LDS Video

LDS church releases new video on porn addiction

2014-08-24T09:15:00Z 2014-11-11T17:47:08Z LDS church releases new video on porn addictionGenelle Pugmire DAILY HERALD Daily Herald
August 24, 2014 9:15 am  • 

PROVO -- While it is difficult to say how many people in Utah County, or more specifically members of the LDS Church in the area, are addicted to pornography -- it's plenty and growing.

To bring attention to the peace that comes through recovery from addiction, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Wednesday released a video entitled, "Overcoming Pornography Addiction: The Healing Power of Jesus Christ."

The LDS Church also made significant changes in the past month to its resources for spouses and family members. Those interested can receive information on the best ways to help prevent attractions to pornography and also how to help heal from the addiction. For information visit www.arp.lds.org.

"Talk to any church leader and they are keenly aware pornography is impacting many Latter-day Saint lives," said Ben Erwin, program director of LDS Family Services. "Pornography has the same pattern as other addictions. The unique challenge is we live in a sexualized world. It's all around us. It's like an alcoholic trying to get better in a bar. Those addicted are constantly faced with being triggered and tempted."

The church website states, "Spouses and family members may labor under the heavy emotional burdens of worry, hurt, and hopelessness caused by the addictions of their loved ones. The Addiction Recovery Program supports spouses and family members as they seek the Savior’s help to carry their burdens and receive His promise: “My peace I give unto you. … Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27)."

Linda S. Reeves, second counselor in the Relief Society, spoke about protecting the family from pornography in April's LDS General Conference.

"We as leaders are increasingly concerned about the destruction that pornography is causing in the lives of Church members and their families," Reeves said. "Satan is attacking with unprecedented fury."

While a war is waging, keeping pornography out of the lives of loved ones sounds a little easier than it may be, and stopping children from curiosity and easy accessing on technology is becoming a problem at an earlier and earlier age. Even toddlers can swipe an electronic tablet before they can read.

UTAH COUNTY

Often referred to as the heart of the LDS population, Utah County members and their families addicted to porn are encouraged to view the church video and seek counseling. There are several therapists and clinics locally to help with porn addiction.

Dr. Russell Gaede, who specializes in pornography addiction at the Life Enhancement Center in Provo, said getting over pornography addiction is different than any other addiction.

"It is difficult to overcome. It's different than drugs or alcohol. We can put you in a room and clean your body of those," Gaede said. "Porn is in the brain. You carry it 24/7 and you can access it any time."

Gaede said the desire to view porn doesn't come instantly, it often takes several days of building up to a moment when an individual finally views porn.

"It's like a wave in the ocean," he said. "A mile out it may start out as a little tremor and it gets bigger and bigger."

The LDS Church 12-Step Addiction Recovery program is based on a similar 12-step program used by Alcoholics Anonymous.

"We adapted it for the church," Erwin said. "We're excited watching people change their lives."

"I think awareness is growing," said Adam Moore, clinical director of Utah Valley Counseling in Provo. Nearly 80 percent of all of his clinic's clients are suffering from some sort of sexual addiction. He uses the LDS Church's 12-Step program as part of his therapy for addicts.

"This has been a problem for a long, long time," Moore said. "People are accepting the reality that pornography is an issue. People are saying 'I need help.' I get calls consistently from LDS bishops and family members saying nothing is working for their ward or family member."

Moore said therapists in graduate school are not getting the training they need to help fight porn addiction; in fact, there are still some therapists that believe some pornography is healthy and normal. This is slowly changing, even in non-religious based sectors of society.

On the website www.fightthenewdrug.org it says porn is like a drug, "On the surface, cocaine and porn don’t seem to have a lot in common but studies are showing that viewing pornography tricks your brain into releasing the same pleasure chemicals that drugs do. What’s more is your brain actually begins to rewire itself because of this artificial stimulation."

Porn changes the brain, the website said. "Neurons that fire together, wire together. Just like other addictive substances, porn floods the brain with dopamine. That rush of brain chemicals happening over and over again rewires the brain’s reward pathway ultimately changing the make up of the viewer’s brain. This can result in an increased appetite for porn."

"It is becoming more and more known that compulsive sexual behaviors are damaging to relationships," Moore said. "It's a huge problem in Utah County."

Moore said he is also concerned about youth and porn addiction. It's not about looking at Playboy Magazines when you're a kid and growing up feeding the curiosity anymore. Hardcore pornography is available all the time, to all ages and it is getting worse.

"The challenge kids face is the porn now days is not the same," Moore said. "It is more violent and deviant and they have instant access."

Gaede asked, "How early are children allowed to have cell phones? Cell phones get pornography. How many parents are monitoring cell phones?"

He said the one question he asks his clients is "Where are you accessing your porn from?"

"Cell phones is usually the answer," Gaede said. "Even with the number of ways of blocking them, there's always a way to get around it."

While it may be difficult to have exact numbers on those addicted to porn in Utah County, Moore said all indications are that it is big and growing fast.

"Treatment facilities entirely dedicated to pornography addiction are opening everywhere in the county," Moore said.

The LDS video, online manual and 12-step recovery program are just a few ways the LDS church is helping the fight on pornography. Erwin said the 12-step program is free to the public, confidential and a safe place to share. It is run by trained church service missionaries.

"The meetings start with a prayer," Erwin said. "A confidentiality statement is read, the addiction recovery guide read, and individuals share their stories. They go by first names only. There is no pressure if they just want to observe."

In Utah County the program is run by LDS Family Services offices in American Fork, Provo and Springville.

"In these meetings they have hope they can be clean," Erwin said. "They can be healed through the atonement of Jesus Christ."

Daily Herald reporter Genelle Pugmire can contacted at gpugmire@heraldextra.com, (801)344-2910, Twitter @gpugmire

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