No Action
9/22/2013 10:30:27 PM
For those of you not caught up on my history, I started this site as a returned missionary with a por* and mast* addiction. I had never gone farther than that. I ended up getting in relationships with women after that, and I crossed the line into petting and other inappropriate behavior. I've always done what I could to confess immediately and repent. Throughout this time, I've been very active in the church and active in SA groups.

One year ago, I became less active due to depression and feeling left out/unloved at church. Then I got involved in a relationship that led to fornication on a regular basis. I ended this relationship after a couple weeks and started another one shortly after with a different woman. This led to more fornication and an eventual break up. Then I got back with the first woman and started fornicating with her again. In total, I fornicated with two partners on a regular basis for 3-4 months.

I graduated from college, broke off contact with these women, and moved back home. I felt a desire to return to the church. At the end of April this year, I started meeting with my bishop and coming to church on a regular basis again. A month ago, I was told to meet with the stake president as part of the repentance process. Two weeks later, he met with me again and told me there was a serious chance that I would be excommunicated. He gave me an official letter that stated I had been summoned to the high council.

I attended the council tonight. It was the most dreaded thing I have ever been through. For the last two weeks, I have not been able to eat or sleep well. I have lost about ten pounds in the last month (I was lean to begin with). I have fasted and prayed for forgiveness many times and done everything that was asked of me by the stake president.

At the beginning of the council, I was asked to share my story of what brought me to the point of fornication and what I had done to repent (I was told to leave out clinical details). After speaking about 20 minutes, I answered questions for the next 40 minutes and ended with sharing my testimony of the atonement. I was impressed by the Spirit in the room and the genuine compassion of the brethren there.

I was then asked to leave while deliberations proceeded. After an hour and a half of the most excruciating waiting and praying, I was invited back in. The stake president began by reading the handbook's definition of repentance. He said that he felt impressed by the Spirit that I was well on my way down the road of repentance, and he and the council had decided to take no action at this time.

I was relieved to hear that my church membership will not be taken from me. I was admonished to continue doing the right things. I will continue working with my Bishop, and I may gain my temple recommend within a year of my last serious transgression (in April). I was overwhelmed by the Lord's mercy through this process. During the closing prayer, I felt the Spirit stronger than I have in many years.

This experience helped me put some perspective on the gravity of breaking the law of chastity. I will never venture back there. I will be sober one day at a time and continue my activity in group as well as the church. For those of you who have not been through a church disciplinary council, I hope you never will. It was a growing experience for me, but certainly one that I do not wish to repeat.


Great Story    
"I am so glad this worked out for you. It really sounds you are making an honest effort to be reconciled with your Savior.

P.S. What did they mean by "clinical details"?"
posted at 23:11:18 on September 22, 2013 by matt78
clinical details    
"They meant don't share the specifics of how the fornication occurred. There was no need for a play by play of the action. Calling it fornication was all they needed in terms of knowing what happened."
posted at 00:52:01 on September 23, 2013 by ette
"Thanks for sharing this. So honest and raw!"
posted at 08:22:12 on September 23, 2013 by maddy
Wow, thanks, Ette!    
"Loved the story. So, so glad for you. You have been a part of my prayers for years..."
posted at 18:59:52 on September 23, 2013 by beclean
Disciplinary councils = disciple councils    
"I had the opportunity to sit in more than a dozen disciplinary councils as a ward clerk in a singles ward many years ago. I love how the word "disciplinary" shares a common origin as the word "disciple". None of the disciplinary councils I've sat in had anything to do with punishment, as some people might interpret "disciplinary", but rather they focused entirely on discipleship. The whole meetings seemed to revolve around the question: "How do we help this individual turn away from these serious sins so they can be a better disciple of Jesus Christ?" In the end, repentance is all about reward, not punishment, even when the middle part is difficult and can impact your current standing in the church.

