Barbara, I am so sorry you had to deal with the betrayal associated with sexual sin. However, I am worried that you are stuck in a place you don't have to be in. Just because your ex husband got to marry again in temple does not mean that he has gotten away with anything. Unless he truly repents, he will not gain an exaltation. True repentance is a horrendous yet glorifying experience. If he has not had a true change of heart, whether he has claimed to repent and been to temple or not, he's denied the peace and blessings from the Holy Ghost...and you should feel pity for him as well as his new wife. Consider yourself fortunate to be free of someone who did not understand your worth and love you. This whole situation put into proper perspective should actually make you feel amazing. You escaped a trap by ridding yourself of this useless dependence. Don't let Satan trap you again by making you bitter. Any marriage with an unrepentant cheater is not a relationship it is an entanglement. His addiction as well as his repentance are no longer your concern. Let his problems belong to his new wife and move on into the spectacular freedom from addiction you now have.
As someone whose marriage failed because of my former husband's sexual sins, I would counsel extreme caution. I personally have not healed from the effects of his betrayals, both of physical acts and of the deceit that accompanied them. I also have not healed from church leaders willingness to allow him to marry in the temple someone he was sexually involved wirh during our marriage. This all seems so wrong to me. Like letting the thief keep his stolen goods. The whole experience has shaken my faith in the leadership. I am afraid I can no longer trust them.
I guess what I am saying is to be extremely careful. Healing may not come. Betrayals can have lifelong consequences. It is better to avoid the pain if you can.
I have seen many recover from the LDS addiction recovery program, just last night I was with a group of 28, all but 2 had over a year recovery, each of them were still with their spouse. Both the husband and wife had been heaied through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, which is all the 12 step program is. It has healed and saved 1000's of marriages.
Perhaps the point Katie is trying to make is that we are encouraging young men to judge and reject as potential wives those women who fail to abide by prophetic counsel while we are encouraging young women not to give up relationships with young men who have failed to follow prophetic counsel and are consequently struggling with serious addictions. I believe everyone has the right to repent. I wish people struggling with addiction of any kind well but I question why this advice. I know women honestly struggling with drug addiction, serious overeating, or serious overspending. Are we encouraging our young men to continue relationships with these women? If so, I have not seen this counsel.
I believe we are asking things of our young women we do not expect of our young men. I believe Katie is making that point.
To have immersed yourself in sexual sin, and pornography is sexual sin, to the point of addiction is a tragedy. It is recoverable and forgivable through the Atonement of Christ. But I do not agree we should counsel our young women to involve themselves in a dating relationship with these young men until the addiction is completely in the past.
There is too much heartache and too much divorce caused by this to take this risk with your own happiness or that of your children.
I was very concerned about the advice given the young women to not necessarily drop a young man from consideration who had developed a problem with pornography. I personally find pornography a deal breaker.
Sexual intimacy is a wonderful thing. To know that your husband is sharing this with someone else, even in his mind, destroys the trust I need in order to be married.
When this is truly in the past is the time to consider marriage.
I would not expect a man to marry me if I had gotten involved in an addictive behavior. Why should I marry him if he has done so?
Leslie, I stated the young man's might be concerned about her unwillingness to follow counsel.
But please explain to me how all these young men got addicted to pornography in the first place if they were anxious to follow counsel? The leaders of the Church have been loudly warning against this for decades.
Katie, Elder Bednar specifically qualified in his talk that the issue wasn't the earrings; it was about willingness to humbly heed the counsel of a prophet of God. Big difference.
A credible source with LDS Family Services indicated that, at any given time, at least half of the active priesthood holders in the church have a problem with pornography. The development of an addiction to pornography can even occur with those who are already happily married. I agree with Allison when she said that being wounded does not equate to being evil and yes, relapses do occur and are part of the healing process. I know this because I am one of those brethren who have an addiction to pornography but I am also not in denial about it and am actively utilizing the Atonement of Jesus Christ in my recovery. Herein lies the difference. Those in recovery will be completely honest. They will be transparent. They will be genuine. They will be determined. They have also learned (and are learning) how to use the Atonement to repent and be cleansed of their sins. So how about it ladies, would you rather marry a man who is humble enough to know what his weaknesses are and is determined to learn from his mistakes and become a better man or take door number 2?
I too remember the conference talk on the "piercings" and found it contradictory, but I think the difference is that she showed no interest in following counsel, where as the author discusses people who want to change and are working toward it. While I do understand that pornography addiction is serious and it doesn't just affect men. It does seem that sexual sin, violence, rape, child molestation ect, is statistically WAY more likely to have a male offender than a female. Maybe this tendency for men to exercise unrighteous dominion is why the Celestial Kingdom is full of women and short on men. Either way, you do have to set boundaries for your safety and that of your children when you are married to an addict. I have worked as an addictions therapist and all I can say is utilizing the Holy Ghost in these matters is essential. God knows the beginning from the end.
