Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Reopened Wound

I thought I was doing ok.  I thought I was cruising and loving life.  Then I went to Relief Society.  Let me explain.  I've been working in the nursery or in primary or Young Womens for years-- I don't get to go Relief Society too often.  And I don't always miss it.

Recently is was my week to go to Relief Society instead of helping in the nursery.  I'll admit, I wasn't thrilled to begin with.  (I love singing, dancing, playing, teaching and LOVING the beautiful children in our nursery-- it is a happy, joyous, beautiful place.)  So my attitude wasn't in the perfect place, but I was where I was supposed to be.  At church, in Releif Society.

Our teacher taught about the need to love God more than the world.  She shared an anectdote about how she had learned recently that her love of decorating her house had kept her from loving God fully.  My heart burned;  is this really what we believe loving the world is.  Loving decorating or fashion?

But my heart hurt.  My soul ached.  I wanted to scream out to the room.  YOU HAVE NO CLUE!!!  Loving the world is believing and living the lies Satan teaches.  The lie that wealth is the end all and be all power.  That power is all you need to be happy.   That selfishness is the key to lasing happiness.  That our happiness and our identity is defined by our sexual relationships.  That orgasm makes everything better.  That the female body is an instrument of power through her sexuality.  That life is better when sex is better.

I hurt because I felt no one in the room could feel my pain or see the real elephants in the room-- the real issues we as women, mothers and grandmothers face.  Living in a world full of lies that prostitute the beauty of human life and sexuality.  Trying to teach our families to live in love when the world teaches us to live a life of self interest. Centering our family activities on the Lord instead of entertainment.

The teacher didn't take comments so I held my breath and walked out after the lesson with a false smile and went to home to my bed and cried.

I realize now that I am still healing.  My experience with sexual addiction colors and taints my world.  (I have learned that the majority of the men I know have struggled with sex addictions-- all  5 of my brothers , a brother in law, father in law, a grandfather and my spouse-- and those are just the men I know about.)  No wonder I feel that sex addiction, healing, and learning is a HUGE concern.  No wonder I want to teach and learn and practice selfless love.  No wonder I want to share and teach and embrace the joy of repentance.

Today I will embrace and love myself-- forgive myself for being so negative about Relief Society-- and give myself some time to feel, to hurt, to mourn and to return to loving.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

I Am the Captain of My Soul

One of my constant struggles is recognizing who I am. I have spent many years telling myself I was a sinner, I was no good, or that people would be appalled if they saw who I really was.

It turns out that I was the one who did not see who I really was and who I really am. I am a son of God who has been blessed with many talents and abilities that can be used to benefit those around me.

I have also been granted the ability to make choices. I have used this ability in the past to make choices that have harmed myself and others, but I am now making choices that are beginning to heal that harm. I am learning that my choices are mine to make again each moment of my life. I am not defined by the choices I have made in the past, I am defined by the choices I am making right now.

I came across a poem a few weeks ago that speaks to this point. I had heard pieces of it before, but I had never heard the entire poem before.

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

-"Invictus" William Ernest Henley

I am coming out of the blackness of the night. I may be bloodied. I have shed and caused many tears. There have been and may yet be consequences based on what I have done, but I will face them without fear. My head will continue to be unbowed. I am the captain of my soul because I am a son of God.

Monday, October 7, 2013

"Such As Is Common To Man" and Women

I have been studying the lives of the women in the bible as part of my scripture study.  I wanted to know who those women were, what they experienced and how they lived lives of faith.  I found a list on a Christian website of ALL 180+ women listed (mentioned) in the Bible- Old and New Testament.  I started with the A's: Abigail, Anna and 25 more women I had never heard of.  Some women were mentioned only in passing, yet their stories pierced my heart.

I adored the account of Abishag and her tender watchcare of the elderly King David (1Kings 1-2).  The scriptures say she "cherished" the king while Bathsheba came to see David to secure the kingdom for her son Solomon.

