According to Webster's Dictionary, the word 'redeem' means "to free from the consequences of sin." Although, it was not my sin, I still desperately need to be freed of the consequences.

"Redeemed women of God have tender merciful hearts, backbones of steel, and hands that are prepared for the fight." - Staci Elderidge

"Even though my heart has been broken at times, I want to retain a tender merciful heart- the kind of heart that is vulnerable, open to all emotions, and engaged in honest, intimate relationships. If my heart is hardened, no matter the cause, I cannot live to my fullest potential.

By setting and holding emotional, physical and spiritual boundaries and standing up with courageous determination to what I know to be right, I continue to forge my backbone of steel.

As women, I believe we want to fight against evil, and we have power greater than we've ever imagined to aid us in that fight."
- Rhyll Croshaw

Monday, October 27, 2014

Are You Honest In Your Dealings With Your Fellowmen?

In order to enter into the House of The Lord, a temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you must answer a series of questions first with your bishop and then with your stake president.  Answering these questions allow you to reflect on your life, choices and behaviors and then determine and declare before God's anointed your worthiness to enter into one of our most sacred of places.  These questions are not a determination of your perfection but rather your direction.  They allow all of us to acknowledge that even though we are all flawed, imperfect people, what direction are our choices and behaviors leading us?  Towards God or away from God?  
You can find the full list of questions on LDS.org here.

Some of my deep rooted traumas stem around these questions.  I have serious trauma due to my husband's lies and secret life and the enabling acceptance and lack of accountability by the priesthood leaders and men in my life.

They, all of them, have made me feel as if I am unimportant and don't really matter.

Three of these questions stand out to me as blatant reminders, slaps in the face, of my perceived importance in the eyes of the men in my life.

"Are you honest in the dealings with your fellowmen?"

"Do you live the law of chastity?"

"Is there anything in your conduct relating to members of your family that is not in harmony with teachings of the church?"


I am not a judge in Israel and I don't presume or wish to be.  There are many things I do not understand.  There are many things I do not know.  But, this- this I know.  THIS is fact:

My husband sat before our bishop almost two years ago and admitted to lying to his wife, for years.  He admitted to living a secret life filled with blatant deception.  He admitted to not living the law of chastity, breaking sacred covenants and then lying about it to me, to our family and to God, repeatedly, on a cyclic basis again and again and again for 16 years.  

And then he was told to GO to the temple.  He was given no restrictions.  Not even the sacrament.  He could have even come home and given me a blessing.  That very night.

However, if a young couple, who has never been through the temple, never covenanted with God and spouse, "messes up"- gets "too frisky", not even necessarily having sex, they are denied entrance into the temple.  Even if what they were doing would be perfectly 'legal' and even expected weeks later, THAT is taken so seriously, that their ability to make temple covenants are denied.  Yet, time and time again, bishop after bishop, my husband admitted to repeatedly breaking covenants that he had made in the holiest of holy places and being the epitome of dishonesty and nothing.  Nothing.  

I was even told that my husband was no longer trustworthy by one bishop and that healing and talking about my pain could break up my marriage by another.  (as if)

You guys.  I. Just. Don't. Get. It.

What a mixed message this sends me.  Our covenants are important, being honest, kind, chaste and trustworthy are important.  Unless the spouse is the 'offended' party.  And then- it's acceptable.

I wasn't worth it.  

The temple to me is a sacred place.  A lot goes on there that I don't understand but what I do understand is that the temple is a place of service and connection, both of which can be so healing.  But, that service is a privilege, not a right.

Just as forgiveness is a process, and forgiving too soon can be damaging, healing is a process as well and I believe that sometimes sending a person to a temple for healing before they are ready to do so, before they have earned the privilege and reached that part in the repentance and healing process, can be damaging as well.  To the addict and the spouse.  It could teach both of them that what has happened, really wasn't that big of a deal.  His dishonesty was acceptable.  The breaking of temple covenants- normal.  The infidelity- tolerable.

I'm not saying he should have been shamed and spit upon and had stones cast at him.  Not at all.  And I am NOT saying that my bishops were horrible people- no I believe that they were doing the very best they could with the information they had.  But, these parts of my story stab my heart to this day.  I am still working on healing from and releasing them.  I believe that accountability and reparation of damage is part of the repentance process.  And part of that reparation is re-earning trust.  Accountability and the opportunity to re-earn trust from his priesthood leaders, in whatever way they felt appropriate could have saved us years of cycles, years of pain and trauma.  But, instead, we cycled for years and year, with so many bishops, until I'd had enough and he'd hit rock bottom.  Who knows which came first?

