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guitarchick1990

Please help!

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Hello, it's 1:36 am on a Wednesday (morning?) and I'm coming to you guys in desperation.

Let's start this story from the very beginning.

To warn you, this will be very "tl;dr", but please read anyway :(

When I was about 7 or 8 years old, I had a friend who introduced me to the world of pornography. Yes, I was really that young. I don't want to blame all of my problems on this, but I would be lying if I said a part of me didn't think that was the source of it.

Anyway, after only a couple of times at age 7, I didn't think much of it. I would have weird feelings inside for a long time that I couldn't explain whenever I saw something inappropriate.

When I was 12 years old, while looking up Halloween costumes, I saw some very risque costumes. I basically ended up on a website with even more risque things (no nudity, just very risque).

I can't even explain to you the tears I shed from this experience. The guilt just ate away at me. I convinced myself this sin wasn't enough to tell the Bishop. I rationalized it, saying that I was only 12, I didn't know better. I made every excuse in my head I could think of.

Now, I am 17, and I have ventured into porn. Videos, pictures, ect- although I have done it a small amount of times for the past 5 years (I'd say about 10 different instances, which I guess is a lot... but when you think of it over the span of 5 years, not too much)... but recently, I've just been feeling it lately. The addiction I guess is the feeling. Just the urge, if you will. And I know it's because just about 6 months ago, I masturbated for the first time.

The reason I am here is simple.

I am DONE.

I wouldn't say that I am addicted to porn. I am more than ready to stop this terrible thing. I want to talk to my Bishop so badly and repent and stop the guilt from gnawing at my brain before I sleep (that's exactly what was happening right before I found this site).

But I have some reservations.

1) I do NOT want my parents to know. I love and trust my parents dearly, but I just can't disappoint them like this. I know it sounds contradictory, but I love the church. I go to church, read my scrips, go to seminary, say prayers, all of it... but this is just a problem I struggle with. And... I just feel like they don't need to know. I don't want them to get the wrong idea and stop trusting my others siblings who I know do not do this. So, is that okay that I don't tell them?

2) For those who have already confessed things to their bishop: do they look at you differently? I'm sure they do, they must... but... I just don't want people to look down on me for these stupid mistakes I've made. I love my Bishop so much, he's a really great guy. I'm just really scared of disappointment and resentment.

3) For those who have confessed: do you feel like you're completely forgiven? Is the guilt really gone? Because a part of me thinks that this feeling I get will never go away.

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1) I do NOT want my parents to know. I love and trust my parents dearly, but I just can't disappoint them like this.

You'll get some divided opinions here on the board about the necessity of talking with your parents. Some will say it's a vital aspect because you sinned against them, others disagree. I fall into the latter camp.

2) For those who have already confessed things to their bishop: do they look at you differently? I'm sure they do, they must... but... I just don't want people to look down on me for these stupid mistakes I've made. I love my Bishop so much, he's a really great guy. I'm just really scared of disappointment and resentment.

You're conflating looking at someone differently with looking down on someone. If your Bishop now looks at you with greater understanding, compassion, love, and patience he's looking at you differently.

3) For those who have confessed: do you feel like you're completely forgiven? Is the guilt really gone? Because a part of me thinks that this feeling I get will never go away.

As negative an impact they can have on you sexual sin is not an unforgivable sin. Ultimately feeling forgiven after true and honest repentance is a matter of trusting the atonement.

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Focus on talking with your bishop. He'll help you. It may be that later you will feel ready to speak with your parents. I recommend you also join an Addiction Recovery Program in your area, or at least use the manual as a guide to overcoming. It is available for download (PDF) from providentliving.org look under Family Services.

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You're doing the right thing by addressing this now. I was about 7 the first time I saw a nude woman in a movie at a friends house, and to this day I still remember every detail about it. At that young age, something that forbidden and "naughty" gets etched into your head immediately.

