Friday, October 28, 2011

Protect The Innocent

Today, October 28, 2011, two women at The West Philadelphia Women's Medical Society, Andrea Moton, 34, (“admitted her involvement in the stabbing death of one late-term baby that she pulled from a toilet where it had been delivered.”) and Sherry West, 52, (“pleaded guilty in the February 2009 death of Karnamaya Mongar, a Bhutanese immigrant who was 19 weeks pregnant.”) are being held in court with several charges of third degree murder along with other staff.

In addition, Sherry West “was a longtime patient who sought work at the clinic after 22 years with the Veterans Administration. She lost her job there after contracting hepatitis C, the grand jury report said.” Prosecutors claim she was not licensed to perform any duties. And often she was reported not wearing gloves while procedures were being done.

The women’s clinic illegally performed abortions late term, by severing the spinal cords with scissors and also preformed several murders of infants that were newly born to their mothers. A picture of body parts kept in a freezer was taken when the investigation started.

Doctor Kermit Gosnell, is facing trial along with 9 other employees who worked at the clinic.

The question I’m wondering is: “Is this an isolated incident, or are there more illegal abortions and underground clinics than the few that have been investigated and reported? Whether the answer is yes or not, this has got to stop. My fear is that there are more, and this is becoming a common theme in the news today. That people are becoming desensitized and overlooking it, instead of fighting it, while hundreds, thousands and millions of children lose their lives. As WOV women, write your senators, congressmen and government officials. Take a stance for the innocent. And take a firm position against this unlawful custom of murder.

To read more Click Here

Monday, June 13, 2011

"And My Soul Hungered" ...For Peace!

(One Women’s Struggle With Her Husband’s Pornography Addiction)

Shortly after WOV posted “Pornography and the Ones we Love,” A friend of WOV submitted her story to be published. Names of those involved have been changed for privacy concerns.

Claire’s Story:

Jerry and I met under perfect circumstances, the principle location and the ideal time. We were both students, one serving on the Primary Presidency and the other as the Elders Quorum President (a). Jerry was a returned missionary and attended the temple every week (b). We wanted to be married in the temple for time and eternity (c); that was the ultimate goal. I made it, all is well. Everything from here on out is going to be uphill, or so I thought naively.

Marriage is hard. It’s a continual work in progress with hurdles to jump and mountains to climb, but it makes it all the easier when you are together, reaching the peak hand in hand. What happens when that crumbles right beneath you; when everything you worked so hard for is gone in an instant? That’s what the effect of pornography does to self and family. It destroys.

I returned home after a very long day at work. Jerry was distant; my words just weren’t reaching him. I felt disconnected and isolated from him somehow. I didn’t understand. He’d just failed his degree and the aftermath was soul destroying.

“God doesn’t exist! Why would He allow something like this to happen? I did everything right. I served a mission (d). This career is what I wanted to do! I’m not going to church anymore.” Jerry fumed.

I tried everything I could by finding answers in the scriptures and from the prophets to explain to him why this had happened. But he had an answer to everything. I agonized over it constantly, it was the only thing I could think of, and everything else had no meaning. I didn’t eat, I didn’t sleep. Hopeless, I decided Jerry needed time, perspective.

A month or so had passed since then, but it felt like a lifetime. The situation couldn’t get any worse or so I prayed that it wouldn’t. One day I sat at the computer to continue with my studies. Countless numbers of pornography sites appeared in the search engine.

“How could this be? This must be wrong. This has to be some kind of error.” I thought. I clicked and investigated. I felt the beating of my heart in my throat; it was ringing in my ears. I wanted to vomit. My first instincts were right, pornography. Not just one or two sites, but a number closer to twenty. This would explain the icy shoulder he’d been giving me, but how could it be pornography? I felt paralyzed. I sat on the bed and waited. I knew I had to question Jerry, but I just didn’t know how. We’d made covenants (e) that protected us from this if we lived worthily, but he hadn’t. He’d not been to church for over a month now. And his countenance had already altered and the spirit (f) no longer directed him.

Jerry walked in after being in the bathroom, my palms were wet.

“What are these sites?” I probed him.

He walked over leisurely. As he saw what I was looking at his expression changed. He paused and I felt a canyon appear between us.

“Let me take a look.” Jerry innocently offered.

After examination he declared it must be a virus that had attacked the computer. I persisted.

“What virus does that?”

“‘I don’t know I’m no computer geek. How did you find this anyway?”

I knew instantly he was lying. I explained and asked him outright.

“Have you been looking at porn sites?”

Angrily, almost betrayed by my even asking, Jerry said “No.” I couldn’t let it go. Every fiber of my being was telling me I was right. I continued to ask over and over again, with each query came back the same answer, “No.”

I could no longer look at him, let alone sleep in the same bed as him. I decided to sleep on the couch. I couldn’t bear to be near him. I felt like I was going to suffocate. Downstairs on the couch I just laid there. Time seemed to stand still. Questions raced around my over processing mind.

“Maybe he didn’t do it; maybe it was a virus. He couldn’t have done this; he wouldn’t do this to me. He loves me.” I tried to convince myself. But this overwhelming feeling of infidelity kept sweeping in. I heard Jerry’s footsteps. He walked down the staircase and entered the lounge.

