Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Step 2: Hope

I've been tempted to look at porn recently. I've thought about it off and on all day. And I suppose that means it's time to recognize that the 12 step program actually extends beyond step 1.

Step 2 focuses on having hope through Jesus Christ. It seems like an appropriate follow-up after all the General Conference talks I heard that reminded me that the Savior is key in dealing with my life's challenges.

But here's the problem: relying on Christ to take away my sins means taking away my sins, not just making my sins okay. I need to actually stay away from the porn, not just feel like I'm doing the best that I can and therefore it's all okay. A friend of mine told me recently when we were discussing porn, "you have to allow yourself the experience of being human." I found that very comforting at the time, but on further reflection, it's the experience of being divine that I want to allow myself.

I'm looking to deny myself of all ungodliness, but I've been looking to do it in the wrong way. Apparently, and this is so hard for me to believe, I'm not strong enough to do it. I can't do it... I can't do it.

I can't do it.

Huh. That's not really a common refrain for a post about overcoming a problem.

And yet, that's the whole point. I have such a hard time letting it go and letting Christ in to deal with this. I don't know why. I've been sitting here staring at the page trying to do the workbook assignment for a long time this evening and I'm just not feeling the peace. I'm fighting it for some reason. I don't want to go pray. I want to go porn. (My immediate reaction is to delete that, or qualify it, or something... but it's true. It's a deep rooted want.)

My trigger response to this situation has been to steel myself for the fight ahead. The fight that will hurt and be miserable and that I'll almost certainly fail as I have every time in the past. I grit my teeth and think, "Nobody's going to control you, make you do the right thing, or get you through this but yourself. It's your battle to fight. Just make it happen."

But that's all wrong. I'm failing because I'm fighting alone. I'm trying to be strong enough, and I'm not strong enough. The Lord's yoke is easy and His burden is light. I don't have to do it alone. Why am I such a spiritual delinquint? Why can't I actually get myself to understand and believe this? To really feel it?

I've got to let go, and I don't know how. I need to avoid touching evil gifts. I need hope.

We should not underestimate or overlook the power of the Lord’s tender mercies. The simpleness, the sweetness, and the constancy of the tender mercies of the Lord will do much to fortify and protect us in the troubled times in which we do now and will yet live. When words cannot provide the solace we need or express the joy we feel, when it is simply futile to attempt to explain that which is unexplainable, when logic and reason cannot yield adequate understanding about the injustices and inequities of life, when mortal experience and evaluation are insufficient to produce a desired outcome, and when it seems that perhaps we are so totally alone, truly we are blessed by the tender mercies of the Lord and made mighty even unto the power of deliverance (see 1 Nephi 1:20).
Elder David A. Bednar

.

16 comments:

Kengo Biddles said...

I think there are times that we all would rather porn than pray, -L-, but I'm glad you've realized that you can't do this by yourself. If you need to talk to get yourself away from the situation, drop me a line. I'll be up for the next ... 6 hours probably, and I'll be awake again after about 9 from now, so don't hesitate. I think we're all here to support one another through our trials.

I'm awed by you, and pray for your best and happiness!

santorio said...

we talk about being more 'horny' on some days, more tempted to go to porn or fantasies or whatever, as if we are subject to a climate change over which we have no control. but on those rare occasions when i am able to step back, i see that my 'temptations' reflect not external forces but my own frustrations, petty arguments with family or coworkers, or just laziness. if my mind is engaged in a good cause, i am less likely to take the low road. granted that there will always be tedious work assignments, ornery clients, and ungrateful family members--all the more reason to focus on solutions than to escape to porn.

Unusual said...

-L- I hope you got through the night, and I wish I had been around for you to contact me last night. I admire your honesty so much, and the fact that you're being honest with yourself is and will be a huge advantage to you in eventually overcoming the porn trial for good. I believe that 100%.

John said...

"you have to allow yourself the experience of being human." I found that very comforting at the time, but on further reflection, it's the experience of being divine that I want to allow myself.

EXACTLY.

I've been thinking a lot about this... it's obviously very close to home in my current struggle to "not call him"... we are all trying NOT to do something, rather than "giving in". Some people have turned reality on its head to say that "being our true selves" is freedom. This is what frustrated me about Chris' call to "do what Jim McGreevey did." What if everyone gave in to everything they wanted to do or be inside? Everything they "felt" was them... their natural desires and dispositions. I never understood this train of thought. Have you ever heard the confession of a pedofile? They say the same things. They've been fighting it all their lives and finally they gave in and "accepted the gift of their creation." Of course homosexuality is consensual and therefore cannot be compared except for the fact that both are "natural" desires. How can anyone advocate that we accept what we "want" to be inside? Isn't that what separates us from the animal... the innate desire and ability to control ourselves? To NOT act on every whim and WANT within? I know this sounds extremely conservative but let's be honest. Think about the millions of people everyday that are FIGHTING themselves on different levels to NOT accept parts of themselves in some way... because none of us have been created perfectly so we all have things inside us that we cannot indulge. I will not even begin to name them because any comparison here (like the one I just made above) will IGNITE the fury of every homosexual on the planet. We hate being "compared," I know. But you know what the comparisons are. Our struggles as homosexuals sound romantic and we easily hide behind the word "love" but I wonder sometimes if we aren't separating ourselves to rationalize our decisions. I'm not judging or advocating anything here... just thinking outloud. Maybe I'll do a post on my own blog about this. Thanks for getting me started :-).

Chris (hurricane) said...

john wrote: What if everyone gave in to everything they wanted to do or be inside? Everything they "felt" was them... their natural desires and dispositions.

As long as you pathologize homosexuality, there really is no answer to this question that I think you will find persuasive.

Kengo Biddles said...

Pathologize?

I'm not trying to bait you in this comment, Chris. I understand your position, and why you could feel John was "pathologizing" homosexuality, but I _really_ don't agree with you. Putting aside the viewpoint of the LDS church, his argument is strong, even from a sociological standpoint.

John's stating that we as human beings can't just give in to every desire and whim no matter how strong. It's this self-restraint that maintains the fabric of society. If everyone did what they felt to be their "true nature" we'd see the end of society as we know it as people raped, stole, murdered their way across the land. If there is no standard, no law, no commandment, then all one has is anarchy. Humanity can't give into your "id" every time one feels like doing something and hope to maintain some semblance of civility. How can one say something is right or wrong, good or bad, if everything's fair game? Laissez-faire doesn't work.

People may wish to salve their guilt over their choices in life by saying that others are vilifying them, but is that the case? When I run a red-light or cheat on my taxes, or cheat on my wife, how dare I say that I'm being vilified when it was me, not them that violated the accepted social norm. We live in a society where we are bound by a "Social Contract" and those that break the contract are dealt with, for the greater good. If we were to allow anyone, whenever they felt like it to break the Contract, do you think people's "innate goodness" would somehow keep our civilized life ambling along?

Look at Iraq. Look at Afghanistan. Look at Darfur. Look at any war-torn area of the world, and tell me that people's innate goodness wins out.

Kengo Biddles said...

that should say it's id...sorry for the typo.

Chris said...

kengo:

Show me where I have suggested that "anything goes" or that we should all give in to every impulse and then we can have a conversation.

This conversation really is about the morality of homosexuality. My view is that homosexuality, like heterosexuality, is morally neutral. Promiscuity, infidelity, dishonesty--these things are immoral in any context. Monogamy, commitment, transparency--these things are moral in any context.

Scot said...

[Tag]. We’ve both judged, John, and aren’t seeing eye-to-eye. Thus the above comes across as near why it’s wrong to say southpaws should give in to the compulsion to write with their left hand. Just like pedophilia, it’s giving into to “'natural' desires”. No wonder the origins of the word ‘sinister':-).

Now, to me, when one wants to give in to cheating, or sex that spreads disease, or (you had to go there?) sex with a child, that’s when relations become wrong, gay or not, just as forging a check is wrong, be it done with the left or right hand.

” How can anyone advocate that we accept what we "want" to be inside?… To NOT act on every whim and WANT within?”

I’d not so advocate; it’s pointless, as that’s simply how people work (though “acting on a whim” is typically a pejorative for the instances when one judges :-) another to have acted carelessly).

You too are giving in to what you want, and want to be inside, right? You’ve described it in detail. You want your family. You want them to be happy, and a good deal of what they want, and that is a very natural desire, right? Don’t you also want to please the LDS God and what comes with that, and so on? If not for experiencing those wants, you’d have picked other choices. Sure, to satisfy some wants people sacrifice conflicting wants, and I think it’s a fine choice in your position, but it’s what we all do, otherwise we could make no non-random decision.

That’s actually the whole point of law; we know we can control people’s will by giving them other, stronger wants, such as the want to keep out of prison and so on.

Kengo Biddles said...

"Promiscuity, infidelity, dishonesty--these things are immoral in any context. Monogamy, commitment, transparency--these things are moral in any context."

Outside of the bounds of our Western morality these things can easily be viewed as moral or immoral, depending on the society one lives in. So let's throw out our moral views that obviously differ, and look at the numbers of it.

If we are to believe the poll from the UK (12 000 people) only 3% of the population are gay or SGA-tendencied.

My point is that you and any others living what you feel to be "natural", or an active homosexual lifestyle are a statistical abberation by the sheer volume of the numbers of human population, again, leaving the morality and stigmas of most judeo-christian faiths to the side.

I never said that you were asking for a free-for-all. What I am saying is that any group in society that is "marginalized" because they are a statistical minority, but are equal, percentage-wise with homosexuals should be "accepted" in the main-stream. Other such groups for fairness' sake should be declared "morally neutral", thus.

What honestly needs to happen is for you to live your life, feel good about your choice and know that I accept your agency. Do the same for me. I don't need you to tell me I'm wrong for staying in my marriage with Wifey and our 1.2 kids despite my feelings of attraction. I've already got Oprah telling me I should abandon her and my children for my "natural tendencies," any extra is over-kill.

Let's agree that we both vociferously disagree and leave this one lie, because this is fast escalating.

Sorry for the outlash, -L-; you can delete this post if you wish.

Chris, I hope you have a full and happy life, and that your personal life is fulfilling with whatever goals and strictures you've established for yourself (meaning a long-term relationship if that's what you want, or a number of deep relationships that wax and wane over time). You've made the choice for yourself, just as I've made my choice. I hope you live a long and fulfilling life. Our paths will differ, but I do hope you have happiness in this life, because as we all know, there's more than enough unhappiness to go around.

Chris said...

kengo:

What I am saying is that any group in society that is "marginalized" because they are a statistical minority, but are equal, percentage-wise with homosexuals should be "accepted" in the main-stream.

I don't know how you get here based on anything I've said. It has nothing to do with numbers. But if you can't see that homosexuals are capable of living perfectly acceptable and moral lives as homosexuals -- lives of commitment, faithfulness, honesty, integrity, fulfillment -- then we are at an impasse.

I don't need you to tell me I'm wrong for staying in my marriage with Wifey and our 1.2 kids despite my feelings of attraction.

I never have. But I'm sick of hearing about the immorality of homosexuality and living life as a homosexual--particularly when it comes from other homosexuals.

I've already got Oprah telling me I should abandon her and my children for my "natural tendencies," any extra is over-kill.

Good lord. Don't abandon your children, whatever choices you make in your life. Being a parent is too precious an experience.
_____

Brethren, my presence here is officially no longer productive--for you or for me. All the best.

Kengo Biddles said...

Hey -L-, please delete my posts after the first one in this thread; they are inflammatory, incdendiary and otherwise trollish.

In short, I'm an @$$hat.

Chris, I'm sorry. My apologies for my juvenile behavior.

-L- said...

I never know whether and when to intervene when the feelings run hot on these threads. Kengo, you've already apologized, so I would say deleting your messages would just confuse how the discussion played out.

I think each person's intentions to figure out this issue on so many levels should be tolerated even when the dialog includes mistakes and retractions. That may involve not being offended even when there are misunderstandings and mistakes.

Please, Chris and Kengo, don't feel too frustrated to engage in future discussions.

Chris said...

Seriously, I can't do this anymore.

For awhile, engaging in discussions on gay married Mormon blogs was an important thing for me to do. It helped me work through a lot of issues.

But now it's counter productive. I've moved well past the LDS position on homosexuality (and many other things), and I'm not going to look back. I'm on the verge of being bitter, and that helps no one.

John said...

Sorry it got so heated while I was away. But like L said, this is a forum to help each of us "figure things out." I have been asking myself so many questions the last few years, it is relieving to be able to ask them here to other homosexuals, Mormon or otherwise, and get their perspective.

If I only wanted my own perspective I wouldn't be blogging in the first place.

I'm sorry if it sounds judgemental. I don't know how else to ask it. I'm not accusing anyone. I've been on both sides.

Scot, I like what you've said & how you've said it. Thank you.

I am not trying to argue that the homosexual lifestyle is morally wrong or right - obviously many of us differ in that light and cannot be persuaded otherwise. I can honestly say that the ONLY reason I am not with a man RIGHT NOW is because I believe in God's plan for me. I believe "not giving in" is part of building my own self-discipline, developing my own divine character. Without that I would be in LONDON this very instant.

So that part is quite simple.

My observation (or curiosity perhaps) above, however, was regarding a recurring theme that I find many people in many different situations use to explain their own "individual" choices. The theme says that we should embrace "who we are inside" or risk driving ourselves and our loved ones mad with resentment and "closeted" frustration. It is the perfect "out" clause. And it's usually responsibility that we're using this theme to get "out" of. This is not just about homosexuality. I see this theme used in a variety of ways and I wonder if it is actually the truth or rather a forced rationalization we use to defend ourselves and our motives. That sounds judgemental... perhaps it is because I feel like McGreevey is SCREAMING it.

Anyhow, I respect you. Thanks for your comment.

johngalt said...

For some reason I was logged in as John that day. Sorry.