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The Curse of Pornography

Church is a perfect time to contemplate the universe. Or map out next week’s grocery list. Depending upon what kind of week you’re having. Today at church I planned out the menu for Samson’s after-baptism fiesta. It was that kind of week.

Yes, it was that boring.

It was my sacred week to attend Relief Society (read that: the alternative Sunday format that keeps me mildly sane while serving in Primary). Unfortunately it was a fifth Sunday, which means a combined Relief Society/High Priests Group/Elders Quorum shindig. Out in these here parts where women aren’t worthy to open with prayer that almost always means a lesson of sorts taught only by men and also (coincidentally?) almost always means boring. (Where is the tablecloth, anyway?)

But today was special. Today we got a 50-minute lecture on porn.

Just shoot me. It’s worse than the obligatory annual “hurricane talk” we had in Florida. My head was rolling around, drool was running down my blouse, and I had sparks shooting out my ears.

I was moderately amused by the suggestion from one class member that “scripture addiction” was a valid concern. And I was equally intrigued by the response from our imported “addiction expert” that, in very fact, Jack Christensen [a decently well-known LDS speaker, institute director, etc.] actually had publicly confessed to suffering from this particular malady. But mostly I disagreed with just about ever word that passed through the lips of our esteemed specialist.

But what do I know. The “expert” was addicted to oxycontin. My only known addictions are to: chocolate and one other thing I can’t discuss in mixed company.

The curse of pornography is that because some people can’t confine their sexual urges to the realm of living, breathing people with whom they physically share space in the same room, the rest of us have to hear about it over and over and over, ad infinitum, until we keel over with severe abdominal distress.

When the party plan was complete, I tried to sleep it off in the pew, but it hurt my neck, so I started texting Jessica in California. She scolded me for texting during church. Who knew she could figure out what time it was in Utah?

Finally I resorted to playing solitaire on my Treo. And I did it just to alter my mood. According to the expert that means I’m addicted.

I need a 12-step program.

{ 106 comments… add one }

  • jennycherie June 29, 2008, 8:55 pm

    “My head was rolling around, drool was running down my blouse, and I had sparks shooting out my ears.”

    I’m surprised more people didn’t notice! :shocked:

    “I was moderately amused by the suggestion from one class member that scripture addiction ? was a valid concern.”

    :shocked::shocked: Is this where you study scriptures to the neglect of all other duties? hmmm. . .

    and, you have a very good daughter – – It sounds like she will keep you in line!

  • Tinkerbell June 29, 2008, 9:40 pm

    We had the same topic – and I was utterly riveted. Maybe I don’t hear about it enough, but p*rn is some scary stuff. The statistics are incredible, and everyone seems to know someone whose marriage was destroyed by it (I know a person in my family who has struggled with it, and it has affected their marriage). Our discussion was focused on protecting our youth. Lots of good suggestions. On the way home, I talked to my boys about what to do if p*rn accidentally pops up on the computer. I let them know that they can tell me and I won’t get mad. I’m glad I got to sit in on the discussion – I was supposed to work in the nursery since the YW took over Primary for that hour.

  • Ray June 29, 2008, 10:13 pm

    Alison, it depends a lot on the delivery, but now you know what it’s like for us in General Conference Priesthood Session – every session for the last more than a few years.

  • delmar June 29, 2008, 10:20 pm

    Alison please tell me you kept your drool at bay! You must carry a hankerchief for those sort of problems.

  • jennycherie June 30, 2008, 6:17 am

    Posted By: delmarYou must carry a hankerchief for those sort of problems.

    :rolling:

  • Naismith June 30, 2008, 7:16 am

    While you seem to have enjoyed venting, was there supposed to be a point? Because I guess I missed it.

    I’m not sure if your problem was with the topic, the speakers, or what.

    As it is, this comes across as dismissive of a major threat to morality, like you are so much better than the rest of us and are never tempted with anything in that direction, and gospel superstars like you are forced to suffer from this great distress (which was described in great detail without any real explanation of why) because of the sins of the rest of us. Are we supposed to be sympathetic? Because you had to sit on a padded bench in an air-conditioned room for 30 minutes?

    Of course lots of talks are for other people. I figure we all take turns having those amazing “oh-this-is-why-I-came” or “that talk was just for me” experiences. Since I have them occasionally, I reckon the other times I’m not having them are for other people. It never occurred to me to be distressed by it.

    Really, I wonder if it might have been more honest to just walk out than to engage in passive-aggressive disdain.

  • davidson June 30, 2008, 9:56 am

    Whoa, Naismith, whoa! I don’t think Alison feels that she is so much better than the rest of us, and I don’t think she views herself as a gospel superstar. She was expressing her real feelings over a real problem, that of sitting through a meeting where the topic wasn’t relevant to her. Goodness, it happens all the time. Yesterday, in a combined Relief Society/Priesthood meeting, we had a presentation from the LDS Family services about adoption and the Church’s direction for people who are in that situation. Was it a good thing to know? Yes. Was it revelant to most of the people in the room? No. Two couples who had adopted through LDS Family Services stood up and told their very, very emotional stories–and the audience couldn’t relate. Here are people standing at the front of the room, embarrassed and sobbing as they discussed feelings none of us had ever had the opportunity (or need) to feel, and a whole room full of recipients who were squirming because they didn’t know how to empathize, and the tears and emotional stories seemed inappropriate in light of their own experience. My guess is that if they had gone through the same thing, they would have the same strong, overwhelming feelings. The presenters opened the presentation up for questions and answers. You could tell they were expecting to have an onslaught. Not a single question was asked, and the presenters looked as if they had been slapped in the face. The room was hot and crowded. Many were thinking that their time might have been better spent somewhere else. Certainly it would be ideal if we could all automatically and patiently sit through a presentation that is only meaningful for a few, in order that others might grow, but we’re not perfectly like that, are we? Does it matter if it is being considerate of a few who are struggling with the difficulty of adoption, or being considerate of a few who are struggling with the difficulty of sitting through a meeting on an irrelevant topic? Shouldn’t we be kind to all of them?

    I know you have blasted, and been blasted, at this site before. I happen to think you have a lot of good to offer. Why not concentrate on that good?
    Why not leave the personal attacks in the dust and use your efforts here to share your personal testimony, your encouragement, and your positive feelings and experiences? Or at least, present your negative feelings in a more positive and controlled way?

  • Alison Moore Smith June 30, 2008, 10:12 am

    Posted By: NaismithWhile you seem to have enjoyed venting, was there supposed to be a point? Because I guess I missed it.

    Naismith, I’m pretty much resigned to the fact that you will never understand my point. And if I agree with you, support your point, or pay you a compliment, there will no be response forthcoming. So I suppose I’ll just be flattered that you are annoyed enough to post. Thanks for the acknowledgment.

  • kiar June 30, 2008, 10:26 am

    I agree with Alison. There are waaaaaaay too many lessons on the subject. If they would quit focusing on what happens after and start focusing on how to prevent it in the first place, life would be a lot easier. Personally, I would be drooling maniacally too, if faced with yet one more diatribe about it.
    Before I get jumped on and have to defend myself for not having compassion for those who suffer from this problem, I have had to deal with it in my family setting as well. End of subject.

  • Alison Moore Smith June 30, 2008, 10:39 am

    jennycherie, I agree. My kids are way more on the ball than I am. :smile:

    Ray, I feel your pain.

    delmar, I will take that under consideration. You might be onto something.

    davidson, spot on. When I was struggling (after three failed attempts) to nurse my fourth soon-to-be-baby, I was enthralled. I read books, websites, purchased (and watched) lengthy videos. I even consulted the Nazi Nursing Nation (aka La Leche League) and, finally, hired a “lactation consultant.” (FWIW, she solved the problem in less than one minute. Honest.) I couldn’t get enough.

    11 years later nothing on the planet bores me more than discussions about nursing (except discussions about porn). It is utterly irrelevant to me. I’m not going to do it again and, at this point, I have no potential heirs who are close to doing it either. There will probably be a point at which I will be enthused about it again. But that point isn’t now.

    The good news is, I am not expected to attend a regular lactation lecture series.

    Similarly, with porn, it’s absolutely true that I’m not drawn to it nor do I have temptation in that arena. That has about as little to do with being a “gospel superstar” as it has to do with coffee table grapes. And in my case it has more to do having so many things I DO need to work on that I almost never sit in a church meeting that is “for other people.” I’d say porn, Word of Wisdom, and tithing are the three I’ve pretty much gotten down. (WoW at least provides the entertainment of “the great Coke debate.”) The rest is right up my alley.

    I do think the stats and facts are helpful (although we got nothing about that in this class), but I’ve studied that enough to satisfy myself. I attended, for one example, a week-long course on porn taught by JoAnn Hibbert Hamilton. Good info. She’s a great lady. But this class was all about why porn is an addiction and what it means to be addicted to porn.

  • agardner June 30, 2008, 10:42 am

    I’m sure we all have topics in church that bore us or that we think are over-hashed. For me, it happens to be preparedness. Not that I don’t think we should be prepared, but between my mom and church sometimes it seems like doomsday, doomsday, doomsday. Gets old.

    As for the porn thing…I’m wearying of it as well. We know what it is, and that we shouldn’t do it. I think most of us know someone who is affected by it, and we are trying to be diligent about keeping it out of our homes.

    Alison, while you are grateful from your break from Primary, sometimes I’m really glad to be in Primary because things are so simple there, and exciting (usually). We don’t have a whole lot of dull moments in Primary! However, being on vacation the last several weeks and attending gospel doctrine/RS, I’ve had a hard time staying engaged. I think Primary has given me ADD.

  • jennycherie June 30, 2008, 10:44 am

    Honestly, my feeling on the pornography subject is that most people know it is a problem and know how to avoid it. I think it is such a personal subject, and so painful for those who struggle with it or have been hurt by it, that it should rarely be a subject for public lessons. I do think that it could be made more applicable to an active church audience by talking about less obvious forms of pornography—sex scenes in PG-13 movies, sit-coms on TV with lots of sexual innuendo, music with suggestive lyrics, magazines with racy covers (anyone read the headlines on the front of Cosmo recently? totally suggestive). . . I’m sure there are more but that is all I can think of at the moment.

  • Alison Moore Smith June 30, 2008, 10:50 am

    Posted By: kiarIf they would quit focusing on what happens after and start focusing on how to prevent it in the first place, life would be a lot easier.

    And more beneficial, at least to me.

    Before I get jumped on and have to defend myself for not having compassion for those who suffer from this problem, I have had to deal with it in my family setting as well.

    I haven’t had to deal with this in my family, but I do have a very, very dear friend who has. We are friends and one of her children is a buddy of one of mine. We spent the day together just last week. Her husband was addicted to porn to the point that he arranged a meeting with a 13-year-old girl he met online. A 13-year-old who actually was a police decoy. He spent six months in jail and is now on the sex offender registry. The ramifications have been incredible. And it all started with porn.

    As you can imagine, she was much more interested in the meeting than I was.

  • Alison Moore Smith June 30, 2008, 11:17 am

    Oh, Angie, yes. Preparedness is one of mine, as well. That’s partially what the “hurricane meetings” entailed. It was great the first year. Years 2-10 were painful. OK, so add that to my list of things I’m actually doing decently well. And FHE and family scriptures–although I still find those topics interesting since I usually get new, practical ideas.

    I’m sorry about your ADD. :cry:

    jennycherie, you bring up some great points that I agree with. I’m not sure how that fits with all the current “wisdom” that porn isn’t about sex at all, but about “control.” Yesterday it was all about “coping.”

  • Tinkerbell June 30, 2008, 11:22 am

    Well, we did talk about preparedness for 10 minutes before the p*rn talk. :smile:

  • jennycherie June 30, 2008, 11:25 am

    Posted By: Alison Moore SmithI’m not sure how that fits with all the current “wisdom” that porn isn’t about sex at all, but about “control.”

    about control? You mean self control? hmmm, that is true, but I do think it is a little bit about sex. How many people have justified pornography by saying that it’s better than adultery?