“Come to bed, please. I haven’t done anything wrong.” Jerry pleaded.

I didn’t even turn around and the silence grew. He left and eventually I went back upstairs to sleep, clinging to my edge of the bed. The thought of him even accidentally touching me turned my stomach.

Night seemed to quickly turn into early morning. It was summer so the sun rose early. I don’t think I slept a wink. I tried as quietly as possible to get out of bed, I didn’t want to face him, but as I arose Jerry called my name and it pierced right through me.

“It was me, it wasn’t a virus.’ He confessed, ‘It was a onetime thing, just one slip up, honest. I didn’t want to tell you, I didn’t want to hurt you. I’m sorry.”

I tried desperately to keep my emotions in check. I felt split with emotion. One part of me felt like my heart had been broken into a thousand pieces and he’d just come and danced on the remains. The other part wanted to scream and yell and cry with anger and betrayal. The latter got the better of me.

“How could you think that this wouldn’t hurt me? What excuse do you really have? You hold the priesthood (g)! You are endowed (h)! And to top it off, you are my husband! Am I not good enough for you? I don’t look the part enough for you? I don’t satisfy you? What is it, because I sure don’t know?” My blood boiled as I yelled at him.

The hurt, anger and disloyalty were just too much for me. I could feel myself almost screaming through the fountains of tears which rolled down my face. He didn’t have an answer; Jerry never did when he knew he was wrong. The severity of pornography weighed heavily upon me. It had always been an addiction I’d detested and he knew that. I had to get out. I dressed as quickly as I could, grabbed the car keys and headed to the door.

“Where are you going? Are you coming back?” Jerry asked.

I didn’t know the answer to either one of his questions, so I left without another word.

The early morning rush hour traffic hadn’t begun yet so the roads where still fairly quiet as I drove around endlessly trying to find some meaning, any purpose to the colossal situation which I found myself in. My eyes were red and sore from the continuation of tears. Questions kept firing round, sometimes vocally and others quietly.

“Was it truly a onetime thing? When did this happen and why? Was it me? Am I not enough for him? Do all men do this?” With each new question I could feel my self esteem weaken. I felt totally alone. I didn’t want to see anyone or speak with anyone, I felt completely humiliated.

Eventually, I found myself driving to my Mum’s house, by this time the traffic was starting to build and I’d had multiple missed calls and texts from Jerry wanting to talk. I tried to pull myself together as I approached the house, but as I made my way through to the kitchen, I broke down. I sat there for a number of hours crying, trying to make sense of it all, whilst my Mum just held me. She reassured me of my self- worth, my divine nature and the love my Father in Heaven (i) has for me. We sat and discussed what had happened and she asked questions which I needed to answer for myself before I saw him again.

“Do you want to leave him? Can you trust him again? Was it just the once?” I didn’t want to leave him, I’d made sacred covenants (j) and I didn’t take them lightly. I loved him, but the thought of dealing with this addiction was unbearable. If I was to make this marriage work though, I had too.

Twenty-four hours had come and gone since I sat at the computer the night before. I finally decided it was time to go home and face Jerry. Unlike the morning before I had become somewhat calm and willing to listen to the answers he had for me. I felt a rush of sickness as I walked toward the front door.

“What were his answers going to be? Did I really want to know?” It wasn’t so much about curiosity. But I wanted honesty, complete trust from him, and understanding. I no longer trusted him and it was going to take a lot of time, effort and love to regain what we once had.

I entered the house; the air could’ve been cut with a knife. Jerry looked relieved to see me come back. He stood there ready to embrace me, but I walked passed him to sit at the other side of the room. I didn’t know how to start this awkward conversation; it’s one I never ever thought I would have had to have with my eternal companion (k).

“Why?” I began.

He told me he didn’t know why. He had been on the computer late one evening and something popped up and he followed it, then he just continued. Jerry’s answer didn’t clarify anything for me. I continued to think that it was me, that he was bored of me. I felt like I had been doing something wrong that made him turn to pornography and that he was just saying those things to protect me from anymore pain. He again reassured me of his onetime error and his love for me. He promised to never do it again. I had my doubts, but I wanted so badly to forgive him and move on. I tried to articulate into words how I was feeling, how his actions and choices had made me feel. How disgusted I felt and how the thought of him looking at other women like that filled me with jealousy and anger. And how little trust and faith I had in him now. I expressed my concerns with him staying up late, being secretive with the computer, and watching inappropriate TV. Jerry acknowledged all of my worries and agreed to work on all of them. I felt a little at peace, but something still haunted me.

The days went by, the weeks and even months. I had pushed the pornography to the back of mind, or at least tried to. Everywhere we went though I felt like pornography was all around me. I had never noticed it before. The advertisements, billboards, newspapers, songs and even what people wore. I battled constantly trying to overcome what had happened, but I felt myself checking whether Jerry noticed these things all around us. I couldn’t bring myself to watch anything with sexual references in it, or listen to lyrics which were degrading to the sacredness of intimacy. I felt like he still didn’t understand how much this affected me. I would demand that the TV be turned off immediately if something slightly pornographic came on and he would be outraged.

