Monday, December 26, 2016

Learn to be the Best You

Tiffany Tong Photography
Before the age of 21, steady dating should be avoided. It is during these adolescent years that you learn to emotionally detach from your parents. Those who become serious in relationships during this time transfer their attachment needs from their parent/family system to their partner. This is a breeding ground for unhealthy, codependent relationships.

Even if you feel you have a great friendship with your partner, your relationship will prevent the emotional growth necessary for your development as an adult. It's not just the seriousness of the relationship that's the concern, but the inability to learn how to be emotionally independent. This is an important milestone that needs to happen at this stage of your life.

In a recent area fireside for youth held in Fremont California December 10, 2016. Elder David A. Bednar said, "You have to learn how to be alone."

If you don't learn this profound lesson while in your youth, your identity will always be associated with another person. It will become increasingly more difficult to recognize and experience true love. The "love" you experience now is attachment love — an insecure, immature love that leaves you emotionally dependent on your partner.

"The problem is, a lot of teenagers jump the gun. They think these friendship-type relationships are only for younger kids, and they plunge into romantic relationships more appropriate for young adults (people in their 20s), who are in a position to think about marriage." Unsteady Dating

Couples who have been married for decades, who have never experienced authentic love, often have no idea what it is and confuse it with the codependent love they have only known since they were teenagers. While working with them, I have helped guide them as they untangle their identities and rediscover themselves. This can be a painful, scary, and very difficult process. However, it isn't until this is accomplished that they can experience the rich, eternal love which they have always craved.

All youth should avoid serious dating. I realize this may sound like a dad thing to say, and I'll admit I didn't understand it when I was your age. But avoid, avoid, avoid. If you are younger than 21 and in a serious relationship right now, I would seriously plead with you to separate from your partner and discover other friendships. But most importantly, discover yourself and learn to be good at being alone. This is the biggest key to future marital success, and the one that no one ever talks about.

Additional Resources:
Unsteady Dating
LDS Youth Dating Guidelines
Romance and Mission Prep - By Middle-aged Mormon Man (MMM)

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas Sabbath

Over the years I have been blessed to work in careers that provided me with a significant amount of time off during Christmas. This time of is a type of Sabbath to me. To reflect on the tender mercies Christs life has brought me in my life. His marvelous redemptive power and the gratitude I have for His Birth and life and restoring His Church in these latter days.

 "Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began." Acts 3:21

He is all powerful God who keeps his promises and has provided us a sure way in this time of confusion by establishing his church as he said he would:

"And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:" Ephesians 4:11-15

In these latter days He has restored his Church through Joseph Smith. That same organization that he established in Jerusalem over 2000 years ago. Recently, I have made again, a study of Joseph's life and the miracles associated the establishing of Christ church. The hand of God was in Josephs life, in the establishing of His church. The faith of Joseph in Christ is profound and only comparable with who have shared that holy calling as prophet. It is a great mercy of which I am thankful for, that Christ continues to reveal and guide us through his words and a living prophet to day.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Organization and Culture of the Gospel

And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. -- Luke 12: 29-31

Every church meeting is influenced by three things:
  • The gospel of Jesus Christ
  • The organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
  • The culture of church members.  
The gospel of Jesus Christ is pure, eternal, and consists of the doctrines and principles that are the pathway that leads to becoming like Jesus Christ, and thus exaltation.

The organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the manifestation of the gospel of Jesus Christ on the earth in our dispensation.  Although the gospel has not changed, the organization of the church has had slight differences through the dispensations.  For example:  the law of Moses was a very different church organization than the way our church currently looks, however the gospel and purpose behind remains the same.  The organization is divinely inspired and lead by the mouthpiece of the Lord, the prophet, and is put into practice by us, the wonderful but imperfect members of the church. Although the organization is perfect, the execution is not always perfect.

