What to do?
By gus winters
5/14/2014 12:25:10 AM
Dear friends I really have something that is gnawing at me. I returned home from my mission a little over two years ago and about a ten months ago i was sent some pictures of a girl through facebook that were a bit pornographic and i hate to say i indulged in looking at them OFF and ON for about three months and also masturbated but then i decided that i did not want this for myself and so i quit it all together and asked for forgiveness in prayers and read the Book of Mormon often and these past transgressions were far from my mind and i felt i had been forgiven but i recently met a girl that i am very interested in and see myself wanting to get married to her but now that i am getting to the point of marrying her these things have been weighing on my mind. I don't know whether to talk to the bishop or not. I'm afraid that if i do i will be put on probation and have to talk to this girl about the sins i commited. I know every case is different but is there anyone out there with experience that might be able to tell me if it has been long enough since i committed the sin that there is a way that I can be forgiven in order to propose to my girlfriend? If not how long does it usually take to clear these things up? Its just I haven't done this stuff since mid November and I really want to get married to this girl soon. ANY ADVICE OR EXPERIENCES WOULD BE GREATLY APPRECIATED! THANK YOU ALL SO VERY MUCH.


Be honest    
"Talk to your Bishop. You will be 20th person that has confessed a sexual sin to him that week. I don't mean to make light of it, but it is very common and he will not be shocked by it in any way. He will likely respect your honesty.

I cannot say what the Bishop will do, but I have confessed pornography use many times to priesthood leaders and was never put on probation. My confession was always met with a warm smile and deep respect. In a way, I wish they would have been harder on me since it took me 10 years into my marriage to recognize that I was addicted to porn and needed help (far beyond what a bishop could offer).

I have found that being honest often yields the best results. Secrecy is a tool of the devil and is a breeding ground for addictions. Don't fall into this trap! Confess and forsake, rinse and repeat."
posted at 14:08:08 on May 14, 2014 by marcbelles
"When you admitted that you had looked at pornography and told the bishop that you had how long did they discipline you?"
posted at 14:27:05 on May 14, 2014 by Anonymous
Absolutely be honest!    
"Hi Gus. I am the wife of a pornography addict of more than 30 years. I discovered it 2 years ago. I wish my husband would have told me in the beginning. Now, 25 years of marriage and 6 kids later it is super hard. Recovery is possible and it is happening but if he would have had the courage to go to the bishop and to have told me his addiction would not have progressed to what it did. This will not go away on its own. I promise that you do not want to start a marriage on anything less than the complete truth. The Lord loves you. Remember your mission and the way you saw lives change. Allow Him to heal you. Your bishop is called at this time for a specific purpose. You are hearing the whisperings of the spirit that is prompting you of what you have the power to do. Repentance is real. Forgiveness is real. Find a 12 step meeting near you and go! You will find others there that will be wonderful sources of strength and hope.
You can do this! Just in asking shows that you have the desire to do so. You are right! I will be praying for you."
posted at 22:25:50 on May 14, 2014 by Anonymous
"I have never received any formal discipline for pornography use. I was denied a temple recommend for using it, which is to be expected. I abstained for three or four months before I was able to earn it back. It is different for everyone though - There is no prescribed time for any sin in the manual. It's a case by case basis.

One time the bishop let me bless my infant daughter even though he knew I had looked at pornography a month prior. In this case I had just started attending ARP meetings and he knew I was doing everything I could to stop. He was right - I haven't touched the stuff since.

Bishops don't want us to miss out on significant life events because of unworthiness. Of course, if we are unrepentant they will deny us those things. Otherwise they will work with us to meet our goals.

It's important to note that every bishop is different, and every case is different.

Gus, your transgression is serious but you have abstained for quite some time and feel remorse for what you have done. I think you're ready to confess and forsake this. If you have a testimony of the atonement you should know that you can be washed clean (completely!) and this does not have to follow you into marriage. The guilt can be left behind forever. You will be completely worthy to marry your bride in the temple.

Good luck!"
posted at 11:00:17 on May 15, 2014 by marcbelles
"Other people are address you talking to your bishop and so I am going to focus on you talking to the girl you are dating.

Having my husband be honest with me is more important to me than whether or not he looks at porn or masturbates. In almost 20 years I've never met a woman with an addict husband who doesn't feel the same way.

Normally I try and say things nicely but I am going to just say this bluntly.

Tell the girl the whole truth. Now. Tell her before you propose.

If you lie to her directly or through omission then you will hurt her more and run a greater risk of loosing her.

Tell her the truth and tell the bishop the truth. There are people who will tell you that you do not need to tell your spouse/fiance about past sins. They are justifying and don't understand marriage. Actually, they don't understand love. To be honest, if you really loved this girl and were ready for marriage then this wouldn't even be a question in your heart. You would desperately want to tell her the truth because you would never consider lying to her. Love doesn't lie and it doesn't hide. Love is light. and real love pushes away fear.

You can learn to love her the right way only by doing the right thing.