“I’m enjoying the film, its good. Plus it’s only for like 30 seconds and it’ll be off in a minute.” Jerry reasoned.

I physically couldn’t bear it though. To me it still felt like pornography, even with clothes on. The same feelings still ran through me as he sat and watched the screen; the same insecurities and jealousy. Many times I tried desperately to make sense of it, “Was I now an utter prude? Did I over think everything? It’s just fun, isn’t it? No! I’m right, I knew I was.” The sanctity of marriage was being mocked and ridiculed for the world to laugh at. My own marriage felt like a mockery.

With time I wish that I could say it healed both of us, but it didn’t. With each passing night Jerry began to stay up later and later. I didn’t sleep while my stomach filled with knots. I would get out of bed and stand on the landing listening to the TV trying to make out what he was watching. “Was it something pornographic? Was he doing it again?” I’d ask him questions when he eventually decided to come to bed.

Why didn’t you come to bed? What were you watching?” Jerry automatically thought I was accusing him of breaking his promise. The icy looks began again. The silence, distance and guilty expressions appeared again. I knew it was more than a onetime thing, he had an addiction whether he wanted to believe it or not. I wanted to know for sure so I checked his email account. Dozens of pornographic websites and group emails were still there dating back from before his mission (L). This had been going on for years. All along he had been lying to me. This was out of control and I could no longer stand back and let it happen. I was emotional drained and it affected everything I did. I waited for the opportunity to arise to try and discuss the matter with him. But it never came, so I had to create it openly and boldly.

“Was this really a onetime mistake?’ I began whilst Jerry looked at me shocked by my question. ‘Or have you had trouble with pornography for some time?”

By the time I had finished he no longer made eye contact with me. Jerry raised his head a little and I waited patiently for his response.

“I don’t want to talk about this. I’m sick to death of talking about it. It’s time you let it go! It was a onetime slip-up and you just won’t forgive me! Is this going to continue to be an issue for you because I can’t handle it anymore?” Jerry retorted.

I was totally gob smacked. Not only had he just lied to me, again, but he was twisting this around to be my fault.

“You are kidding me. You’re blaming your lack of self control on me? I know for a fact you are lying to me. I know this is bigger than what you are making it out to be, why do you insist on lying to me? Tell me. I want to work this out, I want to help you, but I can’t unless you first acknowledge you have a problem with pornography.”

Livid by my remarks, Jerry looked me straight in the eyes and told me he didn’t have a problem and the way I was trying to make him sound like an addict was downright wrong. He never wanted to speak of this again. I could feel tears appear on my face, I fought them back. I didn’t want to cry for him any longer. Jerry didn’t want to help himself and he sure didn’t want any help from his wife. I was completely frustrated. I wanted to scream and yell at him and shake some sense into him, but I didn’t. I grabbed the closest thing to me, which happened to be the remote control and threw it as hard as I could against the brick wall. It shattered into tiny pieces and I walked upstairs, slamming the door as I left. That was the last I spoke of it.

Almost eighteen months went by before I eventually decided I needed to leave my husband. We didn’t speak to one another anymore unless it was essential. We both lived separate lives, but in the same vicinity. We attended church, family functions and events together, trying to play nice, and the happy newlyweds. But it took its toll. People began to notice the misery I tried to conceal within me. And I tried to write them off, but deep down I knew they knew how tired, depressed and unhappy I had become. I couldn’t stay like this; I needed to find peace and comfort. And as unfortunate and heart breaking as it was, that wasn’t with my husband.

A: Primary/Elder’s Quorum: The LDS Church is organized to perfect and bless the lives of its members. It gives opportunities to teach one another the gospel, fellowship and serve one another, and support one another in their quest for salvation. To be a president of Primary or Elder’s Quorum is to teach other members by age group. Primary is ages 3-12. Elder’s Quorum is 19 and older.

B: Temple: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints operates 161 Temples worldwide for religious worship among its active members. The Lord’s people are a covenant people. Inside the temple members receive ordinances (sacred ceremonies) by covenant. When we make such covenants, we promise to honor them. Baptism by immersion is a sacred covenant made in preparation for further covenants made in the temple.

C: Temple Sealing: In the Temple we can be married for time and eternity, thus making it possible for families to be together forever in God’s presence.

D: Mission: Young Men (age 19-25) and Women (age 21 or older) may choose to serve a two year, or 1 1/2 for women, service mission to Invite others (not of the LDS faith) to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.

E: Covenants: Is an agreement between God and His children. We do not act as equals in the agreement. God gives the conditions for the covenant, and we agree to do what He asks us to do. God then promises us certain blessings for our obedience.

F: Spirit: The gift of the Holy Ghost or Spirit can come only after proper and authorized baptism, and is conferred by the laying on of hands by proper authority. The Holy Ghost bears witness of the truth and impresses upon the soul the reality of God the Father and the Son Jesus Christ so deeply that no earthly power or authority can separate him from that knowledge.

G: Melchezidek/Aaronic Priesthood holder: To be a Priesthood holder is to have been given the power and authority to act in God’s name for the salvation of His children. Melchezidek is the higher order in the priesthood and Aaronic is the lower.

