Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Treating the symptoms while ignoring the causes

My brother is a doctor of osteopathy. It's a unique school of thought within the medical field that emphasizes healing the body's core problems, rather than merely treating the symptoms. He's a full-fledged doctor who works at a legitimate hospital and can write prescriptions and perform surgeries and do anything a medical doctor can, but he was educated to not merely prescribe painkillers to someone with a sore throat. Instead, he finds the root cause of the pain and treats that to solve the problem from the inside out.

My struggle with pornography addiction has been similar.

For years, I have had doubts about the LDS church. I have always wondered why this and why that. I have heard the vile rumors about Joseph Smith's personal life and speculated more perverse motivations behind plural marriage as the early Utahans practiced it. I have pondered about the nature and origin of the Book of Mormon and questioned its validity as a book of scripture.

However, these questions always coincided with my struggles with pornography. I'd relapse and binge, then feel terrible, then doubt the truthfulness of the gospel. I always assumed that because I'd chased the Spirit away with my porn consumption and made way for the Adversary to enter my thoughts. It became easy to quiet those doubts by reassuring myself that it was my disobedience that fed them.

However, after abstaining from porn for longer than I have in years, I've found that the opposite may be true. My consumption of porn may have been a manifestation of my doubts, rather than the other way around. Those doubts may have always been there and merely covered up by a scapegoat of pornography, when in reality, I only watched porn to distract myself from the core problems.  As I abstained from pornography, I treated a symptom of the doubt while ignoring the root cause of it all.

I assumed that after I'd had some time apart from pornography, things would seem brighter and better. For some time, they did. I felt more confident and stronger in my day-to-day life; nothing could touch me. But as time passed and the "new" wore off, I found those same doubts wriggling their way into my head. They consumed me. "What if I'm totally wrong? What if God doesn't care who I marry or what church I go to or how I live, so long as I'm nice and kind and helpful?" I laid awake at night, wondering about the possibilities.

This all came to a head today. I was so sick of these questions bouncing around in my head and I snapped. I woke up for work early, but called in sick. I spent the rest of the day aimlessly walking around the house, checking the fridge every few minutes, washing a dish or two, flipping channels. I browsed the Internet listlessly, wasting my time in front of Craigslist or YouTube or Facebook. I planned on doing some work on the house and yard, but when the time came, I stayed on the couch instead. I had zero motivation to do anything; my brain was broken. I was overcritical of myself and my family, sarcastic and unkind to the one individual I saw when gassing up this morning and completely out of touch with my emotions and reality.

I was (and still am) amazed that removing pornography from my life didn't cure my doubts. But after a holistic blessing from that same osteopath I mentioned before, I see what I need to do to fix them. I have some motivation to do what needs to be done and to literally get my house in order before I can get the answers I need. I'm still shooting for a mission and all the blessings of faithful church membership, but I recognize that I'm on shaky ground, standing on a thin crust of earth ready to give way at any moment.

I do not regret removing pornography from my life and I encourage everyone affected by it to do the same. But it's interesting and surprising what you'll find after you've removed that scapegoat.

As usual, if you want to talk, feel free to e-mail me. But I'm also asking that you please pray for me tonight and tomorrow. I need motivation to work and I need a clear head to get those answers I seek.  Thanks.


  1. Prayin' for ya, dude! We all have periods of doubt, and bumps along the highway of faith. The trick is to keep going, and realize things will get better.

  2. I dont think you are alone in doubting. it is not a new concept, it has been dated way back. I prayed for you last night, and I dont even know you. I prayed that you have peace, truth and love in your heart. Keep struggling through it, you will find what you are looking for. Dont forget to add in some faith every once in awhile...

  3. Hey GMP, you're in my prayers quite regularly. My pray is that you are happy, that you have peace in your heart and that you will always know and feel the love of Heavenly Father in your life. Despite living on shaky ground, know that you always have a solid foundation in Christ on which you can find stability.

  4. there is a great big and beautiful life outside of Mormonism and God is there.
    Beyond everything that you and I or anyone have ever been told about God He is there.
    Really, he is.


Be nice, mmmmkay? I allow anonymous comments, but not anonymous (or even attributed) douchebaggery. The Gay Mormon Pioneer's tolerance for hate and venom are incredibly low, but his love of communication and debate are high, so have an opinion, but be kind and gentle when you share it.

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