It is not my ecclesiastical leader's job to determine his recovery, to guide him along the path and ensure that he gets resources to heal, however, it is his job to help him along the repentance process which includes accountability and reparation, neither of which he received.  And therefore, I didn't either.  And that is one of my deepest traumas and the root of my faith crisis.


"Are you honest in the dealings with your fellowmen?"

"Do you live the law of chastity?"

"Is there anything in your conduct relating to members of your family that is not in harmony with teachings of the church?"

Ouch.

27 comments:

  1. I understand that this is part of your own personal therapy and if this is helping you then fantastic, I really am happy for you. As an outsider looking in however, this blog comes off as painfully self-absorbed and self-destructive. I have a friend to recently got out of a relationship after over a year of him dealing with a pornography addiction and not kicking it. Thank goodness that she figured it out before they were married, that was nice of her to try for so long but really, how long can you put up with it?

    Pornography is the plague of the current generation, it is entirely unavoidable and sadly is becoming more prevalent among women. Recently scientists wanted to do a study about the affects of porn on the brain, they screened lots of college students and could not find one that had not looked at porn. Porn is part of everyone's life now. It is the disgusting reality that we live in, I don't ask that we accept it, but that we acknowledge it. I am not making any excuses for your husband, I have struggled with porn addiction in the past, obviously it is different from person to person, as with any addiction and some will struggle more than others to quit. I would never expect a girl to stick around and wait for me to kick the habit, especially not for a year, let alone 18. For someone who has dealt with this for so long you seem to have very little understanding of porn addiction, what goes on in the mind of the addict, etc. I have a feeling you've been told but you don't want to nor do you care to understand, not that it would help your situation anyways but you seem to have made his addiction all about you when the sad, and good thing, is that it's not about you at all. I find it funny that your about me section starts with you saying that, "My name is Shay. I am a vibrant, fun, feisty, beautiful, 37 year old LDS mother with 4 kids. I have been happily married to my soulmate, my confidante, my best friend for 18 years." The reason I find it funny is that I have read several of your entries and you sound very, very unhappy. You can't stand your husband, he doesn't fit your ideal model of what he should be. You don't like your church, you disagree with the leaders, and you hate your husbands porn addiction and it seems to be the center of your life, even though it is not your addiction.

    I do not mean to be insensitive, there is no excuse for that kind of behavior from your husband in a marriage where trust is key, my issue is not that you are struggling because his addiction makes you feel betrayed. It is that his issue is for some reason keeping you as a person from being happy in what seems like any way. Why, I am still trying to figure out, why are you still in this marriage? You seem to hate everything about it other than your kids. You don't like your church leaders decisions, you don't like your husband, his addiction is apparently emotionally crippling for you. Why not leave? I hate the idea of divorce, but I hate someone keeping themselves from being happy even more. How long is long enough? How long do you have to keep trying before you either decide you can be happy in spite of his addiction or that you need to get out of the relationship to be happy?

    Once again, I know this is supposed to be therapeutic for you and if this is your outlet to rant, then great, I apologize and rant on. I don't mean to attack you if all you're trying to do is vent. I'm just a confused reader that doesn't understand why you've been crying victim for 18 years and haven't decided to get up or get out.

    I know that comment comes off as rather harsh, but as your brother in spirit I really do wish the best for you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you feel this comment was too much or unfair, like I said I have not read all of your blogs, feel free to delete it. I will not be offended and hopefully I did not offend you.

      Delete
    2. Peter,
      I'm not even sure what to say. Although I appreciate your acknowledgement in your last comment, I'm not even sure how to address your original one.

      I feel like you have confused pain and hurt with hatred. They are two separate things.

      I do not hate my husband. No not at all. He is my best friend and I love him. I hate how some of his choices have made me feel and today he is humble and healing. But, humility and healing do not heal me of the pain and trauma I have received. They only provide a safe circumstance for which I can heal. And that is what I am doing by acknowledging what has happened to me and the trauma it has caused me.