I'm so glad to hear of your progress, and more importantly, of your testimony of the Savior's atonement and what you've learned from your experience. Your story is inspiring."
posted at 10:44:30 on September 25, 2013 by rmww
This was good for me to read I think.    
"Oddly, because it affirmed something I think in the back of my mind I already knew. I'm so grateful I was excommunicated. I'm not even sure why. Bazaar right? Not in infinity years did I ever think I'd hear myself ever say that. I'm not yet grateful for the experiences that got me there but I am grateful for how it was handled after the fact. I don't have a rational reason for my feelings yet that I can put my finger on. I just knew as I read about what was joyous news for you, which I'm stoked for, it would not have been joyous for me. Weird.

I guess the take home lesson for me (me me me bla bla bla I am happy that you're happy man I didn't mean to make this all about me) and what I learned from reading your post is that the out come seems kind of irrelevant. As long as the Lord is in it. Hmm, gave me a lot to chew on."
posted at 17:56:36 on September 26, 2013 by they_speak
No Bishop, Stake President, or anyone else    
"Can separate you from God or join you to him. You do that yourself (through Christ). You excommunicate yourself from God with your actions, you return to him with your actions. We all do it on a regular basis, actually.

The Church's actions (ALL of them) are merely symbolic of what happens internally--but it may not always accurately depict what's truly happening in your relationship with God.

That's my opinion."
posted at 20:42:03 on September 26, 2013 by beclean
Spiritually Bind    
"RM is right, the counsel was mainly focused on helping me become a better disciple. I did not feel like it was a condemning experience.

I was hoping you would comment, They Speak. I thought about your story a lot during this experience.

On many occasions, I thought the Spirit was telling me that I needed excommunication. I guess that shows how spiritually blind these transgressions have made me. The main lesson I've learned from those false promptings is that the Lord's servants are there to guide me when I'm too blind to guide myself."
posted at 10:11:55 on September 28, 2013 by ette
God is kind    
"It sounds like you are making progress, Ette. And I love to see that Good looks on our hearts and is kind and merciful even to us sinners."
posted at 12:42:23 on September 28, 2013 by Anonymous
"Dear Ette,
It seems you know a lot about this subject I was wondering if I could get some advice from you. I am also an RM and i began looking at pornography after a girl broke up with me and i did it on and off for about three months but stopped in the middle of November and I haven't gone back to it since. I recently met a girl that i am certain i want to marry in September and I was wondering if i need to confess about doing that and with it being seven months ago if there is a possibility that I can still get married to her in September or are they going to give me a severe and long punishment that will prevent me from proposing to her for awhile. I noticed on one of Roger Merrils forums you said that there are no disciplinary actions for that. I was just wondering if i could talk to you more on that subject. thank you very much ETTE"
posted at 00:48:20 on May 14, 2014 by gus winters
"Regardless of what happens, you should be honest. If you are serious with this girl, tell her about your slip. You don't need to go into great detail, but tell her honestly how often you looked, when you started and when you stopped. If she is the one for you, things will work out, and she will appreciate your honesty.

Go to your Bishop, too. Tell him everything. It will remove a great weight from your shoulders and allow you to move on in life free from your mistakes. You will feel better.

And if what you said here is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, your mistake will most likely not keep you from marrying this girl in the temple in September."
posted at 12:46:13 on May 15, 2014 by BeClean

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"I have come to know that thoughts, like water, will stay on course if we make a place for them to go. Otherwise, our thoughts follow the course of least resistance, always seeking the lower levels. Probably the greatest challenge and the most difficult thing you will face in mortal life is to learn to control your thoughts. In the Bible it says, as a man ‘thinketh in his heart, so is he’ (Prov. 23:7). One who can control his thoughts has conquered himself. As you learn to control your thoughts, you can overcome habits, even degrading personal habits. You can gain courage, conquer fear, and have a happy life. "

— Boyd K. Packer

BYU, Speeches of the Year, 26 Sept. 1967