Without getting in to the details, I have confessed far worse things to my bishop. When talking about it, he let me know that one of the spiritual gifts given to him as a Bishop (This was for him personally, not necessarily for all Bishops), was one of forgetting. Once the repentance process is completed, it's completely out of his mind.

Your bishop will be very understanding, and he'll guide you through this. He might encourage you to talk to your parents about it, and that may or may not be the best thing for you, but he will not tell them. Having someone around you that understands something you're struggling with can be a big help, and you may want to do that at some point.

He can also send you to a counselor if the two of you think it might be helpful, and the Church can pay for it if necessary. There are a lot of emotional and psychological issues behind pornography addiction, and while it certainly doesn't sound like you're an "addict" at this time, it does seem that the potential is there.

I think people don't truly understand how amazing the atonement is until they experience something like this, and see just how much they need it. I hid a lot of secrets for a long, long time. The guilt even kept me from going back to Church, keeping me away for years. I finally hit rock bottom and had nowhere else to turn. I had plenty of other issues I was dealing with, and had been meeting with my Bishop regularly. He didn't pressure me, but told me to let him know when I felt I was ready to return to the temple. After a few meetings, I told him everything that I had done. After that first meeting, right after I stood up, he asked me, "Do you feel it? That weight you've been carrying?". I truly did. As cheesy as it sounds, it felt like this huge burden I had been carrying around for years was a little lighter, like I wasn't the only one carrying it. It took a lot longer for the guild to be gone completely, but at that moment I knew that it would be.

Edited by clevermoniker

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Without getting in to the details, I have confessed far worse things to my bishop. When talking about it, he let me know that one of the spiritual gifts given to him as a Bishop (This was for him personally, not necessarily for all Bishops), was one of forgetting. Once the repentance process is completed, it's completely out of his mind.

After that first meeting, right after I stood up, he asked me, "Do you feel it? That weight you've been carrying?". I truly did. As cheesy as it sounds, it felt like this huge burden I had been carrying around for years was a little lighter, like I wasn't the only one carrying it. It took a lot longer for the guild to be gone completely, but at that moment I knew that it would be.

I think these are beautiful. I really hope someday I can feel this.

And I honestly don't think I'm addicted. I can stop, I know I can. The times I did, I just did it because I was being stupid. I can't explain it... but I just know I'm ready to never do it again.

Edited by guitarchick1990

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I'm sorry, but I don't exactly understand.

Looking at someone differently is not the same thing as looking down on someone. While looking down at something (assuming a change of state) is looking at someone differently it doesn't follow that if someone looks at you differently they are looking down at you.

To make a cheesy clear cut example:

I look at you with love 5.

You tell me something.

I look at you with love 15.

I am looking at you differently but it's most certainly not looking down at you.

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Looking at someone differently is not the same thing as looking down on someone. While looking down at something (assuming a change of state) is looking at someone differently it doesn't follow that if someone looks at you differently they are looking down at you.

To make a cheesy clear cut example:

I look at you with love 5.

You tell me something.

I look at you with love 15.

I am looking at you differently but it's most certainly not looking down at you.

Okay, I understand. I was mostly afraid he would look down on me. You're saying he wont?

I really hope he doesn't and will be like clevermoniker's bishop and can forget my sins later.

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Okay, I understand. I was mostly afraid he would look down on me. You're saying he wont?

I really hope he doesn't and will be like clevermoniker's bishop and can forget my sins later.

Honestly, he's probably dealt with so many pornography confessions by now that he won't be all that surprised.

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Your bishop would be surprised if you had NOT seen porn or masturbated. So if you feel it'll help you, do not fear talking to the bishop--he has undoubtedly already had plenty of other people confess to him, so you will not surprise or shock him. Unless he just barely got called to be a bishop for the first time, of course! ;)

Other people will disagree with me on this--and that's ok--but frankly, I think many Mormons get a little carried away with the guilt over "small potatoes" stuff like masturbation and pornography. I mean, if viewing porn consumes hours of your time on a regular basis, interferes with your work and family life, etc., then sure, you have a problem and need to do something about it. But if you just look at it occasionally, in the privacy of your own home, and it doesn't hurt anybody else, then maybe it's not such a big problem. And honestly, because of how human psychology works, worrying too much over something like that can actually make the problem worse, the old "don't think about white elephants" conundrum.