The culture of the church consists of the habits and traditions of the members of the church.  Some of those cultural traditions are harmless, like putting carrots in your green jello, or the never discussed but fierce competition to see how many folding chairs you can carry at a time after the meeting is over so you can finally go home and eat dinner (that is if Mom will ever stop talking).  However, the danger of the culture is that some of it begins to be taught as doctrine, which can lead to giant misunderstandings and misconceptions.  (Click here for an example regarding the phrase "moderation in all things".)  When we, as members of the church, are not diligent in our personal gospel study direct from the source -- the scriptures and the words of the prophets -- and having our study confirmed by prayer and personal revelation through the Holy Ghost, we are in essence learning the possibly unfounded culture of the church and not the eternal gospel of Jesus Christ.

In Alma chapter 1 there was a man who "had gone among the people, preaching to them that which he termed to be the word of God."  (Alma 1:3, emphasis added)  We aren't actually told what his intent was, it could have begun well meaning, maybe he was even the Sunday School Teacher, but in the end he was teaching what HE termed to be the word of God, not the "pure testimony", meaning the doctrine, as Alma suggests to us in Alma 4:19.  His teachings were not correct.  They were not doctrine.  In fact, because it was unfounded in the doctrine, what he was teaching was priestcraft. (Alma 1:12)  But "he did teach these things so much that many did believe on his words."  (Alma 1:5, emphasis added)

I guarantee you the many that did believe on his words were not the ones that were sincerely and regularly studying their scriptures (more than just reading, but also studying with the intent to learn).  They were the ones who were familiar with the doctrine, but not so familiar that the subtle but significant inconsistencies or errors were apparent to them.  And those same people, who again may have been well meaning, would repeat that priestcraft to their respective classes and families.  And just like that, a church "culture" had begun to be taught like doctrine.

Learning the gospel from the culture of the church will not be enough to reach exaltation.  We cannot let ourselves be satisfied with it.  Personal and sincere study of the gospel of Jesus Christ is the only way to become like our Heavenly Father.

Guest post by Amy R. Nelson find more of her writings on her blog They May Be Light by clicking here.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

LDS Women - Overcoming Pornography: The Opposite of Addiction is Connection

LDS Women - Overcoming Pornography: The Opposite of Addiction is Connection: I found this Ted Talk, and I had to write about it. It's called "Everything you think you know about addiction is wrong".

Johann Hari discusses how rats that are isolated in a cage with nothing to do, prefer water laced with heroin over pure water. These rats will use the heroin until they eventually overdose and it kills them. However, rats in a cage set up like a "rat park" where they have fun things to do and other rats to socialize with, prefer the pure water over the heroin laced water.

Johann raises some questions about this phenomenon. "What if addiction isn't about your chemical hooks? What if addiction is about your "cage"? What if addiction is an adaptation to your environment?

"Maybe we should call it bonding. When we're happy and healthy we bond and connect with each other. But if you can't do that because you're traumatized, or isolated, or beaten down by life, you will bond with something that will give you some sense of relief. Now that might be gambling. That might be pornography. That might be cocaine. That might be cannabis. But you will bond and connect with something. Because that's our nature. That's what we want as human beings."

Read the entire article and watch the video here: LDS Women - Overcoming Pornography: The Opposite of Addiction is Connection

Monday, July 6, 2015

Your Writing Sucks

I attract grammar Nazis like moths to a fire. I have been accused of abusing my positions in the church to publicize my ideas, I have been accused of misleading others from the prophets, I have been accused teaching false doctrine, and I have been criticized for my desire to write a book on marriage. People have been hurt and offended at what I have written.