    I think that the importance in recognizing the “mild” forms is that they get us on the slippery slope. If I’m at the checkout and I see Cosmo and the cover says “10 ways to make your man go crazy” and I think, “HEY, I want to make my hubby go crazy!” so I buy the magazine (thinking, hey, this is to strengthen our marriage, right? Cosmo’s all about marriage, right? wrong!!) but then I buy it and I see, oh no! It’s not just an article about how to make your husband feel frisky, it’s really about how to make any man frisky (and the woman writing it is sharing what she does with her boyfriend) or maybe I notice the next article where they have actual cartoons of couples doing the deed. . . and another article about how to get over a one night stand. . . The large majority of the active church members may not struggle with pornography, but they might, on a bad day, feeling un-desire-able, pick up a magazine thinking it might help their marriage.

  • davidson June 30, 2008, 11:31 am

    The situation Alison explained was almost exactly what happened to my brother-in-law, and I only say it because it was such common knowledge. His face and story was plastered all over the news. He served a mission; he was an Elder’s quorum president and had to be released so he could go to jail. The amazing thing is that he is very intelligent and has a deep-seated testimony of the gospel. He also has some deep-seated emotional and mental issues, and the jail he went to was also a mental hospital where they focused on rehabilitation. He was excommunicated from the church, and he will not be eligible for reinstatement until he is done with his obligation to law, which will be ten years. He thought his was a private sin, but it has had huge repercussions for many people. His wife divorced him, and he has three beautiful children whose lives will be forever affected by his choices. He has ruined his widowed mother’s life and reputation.

    I think the prophets and the stake presidents and bishops continue to preach against pornography because that is their assignment. Maybe they convince no one. Perhaps the brethren who are bent on participating in pornography will do so regardless of what is said from the pulpits of the Church. It is not an isolated problem for a few; pornography is becoming a real and present danger for even the Lord’s chosen priesthood brethren. If the leaders never speak against the sin, the people’s sins will be upon the heads of the leaders. Perhaps they continue to teach and testify, not so that the outcome can be different, but so that the judgments placed upon the disobedient at the last day will be just. If they were to clam up, they wouldn’t be following their direction from the Lord to raise a warning voice, and there would be no warning voice to take the witness stand in the final judgments. It is unfortunate that it means the faithful members of the Church whose “feelings are tender and chaste” or whose feelings are “bored” have to suffer through the warnings along with those who choose to disobey, but they just can’t say, “You who are sinners in this respect, come into this room and we’ll address just you; you who have no problem with this commandment can meet in here.” I think we will just see more and more of it in years to come, as wickedness increases in the world and in the Church. And I also think that in addition to that, the Church will do what it has always done: along with messages of correction for one group, there will be messages of hope and comfort and help for another group. In fact, I think that will be the bulk of the messages we receive, since the Church is in the business of offering hope and help. Just my opinion.

  • davidson June 30, 2008, 11:36 am

    BTW, if it is interesting to anyone, we learned that what some men are addicted to is not the sex involved in pornography, it is the secrecy, the thrill of doing something illicit and not being caught. Adrenalin, I guess.

  • Alison Moore Smith June 30, 2008, 11:41 am

    Posted By: jennycherieabout control? You mean self control? hmmm, that is true, but I do think it is a little bit about sex.

    No, they don’t mean self-control, they mean domination, such as not having to have a relationship with give-and-take.

    Just to be clear, I think most of it’s psychobabble. IMO porn is mostly about sex and all the other verbiage is just a lot of talk. We can talk all day about “objectification” and “coping” and “control” and all else. But what’s it really about?

  • Tinkerbell June 30, 2008, 12:34 pm

    I think it’s about entrapment. Satan uses many tools and addictions to trap us and ruin our families. Porn seems to be a particularly effective one.

  • jennycherie June 30, 2008, 12:59 pm

    Posted By: Alison Moore Smiththey mean domination, such as not having to have a relationship with give-and-take.

    OH! I get what you mean!

    Posted By: davidsonIf they were to clam up, they wouldn’t be following their direction from the Lord to raise a warning voice, and there would be no warning voice to take the witness stand in the final judgments.

    that’s true – I hadn’t considered that!

  • spitfire June 30, 2008, 1:02 pm

    Alison, etal~

    I just want to say that I stood @ the pulpit on Sunday providing the information for the Porn Addiction Support Group, the spouse support group for those with Porn addiction as well as the General Addiction Support group. In November of last year, we had a man driving 5 hours ONE WAY to attend our porn addiction support group as there were none in his area (and he lives in a MAJOR metropolitan area!). Last year, when I went online (providentliving.org) to research this for a need in the ward, there were approximately a page of support groups for this…this weekend there were PAGES of just the porn addiction support groups (again providentliving.org).

    I am sorry to say that in our very “vanilla” ward in which many are employed, babies are born under the covenant & marriages are almost always in the temple, there is a TREMENDOUS need for these addiction support groups just in my OWN WARD!!!

    I have a guy in the ward that is playing internet games (the kind where you play against other people all over the world) over 18 hours a day & was barely able to baptize his son since he had not been in Priesthood for months. He was leaving after the sacrament was passed to go home & play games on the internet!!

    I have a sister who has spent her family into $65-75K in credit card debt in one year because of compulsive shopping & to look at her, you would think she was “Molly Mormon”.

    We have had a young husband be “disfellowshipped”, I guess the new term is “probation” for viewing porn on the internet (not addicted) & was not able to bless his first child until the child was almost one year old.

    And those are just a few cases to speak of. The program for “Recovery from Addiction” was an inspired program. There is a reason the Brethren have talked about pornography in every General Priesthood session over the last several years. And if you think this addiction is limited to men, think again. All of you may be aghast was what is being said in your local wards or from the pulpit, but it is being said for a reason.

    I’m sorry that some of you may find this topic to either be offensive, boring or not needed, but I’m hear to tell you it is needed. Very rarely have the brethren spoken so strongly about a subject. The only topics I can think of were debt management or food storage. I think we are all seeing the benefits of having heeded this counsel, let’s not think for a minute that this topic is just a passing theme that will fade away.

    I had sister come up to me & tell me the following story:

    Her son in law, after a temple marriage & 2 children, experienced some form of church discipline as a result of gambling. Because the Bishop did not fully understand this addiction & because there was no support system in place, this young man is still drifting. And oh, BTW, his addiction was internet gambling…he was not frequenting the casinos or slot machines in the gas station. It also involved internet poker games.

    I am not going to debate what is an addiction & what isn’t, nor am I going to say “well they should just control themselves”. Having been a RN who worked in Pain Management for many years, I have witnessed the harmful effects of substance addiction. All I can say is did the Lord not leave the 90 & 9 to take care of the one. I have been one of the biggest proponents of the “get a grip” attitude….why can’t they just say “no” & I still believe excuses abound under the guise of addiction. But regardless, the need is there.

    I’m sorry if your experience in you local units have left you bored or dissatisfied, but if it helps one person, then it was a sucess.

    And oh, BTW on the “hurricane” lecture…perhaps it is not relevant in your area, but the last major hurricane that came thru our area, left 60% of the members without electricity for over 3 weeks…..it was not a pleasant experience.

    I believe these kind of discussions/talks need to be tailored to the individual areas & not necessarily a blanket talk to all i.e. hurricanes, etc.

    I’m sorry if I have offended anyone, but I just think there is a lot more going on behind the scenes than anyone realizes….

    The porn addiction support group is overflowing EVERY week with brethren that who in the privacy of their own home are viewing various kinds of pornography. The spouse support group is buldging at the seams….these individuals want to do the right thing but no one fully understands how destructive some of these addictions can be. All I ask if for your consideration in this matter & I hope & pray that it never affects your family, but don’t be surprised if it does or if it hasn’t already & you may not know about it……

  • spitfire June 30, 2008, 1:35 pm

    I just wanted to let you know a little more about the Addiction Support groups:

    1. They are confidential & TOTALLY anonymous. Those attending do not get reported to their Bishops.
    2. The groups are FREE!!
    3. The 12 steps in the Addiction Recovery Program are an excellent model for repentance from any kind of wrongdoing, including making your husband mad!!
    4. The support group leader is called & set apart as a missionary. They wear names takes & are referred to as Sister & Elder.
    5. The group is available for all individuals, not just LDS members.
    6. Individuals under the age of 18 may attend with a “guardian” or Bishop.
    7. When the time comes that the individual wants to seek counsel from his/her Bishop, the support facilitator goes with them to help the Bishop understand the addiction as well as any progress the individual is making.

    There is much more, but all can be found @ http://www.providentliving.org, the Addiction Recovery program details along with the manual can be found there.

  • davidson June 30, 2008, 1:37 pm

    Thank you, Spitfire! That’s great information that is probably not readily known.

  • Alison Moore Smith June 30, 2008, 1:41 pm

    spitfire, I appreciate the info in your last post. Helpful stuff.

    Posted By: spitfireI’m sorry that some of you may find this topic to either be offensive, boring or not needed, but I’m hear to tell you it is needed.

    I’m not offended and I made no contention that the discussion is unnecessary. I said I’m bored. There is a world of difference between those three. There are lots of vitally important issues that I don’t personally want to discuss for hours on end. (Or be forced to listen to in the name of “church activity.”)

    Because the Bishop did not fully understand this addiction & because there was no support system in place, this young man is still drifting.

    Or maybe it’s “because” he’s making lousy choices?

    I don’t begrudge support and service, but I think we need to put accountability where it belongs.

    but if it helps one person, then it was a sucess.

    I disagree with this. That is not to say that we should do away with the porn discussions because I believe the reason we DO deal with them so often BECAUSE there are MANY who need the lectures. But I disagree with the idea that “helping one” is justification to hold everyone else captive–and thus not serve them. It’s an issue of opportunity cost. When we use resources for a particular concern, we are choosing NOT to use them for all others. As an organization that administers to a huge number of people, we must serve as many as possible.

    And oh, BTW on the “hurricane” lecture…perhaps it is not relevant in your area

    Are you kidding? I lived in South Florida. Gold Coast.

    It’s not about the info being unimportant or even irrelevant. It’s about the fact that I heard it and taught it ad naseum. For 98% of the ward, it was old news. There was no groundbreaking new hurricane prevention protocol. There was no new protective gear. It was the same handouts, the same charts, the same stuff. Over. Again. Every. Year.

    And, no, I don’t think that the fact that it was good info for *us*–the newbie Floridians–in 1991 justified making everyone else hear it for the umpteenth time. They could have pulled out the two new families and told us or given us the handouts or OFFERED it as an optional class or told us about community classes or resources or something more EFFICIENT.

    And when they start having Gospel Doctrine classes about internet gambling my head will start lolling again. What I’m really excited about, though, is the upcoming series on scrapbook dependency. That will be loads of fun.

  • davidson June 30, 2008, 1:54 pm

    Scrapbook dependency! HA! Yes, I guess the sisters ought to have their turn.

  • east-of-eden June 30, 2008, 2:13 pm

    BTW, if it is interesting to anyone, we learned that what some men are addicted to is not the sex involved in pornography, it is the secrecy, the thrill of doing something illicit and not being caught. Adrenalin, I guess.

    It’s also worth mentioing that pornography addiction, creates a similar chemical reaction in the brain as does a drug or alcohol addiction. So, the addicit returns to the addiction to get or feel that high, be it from the sexual part of it or the secrecy or not…he or she has to consume more and more to get that same high, and thus begins a great downward spiral.

    I agree hearing the same sujects taught over and over is tiresome, but there is a reason for that, obviously the leadership felt the need to present the subject because it is a problem, at least support them in that. Thank you Spitfire, for your comments on the subject as an RSP, I”m sure you have some very good perspective on how bad the problem really is. When the saints start paying attention to what is being said by the leadership, they they will say something new, so be prepared to hear the same stuff over and over. I doubt this thread would even have started if the subject had been the Book of Mormon, heaven knows we’ve all had a million lessons on that subject.

