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  1. bclaggett

    Do I Tell My Wife?

    You need closure on this one way or another. Is there more going on than what you write? You slipped, you stopped, you repented, you changed jobs, you've been sin-free since. I'm a bit puzzled that your wife would divorce you over something that is now history. Was she betrayed before by someone else? Did you ever give her reason to think you might stray during dating or otherwise? She seems unusually emtionally charged about anything remotely threatening your marriage. Is she jealous of other things? If you sincerely believe it's either-- a) tell her and the marriage is over or b) keep it to myself to keep the marriage what kind of marriage do you have? Even if you don't tell her, are there issues in the marriage you want to improve? When I have hard decisions to make, I follow the counsel of my first bishop: study the issue out in my mind, gathering all available relevant information. Make my best decision. Submit it to the Lord and listen for His answer. Do I get the Holy Ghost touching me telling me it's true, a negative response, a stupor of thought (a numbness or no answer), or what? Let us know what happens, we care. B
  2. bclaggett

    Life is a Struggle

    Anonymous, I've been in your shoes. Here's what strength, experience, and hope I have to offer. -- See your bishop and seek his counsel. Be prepared though, your bishop may be more or less understanding and compassionate. I've told two bishops about my addiction. They encouraged me to go to the temple more often. That didn't help. I found they were uncomfortable talking about the issue and uninformed. They didn't follow up with me and I didn't follow up with them. -- Seek help ASAP. Join the LDS porn/sexual addiction group in your area and keep going even if you slip. You will need outside help and accountability to stay sober. -- Forgive yourself. I've read that porn addiction is one of the hardest to kick, even when compared to drugs. More than that, I've experienced it. It's like the experience creates tracks in your brain that just must get re-filled. Technically, it's the endorphines, the same high you get from sexual release. Since your relationship with your wife is a challenge, this creates additional hazard for you. You might rationalize your behavior. It's all addiction talking. My family history is full of alcoholics. I just get hit by a different strain of addiction. It sure keeps me humble, I'm grateful for that. -- Don't stop stopping. Repent as many times as it takes. I was confused by stories that I wasn't really "ready" to repent if I slipped again, or that I hadn't repented seriously enough, etc. Balderdash. Repent. Stop. If you slip, repent, stop. And again. You WILL win. -- Make sure your computer is in a public part of the home. Keep the door open and the screen facing the door. Don't go online at times that you know you are tempted, like late at night, or whenever that is for you. -- Filters help. I suggest you install FireFox and then make Internet Explorer shortcuts on your computer account as difficult to find as possible, or remove all shortcuts to it from your account. Using FireFox install the addon called "FoxFilter." It's effective and has a master password feature you can give your wife access to. Here's a link: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/4351 Filters are just a tool. As any experienced addict knows, they can be gotten around. Do everything above though and the filters will help. -- You are not alone. Many, many LDS (and non-LDS) men have the same struggle. Just earlier today I had to reconfirm my decision not to click on the keys that would lead me to sin again. I read this (paraphrased) quote earlier tonight and it gave me hope: "A man is only free when he is his own master." Material things are great. But coming to a point when you are master of yourself is much greater. Let us know how you are doing. We care. You are in my prayers, buddy. (Do the same for me, will ya?) -B
  3. bclaggett

    Accept TWO callings, or not?

