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Hi everyone,

There are already some other threads on this topic but I thought I should create my own. I'm going to give as much background as I can in as few words as possible.

I've been addicted to using porn as a sexual outlet for about 15 years now. I'm under the age of 30. I'm a convert, was baptized several years ago.

I have gone through many resources that are supposed to help people with this - it's called sex/love/porn addiction, it takes various forms but it's not about the thing or even the sex as much as it's about the feeling of being aroused or excited and how this masks some other unwanted emotion. Here are some of the resources I've tried:

  • Books like "The Porn Trap", written by two therapists. It includes a lot of helpful info.
  • Attending SAA meetings when I lived close to a place there were meetings (now the nearest one is over 50 miles away from what I can tell, meaning I have to do these "online text" chat room meetings, which don't seem to help a lot)
  • Attending regular one-on-one therapy with a Licensed Clinical Social Worker or Ph.D psychologist. My current therapist is a male Ph.D psychologist. I went through two female therapists, after telling them about this problem, they never looked at me the same and things just got too weird it wasn't helpful.
  • Fortifyprogram.org. Fortify is a 12-week long online course with info and tools to help overcome porn addiction. It also includes a "battle tracker" that lets you record you setbacks and victories, a really helpful tool.
  • Using parental controls on computers I use. For a long time, I had my parents make a password that I wouldn't know. This didn't even help because I found ways around it that wouldn't trigger the controls. What I do for work now requires unrestricted access and I work from home most of the time.
  • Telling people - therapists and family, to be specific. Huge mistake. They only judge and humiliate you. It's like a big joke.
  • Trying to "fill the void" with healthy activities - musical instrument, video games, exercise, etc. It helps for a while but then the urge always comes back.
  • Reading the scriptures, praying, doing everything that any online LDS resource I could find said to do. Also read through a "strength of youth" pamphlet I got when I was investigating. I haven't told my bishop and I never will. I can't tell anyone who hasn't struggled with this themselves or anyone I have to see on a regular basis because they will never look at you the same and will always treat you differently. Don't tell me my bishop is special and won't do that.

None of this has worked. I've never been celibate for more than a few days or weeks at a time since I was about 8 years old. I was abused as a child (not sexually, at least not to my memory), bullied relentlessly from elementary school all the way through high school and college.

There's no church support group in my stake, I went to it and no one was there. Support groups don't help a lot because I never know what to say - same thing with individual therapy.

I didn't realize the law of chastity commands total celibacy (i.e., no masturbation at all) until recently. I'm pretty sure I don't have the capacity to endure that, not in this lifetime. I'll get into law of chastity discussions in other threads. For now, I'm just curious about how people seek help with this.

Twice in my life I "hit rock bottom", in this context meaning that my body gave out and lost its libido for months, leading to temporary insanity and mental/spiritual crisis. The second time, I learned how real Satan really is. It manifested itself unto me in various ways and was terrifying, maybe I'll get into that in another thread sometime too.

This addiction has ruined a lot of my life, I have little self-esteem and that creates so many problems. It also contributes to depression, I'm diagnosed Bi-Polar, see a psychiatrist who happens to be LDS. I haven't told him directly although I've hinted at it, but my guess is he will just tell me to tell my bishop.

Not sure what I'm looking for in responses here. I know there's nothing that can help me, I've tried so hard for so long. I know something bad happens if I die in this current state, I can't explain how, but it's worse than what the gospel describes as Telestial. This has already gotten to be a huge post so I'm gonna end it here. Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

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I'm really sorry you're going through this.  I probably don't have a lot to offer beyond support.  What it boils down to is just "get over it", to quote Elder Bednar.  However, I know that is easier said than done.  Still, every time you turn on porn, you have a choice not to.   If you're like me, you'll have the urge for the rest of your life, it just lessens with time.  

I'm a convert as well.  I grew up with porn and masturbation.  It just wasn't a big deal to me.  When I was preparing to convert I was like you in thinking that the Law of Chastity didn't mean masturbation.  However, through prayer and study, I came to realize it did.  Once I came to that realization I was done and haven't looked back.  I can promise you this when you truly live the Law of Chastity your relationships with your future wife will be so much more.  I can't describe it and do it justice, but God certainly knows what he's doing.  That one "simple" act did more for my marriage (which I already thought was perfect) than I could imagine.  There are reasons for God's laws that we don't always understand.  Just trust in Him.

Please don't take this the wrong way, but YOU are letting this addiction ruin your life.  YOU are letting it ruin your self-esteem.  Do you think God demands you be perfect?  I don't.  There are times when my thoughts are impure.  There are times when I'm unkind to others.  There MANY times when I'm not as prayerful or studious as I should be.  These are all shortcomings on my part, but I don't beat myself up over them.  I try harder.  I ask for forgiveness.  You should do the same.  

Why do you think you'll be judged more harshly for this sin than I will be for mine?  Tackling this problem, if you do it sincerely, will strengthen your faith and help you grow spiritually.  You've been fighting this for 15 years now.  I wonder how much you've learned about yourself, failure, success, prayer, compassion, empathy, etc in that time?  Imagine the support, just through experience, you could bring to someone going through a similar problem.  

Don't sell yourself short.  Don't condemn yourself for your failures.  You won't meet ONE single person who hasn't struggled with something as well.  Guess what?  When you conquer this, and you will, you'll just move on to your NEXT improvement to achieve.  This is a constant state of growth for us.  Don't neglect your other areas while you focus on this.  Continue to improve them, welcome the successes you achieve in those other areas, and as you strengthen your faith in those things, they will help you overcome this.