      I do not hate my church or my leaders. I hate the mixed messages and double standards that come about from imperfect people, like myself, in the culture of the church. Acknowledging them is the only way they can ever be changed. I have a deep and abiding faith in my Savior, deep gratitude in His atonement and love for my church. Once again, pain and hatred are not the same.

      I come here to write, so that my days with my family can be happy. So that I can release the negative emotions that this addiction has caused to me. Maybe the addiction is his, but Betrayal Trauma, THAT is mine. That is what his addiction do to me. And I have to deal with that and heal from that just as he does from his addiction.

      I am sorry that you can not see the fun we had as a family at the pumpkin patch a few weekends ago or the haunted house we visited. The new house we bought together or the renovations we are working on together. I wish you could have witnessed the closeness and connection we experienced only two nights ago on our date away from the kids, but alas, that is not what this blog is for. It is not even about venting. It is about healing. And the only way to heal is to acknowledge and process the feelings you have so you can let them go. Release them and keep walking forward. Negative emotions are not all hatred.

      I'm not sure why people think it is their duty to come to my blog, judge me from a few posts and kick me while I'm already down. I really, REALLY wish you wouldn't. Like really.

      I am a voice for what so many women feel inside. They hide it and stuff it because comments like this and thoughts like yours cause us to be afraid of being real. Of acknowledging how we are affected by his choices. Please help us by being compassionate. Please don't see our pain as hatred. We don't hate. Maybe it comes across that way, but that is only because hatred is easier than hurt.

      We are just hurting and looking for someone to listen and love us.

      Delete
    3. And to be perfectly clear, I am not offended by your comment, but I am hurt.

      Delete
  2. Peter if you know anything about women, you know that they don't communicate only to find a "solution" or a "fix". So, you coming here and telling the author what to do is you not understanding women and what we need. She doesn't want you to fix her. She is trying to process and express feelings and feel heard and validated. So please, unless you can be kind and supportive and listen, then maybe you should stick with blogs written by men who might actually want or need your advice and "fixes".

    ReplyDelete
  3. Peter,
    I don't know you or your situation, so I'm not sure why you have come here to read this blog then tear the author down with your comments. As I said, I don't know your situation so I don't know if you've ever been betrayed by a spouse in the most intimate of ways. I have, and I can tell you that before it happened, I thought I knew what my reaction would be. But after it did, I felt so much shock and hurt, but also couldn't stop thinking about how much I loved my husband. That's WHY it hurts so much. If I didn't love him, I wouldn't care about his betrayals. So in making every attempt to forgive and heal, (for MY benefit, not his), I had to process those feelings of trauma and betrayal. Journaling is a great way to do that. Some days I write and it looks like I've got everything together, others it seems I am one huge ball of mess. The truth is, I'm somewhere in the middle. Aren't we all? And who are any of us to judge the way another person is processing the trauma in their life? Let's be supportive, or nothing at all.

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  4. Thank you for sharing. I've struggled with this as well. I was told that my husband NEEDED to go to the temple in order to gain the spiritual strength to find sobriety. What? We do gain strength from the temple, but there is a reason for the worthiness questions. Why the double standard? Why is a friend prevented from going to the temple when he isn't following the word of wisdom completely (but not an addict) yet a pornography/sex addict is ENCOURAGED to do while totally active in the addiction cycle? Anyway, thank you for sharing. I get it. I don't understand. Your candor is always refreshing.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wow I've gotta chime in here before my head explodes. I apologize in advance for being "anonymous", just can't remember my danged login. Digressing.....

    I'm a 39 year old recovering (male) addict who was born and raised in the church, in a great home, in a "Mayberry" of a town. But at a young age I discovered lust and all sorts of ridiculous behaviors to deal with some painful shame and the rest, as they say - is history.

    I married 17 years ago and proceeded to destroy the woman I married. To the point where she became a shadow of her original self, all because of my addiction. But more precisely, because of my "shinyness" and LIES. My lies to myself, my lies to her, and my lies to nearly every Priesthood leader I came into contact with.

