2Healing the Tragic Scars of Abuse Elder Richard G. Scott said:“I solemnly testify that when another’s acts of violence, perversion, or incest hurt you terribly, against your will, you are not responsible, and you must not feel guilty. You may be left scarred by abuse, but those scars need not be permanent. In the eternal plan, in the Lord’s timetable, those injuries can be made right as you do your part. Here is what you can do now.
3“(first)…seek help now…Begin with your Eternal Father and his Beloved Son, your Savior. They will lead you to others who will strengthen and encourage you…Talk to your Bishop in confidence…He has the right to be inspired of the Lord in your behalf. He can use the priesthood to bless you…When abuse is extreme, he can help you identify appropriate protection and professional treatment consistent with the teachings of the Savior.
4“(Second, understand) the principles of healing…Recognize that you are a beloved child of your Heavenly Father. He loves you perfectly and can help you as no earthly parent, spouse, or devoted friend can…Gain trust in the love and compassion of your elder brother, Jesus Christ, by pondering the scriptures…Healing best begins with your sincere prayer asking your Father in Heaven for help…Do all in (your) power to stop the abuse…Do not waste effort in revenge or retribution…Leave the handling of the offender to civil and Church authorities…Understand that healing can take considerable time. Recovery generally comes in steps. It is accelerated when gratitude is expressed to the Lord for every degree of improvement noted…
5“(Third), you cannot erase what others have done, but you can forgive…Forgiveness heals terrible, tragic wounds for it allows the love of God to purge your heart and mind of the position of hate. It cleanses your consciousness of the desire for revenge. It makes place for the purifying, healing, restoring love of the lord…
6(Fourth), I caution you not to participate in two improper therapeutic practices that may cause you more harm than good.(1) excessive probing into every minute detail of your past experiences, particularly when this involves penetrating dialogue in group discussion.(2) blaming the abuser for every difficulty in your life.There is another danger. Detailed leading questions that probe your past may unwittingly trigger thoughts that are more imagination of fantasy than reality. They could lead to condemnation of acts that were not committed…Remember false accusation is also a sin.”
7Forgive (Matthew 18) “Forgiveness helps heal… Begin by withholding judgment. You don’t know what abusers may have suffered as victims when innocent. The way to repentance must be kept open for them… As you experience an easing of your own pain, full forgiveness will come more easily… You cannot erase what has been done, but you can forgive. Forgiveness heals terrible, tragic wounds, for it allows the love of God to purge your heart and mind of the poison of hate. It cleanses your consciousness of the desire for revenge. It makes place for the purifying, healing, restoring love of the Lord..”
8HEALING THE TRAGIC SCARS OF ABUSE One of the great tragedies of our day is the increasing number of cases of abuse. Some of you, here, may understand this all too well. Some of you know firsthand the scars that can be left by abuse. There may even be someone here who has been guilty of abusing another. You need to understand the pain another may have felt at your hand.Elder Scott said:“As a victim you [may] have experienced fear, depression, guilt, self-hatred, destruction of self-esteem, and alienation from normal human relationships.
9When aggravated by continued abuse, powerful emotions of rebellion, anger, and hatred are generated. These feelings often are focused against oneself, others, life itself, and even Heavenly Father. Frustrated efforts to fight back can degenerate into drug abuse, immorality abandonment of home, and, tragically in extreme cases, suicide. Unless corrected, these feelings lead to despondent lives, discordant marriages, and even the transition from victim to abuser. One awful result is a deepening lack of trust in other, which becomes a barrier to healing” (“Healing the Tragic Scars of Abuse”).
10Elder Scott taught that those scars need not be permanent Elder Scott taught that those scars need not be permanent. He said: “Know that the wicked choice of others cannot completely destroy your agency unless you permit it. Their acts may cause pain, anguish, even physical harm, but they cannot destroy your eternal determine to overcome the harmful results of abuse. Your attitude can control the change for good in you life. It allows you to have the help the Lord intends you to receive… the laws of your Heavenly Father and the atonement of the lord have made it possible that you will not be robbed of the opportunities which come to the children of God” (ibid).
11REPAIR AND REPENTINTRODUCTION Some years ago, I struggled to know how to help a priest in my ward. He had already violated the law of chastity to some degree and was very close to falling further. We talked about a mission. He assured me that he still planned to go. I asked him if he understood that more serious violations of the law of chastity would certainly delay his mission plans and could prevent them altogether. He said: “Well, I know that repentance is always available. I know of many who have gone on missions who have violated the law of chastity. You just repent before you go.” Then he added, “My own brother was guilty of fornication before his mission and was still able to go and.. he served a good mission. I talked to him about it and he said that he was actually glad that he had committed those sins. He felt it made him a stronger, better person. He said he also felt it made him a better missionary. He was better able to understand people and have compassion for them.” “So, you see,” he added, “I think you actually come out ahead when you sin and repent.” That young man, by the way, has now been married and divorced twice.