Your emphasis on wanting to marry her soon is a huge red flag in my mind. There is no rush. There never is. That is immaturity talking. Take a step back and do this the right way. Tell her the truth. Give her time to process everything. Wait and see. And to be really honest, if she isn't phased by your past (and if she is the right girl for you, then she'll process it and move on) then you should probably get yourselves in couples counseling BEFORE getting married to well arm yourselves for marriage to prevent relapses.

Let me be blunt again. You've had issues in the past. You'll probably have issues in the future. People who think they'll never go back are the ones that always do. The ones that don't use porn and masturbation again are the ones that understand that it is always around the corner and live their life calmly preventing it. Most lds addicts these days have issues before their mission, stay mostly clean on their mission, come home and relapse within a year, get clean, get married and relapse again within a year. Some people think that marriage will fix their issues, but it is the opposite. Big life events are triggers and getting married and having kids are where big falls occur. Anyway, you need to get ready for those possibilities and you need to have a wife who is supportive, informed and has the tools to deal with that reality. If you do prepare, then ironically, you're a whole lot more likely to never have to draw on those tools. But if you ignore the reality of what you are facing then you mostly likely will end up married, and like everyone else you'll slip up, and you'll have a wife who doesn't understand what to do or why this happened. To put it simply, you can do this the easy way or the hard way. Telling her is the easy way. It may not seem easy, and it isn't....but trust me when I say the other way is so much harder that you cannot even imagine it right now.

To be honest, porn and masturbation is not a game changer for a lot of relationships. But lying is. And as far as church discipline, most Bishops will tell you to stop taking the sacrament for a month and try and get you to the temple soon after that. You could hide this easily for a while (or maybe even years) if you wanted to. But if you do then it will just be easier to hide other things. And your conscious will burn and if you do marry this girl she WILL find out someday and she will suffer immensely because of it. I promise you with the experience of my own and hundreds of other broken hearts that if you try to hide this from her that you are simply walking down the common and well beaten path of constant sexual addiction. Stop it right now, before it gets harder to stop. Do not justify this. Do not justify anything.Tell her the truth. Do not taint your marriage with even the smallest bit of deceit and sexual sin. Just don't go there. Make it real. Make it clean. From the beginning. You had a problem a while ago. Every day you lie about it brings it into your present. Only honesty keeps it in the past. You are only as far away from the sin as your cover up to hide it. If you don't hide it then it can't follow you.

Some wise men who used to post her once told me that, "You protect what you love." If you protect your secret, then you love your porn and masturbation more than this girl. If you love her, then you will protect her by telling her the truth.

My husband told me when we got engaged that he had an addiction to masturbation. (This was before the internet was a big deal....I know I am so old!) Do you know what my reaction was? I told him that I figured every guy and most girls did at some point. I told him I appreciated him telling me but it didn't worry me. The whole conversation lasted about 3 minutes. Done.

Now, my husband fell into porn and a whole lot worse later down the road. But no matter how angry I have gotten at him for the lies he told later, I can never, ever, blame him for not telling me in the beginning. I chose him with my eyes wide open. If he hadn't done that. I probably would have divorced him pretty quick. But because he respected me enough to let me choose for myself what I was getting myself into, I didn't resent him. He may have had his other issues, but that is what a real man does. And that is what real love does. I wish he'd been that honest every time.

It would not be appropriate to tell a girl you are dating about serious stuff unless you were ready to move forward. Not telling her till now is fine. But if you are talking about marriage with her, then it is time to come clean.

I am trying to think if there is any other thing I can throw at you to convince you to tell her now. I hope you get my point.

To summarize: Be honest. The end."
posted at 09:14:12 on May 16, 2014 by maddy
"I find this comment from Maddy to be extremely profound: "People who think they'll never go back are the ones that always do. The ones that don't use porn and masturbation again are the ones that understand that it is always around the corner and live their life calmly preventing it."

Thanks Maddy! I have a couple of recovery quotes that I really like, and this definitely goes on the list."
posted at 11:00:37 on May 19, 2014 by Anonymous
"Gus, as the wife of an addict who didin't share his addiction problem with me before we got married, I agree with Maddy and the other wife. Honesty is imperative. How I wish my husband would have had the courage and enough love to be honest with me and to protect me. He protected what he loved, his secret, and it has been decades of doubt. Please be honest with her. Please, please spare her the pain and disappointment of realizing that the man she loves doesn't love her enough to be honest. It's a very big deal."
posted at 11:58:39 on May 20, 2014 by Anonymous

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"Each one who resolves to climb that steep road to recovery must gird up for the fight of a lifetime. But a lifetime is a prize well worth the price. This challenge uniquely involves the will, and the will can prevail. Healing doesn’t come after the first dose of any medicine. So the prescription must be followed firmly, bearing in mind that it often takes as long to recover as it did to become ill. But if made consistently and persistently, correct choices can cure. "

— Russell M. Nelson

General Conference, October 1988