My ex did not tell me before our marriage that he had a pornography addiction. When he did tell, I went through the usual betrayal feelings and such. But we worked with the Bishop and he was so sincere in his desire to change. I fully believe that the Atonement was meant for me and him. I stayed over and over again as he claimed he wanted full transparency but then lied. He would eventually come clean, but I'd find out he'd lied until it got real bad. We had years of good, but it always ended in lies. I could have written countless articles on why I stayed. They would have been great. Now I'm quite cynical. Sure you say it's working out. And, maybe it really is. But, that doesn't mean it still will in 5 years or 10. I did 14 years. Now I'm a single mom that has to work instead of stay home. But, guess what, I'd take this over the roller coaster any day! Divorcing was hard, but I love every minute of not being married to an addict.
Thank you for this beautifully written article! I am engaged to a wonderful and incredible man who also struggled with pornography. When I found out, I was devastated because I had dated someone with the same addiction before and it was not a good situation. But through prayer and fasting and open communication, I have come to accept that, because we all make mistakes, the Lord can and does actively work in our lives to change us. Many comments have suggested that being in a relationship with someone who has an addiction is NEVER a good idea, but don't we all have our own "addictions"? Don't we all have that one sin we just can't give up? The Atonement is real, and for those who are in a relationship with someone who has an addiction, take it to the Lord. He knows them and you better than anyone.
I am frightened as I read this, particularly the title. I have known too many women who bought in to a Pollyana version of something they were told in Church or read in a Church publication only to discover that this challenge was something they did not want in their marriage. Emotionally it devastated them, made them feel unattractive, destroyed their desire for physical relations, made them feel like a mother policing a child rather than a wife and companion. While the article does not sugarcoat the challenges, the very act of summarizing the story into a limited number of words makes it seem like a short term problem.
I am very pleased for the authors and the hope they have achieved and are trying to share. However, I would not recommend this path to anyone. Addictions are best overcome before a relationship is started, for the safety of both parties.
Thank you for your candor! I felt so many similar emotions as you expressed when I was dating my husband. I did not want to make a 2nd mistake having been divorced once. I wanted a sure thing and marrying an ex-Bishop who had taken his names off the records of the Church was the hugest leap of faith I never would've dreamed of taking had the Lord not given me some personal revelation at key moments in our relationship. Reading my husband's patriarchal blessing was the best thing I ever did early in our relationship to see him as the Lord saw him. After his divorce he had lapsed into some substance abuse that I felt was a deal breaker I simply couldn't live with. But his transparency, his honesty, his goodness to his children and his fellow man and to me just kept showing me the light he possessed and I was able to discern it, He was a wounded man not an evil man. Big difference. Healing did not come in a whoosh either, very line upon line. I am so profoundly grateful we married for we have been instrumental in each other's healing as we've applied the Atonement to our own lives and our marriage. He was rebaptized after an incredibly hard journey back and we were sealed 3 years ago. Now we are missionaries in the Addiction Recovery Program, helping others come unto Christ. Only your Father in Heaven can help you discern a person's heart, my family had no faith in my decision at the time, I wouldn't dare give any advice to another person except to be prayerful and keep your baptismal and temple covenants so you can have the Spirit to discern light from darkness.
Elder Bednar gave a conference talk after the church issued its standards on piercings. In it he gave the example of a young man who stopped dating his girlfriend because she did not remove the second set of piercings in her ears after the church leaders spoke on the topic. While I could see the young man's concern that she did not wish to follow the counsel given, the implied advice that it was okay to break off a relationship for this minor reason seemed excessive, even extreme. I still believe that.
While I am happy that the marriage in this story is working out, in general, having an addiction to pornography is far more of a reason to stop dating someone than is their wearing a second set of earrings. And the author was clear that the addiction was NOT in the past, but an ongoing problem.
@Katie, I feel like this author specifically said something about not discounting someone for their PAST sins not ignoring current problems. Also, find me the conference talk where any leader has explicitly said not to marry someone because of piercings....?? I don't know where you got that idea.
Let me see if I understand this. Church leaders are telling young people not to discount others as marriage partners if they have an addiction to pornography, but to drop them as dating partners if they have two piercings in their ears. One seems far more likely to destroy a marital relationship than the other.
What a truly inspiring story. Thanks for sharing and talking so openly about a real problem as this addiction is. I'm really excited to read your husband's article!
What a powerful lesson you have taught! Not just about pornography but about the atonement. Perhaps we would be a-less judging-people if we truly believed in Him and understood His Atonement. Thank you.
Thank you for your nice article.
My experience with the Church's Addiction Recovery Program was similar - it just did not have recovery for this sex addict. Sexaholics Anonymous also is a badly flawed program.
But I like what you wrote about full commitment to do whatever it takes. But I was a little surprised at what you wrote about prayer. Having a prayer life is crucial to recovery. Even recovering alchy's in AA will tell you that. I would be also very cautious about what you said about accountability -- using weekly confessionals with one's spouse. I would discourage it; transparency does not necessarily mean that. Those confessions should go to the sex addict's 12 Step program sponsor. The program is:
1. Trust God.
2. Clean house (Steps 4 through 10).
3. Love and service to others.
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