H: Endowment: After at least one year of membership, worthy adults may be eligible to receive from their ecclesiastical leader a recommend to receive their own endowment. During this ordinance (sacred ceremony) members are given endowed with, or are given, a gift of power and knowledge from on high. After receiving their endowments, married couples may be sealed or married for eternity.

I: Father in Heaven: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes in the separate, distinct personages of the Godhead; namely God the Father or Father in Heaven, Jesus Christ the Son of God, and the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is a personage of spirit distinct and separate from God and Jesus Christ.

J: See E

K: Eternal companion: Usually the spouse of one’s choosing is referred to as an eternal companion in the LDS Church. This terminology stems from the LDS Church doctrine on eternal marriage, not “death till we part.”

L: See D

According to Dr. Victor Cline in his article “Pornography’s Effects on Adult and Child,”

Any individual who regularly masturbates to pornography is at risk of becoming, in time, a sexual addict, as well as conditioning himself into having a sexual deviancy and/or disturbing a bonded relationship with a spouse or girlfriend…A frequent side effect is that it also dramatically reduces their capacity to love. Their sexual side becomes in a sense dehumanized. Many of them develop an ‘alien ego state’ (or dark side), whose core is antisocial lust devoid of most values. In time, the ‘high’ obtained from masturbating to pornography becomes more important than real life relationships…The course of this illness may be slow and is nearly always hidden from view. It is usually a secret part of the man’s life, and like a cancer, it keeps growing and spreading. It rarely ever reverses itself, and it is also very difficult to treat and heal. Denial on the part of the male addict and refusal to confront the problem are typical and predictable.”

In Jerry and Clair’s case this pattern of denial and refusal to admit there was a problem was also present. In some cases women will find out about their significant others addiction or “one time thing” and they themselves might find themselves making excuses for their spouse/boyfriend because they love them and they really are a good person. These excuses may very well be true, but what these women don’t realize is that they are escalating the problem by allowing it to continue and falling under what is termed a “Codependent.”

In Donald L. Hilton Jr.’s book, “He Restoreth My Soul,” he describes what happens to codependent partners.

“As the addicted person’s life unravels, those close to him are affected. Frequently, wives become codependent as they either try to control his behavior, thus becoming consumed in his addiction or acquiesce and allow their own values to change. (Patrick) Carnes defines nine processes common in codependent behavior in his book Don’t Call It Love. In this book he presents his results from working with over one thousand sexually addicted people and their spouses or partners.

1. Collusion. Many cover up for the addicted person by keeping secrets or lying.

2. Obsessive preoccupation. It is difficult for them no to play detective and neglect others in focusing on fixing the addict.

3. Denial. Ignoring the reality and keeping busy with other things can cause them to overextend in other areas.

4. Emotional turmoil. Codependent behavior causes people to ride an emotional roller coaster and have a hard time stabilizing emotions.

5. Manipulation. Some use sexuality as a tool to manipulate their spouse.”

Mary Anne Layden, Ph.D. testified before the United States Senate of the effects on the wives of men addicted to pornography by stating: “Some wives will resort to plastic surgery, especially breast implants. Research indicates that women who get breast implants are four times more likely to commit suicide as other women are.” Recent studies are calling us the NIP/TUCK generation and finding that plastic surgery is closely connected with emotional trauma/approval of one’s spouse and pornography. Such in Claire’s case women feel that they are not measuring up to their spouse’s fantasies and addiction. How can real women live up to the sculpted bodies made in the doctor’s office?

6. “Excessive responsibility. They are extremely tough on themselves and blame themselves for getting into the relationship in the first place and for not being able to stop the addictive behavior.

7. Compromise or loss of self. They may find they are giving up their own interests and even their values or morals in their attempts to accommodate those who are addicted.

8. Blame and punishment. Some have affairs or act out in other harmful ways; they may shame their spouse by telling intimate details of his current or past behavior to others.

9. Sexual reactivity. The predominate impulse was to close down sexually, although some might become hypersexual to hold the addict in the relationship.”

Or in the case of the overcompensating girlfriend they might marry the addict by mistakenly thinking that sexual intercourse within marriage will fix the person they love addiction. To that reasoning Dr. Victor Cline states:

“Being married or being in a relationship with a willing sexual partner did not solve their problem. Their addiction and escalation were mainly due to the powerful sexual imagery in their minds, implanted there by the exposure to pornography. They often preferred this sexual imagery, accompanied by masturbation, to sexual intercourse itself. This nearly always diminished their capacity to love and express affection to their partner in their intimate relations. The fantasy was all-powerful, much to the chargin and disappointment of their partner. Their sex drive had been diverted to a degree away from their spouse. And the spouse could easily sense this, and often felt very lonely and rejected.”

So what is the conclusion or answer to overcoming pornography addiction? Unfortunately, pornography is an unusual addiction with lasting effects on the lives of those who allow themselves to become involved in it. While talking with a man who had several addictions such as heroin, alcohol and pornography, he stated that pornography was by far the hardest to overcome and even though he had overcome his heroin addiction he had yet to conquer his pornography addiction.

But there is hope through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whose confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” –Proverbs 28:13. Through constant nourishment and humility one can overcome or at least keep his thoughts controlled. It’s a lifetime pursuit.

