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Sunday, April 20, 2014

hyp·o·crite: Pretends to be what he is not.

Joe attended the initial interview alone.

He and his wife had been married in the Temple. Their two boys were "Born In The Covenant." He successfully completed a full time LDS mission. He had been serving in his ward in various leadership positions.

It was Monday night and he and his family were having Family Home Evening.

The detectives rang the door bell ... They examined and confiscated the families' computers. The detectives informed his wife that Joe had been downloading child porn. 

Joe went to jail. The detectives found a collection of over 2,500 images of child porn hidden on the families' computers. He had been charged with 20 Felony "Sexual Exploitation of a Minor" charges. 

Joe is now seeing me. It is never good when you have to see Dr. Hawks :( 

Joe's life is about to change, perhaps even for eternity.

How could Joe as an "active" member of his religion be so "actively" involved with "illegal deviant pornography"? (I could understand better if he was a Jack Mormon and denouncing his religion.) The Sunday before the arrest Joe had taught the lesson in Elder's quorum.

Joe's story is not a rare event.
I've never seen a crime -including murder-
that a "active" member of the LDS Church hasn't committed
Attended Church on the Sunday before the crime!!!

How could someone "ACTIVE IN THE CHURCH" as evidenced by:
Attending all Church meetings
Taking the Sacrament
Going to the temple
Going on a mission
Marring in the temple
Reading the scriptures
Earning Duty to God
Paying tithing
etc etc

Do behavior like:
View child porn
Drink and drive
Sexual molest children
Steal money from old people
etc etc

Joe was "active" in Church not the "gospel." He hadn't had a testimony - a spiritual experience with the Holy Ghost for years. Sometimes we use the terms "active in the gospel" and "active in church" interchangeably as if they are the same thing. But they are not.
Some have come to think of activity in the Church as the ultimate goal. Therein lies a danger. It is possible to be active in the Church and less active in the gospel. Let me stress: activity in the Church is a highly desirable goal; however, it is insufficient. Activity in the Church is an outward indication of our spiritual desire. If we attend our meetings, hold and fulfill Church responsibilities, and serve others, it is publicly observed. By contrast, the things of the gospel are usually less visible and more difficult to measure, but they are of greater eternal importance. For example, how much faith do we really have? How repentant are we? How meaningful are the ordinances in our lives? How focused are we on our covenants? (Converted to His Gospel Through His Church, Donald L. Hallstrom, Conference April 2012)

I'm confident Satan and his special forces (See: Satan's Special Forces) smile as they see thousands of Mormons carry-on believing they are "Converted" because they are "ACTIVE IN THE CHURCH"!

But they are not. :(

For some of us there is a lack of real personal conversion to Christ and His Gospel.

Let me try saying it this way: The Church and Church activities may appeal to some for social or some other reason, but real conversion is when we feel something usually in our hearts. We can receive a sure testimony of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ ONLY by the power of the Holy Ghost. (See: Holy Ghost). If you do not have ongoing experiences with the Holy Ghost you do not have a testimony and therefore are not converted - as a result "You are only active in the Church" like Joe.
With all of our doing. With all of our leading. With all of our teaching, the most important thing we can do for those whom we lead is to cultivate in their hearts a living, vital, vibrant testimony and knowledge of the Son of God, Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of the world, the Author of our salvation, He who atoned for the sins of the world and opened the way of salvation and eternal life. I would hope that in all we do we would somehow constantly nourish the testimony of our people concerning the Savior. I am satisfied--I know it's so--that whenever a man has a true witness in his heart of the living reality of the Lord Jesus Christ, ALL else will come together as it should... That is the root from which all virtue springs among those who call themselves Latter-day Saints. (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley, Deseret Book, 1997, 648)
Our greatest responsibility is to become truly converted to Christ and His Gospel. This alone will carry us through the storms of life. “You have the primary responsibility for your own conversion. No one can be converted for you, and no one can force you to be converted." (True to the Faith, pg. 43)
 In one who is wholly converted, desire for things contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ has actually died, and substituted therefor is a love of God with a fixed and controlling determination to keep his commandments...(Conversion, Marion G. Romney, Conference Report, Oct. 1963, 23)

Isaiah 29:13
Luke 6:46
Perhaps the best one of all:
Matthew 23:27

See: Spiritual Anorexia

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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Help! My Husband is on Porn.

She drove to my office from a hotel, where she had spent the last couple of nights. With tears she said,
"I just found out that my husband has been viewing pornography for our entire marriage. We have been married three years and I feel devastated, scared and betrayed. The more I find out and the more I think about it the more angry and sick I become."

