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Here’s a hypothetical: bishop’s son and pornography confession

Posted: 26 Feb 2019, 03:47
by QuestionAbound
How might a mother counsel a son:
1-who has viewed pornography a few times
2-and doesn’t understand why it is wrong and feels indifferent about it
3-especially since the teen years are full of hormones
4-and the youth are told that the hormones and feelings are normal but that acting on them is a sin and that’s a hard thing to understand
5-and absolutely does not want to talk to his bishop father or the stake president because, after all, see #2 above
6-and is the kind of kid who is devastated if he knows he has disappointed mom in any way?

Hypothetical son feels it’s okay to participate fully in his priesthood responsibilities since viewing has only happened a few times and he has stopped.

Mom suggested to hypothetical son that blessing the sacrament may not be something he does and after bishop dad sees son refuse to bless, Bishop dad has ES schedule a surprise interview with son to happen in a week.


Re: Here’s a hypothetical: bishop’s son and pornography confession

Posted: 26 Feb 2019, 05:25
by LookingHard
Oh wow. That is hard. About the only thing I would suggest if it was my son was that he can't put his finger on it, but he just didn't feel like blessing the sacrament that week. If it were me now, not my 16 year old self, I would just ask the bishop, "have you ever just felt like something wasn't quite right and you are not sure why?"

Best of luck!

Re: Here’s a hypothetical: bishop’s son and pornography confession

Posted: 26 Feb 2019, 08:10
by Minyan Man
IMO, this is a conversation that is most effective between Father & Son.
Personally, as a teenager, I would never ever want to discuss this issue with Mom.
Hopefully, Dad will have compassion & empathy that is different than Mom.

I would start with that conversation first.

Re: Here’s a hypothetical: bishop’s son and pornography confession

Posted: 26 Feb 2019, 09:00
by dande48
I agree, this is a very delicate issue to address between a mother and son. I find #2 is interesting, since "because ____ says God says not to" isn't a good enough reason (for most it is). I'd avoid guilting him, or making him feel demonized because of it. But there are very good reasons for keeping far away from it, and a lot of research on the subject you can find. Here's a few:
1. Erectile dysfunction
2. Sexual insensitivity
3. The exploitative nature of the industry.
4. The damage it does, specifically to the female participants.
5. The psychological effects of it on the mind, including objectification, aggression, decreased social bonds, increased distrust towards others, etc.
6. Lowered energy and mental cognition.

Also, here's a recommended site: (lol, I LOVE the name. It describes the site perfectly). It's 100% secular focused, rather than religious. In other words, its not guilt focused, or filled with threats of hell. It's "here's why porn is bad, from a practical standpoint, and we're here to help you kick the habit". It might be useful.

Re: Here’s a hypothetical: bishop’s son and pornography confession

Posted: 26 Feb 2019, 09:55
by SilentDawning
I would let his conscience be the guide. Explain to him why pornography isn't good (along with whatever comes with it), but indicate acceptance of the sexual urges. Encourage him to pray about what he should do about it, and to act on his conscience as a result. Encourage him to do what is right regarding participating in ordinances and priesthood responsibilities, letting his conscience be his guide.

I understand the use of pornography in certain situations -- married men with wives who are not sexually interested over periods of decades, for example. In that respect, pornography, while a weak substitute for live intimacy with a spouse, can hold marriages together when all other attempts at intimacy have failed (please don't blast me for saying that). But I believe it can also distance a person spiritually from God. Also, it can really change the way you view other people. It can lead to staring at members of the opposite sex, "inventory taking" and annoying thoughts about sex impinging on your day all the time. I think it's better to live one's life without it, definitely.

I would continue to affirm your love for him as well.

I have a son who is not really active. To my knowledge he doesn't look at porn. But I find that if we leave him to his own devices, he EVENTUALLY comes around. On his own, he makes good decisions for school, and even the church. Each person is different, but in his case, letting him decide on his own (an accepting the risks and consequences) seems to have produced inside-out changes in him consistently over time. So, I would be patient.

Re: Here’s a hypothetical: bishop’s son and pornography confession

Posted: 26 Feb 2019, 14:19
by Roy
1) that your hypothetical bishop husband is TBM.
2) that he does not know about the P use.
3) that he is trying to determine why his son declined to bless the sacrament.

If it was me I would talk to my husband about it. I always hate in TV shows where people keep secrets and then something terrible happens because they did. I suppose the TV show would be much less dramatic if people were just honest and open.

