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Wife of religious leader recounts her family's private battle

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  • nottyou Riverton, UT
    Sept. 19, 2010 8:39 a.m.

    A very interesting and well written article. As to how LDS co-workers will react, I'll never forget the analogy that a leader in the LDS Church once used referring to someone in the congregation judging someone else that might smell like cigarette smoke. Elder Hartman Rector Jr. said, "If our sins hand an aroma, we'd all have quite a stench about us." That statement has always impressed me to try to not be judgmental of others and to realize we are just a bad choice away from perhaps being in the same circumstance. I hope the Lord continues to bless Pastor and Sister Anderson in this very challenging battle against a very destructive choice.

  • FRED8 Oakland, CA
    Sept. 19, 2010 8:55 a.m.

    I believe Pastor Anderson owes thanks to God for giving him such a strong and understanding wife and acting on his problems when realizing he was in the process destroying love and marriage.To his wife I give accolades for her love and understanding.You have my prayers.

  • Chickenchaser Centralia, WA
    Sept. 19, 2010 9:29 a.m.

    " . . .because she knows there are many other women like her." So why was this woman singled out? I dare say every denomination in the world, let alone in Zion, has its share of addicts.

  • Walt Nicholes Orem, UT
    Sept. 19, 2010 9:42 a.m.

    Pornography is a huge problem. Some say that it is a bigger problem, per capita, among men in Utah.

    What is a woman to do? One could consider that this series of articles will serve to help women leave their husbands - which no one would dispute their right to do. But what will be the impact on society of an increase of divorced women? And more particularly, what will be the impact on society (let alone the children involved) on the increase of the "fatherless" children of these divorces?

    I hope the Deseret News also encourages articles that will show these unfortunate women how to save their families rather then how to sever them.

    Even though the burden of change is on the addicted husband (in most cases it IS the husband who has the addiction) the effect is on the wife and kids, and, ultimately, society.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Sept. 19, 2010 10:49 a.m.

    It's not just the internet. It is also prime time TV and movies (both cable and at the theater). Pick ANY TV drama in the evening and you have the same rotten stuff interlaced throughout the plot and it is right there for all to see. The reality TV stuff is also propagating the problem from "The Bachelor" to all the other copy cat reality garbage. Women seem to be drawn to this reality stuff like nats to a light and I am sure that is who these producers are targeting (girls to adult women). There is a simply solution - JUST TURN IT OFF and find something else to do with your life. Get regular exercise - walk the dog - do something as a couple regularly .. whatever just turn the TV off and get a life!!!

  • EgbertThrockmorton Layton, UT
    Sept. 19, 2010 10:52 a.m.

    I once had an LDS religious leader comment to another LDS member, who "objected" to the smell of cigarette smoke clinging to a man's clothing, who was attending that meeting. "Brother, that IS the best smell in the entire Church!" Meaning, we need to reach out and embrace people, rather than "objecting" to their personal struggles and demons. I applaud this family in this story for their courage and open manner in dealing with an addiction. I have seen in our "LDS culture" here in Utah (as a non-native) quite the opposite, when a child, sibling or spouse has ANY addiction, seems that turning one's back if culturally preferred to turning the other cheek, and a refusal to offer support and friendship, fellowship, instead offer exclusion and derision. "There but for the grace of God, go I." We need to be better people and reach out to those suffering from all addictions. It won't "taint" us at all.

  • Lindsay Payson, UT
    Sept. 19, 2010 11:46 a.m.

    If your spouse is involved in porn or other addictive behaviors it is imperative that you find a support group. SA-Anon is free and is for spouses of sex addicts, and it is the best thing in the world for wives because they learn that they are not the only one going through this, that it's not their fault, and they have someone to talk to about what's going on.

  • Sokol Las Vegas, NM
    Sept. 19, 2010 12:27 p.m.

    I wanted to tell men to please ignore the false reasoning that justify's pornography. I think
    it diminishes the romance that you have with the woman you love.
    As a father of two precious daughters, I despise
    the tawdry diminishment of females to be tools
    for the twisted satisfaction of vile, vulgar,
    and lucivious individuals.
    Women have to be respected and cherished from
    pornography.
    I believe a strong fight against it in every aspect
    of our lives needs to be started.
    I have not understood the silence of women's organizations against pornography and the degradation of women.
    Pornography is a world wide problem and its time this excriment got cleaned up and sent back to
    the dark alleys of the past.

  • Kaye Possa South Jordan, UT
    Sept. 19, 2010 1:19 p.m.

    Kudos to the commenters.
    All reasonable, positive so far.
    Let's keep it that way.

  • DeseretFlower Nutley, NJ
    Sept. 19, 2010 1:56 p.m.

