Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Thankful for My Addiction?

In a recent group meeting we were talking about the daily struggle with sexual addiction. Our facilitator brought up Captain Moroni and how "his heart did glory in ... resisting temptation" (Alma 48:16). We went on to talk about finding glory in our struggles and tribulations. As we were discussing these things, the following story came back to my mind:

“A teacher, conducting a class, said it was unwise ever to attempt, even to permit them [the Martin handcart company] to come across the plains under such conditions.
“[According to a class member,] some sharp criticism of the Church and its leaders was being indulged in for permitting any company of converts to venture across the plains with no more supplies or protection than a handcart caravan afforded.
“An old man in the corner … sat silent and listened as long as he could stand it, then he arose and said things that no person who heard him will ever forget. His face was white with emotion, yet he spoke calmly, deliberately, but with great earnestness and sincerity.
“In substance [he] said, ‘I ask you to stop this criticism. You are discussing a matter you know nothing about. Cold historic facts mean nothing here, for they give no proper interpretation of the questions involved. Mistake to send the Handcart Company out so late in the season? Yes. But I was in that company and my wife was in it and Sister Nellie Unthank whom you have cited was there, too. We suffered beyond anything you can imagine and many died of exposure and starvation, but did you ever hear a survivor of that company utter a word of criticism? Not one of that company ever apostatized or left the Church, because everyone of us came through with the absolute knowledge that God lives for we became acquainted with him in our extremities.
“‘I have pulled my handcart when I was so weak and weary from illness and lack of food that I could hardly put one foot ahead of the other. I have looked ahead and seen a patch of sand or a hill slope and I have said, I can go only that far and there I must give up, for I cannot pull the load through it.’” He continues: “‘I have gone on to that sand and when I reached it, the cart began pushing me. I have looked back many times to see who was pushing my cart, but my eyes saw no one. I knew then that the angels of God were there.
“‘Was I sorry that I chose to come by handcart? No. Neither then nor any minute of my life since. The price we paid to become acquainted with God was a privilege to pay, and I am thankful that I was privileged to come in the Martin Handcart Company.’”
This story was quoted by Elder James E. Faust in his talk "The Refiner's Fire" from the April 1979 General Conference (by the way, the entire talk is worth reading).

I have been thinking more about this the past several days. I have been looking at how this relates to my journey in recovery from sexual addiction. Was it a mistake for me to indulge in my addiction? YES, it was. Would I choose again to myself and my family through the devastation caused by my actions? NO, I would not.

With that being said, this addiction is something that requires me to humble myself and trust in the Lord. Those are things I am not very good at on my own. In fact, I am really terrible at them. This journey of recovery is the price I am paying to become acquainted with God, and for that, I am thankful.


  1. We can grateful in the trial and not necessarily for the addiction. This is how I've been feeling lately. Thank you for expressing it so beautifully. God truly can turn our darkest moments into light.

  2. i've had this thought before, and thought about it again today as i was writing in my journal. i don't know if i'm to the point where i'm able to "feel" grateful for what i'm struggling through, but i'm at least starting to recognize and appreciate the opportunities for growth.
    where other people might go days, months, years and not necessarily feel a lull in spirituality as they might slack in their obedience, this addiction provides me with an almost instant feedback as to how well i'm submitting my will to His and is a daily, hourly, moment to moment opportunity to seek Him.