  • davidson June 30, 2008, 2:16 pm

    Actually, I was assigned to give a talk in another ward’s Sacrament meeting recently about “The Fun of Family History.” I know many people think “fun” and “family history” are mutually exclusive terms. I was delighted to address the topic, and I mentioned to the scrapbookers in the audience about how all righteous groups of people since Adam have been required to keep a Book of Remembrance, and that the sisters’ scrapbooks ought to include detailed journaling. I mentioned that the photos and the journaling were more eternally significant than the fluff. The stake president was in the meeting, and afterwards he spoke to me and mentioned his concern that his ministry has focused on getting out of debt, and sometimes the sisters in the stake were spending huge amounts of money and time to support their scrapbooking fetish. He and his wife keep a very strict budget, and said he complains to his wife about the money she spends on photos and supplies, and she says in response, “I’m doing family history, dear.” The brother’s point of view; the sister’s point of view. Probably both valid. In order to work a sanctioned compromise, maybe the husband could encourage his wife to keep the spending reasonable, and the wife could encourage the husband to get serious about keeping a Book of Remembrance.

    For myself, I do scrapbooking, but in the cheapest way possible. Even a barn looks better with a little paint. I know how I treasure the evidences of my ancestors’ creativity. I have a kid-sized table and chairs and china hutch my grandfather made. His work was excellent. My grandmother told me that her mother was an accomplished crocheter. I never knew my great-grandmother very well, but I own one of the dresser scarves she crocheted, and the work is tiny and precise and really beautiful. I cherish that! probably the same way the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the scrapbookers will treasure the keepsake scrapbooks. I’m sure they will be fought over. It is so sad that wood and paper and crochet thread last longer than the wonderful people who use them.

  • davidson June 30, 2008, 2:24 pm

    Sorry, East, we posted at the same time. You made a good point. My brother-in-law sadly told us that he had to exert efforts that were more and more depraved in order to achieve a thrill that became less and less satisfying. Truly Satan does not support his own.

  • agardner June 30, 2008, 4:13 pm

    Spitfire, thanks for mentioning the ARP. My husband works for LDSFS and is really working to get this program working in the area he covers. In some cities it is working well, and in others it is really struggling. It is good to know that there are people out there supporting it. It is a great program, and thankfully it has helped many more than just one.

  • Michelle D June 30, 2008, 6:06 pm

    I agree with Spitfire. These situations are “need to know” and I think we would be surprised at the number of people, sitting right next to us in church, who are affected by this issue. It may be boring for those of us who don’t need it, but the problem is that often the leaders don’t know who the silent, unexpected problem people are. They try to hide it, deny they have a problem, avoid responsibility, etc. If someone isn’t forthcoming or caught, the leaders often don’t know who needs to hear it and who doesn’t. And some of those who don’t need to hear it now may come across something in the future that tempts them. Maybe hearing about porn for umpteen times will remind them and help them resist the temptation to start. It may be boring for those for whom it will never be a problem, but I view it like the WofW – given for “the weakest of the weak.” I may inwardly sigh and think ‘not this again’ but I will not begrudge the need to reiterate gospel principles. Alison, it sounds to me like the problem in your ward was in the delivery not necessarily in the umpteenth time of hearing the topic.

    I like the concept of the ARP and am grateful that it is working well in so many areas. Again, I think some of us would be surprised at who it might help. These programs are not just for the addicted.

    The curse of pornography is that because some people can ?t confine their sexual urges to the realm of living, breathing people with whom they physically share space in the same room…

    I disagree to an extent – the REAL curse of pornography is that it often leads some people to go from “simply” viewing to inappropriately taking “their sexual urges to the realm of living, breathing people with whom they physically share space in the same room.” And that destroys multiple lives on multiple levels. As someone who has seen and been involved in the fallout, the realities of a boring meeting are indeed an incredibly small and unimportant price to pay to help those who need it.

  • Naismith June 30, 2008, 6:58 pm

    But this class was all about why porn is an addiction and what it means to be addicted to porn.

    That’s actually very helpful in understanding what exactly the issue was that caused the boredom, which wasn’t clear from the original essay. So it is the same focus over and over? How often are people having a full meeting devoted to this issue?

    I have been asked to speak to Institute groups about this issue, every few years, even before the general authorities have made this such an emphasis (because of my graduate degree). I talk about the research: why there isn’t more research in the area, findings of shifting preferences to more “hard core,” which has been mentioned in previous comments but also validated in experiments, and the findings of dissatisfaction with one’s sexual partner, because no real woman can compare to the air-brushed photos and no real man is as sensitive as the reading-her-mind heroes of romance novels. And yes, I do talk about romance novels for women, which have many of the same effects as pornography for men.

    I don’t think I’ve ever been addicted to pornography, but I do like to watch the same movie clips over and over again, once or twice a week, as a reward or break. Always something very romantic. Currently it is the last six minutes of the BBC miniseries NORTH AND SOUTH. It’s PG-rated stuff, but should I be watching it so much? Maybe not. Could it be a slippery slide to something else? Worth considering.

    A few years ago, there was a 2-part interview on Meridian Magazine’s Cricket & Seagull podcast, with Colleen & Phil Harrison discussing addiction. She is the author of, “He Did Deliver Me From Bondage,” the wonderful book that the church used before their new addiction manual (for which she served on the writing committee). It was fascinating to me, because their addictions were pornography for him, food for her. And yet the issues were very much the same as for alcoholics, etc.

    When we have preparedness meetings, we have more experienced hands share their tips for the newbies. But we also have a form that needs to be updated every year about what emergency equipment people have, what special medical needs, whether their job requires them to be unavailable for church help, etc. and that is filled out during the meeting, so the clerk only has a few folks to track down later.

  • Alison Moore Smith June 30, 2008, 10:33 pm

    Posted By: Michelle DI disagree to an extent – theREALcurse of pornography is that it often leads some people to go from “simply” viewing to inappropriately taking “their sexual urges to the realm of living, breathing people with whom they physically share space in the same room.”

    Sorry to be unclear, Michelle. I didn’t say that the curse of pornography was that people can’t confine their sexual urges to real people, etc. I said that curse was that BECAUSE they couldn’t do so *I* had to sit through these porn classes and being forced to publicly drool. Which is kind of embarrassing.

    Obviously (I thought) my sitting in a boring class for 50 minutes two or three times a year (plus conferences, etc.) while drooling and texting isn’t the SERIOUS curse of pornography. It just happens to be the curse that I deal with.

    The great thing about owning a blog is that you get to rant (and drool) whenever you want.

    And, yes, Naismith, I don’t think I’ve heard anything new in our local porn meetings for at least five years. And that was when the stake president mentioned how often they have to deal with it. Even then, the stats don’t do me much good (except to compel me to gasp in shock and horror). Solutions I like. More shock and awe I can do without.

    I haven’t seen North and South in about 200 years, but I could watch the very, very end of Far & Away for the rest of my life. Definitely a serious addiction.

  • spitfire July 1, 2008, 10:16 am

    Alison~
    I understand what you are saying about being bored, I really do. And quite frankly, I have these experiences in Sacrament Meeting when certain “gospel principles” are being presented via talk. Sometimes when we have “mastered” an area or have never had to deal with an issue about a gospel principle i.e. WoW, etc, we can feel bored. I have had those same feelings & I understand.

    I also forgot that you had lived in Florida i.e. hurricanes. But, will say, that even though we had had multiple hurricane talks, many members were caught short. Also, interestingly enough, our Stake CANCELLED the “Emergency Prep” Day. We were all somewhat surprised but I think the stake is feeling like “no one really cares” & that they have talked til they are blue in the face. Either people are going to take responsibility & get prepared or they aren’t.

    Also, one of the brethren spoke about “being prepared” on Sunday, he comments focused on the most important part of being prepared is repentence. That if our spiritual lives are in order and we listen to the Prophet’s counsel, then the majority of lifes’ travails will be tolerated with minimal pain.

    As far as addiction in general, as I indicated in my post, I have been the biggest loudmouth of “get a grip” & take responsibility for yourself & your actions. But I also know that there are individuals that came with a personality or have been a product of upbringing that often they just don’t know “how” to do that. For those of us that are responsible, that is like a foreign language, we have no clue how anyone could be so “clueless”…but they are out there.

    Again, I feel strongly that if a talk on pornography or addiction or any other subject saves one person & in turn saves a family or a marriage then it was worth it.

  • Alison Moore Smith July 1, 2008, 11:13 am

    Posted By: spitfireI also forgot that you had lived in Florida i.e. hurricanes. But, will say, that even though we had had multiple hurricane talks, many members were caught short.

    Yup. Same in our stake. But they weren’t caught short because they didn’t HAVE the info. They were “caught short” because the chose not to ACT on the info they had. Agency and all.

    Either people are going to take responsibility & get prepared or they aren’t.

    Yup.

    Again, I feel strongly that if a talk on pornography or addiction or any other subject saves one person & in turn saves a family or a marriage then it was worth it.

    My point is that you can only say that IF you acknowledge what is lost by that gain. If, as in this hypothetical, we emphasize porn to save the ONE marriage–then we can only reasonably judge the “worth” of that choice if we at least attempt to consider how many marriages or souls or memberships (etc.) are NOT saved, due to NOT emphasizing what the REST of them need.

    I do believe that our leaders generally approach things this way. So, like I said, I think the endless porn discussions ARE because there is way more than ONE person being served. Unfortunately. And I don’t think we’d be hearing these general, group discussions just for one person. Personal service, help, and support, yes, but not vast general group emphasis on something unless it was needed by more than could reasonable be served individually.

    Let’s look at something worse. Murder or maybe human slavery. How many conference talks are about murder and/or human slavery? Both are heinous problems–even in the US. Much worse than porn or a divorce. Why don’t we meet tri-annually to discuss? I suggest it’s because neither are wide-spread problems among church members and neither are having a generally devastating effect on our families.

  • Tinkerbell July 1, 2008, 12:50 pm

    People move into and out of wards all the time. Perhaps leaders need to talk about it so often to catch all the newbies (just in case they hadn’t heard it in their old ward).

  • ChanJo July 2, 2008, 3:06 pm

    Naismith, while you seem to have enjoyed venting, was there supposed to be a point? Because I guess I missed it.

    As it is, this comes across as dismissive of a major threat to sanity, like you are so much better than the rest of us and never mention being bored about a topic, and gospel superstars like you are forced to suffer from this great distress because of the sins of the rest of us who do get bored sometimes. Are we supposed to be sympathetic? Because you had to sit on a padded computer chair in an air-conditioned room for 10 minutes reading it?

    Just sayin.

  • Lewis_Family July 2, 2008, 9:28 pm

    You make me laugh :smile: Sometimes I just want to amen your comments or be like ” oh snap!” :bigsmile:

  • naomlette July 4, 2008, 12:45 am

    I didn’t want to publicly do this, because, well, I don’t know, but :cheer: :clap: :swingin: :thumbup: for you comment to Naismith. It was nasty, but that may be the only way to get through to her. :devil:

  • naomlette July 4, 2008, 12:46 am

    p.s. Your comment wasn’t any nastier than hers. Hers was pretty nasty all by it’s self.

  • JanetWalgren July 4, 2008, 7:32 am

    Wow Allison, what a discussion. I have a very different take on this topic because I studied and researched family violence and sexual abuse for almost six years in college, first from a psychology paradigm, then from a law student’s paradigm. Why did I study it? Because it suddenly became necessary to understand something I never wanted to know.

    There are many reasons that one ends up dealing with other people’s problems. Many problems are passed down generationally. Those who inherit problems date then get married. Do you have children who are going to date or marry someone? You can’t teach your children what you don’t know.

    Do you have a child who has been or could be raped? One of the things that I learned in my research is that in every jurisdiction where the police track the issue of pornography, they have discovered that porn was used immediately prior to the rape almost 100% of the time.

    Most problems start in the family with someone who appears to be a “super-dad, brother, cousin or uncle”. They groom their intended victims before they act on their evil impulses. Can you spot a grooming process? Children become willing victims over time because they are carefully groomed into being a helpless victim. Do your children come in contact with relatives, scout masters, other kids with relatives?

    Understanding secrets and processes will help you keep your family safe. The scriptures tell us that all things are spiritual to the Lord. The lectures are inspired because we ALL need them. Remember Satan would have everyone a perpetrator or a victim.