    This was a very painful article for me to read, but I am grateful for it. Mrs. Andersen describes it exactly as it is. I recently divorced an adored and still-loved husband because of his horrible addiction to pornography. It not only filled his life, but led him to devalue me. We had no marriage; we were barely roommates. I left when he told me I had no value. The sad thing is that he still attributes his inability to love me to other issues and still cannot even see the damage that pornography worked. I congratulate Mrs. Andersen and thank her from the bottom of my heart for her courage. My ex-husband sent me the link to this article. I hope that one day he will see the damage wrought by his fantasy life. Perhaps reading this article was his first step in that direction.

  • mtymouse Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 19, 2010 3:34 p.m.

    I admire the courage of Mrs. Anderson to discuss a topic so personal, all in the hopes that her experience may be helpful to other women. I would hope that her co-workers, other church members, family, and friends would be supportive of her. I also hope her husband doesn't have a relapse, that he is able to continue to be free of the filth of pornography.
    I get annoyed when comedians, sitcoms, movies, etc. make jokes of pornography--it certainly is not a laughing matter. It sickens me to see the type of people that our society honors and supports financially (example--Lady Gaga, who definitely is no lady!), as well as others. I no longer view any award programs because of the attire of celebrities, lyrics of songs, and the dances. I also think women need to wake up--cover up your chests, midriffs, and backsides. If you want respect from others, dress like you respect yourself!!

  • Juana DT Provo, UT
    Sept. 19, 2010 5:13 p.m.

    My husband and I have been serving as missionary group leaders in the LDS 12-step Addiction Recovery Program (ARP) for nearly 3 years in the Provo South Mission. Our meetings include PASG meetings--gender specific meetings for sexual addictions for addicts and their spouses, children, parents, friends. We have seen so much progress in addressing this challenge through the implementation of the ARP. These meetings are the most heavily attended of all the meetings offered several times each week.

    THANK YOU for this article. Everything which can be done to raise awareness--not only to the issue, but to lower/erase the stigma attached in addition to the hope which exists for addicts and their families is of prime importance. There is hope!!

  • Hellooo Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 19, 2010 5:15 p.m.

    Appreciate the articles that are appearing. And, admire both Mrs. Anderson, but, also the Pastor. Making any change is difficult. However, it is a mistake to think this is primarily a male and not a female problem. Males tend to be visual, but the "soft" porn industry of novels is the domain of woman. These have every bit as much impact on relationships, but seem to be sold openly and read with no understanding of the impact. So, to each with a problem, male or female may you see it and through his grace and your strength follow the good Pastor's road.

  • John C. C. Payson, UT
    Sept. 19, 2010 6:23 p.m.

    My memory of the "sexual revolution" of the 1960's is still bright and clear in my memory. People made claims about rights to privacy, consenting adults, and victimless crimes. Some said we can't legislate morality. Love was redefined to include lust.

    Wrong, wrong, wrong. Seductive, deadly, and false. We need to turn ourselves around or see our civilization destroyed family by family.

  • katydid Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 19, 2010 7:02 p.m.

    Sister Anderson needs to know she is not alone. There are many wives--LDS or not--that feel the same. I understand your pain. Glad your story was told and that your husband faced up to the fact he had a big problem and got help. There are many men who have NOT faced or don't want to face their addiction that can destroy families--especially the husband/wife relationship.

  • Burghmom Pleasant Grove, Utah
    Sept. 19, 2010 10:13 p.m.

    This is obviously not just a problem for religious people but is a universal problem. I applaud both Mrs. Anderson and her husband for having the courage to speak out about it. It will give many people hope. Both of them are courageous, but it does say something very wonderful about him that when confronted, he didn't try to hide the truth about it. It is a terrible addiction that took time to begin to conquer, but his reaction when confronted spoke volumes about his the person he really is deep down. I wish them continued success and happiness. This will inspire many to deal with their issues.

  • Alberta Reader Magrath, Alberta
    Sept. 19, 2010 11:03 p.m.

    It would/should break every parents heart to see one of their children used as an object of lust for another through pornography.
    The ability to work with God to bring life to this earth and be a family is to me one of the highest joys that can be obtained.
    The misuse of power often brought on by pornography has the most power of anything out there to destroy the self worth of individual as well as families. The effects last for such a long time and can be so far reaching

  • terra nova Park City, UT
    Sept. 20, 2010 11:35 a.m.

    Porn promotes dishonesty. In essential ways, buying more than we can afford in houses, cars and clothing promotes a similar kind of dishonesty. The complex threads of beauty and reality in art and life are woven most powerfully in honest acknowledgment of who we "really" are. Jesus was a carpenter. He never tried to look like anything more than he was. Yet, he was so much more. And to our utter surprise, so are we... if we will become his sons and daughters and shuck the false notions, the lies, the pornography of our foolish covetous, false lives and live for Truth.