Good luck!

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23 hours ago, Am7 said:

it's about the feeling of being aroused or excited and how this masks some other unwanted emotion.

I think this is a good place to start. Do some soul searching, possibly with a person or therapist your trust, and see if you can't figure out how to deal with the unwanted emotion. Allow resolving the sex addiction to take lower priority (for now). Focus on addressing whatever it is you're suppressing. I've found that I'm more tempted to break the law of chastity if I'm depressed or my bladder is full. (Which is a hard line to walk when dehydration increases my depression.)

Practice setting and achieving goals, any goal will do. Try to see a new place every week for a year (new restaurant or gas station, take a new way home, any setting you haven't seen before) or read fifty books in a year, or run 100 miles in three months, whatever. Involve/inform the Lord of your plans. In prayer/pondering time, tell Him what you plan to do and how you plan to do it. Once you've proven to yourself that God can/will help you do whatever good thing you set your mind to, set a goal to keep the Law of Chastity for an extended amount of time (month, year, etc.), and start over as many times as it takes.

Odds are, this is something that is going to require a concerted effort from you for the majority of your life on this earth. And that's ok. You will struggle with this, and that's ok, too. It's ok to fall, and even better to get back up and try again. A few years ago, I was sitting in sacrament meeting in front of a family who had a daughter about Sunbeam age. She wanted her dad to draw her a frog, and he must not have taken enough drawing classes in high school, because I kept hearing her emphatically whispering, "No. You have to try again!" Changed my outlook on the repentance process. (It's more a motivator than a metaphor.)

Listen to anything by Elder Holland. His words are likely to give you some hope, friend.

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On 3/14/2018 at 9:15 PM, Am7 said:

Not sure what I'm looking for in responses here. I know there's nothing that can help me, I've tried so hard for so long. I know something bad happens if I die in this current state, I can't explain how, but it's worse than what the gospel describes as Telestial. This has already gotten to be a huge post so I'm gonna end it here. Thanks for reading.

i just hope that in all this you don't lose touch with your own goodness.  i think effort that persists means an awful lot to God.  The things we become as we slog through the mud of our lives must be worth a lot to God - because He and Jesus paid a huge price for them.  

i've never seen a wound heal by someone letting it soak it in the battery acid of self-hatred, anyways.

Then this isn't exactly the same, but i am rather terrified of the dark (yeah, i know) - and it is strange, but when i pray that angels will come and make me less afraid - i've never felt like that one goes unanswered.  it's always answered immediately - or such is how it feels.  Bizarre, given all the seemingly more important prayers where answers are less forthcoming - but maybe it helps you.  That, and a good piece of music.  

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On 3/14/2018 at 10:15 PM, Am7 said:

as much as it's about the feeling of being aroused or excited and how this masks some other unwanted emotion.

For deep addiction (which is sounds like you have), this seems to be the key and the addiction a self-medication.  I would focus on resolved whatever it is you're masking first.  

For one example, if you fall into temptation when you feel inadequate- I would focus on improving your self esteem and realizing you ARE a child of God, regardless of this addiction.  Learn your self worth, learn how to avoid the thought spirals that make you depressed.  Besides generally improving your mental health, it'll also less trigger the addiction.  Once you've learned to master the trigger of feeling worthless (this will take quite sometime), then you can tackle whatever little remains of the addictive behavior.  

I don't know what your trigger is- and frankly it's none of my beeswax.  But this is the general path I would recommend.  

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20 hours ago, lostinwater said:

 

, but when i pray that angels will come and make me less afraid - i've never felt like that one goes unanswered.  it's always answered immediately - or such is how it feels.  Bizarre, given all the seemingly more important prayers where answers are less forthcoming 

 

I've experienced this, too. I have a lot of nightmares and sometimes I'm being chased or consumed by demons. When I remember to cry out for Christ it all goes away.

On 3/15/2018 at 5:43 AM, Grunt said:

.  Still, every time you turn on porn, you have a choice not to.   If you're like me, you'll have the urge for the rest of your life, it just lessens with time.  
 

 

 

 I can make the choice for a few days, sometimes longer. But eventually it becomes overwhelming. It consumes every thought of every second with no end. I can't do anything else.

On 3/15/2018 at 5:43 AM, Grunt said:

  What it boils down to is just "get over it", to quote Elder Bednar.

 

This might be the most worthless and insensitive piece of advice anyone has ever spoken. Anyone who has suffered trauma would never even think that's a normal thing to say. Sorry, Bednar.

On 3/15/2018 at 5:43 AM, Grunt said:



Why do you think you'll be judged more harshly for this sin than I will be for mine?  

 

I never said that.

On 3/15/2018 at 5:43 AM, Grunt said:

 I can promise you this when you truly live the Law of Chastity your relationships with your future wife will be so much more

I'm never getting married, so...

On 3/15/2018 at 5:43 AM, Grunt said:

Please don't take this the wrong way, but YOU are letting this addiction ruin your life.  YOU are letting it ruin your self-esteem.  Do you think God demands you be perfect?  I don't.

Don't take it wrong, but you are clueless. Did I let myself get abused by a neighbor when I was under 10 years old? Or let myself be born into a dysfunctional family where I learned it wasn't okay to have feelings or speak up? Did I let myself suffer other things out of my control and not my fault that broke my mind that I won't mention? Not making excuses to avoid, just explaining. It's not always as simple as making a choice - some drug addicts use until they die even after spending years in rehab or prison or both. Some rape victims never trust again or never stop being promiscuous. I never said I thought He demands I be perfect. Thanks.