12I did all I knew how to do to persuade him to repent and not sin further. Unfortunately, he was so convinced that he could have a few “free ones,” repent, and then go on a mission, that he did not heed my counsel. He persisted in sin, was guilty of fornication, lost all desire to serve a mission, and is now out of the church. What a loss to himself, his future wife and children.
13President Spencer W. Kimball said: “An error into which some transgressors fall, because of the availability of God’s forgiveness, is the illusion that they are somehow stronger [or better off] for having committed sin and then lived through the period of repentance. This simply is not true… The reformed transgressor, it is true may be more understanding of one who falls into the same sin, and to that extent perhaps more helpful in the latter’s regeneration. But his sin and repentance have certainly not made him stronger than the consistently righteous person” (Miracle of Forgiveness, 357).
14WHY DO PEOPLE PROCRASTINATE REPENTANCE? Perhaps, the two most common reasons are:1. Repentance is perceived to be too easy.2 . Repentance is perceived to be too hard.
15Godly Sorrow or Suffering (Repentance requires “godly sorrow,” or suffering)What is Godly Sorrow?Elder Orson Pratt said:“There are different kinds of sorrows. Thieves, robbers, murderers, adulterers, etc. are frequently sorrowful because they have been detected in the crimes they have committed. They are not sorrowful because they have sinned against God, or because they have injured others… Others have sorrow arising through fear. They are convinced that they have… violated the law of God, and they greatly fear the consequences in the great judgment day; but yet they feel no disposition to [change]…But the sorrow that is acceptable in the sight of God…is a sorrow which arises from a knowledge of our own unworthiness [before] God…This kind of sorrow will lead us to obey every commandment of God; it will make us humble…it will cause us to watch, with great carefulness, every word, [every] thought, and [every] deed” (“True Repentance,” A series of Pamphlets by Orson Pratt, 30-31).
16GODLY SORROW Godly sorrow, then, consists of three main things. First: an awareness of our unworthiness before God.Second: an awareness of our complete dependence upon the Lord.Third: a willingness to submit to the will of God and to keep every commandment.
17Elder Neal A. Maxwell said: “There can be no real repentance without personal suffering and the passage of sufficient time for the needed cleansing and turning” (“Repentance,” Ensign, November 1991).
18REPENTANCE REQUIRES CONFESSION Repentance requires confession. Confession lets the sin that makes us spiritually sick empty out and the Spirit of the Lord fill its place.Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught that there are two confessions required by the Lord.“There are two confessions and two sources of forgiveness. A sinner must always confess all sins, great and small, to the Lord; in addition, any sins involving moral turpitude and any serious sins for which a person might be disfellowshipped or excommunicated must also be confessed to the Lord’s agent, who in most instances is the Bishop. The Bishop is empowered to forgive sins as far as the Church is concerned, meaning that he can choose to retain the repentant person in full fellowship and not impose court penalties upon him. Ultimate forgiveness in all instances and for all sins comes from the Lord and from the Lord only” (A New Witness for; the Articles of Faith, 236).
19Elder Neal A. Maxwell“Pride keeps repentance from even starting or continuing. Some fail because they are more concerned with the preservation of their public image than with having Christ’s image in their countenances! (Alma 5:14)…Giving away all our sins is the only way we can come to know God (Alma 22:18)… Those who hold back some of their sins will be held back. Partial disclosure to appointed leaders brings full accountability (Ensign, Nov. 1991, 32).
20Why is Godly Sorrow or Suffering necessary? D&C 19: Elder Dallin H. Oaks said:“Do these scriptures mean that a person who repents does not need to suffer at all because the entire punishment is borne by the Savior? [No].. [They] mean that the person who repents does not need to suffer ‘even as’ the Savior suffered for that sin. Sinners who are repenting will experience some suffering, but, because of their repentance and because of the Atonement, they will not experience the full extent of [suffering] the Savior [did] for that sin..The suffering that impels a transgressor toward repentance is his or her own suffering. But the suffering that satisfies the demands of justice for all repented transgressions is the suffering of our Savior and Redeemer. Some transgressors..[ask] ‘Why must I suffer at all? Now that I have said I am sorry, why can’t you just give me mercy and forget about this?’…The object of God’s laws is to save the sinner, not simply to punish him. The repentant transgressor must be changed, and the conditions for repentance, including confession and personal suffering, are essential to accomplish that change. To exempt a transgressor from those conditions would deprive him of the change necessary for his salvation (“Sins, Crimes, and Atonement,” Address to CES Religious Educators,7 Feb. 1992).
