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Dear Gramps,

My husband has recently confessed to our bishop and to myself that has cheated on me both physically and through internet porn.(His ex-fiancee is now attending our ward and he was unhappy with the way the bishop treated him when he confessed so we no longer go to church, and I don’t know where else to turn to for advice). I told my husband that I forgave him and trusted him immediately after he confessed. However, I feel that I spoke too soon. I am in the process of forgiving, but the trusting is coming at a much slower pace. We work different shifts so I constantly wonder what he is up to. Is it wrong for me to put spyware and stuff on our computer to track what he views and to ask him to change his phone number and let me check his phone periodically? If I have forgiven him why do I still have a need to ask him to do these things? I remember the story you told about the dirty shoes and how the dirt should have been thrown away never to be looked at again when forgiveness has occurred. Should I never bring up the infidelity now that I told him that I forgive him and trust him? I really don’t want to cause him any more pain or punish him by bringing it up. I just need some way to move on and find closure. I want to make this marriage work, but I don’t know how to move past the stage I am at. Thanks for all of your help.

Anon

 

Answer

 

Dear Anon,

That’s quite a story! Let’s see if we can sort it out. First item–your husband doesn’t like the way the bishop treated him when he confessed to adultery and pornography, so both of you have quit going to church. If your husband doesn’t like the way the bishop treated him for confessing to this horrible, unconscionable behavior, he undoubtedly has not repented from what he confessed to. My question is, why did you quit going to church because of your husband’s judgment of the authorities who preside over him? It looks like you support him in everything he does!

Now about the story of the dirty shoes. The dirt in that story was the dirt of not forgiving one’s self after repentance. It had nothing to do with the forgiveness of others. Nevertheless, we should be absolutely forgiving of others. The scriptures tell us—

Wherefore, I say unto you, that ye ought to forgive one another; for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin.

 

I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men. (D&C 64:9-10)

But if I were to forgive a person who had just stolen from me, believe me, I would surely keep my hand on my wallet when he was around, until I was sure that he was no longer the person that he used to be. Forgiveness does not imply implicit trust in the wrongdoer who has been forgiven. It means that we do not hold what he has done against him any more.

Now, should you tap your husband’s phone and put surveillance equipment in his office? Well, you have surely demonstrated that you don’t trust him–in other words, you don’t believe that he has repented. From what you have said above, I don’t think that the bishop believes it either. Until you can feel that he has repented–and that repentance would surely involve acceptance on his part of the authorities with jurisdiction over him, and a palpable sense of contrition for what he had done, and not only a one-time confession to you, but a sincere desire to win back your trust by being open with all his actions and acting circumspectly in all ways. Therefore, I don’t think that you need any surveillance equipment. I think that you need to live the most righteous life of which you are capable, to be the example of the person that he ought to be.

 

Gramps

 

 

 

 

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