11 hours ago, Jane_Doe said:

For one example, if you fall into temptation when you feel inadequate- I would focus on improving your self esteem and realizing you ARE a child of God, regardless of this addiction.  Learn your self worth, learn how to avoid the thought spirals that make you depressed.  Besides generally improving your mental health, it'll also less trigger the addiction.  Once you've learned to master the trigger of feeling worthless (this will take quite sometime), then you can tackle whatever little remains of the addictive behavior.  

3

Low self-esteem is a symptom of porn use, not a cause. I don't know what my trigger is, either, this is hard. I've been trying to figure it out for a long time, monitoring my setbacks for many months now, and out of all the options of feelings, 95% of the time it's just "other". Every now and then it comes from anger or stress, but nineteen times out of twenty I don't have any feelings I can notice at all. This might be because growing up I was taught not to have feelings and that my wants/needs don't matter. Supposedly therapy can help with this but I've done a lot of it both groups and one on one.

 

21 hours ago, seashmore said:

Practice setting and achieving goals, any goal will do. Try to see a new place every week for a year (new restaurant or gas station, take a new way home, any setting you haven't seen before) or read fifty books in a year, or run 100 miles in three months, whatever. Involve/inform the Lord of your plans. In prayer/pondering time, tell Him what you plan to do and how you plan to do it. Once you've proven to yourself that God can/will help you do whatever good thing you set your mind to, set a goal to keep the Law of Chastity for an extended amount of time (month, year, etc.), and start over as many times as it takes.

This sounds good and is probably the best option, but it only helps for a time. I have goals. The biggest goal for the past X amount of years has been to get my own place again. I've made lots of progress but it always seems just out of reach. I have prayed every night for years for two things: 1) get my own place and 2) overcome this addiction. I have to admit I've seen some blessings, small amounts of progress here and there. But at the end of the day (or year) everything stays the same. And the majority of my time/energy is spent on these two things. 

I can't figure out exactly why I'm like this and have this problem, and I've never encountered a therapist who could help (and I've seen a few). I'm going to look for a new therapist soon, though. Not giving up, just trying to make things clear. 

Thanks for the replies, everyone. I was celibate all day yesterday but not today.

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On ‎3‎/‎14‎/‎2018 at 10:15 PM, Am7 said:

Hi everyone,

There are already some other threads on this topic but I thought I should create my own. I'm going to give as much background as I can in as few words as possible.

I've been addicted to using porn as a sexual outlet for about 15 years now. I'm under the age of 30. I'm a convert, was baptized several years ago.

I have gone through many resources that are supposed to help people with this - it's called sex/love/porn addiction, it takes various forms but it's not about the thing or even the sex as much as it's about the feeling of being aroused or excited and how this masks some other unwanted emotion. Here are some of the resources I've tried:

  • Books like "The Porn Trap", written by two therapists. It includes a lot of helpful info.
  • Attending SAA meetings when I lived close to a place there were meetings (now the nearest one is over 50 miles away from what I can tell, meaning I have to do these "online text" chat room meetings, which don't seem to help a lot)
  • Attending regular one-on-one therapy with a Licensed Clinical Social Worker or Ph.D psychologist. My current therapist is a male Ph.D psychologist. I went through two female therapists, after telling them about this problem, they never looked at me the same and things just got too weird it wasn't helpful.
  • Fortifyprogram.org. Fortify is a 12-week long online course with info and tools to help overcome porn addiction. It also includes a "battle tracker" that lets you record you setbacks and victories, a really helpful tool.
  • Using parental controls on computers I use. For a long time, I had my parents make a password that I wouldn't know. This didn't even help because I found ways around it that wouldn't trigger the controls. What I do for work now requires unrestricted access and I work from home most of the time.
  • Telling people - therapists and family, to be specific. Huge mistake. They only judge and humiliate you. It's like a big joke.
  • Trying to "fill the void" with healthy activities - musical instrument, video games, exercise, etc. It helps for a while but then the urge always comes back.
  • Reading the scriptures, praying, doing everything that any online LDS resource I could find said to do. Also read through a "strength of youth" pamphlet I got when I was investigating. I haven't told my bishop and I never will. I can't tell anyone who hasn't struggled with this themselves or anyone I have to see on a regular basis because they will never look at you the same and will always treat you differently. Don't tell me my bishop is special and won't do that.

None of this has worked. I've never been celibate for more than a few days or weeks at a time since I was about 8 years old. I was abused as a child (not sexually, at least not to my memory), bullied relentlessly from elementary school all the way through high school and college.

There's no church support group in my stake, I went to it and no one was there. Support groups don't help a lot because I never know what to say - same thing with individual therapy.

I didn't realize the law of chastity commands total celibacy (i.e., no masturbation at all) until recently. I'm pretty sure I don't have the capacity to endure that, not in this lifetime. I'll get into law of chastity discussions in other threads. For now, I'm just curious about how people seek help with this.

Twice in my life I "hit rock bottom", in this context meaning that my body gave out and lost its libido for months, leading to temporary insanity and mental/spiritual crisis. The second time, I learned how real Satan really is. It manifested itself unto me in various ways and was terrifying, maybe I'll get into that in another thread sometime too.

This addiction has ruined a lot of my life, I have little self-esteem and that creates so many problems. It also contributes to depression, I'm diagnosed Bi-Polar, see a psychiatrist who happens to be LDS. I haven't told him directly although I've hinted at it, but my guess is he will just tell me to tell my bishop.