Additionally, in Donald L. Hilton’s Jr.’s book “He Restoreth My Soul,” he gives 10 steps to help those addicted and those in connection with them.

1. “Treat pornography and sexual addiction as a full addiction and not from a behavioral/spiritual perspective alone. We have not accorded pornography the respect and weight needed to take into account the tremendous effort required to save even one. To assist in the recovery, 12 Step support groups specific to pornography addiction must be available to all.

2. Individuals struggling with pornography and sexual addiction must understand that because this is a true addiction, they will not be able to stop unless they seek help from appropriate sources. You can’t resolve it privately with God!

3. Disclosure of each incident of viewing or sexually acting out is essential to obtain both repentance and recovery.

4. While we have emphasized prevention in the past, and should continue to do so, we must also recognize that virtually all of our young men and many of our young women are already seriously exposed, and are therefore already in need of treatment.

5. Understand that the majority of young men returning from missions are slipping quickly into addiction, and we must be ready to support them with 12 step support groups specific to pornography addiction immediately upon return from their mission.

6. Recognize that many married men are secretly addicted, and have support groups ready to help them emerge from addiction.

7. We must provide support groups for the spouse who has been harmed by the pornography/sexual addiction.

8. Realize the importance of educating young women as to the prevalence of tenacity of pornography addiction, so they will understand and be fully informed as they enter the world of dating. In this sobering environment we should counsel our young women to prepare to support themselves financially, as marriage is likely to occur later than in previous years, and divorce may be more likely. They must also be carefully nurtured themselves, as addiction to pornography and masturbation is increasing among young women.

9. Educate and train leaders to understand addiction and the importance of addressing both repentance and recovery.

10. While therapy and counseling are integral for many, 12 Step support groups should be the backbone of recovery, as not all will have access to therapists experienced in treating sexual addiction.”

Women, and Men, let us not be ignorant to the plague of pornography abounding in our lives today. If you or someone you know is experiencing similar situations, seek help from professionals. There is hope through humility, but never through justification. Take a stance against pornography and


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Modesty Matters

This interview was filmed and produced by WOV with the intent to share with women how respectable men view immodesty. Interviewee's Patrick Cannon and Cameron Hanberg share their personal insights on the subject of modesty.

In accordance with our previous article on pornography, WOV felt it was necessary to help women understand what they can do to prevent this. Apostle Dallin H. Oaks from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints states it perfectly when he said, "young women, please understand that if you dress immodestly, you are magnifying this problem by becoming pornography to some of the men who see you."

This quote was actually brought to our attention by Cameron at the end of the interview as he exclaimed, "Women, quit being pornography to men!"

Thank you Patrick and Cameron for your time and your thoughts! You guys rock!!

Music by Jenny Phillips and Lyle Hadlock

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Pornography and the Ones We Love

By Evelyn Mather and Rachel Coleman

WOV will be featuring three articles on the subject of Pornography over the next couple of months. This is the first. It is important for each individual to educate themselves regarding the matter, especially with the increasing accessibility of pornography today. These stories are real depictions of two women who were involved with men with pornography addictions that show the repetitive pattern and its effects on others when the problem isn’t thoroughly addressed.

Evelyn’s Story:

This situation with Mark is aging me. I feel 100 years old, dealing with things that are far beyond my maturity level. Trying my shot at forgiveness and acceptance over and over and over again; trying to love someone who doesn't love himself all the time. Someone who has been so fixated with his sexual explorations for the past ten years but still expects me to trust him with my own body. And after all this mess—with Mark, and his God-forbidden masturbation, and this ongoing battle he is fighting with his body and his mind and his spirit, and never knowing which Mark to expect—I am scared spitless. Never knowing if I will greet the Mark I love in the afternoon or the Mark that I fear.

The Mark that I love is a good man. He cares about people and loves his family and adores the autistic kids he works with. He is thoughtful and sincere and sensitive and so dang personable and fun to be with and man, I could talk to him forever. And then there's the Mark that I'm afraid of. I come over to his place, his brother's basement, and he's cold and he won't say much. And he kisses me even though his other actions and body language tell me that he hates me. His eyes are blank and dulled over, and he won't tell me about his day, or what he's thinking, or how he's feeling. And all the time I know. I know what he's done and I know what he's thinking and all about what he won't tell me.

I'm used to this sort of thing, it happens every week or two. I just play the waiting game. The prying game. Prying with love and confidence—knowing that eventually he'll tell me. He’ll tell me that it was a bad day and he lost control and he hates himself for it and can't stand being around me because when I'm around the shame is amplified. And then what am I to do? I am making him feel worse because I am around him, and he feels that he doesn't deserve me. All I do at that point is hold him and tell him I love him and convince him that he is a good person who is just doing bad things. And then he cries, and I die a little more inside.

The final breaking point was the day I came downstairs and the cold atmosphere felt much fiercer. I wasn't looking at the Mark I knew, but someone defeated and dead inside. I knew that today it was more than screwing around with himself in the bathroom or bedroom. He wouldn't even look at me.

"Is everything alright, Mark?"

"Yeah, sure, I’m fine."

