Don't ask if you already know?
By calgarysouth
6/26/2013 1:27:47 AM
I have been looking up pornography and masturbating about once every four months or so. In my last ward, I went to see him almost every time to confess. Each time, I felt as though I was extremely unworthy and each time he would essentially reassure me by saying that it didn't sound like I had a serious issue, and that I shouldn't be worried about my worthiness, and he judged that I was still worthy despite my slip-ups.

Eventually I interpreted his counsel as "You are doing fine, you are worthy, just keep working hard to avoid it," and was under the impression that I didn't need to go talk to him about every little detail every time.

I am now in a new ward and am in about the same situation. I feel like it would be similar to asking the Lord questions that he has already given an answer to by again notifying the new Bishop at each sign of small defeat. Do I need to keep talking to the Bishop about this when I have already been assured that I am heading in the right direction as I'm working hard to keep myself as clean as I can be?


Some thoughts...    
"A few weeks ago, I was talking with my former stake president about how bishops differ in how they deal with people who confess, church discipline, etc. He said something that made sense to me. If you have gone to a bishop and gave an honest confession, and your bishop told you that you were okay and gave you reassurance, then you can feel confident that you have been forgiven - even if most other bishops would have handled the situation differently. And bishops do handle things differently.

I would commend you for going to your bishop In the past confessing what you have done. It can be such a hard thing to do. Seeking repentance is an important part of recovery. But if recovery is what you are seeking, it is important to know that there is a difference between repentance and recovery. You have repented - many times it would seem from your post. But if you were in recovery would not keep going back to the same pattern of slipping on a regular (albeit infrequent) basis.

As far as going to see your new bishop, I have always been instructed that if you have any questions about whether you should talk to your bishop or not, you should go. If your new bishop does not see this as a big problem (as your last bishop apparently did), then it will be a quick chat, and you'll be out the door. I can't imagine any bishop being upset with a person who confesses what turns out to be a minor sin.

It is also quite possible that he will see this in a much different light than your former bishop. If so, it might be a blessing - it might start you on a path of real recovery. I tend to be more motivated when I am not shielded from the consequences of my actions. One piece of advice I would give you is that when you do go to see your new bishop, do not tell him only about your latest slip up. Give him the entire story. This is a mistake I have made in the past, thinking that since I had confessed to something in the past and had repented, that it did not need to be brought up again. If he thinks that this is just a one-time incident, he will likely have a different perspective on your situation as opposed to if he knows your pattern of repeated slip ups.

Is this a minor problem? I am not the one to judge by any means, but if you go back to something over and over and over again, it is starting to sound like an addiction to me. And that requires your bishop's help, in my mind. But not only your bishop. You will need other help, such as the ARP, SA 12-step program and possibly counseling. Think of it this way - do you want to be acting out in this manner every 4 months the rest of your life?

Hang in there. Know that with help, you can do this!"
posted at 05:32:09 on June 26, 2013 by notsostrong
My .02    
"These are great questions for you to ask your current Bishop. You two should have a good chat about his expectations and your goals for recovery."
posted at 08:36:25 on June 26, 2013 by maddy
2 things    
"I agree with both of the above comments. Yeah talk with your bishop and ask him that question to see if he wants you to tell him each time. I would assume yes. It helps keep you accountable and keeps him aware. Addictions have potential to get bad in a hurry.
Also I wonder how much of a little problem this is. As far as I'm concerned there is no such thing as a 'little' porn problem. that's how mine started - about once every 3 months for over year and then it slowly but surely took over my life as relapses got more and more frequent. If time between relapses is the same or getting shorter, then something else should be done. Attending a group would for sure help. Good luck!"
posted at 11:28:15 on June 27, 2013 by recovery.gdo

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"One of the great myths in life is when men think they are invincible. Too many think that they are men of steel, strong enough to withstand any temptation."

— James E. Faust

General Conference, April 2002