Not sure what I'm looking for in responses here. I know there's nothing that can help me, I've tried so hard for so long. I know something bad happens if I die in this current state, I can't explain how, but it's worse than what the gospel describes as Telestial. This has already gotten to be a huge post so I'm gonna end it here. Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

I'm not your Bishop, and I'm not your spiritual leader or advisor.  Nothing I say should be taken as that.  Furthermore I am not a psychologist or psychiatrist and nothing I state should be taken as advice in anyway similar or akin to their advice or treatments. 

Now.  A Long post follows, but if you read it and follow it, I think you may be helped.

Reading over what you wrote, I get the impression as if your "addiction" is not just arousal, but a way of coping with stress.  It doesn't happen constantly, but many times when you are feeling more stressed (or even depressed perhaps) you start having difficulties in regards to this "addiction."

In essence, one could see this as a chicken and the egg situation.  When you try to stop, even if it's somewhat in the back of your mind, you start to stress about it, which in turn causes a flare up of your "addiction."

In this instance, people telling you that it is a sin, or that it is wrong is not going to help.  In most instances all this will do is cause you to stress out far more the next time you try to quit.  You already think this, and that is perhaps part of the problem. 

I am going to approach it from a different angle for you to consider.

#1 - There is no biblical condemnation of masturbation.  There are those who make false claims or try to make up that there is, but most of what they try to relate it to is actually dealing with far more serious and problematic sins that have nothing to do with masturbation (primary example is that of Onan, who was struck dead for lying with his brother's wife NOT to raise up seed, but to not raise up seed and mock the Lord, for which he was struck dead).  Thus, unlike the word of wisdom or any other thing that we find in the Bible, Doctrine and Covenants, Book of Mormon, or Pearl of Great Price, there is NO commandment not to masturbate.

#2 - Over a century ago, a doctor started to promote quack science.  This science said that insanity and homosexuality were the end results of masturbation.  It also stated that you would have all sorts of health problems including bad backs, and other various and wrong ideas in relation to masturbation (and later on, things including cancer, diabetes, and every other ailment was blamed on it).  Scientists look back on that and KNOW today that it was absolutely false.  These individuals had NO idea what they were talking about.  Unfortunately, these ideas made their way into religious circles (it wasn't really a prevalent thing taught against before then, but it sure became something big after this).  By the turn of the century of the 19th to 20th century, at times it was being promoted as a great and grievous sin akin to almost any other sin out there, and perhaps worse than adultery, fornication, or other serious sins because of the purported health effects.  We know now that this was a farce in some ways, and absolutely based on non-inspired, and false information.

#3 - It may be coincidence (I have a suspicion it is not), but many of the early church warnings against Masturbation reflect this mass hysteria around it.  Many of the statements from church leaders reflect ignorance and almost zero understanding of it from a medical standpoint when talked against.  Even as late as the 70s and 80s there were leaders in the LDS church that taught masturbation led to homosexuality (and if that were true, we'd probably have 50% of the men in the church as homosexuals, and 90% of the worldwide population).  Why do I tell you this, so that you know that masturbation is not condemned anciently, and anything that talks about it or condemns it today comes from modern sources.  In Western religions, most of the sources were shown to be quacks, fakes, and false.  I will discuss more on this later.

#4 - Pornography IS discussed somewhat in the scriptures, but in a different fashion.  It states in Matthew 5:27-28

Quote

27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:

28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

This relates just as much today as it did in ancient times.  In fact, with the abundance of internet and other materials, this could be seen as even more applicable in our day as in times past.

#5 - This is part of the higher law and is taught in the Beatitudes.  We have other commandments in these beatitudes.  Some of them are...Do not be angry with your brother, and if you call him fool you are in danger of hellfire.  Another is that unless your wife (or spouse) has committed adultery, you should not divorce them or you may be actually committing adultery yourself.

Another is do not make oaths or swear (and this can also be seen as signing your name on contracts which is a form of promise making or oath taking).  Another is to turn the other cheek.

These are all taught in the Beatitudes, and in fact, the statement on anger and calling your brother names is related to murder and listed above that in regards to lust.

#6 - We do not TYPICALLY excommunicate people for breaking those items in #5.  The same applies to Pornography.  These are sins, but they are not so terrible as to warrant consideration of excommunication typically.  In some of them, we even hold them in less regard than that, as we see members of the church divorce often with no regard to the commandment found in Matthew chapter 5.

#7 - As such, it is possible that you are judging yourself FAR more harshly than you should.  You need to relax on this.  More to follow.

#8 - In our modern times we have been instructed to avoid masturbation and pornography.  It is obvious why we have been instructed to avoid pornography in our day and time.  It may be less obvious why we have been instructed to avoid masturbation, but these have both come to us at various times in General Conference, Church talks, and other locations (including the infamous Miracle of Forgiveness, which I can advise you to read, but if you read it ensure you read ALL of it and do not stop in the middle because that misses the most important part).

#9 - You have had problems with these items.  Thus you call it "arousal addiction" or whatever you want to call it.  It feels to me that these are things (especially the masturbation) that you deal with not just due to physical items, but also due to mental and emotional stress and habit in how you deal with them.  The problem is that you have never found better ways to deal with your stress and emotional and mental distress.  In this, there are some steps I want you to take.