"Ok. . . . Is there something you want to tell me?" He starts to cry. "Mark, you can tell me. What happened today?" He balls over in his chair and covers his face with his hands.

"Mark, it was pornography today, wasn't it?" He nods his head and I feel something inside me break, an internal throbbing and aching begins that I know will not go away anytime soon or maybe ever. I tell myself to be strong and all I can do is hold him as he sobs and tell him that I'm so sorry he is feeling so much pain. He is a child now, in this moment. I do my best to kiss his pain away and hold him until he is settled enough to sleep.

The next day he is overwhelmingly affectionate and doting and beams when he looks at me, like he is proud of me or something. I tell him that evening that the porn incident changes things for me. Masturbation was a tolerable issue I was willing to wait out, but this? Our ecclesiastical leader had just given us a lecture that month where he told us to run if your boyfriend had looked at pornography at any time while you were dating. Mark had been clean for a year—I asked him when we started dating. And now this? I felt that he had really given me no choice.

"Well, it wasn't exactly porn," he tells me, "just something I saw on YouTube that got me going."

"What do you mean, 'not exactly porn?'"

"Well, she was just scantily clothed...not nude. So, really, it shouldn't count. And I just thought you were better than this. Last night I was so scared to tell you and then you acted in a way I didn't expect by holding me and crying with me. That made me love you so much more. And today I just kept thinking that you were amazing, because you were sticking with me even though I had screwed up big time. And now I'm appalled and disappointed. I can't believe you're holding this against me. I've been clean for an entire year, and it was just one minor slip up."

"Yeah, but you promised it would never happen again. I talked to you about this back in December, back in the beginning. You swore to me that you'd never, and I trusted that."

"So are you breaking up with me, then? After one tiny incident and after all we've been through. After all I've done for you? Evelyn, you're no saint either, but I still love you. There are plenty of times that we’ve had problems and it wasn't just my fault."

"I know," I say softly.

"And you're kidding yourself if you think you can find a guy who doesn't have this issue. Hell, all the guys I've talked to that are married are shocked that I told you about my problems with masturbation before we’re married. Their wives didn't find out about it until after they were married. All guys do it, well except for self-righteous prudes like your last boyfriend, and if you want to go find yourself another like him, then go be my guest. And quite honestly I think you're going to find that you have unrealistic expectations. I swear that it won't be as hard after we're married. Seriously, I don't know what Utah County culture has done to you and I can't believe this is such a big deal. It's not like I'm going to turn into a big porn addict. I'm trying to change and I just thought you knew me better. I'm a good person, Ev, and I feel like you're being really harsh and unfair."


And finally, "I know," I squeak, "and I'm so sorry. I'm sorry. You're right. I guess I just don't understand much about it. I mean, gosh, I didn't even know what masturbation was until last semester when my roommate mentioned it in passing. And look, I don't know how guys work; I've never known anyone who's talked about it, ever. I'm so sorry, it was so wrong of me to say those things to you."

"It's alright," Mark says, "I forgive you." He hugs me, and we sit in silence in his car.

The wheels in my head start turning and then I get mad. He was forgiving me? I hadn't done anything wrong! He was the one with the sexual addiction, he was the one who had broken his promise to me, he was the one who was breaking his temple covenants to not participate in sexual relations outside of marriage, including relations with yourself or your computer screen. I am mad at him, but moreover, I am mad at myself. I am so pathetic. Here I am groveling, begging for his forgiveness because he had looked at porn and it had upset me. When had I become so pitiful? Such a pushover? He was the one with the problem, and it was his problem that was hurting us, hurting me. "You’ve got to be kidding me, Mark! Why am I the one apologizing here? This is ridiculous! Oh, I'm so sorry that you looked at porn and I'm not exactly thrilled about it. Give me a break. I have every right to be angry about this. Look, I know you are already beating yourself up about it, but can't you see what this does to me? I never know what to expect when I see you. I never know if things are going to be normal, or if you will be closed off and distant, or extremely aggressive (sexually) and out of control."

Mark could behave in any of these ways after he'd masturbate. It was always a tossup, and they always served as dead giveaways to his incidences. He’d often blame me, saying that I didn’t satisfy him enough or that somehow I’d turned him on too much. And almost every time there had been tension, arguments, or distance between us, it'd been because of this issue.


We didn't break up that night, although we probably should have. We broke up a few days later, feeling that it was best to just be friends at this point until Mark figured his stuff out and gained some confidence in himself. The trouble with the masturbation was that it wore heavy on Mark's conscience, and like I mentioned before, he would hate himself for it. He didn't think that he deserved me during these bouts of self doubt. His self doubt would turn into insecurity, insecurity to suspicion, suspicion to jealousy, jealousy to possessiveness.


There are times when my memory plays tricks on me and I miss him like crazy. My empty arms flop uselessly around me and I ache all over inside for him. My mind counts down the days until he will be in Utah again. I take myself out of reality and play a game of make-believe in my head; I envision a dramatic reunion. He will call me and tell me he has arrived at his brother’s house. In response I will frantically drive over and burst from my car. In a giddy frenzy I will run to him, wrap my arms around him, and kiss him on the nose and forehead, cheeks, and lips in short, pure bursts. All the hurt will be gone, all the trespasses forgiven. We will not remember the pain that wedged its way between us and flung us apart.

