Is pornography use something I need to discuss with the bishop?

23 yo female…

I’m so glad you asked this. I’m in a very similar situation– the depression, pornography and difficult times. I only did it for about a year on and off. I also masturbated a handful of times, but it’s been quite a while since I did either (at least 8 months).

I think a lot of my worry and feelings of guilt come from not knowing how serious this is. I prayed about this for a considerable space of time, and felt much better. Then I had the thought that maybe I was supposed/required to confess this to the Bishop or something. My depression makes it very difficult for me to forgive myself, but at the same time I don’t want to rationalize this and just give myself a break.

Is this something I have to discuss with the Bishop? Or is it okay to handle this between me and the Lord? The thought of discussing anything of this nature with my Bishop makes me ***extremely*** uncomfortable.

This response will be somewhat similar to the one I gave the original poster. I cannot be the one who decides whether or not you should see your bishop for a religious/spiritual confession. You do not HAVE to do anything. Whether or not you CHOOSE to talk to your bishop is your own personal decision – and it should be made in the light of what you think will be most helpful to YOU. The main point I would like to make about confession – is that it should be seen and treated as a tool that is MEANT to help you. It is supposed to mirror or symbolize our ability to go to our Savior and leave at His feet our pain, sin and weakness. From my own personal experience and hundreds of other experiences I have listened to – confession can and should serve as a “letting go.” It is the spiritual equivalent of a therapy process per se (not to imply that a bishop is a therapist, because he usually is not or that confession should take the place of psychotherapy). But confession, which is a verbal manifestation of information we usually hold privately, is a form of healing that mirrors talk-therapy. It can be a powerful process to lay our woes in front of another and be vulnerable enough to ask for help/guidance. It goes along with the idea that we need not face our hardships or weaknesses alone.

I do not want to minimize that, unfortunately, I have heard of negative experiences with confession – mainly that of feeling shamed. Bishops are not perfect at this process. They vary in style, experience, empathy and views regarding disciplinary action. However, from a statistical perspective, I have heard many more positive experiences than negative in regards to confessionals.

The following is my interpretation of guidelines (which you are welcome to take under consideration):

  • Watching pornography probably falls under what most bishops or leaders in the church would consider serious enough to necessitate confession as far as feeling like you are in “good standing”. Especially when it has occurred on multiple occasions. And by pornography I do not mean a rated R movie or looking at a Victoria’s Secret catalog. Although these things may not be spiritually uplifting, they are not what I would consider pornographic material.
  • Masturbation is less serious than viewing pornography and can be taken to confession if it is a behavior that is causing overwhelming guilt, becoming difficult to control or occurring at a worrisome frequency.

Everything about the repentance process is meant to be for our benefit (and the benefit of others if we have harmed another) – not to purposely shame us or lower our self-worth or self-esteem. It is meant to act as a buoy; an anchor; a liberator. The relationship you mention between you and the Lord is ultimately the one that matters. He loves you and He wants to heal you. His balm is soothing, refreshing and eases our aches and pains.

Notice the purpose.

An interesting article on the benefits and methods of confession:

From a mental health standpoint, the behavior you report is not serious – in the sense that it has not become addictive or out of control in your life. Regardless of what you decide to do regarding confession – it is time to move on. It’s been a while since you’ve engaged in behavior that concerns you – a fact you should celebrate. What concerns me more, is that if you get stuck in a pattern of shame and guilt, you may be more likely to revert back to things that cause you shame and guilt. Celebrate your strengths, acknowledge what you learned from your mistakes and get going on the next chapter of your life. Good luck!

  • Anonymous

    My husband is out of town. we have a very healthy and active sex life and we want to know how to stay bonded in that way while he is gone. Is phone sex okay? we have never touched ourselves and want to know what mutual masturbation is and if it is considered unholy and impure? (we want to visualize eachother and hear eachother speak and masturbate to eachother).

  • Marcus A.

    To the original question- I would go and talk to your bishop. Confession is immensely difficult and uncomfortable for males, too, but I have done it several times and every time I have ended up feeling relieved, optimistic, and so much better about myself.Anonymous,Phone sex is just that- sex. How you and your spouse have sex is entirely up to you, as long as it doesn't involve other people. Phone sex has been a life-saver for my marriage as well, and has helped to keep me out of a lot of tempting situations while on travel.

  • Anonymous

    Mutual masturbation is where you both masturbate (self stimulation) together. Whether you are side by side, or on the other side of the world and on the phone together, or skyping, it should be no different. This seems, to me, a great way to stay connected to each other while separated.To the origional poster, I would say that if it has been that long since you have had any problems with pornography, then you are probably okay to take care of this on your own. If you continue to struggle with it, your Bishop might be of some help. It is important to know that Bishop's are there for your spiritual welfare. Many don't have the skills to help with your emotional struggles. If your depression, anxiety, etc. are what drive you to the pornography use then I would suggest that you find a good mental health professional to help you learn how find other outlets for your emotional needs.

  • Anonymous

    NEW QUESTION:I was molested as a young child and had several sexual experiences with men 15-20 years older than me when I was a teenager. I am now happily married and we have a great sex life. However, when we are having sexual relations, I usually have fantasies that involve men and young girls, although not necessarily me. It worries me and makes me feel bad because I have a sweet loving husband who deserves my whole heart. How can I get past these unhealthy fantasies and just be in the present moment?

  • Anonymous

    Try sex with your eyes always open and focus on your husband's body and your own body. Focus on your husband's reactions and pleasure. Mirrors are fun! You might find other ways to bring you enough stimulation that the improper fantasies are no longer needed to provide you with the stimulation. With your eyes open, it is harder to fantisize. Try creating other fantasies that involve you and your husband.

  • Anonymous

    THIS MAY OR MAY NOT BE OF HELP. FROM THE BIBLE DICTIONARY: "It is a duty of all persons to confess all their sins to the Lord and, when necessary, to the person or persons sinned against. Sins against the public must be publicly confessed (D&C; 42: 88-93). Other items may be confessed to a church official (bishop), or in many cases to the Lord alone. Confession to a church official (in most cases the bishop) is necessary whenever one’s transgression is of a nature for which the Church might impose loss of membership or other disciplinary action."

  • Anonymous

    "Sins against the public must be publicly confessed (D&C; 42: 88-93)"Which masturbation is not so hence need not be confessed. Personally, I'd say the patient here will probably not get anything positive out of confessing this to Bishop, he will probably just ban the sacrament from her for a month or two and then follow-up later, asking more probing questions, all for a sin which is minor in the overall list of sins. I'd recommend her to confess to the Lord in prayer and try to overcome this with God by apologizing for this behavior which probably offends God etc ….

  • Anonymous

    "he will probably just ban the sacrament from her for a month or two and then follow-up later, asking more probing questions, all for a sin which is minor in the overall list of sins."Depending on the Bishop… many will not place any restrictions on the member, for doing something that 90% of men and 70+% of women have problems with.I believe our Heavenly Father is more intested in how we show love to one another, than whether we occassionaly give in to a natural, biological urge.