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Introduction
By hope4change
7/2/2007 8:28:44 PM
One day I was sitting at the computer and I came across a very bad image popup at 12 years old. After that I lessened time on the computer as much as possible. I don't know if it had anything to do with what happened later, but I feel as though I am making no progress.

Now, at age 15 I have been viewing images and youtube videos of young girls in provocative swimwear, underwear, and occasionally by accident I stumble even further (obviously using the computer more again). As I do so I am constantly doing things with my body that I know I shouldn't. Not only that, I am picturing myself in the scene. By the end of the day I end up with feelings of depression and guilt. I paid attention in Seminary and during the school year was reading my scriptures almost daily. I had it down so that I would read my scriptures and then worry about doing homework. It seems as though when I was in school I wouldn't do those bad things as often. School is out.

I want to be a better person, brother, son, family member, and one day I want to be a good husband and father. I don't want this to ruin my life if it hasn't already.

Other problems that come into play is the fact that I don't want my parents to know. My dad and mom were divorced when I was young and then both were remarried. I really don't want any of them to know.

I feel at times as though I should walk myself into the bishop's office one day and spill my guts. I just am afraid that he would want my mom to know and that maybe he would look down upon me.

I despise the thoughts of having my extended family look down upon me as well. We already had two cases of things like this in the family. I don't want to be the third
family case. (Too late for that though, huh?)

I just don't know where to go or what to do. I don't want the consequences I see coming. Am I dumb or is this what will happen?

Thank you for reading,
HOPE4Change

Comments:

Good Job!    
"First of all, this definitely has NOT ruined your life already. I commend you for seeking help for your problems as young as you are. Believe me, I've been right where you are, only I didn't seek out help. 17 LONG years later at 32, I'm finally beginning my recovery, although now there is a LOT more time and far worse sins that have to be undone. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE don't let this ruin your mission, your marriage, or your life, because if you continue, IT WILL. This crap is so much more accessible now, with the internet than it was when I was your age and I always worry about our youth. I have 3 boys of my own and I know we will have to be very vigilant to fight this.

You are not alone. LDS Family Services says that 100% of young men are exposed to pornography as they go through their teen years and that 50% of the priesthood (not just you young men either, but Elders and High Priests too!) is actively involved with pornography. So look around at school and at church. Look at your friends. They ALL have had that unintended image come up while they were innocently browsing. Many, many have pursued it further and are struggling now just as you are. One difference between them and you, however, is that you want and are seeking help and that is AWESOME!

Please DO talk to your bishop. I GUARANTEE, as one who has spoken with quite a few different bishops about this addiction, that he will not look down upon you. Bishops are receiving excellent training about helping people involved in pornography now. They know the stats that 100% of our young men are exposed and half of the priesthood is struggling. This isn't some "sickness" limited to perverts and twisted people. It affects EVERYONE. President Hinckley has called this "the great plague of our generation". Your bishop will admire you even more than he already does, because he knows that going in and "spilling your guts" is HARD. I can promise you that he will show an increase in love toward you. He wants to help the men in his ward who are struggling but he can only do it if you give him a chance. And your bishop most likely will not insist on talking to your mom either. He can work with you confidentially just between the two of you. Just tell him your concerns and follow his counsel and guidance. It will be very hard. But that is what is so great about faith. President Packer said "Faith is standing at the edge of the light and then taking a step into the dark." But when you do that, you see the blessings that are waiting for you. The Lord wants to bless you. He loves you and wants you to be worthy so you can receive those blessings. And repentance guided by the bishop is the Lord's way of helping us become worthy again. When we need a hand, the bishop is the Lord's representative to help us. Repentance is a beautiful blessing and I promise you that you will NEVER regret going in and discussing things with your bishop. But you WILL regret it if you don't. So exercise just a bit of faith, call your bishop and ask him to meet with you. Then pray REAL HARD for strength to be able to tell the Bishop everything. Then, go in and spill your guts! It's a wonderful feeling and you will leave his office feeling the burden lifted from your shoulders and knowing that there's not just HOPE for change, but that you've already begun to change.

I want you to think about something also: Ether 12:27 says "I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." You do have a weakness, but guess who gave it to you: Heavenly Father. It is a LOVING GIFT, believe it or not. When I realized that, it made a huge difference for me. And why would he give you something that on the surface seems like such a curse? Because he WANTS you to seek help! Because THAT is how you can grow closer to him and become more like him. He loves you and wants you to be near him and depend on him. So he gives you weaknesses as reminders that you need him and that HE NEEDS YOU.