    You see Peter, it's ONE THING to be a MAN and tell your wife how it really is. How you really are, and what kind of devious bullshit behavior you're involved in. It's ENTIRELY ANOTHER to put on this incredibly shiny persona which includes, but is not limited to, "Peter Priesthood", "Super Dad", "Best Son in Law Ever", "Community Personality", and "Successful Business man." All the while lying to your wife and Priesthood Leaders...but WAIT, there's more! Then eventually, you feel so guilty that you TELL your Priesthood Leaders and they, in their absolute and understandable lack of expertise in this area, proceed to essentially get into "cahoots" with you to keep the lies from your wife. I know they don't mean to, but trust me it's the truth of the matter.

    I love the church and I'm very active. But this baffles me...this enabling, it doesn't make sense! And please Peter, please spare me the ludicrous statement that it's NOT enabling, because it is. The LDS church, in all of its' infinite awesomeness, has yet to figure this out. If a young man, or woman, puts his her/hands where they shouldn’t be on their date, they get disciplined. If a married person kisses or otherwise intimately interacts with someone outside of their marriage, they get disciplined. Even it it’s just once, and even if it’s “not that bad.” They’ll lose sacrament, temple recommend, or worse.

    But if someone watches dozens, or hundreds, or dare I say thousands of hours of porn, lusts all day long (and I do mean most of most days), and “commits adultery in their hearts”, many Bishops just tell them, “wow I’m proud of you for coming in, you’d better get over to the temple ASAP to gain some strength!” You’re completely right that pornography is the plague of this generation. I’ll go as far as to state that I personally believe it’s THE PLAGUE spoken of in the Bible. Which is exactly why Ecclesiastical Leaders need to stop slapping hands and start holding people accountable. The hearts of the women spoken of in Jacob are literally dying. And one day these Leaders might wake up and find that the hearts of most of their strongest women just don’t have any more to give.

    ReplyDelete
  6. **THE REST OF WHAT WOULDN'T FIT ABOVE!!**

    As for the betrayal trauma? I’m 107.4% positive you, and most of us men, don’t have any comprehension of it Peter. I didn’t either until I put my wife through it and now live it every day. I’ve thought she was crazy and many other less nice words, only to have a clear spiritual confirmation that she’s in trauma…and that I CREATED IT!

    So should Shay get divorced? I don’t know. I know that the old marriage promise is “in sickness and in health”, and I’m positive that a temple sealing is a bit more strong than that. So instead of popping in here all high and mighty and condemning her, you might step back and consider COMMENDING her…and all other betrayed spouses that put up with our total and complete childish bullshit, for staying the course.

    To admit having read Shay’s blog and then state that she has “little understanding” of the addiction is, well, I’ll just say it feels a little uninformed and rather unfair. And to be incredibly honest, it’s addict thinking. I should know, I’ve been one for 29 years.

    These ladies are incredibly strong and write in these forums to gain, and GIVE, strength. Nothing more, nothing less.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know much of anything about the priesthood or bishops, but I do know that this guy wins best comment.

      Delete
  7. Wow, hostile group here.
    Harriet,
    Though I can't say it's without reason. I am impressed with the amount of assumptions made about me by your other readers without knowing anything about me other than a few paragraphs, kind of a pot calling the kettle black situation by some. Let me clear up what I said and offer an apology.

    I did not go looking for your blog. It has popped up several times in my Facebook news feed, I have read a few posts and always thought they were interesting, however I noticed that they were not particularly positive. I shared a few view points, though I admit looking back they were too forward, and as with anything posted in a public online forum with an option of commentary it becomes open for a degree of discussion, just like my comment. I very clearly said that if this blog was an outlet to to release, vent or as you call it heal, then everything before becomes irrelevant because it's no longer in the context I previously thought. Everyone has their outlets, you mentioned that this was the case, yet you did not delete the comment though it was no longer applicable. You felt it was unfair, delete the comment and move on. This is your place to heal, don't let people like me throw a wrench in that. This is your domain.

    I am sorry I didn't realize that was your purpose for the blog right away, otherwise, like I said I wouldn't have made the comment.

    I did read what you had to say, I apologize for hurting your feelings. You mentioned right off that you don't know how to address the original comment, that's because it does not apply to what you've chosen to use this blog for and that's fine and good. It helps some people and you've got a passionate following and that's great. I did not intend to tear you down, though I can see it could be taken that way. The original intent being to make sure that you knew that you could control your own happiness. Before anyone else goes on saying something like women don't need someone to come tell them how to fix this or that, being emotionally broken is a people thing. It is not gender specific and I would have given the same advice to a man. Sometimes it's nice to have someone remind you that you control you, even when things are hard and soulcrushing, your happiness still lies with you. Now I know you use this blog to help control your happiness by leaving a lot of the negative in your life here and this is part of the way you can be happier and that's great.