21Repentance Requires Confession Confession involves more that disclosure. Whether we are confessing our sins to the Lord or to the judge in Israel, confession involves more than telling them what they need to know. It is an expression of what we are going to do. It is a covenant with the Lord.
22Contrary to the belief of many in the Church, repentance is not just returning to where we were before we sinned. It is more than that. The Second part of the covenant we make in confession is to fill our lives with righteousness. We must replace evil with good.
23Elder Boyd K. Packer said: “Do not merely try to discard a bad habit or a bad thought. Replace it. When you try to eliminate a bad habit, if the spot where it used to be is left open it will sneak back and crawl again into that empty space. It grew there; it will struggle to stay there. When you discard it, fill up the spot where it was. Replace it with something good. Replace it with unselfish thoughts, with unselfish acts. Then, if an evil habit or addiction tries to return, it will have to fight for attention. You are in charge of you. I repeat, it is very, very difficult to eliminate a bad habit [or sin] just by trying to discard it. You must replace it” (That All May Be Edified, 196).
24Elder Richard G. Scott said: “I cannot comprehend His power, His majesty, His perfections. But I do understand something of His compassion, His mercy. There is no burden He cannot life, there is no heart He cannot purify and fill with joy, there is no life He cannot cleanse and restore, when one is obedient to His teachings… He is your Father; Pray to him. If your life is in disarray and you feel uncomfortable and unworthy to pray because you are not clean, don’t worry. He already knows about all of that. He is waiting to be led to support you and guide you and lift you. Pray that the love of the Savior will pour into your heart. Pray that the miracle of the Atonement with bring forgiveness because you are willing to change. I know that those prayers will be answered, for God loves you. His son gave His life for you. I know they will help you” (Ensign, Nov. 1988, 77).
25Elder Bruce R. Hafen said: “The Savior desires to save us from our inadequacies as well as our sins…A sense of falling short of falling down is not only natural, but essential to the moral experience…The atonement can compensate not only for our sins, but also for our inadequacies; not only for our deliberate mistakes, but also for our sins, committed in ignorance, our errors of judgment, and even our unavoidable imperfections… I grieve for those who…believe that in the quest for eternal life, the Atonement is there only to help big-time sinners; and that they, as everyday Mormons who just have to try harder, must ‘make it’ on their own. The truth is not that we must make it on our own, [The truth is] that he will make us his own. [As we hold onto the iron rod] we are likely to find that the cold rod of iron will begin to feel…like [the] loving hand of him who literally pulls us along the way. We find that hand [both] strong enough to rescue us [and] warm enough to assure us that home is not far away…It is so important for us to be on the Lord’s side. But we should never forget that the Lord is also on our side” (Ensign, April 1990, 8, 11).
26The Steps of Repentance So while repentance is more an attitude than it is a checklist of steps, it must, of necessity, include a number of steps in order to be complete.These include:(1) Recognition of wrong. As with the prodigal son who finally “came to himself” (Luke 15:17), A person must, as Jacob taught, see “things as they really are” (Jacob 4:13). Rationalization, self-justification, or minimizing the sin keeps repentance from continuing.(2) Godly sorrow(3) Confession(4) Abandonment of sin(5) Restitution. We must restore or give back what has been taken or lost.(6) Do the will of the Father. We must fill our lives with good.
27President Benson added: “It is not enough simply to try to resist evil or empty our lives of sin. We must also fill our lives with righteousness. We must engage in activities that bring spiritual power. I speak of such activities as immersing ourselves in the scriptures. There is a power that flows into our lives when we read and study the scriptures on a daily basis that cannot be found in any other way. Daily prayer is another source of great power. Fasting…can help us beyond our normal ability… Service, church attendance…can all add to our store house of strength and power” (The Law of Chastity).
28“ “I Stand All Amazed” Hymn # 193 1. I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me, Confused at the grace that so fully he proffers me. I tremble to know that for me he was crucified, That for me, a sinner, he suffered, he bled and died.2. I marvel that he would descend from his throne divine To rescue a soul so rebellious and proud as mine, That he should extend his great love unto such as I, Sufficient to own, to redeem, and to justify.3. I think of his hands pierced and bleeding to pay the debt! Such mercy, such love and devotion can I forget? No, no, I will praise and adore at the mercy seat, Until at the glorified throne I kneel at his feet.[Chorus] Oh, it is wonderful that he should care for me Enough to die for me! Oh, it is wonderful, wonderful to me!