It sounds like the boy isn't addicted to P but looked at it a few times and has since ceased. I think I as a father might want to have a talk with my son about what he saw and what his impressions and thoughts are on the subject. I suppose I would want my son to know that his urges are natural and good and that some day they will help him to form lasting and loving bonds in a committed relationship. I might also talk about how P is A) not realistic, B) exploitative, and C) dehumanizing.

I believe that most fathers can be fairly empathetic about the raging hormones of adolescence. I also understand that the rhetoric around M has shifted in that it might not be considered a sin (Now it seems to be more gray area). Honestly, M seems developmentally normal and expected for a teenage boy and I do not view it as a problem as long as it does not interfere with life activities.

In summary, If i were a woman I would talk to my husband about my concerns and hope that he can have a heart to heart with DS about becoming a man (as a father, not as a bishop).

Re: Here’s a hypothetical: bishop’s son and pornography confession

Posted: 26 Feb 2019, 14:39
by Curt Sunshine
He viewed it a few times and stopped.

From a purely traditional, orthodox viewpoint, he sinned and repented. From that viewpoint, it is over. Done. End of discussion.

From my own heterodox viewpoint, he didn't sin. He stopped. It is over. Done. End of discussion.

However . . .

I would tell him most people won't understand and will make WAY more out of it than it actually is/was. I would tell him it isn't something he needs to confess. I would tell him to tell anyone who asks from an "official" calling that he just didn't feel "right" that day (true) and wanted to "get right" (true). I would tell him to stress a desire to feel good about participating (true) and say he was trying to do the right thing (true) - like he has been taught to do (true). He won't be lying; every word of that is true.

If any leader argues with that . . .

Re: Here’s a hypothetical: bishop’s son and pornography confession

Posted: 27 Feb 2019, 08:48
by Roy
I second Curt's input.

If he "doesn’t understand why it is wrong and feels indifferent about it" and it has stopped then there might be no need to talk to anyone.

In some very real ways you are as "worthy" as you feel. If you do not feel a need to confess then there may be no need.

Re: Here’s a hypothetical: bishop’s son and pornography confession

Posted: 27 Feb 2019, 15:33
by DarkJedi
I've read this thread with some mild interest. I think there has been some good advice and I particularly do agree with Curt, Roy, and MM (no offense intended toward anyone else and I do believe their comments also have value). I think this is kind of a man to man thing.

That said I think there's something else that you as his mother do need to consider. Let's face it, many of the things taught as doctrine in the church (like no porn) are A) not in actuality doctrine and B) riddled with the instillment of fear and guilt. So a teenage boy "full of hormones" has "viewed pornography a few times" and "feels indifferent about it." AND, he "absolutely does not want to talk to his bishop father" and "is devastated if he knows he has disappointed mom." I think you need to honestly ask yourself what you are doing to his psyche (actual and spiritual) by suggesting to him that he has committed some horrendous sin worthy of not blessing the sacrament, which will only bring to him shame, fear, and guilt. I can't find the direct quote immediately, but Elder Bednar said regarding taking the sacrament (paraphrasing) that unless it is a sin which might put your church membership in jeopardy taking the sacrament is encouraged and is in fact sin is why we take the sacrament. I'd say if one is worthy to take the sacrament (and almost all of us are) one is worthy to bless it, and I know of no one around here who has been ex'ed for looking at porn. As the Dad of now young adult sons with a pretty orthodox mom, you might want to consider what you're doing to your relationship with your son and his relationship with the church. (My apologies if you're feeling the power of the Dark Side, but in all honesty sometimes it is the power of the Dark Side that makes change.)

Edited to add the Bednar quote:
It’s my observation, too, some members of the church, especially very conscientious members can be way too hard on themselves. And, so they may have had an inappropriate thought or a fussy word with somebody in the family before they went out the door, and they may think, ‘Oh, I’m not worthy to partake of the sacrament.’ That’s why we take the sacrament. Now if we do something that potentially affects our standing and membership in the church then there should be a real reservation. Otherwise, we should do what we need to do. Be prepared. Even with all of our best efforts. If I get grumpy going out of the house and say something to somebody that I shouldn’t have said. But the sacrament is to help, and we should not withdraw ourselves from that blessing needlessly.

Re: Here’s a hypothetical: bishop’s son and pornography confession

Posted: 27 Feb 2019, 22:52
by mom3
Yesterday I wrote a post nearly identical to DJ's. I pulled it back because I wasn't sure I had a good handle on the OP.

We don't eliminate WoW breakers from sacrament. Porn is the same. Hug him, don't scold or shame. He has enough on his heart. He needs to know he is loved- NO MATTTER WHAT.