Your username is great because there definitely is hope for change. You have the chance to really change and conquer this weakness before it becomes a full-blown addiction, before it affects your worthiness to serve a mission, or affects your ability to feel the spirit on your mission, before it breaks the heart of the loving and beautiful girl you will marry, or the children you will have, before it leads to church courts and disfellowshipment or excommunication. Not only can this weakness become a strength, but if you follow the Lord's plan for repentance, it will bring you closer to him and make you a better person, brother, son, family member, husband and father. PLEASE take advantage of this chance you have. We all love you and hope and pray that you will have success. Keep us posted on how things are going, OK?"
posted at 07:42:31 on July 3, 2007 by derek
Thank you.    
"Thank you for the words of encouragement and advice. I will be posting in here as much as I can. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you."
posted at 08:53:13 on July 3, 2007 by hope4change
Wow, what an honest kid!    
"I admire you, hope4change. I really like how you have used the internet as a tool for change. I think you may be a little too hard on yourself, though. Derek's right; Just because you looked at some porn doesn't mean you are going to turn into a full blown sex addict. If you are wise enough to see the potential danger in such things and choose to turn to Christ to remove it, you may save yourself much pain in the long run. Also, being tempted isn't the same thing as sinning so when you feel yourself being tempted, understand that it's normal. You aren't some deviant sexual freak. My sponsor used to say, " You can't stop the birds from flying over your head but you CAN keep them from making a nest in your hair." You seem like such a good-hearted kid. You were smart to reach out for help. If the pornography becomes an ongoing problem then there are steps that can be taken to remedy that. For every pitfall the devil uses against us, our Heavenly Father has a way out. Keep in touch"
posted at 11:54:14 on July 3, 2007 by soberinsocal
Christ wants to help    
"I was reading in Matthew this morning and read the account of when Jesus was sitting among publicans and sinners. The Pharisees asked him why he sat among sinners and his response was "They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick."

So many times, we all feel that Christ wants nothing to do with us because we are such terrible sinners. In actuality, all he wants to do is to bring salvation to all of us, most especially to those who are deep in sin. The Atonment paid the price for our sins. We just need to have the faith and courage to use it.

Your bishop has a mantle of the priesthood on his shoulders that allows him to minister to those in need. He is your link to tapping into the power of the Atonment. Don't underestimate the power of his calling as bishop. You are thinking that he will think less of you and you will be embarrassed. But I know that he will just share how much he loves you and wants to help you.

Confession is one of the steps to recovery. You will not be able to overcome this addiction without it. So I encourage you to do it as soon as possible. Don't wait. Procrastination just makes it that much harder.

I wish you good luck!"
posted at 15:48:29 on July 3, 2007 by Connie
Where do I go now?    
"Well...I thank you all for the wonderful replies and uplifting advice. I know I should go and see the bishop. I know. What happened though (and probably part of the reason I haven't been here in a while) is we just moved. I do not know the bishop here. I am only 15 minutes or less from our previous bishop, but I have no way to get me there except for my mom. I nearly cried today after reading an old new era (online) when it mentioned that there are usually three emotions that are mixed up with addiction. They named:

Guilt - knows that what he/she is doing is wrong
Depression - no longer feels the spirit
Fear - fear that their secret will get out

As I read these and other parts of the old article "Danger Ahead!
Avoiding Pornography’s Trap" from the New Era Oct. 2002 edition I instantly had a pit in my stomach.
"Blair: I prayed for strength to leave these temptations alone. I made a list of things like prayer, scriptures, and clean thoughts that would help me draw close to God. But although I worked hard, it didn’t solve my problems.

The thought of confessing to the bishop made me cringe. I felt it would be better to tell the bishop about the problem when it was in the past. But I finally realized it wasn’t ever going to be in the past if I didn’t confess. If God already knew my struggles and I felt comfortable talking about them in prayer, why not talk face to face with God’s servant? Once I finally decided to confess, I felt a reassuring peace that it was the right thing to do.

...

Rob: I humbly bowed before the Lord in tears and pled for strength beyond my own. Night after night I prayed, and finally I knew I had to talk to my bishop about it. That was the hardest part—admitting to someone else that I had a problem. I kept thinking I could handle it myself and no one would ever have to know. I wanted it to be something just between God and me. But I finally matured to the point that I realized that was impossible. I approached my bishop and began a long and difficult repentance process."

I am going to bed now. It is my plan to get on my knees and pray tonight.

I am sorry for such a long post.