29Elder Orson Pratt said: “Without a covenant or promise before God, that we will forsake sin with an unshaken determination, that we will henceforth yield to no evil, our confession and repentance will be vain” (“True repentance,” A series of Pamphlets by Orson Pratt, 31-32; republished in Orson Pratt: Writings of an Apostle, Mormon Heritage publishers, Salt Lake City, 1976).
30Elder Dallin H. Oaks said, “Some Latter-day Saints who wrongly think repentance is easy maintain that a little sinning will not hurt. Young people of this persuasion may say, ‘It is okay to have a few free ones, because it is easy to repent before your mission or marriage’…Perhaps some would even assert that a person is better off after he has sinned and repented. ‘Get a little experience with sin,’ one argument goes, ‘and then you will be better to counsel and sympathize with sinners. You can always repent’” (“Sins, Crimes, and Atonement,” An address given to CES religious educators on Temple Square Assembly Hall, Salt Lake City, Utah, 7 February 1992).
31Elder Dallin H. Oaks said: “I spoke earlier of persons who think that repentance is too easy. There are many such among the young. At the opposite extreme are those who think that repentance is too hard. Our youth include many of these also. This group of souls are so tender-hearted and conscientious that they see sin everywhere in their own lives, and they despair of ever being able to be clean. “One of Satan’s most potent techniques of discouragement is to deny the power of the Atonement by persuading a sinner that God cannot or will not forgive him or her. Or, he may seek to persuade a sinner that he is so depraved that he must not forgive himself…Part of the process of repentance is to let go of our sins, to yield them up to God and follow his example by forgiving ourselves as he forgave us” (ibid).
32In the October 1995 General Conference, President Boyd K In the October 1995 General Conference, President Boyd K. Packer said: “Except for the very few who defect to perdition, there is no habit, no addiction, no rebellion, no transgression, no apostasy, no crime exempted from the promise of complete forgiveness. That is the promise of the Atonement of Christ” (Ensign, November 1995, 20).
33Danger of PornographyFemale StudentFebruary 3, 2005Just like any other college student I have a lot of dreams. The greatest of all dreams is to marry in the temple and raise children up to the Lord. As I have thought over many years about the qualities I wish my husband to possess I never thought much about personal purity. That quality was something I always assumed he would have… but the importance of that quality has recently been reared into my heart and soul.The last semester of my sophomore year of college I met a wonderful young man. He was my first love. We dated a little bit that semester and then we both went home to our families for the summer. I think it is safe to say that we fell in love with each other over one a day and phone calls on the weekend, with the occasional visit thrown in for variety. Our relationship blossomed in a beautiful, healthy way. It was the greatest experience I have ever had.
34When we returned to school in the fall, we became very close, quickly When we returned to school in the fall, we became very close, quickly. I was treated like a goddess, never wanting, really, because I had the most generous, gentle, sensitive man by my side. He loved the Lord and he loved me. Add to that my marvelous family and my testimony of the gospel and love for God and I had it made. It was the happiest time of my life. Looking back on it now I am still amazed at how many memories I fit into such a short period of time. It’s unbelievable and almost doesn’t seem real. The thought of marriage crossed y mind. There were times that I could see him being a father to my children… playing with them, teaching them and rearing them by my side.My fairy tale, I wish I could say ended well, but it didn’t. About six weeks after school started I began to sense that something was awry in our relationship. I couldn’t put my finger on it and when I asked if he was alright, he always said yes. However, one day he let me know he had things he needed to tell me and we went out that night and talked.
35Holding the hand of the man that I had come to love so dearly, I sat next to him as he poured out his soul. I found he had a problem with pornography and had been dealing with it for a matter of years. I remember the distinct physical pain I felt upon hearing that ugly word. It couldn’t be true.Sadly enough, it was. We continued the relationship for a time after that but it soon came to its needed end. I realize now that I was in a state of shock after I first found out about things and was not responding as I normally would have.I had no idea what to do with myself. My parents knew something was gravely wrong but I had not divulged information until after we broke things off. The night I sobbed out my story over the phone to two compassionate parents will always be etched into my memory. My sobs, so full of a passionate pain, were so bad that my mother had to tell me to start over and repeat what I said over and over again because she couldn’t understand me through the tears.
36I realize now that I was lucky to have a boyfriend who was so sincerely honest with me. Many people do not find out about issues such as this until they are within marriage bonds. My heart goes out to those people. Seeing how this has ripped at my heart now, I don’t wish to imagine what it would do to a marriage.We made a mutual agreement to end the relationship and I always felt good about the decision. I had the decision confirmed in prayer and have had it confirmed on numerous occasions since. Nevertheless, I’ve learned the hard way that peace does not take away the pain of loss but does allow you to go forward. It’s tricky business to try and convince your heart of what you head knows and understands. It was ironic to have such deep, stinging pain in opposition to the exquisite happiness I had felt just weeks previous.