But that's just my point of view, not yours. You know what's best for you, and if you feel that talking to the bishop can help assuage your guilt or overcome your problem, by all means, go ahead. I think you'll find him understanding and sympathetic. (Unless you're gay, in which case you'll be lucky to find a sympathetic bishop, though they do exist. But that's a topic for another thread.)

Good luck, my friend! :)

HEP

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Another question: What exactly do I have to tell my Bishop?

I mean, I will obviously say I've looked/watched the porn. Do I have to say the amount of time? Do I have to venture into the masturbation?

I think I'm gonna go call him right now.

He's probably going to ask you for a few details, just so he can understand the full extent. I would expect him to ask how many times, and he will probably ask you about the masturbation as well.

I know how you must be feeling right now, it really is terrifying. I remember how much I was dreading it, and my heart truly goes out to you. You really will feel better the second it is over, and probably much sooner than that. I believe you'll be able to look back on it as a positive experience overall.

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Something very important to remember in times like these is that this is really between you and your Heavenly Father. The Bishop is simply his servant here on Earth, a support, if you will, to help get you through this. So don't hesitate to use him to greatest extent possible.

Regarding your parents, telling them would be the best thing to do. They're the ones who could help you the most, and I assure you that their love for you will far outweigh any disappointment they might feel in the moment. Being honest to such a degree will show them just how much you love and trust them, and could even prove to strengthen your relationship with them.

In any case, the last thing you want to do is fight this battle on your own. You will lose. It is difficult to swallow one's pride and admit openly to someone else that they have a problem this personal--but I can assure you that the Lord will openly bless you if you trust in Him, and have the courage to put aside the social consequences-aspect of the issue (which, I assure you, are going to be blown way out of proportion in your mind).

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Other people will disagree with me on this--and that's ok--but frankly, I think many Mormons get a little carried away with the guilt over "small potatoes" stuff like masturbation and pornography. I mean, if viewing porn consumes hours of your time on a regular basis, interferes with your work and family life, etc., then sure, you have a problem and need to do something about it. But if you just look at it occasionally, in the privacy of your own home, and it doesn't hurt anybody else, then maybe it's not such a big problem.

HEP

...Pornography has been described mutltiple times as a plague. Does a plague sound like a 'small potatote." ? We've been directed to flee from it, avoid it, run, hide ect.

Go see the bishop. He loves you. Really. You'll feel so much better.

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There are people who say the spread of democracy is a plague. That doesn't mean they're right.

I compare it to the consumption of alcoholic beverages. There is a huge difference between occasionally having a glass of wine with dinner, and being an alcoholic. I'm just saying that just because a person may have looked at porn a few times, doesn't mean it's the end of the world. Let's not blow things out of proportion.

However, I certainly do acknowledge that porn use, like alcohol use, can easily get out of hand and wreck lives. So people should use their judgment, and get help if they need it.

But let's not assume that a person is a horrible evil sinner simply for having looked at pictures of naked ladies a couple of times.

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There are people who say the spread of democracy is a plague. That doesn't mean they're right.

I compare it to the consumption of alcoholic beverages. There is a huge difference between occasionally having a glass of wine with dinner, and being an alcoholic. I'm just saying that just because a person may have looked at porn a few times, doesn't mean it's the end of the world. Let's not blow things out of proportion.

However, I certainly do acknowledge that porn use, like alcohol use, can easily get out of hand and wreck lives. So people should use their judgment, and get help if they need it.

But let's not assume that a person is a horrible evil sinner simply for having looked at pictures of naked ladies a couple of times.