Thank you for reading,
HOPE4Change

Sidenote: I am very knowledgable in regards to computers. I really want to turn my knowledge over to parents so that they may protect their children from these bad things. Any ideas?"
posted at 23:20:48 on August 8, 2007 by hope4change
new bishop    
"When I switched to a new ward, I took the opportunity to confess to my Bishop as soon as possible. On one hand it was difficult, because I didn't know him. On the other hand, it was easier since I didn't feel so much like I would disappoint him. Your other question is also answered (at least in part) by seeing the Bishop:<br />You can ask what is done already to help parents become more knowledgeable and to protect children. I know our stake has the bishop give a lesson for combined relief society and priesthood meetings on the dangers of pornography and how to combat it. The last few meetings were very detailed and clear about what to do to protect yourself and your home. Plus, I am sure that your bishop will be open to any input that you have. Good luck!"
posted at 15:16:05 on August 13, 2007 by roast_rump
new bishop    
"When I switched to a new ward, I took the opportunity to confess to my Bishop as soon as possible. On one hand it was difficult, because I didn't know him. On the other hand, it was easier since I didn't feel so much like I would disappoint him. Your other question is also answered (at least in part) by seeing the Bishop:
You can ask what is done already to help parents become more knowledgeable and to protect children. I know our stake has the bishop give a lesson for combined relief society and priesthood meetings on the dangers of pornography and how to combat it. The last few meetings were very detailed and clear and what to do to protect yourself and your home. Plus, I am sure that your bishop will be open to any input that you have. Good luck!"
posted at 15:17:01 on August 13, 2007 by roast_rump
Your Heavenly Father loves you    
"It can be tough talking to bishops. I talked to my first one when I was 16 and continued talking to them until my mid 30’s. I gave up at that point because it seemed like a waste of time. Fortunately things have changed and many bishops are more aware of what to do now. A little over seven years ago we moved and I started feeling pushed by the Spirit to talk to my new bishop. Even my wife tried to persuade me not to because of my past frustrations. Now we feel the main reason we moved was because of that bishop. He was the first one who ever understood and through him I found the Church’s 12 Step recovery program. If the Spirit is prompting you to talk to your bishop, do so. Our heavenly Father can see the end result and knows what we need to do even if it is all blurry to us. Even though you don’t know him well you should see your current bishop rather than your old one. Your current bishop is the only one entitled to receive inspiration for you. That’s important.

PLEASE don’t let Satan cripple you with shame. Guilt serves a purpose because it makes us want to change, but once we start the repentance process I don’t think Heavenly Father wants us to dwell on it any more. I don’t think shame has any place in God’s plan. It took me a long time to figure that out. For many years Satan beat me up with shame. Don’t let it cripple your progress.

I agree with “roast” that the best way for you to help parents is through your bishop by sharing your experience and encouraging them to have a 5th Sunday lesson on it if they haven’t. There is a lot of helpful info out there already, but the local priesthood leaders need to push the subject.

I’ve been thinking about what you could do in your situation. It is tough when you are the computer wiz. My wife could never stay ahead of me. I work in IT for a living. Here are some ideas. Throw away what doesn’t work, but maybe some will help.

We can always find stuff if we really want to, but we can take away the easy slips. When I first started in recovery I actually took my external modem and gave it to my wife and told her to hide it. That saved me from relapsing a few days later. I now have a laptop that I have removed the wireless card from and gave it to my wife to hide. I decided it was too much temptation.

As a son in the home you don't have the same control, and without letting people know about your problem it may be hard to get them to act. If your mom can handle it she could be your best help. Even if you don’t tell her about your problem you could just “happen” to run across suggestions on the Church’s web site and encourage your mom to put them in place. Here is a list from the Church:

http://www.providentliving.org/content/display/0,11666,5302-1-2769-1,00.html

There are some in that New Era article that you read too.

If you have a computer in your own room and you don't feel like you can do anything without people asking more questions than you want, you can still rearrange your room. Setup your computer so that anyone who goes past the door can see the monitor. Make yourself a rule to never get online with the door closed and set yourself a curfew, not to get on after a certain time. You could even get your own filter and install it on your computer. Make sure you can't uninstall without a password. When you have to set the password make it a random string of characters and numbers even including special (!@#$%) characters if it allows you to. Make it as long as the program allows. You will probably have to write it down because you may have to type it in twice. Once you have set the password destroy the paper.

You’re taking the right steps; you just need to continue in that direction even if it is scary. Remember the Lord loves you and wants to help. You just need to let him. With Him you can do the impossible."
posted at 09:07:47 on August 15, 2007 by justjohn


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"In a decaying environment, the mind is the last redoubt of righteousness, and it must be preserved even amid bombardment by evil stimuli. Christ is competent to see us through, “for in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted” As promised, He will make either “a way to escape” or a way “to bear it”."

— Neal A. Maxwell

General Conference May 1987