Megan Hanks (daughter of Rhyll and Steven Croshaw) wrote a Relief Society lesson addressing the topic of pornography. As a child of a man with a pornography and sexual addiction, she saw first-hand the effects pornography can have on a family. She shares some notes from a Relief Society lesson she gave on the topic of pornography.
I have an awesome family. My parents were married and sealed in the temple. Both set of grandparents were also. I am one of 7 kids ranging in ages from 37 to 21. I have 2 sisters and 4 brothers. All brothers and 1 sister served missions. Five of us are married, sealed in the temple and there are 15 grandkids. Youngest 2 brothers [recently returned from their missions.] Pretty darn perfect. I love and adore my family.
I could stop there but that is not all that my family is, and this is the real stuff. Pornography and sexual addiction has been a part of my family since before my parents even met. My dad was first introduced to pornography when he was 6 years old. Fifteen years later, because of choices and circumstances, he brought into a marriage with my mom an addiction that was spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically crippling. That continued for 30 years. In those 30 years there were major and devastating lows that were painful and agonizing for my mom and us children. Satan has created this tool of sexual addiction to affect and harm as many souls as it can in it’s wake. The addiction was my dad’s. However the effects were agonizing for not only him but my mom and our family.
The effect on me as a child was significant. HOW DID I FEEL??? This was very hard as a child to not know why I didn’t have a relashonship with my dad.
NOW, as it stands today, for 6 ½ years my dad and my mom have worked tirelessly to find hope and recovery from this addiction. My dad has worked to “re-enlist” himself to the Lord’s army. He has become a valiant soldier who remembers his noble birthright and works one day at a time to earn it. My mom works by his side in her own recovery from the effects of his addiction in her life. She too works one day at a time to live as the Lord has asked her. To have faith and not fear. Know that if she “trusts in the Lord with all her heart and leans not unto her own understanding He will direct her path.” My own experience in this family has brought me to a place of determination and strength. To enlist families and individuals to the battle…..
WHAT ARE OUR TOOLS IN THIS BATTLE PARTICULARLY REGARDING PORNOGRAPHY AND SEXUAL ADDICTION?
NOW SISTERS, THIS IS HOW WE FIGHT THE BATTLE….
*the approach that we must take as women will be tailored to the role that we are in. I make an effort to acknowledge that the approach we take will be significantly different in each of these roles. [wife, mother, sister, grandmother, church member or leader] However, there are many basics that will be similar to each relationship and situation you are in. Make no mistake, I do not suggest by any means that this is a male focused addiction. [See stories of women who have dealt with this addiction.] Satan wants all of us. He will use whatever means possible to achieve this.
OUR TOOLS ARE;
FAITH, KNOWLEDGE, EDUCATION, ACTION
Read more of Megan’s thoughts about how wives, mothers, and women in general can be more educated and active in fighting pornography, more compassionate with loved ones who may be struggling with pornography addiction, and more prepared for when this problem might impact their lives personally as a wife, mother, or woman.
Megan also includes a list of helpful resources. (Many are also listed on this page.)
I have to say as a man in recovery for several years now that the perspective displayed (and shared by many in the LDS community) by Ms. Hanks is simply not helpful in this situation. All of this battle imagery…and talk of BOLDNESS…certainly does not help the man who is suffering with this affliction. If anything, it makes him feel attacked and has a tendency to push him further into isolation. The person dealing with an internet pornography problem needs to know that they are loved, that they have the resources to deal with this (i.e. Sexaholics Anonymous, counselor, etc.), and that they need to be honest and accountable of their own accord. All of the emotional, war-like imagery is not helpful. But I do appreciate the author’s efforts to bring attention to this important topic and I can appreciate how this issue has devastated the author’s life, as well as her father’s. Pornography is truly devastating.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I’m sorry if this felt like an attack. I cannot speak for Megan, but I personally think there are two levels of what we are talking about. One is the reality that the idea of the adversary fighting against God’s plan is very real. It’s something our leaders talk about a lot. It IS a war at its core. And different people will talk about this issue in different ways. I know a lot of women who are feeling that need to ‘fight’ in a defend-their-families kind of a way, responding to Sister Beck’s invitation to be lionesses at the gate.
BUT, whenever we talk about pornography here at Mormon Women, I want to be clear that we are NOT talking about fighting against *people* who are struggling. We feel a great deal of compassion for those who are currently prisoners of this war. We understand that addicts, too, are victims, struggling, needing love nd support. We are not attacking those prisoners…we feel a great deal of hope and concern for them as well.
I would encourage you to read more about her father’s story. The Croshaws are actually working from a place of great hope and encouragement, but also are honest about the serious impact of addiction on individuals and families.
Megan may have been sorting through some of her own personal emotions in this lesson (which I think we have to leave some space for), but as I read it, to me, the real message is one based in faith and a desire to raise awareness about this issue, as you noted.
By the way, if you feel like sharing your story, please email us and let us know. We think it’s good to hear a variety of perspectives about how to find healing and recovery.
What about women who are struggling with the same addictions?
I just wanted to let you know that we’ve seen your question. It’s a very valid one. My plan is to address it this Saturday (I actually had a draft last Saturday but didn’t get it done).
In the meantime, you can browse our personal stories index and read a couple of stories of women who have dealt with this addiction.
We’ve posted another story of a woman who has dealt with sexual addiction. You can find the post here: