In today’s social media world, many children, youth, and adults are often exposed to some form of pornography. Some will become addicted because they do not have enough knowledge and understanding of the significance of the powers of procreation—the divinely appointed means by which mortal life is created. God gives the power of procreation to fulfill His great plan of happiness by which His children can obtain a physical body and progress toward perfection.
Spiritual Strength Comes from Living the Law of Chastity
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are taught to live the law of chastity. This means that the powers of procreation are to be employed only between a man and woman who are legally and lawfully married. Unmarried members are to live a morally clean life. By living the law of chastity, I have witnessed the changes within myself and gained spiritual strength.
There is a battle between good and evil in mortal life. We know Satan is able to tempt us. We can, however, reject temptations and learn to say as Jesus did, “worship the Lord thy God, and him only thou shalt serve” (Matthew 4:10).
Ways of Overcoming Addictive Behaviors
When I was a teenager, I struggled with these temptations. Inappropriate internet content often prompted me to chose sensual and carnal thinking and activities over spiritual worship. Over time, I found myself struggling with an addiction to pornography that led to feelings of guilt, disappointment, discouragement, and depression.
One day, I realized that I needed to mend myself. I decided to talk to my bishop. He helped me see that I needed to look at four aspects of my life: physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual. This encouraged me to search for spiritual influences that would balance with the other aspects of my life. One scripture verse that flashed into my mind was 1 Timothy 4:8: “For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” When we are faithful in developing spiritual maturity, other aspects of life will follow.
Below are some of the strategies that my church leaders suggested to keep me in tune with the Spirit and focus on righteous actions:
Sing hymns—Replace negative thoughts with wholesome thoughts. As the Lord has revealed: ”For my soul delighteth in the songs of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads.” (Doctrine and Covenants 25:12).
Search, ponder and pray about the scriptures—The Book of Mormon and the Bible are powerful scriptural resources. Memorizing scriptures can help draw attention away from inappropriate things. As we read the Book of Mormon, President Hinckley stated, “There will come a strengthened resolution to walk in obedience to His commandments, and there will come a stronger testimony of the living reality of the Son of God”. (“The Power of the Book of Mormon,” Ensign, June 1988, 6).
Fasting—Through fasting the Spirit of the Lord will help us do what is right. Individual questions will be specifically answered.
Talk to someone you can trust—Talking with parents or church leaders will help maintain closeness, friendship, and support. They are there to help guide us and not feel abandoned.
Service—Serving others is the same as serving the Lord. There are people who need help, even in small things. Great things will come to pass by thinking about and helping others.
Recreation—Wholesome activities like playing basketball, golf, chess, or musical instruments turn thoughts away from temptation and help maintain self-discipline.
Daily Tracking Record—Keep a journal of goals, priorities, and daily activities. This records progress and helps individuals become aware of settings, times, events when physical urges are felt. Such a record encourages improvement.
These are just some things that have helped me spiritually mature. I always remind myself that I am not alone in this battle. I am living with the great constant companion of the Holy Ghost. Through the guidance of the Spirit, I have experienced real spiritual growth and a “mighty change in [my heart]” (Alma 5:14).
The Healing Power of Jesus Christ
When I struggle with immoral thoughts and actions, it doesn’t mean I can’t get back and move forward. After many pleadings and prayers for help, a huge spiritual impression overcame me—the Savior, Jesus Christ can heal me!
That thought helped me think optimistically. Understanding and applying His infinite and great atoning sacrifice is a balm that repairs my broken soul, regrets, discouragements, guilt, and other negative feelings. I realized that I could be clean as I repent sincerely and forsake my carnal desires. As the Lord has counselled: “By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins—behold, he will confess them and forsake them” (Doctrine and Covenants 58:43).
The Joy of Repentance
We can truly be clean by practising the principle of repentance and understanding that Christ gave His life to atone for the sins of all mankind. Jesus Christ is the one way to get out of the nightmare of temptation, immorality, and worldly sin. He will help us. Through Christ we can be pure and face Heavenly Father. God truly knows each one of His children. When we mess up, He is always patient and loving. No matter how small or big our sins are, we can always have the help of our Redeemer and Savior who wants us to repent and forsake our wrongdoings.
I recall that a ten-dollar bill (though it may be used, crumpled, and battered) is still worth ten dollars. When we think we have suffered from making wrong choices, it is time to wake up, pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and get back to basics. We should never forget that “The worth of souls is great in the sight of God” (Doctrine and Covenants 18:10).
Repentance through confession is one most vital of elements in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Elder Tad R. Callister explained: “Somewhere, sometime, somehow we must face the wall, square up, and climb it. That is confession. That is total integrity—disclosing the whole truth and nothing but the truth. When we do this, our spiritual horizons become unlimited” (“Becoming Men and Women of Integrity,” BYU Speeches, Dec. 6 2011).