, and I believe that you can if you make the effort.

However, be aware that you may face a very long road ahead. You've stated that you've been "clean" since conference earlier this month, and that's great. You didn't mention how long you've been struggling with the problem, though, but 2 and a half weeks really isn't very long.

My former husband struggled with similar problems for many years - certainly the entire time we were married (nearly 20 years) and probably still struggles. He freqently went months and years without any trouble (sometimes described in the literature as "acting in"), and then something would get triggered and he'd have a cycle of "acting out".

If you are sincere about wanting to stop, and I'm certain you are, it will be a constant battle for you that may take years to overcome. I suspect your wife would want to help you, or at least be aware of the problem.

Good luck.

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KathrynHJanitor
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If you're so inclined, there's a book being serialized in Meridian Magazine that addresses just this subject. The writer is a man who was addicted to pornography for years, and who finally kicked the addiction by going through the 12-Step program that was invented for Alcoholics Anonymous.

I don't know if your problem is going to resurface, but if it does you are not alone. Here is the link to Clean Hands, Pure Heart if you'd like to read the book from the beginning.


KHK

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DeseretRose
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I have a picture of the prophet in my living room about keeping the white in our lives....that means dirty smutty things such as porno, bad language, and the filth of TV and the internet. Even when my boyfriend wants to use a few swear words I remind him where he is at and I have to call him to repentance quite a bit. Sooner or later he will take the hint to keep his filthy mouth out of my house.

The same goes when we go to the House of the Lord.
If we want to go into his house he doesn't want filth in his house. That is why we have the atonement. Forsake the sin and forget it and repent repent repent. I'd talk to your bishop and I'd get rid of everything trashy that tempts you. If you are tempted, pray and tell Satan to depart and he has to leave.

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Homestar Runner
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Jason wrote: "If you have completely overcome this and there is no possibility of reverting..."

I'm thinking that your average fallible error-prone human being doing time on planet earth will never reach such a lofty state as long as his heart beats in his chest. The natural man can be controlled, but I've yet to see someone rid themselves of him.

HSR

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JimClay
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Opinion seeker,
If you are able to stay away from pornography and the rest, good for you.

If you "slip" and go back to it, then I would say it's time to end the denial and get some help. The 12 step program that Kathryn referred to is called Sexaholics Anonymous. The website is www.sa.org.

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GiantMutant
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Opinion seeker,

First, I want to thank you for being willing to reach out for help and perspectives other than your own. Keeping that as a skill will go a long way towards helping you. In fact, reaching out to your bishop for his help and perspective is the right thing to do.

I like to shy away from giving advice, especially on something so critical as your marriage, so I will leave the topic of whether to tell your wife up to more qualified people than I. In fact, I think you have all the tools you need to make a decision, without my advice.

It is a form of advice, but I just want to point out a couple of resources that I think may be useful to you.

They are:

LDSR Clean-LDS

You will find articles, information, therapist listings, and support forums there.

Regarding whether you are an addict or not, I also am reluctant to give you any advice. I'm not qualified to make diagnoses.

Let me, however, describe to you the criteria for a diagnosis of addiction. These ideas are based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychological Association.

There are several levels of use that have different diagnoses and classifications.

If you've never indulged, you are abstinent.

If you have indulged, but don't do it regularly and don't seek it out, you are an experimenter.

If you use it occasionally and sometimes seek it out, you are a casual user.

If you have a pattern of seeking it out and using it regularly, you are a habitual user. The pattern doesn't have to be once every whatever. The pattern could be related to things like stress.

If you seek it out and have a pattern of regular use AND you do it despite negative consequences, you are an abuser.

If you seek it out, have a pattern of regular use, use it despite negative consequences, and use it despite all of your efforts to abstain, you are an addict.

I don't know you nearly well enough to place you in those levels, so I'll just leave it at that for you to think about.

One thing that is a major determinant is the idea of using despite negative consequences. I also think of it as using something despite compelling reasons to not use it. In our case, as Latter-day Saints, our doctrine and faith provide compelling reasons to avoid pornography. Using it despite those compelling reasons is fairly good evidence that it has gone beyond a mere habit.

If you seek it out, as opposed to accidentally stumbling onto it, you are more than an experimenter.

The good news is, my friend, you don't have to struggle alone. There is so much good help out there. You only need to reach out and take advantage of it.