I suck at writing. But I love it. I am not looking for sympathy, complaining or giving any excuses. I have a love hate relationship with writing. I have never pretended to be a great writer. I recognize that my struggles with writing often get in the way of what I am communicating. I leave words out of sentences, I abuse grammar and I almost never punctuate, at least correctly. At a very early age I was diagnosed with a pretty significant case of dyslexia (and probably and undiagnosed case of ADHD), reading and writing hurt my head. Reading was confusing. I remember clearly, as early as first grade when fellow students would share from our reading assignments. The information they gleaned was so different from what I read. I couldn’t identify emotions in reading, connect inferences and would read a page over and over and over again and get nothing from it. It was like alphabet soup. It was so bad; I had a third grade teacher question me why I was reading a Hardy Boy book? Instead of encouraging it, she said I was unable to read it. I remember her actually saying I was too stupid to read that book. But that seemed so harsh I often wonder if that is what I felt, not what she said. Surprisingly, throughout my schooling I got similar responses and criticisms from teachers. Maybe because they didn’t understand or they thought I was a goof-off. To their credit, I was a goof-off, it was a coping mechanism.

One of the constant criticisms and reprimands I got was, “if you only proof read what you wrote you wouldn’t have any mistakes”. This was so painful to hear was because I did proof read multiple times, often 10 times or more. It made me feel stupid, after all that work to be told I didn’t do it. I learned quickly to not say, “but I did proof read”, because I would be accused of lying and being flippant. Another criticism I got when I misspelled words was, “why didn’t you just look up the word?” There are at least three problems with this statement. One, this was before the time of spell check. There was no handy dandy red or green line under the words to indicated misspellings and grammar issues. I could not identify misspelled words, no matter how many times I proof read. I understand this is difficult for many of you to understand. I read what I was thinking something said, not what was actually written. Second, even if I knew a word was misspelled, how would I look it up? It didn’t exist in the dictionary. Remember, this is in the days before google! If I thought cat was spelled kat. How exactly would one go about looking that up in a dictionary? I spent hours looking for words that didn’t exist, never realizing I was in the completely wrong section of the dictionary. Third, to spell check my work; because I couldn’t identify which words were misspelled, I literally checked every word. That was painful.

Even today, with google, spell-check and all the technology we have to help improve writing. I still struggle, it’s not about the technology, it’s about what’s in my head. This is not for a lack of trying. As you might be able to imagine, because of my weakness in writing, it is one of the most vulnerable things for me to do. I am confident at speaking but when it comes to writing my thoughts, I am fully aware of my inability to effectively and accurately express my thoughts. Interestingly though, it is very cathartic for me. I learn best when I write out my thoughts. It helps me see things as they really are, see my flaws in thinking and strengthen my understanding in those things that are accurate. I am willing to put this weakness on the altar and make it stronger. With this vulnerability, I welcome others thoughts, I willingly open myself to questioning and whether it makes sense to others or not. This is my process for learning. Nonetheless, I have been a little surprised at the feedback I have gotten from my readers. I attract grammar Nazis like moths to a fire. I have been accused of abusing my positions in the church to publicize my ideas, I have been accused of misleading others from the prophets, I have been accused teaching false doctrine, and I have been criticized for my desire to write a book on marriage. People have been hurt and offended at what I have written.

I guess the negative feedback was expected. But I was surprised at who provided the negative feedback, which has made it most difficult. Those who have known me for most of my life or who are more than just casual friends. Those who, I would have hoped knew that I have an unshakable testimony of Jesus Christ and have no desire to mislead anyone. But have an overwhelming desire to bring my readers closer to their Father in Heaven. I never desire to offend anyone. I love the gospel with a profound commitment and desire to follow Christ. Often I feel like Peter in my sincere desire to honor my Savior, I might naively refuses a foot washing but eagerly receive correction and request to be washed all over. It’s hard enough when strangers accuse you of misdeeds and personally attack; it’s another when those you respect do it. It is always surprising to me; those who profess optimism and kindness are those who seem to first attack. If it’s not an attack it’s an assumption that you are intending to mislead. They don’t seek clarification; they accuse, assume and judge. There is NO edifying of one another. But prompt defensiveness to just “agree to disagree”.