    Once again, I did not know this was the place you came to drop you burdens and release and in context it makes sense. As for everyone else thanks for the attacks, nice to know the Internet hasn't changed and that we're all on the same page.

    I won't be back and I wish you and your family the best.
    -Peter

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thank you for your words. This post is the answer to my prayers today. Thank you for putting into words exactly what I have been thinking and feeling.

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  9. Wow so many thoughts... I want to say thank you to Shay and her willingness to put her thoughts and feelings in a public forum. as a bishop in the church I have seen many people struggle with this very thing and I want to thank Shay for her honesty in how she feels... for those who come and confess to struggling with the effects of pornography in their life and marriage one of the first things I tell them to do is sit down as a couple and read this blog as well as other blogs that talk about the struggles from the betrayed spouses point of view and it does two things... for the addict it helps them see how their selfish choices effect the innocent people in their lives (spouse, children) and as the spouse that is experiencing the feelings of betrayal as they read many of the feelings that they are struggling with processing are brought to light and expressed and it has helped them process these feelings in themselves by realizing that its ok to feel betrayed. and I have found that by reading it together it create's an atmosphere where both can be open and honest with the thoughts that come as they read about how others process the same pains and addictions...
    I applaud you and others who are willing to share your pain and healing publicly so others can heal fom your thoughts and experiences

    ReplyDelete
  10. I love LOVE this post. Thank you, thank you, a thousand times. I love the church with all my heart, will live its teachings for the rest of my life, but this exact topic tears me up. I have decided that we talk about worthiness when it's convenient, and downplay it when it is not. My husband went to our bishop (not willingly, I caught him) 15 years ago with his porn problem when he had just been called to be Elders Quorum president. Was he released? Nope. The Bishop (an amazing friend actually) said "I really felt inspired to call you so I'm not releasing you." And this latest round of porn resulted in him being told to not take the sacrament for 2 weeks and then he lost his recommend for an entire month. And somehow 20 years of watching people have sex on the computer or TV really wasn't that big of a deal. Just one month of no recommend. I have said all of these same words to my Bishop, who once again, is a good friend. He has nothing to say to me. Just that my husband is repentant, and like you said, temple worship will give him strength.

    We talk and talk in the church about being a worthy priesthood holder and "amen to the priesthood of that man" when he is using it wrongly, but guess what, that's not true. Every ordinance my husband performed, every blessing he gave our children, they are all valid even though he was a porn watcher because God protects the innocent. Yea, I get that, but when someone finally confesses to LYING his entire marriage to his wife about his 2nd life and no church discipline takes place, then like you said, "I wasn't worth it." I feel my pain is worthless. In this case, it's inconvenient to talk about worthiness in my husband's case because he's just so dang sorry and penitant. It's messy, it's complicated, and it makes my Bishop squirm. So I don't believe in the importance of worthiness anymore.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Wow, I'm really surprised by the reactions of the Bishops you and a number of people commenting have mentioned. After my husband's first disclosure he was told he could not take the sacrament or go to the temple. He was told he needed to achieve and maintain a certain length of sobriety before he would be able to do either of these things. It was not an insignificant amount of sobriety and he is struggling to achieve it. I think what is important about this is that I have always felt very clearly that this was done NOT as a punishment, but rather as a way to help him in striving to achieve sobriety. It has given him goals to work towards and has reinforced the idea that the behavior he was engaging in was not acceptable. To my husband's credit he has never reacted as though he is being punished or as though this decision was harsh or unjust. He will tell you quite clearly that he was not worthy of doing either or these things but that he is working towards being worthy of them.

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  12. Thank you for this post Shay! I have been through many hardships and the betrayal and trauma of this addiction has been the hardest thing I have ever endured! It usually takes so long before we realize our recovery isn't all about their recovery, for a myriad of reasons...and I'm still having to remind myself of that, even with all the resources available to us now! I was sobbing as I read the "anonymous" comments back to Peter. Thank you for defending us! So refreshing after so many want to minimize the hell out of what the spouse endures and how much more cheated we feel (all over again, in other ways) when this horrific addiction is not dealt with more harshly by our church leaders, especially concerning temple worthiness and recommends.