Abiah's life gives balm to every widow's heart (1 Chronicles 2:24).  Abiah gave birth to Hezron's son after his death.  Yet she carried on.

My heart mourned with Abihail, niece of king David,  one of Rehoboam's  18 wives and 60 concubines (2Chronicles 11:18-19).  Yet I found peace knowing that sexual addiction has haunted the human family for centuries.

As I have read and pondered the lives of these women in the Bible (I'm just in the B's), I have redescovered the great importance of Paul's words in his letter to the Corinthians, (my changes in italics)

There hath no trial or problem taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tried above that ye are able; but will with the problem also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. (1Corrinthians 10:13)
God truly is faithful and will provide tender watchcare over his daughters as they grow and live and love.

Friday, October 4, 2013

My Power Trip

I read an article recently about the devastating effects of porn on the rising generation's view of sexuality and intimacy.  I was appalled at how the teens surveyed responded and how they viewed such a special moment.  I thought long and hard about the consequences our daughters will face in a time when most men have been exposed to degrading material.  How will they cope?  How will they protect the sacredness of sexuality?  How can we protect them, teach them and help them set a standard without scarring them for life?

Then the reality of my situation hit me square in the face.  I have been a victim of and a proponent of porn's propaganda:  women are objects to be lusted after, desired and conquered.

I have played the part, and even embraced the power that being objectified brought into my relationship with Edmond.  He wanted me.  I had power.  I played into his lusting because his lust feed my ego.  It was how I felt valued, wanted and special.  I knew I was loved, because Edmond loved lusted after my body.  I knew how to dress, act, behave, you name it, to get the reaction/action I wanted.  It worked; I worked it.

How unhealthy was that?  But I still find myself there.  Wanting to be wanted.  In a moment that should be just about love, I find myself wanting to be the piece of meat that gets the attention.  Craving that power that comes with controlling another person and being the object of their lust.  Edmond's addiction played into my weakness-- power + control = fun.

 How do I reclaim the joy of intimacy, when I miss the attention lust gave me?  It is time for my own addiction recovery process.

Step one....

Let Us Cheerfully Do All Things

Earlier this week, I read this blog post. As I read it, something didn't sit well with me. Not because she is wrong, but because she is right. Why is it that there are so few men leading in the fight against the evils of pornography? I started to think about this and what my role in this fight should be.

Then, yesterday morning, in my scripture study, I read Doctrine and Covenants 123. This section is part of a letter written by Joseph Smith to the saints while he was imprisoned in Liberty Jail. He is giving the saints instructions on what their duty is in relation to those who have been persecuting them.

As I was reading, these verses seemed to me to be as much about pornography as they are about the persecutions the saints suffered in Missouri:
8 It is an iron yoke, it is a strong band; they are the very handcuffs, and chains, and shackles, and fetters of hell.
 9 Therefore it is an imperative duty that we owe, not only to our own wives and children, but to the widows and fatherless, whose husbands and fathers have been murdered under its iron hand;
 10 Which dark and blackening deeds are enough to make hell itself shudder, and to stand aghast and pale, and the hands of the very devil to tremble and palsy.
While there may not be many who have been actually murdered through the scourge of pornography, there are many who have been torn from their wives and children because they were not able to overcome the urges and enticing of the addiction. Those wives and children are as much widows and fatherless as if the men were actually murdered.

The saints were urged to collect and publish reports of the abuses they suffered. I believe the blogs of those who are addicted and those who are suffering from the addictions of loved ones are a step in this direction. I hope that this blog is also a step in publishing the abuses of pornography to the world. I also hope this blog is a beacon to those who are looking for healing to know that it is available through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

I believe there is more to be done though. I am not sure what that is at this point, but I am making it a matter of prayerful study to learn what I can do to aid in the battle. I also ask you, the readers, to give me suggestions on what you think needs to be done.

I will leave today with the closing verse from section 123:
17 Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.