  • Alison Moore Smith July 4, 2008, 8:25 pm

    Of course people close to me could be affected. But they aren’t now. And, just like the nursing analogy, it’s not something I’m interested in right now. There are plenty of topics that DO affect me now that I DO need info on now that hearing stuff I already know about a topic I’m not dealing with is frustrating.

    The lectures are inspired because we ALL need them.

    I probably disagree. I don’t think we ALL need EVERY topic equally or even at all. That doesn’t mean they aren’t inspired. It just means we’re part of a group.

    If you mean that I’m just not in tune enough with the Spirit to be in rapt attention during every class, no matter the topic or teacher, well, then you have a point.

  • JanetWalgren July 8, 2008, 8:16 pm

    Alison, I heard a story about a man who was giving a talk in sacrament meeting when Henry Eyring was in the congregation. The man was proud that Brother Eyring was taking notes while he spoke. His pride was short lived when he observed Brother Eyring taking notes when a child spoke. Upon inquiry, the man found out that Brother Eyring, that great scientist, said that if you are in tune to the Holy Ghost, you can learn something important from any talk or lesson regardless of the topic or the speaker.

    I have been through a lot in my life and when bad things happen, it is not at all uncommon for some sister or another to ask me, “What can you learn from this?” as if it were my fault that I needed the lesson. When I got my patriarchal blessing, I was told, #1. The Lord knows me and He loves me. (I’m glad to know that because otherwise I would wonder on occasion.) #2 That the Lord would strengthen me and uplift me and that satan would not be able to claim me. And, #…7 I was going to have some really hard times in life so that I could help others who were weak, downtrodden and oppressed.

    We are all in this together. Sometimes to learn so we can teach and uplift, other times because we need to be taught.

  • Alison Moore Smith July 8, 2008, 10:11 pm

    Janet, I heard that story years ago. I’m no Brother Eyring. I still get bored sometimes. When I’m translated, I’ll post about it.

    Oh, no I won’t. But maybe someone “left behind” will let you all know. I’ll probably be in paradise taking notes on a porn talk or something.

  • JanetWalgren July 9, 2008, 10:29 pm

    Oh Allison, what am I going to do with you? lol

    I almost fell off the pew during sacrament meeting once. Thankfully my daughter caught me. It was at that moment that I came up with a great idea for a new invention… Bells and whistles please ~ da da da dat ta da… seat belts for pews! Seriously, they would be great. They would keep the old people from falling out of their seats, keep the little ones in their seats, and the teenagers could rebel by not wearing them (which beats rebelling by not coming).

    Anyway, my daughter was telling me that one of her co-workers crawled under her desk and fell asleep. Everyone noticed it when she started snoring. At least you daydream vertically.

  • Lewis_Family July 9, 2008, 10:34 pm

    Seats belts for pews would so not be a good idea. It would give that car feeling and before you know it pews would be filled with crumbs and stickiness and… wait a minute, they already are like that. Never mind then, seat belt away!

  • Alison Moore Smith July 9, 2008, 10:34 pm

    I think you’re onto something with the seatbelts. You might want to look into a patent on that.

  • ChanJo July 9, 2008, 10:36 pm

    :smile:

  • ChanJo July 9, 2008, 10:37 pm

    :smile:

  • ChanJo July 9, 2008, 10:37 pm

    :rolling:

  • davidson July 9, 2008, 10:44 pm

    OH, and when you stand up? Don’t grab the pew in front of you to help you stand. It was our family’s turn to clean our meetinghouse last week. I noticed that the wooden pew tops were a little sticky when I touched them during Sacrament meeting the week before, so I thought I’d clean and polish the tops of the pews. Yuck! I wiped and wiped, and the cloths I cleaned with were just BLACK! Almost turned my stomach. And the youth had cleaned them only a few weeks before during a service project! No wonder the Lord wants us to have clean hands and a pure heart when we come to church. Maybe the hymn book holders should come equipped with sanitary wipes. The conducting bishopric member could say, “The closing hymn will be #186. BROTHER So and So will give the closing prayer, and then if you’d please just take a minute and sanitize the pew in front of you, it would be greatly appreciated.”

  • facethemusic July 10, 2008, 5:40 am

    HA!!! :swingin:

  • JanetWalgren July 11, 2008, 12:00 am

    Davidson, I think you’re on to a great idea. I never leave the chapel or a restroom without doing a little clean up, even in the temple. The way some folks leave the chapel is utterly disgusting. I wonder what their homes are like? Yuck!

    Sometimes sacrament meetings remind me of the scene in Singles Ward II where the father of the bride pays the kids in the chapel for their food and ends up with a full breakfast. A few weeks ago I saw a woman chugging her baby’s bottle during the meeting and she drank the whole thing. It really was very funny in a sad sort of way.

  • Lewis_Family July 11, 2008, 8:51 am

    Posted By: JanetWalgren
    A few weeks ago I saw a woman chugging her baby’s bottle during the meeting and she drank the whole thing. It really was very funny in a sad sort of way.

    That is the dirtiest thing I have heard in a long time… gross!

  • Alison Moore Smith July 11, 2008, 9:02 am

    Oh, Janet, that’s just nauseating!

  • Tinkerbell July 11, 2008, 8:25 pm

    I suppose the sad thing is that I can relate to the mom who drank her baby’s bottle. No, I have never done that. I don’t eat the fishy crackers during sacrament (although when I was in the Primary Presidency and pregnant, I would stop in nursery for a snack). But, I can see how a mom would get there: she has six kids, she spent all morning getting all of them ready and never had time for breakfast for herself (happens to me practically every day), she got to church, realized she was starving and had to pull it together to teach a Primary class to a bunch of kids and chugged the baby’s bottle. I can see how it would happen. Maybe she knew she had another one in the car.

    Or maybe she plans it that way to sneak in a snack. (NO – I would never do that). Just saying.

  • davidson July 12, 2008, 6:26 am

    No offense to anyone at all, but it makes me wonder. My sister-in-law (the one who committed suicide) was obsessed about baby pacifiers. She had a zillion of them around the house, and she sucked on them herself. She had a really sad condition called postpartum psychosis, which supposedly affects one in a thousand women. When she wasn’t dealing with the psychosis, she was such a sweet, normal, down to earth woman with a deep testimony of the Savior, someone we would all enjoy being friends with. When I hear about odd behavior like that in a public place, the warning bells go off in my head. Is this woman doing okay mentally? Is anyone keeping a close eye on her? So many just don’t know what to do when the odd behavior takes place, so they don’t do anything until it becomes an emergency. There is a lot of social stigma attached to mental illness, but really, a brain can get sick just like any other organ of the body. And it’s usually fixable, if they catch it in time.

  • vennesa July 18, 2009, 2:30 pm

    I’ve had Sundays like yours many times. It’s good for me because I can relate to my kids when they think church is boring. On the gender issue: Last week in ward conference a woman (gasp!) gave the opening prayer and the last 5th Sunday lesson I attended was co-taught by the RS president. That would have never happened in my last ward. Ward boundary changes can be a good thing!

  • Alison Moore Smith July 19, 2009, 6:30 pm

    Good to hear vennesa.

  • Foo April 7, 2011, 4:05 am

    I’ve got a new tact I’d like the church to consider taking towards the porn problem:

    Pres. Monson – “Young Women’s leaders, stop turning out generations of frigid young brides.”

    Young Women’s leaders – “Sexuality is a natural and beautiful part of who you are. There is nothing shameful or dirty about it. It is like a tree of the most delicious fruit, that should be nurtured, tended, and admired and when the time is right that most delicious fruit will be ready and you should savor it frequently (ie, more than once a week) with your husband.”

    Problem solved.

    (yeah, probably not solved, but at least addressed on more than one level)

  • jennycherie April 7, 2011, 2:02 pm

    Hmmm, I’m gonna ignore the tone and try to pay attention to the message – I *do* think that we sometimes unwittingly give the impression that sex is bad when what we want to do is teach our children to wait until marriage. But, I really don’t think that is the fault of youth leaders, but probably a need for parents to be more aware of how their teaching is received. I’ve been trying to be more careful about what I say when I change the channel on tv – something along the lines of “oh, that should be private” rather than “I don’t want to see that” (that might imply “that’s gross”).

    What you suggest for the youth leaders to teach seems like it would be more appropriate from a parent. Can I assume you are referring to a specific situation?
    jennycherie recently posted…The Good Old DaysMy Profile

  • Angie Gardner April 7, 2011, 2:27 pm

    Foo, I happen to agree with you that we should have a different attitude about how we teach about sex in the church – although I think what you are mentioning is only a part (a very small part, imo) of the problem.

    I’ve known plenty of women who are by no means “frigid” or think sex is bad, whose husbands have a porn problem. Many, if not most, of those men cam in to the marriage with said problem and it had absolutely nothing to do with their wife. You are implying that the problem with people (because it happens to women too) with porn addictions is that they can’t get enough healthy sex from their spouse. This is taking the responsibility away from the person who has the addiction and putting it on the shoulders of someone else. Not fair, and really not even accurate in most of the cases I’ve seen.

    Without getting too personal, I’ve been close to a couple of men with this “issue”. They were offered plenty of excitement in the bedroom – they were just used to getting a different charge from the secrecy and danger of viewing porn. There is a certain excitement there for some people – the fear of getting caught for example, or just the fact that a lot of porn is not ” the norm” (i.e. airbrushed women, sex with multiple people, same gender sex, etc.)

    We are never going to get rid of this problem until the people who are doing it take responsibility. You can’t blame someone else. If my husband gets his kicks from seeing this crud, there is no amount of sex I can give him that will take away his responsibility for what he is doing.

    I actually working on an article right now that addresses some of this a bit. I hope to have it ready in the next week or so.

  • jennycherie April 7, 2011, 4:18 pm

    well said, Angie!
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  • Alison Moore Smith April 8, 2011, 1:00 am

    It is like a tree of the most delicious fruit, that should be nurtured, tended, and admired and when the time is right that most delicious fruit will be ready and you should savor it frequently (ie, more than once a week) with your husband.

    I love sex more than chocolate, but if I heard a YW leader (or anyone) say that, I’d vomit on their shoes. “…a tree of the most delicious fruit…”??? Gah!

    And, yea, I sit around “admiring” sex. Um…

    That aside, it’s already been pointed out to you that those who get off on porn don’t do so because their wives don’t put out enough. Nice excuse and finger pointing though.

    Case in point. Reading the newspaper last Tuesday I came across this article about three guys arrested on child porn charges. I happen to know one of them. He got married last May. And when the police questioned him he admitted two things relevant to your tawdry little blame game:

    1. He got into kiddie porn about 1.5 years ago (before he got married)
    2. He’d had a general porn problem for a lot longer than that

    Weird, I find it kind of hard to make his wife the scapegoat in that scenario.
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  • Foo April 8, 2011, 1:05 am

    Angie, you are quite right about me painting with too broad a brush (hence the backtracking at the bottom of my quip) (also please note that I do agree that the problem is different when the porn addiction is present before the sexual relationship begins.) However, I will ask if the husbands with porn problems felt their wives were frigid or had a negative image of sex? Perhaps they have a different opinion on their wive’s “healthy sexuality”.

    I know my wife doesn’t think she’s frigid but we have an almost clinically sexless marriage (less than 10 times/year) due to her disinterest in or distaste for sex. We’ve been in counseling. Learned how to do it so she reaches sexual satisfaction. She tells me that she feels loved, admired and appreciated. She feels secure. We talk, date, do non-sexual (obviously) cuddling, etc. etc. But still we/I struggle with her negative attitude towards sex. It has been this way since the temple equivalent of “I do.”

    During our first year of marriage I remember hearing a country song about some woman cutting her misbehavin’ man “down to once a week” and thinking to myself “Once a week would be an improvement and I’m not even misbehaving!” I was a red blooded 22 year old male who kept himself morally clean (I was one of that fabled 5% of 14 to 20 year old males who had never masturbated) before marriage but was finding myself much more tempted by immoral vices after marriage. I thought it was supposed to be the other way around.

