Struggling with Pornography, Who Should I Tell?

Question: “I am a young woman; I am about to become a laurel and I am addicted to pornography, my problem is not only that but it is pictures of women, I don’t find myself attracted to women but I just cant stop looking at it. I want to talk to my bishop about it but he always praises me for being such a righteous young women and I know I just cant talk to him yet. I want to ask my parents to help me see a therapist but I dont know how to ask. This addiction is causing so much regret and problems for me. I don’t want to lie anymore but if I tell the truth my life will never be the same and I don’t want to lose my friends and family. Can I repent without telling someone I know or telling anyone at all?”

Answer: I want to applaud your courage in writing in with your question. I first want to say that you can get help; you can and will heal. The first step to stopping the addiction is breaking the silence, speaking out. From your post I can tell that you are experiencing two things that most individuals caught in dependency or addiction, these are shame and guilt. Guilt is an emotion that influences us to feel bad for what we have done. Shame is a step beyond that, it influences one to feel that they are bad, flawed, or unforgivable for their actions or thoughts. I want you to know that you can be forgiven and can move beyond the pornography. It must be so difficult to feel that you can’t talk to anyone about the pornography. It is normal at your age to be curious about the body, both women’s and men’s bodies. It is also just as normal to want to explore and understand the nature of our bodies and how they work; you are completely normal in this. The difficulty with pornography is that it distorts the senses and warps perception. Many at your age venture in out of curiosity and then find themselves stimulated and even more curious resulting in secretive addiction they don’t feel they can stop. I’ve worked with numerous young men that also get caught in the web of pornography. The pornography is more than naked bodies, it is created by experts that spend millions to stimulate and draw their viewers in and eventually addict you. Your verbiage in your post indicates that they are ‘hooking’ you as you stated “I just can’t stop looking at it”. See the video below; web developers doctor up and alter images to ‘hook’ and create a reality that is not even real with men and women.

It must be difficult to hear your Bishop praise you for being so good when inside you know that you have done otherwise. I want you to know that you can come to him. What you tell your Bishop is confidential, meaning that he does not tell your parents etc. I suggest you speak to him, book an appointment and then open up and share with him what has happened. He can help you, he is the Lord’s shepherd to guide you. You mentioned that you might lose your family and friends if you come out with this. That thought is really common, that your world will crash down if you reveal the truth in an attempt to begin to heal.  Satan prompts this lie daily to those with pornography problems, that is why they stay stuck, they feel if they open and and get help that they will be rejected by those they love.  This is a great lie and could not be farther from the truth. It is in the getting help and opening up that you heal. Repentance will take your speaking with your Bishop and going to the Lord. You are not alone. I work with teens and adults every week, many of whom are dealing with the same problem. I have seen them work, pray, and stop pornography and heal. It takes help from professionals and most importantly your work with the Lord. Typically those I have worked with that are involved in pornography do not lose their membership and are not disfellowshipped. (Men and women that are temple endowed and hold the priesthood complicate the picture and can be disfellowshipped etc. due to the covenants they have made.) In your case, your Bishop will visit with you about the history and severity of the problem and work with you. Don’t hold back from talking with him due to fear of your membership. Remember, his job is to keep sheep in the fold, not push them out; he will hear, listen, and help you.

I know the fear, guilt, and shame must be overwhelming. I also know that you want to heal. In your post you mentioned wanting to talk to a therapist and not knowing how to talk to your parents about getting a therapist. Drop me an email, my email can be found here and I can give you more specifics on how to visit with your Bishop and parents about the issue.  Peace and healing are possible!

I have provided a list of links of articles that I feel can help you heal.
Is Pornography That Harmful? (Recommended)
Breaking the Chains of Pornography – LDS Ensign
Leaving Pornography Behind – LDS Ensign (Recommended)

Get a longer list of articles from the LDS Church.

One Response to 'Struggling with Pornography, Who Should I Tell?'

  1. FeedTheRightWolf says:

    I also admire your courage. I have suffered from same addiction, and the longer you keep it in the dark the worse it will get. Only when I brought my addiction in the light of the day I began to truly recover.

    Best of luck to you!