    I have also felt that the plague talked about in the scriptures is this addiction as well. I now have a son & a son in law besides my husband who fall into this "category." We are just getting started with our married and unmarried children and how it will impact their families. I can't imagine ever being WHOLE in this lifetime, knowing it isn't just me, that I have a daughter, and a daughter in law to be, to endure what I have. I will be living with this the rest of my life....it is beyond heartwrenching to know that. I also know there is the Atonement to rescue each and every one of us, addict or spouse. My prayer is that it can be an easier journey in the future and it won't be so shaming to come out and get the help needed for either spouse. I will tell you I have never felt the spirit as strong as when I attended the addiction/recovery classes with the addicts. The savior really does love each and every one of us and wants to help us heal!

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  13. I am so sorry for your pain and what you have gone through. I did not have the same experience. I too was incredibly hurt and betrayed. My bishop while not perfect did not act like this was a small thing. He took my husband's reccommend. He could not take the sacrament. He could not bless or use his priesthood. He had to seek help, achieve sobriety and make amends with me and his children. I was told until I felt ready and safe with him I would determine when he got his reccomend back. We met with my bishop regularly. It meant a lot that I had a say. I was very prayerful and my husband was very aware of his part in all of this. I did have to learn about addiction. I know there is discrepancies within the church but there are a lot of really good men working on behalf of women. We have great friends who have helped support us, a good ward and I am so grateful for my testimony and for the atonement. I have found a lot of healing through the twelve steps. If your bishop is struggling to understand I would hope you could go to your stake president. Your feelings are valid. I pray every day for all the wives whose hearts are broken, the addicts who struggle and their families. We all deserve to heal.

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    Replies
    1. When you felt safe was when he got his recommend back? Unbelievable! I love it!

      Delete
  14. Dear Shay -

    Thank you for this post. Your courage will bless many lives. My wife and I are new to your blog. This post of yours is so timely for us and articulates and gives an echoing voice to many of our sincere and complicated struggles.

    I hope you and others who suffer from similar circumstances will be comforted and find validation in at least the following paragraphs of the April 2005 General Conference address given by Dallin H. Oaks found here: https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2005/04/pornography?lang=eng

    "Pornography also inflicts mortal wounds on our most precious personal relationships. In his talk to men of the priesthood last October, President Hinckley quoted the letter of a woman who asked him to warn Church members that pornography “has the effect of damaging hearts and souls to their very depths, strangling the life out of relationships” (Liahona and Ensign, Nov. 2004, 60).

    At a recent stake conference a woman handed me a similar letter. Her husband had also served in important Church callings for many years while addicted to pornography. She told of great difficulty in getting priesthood leaders to take this problem of pornography seriously: 'I got all kinds of responses—like I was overreacting or it was my fault. The bishop we have now has been great. And now after 15 years my husband is trying to deal with his addiction, but now it is 15 years harder to quit for him and the loss has been incalculable.' ”

    * * *

    "Some have suggested that pornography should be a separate question in the temple recommend interview. It is already. At least five different questions should elicit a confession and discussion on this subject if the person being interviewed has the spiritual sensitivity and honesty we expect of those who worship in the house of the Lord."

    https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2005/04/pornography?lang=eng

    We have witnessed first-hand the detrimental repetitive enabling that occurs by local Church leaders as described above. Lack of an appropriate and sensitive response by local Church leaders impedes thorough repentance and proper recovery for the addict while deepening the wounds of loved ones affected. Fortunately, there is hope. After gallons of tears, months of sleepless nights, and other "incalculable" losses, a different enabling influence, the enabling power of Christ's atonement, can correct wrongs and eventually bring peace.