    After marriage I got a taste of the above mentioned delicious fruit and guess what. I really really liked it! And the longer it got between bites of the delicious fruit the more I thought about it, until it became the one thought in my mind that just wouldn’t go away. And after a while I didn’t even care if it was “our” fruit. I started to think about having a bite with the lady at work who liked to flirt, but I wasn’t weak enough to fall for that. After about 18 months though I did fall to porn, the shiny and enticing counterfeit of the fruit.

    I labored intermittently under that sin for several dark years. I don’t think I was addicted, it was always a choice, but it became a choice I made with much less regret (and eventually no regret) over time. Something in me changed one night. I had a Saul/Paul moment, and embarked on the difficult road of repentence-confession-restitution.

    I’d like to think I’m free of it, but I’m not. It is always there. A specter leering out at me from a billboard or TV screen. Glossy covered sirens beckoning to me in the checkout line. Sexual images are becoming so pervasive that it is there, even when I’m not looking for it.

    This is where wives can play such an important role in helping good men resist the wiles of the devil. I’m going to set up an allegory to illustrate.

    Men and women are both admonished to put on the whole armor of God. Every day we venture forth into a Telestial world to try and be Celestial beings. Our armor helps to protect us from the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune and the firey darts and the Goliaths and the Delilahs that are designed to wound, capture or kill. Our armor must be maintained daily with polish, oil, and checking for cracks or loose plates. One of the great tools for keeping our armor in top notch condition is a forge and anvil. It is kept in the home and it requires both the husband and wife, one to operate the bellows and the other to work on the armor. Used correctly the forge can add great strength to the armor. But if either the husband or wife decide they don’t like the heavy, sweaty work around the forge and their spouse is left to do it alone the armor can be weakened when he or she tries to operate the bellows and work the metal at the same time. This spouse walks out into the Telestial world with armor that is already full of cracks and holes. Cracks and holes that Ol’ Scratch knows all about.

    Five days a week you send your husband out into a hostile environment full of tantalizing billboards, lewd jokes, instantly available images, and curvaceous and willing co-workers. You really want to send him out there in shoddy armor?

    I am not excusing myself from responsibility, but I will also not excuse my wife. I was out in an increasingly hostile world and I was wearing a shoddy suit of armor riddled with cracks and holes; cracks and holes that Satan is specifically targeting with a vengence. These are cracks and holes that could have been eliminated and indeed strengthened if we had both been involved in that heavy, sweaty work around the forge. I’m still walking around in cracked armor, but because of my past I’m more careful around my foe. I know I’m vulnerable and still not perfect.

    Does a shining perfect suit of armor guarantee success? No, but I guess she can console herself with “Well, at least I didn’t have to sleep with him much” as she files for divorce.

    Can a man battle through this Telestial world with a shoddy hole ridden suit of armor and come out on the Celestial side of things? Yes, but I’ll bet dollars to donuts that he’s not thrilled with the idea of sharing Eternal bliss with the woman who refused to help him strengthen his armor.

  • Foo April 8, 2011, 1:30 am

    Ok, so the tree bit was corny. I apologize. How would you describe it?

    Oh, and yeah, I was one of those who got off on porn and it was directly related to (related to not caused by) my wife’s disinterest in sex.

    You know, I think you could probably benefit from a open and honest sexual inventory with your husband. Could be enlightening. Could make you reevaluate your “I love sex more than chocolate” opinion of yourself. Or maybe you have one of those effete husbands who doesn’t care for sex more than once a week.

  • Alison Moore Smith April 8, 2011, 3:04 am

    How would I describe it? Rocking good.

    Foo, you are getting off on porn, blaming your wife, and then telling people you don’t know that they need to “inventory” their sex lives. Can you possibly see the problem in your worldview?
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  • Alison Moore Smith April 8, 2011, 3:31 am

    Foo, I appreciate your honesty. I’m struggling with your post.

    Here’s the deal. I think it’s downright crappy how some women deprive their husbands. If I want a foot rub, my husband rubs my feet. He never says he’s not in the mood to rub them. And he doesn’t even LIKE reciprocal messaging! He just does it because I like it. The weird thing is, I never hear women say doing so makes my husband used or a doormat or weak. They just think it’s NICE.

    So, I’m sure you can see my analogy here. While I have a really hard time understanding women who aren’t interested in sex — and I know there are a lot of them — I don’t understand why even those women wouldn’t at least enjoy making their husbands happy. Unless their husband is a creeper (and why did you marry a creeper?), why doesn’t doing something that makes him feel great, make you feel great? Whey do you HAVE to be “in the mood”? Can’t you just enjoy his enjoyment? I really don’t get it.

    Still, I just don’t think men (or women) can blame other people for their bad choices.

    Foo, let me tell you what YW leaders (coming down from the general authorities) taught in my day. Young men are hypersexual, that’s just the way they are, they can’t help it, there’s nothing they can do about it. Young women have to be in control. They are responsible for their chastity. They must keep the boys in line. They must make sure the boys have no impure thoughts.

    All I could think of was, “Are you freaking KIDDING me? I have enough trouble managing my OWN thoughts. I cannot possibly be responsible for someone else’s!”

    That idea is just downright wrong.

    Yea, I get that not having as much sex as you want sucks. (No pun intended.) Yea, I get that immodestly abounds. But there isn’t a sin on earth that doesn’t have outside influences. And you have a choice. Man up and take full responsibility for it.

    Think about it these things:

    If your wife died tomorrow, would it be OK for you to start yanking off to Playboy — because you don’t get enough? Or would you have the same standard you’ve always had?

    Did your wife deceive you into thinking she was TOTALLY INTO SEX before you were married and then switched it off?

    If so, why did that happen?

    In not, maybe you should take some responsibility for marrying someone who wasn’t really into it even though you are. If that was important to you, why didn’t you look for someone more compatible? Is it fair to marry someone who is less interested and then blame them for your virtual infidelity when they are just who they’ve always been?

    For example, I’m not a huge sports fan. I like BYU football and that’s about it. It would drive me NUTS if my husband was one of those hunting/fishing/sports watching every spare minute guys. So…I didn’t marry one!

    If I had married an outdoors freak and then ragged on him day in and day out for being an outdoor freak, it just wouldn’t make sense. And it would make less sense if I had an affair because “he just isn’t home enough for me.”

    It’s one thing if someone changes the game on you. It’s another when you marry someone with the intent to change them and use their lack of reforming as an excuse to misbehave. Or (worse?) if you marry someone who’s not compatible, but have no idea they aren’t because you didn’t do some due diligence before the proposal.

    So, there are the two sides of my dilemma. Have at it.
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  • Foo April 8, 2011, 4:17 am

    I wrote that my porn use was directly related to my wife’s disinterest in sex. You say that is too strong. You are probably right. Perhaps “marginally influenced by my wife’s disinterest” is more the truth. I’m really not trying to excuse myself here. If you will look at what I wrote (other than that first little quip with the overly corny/gross analogy) I was simply trying to point out that there may be more than one solution to the porn problem (which is not a problem for you).

    I did just come upon an article which, even if it is only marginally correct, shoots my theory out of the water. Can’t she/he see I Need Sex

    I think we probably agree more than we disagree. Porn is bad; check. Sex is rocking good; check. Lessons on the word of wisdom are wasted on me although the ensuing Coke is evil debate can be entertaining; check.

    I liked your original article. You described a common situation with humor and wit. It made me chuckle, and I appreciate that. I’m glad your husband feels you are a dream. I hope should we ever meet you will refrain from vomiting on my shoes (a stern look ought to be enough). I certainly don’t need to review your inventory. I hope you never get the feeling that your spouse isn’t sexually attracted to you. That feeling sucks. And leaves you feeling sucky. And thinking you are sucky. And feeling sucky and thinking you are sucky makes you more vulnerable to other sucky things.

  • Foo April 8, 2011, 4:53 am

    Yup, I was deceived. She initiated the first kiss. She indicated when she was ready for the kissing to become more involved (we crossed a couple of lines but nothing that kept us waiting for a Temple recommend). As our engagement wore on she even told me she wanted to “jump my bones” a couple times and then I had to use the “brakes”.

    As we got more involved told me that she had been to the very edge of full sexual intimacy with a couple of previous boyfriends. This didn’t bother me at the time. She grew up in an inactive LDS family and looked back at those experiences as close calls she was glad to have escaped. She was active in her Ward when I met her. In fact her entire family had come back into activity.

    So yeah, I felt like I’d been given the old bait and switch after the vows. Then I started to resent her previous boyfriends. They got around third base and were sliding for home, and all they ever promised her was the weekend. I gave her my life, and every night she had a headache in her full length pajamas.

    I do understand your “Man up and take responsibility” sentiment. It is actually part of what happend when I decided to leave my sins behind. I had to accept that the sins were mine to own and that only two of us could change my life, me and Christ. I had to leave her out of the equation. That doesn’t mean I can’t look back and see how things may have been different if other “outside influences” had been more positive. And it is certainly a lesson I will pass on to my children as they prepare to get married.

    Along with the “Man up and take responsibility” sentiment is simply a “Man up” sentiment. I am the master of my domain. I am the captain of my ship. I do not feel loved, admired, desired or appreciated in my marriage, and it is directly related to my wife’s disinterest in sex. If she refuses to see this, chooses to ignore it, and does nothing about it I’ll do what a man should do. Leave her.

  • Foo April 8, 2011, 7:11 am

    You are right, its probably something parents should be teaching, but that still doesn’t address the damage that one good Standards Night, the “used chewing gum” analogy and a standard issue modesty talk can do.

    I’m just suggesting that the church really needs to rethink the long term effects of the modesty/morality crusade. I’m all for abstinence before marriage, but I think the current programs foster an unintended “abstinence after marriage” mentality in a sizable portion of the young women who become the young brides of the church.

  • jennycherie April 8, 2011, 9:27 am

    Very interesting discussion all around!

    “Whey do you HAVE to be “in the mood”? Can’t you just enjoy his enjoyment? ”

    Amen to that – I think that would be a great topic for a RS lesson. ;)

    “In not, maybe you should take some responsibility for marrying someone who wasn’t really into it even though you are.”

    But, HOW would you know? In a church that requires complete chasitity before marriage, how would you know? How would either of the couple know? I mean, you can feel a little chemistry (and expect to love intimacy)and then be totally shocked/turned off by the actual act – particularly if you are very innocent and not well educated on the subject before marriage.

    “It’s one thing if someone changes the game on you. ”

    But that’s what our covenants are for, right? People *do* change! I did NOT marry an outdoorsy guy (on purpose), but I sure have one now – in fact, I have a deer head hanging out in my living room. I did not sign up for this, but I still have to live with it because I made covenants. I mean, it stinks, but people do change. And if they can change in ways we don’t like, can’t they change in the ways we do like? Don’t we hope for that and try to bring it about?

    Foo – does she offer any explanation? Is it possible she was abused? It
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  • Alison Moore Smith April 8, 2011, 11:55 am

    While I won’t go along with your last line, and with the understanding that I’ve only your side of the story, I’d say I agree you have a case. Not for her being responsible for your porn issues — I sincerely think you need to keep those separate — but for her issues of mistreating you.

    So, let me play Dr. Laura on you for a minute, is there some reason that she is now disinterested? Is it general disinterest or disinterest in you specifically? Have you changed since you married? Has there been some catalyst? Kids? Weight (either of you)? Stress? Other resentments? Physiological issues?

    Of course, don’t feel obligated to answer any of those, but maybe there’s a solvable issue at work.
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  • Alison Moore Smith April 8, 2011, 12:12 pm

    …particularly if you are very innocent and not well educated on the subject before marriage.

    If you’re getting married without being educated about basic stuff, you’re probably not mature enough to be getting married.

    As you know, my oldest is getting married this month. She is 23. Young by general standards, not by LDS standards. More than once other LDS women have been baffled that I did not want her (or any of my kids) to get married at 18, 19, 20. They sincerely asked what in the world I was thinking. Ack!

    Yes, I understand the importance of marriage. That’s why I want our brides and grooms to be remotely mature!

    But, HOW would you know?

    Honestly, I think sex drive (or lack thereof) is pretty apparent even for those who control it before marriage. I don’t think it takes experience to figure it out.

    But that’s what our covenants are for, right?