But then I do remember, and the other memories wash over me. They invade my pores and soak into my body. These memories choke the air from my lungs, cause my muscles to bloat, and then settle down into my bones—cold and murky and dark. And as the salty waves slide over me, tiny scratching fingers grab at me and drag me out into the deep. The waves pick me up on a high rise of terror and there I am, on top of the rip curl, looking down in horror at the monumental mass of foaming anger beneath me. And just before I can catch my breath to hold it, the support of the waves falls beneath me. Dissipating. And I free fall with the water. The water follows me down, speeding towards me. It is then a giant hand on my back, shoving me forward, digging into my skin and raking my face and stomach and limbs over the rocks below. Again and again the water drags me across the jagged rocks, and the sand and pebbles beat upon my back and tear at my flesh. And on it goes, over and over—I am snatched and dragged and thrust up and thrown down and grated back and forth across the rocks.

Then I wonder about his homecoming and about the true meaning of healing and atonement. Then I wonder if I will burst with excitement or cower in fear when I see him: the one I still love more than anything in the world and the one I have learned to fear more than hell itself.

Stories like Evelyn’s are growing increasingly more common in our daily lives. What once seemed to be the exception or kept behind closed doors is now erupting into the spotlight, and being accepted as normal or okay. Nearly everyone has been affected by pornography in one way or another, either directly or indirectly. According to a USA Today article titled, Study: Young adults now find porn more acceptable, it states that “87 percent of young men from six universities have sought out and viewed pornography in the last year, with 20 percent viewing it daily or nearly every day.” In fact Utah is the highest purchaser of pornography in the nation. Hence in a recent news article in view of these sobering statistics stated, “Latter-day saints with the problem are no different when it comes to prevalence or magnitude of sexual addiction.”
Also startling is the enormous increase of women addicts. “Women and girls are becoming addicted to pornography…they become entangled in inappropriate chat rooms” and texting, which are just the doorway to full addictions. (Donald L. Hilton Jr. MD, He Restoreth My Soul)

When I first met Evelyn, I was aware of what pornography could do to the ones I love, but I was caught in my own little bubble of “my world is perfect and nothing like that can hurt me” syndrome. When Evelyn related her experiences to me, I empathized with her and could relate in some aspects having gone through an abusive relationship myself. I distinctly remember the day when she turned to me very seriously and said, “Rachel, you have to promise me that before you become serious with anyone you will bluntly ask them if they have or ever have had a problem with pornography or masturbation.” The memory of that conversation is emblazed in my brain for good.

My Story:

Nearly a year later I met Jason; he was PERFECT! He honorably fulfilled all of the Latter-day Saint Church expectations for young men (such as an LDS mission) and fully participated in his ecclesiastical duties. How na├»ve I was, but what did I care? I was sure I was in love. Unlike Evelyn’s boyfriend, Jason treated me sweetly. It wasn’t uncommon to come home and find a bouquet of flowers on my doorstep or a song written just for me. He seemed to be perfect, almost too perfect. In fact, before we started to date seriously I expressed my unusually high dating standards which he was happily compliant with, he liked that I had standards. Despite all this there was always something a little off, I mean, a nudging concern that I kept trying to push aside.

After a month of seeing each other nearly every day we were sitting in Jason’s car; he turned the subject to our relationship and asked if we could date exclusively. It had been long enough and I had been reluctant to jump into anything too fast, but he was good person. I told him that I just had one question to ask him before I agreed, it was no big deal and he didn’t need to worry though. Laughingly and nervously I turned to him and started to ask my question,

“Have you ever….”

“Yes, I have had a problem with pornography.” He solemnly replied before I even finished my sentence.

My bubble was shattered in a matter of seconds. I was shocked. Without much prompting or encouragement from me Jason revealed his “former” addiction in full.
Jason had grown up in a loving home. “When I was eight a bunch of kids in the neighborhood were looking at pornography and my addiction started then.” he explained.

I was stunned, I couldn’t believe he was only eight years old. I felt sick inside as he continued;

“It was an on and off kind of thing through my teenage years, but I cleaned up before my mission.”


“What about after your mission?”

“Well, yeah I did, but I’ve repented, really!”

After careful consideration I told him that I had a problem with this and I thought we should not see each other anymore. And this was his reasoning;

“I feel awful about it, but I can’t change what I’ve done. This is why it is so hard to date, even if you have repented. No one will give you the chance.” He exclaimed frustrated. “Trust me. Rachel, I think we have a real chance with our relationship, I can see it going all the way. I know that you have standards and that you’ve been hurt before, but I really have repented. Will you just pray about it please? I know that if you do God will tell you the truth.”

He was so honest and he really had repented! Wasn’t I supposed to look past this and forgive him? I thought his request was only fair and so I agreed.

That night I prayed earnestly and at the time I thought I believed him, I felt good when I prayed. The next week was miserable though. I can’t describe the feelings of disgust, almost as if I had looked at pornography myself. I didn’t want to touch him or let him close to me. At the same time I tried to rummage through my scattered brain for forgiveness and understanding. I was the one with the problem. Why couldn’t I look past this? Eventually I did and our relationship flourished.