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  15. Love this! Thank you! It is true for me that having lived in our marriage with pornography addiction as an issue for 22 years that a bishop's response has great impact on me as the betrayed and wounded one.
    Thank you Shay for being brave and concise in your wording. Thank you to the anonymous man who commented after Peter to show empathy and understanding, validation and compassion for women going through this.
    I can honestly say that reading all of this will help me get through today, and probably several more days. This, all of this, is the hardest, loneliest, and most devastating thing I deal with. It strikes at the core of everything I hold dear and sacred, the earthly relationship that is meant to last forever.
    So we don't just walk away from it. We take the time and courage needed to do our best to sort it out. And when we get the answer to leave, then we do so with courage. When we get the answer to stay, we do so with courage. We did not bring this on ourselves, we did not bring this curse into our marriage, and yet we remain accountable for doing our best. So to Peter who asks you why you haven't left - the answer is, because you are a brave and amazing woman who is willing to face the hardest thing in your life and fulfil your covenants to the best of your ability. For all the women who get the answer to leave, the same is true. Either way, having a place to SHARE (not vent) the pain and reality is literally walking on sacred ground to share your healing and strengthen others.
    I love you Shay!! Let's meet someday!

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  16. you took the words right out of my mouth and the deepest part of my heart. thank you for your honest sharing.

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  17. This post and subsequent discussions with my recovering addict husband are helping me to work through the resentment that I hold toward the church and leadership. I have felt what you feel and have been traumatized by a bishop in the past. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and your feelings.

    Bare with me while I share some thoughts.

    Imagine that I have a vehicle that is not running properly so I decide to take it in and have it looked at by my accountant.
    The accountant may see that the engine light is on and the car is running rough. He may take a look at the car, kick the tires, open the hood and look at the engine. He may recommend a filter and oil change. He might say that the car "looks fine" and send us on our merry way. The car continues to function for a while but inevitably it will blow up and end up on the side of the road.
    Expecting My bishop to know about addiction and how to deal with it is like taking my broken car to an accountant and expecting him to know how to fix it- or even assess the problem and situation accurately.

    Our bishops don't know the hell our husbands have put us through (whether we knew about our husband's behaviors or not) they only know what our husbands tell them. What our husbands have told them and what they have told us (and what they told US they told the bishop...) may be totally different. Addicts aren't known for their forthcoming. The addict may have manipulated, lied to, minimized or justified behaviors in talking with their bishops just as they did with us.

    There is not much guidance in the bishop's handbook on this subject. Each bishop is left to make assessments of worthiness and correction.

    My current bishop is a wonderful man who is a retired postal worker. I cannot expect him to have even a basic knowledge of addiction and how it works.

    You have inspired me to put together a packet of information that I have collected on the subject to pass on to him so that he can have some of the same knowledge that I have been blessed with (thanks to your blog and other's, Addo Recovery and Al-anon). I have written a letter to other brothers and sisters who may be dealing with the same thing. The letter will contain resources and things that I wish I had know before recovery. I can hope that my bishop will share the letter with people coming into his office seeking help. I am finding healing in creating the packet even if the bishop puts it in his fire box...

    The accountant will always be an accountant, but with some education (which I think is the real key to starting on the road to recovery) our accountants can start referring people with car problems to a good mechanic instead of feeling like they have to fix the problem themselves.

    I am seeing now that I have to take church leaders off the pedestal that I have put them on and view them for who they are. Real people like you and me who make mistakes.

    Thank you for creating a place where people can come to be educated and share thoughts and feelings! You are making a difference.

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  18. I have tried in the past searching for other blog posts about this very topic--about porn addicted men and how much/little church discipline they have received. About worthiness and if it is taken seriously enough. I have found nothing. This is a topic that haunts me and has traumatized me. (I left a previous comment in this post about my own experiences.)

    I would love any links anyone else can provide to others bloggers about this serious topic. Thanks.

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  19. I hope that everyone that has written here is attending the Addiction Recovery Meetings. My journey started a little over 2 years ago and I have received a great deal of healing for myself. Going through those doors for the first time was super hard, but I had no idea the safety, warmth, love and healing that were awaiting me on the other side.

    Please, if you are not attending one, please go. https://addictionrecovery.lds.org/?lang=eng

    Thank you to Shay and all who share their stories of hardship, trial, hurt, betrayal...and recovery here. May God bless you!

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  20. I know this is a way late comment but this thread has given me so much comfort. I want to thank the bishop who had the guts to share his post on this thread. I too have been traumatized by things that bishops have said to me. I have also felt comfort because of the courage bishops have had to discipline my husband to help him find recovery. My husband has been disfellowshoped because his addiction has led him to more serious problems which involved hurting more than just his family. Fotionatly it is protecting or family some because his consequences let him to not use his priesthood at all. I wish though that my bishop new and understood more. My husband still minimizes his actions and we are now considering separating.

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