For a long time I’ve struggled with a pornography addiction. I first started using it when I was as young as 11. I used to view it a lot, but I hardly do anymore (I wish I didn’t look at it at all anymore). I turned 17 this year, and I know I need to talk to my bishop but I’m terrified. I hope to go on a mission once I turn 19, and I keep saying I’ll talk to my bishop by the time I’m 18. I know I shouldn’t put it off, but I’m scared. Any advice?
First of all, I would like to thank you for being able to verbalize your feelings and struggles by asking this question. Know my son (and I will talk to you as if you were my own son), that you are not alone in struggling and thus, fighting a modern drug.
My heart breaks for you and for the tenderness of your youth in having to deal with this plague. Nevertheless, I know this is something you are not the only one who’s dealing with it.
There are a large number of resources that will help you deal with the management of a pornography addiction. I know there are many professionals who do not think this is an addiction and I am not sharing this as a doctor or psychologist, however, I have counseled with many people who were dealing with this and have advised them that the first thing they need to do is to stop “beating” themselves up (self judgment) and to accept they need help (recognized they are not powerful enough to do it all on their own) from upon high.
You do have righteous desires and going on a mission is one of the greatest endeavors you will ever embark on. Missionary service is one way to maintain your mind occupied but I do strongly agree, you must deal with this BEFORE you leave on your mission.
Please, do counsel with your Bishop. He is endowed with priesthood power to discern your needs and how to prepare yourself for not only a mission, but for the rest pf your life.
Once you come back from your mission, you’ll be busy with school/job/training and hopefully, with dating and meeting your future/potential celestial partner. You will be greatly rewarded with a worthy young woman whom will have the same expectations of you, as you do of her. Please, ensure you do everything in your power to heal from this NOW. DO NOT wait.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has published a great resource to help those struggling with pornography, fight it and overcome it.
In part, this is something that gives me hope:
A six week online course about prevention and treatment of pornography addiction. The course provides education for teens who live in an over sexualized environment. It also addresses parent’s greatest concerns of how to safeguard their children from pornography, how to know if your child has a problem, how to approach the topic and what to do if your child is struggling with pornography addiction.
I highly recommend you and your parents take a look at this resource and together, work towards recovery and wholeness.
I know you had mentioned you’re sacred and understandably so. I didn’t address it for one reason: you are strong and know what to do as you had mentioned you’ll be planning on hoping when you’re 19.
If I may suggest, and this may not be popular for your bishop, parents, or some reading this right now: if you need until you’re 20, 21 or even 22, please do wait until you are healed. I personally know of someone who was struggling with pornography and even the law of chastity and didn’t go on his mission until he was 23. He had dealt with this disease and served with so much power and humility having gone through this that he is now a great leader in the Church because he properly addressed his shortcomings at such an early age. Now, do not get me wrong, I am not saying you need to wait that long, but, if you have to postpone until you are ready, and if that takes longer than most people would recommend, know that you’re doing it for yourself and the Lord, not them.
I will end by sharing one of my most favorite scriptures and one that gives me, both, guidance and hope in reaching my eternal reward:
“And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it.” Mosiah 2:41