37I was determined to be a friend to him and help encourage him through the hard times that lay ahead. Previous to our meeting he had been working with his Bishop and was receiving help from a counselor on campus. He was doing his part but still finding it a struggle.His battle with pornography began with inappropriate media on the Internet. It turned into what I understand to be an instant addiction and has plagued his life since. I don’t understand it, but I know that people cannot turn of the computer… it holds them entranced. It is not something anyone desires to view… but turns into a monster if not immediately left alone.Pornography is a disease. It is disgustingly ironic that pornography and family history hold the top two places hit on the Internet—there are God’s purposes and then Satan’s. In a presentation done on pornography in one of my classes I heard the addiction be compared to that of heroine. I’m not sure how correct that statistic is… but it wouldn’t surprise me if it were true.
38I always gave my mom a hard time when she insisted that our computer, once we got the Internet, be put in our family room. Now, I understand. I didn’t understand why she confiscated my brothers’ swim suit issue of Sports Illustrated when we were younger and tore out all the pictures giving my brothers back maybe five pages at most. Now, I understand.When my brothers came home from the last General Priesthood Meeting and talked about President Hinckley’s powerful talk I didn’t think much about it. Then, pornography was just a word and it was someone else’s problem I don’t think that anymore. It is real. It is an addiction and a disease. It does nothing but tear people’s lives apart, break hearts, and destroy the soul of those it takes prisoners.Leave it alone. If you find pornography as your master, seek help. Heavenly Father loves you and wants nothing but to help take your pain away but you must ask and be prepared to work harder than you could ever have imagined. Know your Savior loves you. Go to your Bishop and seek help from your loved ones and friends you trust. The counseling department here on campus is excellent and wants to help. Besides one-on-one counseling, group therapy is offered as well as a group for those who have loved ones who suffer from it. Help is available for all involved in the struggling, whether you struggle with the problem yourself or know someone who does. The fight is worth it. I believe that with all of my heart.
39When you find yourself in a relationship that looks like it might have eternal possibilities—ask questions! Make sure you know the person you love inside and out. Don’t be afraid to ask questions—it could save heartache later.I was surprised with how much pain pornography brought to my life when I did not suffer from the problem myself. I became frustrated because it seems like all counsel available on the subject is geared toward those who suffer… not anyone else. I longed for words of comfort in my own situation. I asked advice from family members and was struck most by a sister-in-law’s advice to kneel at my Savior’s feet and talk with Him. On my knees was the position in which I found the most solace. I cried all the time. I dove into the scriptures, collecting, even still, scriptures pertinent to my situation. I talked with my family long and hard. I talked with my bishop and went back to him on multiple occasions. I went to the temple and had never been so excited to step within its door in all the years I held a recommend. I craved the peace and the Spirit. I found words of comfort in the hymns, especially “Be Still My Soul” and “Where Can I Turn For Peace?”Looking back on my experience I laugh when people tell me they are sorry. I am too. Dealing with this issue was never something I imagined or suspected. I never once had any indication of having my heart broken. Over the months since we broke up I have felt many emotions: anger, hurt, shock, surprise, disgust and most of all sadness. Thinking of the issue even now brings deep and profound sadness. I cannot think on it too long or I start to cry.
40Strangely enough, I’ve decided that if I had a chance to live my experience over again I would do it. My testimony has grown in ways that I cannot adequately express in words. Heavenly Father gives comfort in time of pain. He even granted me the faith to get out of bed on those mornings where even that action seemed impossible. I wouldn’t trade my relationship with God for any unbroken heart—no matter how good it felt. The Atonement is real. I always had a testimony of it but the night I had its power manifested to me again will always stand out in my memory. I was kneeling in prayer and had the Spirit wash over me in wave after wave as if to say, “You didn’t catch it the first time? Here it is again.” I know it to be real. Christ knelt in that garden and hung on the cross and truly descended below all things. He knows how we feel and His love is unfathomable. Christ wants to take away our pain. He wants to heal our hearts. We need to seek Him and know we can be healed and made perfectly whole.I wish I could say that my pain is now gone, but it isn’t. I know now that it will take more time than I thought for both parties to heal. I still communicate with him and want to jump for joy when I hear of his triumphs. I know he will conquer his problems. And I believe in him. The Atonement heals all pain, even that caused by pornography. It is still my own sincere prayer that my intense pain will fall into its proper place. It will, with the help of Christ’s sacrifice.
41From: AnonymousSent: Thursday, February 09, :51 PMTo: Pyper, LonSubject: Another StoryBrother Pyper,I have been unsure as to whether I wanted to share with you my story, but I think getting it out might help. It’s a little different than the letters you shared with us in class but on the same topic.All my life I grew up in a perfect family… at least to me, a child, it was perfect. The thought that anything could go wrong was unfathomable. Every one of my brothers and sisters were active and my parents had the best marriage anyone could have.
42One week everyone was out of town and I was alone with my dad One week everyone was out of town and I was alone with my dad. This week changed my life. I went down in the basement and he would change the channel or I would see the word, “stop” on the screen. I was young and a bit naive, so I just forgot about it. It gave me an uncomfortable feeling but I didn’t know what was going on. A few months later when my mom and sister were home it happened again. I went to my sister about it and she got very worried. It didn’t even cross my mind that my father, who had been a bishop and a stake president, could be involved in pornography. All his life he had been a musician. Everyone in the church knows him and he composes and arranges music for the church all the time. This could not be happening. Finally, my sister went to my mother and my mother confronted my dad. It broke my mother’s heart. He felt like she wasn’t enough, yet she has always been the perfect wife and mother. It was so hard. My sister, my mom, and I were the only ones who knew. He went to the bishop and a while later told us he had taken care of it all and was done with it. What a relief! While he was involved in it he didn’t want to do anything. He kept to himself and didn’t talk to us like he used to. When he was working with the bishop things got so much better. He started getting involved with us again and helped around the house. He kept himself busy with projects and music. I thought everything was good again. I was wrong.
43About a year later my sister came to me and told me that he was involved in pornography again. He didn’t know we knew but we had to do something. We prayed and fasted. Finally we called the stake president. We asked him if he could see how our dad was doing. We were worried though, fearing disfellowsip and what that would do to him and our mother. At times I hated him for it. I wanted to throw the TV and computer out the window. I didn’t know how my mother could take it anymore. My dad talked with the stake president and was disfellowshiped. By this time I think the whole family knew. He didn’t say anything to us about it he still kept to himself. I can’t even imagine how hard it must be to know that eight of your own children knew what you had done, and to imagine their disappointment in you.My mother says he is doing fine now and she reassures me that she loves him. “That is what the Savior has taught us to do,” she says. He didn’t cast the sinners out, but showed them love. I try to show my dad all the love that I have because I want him to know that there is something so much better in me than anything he can find in pornography. I want him to want to be with me forever but feel like he doesn’t because of the choices he has made. He is a great man and I still look up to him. I know he loves us all and would do anything for my mother, but I resent what he has done. It has scarred me for life. It has scarred his marriage for life. It has scarred my whole family. It’s so hard to forgive him, especially when I still will go downstairs and see him switch the channel, but I have faith that he can overcome this.
44It is so hard for me to trust men It is so hard for me to trust men. It is even harder for my sister, because she had to confront my dad with his problem a couple times. She hates that her husband wants to be intimate with her. She sees it as evil. It is hard for her to even let him kiss her. It frightens me as well. How will I ever know that a man loves me for who I am? How can I trust that when he tells me he is not involved in pornography or will never be involved in it, that he means it? I have never told anyone this story before. I have never told anyone my feelings before. I don’t know how to overcome this but if you could help me in some way I would be so grateful! I love my dad more than anything! I pray for him always. I wish there was something I could do to help him but I don’t know what I can do. I can never stop wondering if he has truly overcome his addiction. It will haunt me for the rest of my life.
45My family is still strong in the gospel My family is still strong in the gospel. I still can’t tell if this experience has brought us closer together or further apart. Pornography is a destroying sin. It destroys everything in its path, leaving nothing left but sorrow and hurt. I pray that my husband never has and never will be involved in something so hideous. There are too many good things to see and experience to waste one’s soul on pornography! I hope this temptation will not plague the next generation as it has plagued this one. I have set goals for my future family that I hope will aid in bringing my family safely to the celestial kingdom. It is so close. This life is but a fraction of the eternities. I hope I can have the faith to help my father completely overcome this, so it will not even be a temptation to him, and so we can be together as a family for all eternity. What can be more beautiful than this?
46From: AnonymousSent: Wednesday, October 17, :09 PMTo: Pyper, LonSubject: Important! For Bro. Pyper’s Rel 234 classBrother Pyper,I raced home from class today, after reading/ sharing the letters about abuse and overcoming it. I felt strongly impressed to share my experience with you. I hope that, should you feel to share with future classes, it will help someone who may be going through what I did.It was my 19th birthday (in August) and my boyfriend of 15 months and I were engaged!! It was the best birthday present I’d ever received. He was such an amazing man, honest, and fun. He always treated me with respect and dignity.
47We never argued, just agreed to disagree on some things and move on We never argued, just agreed to disagree on some things and move on. My family loved him. My friends loved him. I loved him, he loved me. He made me want to be better, made me live the gospel more fully. He was everything and more that I had ever hoped to find.I quit going to school at BYUI and moved down to Utah to live with my brother and his family until the wedding, which was set for December 9th in the SLC temple. I found a job and went to work full-time. The drive between us (he’s from UT) was about 20 minutes, depending on traffic. I learned to drive stick shift on a really old car that died a lot, so taking it on the freeway was out of the question. If we were to see each other, it would be his “duty” to drive to me. I hated asking that of him, with us trying to save for married life, but being with him was important to me. Slowly things started to change between us. He came to see me… once a week for 4 hours total. We talked every night before bed, on the phone, except… conversations became unknown between us. All we did was argue. Everything I did was wrong. Even if I hadn’t talked to him all day, if he was having a bad day, it was my fault. If things were good or he was happy, it was because of something he’d done. He used to tell me he loved me all the time. He always called me “his baby girl” (a somewhat childish name that just… made me melt). Now, I had to “earn it”. He didn’t love me unless I had done something right. I had to lose weight or work more hours, or get home when he wanted me home, sleep when he told me to, say what he wanted me to say.
48I was angry and hurt by how he was treating me I was angry and hurt by how he was treating me. This was a different man… his evil twin or something! This wasn’t the man I’d just devoted a year and a half to! But… I blew it off. I didn’t let it get to me. We planned, a month in advance, to go to the SLC temple and do baptisms together. The much anticipated morning arrived! Since we were supposed to start at 7 am, I got up about 5:30 to get ready, since he was supposed to come at 6:30 so that we could get there on time. 6:30 came and 6:30 went. So did 7, 8… finally at 9:30 I called his house when his dad picked up. He’d been downstairs sleeping. When he picked up I asked him if he was okay, slept past his alarm, hadn’t heard his cell ringing. He blew up at me. He said he’d been on his way but was going to be a few minutes late, decided it wasn’t worth it so he returned home to sleep. I was sobbing. He told me I was an idiot (and other choice words) for making such a big deal about it.
49When I told him that it was baptisms and those people had been waiting a long time, of course it was important to me, he said that I was dumb and naïve to the Lord’s ways. The argument escalated so I hung up and went to the primary program practice (since I had been called as a CTR5 teacher). He came into the house that afternoon and gave me a hug and a kiss and apologized. He asked if it was okay that we went to the SLC temple anyways, even though we could no longer do baptisms. I felt relieved for his (what felt) sincere apology and of course accepted. We drove down there in silence. When we got to the temple, he parked on a hill. I’d never seen this view before! It was absolutely beautiful! Truly the Lord’s house. I was caught up in thoughts and emotions, so much that I couldn’t stand, or get out of the car. How much peace the temple brings! I had forgotten he was in the car with me, I don’t know how much time passed but I looked over at him, with determination to be better and to do more for him and our relationship.
50That night I stayed up packing thinking, crying and praying That night I stayed up packing thinking, crying and praying. We left at 6 AM to drive back home to my parent’s house, my brother and his family and I. It was a very strong peace, with each mile that passed between us, that I was making the right decision. That not marrying him would bring happiness into my life. When I got home, I tearfully told my mom that the wedding was off. I couldn’t why… didn’t want to relive the pain he’d caused me. He showed up at my house, just days before thanksgiving, told me he loved me, said that he’d been thinking about what he’d done and how he treated me and felt horrible. He said that I was important to him, and that I made him a better person. Could I please forgive him and could we get past this… together? I believe in second chances (I’ve gotten so many from God to not believe) and so I said yes but that I wasn’t going to marry him. We could be friends but that was it. Since we had been together for so long, a big part of me still trusted him and had faith in him. My family had gone to the movies, but I’d stayed home sleeping because I’d been sick with the flu. The phone started ringing so I turned to grab it, he shut the door, locked it, and was kissing me before I could walk away 4 steps. I will not share the details because those things just don’t need to be heard but I was a victim of rape. I don’t know nor care to know how long that took, but when my mom walked in the door, she was shocked to see me on the side of the couch, huddled in a ball crying and hyperventilating and him standing over me telling me to breath and that everything would be okay
51My parents thought very highly of him, and never expected anything like that. And I was just too disgusted to say anything to anyone. When he left to the airport that afternoon I told him that I never wanted o see him again, hear from him again or even know that he existed. He proudly told me that I loved him and would come crawling back to him… in just a short time, he’d have me again. For 2 months I kept that secret to myself. Pretending to be happy, laughing because everyone else was, sharing in conversation so no one would suspect that real reason behind my tears and quietness, and sometimes short-tempered rudeness. It wasn’t until January (after I had re-applied to come back here for school and gotten my acceptance letter) that I could no longer handle the stress, pain and embarrassment by myself. I tearfully and fearfully, went into my parents room around midnight, woke them up and told them exactly why I’d been acting the way that I was. After what seemed like a million questions and tears later, my wonderful father gave me a father’s blessing.
52My parents reassured me of their love for me and their desire to help me get over this. I met with my bishop and a counselor once a week until the summer semester began and I moved back up here.I still meet with a councilor at the health center once a week to help me continue to get past the pain that I feel, to learn to trust and become myself again. I found out just a few months ago that he had been addicted to pornography, had been cheating on me and now has a little girl that he named Kaylee… the name I’ve wanted for my daughter since I was a small child.
53D&C 121:7-8 reads, “my son (daughter) peace be unto thy soul D&C 121:7-8 reads, “my son (daughter) peace be unto thy soul. Thine adversity and thine affliction shall be but a small moment; and then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high.”I am proud to say that I know who Christ is, and I know that he lives and loves me. I do not hate men, I do not think they are horrible liars. I just think I happened to find one who lost his way and lost sight of his true worth in God’s eyes. I pray every day for his happiness and hope that he finds Christ again. I know that Jesus NEVER turns his back on us… we turn our backs on him. He was the constant that I had. He never ever left me. There were times when I felt my parents did not believe me or thought I had made it up. But, I know my parents love me, are always there for me and will never give up on me. Families are forever. The church is true!! God loves us!
54PLEASE, please, please… if you are in a relationship that causes any degree of discomfort or that won’t allow you to feel the Holy Ghost… GET OUT!!Don’t blow it off. Don’t think it can’t happen to you. I believed it couldn’t happen to me. I’m a good girl, planning on going on a mission, with 6 RM siblings, 4 of whom are married with families of their own. My dad goes to the temple every week and my Mom’s been an RS president and seminary teacher. It happens. You are a daughter of God with infinite worth. The hurtful things aid and done to you do not determine who you are. God loves you as much now as the day you were born. Don’t be ashamed to go to your parents, the bishop, and a counselor. They are loving adults who can help you heal, help you learn who you are again, and help you learn to trust again.
55Please have faith that your husband is out there… that he will be as amazing as you dream of and more than you hope for. God is always watching over you, turn to Him. Pray always, pray as though it all depends on God… then get up and go about it as though it all depends on you! He will help you, but you have to be willing to help yourself, too. I am grateful for this experience in my life. Sounds weird, doesn’t it? But I now can be that willing hand, understanding heart and shoulder to cry on for others… that I otherwise could never have been.
56From: AnonymousSent: Thursday, February 09, 2006To: Pyper, LonSubject: PrivateSensitivity: ConfidentialI just wanted to share a few thought and feelings about our last class.
57For the past 7 months I have been going through something I never thought I would have to deal with. I do not want to go into much detail or information, but I just broke off a 6 month relationship with a young man here on campus. Two months into the relationship he told me he had issues with same-gender attraction. I stayed with him as he opened up to me and asked for help. As time went on the relationship got very manipulative and emotionally abusive. I stayed with him and stood by his side as every person around me pleaded with me to run away from him. I came to find out that he felt that homosexual activity was okay and allowed in the church. The relationship was strained as I felt that it was morally wrong. I was crazy for thinking that guys don’t do that. I turned to my Bishop and a counselor on campus for help. Each of them have worked very closely with me as I have finally cut things off. As the letter was read in class I felt that the very words from my prayers and journal entries were being read to the class. I am a second witness that personal sins and weaknesses affect more than one person. They have a rippling effect. My outlook on life, dating, men, and marriage have been so tainted. I am working so hard to forgive, grow and move on from this.
58Always stand by your beliefs Always stand by your beliefs. As my boyfriend opened up with me I wanted to be good and help him. So in the process I found myself saying things like “That is okay” instead of saying “Masturbation is wrong, but you can work through that” with the intention of not judging him, I became complacent with his sins. More then anything I learned that I needed to open my eyes and listen to the Spirit. I learned that I am not alone. I have parents who love and care about me. I have a Bishop that wants the best for me and now I have a counselor on campus that can help me overcome my jaded views. As I pray, attend the Temple, ponder, and study the scriptures I can once again have faith in marriage and move on with life.
59I guess more then anything I want to share with you a few things that I have learned. Listen to the Spirit. From the very beginning I knew something was not right. Several times I had distinct feelings to RUN and leave the relationship. The more I pushed that a way the less I heard the voice. If it feels wrong IT IS WRONG.Red flags:I, like the Spirit, saw red flag after red flag.Heed them!!!