    I wish the woman about whom this article was written all the blessings she wants and deserves and hope for her husband's recovery. I am glad the DN is publishing articles like this.

  • MrsH Altamont, UT
    Sept. 20, 2010 11:39 a.m.

    Bravo for such a well-written and sensitive article.

    What a brave woman to open up to the media on such a sensitive topic.

    And I love the first comment about the "stench of our sins"...ain't it the truth!

  • Bethanymom Murray, UT
    Sept. 20, 2010 3:42 p.m.

    Dr. Laura Schlessinger once said that romance novels are women's pornography. She went on to elaborate that anytime you are placing an unhealthy, unobtainable ideal on your spouse (current or future) you are setting them up to fail.

    I know that there is a lot of focus on men and pornography. Several posters for this article, and the other articles in the series have mentioned what about the women. I know that women tend to be stimulated by different things then men (i.e. men are visually stimluted more than women). Many women who have marital problem due to unhealthy ideals would not necessiarily fall into the "hardcore" porn end of the scale. Rather they would fall toward the "soft core" side. For example romance novels where the guy always knows exactly what to do, say, be, and sweeps the lady of fher feet so perfectly. What guy can complete in reality?!?

    Just like women are demanding that we be viewed realisticly, and not held up to the impossible standards of the porn industry, men should be demanding that they not be held to the standard of a romance novel hero.

  • Thinkman Provo, UT
    Sept. 21, 2010 8:23 a.m.

    One more try...

    That which we focus on becomes our reality. When we are told to NOT think about a blue elephant, our mind automatically forms a mental image of said elephant.

    The more attention we give to a foul-mouthed person the more we hear foul-mouthed people. Likewise, the more we seek kind, loving and courteous people, the more kind, loving and courteous people come into our lives.

    No wonder Utah has such a huge "so-called porn problem." The more focus on an issue, the bigger that issue becomes. Temples are discussed with great regularity, ergo, we have over a dozen LDS temples in this state. We also have more porn viewing per capita than most other states.

    Many reasons have caused porn to be so popular and probably the biggest being the attention paid to it by LDS leaders, wives and even men. Porn isn't the issue. Lack of communication and true intimacy from wives to husbands and husbands to wives is. Fix these things in marriages and stop focusing on porn then men will stop viewing porn.

  • charlie91342 Sylmar, CA
    Sept. 23, 2010 10:24 a.m.

    well, his wife is very pretty. i still think if she had wandered out to the "backyard study" he spent all his time in, danced for him in a negligie, and offered to do whatever he wanted to do, then he would have been much more interested in her than in porn. and if she did it regularly he wouldn't want porn at all.

    every person i know that looks at porn does it because their spouse wants "intimacy" at most once a week, and always the same way.

    if a spouse says they can't compete with porn, that simply means they haven't tried to...

  • oceangirl orem, UT
    Oct. 3, 2010 1:21 p.m.

    I related to the article very much. Mrs. Anderson has been through the pain, I have, and so many others. About a year ago I divorced my husband because addiction to pornography crept into my marriage and destroyed it. I know it didn’t have to be destroyed. There are many addicts that choose to seek help. There is help out there. Previous to my divorce, I separated myself from my ex-husband. I thought he did not love me but couldn't tell me. The only explanation I could come up with. I later learned addicts can still love their spouses. I sought professional help during my separation. I asked my ex-spouse to do the same. I learned addicts can turn the tables and make their spouse feel crazy just as Mrs. Anderson described…so I wasn’t crazy. I learned that it’s okay to separate yourself until you feel strong enough to be with them again. My dearly loved ex-husband didn’t seek recovery for himself to bring us together again. It is painful. I hope that he can one day know true recovery as so many others have found.

  • purplegal81 Boise, ID
    May 1, 2012 9:04 a.m.

    Unless you have walked in their shoes then please be aware you don't understand the battle at hand. I can say that because I am living this battle as I write this. It is a battlefield just like a real battlefield that our servicemen and women fight on except the stakes here are marriage, family, & children. My husband is a good guy with a horrible addiction and I am a good woman trying to raise a Christ-like family and Satan is waging his battle personally in our home. I appreciate the story and getting the subject matter out in the open - because education is some of the best medicine.

  • Sneaky Jimmy Bay Area, CA
    May 1, 2012 9:06 a.m.

    Let's be honest, guys like to look at sexy women. I have noticed many a man in prominent position looking at a woman a little too closely - to the point that it makes me feel uncomfortable. This could be a form of infidelity too if you want to draw a fine point.

  • markusjbear Foothill Ranch, CA
    May 3, 2012 2:00 p.m.

    Great artical.