#10 - The best thing I ever heard (and I'm not sure where I heard it, but I have used it as advice ever since to those who have problems similar to yours) is to not see what you are experiencing as a failure.  This is your first and foremost problem.  You are going to try to see it as a victory.

   A.  Try to stop looking at pornography.  This is your top goal.  Even if you masturbate, avoid pornography no matter what.

   B.  Secondly, try to avoid masturbation if you can. 

   C.  Count each day that you avoid pornography and masturbation.  If you want, keep points.  If you avoid Pornography, award yourself 2 points.  If you avoid both, award yourself 3 points.  The maximum you can gain (or lose) on any one day is 3 points. 

   D.  Now, invariably at first, you probably will fail.  When you do, you lose a point (if you want to be very competitive, and up your game, when you are ready, you can have it if you look at pornography you lose 2 points and if you masturbate you lose 1 point).  Even if you do these activities multiple times in one day, the MOST you can lose is 3 points in one day (2 maximum of pornography in a day, 1 maximum for masturbation in a day).  We are counting this in days...not times).  When this happens, look at your total.  If it is in the negatives, end this "game" and start anew.  You can ALWAYS have a fresh start.  Start at 0 and start over.

   E.  If It is in the positives...rejoice.  YOU ARE WINNING!  That means you have had more victories than defeats.  You are actually doing well!  You should congratulate yourself and even if you fail, as long as you are ahead, commit even more so after the failure.  This will hopefully start to give you the positive reinforcement you need to see that you are actually doing a better job than you thought, and that even if you are not able to be perfect today, you have hope for the future.  You may never be perfected in this life, but as long as you try your best and do what you can, you may be perfected in the hereafter.

 

In conclusion, we ALL sin.  We ALL make mistakes.  Luckily the Lord has his great plan of salvation.  We first must have faith in the Lord and that this plan applies to us.  Using that faith, when we fall, we must know that we can repent and act on this.  We must realize the great love the Lord has for each of us, and that we can each be forgiven.  When he forgives us, we need to press forward, having a great desire to do as he has instructed. 

We all fail and need to ask the Lord for forgiveness.  We all need to apply his atonement in our lives.  We each have different weaknesses and sins.  I am arrogant, selfish and prideful.  My daily score is in the negatives on many days.  However, with the Lord that slate can be wiped clean and our sins washed away.  As long as we are trying our very best and doing as best we can, I think that is all that is asked of us. 

From what you say, I think you have been too hard on yourself.  Rather than condemning yourself for your failures, see that you have had, or can have a LOT of success.  When a Football team wins the superbowl, we normally do not point out that they let the other team score a lot of points.  Rather we rejoice that they had MORE points at the end and won the game.  Apply this same idea to your "addiction" and you will see that there may be (or at least could be) more victories and positives in your life in this regards than you ever thought possible.  In this fashion I encourage your to try to look at the positive side of your life and your struggle and stop worrying so much about condemnation, and instead take happiness that the Lord loves your victories, and if you repent, will forgive your failures.

Good Luck.

 

 

Edited by JohnsonJones

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On 3/18/2018 at 3:53 AM, JohnsonJones said:

#10 - The best thing I ever heard (and I'm not sure where I heard it, but I have used it as advice ever since to those who have problems similar to yours) is to not see what you are experiencing as a failure.  This is your first and foremost problem.  You are going to try to see it as a victory.

   A.  Try to stop looking at pornography.  This is your top goal.  Even if you masturbate, avoid pornography no matter what.

   B.  Secondly, try to avoid masturbation if you can. 

   C.  Count each day that you avoid pornography and masturbation.  If you want, keep points.  If you avoid Pornography, award yourself 2 points.  If you avoid both, award yourself 3 points.  The maximum you can gain (or lose) on any one day is 3 points. 

   D.  Now, invariably at first, you probably will fail.  When you do, you lose a point (if you want to be very competitive, and up your game, when you are ready, you can have it if you look at pornography you lose 2 points and if you masturbate you lose 1 point).  Even if you do these activities multiple times in one day, the MOST you can lose is 3 points in one day (2 maximum of pornography in a day, 1 maximum for masturbation in a day).  We are counting this in days...not times).  When this happens, look at your total.  If it is in the negatives, end this "game" and start anew.  You can ALWAYS have a fresh start.  Start at 0 and start over.

   E.  If It is in the positives...rejoice.  YOU ARE WINNING!  That means you have had more victories than defeats.  You are actually doing well!  You should congratulate yourself and even if you fail, as long as you are ahead, commit even more so after the failure.  This will hopefully start to give you the positive reinforcement you need to see that you are actually doing a better job than you thought, and that even if you are not able to be perfect today, you have hope for the future.  You may never be perfected in this life, but as long as you try your best and do what you can, you may be perfected in the hereafter.

 

1

Thanks, but I have already been doing this for many months now. There's an online tool called Fortify Program that has a tracking thingy allowing you to do exactly this kind of thing. You mark your abstinent days as "victories", and other times as "setbacks", with the setbacks you note where it happened, what time, what device, what you were feeling, etc. 

Yeah, I agree that for the law of chastity to require total celibacy is kinda crazy, why not call it the law of celibacy if that's the case?

I know it does teach against porn, and that is very wise. The pamphlets the missionaries gave me ("Law of Chastity" and "Strength of Youth") both have some truth on the subject, saying its a poison and ruins your sense of self-worth. No doubt about it, and there's lots of new science to validate what the church teaches on this, it's also part of that Fortify thing, in the video courses. Porn creates brain changes like that of a cocaine addict and worse.

