I never wanted to date someone with a pornography addiction. But I did. Here’s my story and why I stuck with him.
As a single sister in the Church, I’ve gone on my fair share of dates (more than I can remember in my 10 years of dating). Going out with someone who has a problem with pornography was never my goal in life. In fact, I had tried to avoid it at all costs. But as I got older, I realized that finding someone who had never been mixed up in pornography was going to be trickier than I thought.
Last year, I dated someone who alluded to me that he used to have a problem with pornography. We’ll call him Guy #1. (He was the first guy to tell me, but he wouldn’t be the last.) I could see the effects of the pornography seeping into the way he treated me. He really adored me, but his brain had been tainted by the years of pornography use. And I understood from the few conversations we had about it that it was a battle that he was still struggling with to some degree.
He was never extremely open about his problem, and I had no idea where he stood with the Lord and his testimony. This made me afraid to be open and vulnerable with him, and I never truly trusted him. I wanted things to work out between us, but no matter how much I tried, the thought always came to me, “You should break up with him.”
So I did.
Fast forward one year. I would say that I had built a good little fortress to protect my heart. Right when I thought I wouldn’t ever really trust someone again, I met a new guy. We’ll call him Guy #2. I instantly felt a good connection with him. We were able to talk easily, and he was very open about who he was and the path that he had followed in life. It wasn’t a pretty one.
Did you know that Mormons can't use electricity? I didn't--and I am a Mormon! Check out these other instances when a friend or acquaintance had something interesting to say about Latter-day Saint beliefs and culture.
“What are you doing? You can’t use a calculator!”
My hands froze on the keypad, and I looked to my fellow seventh-grader who had made the statement. We were in math class working on a homework assignment, and I hadn’t realized calculators were prohibited. It looked like all my classmates were tapping away on their electronic math aids. So I asked back, “Why?”
“Aren't you Mormon? You can’t use calculators.”
And that’s when I realized: my classmate thought being Mormon was the same as being Amish.
After assuring him that I had arrived at school that morning in a car and that I had plans to use a computer later, I got back to my assignment, calculator in hand.
But that wasn’t the last time I’d hear something strange one of my classmates, coworkers, or even close friends who had an odd idea about what it meant to be Mormon. Here are eight more times I or one of my LDS friends have heard something about our beliefs from others who clearly didn’t quite get what it means to be a Latter-day Saint:
1. “But you don’t celebrate Christmas.”
What you thought was just a silly or sweet compliment could in fact have damaging consequences you never expected. Check out this list of common harmful compliments to learn what to avoid.
One of the first things my best friend heard from her mother as she hugged her in the Salt Lake City airport, missionary pack still in hand and nametag still pinned to her sweater, was, “Honey, I am so proud of you. A year and a half surrounded by French dishes and all those crepes, and you stayed so thin!”
While the intention behind this compliment was sweet, the overall message it sent was horribly wrong. What about her year and a half of devoted service to the Lord? What about her new spiritual confidence? What about her practical fluency in a second language? Of all the qualities this mother could choose to praise after her daughter honorably served a mission, she chose dress size.
This behavior isn't uncommon. Take a look at the comments on any selfie. Superficial compliments flood Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. And many of these comments encourage behaviors that are ridiculous, if not outright dangerous. It’s tempting to think that any compliment to a woman is a good compliment. But that’s not the case. Many compliments carry undertones or emotional baggage that we may not even be aware of. These compliments, though intended to be uplifting, can actually be harmful to a woman’s sense of self-worth. (While I focus on examples geared towards woman, it's important to realize these types of compliments are harmful to anyone--both men and women.)
Going to church in a new ward can be stressful and intimidating--but I love it. Here's why.
Moving is hard. I would know—on average, I’ve moved every two years since I was born. And not just down the street. I’ve moved thousands of miles away in one go. And it is stressful. Finding housing, changing schools, even starting a new job can all be part of the stress of moving. And for us Mormons, making new friends and finding your place in a new ward can be stressful, too.
But let me let you in on a secret of mine. One of my favorite things about moving is that I love going to a new ward.
Though to be fair, I didn’t always love it. In fact, only in my past three or four moves have I discovered the secret to enjoying the still-sometimes-stressful changes involved in attending Church at a new building with new people: it’s all about looking for the opportunities.
Here are five reasons to love moving into a new ward.
1. We get the chance to start over. Moving to a new ward is like a fresh start; nobody knows us or our past mistakes. And because nobody knows us yet, it gives us the chance to define who we want to be. Then we can take the opportunity to really make a good effort towards being more Christ-like without being held back by our past.
United States Air Force veteran Gail "Hal" Halvorsen, recently featured in the Church's cinematic release Meet the Mormons, is known to the world as the Berlin Candy Bomber. He talks about hope, gratitude, and how sharing two sticks of gum changed the course of his life.
“It all started when I was maybe 10 or 12 years old,” explains Colonel Gail S. “Hal” Halvorsen. “I was raised on a farm. We had two teams of horses to pull a wagon, and one day after a storm, when it was muddy, my dad stopped and took me up to an old 2,000 pound draft horse.” Instead of the expected toothbrush lesson, Halvorsen was surprised when his dad said, “See this little bit? This bit that goes in the horse’s mouth? It turns around that whole 2,000 pound body."
Halvorsen continues, "My father quoted James, how out of little things proceed that which is great, and then repeated how we put bits in the horse’s mouth and we turn the whole body about, just like the helms of ships turn the ships about. He said, ‘As you go through life, any decision you make without the Holy Ghost is going to be dangerous.’”
This lesson stuck with Halvorsen through years and wars. But there was one particular instance of heeding a prompting, of having the best bit to guide him, that changed Hal’s life and the lives of countless others.
In the wake of World War II, Halvorsen, then a lieutenant and pilot for the United States, was assigned to fly flour into West Berlin as part of a war recovery effort. He recalls, “I was up against the fence in Berlin, shooting movies of the airplanes coming overhead and landing. The kids were on the other side of the barbed wire, 30 of them.”