Why do I write? In 9th grade I received an odd compliment from a teacher who taught me how to see things as they really are. On two separate occasions with two different teachers and assignments, I had written a fictional story. Both teachers spoke with me personally and passionately and told me what a profoundly imaginative and vivid story teller I was. They both said these two separate stories were “brilliant!” One even said he was confident I would be a published author one day. They both also, informed me that I had much to work on in the way of cleaning up my writing skills. It wasn’t threating and it wasn’t embarrassing. They were honest and sincere. They saw my potential and they were not put off by the weakness. They desired to edify. They help me realize I enjoy writing and I didn’t have to be discouraged. I began to write, I wrote a lot. Kept a journal, wrote poems, songs and stories. But I never shared them. I didn’t have the courage to share them.

Even now that I have the courage to share, it’s still difficult. My wife is very encouraging and supportive; she smiles and says, “you just need a good editor.” She has spent many hours out of her busy schedule refining my writings. Nonetheless, there are times she is not available or I think its “good enough”. But even when my writings are cleaned up, I am opening myself to criticism over the content. I don’t get offended when I hear the criticisms but I respect those who reach out and seek clarification. They trust my intent and even asked to help. One such person did this recently; she was like those teachers in 9th grade. She reached out, “I love reading your blog posts, so I hope you take what I’m about to offer in the spirit in which I intend it and that is that I’d like to see your writings reach and affect more people and that you become a successful blogger and writer. With that, I’d like to offer my editing help…” Wow! What a difference, what a wonderful reprieve from the short sided offense unforgiving readers take. An opportunity to lift, edify and understand.

I value good written language and admire those who are capable of articulating their thoughts well in writing. But until I have mastered this weakness I encourage others to seek the heart of the message, seek clarification and edification. I am quick to correct errors when the spirit has identified it’s as such. Reflect on your own response, is it driven by fear, duty or love?
P.S. errors in grammar, spelling and punctuation, incomplete thoughts and sentences were intentionally not edited out. 

Saturday, July 4, 2015

An Unspoken Struggle: Things As They Really Are

Behold, my brethren, he that prophesieth, let him prophesy to the understanding of men; for the Spirit speaketh the truth and lieth not. Wherefore, it speaketh of things as they really are, and of things as they really will be; wherefore, these things are manifested unto us plainly, for the salvation of our souls. But behold, we are not witnesses alone in these things; for God also spake them unto prophets of old. Jacob 4:13
One of the biggest hurdles in working through our weaknesses is overcoming disabling and destructive thought patterns. Especially when working with those who struggle with sexual related issues, its embarrassing, frustrating and private. Unfortunately, almost all embrace thoughts and emotions they believe are appropriate in these struggles but are actually preventing them from progressing and finding hope and joy in the moment. These thoughts and emotions sway from pessimism to optimism. But neither are helpful in healing, self-mastery, and embracing the atonement.

Optimism can be as dangerous and destructive as pessimism; it can prevent spiritual growth and self-mastery. Optimism and pessimism are two emotional sides of the same coin. There doesn't appear to be any doctrinal basis for optimism in the gospel. The Lord never chastised Job for complaining or needing to be more happy in his trial, or Joseph Smith for complaining there were too many churches. But you might say, Jobs proving and Joseph Smith restoring the Gospel were a part of God's plan. Like Laman and Lemuel, we are rebelling and sinning against God.

I assure you, most, if not all those I see, are no Laman and Lemuel. The moment we sin or transgress, we see ourselves as Laman and Lemuel, and the moment we repent we are Nephi. This is the dichotomy we unfairly place ourselves into and is harmful to our progression. Those who approach sin and self-mastery with optimism and pessimism are slowly losing hope. Our weaknesses don't make us like Laman and Lemuel; our lack of desire to love and trust God and refuse the atonement make us more like Laman and Lemuel. This idea was captured perfectly in a meme I found recently:

I understand this can slide easily into a topic of semantics. You might be recalling talks over the years that you've heard or read encouraging optimism. President Gordon B. Hinckley gave a talk in General Conference in 2001, "Words of the Prophet: The Spirit of Optimism". More recently, T. Jeffrey Wilks of the Marriott School of Management at BYU gave a devotional "Optimism and Joy in the Gospel of Jesus Christ". Both messages are spot on and insightful. I am confident that you can think of many other messages that encourage "optimism". 