Maybe you're right about the stress trigger, I don't know. But considering there's not a whole lot of stress in my life immediately, I feel there could be something more to this equation. It's crazy, I'm reading a book called "Unshackled", by a woman who was raised in a satanic cult and endured decades of horrific ritual abuse and extreme torture. While I never had anything so bad in my life, so many of the recovery things she talks about after she had to deal with these things sound so familiar and relatable to me. She had amnesia about her traumas for years, and I wonder if there's something I can't see right now either. But I know that either way I have to deal with it just the same. 

I have been trying point A for years to no avail. I've tried B before and never last more than a few days, maybe a week. And like I said I've been doing C for a while too, it's helpful to see some victories.  

About the junk science about masturbation, good to know, I wasn't aware of all that. The threads I read in the chastity board didn't seem to mention that, everyone seems to be convinced that 100% celibacy is the only way to go. 

I have trouble believing parts of the gospel, as much as I hate to admit. I know that it's true overall and that the Savior lives and heavenly father is real but I just really have a hard time continuing to accept certain things, I don't know that I'll ever really be a completely faithful Mormon.  

On 3/18/2018 at 3:53 AM, JohnsonJones said:

 

 

 

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This isn't what you want to hear and I know that, however.... keep talking to professionals... both in the church and in the mental health sector until someone listens and someone takes you seriously! You KNOW that this is a real problem and you deserve real help. 
Perhaps finding a therapist or asking around (maybe someone on here will know?) for a recommended therapist specifically for this issue, that way you have more of a safety net.

I don't think we can expect Bishops to understand completely everyone's issues as everyone is so different, however he should be compassionate, considerate, kind and if he does not have the capacity to help you himself then he should have resources to guide you towards. Furthermore this is a private matter and therefore should remain so. 

I know its hard when people seem to look at you differently, but put yourself first. Those people have their own sins that they are ashamed of I guarantee you that. 

I would also like to add how impressed I am at how many different things you have tried, you obviously really want to repent and leave this behind.

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On 3/26/2018 at 4:05 PM, Am7 said:

Yeah, I agree that for the law of chastity to require total celibacy is kinda crazy, why not call it the law of celibacy if that's the case?

Because it's not about the total elimination of sexuality, but instead the proper use and joy of it.   

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I know someone that struggled with pornography and masturbation for over 25 years.  He decided that he would never give up after many years of struggling and continued to pray and fight for purity in his life.  He still struggles in his life but is warring daily in spiritual warfare and is slowly overcoming in his life.  

What Christ said on this subject is:  " . . . If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily, and follow Me."  ( Luke 9:23)  Receiving eternal life and being clean before the LORD's Judgment seat at the last day is worth the sacrifices and all the struggles in this mortal life.  Do not despair. 

I will also repeat what Jane Doe said: the proper use of the sex in this life brings joy to a husband and wife.

Heavenly Father created the plan of salvation so that we can experience life, return to His presence, and have joy. Central to this plan are the spiritual, emotional, and physical unity developed in marriage and family life. He gave us the capacity for physical intimacy so that we could strengthen and grow our eternal families. He intends for sex to be a beautiful, powerful, and joyful part of our lives—not something evil or corrupt. Sex enables a husband and a wife to have children, express love, and strengthen their spiritual, emotional, and physical bonds. Sexual intimacy is an important part of marriage, and when it is used in the way that God has commanded, it brings great blessings and joy. While many in the world portray sex as casual or crude, the gospel teaches that sexuality is a powerful gift from Heavenly Father and that it should be used within the bounds He has set, with wisdom and reverence. -- Family Home Evening: Sexual Intimacy Is Sacred and Beautiful

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On 3/16/2018 at 10:17 PM, Am7 said:

Don't take it wrong, but you are clueless. Did I let myself get abused by a neighbor when I was under 10 years old? Or let myself be born into a dysfunctional family where I learned it wasn't okay to have feelings or speak up? Did I let myself suffer other things out of my control and not my fault that broke my mind that I won't mention? Not making excuses to avoid, just explaining. It's not always as simple as making a choice - some drug addicts use until they die even after spending years in rehab or prison or both. Some rape victims never trust again or never stop being promiscuous. I never said I thought He demands I be perfect. Thanks.

 

Know your audience.  Nobody said what happened to you was your fault.  However, how you deal with it IS your choice.  I was abused as a child.  I was raised in a family so dysfunctional you would cringe if I posted the details.  It IS always as simple as making a choice.  People say it isn't to justify making the wrong choice.  Once I realized this, I stopped making as many wrong choices.

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 I'm sorry that sounds so harsh.  I really do feel bad for your struggle.  I do know it is hard.  I just also know that it is a choice.  If it consumes your mind, ride the wave.  Find something to get you through that wave.  If you're sitting at the laptop and have the urge, shut down your laptop and go for a jog.  Redirect your attention to something positive.  Leave your phone at home and go to the park to read Scripture.  These are healthy choices.

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(I'm answering this as someone who does have a history of very traumatic sexual abuse)

On 3/16/2018 at 8:17 PM, Am7 said:

This might be the most worthless and insensitive piece of advice anyone has ever spoken. Anyone who has suffered trauma would never even think that's a normal thing to say. Sorry, Bednar.

Remember what I said about root causes?  

Somebody who's struggling with a history of traumatic sexual abuse & a porn addiction has a big root cause which needs to be worked on.  They do need to get over the porn issue, but that's not first item on the docket (and will like be easier handled after trauma issues are done).  