    ??? Covenants are in place so that when our spouse turns the world upside down we are stuck with them anyway? No way!

    When we were dating I said I’d have two kids if I liked the first one a lot. I also said I would never, ever stay home with kids. I would work my whole life. Sam married me fully aware of those things.

    Later I completely, totally changed what I thought I should do. But I didn’t unilaterally walk in and announce my decision.

    After having an implicit agreement about what our life would be like and marrying with those ideas, there is no way I would demand such a complete change of course. Instead, I told Sam what I felt and we decided TOGETHER how to proceed. If he didn’t agree to the NEW things I was proposing, I wouldn’t have changed them.

    Similarly, if my husband was not a sports nut and later became one, I would expect the hunting/fishing stuff to be tempered by our agreed upon lifestyle. In other words, he’s only take family time away for such things when it worked for the family, not just whenever he felt like it.
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  • Alison Moore Smith April 8, 2011, 12:14 pm

    Oh, and as for the chewing gum analogy — like the fist in the cake analogy and others like it — it’s not damaging because it’s harsh, it’s damaging because it’s WRONG. And if someone uses it, they should be called on the carpet for it.

    I did it in Boca. We all should be willing to defend correct doctrine.
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  • Angie Gardner April 8, 2011, 12:30 pm

    I so agree with you on the chewing gum analogy Alison. Thanks for saying that.

    Foo, I do sympathize with your situation. I would consider more fully the possibility that your wife’s distaste for sex is not the norm in the church. In my opinion, there is something more there whether it be abuse in her past, or more deep-seeded problems in your relationship, or a physiological or psychological issue that makes lovemaking painful for her physically or emotionally.

    Now that I’ve outed my sister-in-law on another thread, I’ll out my husband here.:-) There have been times in our marriage when the sex was fantastic, and other times when it left a lot to be desired (pun intended). Almost without fail, when it was poor, it was because either I had a physical issue going on and didn’t feel like he was understanding of the discomfort I might have, or more commonly that I didn’t feel we were connecting in other ways and it was hard to just “turn on” in the bedroom when we hardly said 2 words to each other all day. I’m not a needy person, but it is nice to feel that you aren’t going to bed with a stranger. You say you meet those needs for your wife, but it’s possible that she needs even more. Some people, especially if there is abuse in their past, need to feel extremely secure, loved, non-judged, attractive to their spouse, etc. before they can emotionally open up in that way. You might feel you are giving enough, she might even TELL you that you are giving enough – but if things have not changed despite therapy and all, I would say there is some kind of underlying thing going on there which needs to be explored. Just my opinion.

    Also, you might want to consider this: A lot of women who have a husband with a porn problem have a hard time meeting their husband’s new sexual expectations. Most women aren’t going to be comfortable doing some of the things that porn stars do. They aren’t going to look like porn stars look. There might be a huge fear there that they will never meet your expectations, so why try? If they feel scrutinized by every move they make wondering if you are comparing them to what you viewed on the internet last night, that’s a difficult road block to get over.

    Good luck.

  • jennycherie April 8, 2011, 12:55 pm

    “??? Covenants are in place so that when our spouse turns the world upside down we are stuck with them anyway? No way!”

    No – what I mean is, covenants keep us from cutting and running at every problem that seems insurmountable, but isn’t. I didn’t choose to marry a hunter, but that is clearly not grounds for divorce. I may not like it, but it’s not divorce-worthy.
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  • Alison Moore Smith April 8, 2011, 6:36 pm

    A couple of comments on what Angie said…

    I would consider more fully the possibility that your wife’s distaste for sex is not the norm in the church

    Honestly, I’m not sure I agree. I’m not sure it’s distaste as much as it is disinterest. In my experience it’s not connected to church but rampant among all women. (In general, but particularly when compared to the interest most men show.) I’ve heard it over and over and over. And over. It makes me sad.

    What is not “the norm” is Sex and the City. Now I have actually not seen a single episode of the show, so I may be misrepresenting this particular program, but the idea holds in our culture. I read a lengthy non-LDS review of the show a few years ago. It discussed how the show is written by gay men who, the author felt, projected their hyper-sexualization onto the female characters. So now “sexy” women aren’t just supposed to enjoy sex, they are supposed to be focused on it, have their lives revolve around it, talk about it, talk about it at length, talk about it in detail, talk about each other’s private parts crudely and crassly, etc.

    Foo, Angie’s last paragraph is dead spot on. You are now dealing with an entirely different issue than you would be had you been faithful and trying to deal with her sex issues. You’ve added a deep, thick layer of crap to the relationship that you’re going to have to wade through — and you should, since you put it there.

    You say that you are bombarded by sexual images, think about your own words:

    Glossy covered sirens beckoning to me in the checkout line.

    Creepers, Foo. First of all, they aren’t beckoning YOU. The fact that you’d even phrase it that way is part of the problem. They don’t know you and don’t care about you and aren’t even trying to turn YOU on. They are undressing for fame and fortune. You are incidental. It’s not brain surgery. The fact that you’d be seduced by an IMAGE that holds no regard for you whatsoever — and wouldn’t even give you a half hour on the couch if you met her in person — is part of the problem.

    If you are so freaking turned on by magazine covers — with airbrushed, silicone injected, lipo-suctioned bimbos who have no respect for anything — then what does a REAL woman, with flaws and lacking plastic surgical options, have to offer you?

    Does Miss Horndog October ask you to take out the garbage or worry when you don’t make enough to pay the bills? Does she bare your children and have the stretchmarks and sagging chest to prove it?

    It’s a heck of a lot harder to love a real, imperfect woman than an image that can’t reject you and asks nothing in return. But porn never satisfies because it’s fake. It’s fantasy. It’s all your imagination.
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  • Angie Gardner April 8, 2011, 7:48 pm

    Yep to all that you said.

    What I meant by my statement is that I think the situation Foo is describing is not the norm of most women in the church. Every LDS woman I know (and granted, we don’t get too in depth in this topic due to its private nature) seem to enjoy sex most of the time, tolerate it other times…but still, they have sex regularly (the definition of “regularly” of course varies by couple) and enjoy it for the most part. I do think that in general men have a greater need for frequent sex, but most women I know are more than happy to accommodate even if they might not initiate it. I honestly don’t know anyone who is the extreme that Foo is talking about – it sounds like this is a woman who despises sex. Or at least she despises sex with Foo. I don’t know anyone like that who doesn’t have some other deep issue, either with the marriage itself or with sex for some reason.

    Let’s talk frequency for just a moment. I have talked to a few close friends about this (don’t we all wonder if we’re “normal”? I admit I do) and it seems like those I have talked to about it are pretty settled into a couple of times a week routine. Doesn’t mean the moment won’t strike them more frequently sometimes, or that they might go longer without occasionally, but on an average I think most LDS couples ARE having sex, and MOST of them are enjoying it MOST of the time. Just my observation. Maybe I only associate with horny people. :-)

    Having said that, every couple has to decide what is right for them. Foo’s issue is that he and his wife see very differently about this for whatever reason.

    Being willing to open yourself up in this way to someone requires trust. Foo, I think you have lost this with your wife and a huge part of rebuilding your marriage is going to depend on whether you can find a way to win it back. She’s not going to want to go to bed with you if she thinks it’s only to relieve yourself while you get your real kicks from watching other people have sex.

  • Foo April 8, 2011, 11:02 pm

    As I said earlier, the change was almost immediate. Sexual intimacy on the honeymoon was frequent but unfortunately very clumsy on both our parts (but we were first timers with fairly limited information). After the honeymoon we settled into our first apartment and a “regular” pattern of about once every two or three weeks. After the first year the interval got longer and longer. We reached the point where we were in the clinically sexless category.

    We’ve talked about this issue a lot, and she told me that she did not have much of a relationship with her father when she was young (he has changed much since rejoining the flock) and said she used physical intimacy to get the attention she craved from males. Even after becoming active in the church, she continued to use her feminine wiles to get boys attention. I think it was an issue of low self-worth. She felt that without some kind of sexual enticement, no boy was going to like her. Based on her description of the kind of boys she was dating, she was quite right.

    And now I’ve gone and made the mess even worse. She feels that without some kind of sexual enticement, her husband isn’t going to like her. But before you completely castigate me let me say: I never pressured her for premarital sex. I never pressured her to make out (though I let her know I really enjoyed it). I never made my affection and emotional connection contingent on premarital sexual stimulation. I assumed that a marital sexual relationship was the prize we would both share and enjoy after waiting like good boys and girls.

  • Foo April 8, 2011, 11:11 pm

    She denies being sexually abused, although I think her early home environment (father liked to drink a lot) may have caused some low self-worth and a craving for male attention.

    She said she was pressured by previous boyfriends to get a lot more physically intimate than she wanted, but was never “forced”.

  • Foo April 8, 2011, 11:49 pm

    This issue has plagued our 15 year marriage throughout. I’d like to think that we’ve discussed and addressed many of the factors you mentioned.

    Sex was painful for her the first few times but she said by the end of our honeymoon the physical pain was gone (sadly we ignored my mother’s advice to pick up some lubricant before we left). Physically she can become aroused, lubricated and if she is willing and patient can reach sexual climax.

    We’ve read the standard marriage books (Mars/Venus, 5 Love Languages, Between Husband and Wife, Love/Respect, etc. etc.) and had a couple runs of counseling. She says now that although my porn use was devastating to her, she feels like the crisis and our efforts to get through it have deepened and increased her love, and that the changes I’ve made leave her feeling more loved than ever before.

    I don’t know what else I can do from the outside to try and discover/understand/address the issue. She tells me there is no issue. That our sex life was and is normal. She admits that the really bad years were bad but says that our overall relationship was suffering all over at that time (I agree). So to her, there is no problem. I’ve stopped using porn. I’m supportive, communicative, emotionally connected, helpful. She feels loved, admired and appreciated. What else could I possibly want?

    As regards your final paragraph, I think a lot of women who have husbands with porn problems might benefit from this divulgence (though it may not be true for every cad out there). I would always have preferred to be sexually intimate with my wife. Getting off to porn is a pale and shabby counterfeit. Having come away from the porn, I can honestly say, having her “present”, involved and loving is enough. Trying different positions might be nice, but really I just want to be sexually connected to her. I think my wife is the most beautiful woman ever. I love every stretch mark and sag. They are testaments to the greatest work she or I will do in this life.

  • Foo April 9, 2011, 12:35 am

    Ok, yes, I recognize and accept that I did bad bad crap. That I brought into our marriage a whole truck load of garbage and it has complicated the issues. I didn’t think I would just waltz in, announce I had changed and everything would be hunky dorey. I expected that “wading through this crap” would be hard and painful. It has been and is.

    She sees the crap I brought into the marriage, and it hurts her too. She appreciates that I am working on it, and I am making some progress.

    She doesn’t see the crap that she brought into the marriage when she married me knowing that she was only pretending to be sexually attracted to me. She doesn’t see that it is damaging to know that I am not attractive to her. She doesn’t see the damage that rejection every night for three weeks, culminating in “Oh, if you must, just get it over with” does to me. She doesn’t think that is a problem at all.

    And you don’t seem to see it either. Your blase dismissal of the lure of “glossy covered sirens” admits that you know very little of the damage that constant rejection and rebuff can do. You also underestimate Satan’s tools. You bet she is beckoning me; me and every other man with eyes that walks by. Satan knows that God created us with a biological drive that is cued by visual stimuli. You don’t think he is injecting, suctioning and brushing that image to increase it’s visual appeal? You don’t think he is hiding behind the image and beckoning me? That seems spiritually naive to me. You pair that amped up visual stimuli with a biological drive that can’t find it’s natural place and you are digging a pit and placing a stumbling block.

    Yeah, Miss October is fake and never really satisfies, but when you are feeling sucky; sucky starts to look like all you’re going to get.

  • Alison Moore Smith April 9, 2011, 1:04 am

    Foo, I actually do see the damage. I’m probably one of the most outspoken advocates for…well…mens’ sexual needs in the bloggernacle and church in general. I’ve said things online and in Relief Society, too.