"What can I do to help myself, my husband and our marriage?"
Here is your road map of what to expect after discovering your husband's porn use. These five stages may not occur in this exact order and may even overlap. It's been my experience these stages are How a normal wife adjusts to her husband's porn problem. 

1. Denial and Isolation NOT ME, COULDN'T BE
It's takes time for a wife to discover how serious her husband's porn problem might be, often years. In our LDS culture we so badly want the "Celestial Marriage and Family" that we overlook the obvious signals of porn addiction along the way. (See: Behavioral Changes In Pornography Users)  Denial of his porn problem is so much more easier than admitting.

For many women the first reaction is "leave him". Wanting to get "away" is normal. There is so much to think about and so many decisions to make. Perhaps you or him go to a hotel or parents' house for awhile.  Or better yet let him sleep in the spare bedroom downstairs. After all, you can no longer confide in him your deepest feelings. You have been betrayed. Emotional detachment will occur because "the intimacy of your relationship has been violated."

When you no longer deny your husband has a porn problem you will experience anger at a new high. Why? Because pornography tears at the very thread of being a woman and femininity. Only porn can uproot your "Celestial Family" and "Eternity" in a matter of seconds.
You'll be angry...
...at him. You may have the thought "I could kill him!" I understand you really wouldn't do that and that it is a reflection of your pain.
Why mad at him?
...for doing this to you.
...betraying you.
...lying to you.
...this list is very very long. (It's not easy being an addict. It takes a several characteristics.)
Why mad at yourself?
...at yourself. You may have the thought "I wish I was dead. I cannot deal with this right now." I understand you really wouldn't do that and that it is a reflection of your pain.
...for having overlooked all the signs of porn addiction that are clear now
...for blaming his lack of sexual interest in you- ON YOU. Your thighs are too big; You're no longer attractive; etc etc
...at yourself for letting HIM destroy your self-esteem and femininity.

Why mad at others?
...at God for letting this happen.
...at the Church for all the myths/lies you believe that promotes men's use of porn.
...at the women in the porn and those who make it.

Your Dreams of "Being One" with him in the Celestial Kingdom are temporarily on hold.
Your eternal marriage is no longer eternal.

It's inevitable. Once you discover your husband has a porn addiction the questions and second guessing will race through your mind-
...Why did I even marry him? Remember while dating he told you he "used to have a porn problem when he was younger." "Why didn't I pay more attention?"
...Why didn't we go to counseling then? For years it was obvious he had ED.
...If only I wouldn't have ignored it? Remember, "The one time I caught him on his cell phone looking at porn."
...You may even contact an old boyfriend on Facebook. "Is it wrong to want him to hurt as bad as I do?"
... Having accepted the myth "All men view porn once in awhile -It's not a big deal."
... All those times he promised... not to do it again.
etc etc

Some of these behaviors and statements you'll keep to yourself.  You may wonder "What is happening to me? Am I going crazy?" Secretly, you may make a deal with God in an attempt to postpone dealing with the fact -"My husband has a porn addiction." You will likely find yourself pleading with all your heart -like never before "Please God... anything but this. Please I can't deal with this...I'll do anything...
 4. Depression THIS IS GOING TO HURT :(
Sexual misconduct of a loved one hurts. God knows.
"For behold I the Lord have seen the sorrow and heard the mourning of the daughters of my people...because of the wickedness and abominations of their husbands" (Jacob 2:31).  Jacob said to the husbands "warning them against fornication and lasciviousness" (Jacob 3:12) and sexual sin-certainly to include addiction to pornography. He explained, "Ye have broken the hearts of your tender wives and lost the confidence of you children because of your bad examples before them and the sobbings of their hearts ascend up to God against you...." (Jacob 2:35)

So certainly it's okay to cry, to feel devastated. That's normal. The more righteous your husband appeared in daily living-e.g. higher the church calling, attendance at temple---the greater the fall.
...grief for my husband
...grief for our marriage
...grief for me
...grief for my children
Those around you will ask "Are you alright?" Recognizing your pain. The grief will feel like nothing you've ever experienced.
By the way, these 5 stages are the same stages you would have experienced 
if he would have died.
But dealing with porn addiction is far more painful and confusing than
his death would have been.

Yes, I understand it may have been easier for you,
if he had died in a car accident.

View this Webisode: Why Pornography Shatter Relationships

But he is not dead ... you will have to "accept" the truth.

In time you'll realize you are NOT the cause of his porn problem. He is. However, you are responsible for your feelings and behavior. (See: The Gift: Between God and I) There are "HIS" problems- dishonesty, lying, deception, porn addiction, masturbation, etc etc. There are "HER" problems- depression, anger, confusion, and now codependence - enabling and rescuing etc etc.