    Here's the latest: I spoke earlier tonight with the Stake High Council member who has extended the call as Ward Membership Clerk. I expressed my conflict given my time constraints. He had no idea that the Bishop had issued another calling to me as well. So he said he'd talk with the Bishop and get back to me. I was until last Monday working full-time, and that well-paying contract job unfortunately ended unexpectedly, two months early. I also work 3-4 evenings a week on a personal business that is our economic future. I am also a leader in a youth program that takes up several hours a week and one weekend a month. I have a testimony that both of these -- the personal business and the youth programs -- are "callings" that God has given to me. On top of everything else, my wife has a prolapsed bladder (stage 1) that is going to need surgery at some point -- this year or next. This requires hospitilization. I pay my own health insurance premiums now and the out of pocket for her surgery would be around $7000-$10,000. Which we don't have. Our premium is going up about 20% next month to $821. We are also considering whether to put our house on the market. We live in the foreclosure epicenter of the U.S., San Joaquin County, California. Our house on 1 1/2 acres of land outside of town, purchased for $630,000 4 years ago, might bring $500,000 IF we could find a buyer. Comparably sized homes in town are selling for $300,000 and up. Few people want to pay a premium for extra land. Selling it quickly is extremely unlikely. A friend at church who also lives in the country on 2 acres has had his house on the market for 1 1/2 years and in that time has had 5 prospective buyers look at the house. I began to refinance the house when I landed the contract job; now that it's ended, I cannot get the job verification required for the loan. Our 5 year fixed loan floats to an ARM in August, meaning the payment rises considerably. I was going to take some extra money out and pay off $21,000 in credit card debt we'd accumulated during the past year while I've been unemployed. Ouch. All of which is to say my mind is weighted with very difficult decisions. I feel like my family's economic survival is on the line. My wife, the died-in-the-wool Mormon, can't believe I just don't automatically say yes to both callings. She sees a lot of things in a rather black-and-white mode. My health insurance agent is encouraging me to provide some less than legal paperwork to push through better insurance coverage for my wife's bladder problem, and my mortgage broker is encouraging similar paperwork to qualify for the refinance. When I told my wife I was trying to figure out whether I should do this or not -- I don't feel comfortable about it, but maybe you can see the pressure I feel -- she basically told me that because I didn't automatically say yes to both callings that I have been led into temptation by the devil to consider creating the false paperwork to get better insurance and the refinance. I reminded her without getting too mad that Brigham Young taught us to get a witness about what our leaders tell us and that's what I am up to. One piece of good news: I have landed a new client for my personal business so I'm working on that project that might mean a month's income. I'm focused on the solutions and keeping the wolves from the door. I know that God is watching out for us and answers our prayers. But do keep me in your thoughts and prayers! B
  4. Hey congratulations on turning down what sounded like a deal from the Dark Side! You don't mention family. I've been in your shoes, without work for a year until I recently landed a 3-month contract. We have four sons at home and my wife hasn't worked outside the home since our first was born 15 years ago. The contract I have is good pay, but it'll end March 15, and then I'm back to unemployment and drumming up some personal clients. Turning down a job is not easy to do. So keep honing those skills -- volunteer to use them in some capacity so you can get it on your resume. Network a lot, let everyone you know that you are looking for work, check Craigslist in BC. Be open to different opportunities outside your main strengths. B
  5. bclaggett

    Accept TWO callings, or not?

    Thanks for your informative and thoughtful reply. I am going to put this to prayer. I don't feel "inclined" to accept both callings, and am torn between the enjoyment I know I will derive from working with the 10 year old boys and the responsibility for preparing and delivering quality meetings, and with the simple show-up-and-get-it-done responsibility of the membership clerk. So I don't know what's right and will listen for the Lord's input. I understand that we sometimes receive callings that we don't look forward to and that will help us to grow as individuals as we give it our best. I don't always understand the Lord's plans for me. I do trust He knows what is best for me and that He will bless me as I am obedient and ready to receive those blessings. As I've gathered information, I was heartened to read this: "President Brigham Young said something to the effect that 'the greatest fear I have is that the people of this Church will accept what we say as the will of the Lord without first praying about it and getting the witness within their own hearts that what we say is the word of the Lord.' " (Harold B. Lee, Stand Ye In Holy Places, pp. 162-3, paraphrasing from Journal of Discourses 9:130) So I'll pray about it and talk to the Bishop on Sunday, and let you all know the outcome. B
  6. bclaggett

    Accept TWO callings, or not?

    Magazine rep was that distasteful? I can't imagine it being that difficult, unless your ward/bishop put some high pressure into it.
  7. bclaggett

    Accept TWO callings, or not?

    And what is your calling?
  8. bclaggett

    Accept TWO callings, or not?