One day as we were sitting on a blanket in my yard Jason very romantically turned to me and said the words all girls hope to here, “I love you.”

“No you don’t, you don’t even know me.” I replied instinctually. It hit me then that we barely knew each other; it had only been a couple of months. What was I saying? Why was I being so rude? Didn’t I love him? Things were perfect, I thought. Were they though?

As time went by my instincts of mistrust increased and I began to pry, just a bit. I didn’t want to be nosy or bring up the past, but I honestly didn’t know much about pornography, let alone masturbation. And if things were going to work I wanted to know the extent of what I was going to deal with. I found that once the subject was opened there was always more to reveal and then as more was uncovered the justifications began.

On one occasion we stopped for gas and I noticed Jason staring at me smiling. It wasn’t romantic, but instead I felt uncomfortable. I brought it up once we were in the car and he smilingly replied, “Sometimes I just like to fantasize about you.” I was a taken aback at his response but didn’t learn till later that he was arousing himself at my expense.

I began to study more on the subject of pornography and found that masturbation usually accompanies it. So I asked Jason,
“I know you told me that you haven’t looked at pornography, but what about masturbation?”

“Well, yeah, but it’s not what you think, I just happens when I’m asleep.” He confessed sheepishly.

“That’s ridiculous.” I angrily replied. “How can you just unzip your pants, masturbate and not wake up?”

“Honestly, I can’t help it. It really does happen sometimes. Look I feel terrible about it Rachel. I wear like 3 pairs of jeans to bed and a belt and it still happens. You have no idea how embarrassing it is to go to bed fully clothed with roommates. And I’ve talked to my bishop about it and he said that it’s ok as long as I stop when I wake up. You have to believe me.”

We dropped the conversation, but I felt violated and suspicious.
After that incident we never argued, but I was constantly having to check to see if he had slipped, whether intentional or not. We talked about counseling for him, which whenever there was a mess-up Jason always seemed to be a step ahead having talked to his bishop the night before. It didn’t add up so I began studying the subject on my own and found that nothing that he said was consistent with what the LDS church taught on the subject.

On Jason’s birthday I took him out to dinner.
“I’ve been thinking about our relationship and getting married, but I just have one concern.”

”What’s that?” I replied innocently.

“Well, I don’t think we have the same idea of what’s ok or not. I mean you have really high standards, which is good, but I think it’s ok when were being intimate to experiment with different positions and other things. And what’s going to happen if I did accidently masturbate; you would judge me for something I can’t help. I want my wife to accept all of me.”

I couldn’t believe we were having this conversation in public let alone at all. I was so embarrassed and hurt and confused and everything else. Did he really not see that he had a problem? And was he really making me into the villain? I had put up with everything, I was always considerate and understanding when things happened and chose to look past it believing that I could help him and that he really loved me and wanted to change. He didn’t want to change. The justifications just kept coming. It was then that I finally realized that he wasn’t going to change; he had a serious problem. I told Jason then that we needed to break up. He convinced me to still give him a chance if he would go talk to his bishop and I told him I also wanted to talk to mine. Acting on my bishop’s advice I told Jason that I would go on one date with him once a week if he didn’t masturbate. He didn’t need a girlfriend, just a chance. The next day he openly looked at pornography and masturbated.

Eventually after heartache, confusion and believing I didn’t fully understand how Christ’s atonement worked, we broke up. I felt like the bad guy. What had he done? So what? He had a problem and ninety-ninety percent of him was good. And he loved me. He begged me to reconsider; he wrote me poems and a list of 100 reasons why he respected and loved me. Promising he was changing. But despite all the persuasions I felt a small knowledge building inside of me that I had done the right thing. He needed help. This wasn’t something that he could overcome by himself. I couldn’t be his Savior! And I shouldn’t be either.

Mary Anne Layden, co-director of the Sexual Trauma and Psychopathology Program at the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Cognitive Therapy, called porn the "most concerning thing to psychological health that I know of existing today." Yet countless experiences like Evelyn’s and my own are being shared and distributed to help women and men know that there is help. After contemplating and experiencing the effects of pornography myself and seeing my friends go through the same ordeal, I have decided to share these experiences. I do this in hope that married and single women and men will understand that they are not alone, that they don’t have to put up with it and shouldn’t. If you are already married there is hope, but help from professionals is advised and necessary. According to Donald L. Hilton, Jr. MD, “Repentance as a total change incorporates recovery with all its facets. It is greater change than the confess/repent/repeat cycle that so many of the addicted experience. Many of those in meetings I attend have gone through multiple counselors (bishops) and as they move follow-up is tenuous. True repentance and change from pornography addiction, to be permanent, requires full recovery…referring afflicted members to 12 step support will do them a great service.”

Pornography isn’t a game or a challenge that can simply be overcome by will power; it is a serious addiction with damaging effects and not only for the viewer, but for those around them. We need to band together to recognize the magnitude of the problem in our lives and resolutely seek help for those afflicted and hurting. Please share this knowledge with those you know. Being ignorant is blissful, but being competent is powerful.