You will need to learn and deal with "yours".
There is hope.
There are a ton of resources.
You can do hard things.

Begin with HONESTY- Admit that you, of yourself, are powerless to overcome his porn addiction and as a result - for now your life has become unmanageable.
If you're working a 12-Step Plan, you've just completed STEP 1. (See: S-Anon and LDS Recovery Groups for Spouses)

Recovery Story: Meet Kerry Spouse of porn addict
Hope, Healing and Dealing with Addiction

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Sunday, April 6, 2014

One More Thing About Depression

Emma just returned from another psychiatric appointment. She was now on her 3rd antidepressant. The others hadn't worked. Last month she went to the hormone and thyroid specialist and was now taking several supplements. Diligently she says her prayers, reads uplifting books and listens to relaxing music. She hasn't missed a single appointment with her counselor. She has simplified her life-reducing stress telling others "No".... Nevertheless, she feels hopeless. There are additional side effects from the most recent antidepressant - nightmares and excessive drowsiness. The dark cloud of depression lingers. She calls in despair. She has had it saying...
           "I did all the stuff you told me. It's been two months now.
It doesn't work. I want out. I want to go to paradise."

With serious depression one or two months of doing the right resources often isn't enough to experience significant improvement!
She didn't do it long enough! (Sorry for yelling, but you got to get this one....)

Let me explain. Whether you're going to hell or heaven... it is a gradual process (See: The Safest Road to Hell; The Safest Road To Heaven). The road to recovery from depression is a gradual one. It takes time to change a lifestyle. In a similar way "seeds" take time to germinate. Some longer than others.

But good seeds WILL germinate.

I love growing and eating peas. I buy the seeds put them in the ground AND WAIT. After a few days I water the peas AND WAIT.  After a few more days I see the green pea sprouts AND WAIT. After a few more days I pull surrounding weeds AND WAIT. After a few more days I water the peas AND  WAIT. After a few more days I fertilize AND WAIT.  After a few more days I water the peas AND WAIT.  After a few more days ...... (do it all again and again) AND WAIT...you get the point in about 1 1/2 months the pea blossoms come on AND I WAIT. Finally, I reap what I sow. The pea will grow one day at a time.

For those of you dealing with a serious depression, it is not unusual for you to occasionally feel awful -like you have made no progress even though you've added resources. You question yourself about Will I ever feel better? - Because you experience mornings where you have no energy or motivation to use ANY of your resources.  THIS IS NORMAL. DO NOT BE DISCOURAGED.  In the process of feeling better you will have periods of feeling worse. Let me say it again.
You will feel worse 
while you are getting better

Memorize this concept:

There will be times I feel worse, as I'm getting better. This is normal. I will be okay. All I need to do is keep nourishing the seeds of healing -doing my resources each day. The seeds will sprout!

You will reap what you sow. God is bound! "The Law of the Harvest" is one of God's oldest "Truths."  It's impossible to do otherwise. The Law of the Harvest has never failed! And it's not going to fail in your case.
God’s growth cycle has always been a marvel to me—the process of fertilizing, tilling, planting, weeding, irrigating, [and waiting] - to produce a harvest. I am continually amazed with the power in a single seed as it multiplies itself many, many times. ….The yield has no limits on its increase. Our labors will continue to bring forth more abundant harvest … as we follow the Lord’s law of the harvest. He has bound himself to provide us with abundance so long as we will live his law... (L. Tom Perry, The Law of the Harvest, Oct 1980)
Likewise in 35 years dealing with mental health I have NEVER seen someone consistently plant "seeds of recovery" and not begin to feel better-eventually. True-not everyone is 100% healed from depression (or other mental disorders). But each person's condition can be improved-in time.

EVERY "good seed" sprouts with the nourishment of belief and doing resources. Every good seed sprouts.
if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, … behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; Alma 32.28
The seed in this case is YOU using the correct and sufficient number of resources each day AND WAIT. (See: Five to Survive)

DO NOT worry so much whether or not you're going to get better. I promise you will. I have 100% confidence in you and the law.
God's law requires good seeds to sprout.
DO worry about nourishing the seeds by doing as many resources as you can-each day.

Think what seeds/resources you would like to grow.
Do as many of your resources each day.
And Wait, Believing.

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Other blogs about depression.
God doesn't need a psychiatrist, but... - Understanding mental illness
Depression: A Dark Angel
Solving Emotional Problems in the Lord's Way
Got Depression? Do This...
Yea! - For Elder Holland's Talk on Mental Illness