However, what I have found is that these talks use the words "optimism" and "positive thinking" interchangeably with hope and happiness. Technically, this is not what optimism means and is not how most interpret its meaning. 

The Webster dictionary defines optimism as "an inclination to put the most favorable construction upon actions and events or to anticipate the best possible outcome." I believe that this is the definition used by most people and those with whom I have worked. It is the inclination to put the most favorable outcome as opposed to seeing things as they really are. The "positive" approach to life. 

What if Joseph Smith was an optimist? How different do you think his prayer would have been? "Father there are so many churches; it's confusing but thank you for blessing us with so many options to worship thee." He would have missed out on the First Vision experience, lessons of eternity, and the building up of an individual, courageous enough to lead the restored church into a new dispensation.

Where in scripture does it tell us to be optimistic? It doesn't. But rather, the scriptures teach us to see things as they really are, "Wherefore, it [the spirit] speaketh of things as they really are, and of things as they really will be;" The scriptures also teach us to take our concerns, even complaints, to the Lord.

In an often misread scripture, Sariah provided an excellent lesson in the need to complain:
"For she had supposed that we had perished in the wilderness; and she also had complained against my father, telling him that he was a visionary man; saying: Behold thou hast led us forth from the land of our inheritance, and my sons are no more, and we perish in the wilderness.
And after this manner of language had my mother complained against my father." 1 Nephi 5:2-3
I have attended many meetings where individuals interpret Sariah's murmuring and complaining as an issue with her faith and use it as a cautionary tale. However, I see Sariah's actions as an example of faith, authenticity, and seeing things as they really are.

Camille Fronk Olsen, professor of ancient scripture, offers additional insight to Sariah's experience;
"I suggest a different explanation. To establish Lehi and his family in a new land where they would inspire and instruct later generations to come unto Christ, God needed more than a father and a son (as successor) to possess a testimony tried in the fire of affliction. God also needed a matriarch, weathered by her own trials of faith and armed with her own unwavering witness, to stand steadfast with her prophet-husband. 
When her sons failed to return, Sariah feared, giving evidence that her present faith, though admirably strong, was not yet strong enough to continue the difficult journey, let alone to establish a God-fearing family in a new land. The content of 1 Nephi 5 is therefore especially significant because it shows how crucial a mother's preparation is to the Lord. God desired not only that the family possess the brass plates for the journey, but also that both the mother and the father have unshakable faith before they continued. 
...Sariah's reunion with her sons was additionally charged with the spiritual witness and stronger faith she received as a result of her trial. At that moment Sariah gained a deeper testimony than she had previously known. Notice the power and assurance in Sariah as she bore witness to her reunited family: "Now I know of a surety that the Lord hath commanded my husband to flee into the wilderness; yea, and I also know of a surety that the Lord hath protected my sons, and delivered them out of the hands of Laban, and given them power whereby they could accomplish the thing which the Lord hath commanded them" (1 Nephi 5:8)" Camille Fronk, Desert Epiphany: Sariah and the Women in 1 Nephi
Sariah is a wonderful example of how voicing concern or complaint can strength faith and even be a form of expressing faith.

Consider Joseph Smith's complaint and concern while locked away in Liberty Jail:
"O God, where art thou? And where is the pavilion that covereth thy hiding place? 
How long shall thy hand be stayed, and thine eye, yea thy pure eye, behold from the eternal heavens the wrongs of thy people and of thy servants, and thine ear be penetrated with their cries?" D&C 121: 1-2
What followed was a powerful and calming revelation which would not have occurred if his fears and concerns were glazed over with optimism. Like Sariah's complaining, he expresses faith in a loving Father in Heaven who answers prayers. To some degree, each prayer we offer is a complaint to God and should be. It is important to offer gratitude and recognize His hand in our lives. But it is equally important to see things as they are, recognize our weakness and, well, complain. Complain with hope and faith in the atonement.