The problem with this logic is that it's exactly how alcoholics or porn addicts are formed. When one gets right down to it, neither alcohol nor porn are necessities in any way, shape, or form (raging hormones or no). Not to mention that any member of the church has made covenants to avoid these things, so giving in will inevitably lead to a loss of the spirit.

I'm sorry, but there's just no room to be lax about these issues. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that those who do give into this type of behavior are terrible people--we're all sinners and prone to such misgivings. And it can be very hard to remain completely removed from this sort of thing. But attitude plays a vital role in overcoming and avoiding pornography and masturbation, so it goes without saying that any justification will be taken to the extreme so as to render a person totally incapable of breaking free from this vicious cycle.

Edited by EricM

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I compare it to the consumption of alcoholic beverages.

I compare it to the consumption of dog crap or arsenic. There is no healthful, recommended amount.

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I compare it to the consumption of dog crap or arsenic. There is no healthful, recommended amount.

There is no natural human craving for dog crap or arsenic, so perhaps a better comparison is called for.

If a craving for dog crap or arsenic is something you personally struggle with, I suggest seeking medical attention :)

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There is no natural human craving for dog crap or arsenic, so perhaps a better comparison is called for.

Nor is there a natural human craving for much of the filth, sexual and otherwise, with which we are constantly inundated. It's an acquired taste. Given the discriminatory analysis to which many people grade the tastiness of fermented fruit juices and curdled milk, I have little doubt one could become a veritable connoisseur of dog crap, or pornography.

There is no safe amount.

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3) For those who have confessed: do you feel like you're completely forgiven? Is the guilt really gone? Because a part of me thinks that this feeling I get will never go away.

It is also important to remember that part of the forgiveness process is forgiving yourself! Without self-forgiveness the guilt will always be with you.

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Yes, forgiving yourself will possibly be your biggest challenge. But it is needed so you can completely let go of the guilt.

I would not tell your parents yet...... Get to your Bishop and the relief of confession that goes with talking to him. Then, be prayerful......if you have parents that would just make it worse for you, I'd not go in that direction right now.....and I'm a parent giving you these ideas to think over prayerfully. Some parents 'freak out', making the entire situation soooo much worse.

The Spirit is obviously warning you: 'these challenges are not the road for you".

Dear one, I will say that life presents us with many weaknesses, as we are human. I was an adult before I ever masturbated.....the guilt was horrible.....it's a long gone/repented of problem now, but it was not a happy time at all, for sure. I wanted to be clean and that act did not make me feel clean.

We have the Savior and His Atonement to help us through every weakness and trial. Give Him your problem, put it in His mighty Hands, talk to Him about how you feel, then watch as your problem melts in His Mighty Loving Hands.

God bless you.......hugs........

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I also have an experience i would like to share. Well, when i was thirteen years old my uncle became the bishop, at school my friends (non mormon) would all talk about pornography and masturbation, i tried my hardest to resist, but unfourtunatley I gpt tempted and i started to do it more and more. I am now fourteen and yesterday was our temple recommend interviews. I got extremley nervous when he asked me "do you have any unsolved issues with the bishop?" (the bishops my uncle) and so i got nervous, and unfourtunatley i lied. After wednesday activity i felt very guilty, and so i sent a facebook message to the first counsellor of our church(who had gaven me the interview) i basically told him that i lied on my recommend test and told him i had some problems regarding the law of chastity and that i didnt feel comftorable talking to the bishop (my uncle) about these issues. He has yet to reply and i am just really nervous, i am scared and im embarrassed.

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Well I had to go to my Dad (Bishop) about this issue. It wasn't easy. I think you did the right thing. In my case it didn't change our relationship at all. He never treated me any differently after and still extened to me trust and confidence. I'm sure your uncle loves you and will be grateful you had the courage to come forward.

Don't let this get out of hand, you've proven now that you're stronger and can overcome this debilitating sin.

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