We need also to remember that not all porn addicts are sexual abuse victims, and not all sexual abuse victims are porn addicts.

On 3/16/2018 at 8:17 PM, Am7 said:

Don't take it wrong, but you are clueless. Did I let myself get abused by a neighbor when I was under 10 years old? Or let myself be born into a dysfunctional family where I learned it wasn't okay to have feelings or speak up? Did I let myself suffer other things out of my control and not my fault that broke my mind that I won't mention? Not making excuses to avoid, just explaining. It's not always as simple as making a choice - some drug addicts use until they die even after spending years in rehab or prison or both. Some rape victims never trust again or never stop being promiscuous. I never said I thought He demands I be perfect. Thanks.

I was 4.

I know what it's like being a victim- I spent decades in that boat.  I also now know the power of taking back control of my life (done via Christ).  It IS possible, and it is wonderful.  There's hope for you too. 

On 3/16/2018 at 8:17 PM, Am7 said:

Low self-esteem is a symptom of porn use, not a cause. 

Ok.  The low self-esteem was just an example possible trigger.

On 3/16/2018 at 8:17 PM, Am7 said:

Every now and then it comes from anger or stress, but nineteen times out of twenty I don't have any feelings I can notice at all. This might be because growing up I was taught not to have feelings and that my wants/needs don't matter. Supposedly therapy can help with this but I've done a lot of it both groups and one on one.

It does sound like you getting in better touch with your feelings would be beneficial.   I don't know why things are hitting a road block for you there (I can list off a litany of possible guesses, but don't see much point in that). 

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On 3/16/2018 at 9:17 PM, Am7 said:

Did I let myself get abused by a neighbor when I was under 10 years old? Or let myself be born into a dysfunctional family where I learned it wasn't okay to have feelings or speak up? Did I let myself suffer other things out of my control and not my fault that broke my mind that I won't mention? Not making excuses to avoid, just explaining.

These certainly do make it more difficult for you to overcome your addiction.  I once subbed in the Sunbeam class, and it happened to be the lesson called "I Have Feelings." I've taught other lessons and forgotten them, but this one stuck with me for two reasons.  One being it was a slow week so there was only the one kid and I felt like the totally cool teacher because I let her do puzzles on my iPad as a lesson break (they were of temples and produce, so Gospel related).  The other being that I had never thought something so simple would be important enough to have a Primary lesson on it.  Of course people have feelings.  But the lesson poses some good questions that might be worth your going over.  It may help you to learn to identify your own feelings if you can't find a therapist to help. (Link in case you missed it earlier)

 

On 3/26/2018 at 5:05 PM, Am7 said:

I have trouble believing parts of the gospel, as much as I hate to admit. I know that it's true overall and that the Savior lives and heavenly father is real but I just really have a hard time continuing to accept certain things, I don't know that I'll ever really be a completely faithful Mormon.  

The scripture reading for that Primary lesson was the story of the Prodigal Son.  Reading it again, I remembered a talk within recent years that almost seemed to dwell on the phrase "he came to himself," referring to the wandering son.  I thought it was Holland, but it turns out I was wrong.  It was Steven J. Owen, YM General President.  If you aren't interested in reading/listening to the whole thing, here are some highlights.

Quote

When we speak of repentance, we aren’t just talking about self-improvement efforts. True repentance is more than that—it is inspired by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His power to forgive our sins. As Elder Dale G. Renlund has taught us, “Without the Redeemer, … repentance becomes simply miserable behavior modification.”4 We can try to change our behavior on our own, but only the Savior can remove our stains and lift our burdens, enabling us to pursue the path of obedience with confidence and strength. The joy of repentance is more than the joy of living a decent life. It’s the joy of forgiveness, of being clean again, and of drawing closer to God.

....

Brothers and sisters, we are all prodigals. We all have to “come to ourselves”—usually more than once—and choose the path that leads back home. It’s a choice we make daily, throughout our lives.

Keep fighting the good fight.  Keep following that 13th Article of Faith and seek after "anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy."  I have faith that if you put your trust in the Lord, He will help you master this struggle....eventually.  (Cue that cheesy Footprints poem where He doesn't give up on you even when you give up on you.)

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On 3/16/2018 at 8:17 PM, Am7 said:

Low self-esteem is a symptom of porn use, not a cause.

I would actually go so far as to say it's both.  At least from what I've experienced with my own struggles, the one seemed to lead into the other.  Now I would agree more often than not the low self esteem was more often a symptom, it has been cause in my own past for returning to the obsession, utilizing the pornography as a method of self medication for a lot of other underlying issues and problems I was dealing with.

I would also add the thought of habit to the conversation, if that's allowed.  Many times I found that times of day as much as activities were triggers for arousal and lust.  As I started to look at this, I realized that many times when I fell to temptation, it was less to do with an actual desire to look at images and masturbate as it was to do with the fact that I had simply created a habit of doing it.  It was what I always did, and I just kept doing it regardless of my own feelings or not.

I would suggest for sure to keep talking to professionals, but keep in mind the reasons you want to do it as well.  As many have stated, there are usually underlying problems that lead to the use of pornography as a form of self medication, but sometimes it's also simply a measure of habit, one being used to doing such things whether one really wants to or not.  If that is the case, I would also suggest, alongside professional help and finding someone who can be a support to you as well, a change of schedule in your life.