    But understand the context you put this in. “My wife isn’t giving me the armor to defend myself against the sexy broads in the checkout line.” It’s not your wife’s job to keep your mind out of the gutter. Let me repeat: IT IS NOT YOUR WIFE’S JOB TO KEEP YOU MORAL. It is YOURS.

    Sure I think Satan is involved in the temptation. But if you realize he’s the one “beckoning,” not the vacant porn star, then maybe you should rethink your little tryst with the devil. ‘Cause Miss Boobs-Hanging-Out isn’t really sleeping with you. It’s the guy with the pitchfork. (Yum!)

    Dude, look at the last few sentences. I ask you, what do single men do? What do widowers do? Do they have a moral standard or it is just a free-for-all for those who don’t have a place to put their biological drive? Who do they blame?

    I get that it’s not easy. I get that it stinks. But your wife’s issues (which do sound like real issues) aren’t the cause or an excuse for yours.

    That said, was she really pretending to be attracted? Has she said that or do you assume that? IMO, hears the deal. If YOU think there’s a problem, there is one — and I’d say the same on the flip side. If you have expressed pain at this and her response is simply, “Well, I think it’s fine.” then she needs to get her act together and start being a decent, caring person. No one treats someone they love that way. I say call her on it. Or send her to read here.

    Foo, I’m really trying to be even-handed in this. If my husband got into porn, I honestly cannot imagine feeling confident or secure enough to be freely intimate. I don’t want to get too personal, but a big part of the reason I still adore (and I mean that in all respects) my husband so much (after 25 years) is because I feel 100% safe with him and 100% secure in his loyalty and affection.

    On the other hand, I cannot imagine having my husband express a need or desire (in intimacy or any other aspect) and me thinking, “Well, tough. I don’t care. I like it this way.” I’m far from being a perfect wife or perfect person, but I would at least recognize this kind of disregard as mean-spirited and harmful. Would she treat a girlfriend with that kind of dismissiveness? Probably not.

    I don’t have any great answers, but IMO there are two problems here and they are probably best addressed separately so one doesn’t use the other as an excuse. :/

  • Foo April 9, 2011, 2:26 am

    I get that it is not my wife’s responsiblity to keep me morally clean. It is mine. You’ve said that a couple of times and I’ve agreed each time.

    I’ve done some thinking about your question regarding single men/widowers. You make a good point. The one response I would make applies only to the single men. In the past, and especially in LDS circles, they are mostly single by choice. That may change as women become more financially independent. Then there will be a larger segment that would like to be married but are unable to find a partner.

    What I’m really trying to say in all of this boils down to this: The big bad world is full of temptations designed specifically to target a man’s sex drive. Wives do have some influence over how satisfied/unsatisfied that drive is. A satisfied sex drive can be an added bulwark of protection for a man. An unsatisfied sex drive will in the least not add that bulwark of protection, and at worst weaken his resistance to temptation.

    Again, I agree that a wife will not be damned for her husband’s transgressions; only he will. She can console herself saying “at least I stayed true to my Standards Night values and I didn’t become his sexual toy” as she (or he) files for divorce. He never wanted a sexual toy, he wanted a sexual partner and he’s probably better off without her.

    And the truth is he isn’t damned for ever. He can repent. He can change. He can come back through the grace of Christ to harmony with God and full fellowship with His church.

    If she doesn’t recognize her faults, she will continue on as she is. Marrying again, and subjecting yet another of Heavenly Father’s sons to the misery of a marriage devoid of intimacy. Abusing the very nature that God planted in him to inflict greivous wounds to his soul. I do not think He will look lightly on that.

  • Foo April 9, 2011, 2:52 am

    Yes, the problems need to be addressed separately otherwise there is a strong inclination for them to negatively reinforce the other… hmmm… just as there may be a strong inclination for them to positvely reinforce the other.

    Why can’t you admit that a marriage is an interdependence, not an independence.

  • Angie Gardner April 9, 2011, 6:51 am

    Real quick, regarding your last paragraph Foo. It may be true that you would always rather be intimate with your wife than to view porn. But, realize that your wife is not necessarily going to believe that or feel the same way. Whenever there is another woman involved, real or not real, most women are going to compare themselves. Of course they don’t look like the porn star who does things to enhance her female parts or has airbrushing done. Most women aren’t going to engage in the stuff that is common in porn. And you can tell them all you want that it doesn’t matter to you, that you aren’t comparing, that she is beautiful to you, etc. and still there might be that thought in the back of her mind.

    The more I read about your situation the more I think there really are some underlying issues. You and your wife seem to be hostile towards each other and I’m not sure why. She’s more passive aggressive about it, it seems, withholding sex and saying she’s normal. But I say she’s angry with you, or she just doesn’t like you anymore, or something. My opinion is that you need to get to the bottom of that issue first, and then worry about your sexual needs.

  • Alison Moore Smith April 9, 2011, 11:14 am

    I’m going to start fresh down here. The threaded thing annoys me mostly.

    I get that it is not my wife’s responsiblity to keep me morally clean. It is mine. You’ve said that a couple of times and I’ve agreed each time.

    Yes, you agree and then make statements that continue to support the opposite position. “If only my wife had satisfied me!” Thing is, if PORN satisfies you, then what she’s going to do isn’t likely to do that, because they are wildly different. (Wouldn’t masterbation (without porn) or a wet dream provide the same “relief”?) If it doesn’t, then why bother?

    I’ve done some thinking about your question regarding single men/widowers. You make a good point. The one response I would make applies only to the single men. In the past, and especially in LDS circles, they are mostly single by choice.

    So. Whether being unmarried is by choice or not, the same STANDARD applies. Single guys who choose not to marry aren’t given a porn pass anymore than those who are single in spite of their efforts, divorced, or widowed. The same standard applies to all of them. They might say, “Well, at least you get sex a few times a year!”

    Again, I’m not saying this is a healthy sexual relationship. I’m saying it’s a different issue. You never had to indulge in porn and it’s sinful. That’s the standard across the board — no matter how much real sex you get.

    The big bad world is full of temptations designed specifically to target a man’s sex drive. Wives do have some influence over how satisfied/unsatisfied that drive is.

    While I agree with the last sentence independentally, you make two implications (again) that I think are faulty:

    1. Men use porn because they don’t get enough real sex
    2. Men who don’t get enough sex (by some unknown standard) can use porn to make up for it

    Porn isn’t sex. Porn isn’t intimacy. It’s anonymous ejaculation with a blow up doll. If you just need to ejaculate, nature will eventually take its course. If you need intimacy WITH the ejaculation, porn won’t give it to you.

    On the flip side, having lots of sex with your wife won’t replace the porn either. They aren’t the same thing, remotely.

    It’s as if you think we all think porn is something it’s not. You are looking at images or video of (presumably) women you don’t know at all and who have no connection to you and no interest in you. They are doing something sexual, alone (not with you), with other men or women (not with you), or just exposing themselves (to anyone who will watch). While watching you are (presumably) masterbating to climax while fantasizing you are involved somehow, even though you aren’t.

    That is physiologically and psychologically DIFFERENT from real sex.

    P.S. I don’t remember any standards nights that discussed being a sex toy.

    The way you vilify your wife is telling. You just have this problem, but you can repent and move on. She is just subjecting poor unwitting males to lives of misery and despair.

    Why can’t you admit that a marriage is an interdependence, not an independence.

    What does that even mean? Psychobabble. Marriage is both. We depend on each other and we depend on ourselves. But you can’t blame her for your bad behavior and she can’t blame you for hers.

    I think Angie is spot on. You are both out to hurt each other.
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  • Foo April 12, 2011, 9:25 pm

    Alison,
    I think one of the impasses we are at is that you see the world as a collection of instances with 1:1 causality. I did not say “Men use porn because they do not get enough real sex.” but you keep coming back to that. That is an instance where one condition/event causes the other, end stop.

    What I am suggesting or trying to describe is a world where outcomes are influenced by several different factors, some more strongly than others. In my estimation this is a more apt description of human behavior. We are not inanimate objects whose motions and can be described with elegant one line equations. In other words “A man who does not get enough real sex is more likely to use porn.” I’m not saying that the lack of sex caused the use of porn, simply that it influenced it.

    If I was an emotionally distant and uncommunicative husband and my wife had an affair I would still be angry, but at some level I’d like to believe that I’d also feel like I had failed her. I hope I would feel like I should shoulder some of the blame because I had failed in my stewardship of our marriage. Without shouldering any of the blame and striving to become a connected and communicative husband I will essentially be inviting my spouse to return to a marriage that causes her deep and distressing harm.

    On the porn+masturbation vs. human intimacy question, I think you are spot on. It is not a substitute and will not satisfy the true need for human contact and intimacy. But it was designed as a counterfeit, something to appear like it may satisfy that true need, and therein lies the temptation. You aren’t tempted by it. Good on ya. I am, and I fell to it. That makes me a lesser child of God. I get it.

    I don’t think I’ve vilified my wife. I’ve vilified the LDS culture which, with good intentions, has influenced the opinons, values and practices of many LDS women so that they are less likely to be sexual partners in marriage. And really it was not my intention to vilify, just point out that some changes are needed.

    And psychobabble… hmm… I thought all Mormons loved Stephen Covey.

    I’m getting argumentative and mean, and I really don’t want to. I’ve read some of your other posts and you are not someone I would gladly disagree with. I admire and respect your opinions and thought. This exchange makes me rethink some of my own opinions. I appreciate that you have taken the time to do so.

  • Foo April 12, 2011, 11:18 pm

    I just had an A-Ha! moment. I just posted that Alison was talking in terms of simple causality whereas I was trying to describe a more nuanced and complicated model with many factors weighing in favor or oppostion to an outcome. In the end I am incorrect. Factors, influences and conditions cannot be added up to some critical point at which the outcome is inevitable. We are endowed with agency, one of God’s greatest gifts. Through agency we can overcome all the factors and influences the adversary may throw at us. In spite of the weight of everything that persuades us to do evil, we can do good instead. I think that is what you are getting at.

    You are right, there is only one causal factor in this. I choose to or I choose not to. God will not excuse sin because the environment and conditions were ripe for it. There is no excuse for sin, only a remedy.

    So there you have it Alison. You are right. I was wrong. No sarcasam, or mocking or anything.

    But I still believe you have a stewardship for your spouse. If you create conditions ripe for sin you will be held accountable, not for your spouse’s sin, but for your own poor stewardship (which may be the more difficult sin to abandon).

  • Alison Moore Smith April 13, 2011, 12:55 am

    Foo, my friend, I will not gloat. ;)

    This is exactly what I was trying to say. You said it very well.

    On your last paragraph, I think that’s key. We are all responsible for our OWN choices. Certainly choosing to ignore our spouses needs and/or desires is one of those choices.
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  • jennycherie April 13, 2011, 4:09 am

    ¡¡Applause!!

    And I agree, I do believe we are accountable for how we treat our spouses!
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  • Foo April 13, 2011, 11:56 pm

    Alison,
    Further perusal of the postings here led me to these couple of sentences you wrote about modesty and the young women of the church.

    “Is it right for a boy who is truly attempting to prepare for a mission to have to pass the sacrament to a girl whose cleavage is hanging out at him and whose skirt is riding up to her waist?
    and
    I’d at very least like the Young Men of the church to be strongly challenged to encourage and support modesty in the Young Women.”

    This is a very different approach, similar to the model I was using earlier. You seem to be advocating passing responsibility for the young man’s thoughts on to the immodestly dressed young woman. In the second sentence you are staking the success of getting young women to dress modestly on the support and encouragement of young men. You’ve made a believer of me (or at least helped me clear up what I already really believed) so I wonder if and how you bring these two seemingly different views into agreement.

    (As for the young man preparing for a mission, this may be good exercise for him. I’m sure he will be exposed to even more bare skin out in the field. He can learn to put into practice the old mission adage that looking once means you are a man, looking twice means you aren’t a missionary.)

  • Alison Moore Smith April 14, 2011, 1:41 am

    Not at all, Foo. It’s simply addressing BOTH issues.

    Girls who let it all hang out aren’t responsible for what the guys think, but they are responsible for letting it all hang out and flaunting it. We are taught over and over a standard of modesty that they are ignoring.