Those who struggle with sin, especially sexual issues, often take a pessimistic or optimistic approach to healing. When they give into their weakness, they often shame themselves, which is not sorrow, but guilt and negative self-talk and thinking. For some reason, they feel the ease and power of the atonement are not enough. Also, they fear that if there is not enough self-punishment and shame they will repeat the undesired behavior, a form of scaring themselves out of the behavior. Others, on the other hand, will over-compensate and take on an optimistic or positive thinking approach. The pain, shame, and embarrassment are too much to deal with and feelings that they are not worthy of the atonement are too overwhelming. Therefore, to avoid or cope with that pain, they put on a smile and repeat gospel positive phrases such as, "I know God loves me", "If I fast and pray more, I will overcome this", and "All I need is more faith", or some other form of positive gospel affirmation. These are those whom we sometimes see as dedicated and example saints who seem to never have a negative thought and have all the right answers.

One such client came into session each week and after briefly sharing their status they immediately engaged in gospel positive self-talk. "I know I failed this week because I didn't read 30 mins each day. If I increase my scripture studies, I will not repeat the sin." They are very literally not seeing things as they really are. They jumped immediately into supposed solutions to their failure. They think if they dwell on it too long or "complain" they would be lacking faith in the process. But what they are doing is denying themselves insights specific to their needs and self-mastery. But what eventually happens is that the gospel positive self-talk runs out. Doubt takes over and faith is diminished. No matter how much they pray, read, and do good works, they repeat the undesired behavior. As a result, they question their faith and experience a spiritual fatigue. Many give up after years of repeated visits to their Bishop and prayers of repentance. They begin to no longer believe that the Lord doesn't give temptations and struggles greater then we can bear, or if it were true, it must be they are too sinful to be blessed. 1 Corn 10:13

Hogwash! It's because we glossed over the atonement with pessimism and optimism. It's not always about more prayer or scriptures but rather a need to see things as they really are. Although our struggles are in no way easy, it is easier to focus on more scriptures, more prayer, and more faith. If Sariah or Joseph Smith glossed over with optimism, would they have expressed their hard concerns and complaints? Would they have learned and been prepared to bring forth greater faith and revelation by laying their fears on the altar?

Even with those who have struggled with their sins for 40 years, I have seen almost immediate success when we begin to voice their complaint to the Lord. It's scary to be accepting of your weaknesses and discussing them with the lord. But as Kathryn Kirk as pointed out in her struggles, the gospel is a place of healing, not hiding.

I have even heard many say, "Before I see the Bishop or a therapist, I want to work through this to a certain point." Sometimes, we in the faith put too much emphasis on our own works and not enough on trusting the atonement. You no longer have to be afraid of your struggles, but embrace them and see them as they really are without guilt or shame. Eliminating shame and seeing things as they really are is essential to self-mastery and make your weaknesses strong before the Lord.

When we can stop treating our undesired behaviors with optimism or pessimism and face them with courage, we can bravely lay them on the altar to have our weaknesses made strong. Let's replace the optimism, gospel self-talk and pessimism with hope! I love the words of Pope Francis in making this very same point:
“I do not like to use the word optimism because that is about a psychological attitude,” the pope says. “I like to use the word hope instead, according to what we read in the Letter to the Hebrews, Chapter 11, that I mentioned before. The fathers of the faith kept walking, facing difficulties. And hope does not disappoint, as we read in the Letter to the Romans. Think instead of the first riddle of Puccini’s opera ‘Turandot,’” the pope suggests. 
At that moment I recalled more or less by heart the verses of the riddle of the princess in that opera, to which the solution is hope: “In the gloomy night flies an iridescent ghost./ It rises and opens its wings/ on the infinite black humanity./ The whole world invokes it/ and the whole world implores it./ But the ghost disappears with the dawn/ to be reborn in the heart./ And every night it is born/ and every day it dies!” These are verses that reveal the desire for a hope. Yet here that hope is an iridescent ghost that disappears with the dawn. 
“See,” says Pope Francis, “Christian hope is not a ghost and it does not deceive. It is a theological virtue and therefore, ultimately, a gift from God that cannot be reduced to optimism, which is only human. God does not mislead hope; God cannot deny himself. God is all promise.” Pope Francis, A Big Heart Open to God
It is tempting to run from our undesired behaviors, to hide them, or to, in some form of karma, do more good to prevent the bad. Recognize your weaknesses courageously, learn from them, and make them strong.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