One thing to beware of is the notion that you can conquer this with mere will power. I recommend Willpower Is Not Enough (Deseret Book) by Byrd and Chamberlain.

Rex

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pnr
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If you are proposing to dump this on your spouse to relieve your own guilt, you are contemplating sinning again.

But if that is not what you are thinking (after careful reflection), then please consider that she probably already knows. If she is close to the Lord, she has already felt the change in spirit your pornography has wrought in you. She has noted that your temple recommend has lapsed. She has probably noted other things and may be greatly relieved to know that you have come to recognize your sin and begin repenting.

For some couples this discussion results in the first conversation the parties have ever had about intimacy in the marriage (because use of pornography by LDS men sometimes starts because they perceive that their partner is unwilling/unable to be as frequently or variably intimate as he would like, and inability to communicate and negotiate such issues).

While people may use the disconnects in intimacy needs as an excuse, it never justifies sin. But the discussion, particularly if helped with some of the books that Deseret Books has published lately about intimacy, can address these underlying issues at the point that the sin has ceased.

While I would have no objection to waiting a period of time so that the spouse would have seen a change in my behavior, I do not think that information of this type should be kept from the innocent spouse, not only because the spouse may be imagining worse, but also because the spouse needs to have agency in dealing with the breach in trust.

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everdaygrace
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Please get help from your Bishop and a qualified therapist. We are a bunch of strangers on a board. Telling your wife may or may not be what they direct you to do. If you do end up telling her at their direction she will need their guidance and support in dealing with your confession.

She will also need support as she makes choices about how she wants to handle this and deals with her feelings of humiliation and betrayal. Get help for both of your sakes.

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trooperswife
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what grace said. Twice. You really need to seek the counsel of a priesthood authority on what is needed to make yourself right with the Lord and your wife.
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Seeker
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I don't recommend telling your wife. This can very well sow seeds of distrust in her for the rest of your relationship. If this did not involve her, then don't, she is your wife, not your bishop. I think it would take a rock solid woman not to be affected by this and still maintain a strong relationship because of the innate emotional makeup. Most likely you would do more harm than good. If you are looking to lighten your load, that is what your bishop is for, not your wife.

Odds are she will forever wonder what you saw in those women over her, or is she as beautiful as them, or such things. It won't matter if you turned to that because intimacy was missing in your marriage or you just did it for fun. If you are looking to fix things, leave her out or the only thing you will do is make a bad situation worse or most likely create a whole new set of problems.

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Opinion seeker
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I sincerely appreciate all of the responses. I will be seeing my bishop and will take it from there. I know it's the right thing to do, and I've really not been tempted much at all since I've made the decision to go "cold turkey." It's a little like coffee or alcohol now,... I just don't feel any affinity there at all, at least at the moment. I apprecitae all your support and I'm glad I stumbled onto these boards!
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jj2
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I am happy you are on the right track to clean up your life. Please don't tell your wife.

My father was a serial cheater and each time he "repented" , he confessed to my mother. ALl it did was devestate her, make her doubt herself and cause disharmony in the home. Now I am not comparing the two except in the consequence to your wife.

If you are truly passed this. Move and devout your life to your marriage and family.

Jeanne J

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poorjanitor
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I wouldnt tell dr laura. I dont listen to her much. Some of the things are pretty personal I think. That are on national radio. I wouldnt want them in public.
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panamajones
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quote:
I don't recommend telling your wife. This can very well sow seeds of distrust in her for the rest of your relationship.
By this line of reasoning I shouldn't tell her about my multiple affairs, my drug addiction or the bodies I have buried under the house. Two scriptures come powerfully to mind:

quote:
D&C 121: 37
. . . but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, . . . behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.

and

quote:
D&C 58: 43
By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins—behold, he will confess them and forsake them.

I agree that it is good to follow the Bishop's advice, as every situation is unique, but when you are married, and even more particularly in the temple, you have made certain covenants of trust that, when breached, are between the husband and wife and must be repaird by the two, not just one.
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MeliLI
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Start with the bishop, but part of repentance is in recompense to those that were harmed, and this probably does include your wife at some level.

But definitely start with the bishop, though I would invite the wife with you to the meeting, probably after a solo talk.

This isn't a minor issue and needs to be treated with the seriousness that major sin deserves, but congrats on recognizing the sin and turning your back on it.

Melinda

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