    Young Men who ignore girls who dress modestly and pursue skank aren’t responsible for girls who may start dressing immodestly, but they aren’t supporting the standard we hammer into the girls ad naseum. If that’s really what we value, the boys should be taught explicitly to value it, too.

    My position comes from reinforcing correct behavior to the person being addressed.

    If I’m talking to YOU, I’m not going to talk about how your wife “drove” you to porn. I’m going to talk about how you need to keep your eyes of the nudies and your hand out of your pants. If I’m talking to your wife, I’m not going to talk about how you can’t be trusted, but about how a loving wife should treat her husband.

    Same with teens. The modesty, chastity discussions have almost always been one-sided. And while I do think it’s FAIR to make the environment relatively safe for others, blasting the girls about their responsibilities without giving the guys a standard isn’t reasonable.
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  • Foo April 14, 2011, 5:12 am

    Addressing both issues is what prompted my very first post and I guess in a way you agree with it then. I’m just going to take one of your paragraphs and swap out some terms:

    Wives who ignore husbands who lived the law of chastity and married in the temple and refuse sexual intimacy aren’t responsible for husbands who may start using porn, but they aren’t supporting the standard we hammer into the husbands ad naseum. If that’s really what we value, the wives should be taught explicitly to value it, too.

    I know the example isn’t apples to apples, but maybe it’s apples to… ummm…. what’s closer to an apple than an orange?

    Pornography has been railed at on only one level. Hellfire and brimstone sermons on the pernicious evil that it is. Dire warnings to the bretheren about the damage they will do to their own souls and gut wrenching accounts of the damage they will do to their spouse. Those sermons and talks are needed, especially as porn becomes more and more mainstream and accepted by the rest of the world.

    I suggest that much as the modesty issue can be addressed at more than one point (teaching the young women to dress modestly and teaching the young men to appreciate modesty) the porn issue can be addressed at more than one point as well, and we can do this without “excusing” the bad behavior of the immodest woman or the porn using man.

    I honestly think that much of my wife’s negative attitude towards sexuality and shameful feelings about her own body originate in her experiences with the LDS culture in general and the Young Women’s program in particular. I think the church leadership ought to give some serious consideration to the long term effects of the instruction and scare tactics that are used to get the youth to embrace abstinence. Abstinence is right, I just think we are getting there the wrong way.

  • Alison Moore Smith April 14, 2011, 2:08 pm

    I suggest that much as the modesty issue can be addressed at more than one point (teaching the young women to dress modestly and teaching the young men to appreciate modesty) the porn issue can be addressed at more than one point as well, and we can do this without “excusing” the bad behavior of the immodest woman or the porn using man.

    This may well be true. I’d add that I’m suggesting not just not excusing the behavior of one side based on actions of the other, but not blaming one side for the actions of the other. (Understand, it was standard practice in the church (and elsewhere) in my youth and earlier to explicitly tell YW they had to keep the YM morally clean.)

    What do you propose with regard to teaching LDS women “their side” of the male porn issue?

    Here’s the thing: women dressing immodestly (outside of the sex industry, which adds money to the equation) is hugely related to getting attention from boys. Girls strip. Guys give them attention. Girls dress modestly, they are wall flowers.

    My position is that if we value modesty as a general rule, it can’t just be stressed to YW (as it has been) but must also be stressed to YM.

    Otherwise the idea we are teaching is FALSE. WE don’t really value modesty as a PEOPLE. Instead ADULTS value modesty of the DAUGHTERS. And the Young Men are off with the world ogling the girls strutting in bikinis, valuing nearly naked women.

    The truth is, if most guys were disgusted and turned off by immodesty and only showed interest in the girls who were modest, it would have a HUGE impact on the girls.

    To bring this back to porn, I don’t think it’s statistically valid to say that sex perversion (by LDS standards, including porn) is highly correlated to guys who don’t get “enough” sex from their wives. So what is it you propose that we teach to women as the OTHER SIDE of the porn story?

    As I said, I do think sex needs to be addressed as a great thing, reserved for a particular time/place. (I agree with your last paragraph.) But I don’t see a valid connection between that the porn issue.

    I don’t see any real data that suggests wives turning into sex fiends would make a serious dent in the porn problem.

    Wives who ignore husbands who lived the law of chastity and married in the temple and refuse sexual intimacy aren’t responsible for husbands who may start using porn, but they aren’t supporting the standard we hammer into the husbands ad naseum. If that’s really what we value, the wives should be taught explicitly to value it, too.

    Read this paragraph again. Like I said, this doesn’t make sense to me. While I do think boys appreciating modesty “supports” the girls to whom we teach modesty, I don’t see how putting out more to husbands “supports” the no porn rule.
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  • Alison Moore Smith April 14, 2011, 2:18 pm

    P.S. You also have to deal with this in the context of feminism.

    I think you can appeal to women about the importance of sexual intimacy (specifically to men), but you can’t, IMO, promote the idea that men have “rights” to get what they want from their wives.
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  • Foo April 14, 2011, 11:20 pm

    Sex perversion by LDS standards is any sexual activity, be it mental, visual or tactile, that occurs outside of marriage. We are commanded by God to marry (so much for the sinless Single men), and the sexual feelings we have are designed to lead us to that. The sexual feelings we have are not supposed to disappear once marriage has been achieved. They are supposed to be a strengthening bond in the marriage. So for many of us (mostly men) those sexual feelings persist after the “I do”. When those sexual feelings are refused, rebuffed and reviled within the marriage then I think the temptation to express those feelings outside the marriage grows stronger.

    You said that when modesty is taught to the YW it should also be taught to the YM as well. We should be teaching the YW to practice modesty and teaching the YM to appreciate and value modesty. I agree. On the porn issue, I think we should be teaching men to bridle their sexual feelings and allow them expression only in marriage, and I think we should be teaching women to recognize, value and have sexual feelings in marriage. I said earlier that it wasn’t an apples to apples comparison with the modesty issue, but I think it is closer than you realize, maybe apples to persimmons.

    The use of hyperbole is interesting. I don’t think most husbands want a “sex fiend” for a wife, unless by “fiend” you mean someone who enjoys sex; feels enough sexual desire to want to engage in sexual activity on a regular basis; and occasionally takes the lead. You think having wives feel that way will not make a dent in the porn problem. But you say having boys appreciate and value modesty will make a HUGE dent in the immodesty problem. I really am having a hard time reconciling these opinions with any sort of internal consistency. I think you are creating a double standard along these lines. It is harder for women to dress modestly when men admire women who dress immodestly, but it is not harder for men to stay sexually faithful when women are sexually unresponsive.

    One thing you wrote made me pause, think, and then laugh out loud. “The truth is, if most guys were disgusted and turned off by immodesty…” there would be a precipitous drop in the church’s internal growth rate. I was assuming that immodesty meant “the unclothed human form”. You probably meant something more like “the unclothed human form in an improper context.

  • Foo April 14, 2011, 11:49 pm

    Whoa, you are a feminist and politically conservative?!?! I like it :)

    The notion that men had “marital rights” is a vestige of the same that denied women having sexual feelings. I don’t want to have “marital rights”. The whole “lie back and think of England” school of thought. I’ve had it. It’s no better than porn+masturbation, maybe a sight worse. ugh.

    I’m going to put on my badge and start speaking for men in general. We don’t want “marital rights”. We don’t want sex if it is a chore on your to do list. We don’t want “sex fiends”. Most of us don’t want to have sex with you every day. We do want wives who are sexually interested in us. We do want to feel desired. We do want wives who enjoy sex. We do want wives who enjoy sex enough to participate in it regularly. We do want you to initiate. Let us know you want it to0. We want sexual PARTNERS not playthings. Am I describing a woman outside the realm of reality?

  • Alison Moore Smith April 15, 2011, 12:36 am

    On the porn issue, I think we should be teaching men to bridle their sexual feelings and allow them expression only in marriage, and I think we should be teaching women to recognize, value and have sexual feelings in marriage.

    I agree with everything but the first phrase and the “we.”

    First phrase:
    I don’t think teaching women to “recognize, value, and have sexual feelings in marriage” IS a “porn issue.” It’s a SEX issue, a LOVE issue, a BONDING issue. A valid issue, yes. But not a PORN issue.

    Teaching women as well as men not to indulge in porn is a porn issue. Teaching women that if they don’t have at it regularly, their husbands are going to stray is just blaming women AGAIN for the choices of MEN.

    We:
    If you mean “the church” I don’t think YW lessons should be about enjoying sex. (Note: I don’t think schools should teach it either.)

    “Sex fiend” wasn’t hyperbole. It was to make the point that even someone who is EXTREMELY sexual doesn’t keep their partner from getting into porn. Hugh Hefner anyone?

    You think having wives feel that way will not make a dent in the porn problem. But you say having boys appreciate and value modesty will make a HUGE dent in the immodesty problem. I really am having a hard time reconciling these opinions with any sort of internal consistency.

    Foo, I’ve kind of beaten this horse to death. Listen hard, dear. Ahem.

    Yes, that’s what I say, BECAUSE women dress in large part TO GET approval from men (and others). Men do not get their jollies watching porn TO GET sex from their wives. In fact, they usually HIDE it from their wives.

    I think you are creating a double standard along these lines.

    Not at all.

    I won’t let my girls date guys who have pants that hang down and show their underwear, who dress in tear-away pants, or who wear bow ties without shirts.

    I say the exact same things to women who indulge in porn and masturbation. (And, yes, I’ve known some and, yes, I’ve said it.)
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  • Foo April 15, 2011, 1:17 am

    Teaching women that if they don’t have at it regularly, their husbands are going to stray is just blaming women AGAIN for the choices of MEN.

    Teaching men that if they don’t appreciate modestly dressed women, then women are going to dress immodestly is just blaming men for the choices of women.

    I still see a disconnect in your reason; a double standard that ignores what you don’t understand. I appreciate the time and effort you have put into this exhange of thoughts and ideas. I feel instructed and improved, even if I won’t agree with you.

  • Foo April 15, 2011, 1:18 am

    Tear-away pants… kinda rules out Jimmer huh ;)

  • Alison Moore Smith April 15, 2011, 9:39 am

    I know many women as you describe — on both ends of the spectrum. I was simply qualifying that we do have to be careful in how we approach any such “teaching.”
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  • Alison Moore Smith April 15, 2011, 9:48 am

    Teaching men that if they don’t appreciate modestly dressed women, then women are going to dress immodestly is just blaming men for the choices of women. I still see a disconnect in your reason…

    Maybe because you’re not reading what I actually wrote. I haven’t remotely suggested that we teach YM that if they don’t appreciate modesty women are going to choose to dress immodestly. Because I don’t think the YW’s choices are the responsibility of the YM. (Sound familiar?)

    What I said was that we should teach the YM to APPRECIATE MODESTY. We live in a world were the beach features what would have been considered pornographic a few decades ago. And harder porn is everywhere accessible.

    While we are hammering the girls with COVER UP, COVER UP, COVER UP — in other words “do not compete with the girls who are willing to show it all” — we should ALSO be hammering the boys with, “Modesty is beautiful. Modesty shows character. A modest girl is the kind of girl you want, not one who shares herself with the entire planet.” I other words, “don’t give the girls who have no standards the time of day, they aren’t what you want.”

    I have seen multiple Standards Nights or YW meetings that feature a handful of guys (usually on video) saying that they are more comfortable when their dates are modest, etc. That is a presentation based in the reality that women often dress for the approval of men.

    What I have never seen (although it may have occurred) and NEEDS to occur is actively, explicitly teaching the YM that modesty is something to be ATTRACTED to.
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  • Alison Moore Smith April 15, 2011, 9:51 am

    Only RMs with stationary pants need apply. ;)
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  • x1134x April 18, 2012, 1:32 pm

    A woman won’t have sex with her husband unless he performs new and exciting acts of jumping through flaming hoops, and even then only maybe once a month, then flys off the handle and files for divorce when she finds him viewing porn.

    Only retarded people and people on drugs would blame the PORN in this scenario. Porn hasn’t ruined ONE relationship. They were ALL ruined PRIOR to the porn.

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