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Question

 

Gramps,

I have indulged in pornography in the past (mainly as a teenager), and have since ceased from it and repented. Now, as a young adult, I feel that I shouldn’t date other LDS singles because of my past.  I think a lot of young LDS women would write me off because of my past pornography usage. And who could blame them? They deserve better.

Steve

 

Answer

 

Dear Steve,

Your message breaks my heart. It’s not really a question, but I can feel the heartbreak and regret in your words. I can also hear that you’ve  repented, which is a crucial step to forgiveness and getting yourself right with our Heavenly Father.  No one will argue that porn is a good thing and we all agree the damage it can cause. Judging from the tone of your message I am 100% confident that you also know the damage it can cause and have more than learned your lesson. So we don’t need to remind you of the damages that porn habits can cause.

Instead, I want to remind you of the miracle of forgiveness. Part of forgiveness is forgiving yourself and moving on. There are dozens of examples of sinners committing horrible acts and deeds and yet they find peace and forgiveness through the atonement-and what is more, they don’t beat themselves for years after they’ve turned away from their sinful past. Look at Paul in the bible. He murdered Christians and was there for the stoning of Stephen. Yet our Heavenly Father still saw good in him and after repenting he became one of the greatest Christian evangelists of all time. Interestingly enough, when I read the New Testament I rarely see Paul beat himself up for his past sins. Instead, he focuses more on the future and the awesome power of repentance and forgiveness.

I’m going to let you in on something, every person alive, both men and women do sinful things that need forgiveness. It’s just a matter of degree. For all you know there is a young woman out there struggling with feelings of inferiority for things she has done. It is my fervent prayer that she, like you, sees the inner beauty inside that she possesses and is able to forgive herself.  Like I mentioned, I’m fairly confident that you have completed the path to repentance and no longer need to dwell on what you did. Instead, you need to focus on forgiving yourself and moving on. Quite frankly, a woman who views you as “unworthy” to marry is just as bad as a man who views a woman who has struggled with sin in her past as “unworthy”. Everyone in this world is worthy of HIs love and forgiveness, including people who have fallen short in their behavior.

You are in our prayers,

 

Gramps

 

 

 

 

 

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