One last thought, and this is something that has personally helped me, is the sense of structure in your life.  Others have mentioned goals, but I would push that further towards structure.  What kind of life are you living outside of the pornography?  How organized is your home?  What kind of environment do you live in?  Do you live alone or with friends?  What work are you doing?  Is it enjoyable?  Would you change it?  Can you change?  There are a lot of questions you can ask yourself regarding your life as a whole.  The pornography is only one aspect of all that you do.  If it is the focus upon which you base your life and who you are, if it is the only thing you look at, you can find that the other aspects of your life begin to crumble.  So my final piece of advice is start looking at who you are as a whole and what parts of your life, not just the pornography, can be improved.  Start with making your bed in the morning every time you get up if you don't already, or find something else as small that you can change.  That is usually a good start.

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I do not know why the abuse you suffered has led you to seek this as an outlet, if that is the case, as there are many outlets that could be sought, but I do know that it is not uncommon for this to be  a problem considering your background, and I appreciate your honesty.  It is also a common problem with some men.  I do not understand it, not being a man, but I do know that Christ can help anyone overcome anything, if that individual turns to him.  Being a woman, I am appalled, and I don't mean this the wrong way, but it concerns me, when I hear of men using pornography and masturbating.  But I understand it is a hard world to live in and I know you are trying, and I can feel compassion and am glad you are trying.  I may not be comfortable, as  a woman, and as a mother, to have my kids around men that do that,  but those that are trying to stop, I can feel some compassion with.  I mean, I would probably me ok, in some instances.  It would be the ones that didn't stop, or I wouldn't be comfortable being alone with someone.  I was sexually abused when I was young, and if I could destroy pornography from the earth and every evil thought a man or boy could have, I would.  I really wish people would just realize how harmful these things are to women and girls and to themselves and stay away from them.  They drive away the spirit and affect lives more than you know.  A minute of weakness or selfishness does not compensate.  They can cost peace, life and eternal consequences.  Is it really worth it?  I don't understand why men and boys feel they need to do this.  I am sorry, but it is disgusting, it is selfish.  You take an innocent, daughter of God, and you make something vulgar out of the whole thing.  You take your once innocent self, and you make something base of it.  And for what?   A physical appetite to be momentarily satisfied.  That is commendable that you are seeking help.  What I would give to destroy this disgusting mindset that some men (not you) have created on this telestial earth.  This is not of God.  Pornography is a destructive practice that Satan uses to ensnare his sons and to hurt his daughters.  Many women and girls have been made to feel uncomfortable, raped, been subject to hear inappropriate jokes at, been seen as objects and even murdered because of the start of these kinds of addictions.  Of course, I don't think your going to become a serial rapist, but please, brother, go see your bishop.  Would he think less of you?  Come on.  Your in good company.  Do you know how many men look at it?  Do you know how many men masturbate?  How many "good" men?  Its ok,  You have been struggling for years.  Maybe its time?  Please pray and fast about it.  You can't kick this addiction by yourself.  Continue the counseling, and please never be alone with a woman.  Thank you!

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10 hours ago, ABCDario said:

I would also add the thought of habit to the conversation, if that's allowed.  Many times I found that times of day as much as activities were triggers for arousal and lust.  As I started to look at this, I realized that many times when I fell to temptation, it was less to do with an actual desire to look at images and masturbate as it was to do with the fact that I had simply created a habit of doing it.  It was what I always did, and I just kept doing it regardless of my own feelings or not. 

This has sparked some thought for me - not directly related to the OP, but on the concept of habit, and of time and/or place initiating a habitual response which can lead to any number of weaknesses, or can create impediments to improving / change.  Things as simple as relaxing when you get home from work can actually turn into a bad habit (e.g. if the duration of your relaxing gradually increases to the point of being idle, if your relaxing prevents you from making positive changes in your life, or if your relaxing leads to doing worse things than you ought to do - all under the guise of something which sounds not only harmless, but beneficial - the aforementioned relaxation).

NOTE: I'm not claiming one shouldn't relax after getting home from work, only that one shouldn't allow it to morph from a beneficial thing into a bad habit.  And more generically, I'm using it as an example of how a ritual or routine behavior can morph into a habit which can morph into a bad habit.  Therefore, one ought to be mindful of such things and work to avoid and/or overcome them.

(And just now it occurred to me that this forum sometimes seems like it's doing what a journal ought to do - just publicly. <_< )

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4 hours ago, jewels8 said:

It is also a common problem with some men.  I do not understand it, not being a man, but I do know that Christ can help anyone overcome anything, if that individual turns to him.  Being a woman, I am appalled, and I don't mean this the wrong way, but it concerns me, when I hear of men using pornography and masturbating. 

Not to undercut the words, but I would also point out it's not just men.  There are women as well who struggle with addiction to arousal and pornography.

https://www.lds.org/youth/video/you-can-overcome-pornography-with-jesus?lang=eng

I would also point out the fact that experiencing arousal is not in and of itself a sin.  Being tempted is not sinning, it's when we act on the temptation that it becomes sin.  That is the difficulty as well with arousal.  It's hard for many people to resist that temptation to act on it, the same as it becomes harder and harder for people to resist it the more and more they give into it.  This does not make them bad people though.  It may make the road to repentance harder, but it does not always make them bad people.

There is no real justification for the use of pornography, nor is there any real justification for harder sins of the sexual kind.  Yet there should still be an understanding and compassion for those who are trying their best to turn around and make their way out of the sink hole.

Apologies if this is going off of the topic the OP was asking for assistance for, but I figured I would also include some advice about judging others or one's self harshly for sin, even when we feel we have good reasons to.

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