An Unspoken Struggle: LDS Women Addicted to Pornography

"So. I am an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and have been my entire life. My struggles with pornography began in 2003 out of a mix of boredom and curiosity. For years now, I have felt like one day I would share my experiences, and that from the things that I've learned, that I would be able to perhaps help just one other person in their struggles. My intent is not to talk about the details of anything, but just how the gospel of Jesus Christ has and is changing me, and helping me through this painful addiction. If you are a woman who is struggling, or know of a woman who is struggling with pornography, let me know. I know that it is difficult, and I know that having someone to talk to can make all the difference in the world. So this is my attempt to reach out to you. If you are a single woman, you are in good company cause so am I. I don't know what it is like to have this struggle in marriage, but if you are married, hopefully there will be something here that can help you too." LDS Woman 

"LDS Woman" is a brave single adult woman and active member who contacted me about her addiction to pornography. She had been battling this persistent Goliath for many years, had seen her bishop many times, fasted, prayed and did everything right. But the desire and addiction wouldn't go away, and she would find herself back at square one again and again. Discouraged, frustrated and at times hopeless, this dear sister didn't know what else to do. No matter how hard she prayed, read her scriptures or how sincere her desire to get rid of porn in her life, it wouldn't go away. As a result, at times she would even question if her faith was sufficient. After all, if faith can move mountains why not rid her of her desire for porn? Additionally, as a woman addicted to porn in the church, this provided its own difficulties.

If you are an LDS woman struggling with porn in any form, you are not alone. I get it, we don't talk about LDS woman addicted to porn in the church. But I assure you, I have seen as many women as men who are struggling, you are not alone. There is hope! The story of my client "LDS Woman" is a beautiful one. I encourage you to link to her blog and follow her personal journey. I encourage you to seek her out and ask her questions. If you feel unworthy, unclean and ashamed. I would remind you, are those feelings bringing you closer to Father or further away? It is a common misconception that we must feel shame and guilt, sorrow yes. But not shame or guilt. Where shame and guilt are, hope can not prevail. Where there is no hope, despair and depression grow. You can be happy now, even in the mist of battling an addiction or an occasional viewing. Yes, you most definitely can be happy during the battle of your Goliath.

"An Unspoken Struggle" will be a series of blog posts that guide you in your battle. How to turn from shame to hope, from despair to courage and how to retain the beauty of intimacy and sexuality while untangling yourself from porn. Unlike most addictions and misuse, we don't want to destroy, avoid or suppress our heavenly gift of sexuality. Too many have "defeated" their Goliath's only to find a new problem when they get married. Intimacy is difficult, avoided or triggers past addictions.

If you have any specific thoughts, questions or curiosities that you'd like me to address please contact me directly or in the comments section.
I never thought a pornography addiction could be a girl’s problem. I was proved wrong when I was about 16 years old. I came across a video of pornography, and since I was alone and curious, I watched it. After that first time, I felt like I had to watch something every day. I became addicted to pornography.
Viewing pornography made me feel bad. I knew it was wrong, but I didn’t do anything to change. I was never happy, and I felt dirty and infected with Satan’s tempting filth. But I still found ways to watch it just so I could satisfy my appetite. My addiction led to more and more wrongdoings. I lied to everyone: my brother, my mother, and worst of all, the Lord and myself. I would tell myself that one more movie wasn’t going to hurt me, one more dirty story wouldn’t be that bad. --"No Longer Addicted: My Journey to Overcome Pornography"