    It's funny you should suggest I "level" with him -- I'm not trying to hide anything. But there's a paradox in your suggestion: if the Bishop is inspired by God when he selected me, as he's supposed to be, then God already knows what else I'm doing. If the calling is from God, then why do I need to explain these temporal affairs to the Bishop? I think this neatly illustrates the dilemma of the cultural (or is it doctrinal?) mandate that tells members to accept whatever calling you are given without question. When I told the Brother from the Stake that I would have to pray about it, he had a "deer in the headlights" look on his face that I will remember for a long time. (It was kind of funny actually.)
  9. bclaggett

    Accept TWO callings, or not?

    I was released from one calling on Sunday and asked to take on two to replace it. When I got the early Sunday morning phone call to come in for a meeting with the Bishop, I told myself I would not decide until I had time to submit the decision to prayer. That's where I'm at, and I'd like some input from other members. Would you take on two callings if it potentially conflicted with your family's economic livelihood and your personal callings in life? I was released Sunday from the Young Men's presidency after about one year as Scoutmaster and 2nd Counselor. This has been a challenging calling with only 5 - 8 Aaronic Priesthood youth who attend YM during the week, but I've done the best I could, though I grew up a non-member in traditional Scouting and think it's much better. So I was asked first in a meeting with the Bishop to become the Weblos leader. He said I can do it pretty much any night of the week I want. He told me they had another calling in mind for me as well, and that a brother from the Stake would be issuing that call. I told the Bishop I had concerns about being able to fulfill two callings: I've been largely unemployed for the past year. (If my father had not given us a significant gift, we would likely have lost our house. The Bishop knows my tithing total, so he's not completely ignorant of my situation.) I told the Bishop that taking care of my family's needs has got to come first. (We have four sons 8-14.) He said let's wait on the Weblos calling and you talk to the brother from the Stake. The Brother from the Stake asks me if I am willing to "accept a calling to serve the Lord" or something like that. Talk about putting you in a box. Of course I said yes. Then he asked if I would serve as Ward Membership Clerk. "What's it involve?" I ask. "Two to three hours a week updating records, people moving in, people moving out, entering new callings..." he said. "Well, I could do that..." I ventured. (Keeping records is a no-brainer, I thought to myself. I already know most of the software.) "Great, let's get your wife in here..." and I stopped him. "Please understand, I promised myself I would study any calling offered me and submit it to prayer before I accepted." He was definitely shocked. He listened to my reasoning and then brought my wife in. He explained the calling, and I deferred my decision as I said I would. During Sacrament meeting the Weblos leader was called to replace me as 2nd Counselor, and they called a new fellow to fill the empty 1st Counselor position. My wife is Pioneer stock; I'm a convert of 16+ years. She's a bit taken aback that I would even consider saying "no" to a calling. I told her what she already knows: I have received personal revelation from God that He has two great callings for me that have nothing do do with church: the first is a business He has called me to build, and the second is an organization He has called me to lead. Each requires, depending on the week, from 5-10 hours of time per week. My business requires 2-3 evenings a week and at least one Saturday a month. My responsibilities to the organization take me out of town for a weekend once a month, and I will spend two full weeks next summer with that organization. Both of these are demanding and my Bishop knows nothing of them. Before I converted, my first bishop taught me to always study out my decisions and submit them to the Lord for confirmation. Brigham Young taught "the greatest fear I have is that the people of this Church will accept what we say as the will of the Lord without first praying about it and getting the witness within their own hearts that what we say is the word of the Lord." (Harold B. Lee, Stand Ye In Holy Places, pp. 162-3, "The Prophet, Seer, and Revelator," Address delivered to seminary and institute teachers, BYU, July 8, 1964) So I am studying and gathering information about the two callings before I make a decision and submit it to prayer. We have a smaller ward and there are not enough warm, active bodies to go around. I believe I could manage the Weblos calling. I called a former membership clerk and asked him how much time he put in each week. “12-15 hours,” he said. “Visiting new move-ins to verify their address, to get a phone number, track down families who have moved with no forwarding address…” and just simple record-keeping, printing reports, updating records. That time requirement was a bit of a shock. I’m anxious to let the Bishop and the Brother from the Stake know what Heavenly Father has answered. I know He will give me direction. Has anyone else ever said "no" to a calling with a clean conscience? Let me know what you think!