  • Anon 808 Waianae, HI
    May 7, 2012 2:51 a.m.

    Fact of Life. If you are doing something that is in direct Violation of your Faith and you are doing it anyway under the "fear of getting caught" and you then get caught even if the something you did is perfectly legal you claim to have over come it and the hardships of it and you saved you marriage and still have your job in Religion paying or not, and your broadcasting this information all over, you may be lying and you for sure have issues.

    People that do things they should not do, legal or not, should not talk about what they did and that what they did legal or not, was so horrible.

    It is Not Porn that ruins people the desire is there regardless of "the cost" what ruins things is "getting caught" or "found out" and other peoples reaction to it, such as the potential loss of job, property, marriage, because of the desire to view or do something legal or not that others object to, in the life style that you live. That being Caught or Found out will prevent you from living in the social setting you live in. LDS Nudist comes to mind.

  • Anon 808 Waianae, HI
    May 7, 2012 2:48 p.m.

    Porn and other peoples viewing of it will ruin your life and split your family only if you let it. Only if your reaction to it so extreme as to flee and destroy your household and marriage.

    I am of course talking about Legal Adult Porn and Not Kiddie Porn, which is a cause of action because of the laws against it.

    I think that Love and not condemnation comes more into play here, If he/or she is looking at Porn and to what degree and the other person is freaking out to what degree, I would contend that both have issues. I think both the Issues of Extreme Reaction and the issue of Viewing need to both be addressed.

    You are entitled to a "Christ Like Home" but you may with out love, understanding and caring find yourself living alone in it. If a person is going to shed tears it should not be over what ones views and reads. Chronicles and Kings.

    Religious Man has declared Porn legal or not to be Sin. Christlike people forgive sin. Christlike People if their doing something that hurts someones emotions, "which can be a form of Abuse" Stop the behavior.

  • im4kids AUSTIN, TX
    May 10, 2012 5:36 p.m.

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I hope this helps brings peace to your family as well as others who are touched by your words of hope and faith.
    I too have been in this situation and hope to someday be able to share my success story. It saddens me to see the men (or women) who do not admit their addiction and choose divorce instead of over-coming their addiction. The addiction usually starts by introduction in their youth, I'm so glad parents are more aware now and combatting this with the teenagers (and younger) instead of letting it creep into the next generation.
    Charlie91342 - I did everything my husband asked. I followed him everywhere. Sex whenever and however he wanted. I'm attractive, he chose me - and yet the addiction still can take over.
    Our story is successful! (We just aren't sharing it as openly as the Anderson's - maybe someday we will be able to, I know it does help to share our struggles)
    I love my husband and I'm so grateful he is such a great man! Like Mrs. Anderson - I wouldn't change a thing!

  • HotGlobe SAN RAFAEL, CA
    May 11, 2012 4:58 a.m.

    Porn is a much bigger problem among religions that tightly control people's personal lives. Of course this comment will never see the light of day; that's part of how the control works.

  • EnglishAlan Rugeley, Staffs
    May 11, 2012 6:26 a.m.

    What a courageous couple. I wish the both of them all of the very best in their future lives together. This LDS member has nothing but admiration for the way they are trying to rebuild their marriage. God bless them both. Not people of my faith, but obviously people of MUCH faith.

    The only way that a man can be fully healed of this addiction is to fully use the Atonement of the Saviour. Sincere repentance, and true desire to follow the Saviour's admonition of "If ye love me, keep my commandments," is the key to becoming cleansed. It exists in admitting that HE is the one with the problem, and not his wife. (Please note, charlie91342. HE, NOT HIS WIFE HAD THE PROBLEM.) He is fortunate and blessed to have such a wonderful lady by his side still. From what is said, she is also seeing the re-emergence of a fine man, who had been lulled into forbidden paths, but is now back on track.

  • Capsaicin Salt Lake City, UT
    May 11, 2012 10:31 a.m.

    Thanks Carrie A. Moore

  • momma7 Shreveport, LA
    May 14, 2012 9:40 a.m.

    "Unless you have walked in their shoes then please be aware you don't understand the battle at hand. I can say that because I am living this battle as I write this..."

    And I agree. My husband recently told me he wants a separation, after 23 years of marriage, a son who is an RM and recently married in the Temple. We still have 6 more children, our youngest hasn't even started school yet. I did everything I knew what to do. Yet he told me I spent to much time with the children, and not him. I could go on some more, but not. I hope spending some time away from him this summer he can realize that porn is the root of all evil. He doesn't agree with me though. I have always been there for him and supported him and stood by him. I'm not fat, and I'm not a prude but I guess he is more interested in something else. He says he will never repent of his sins, and he likes who he is. I guess an eternal family means nothing. :(

  • LValfre CHICAGO, IL
    May 14, 2012 12:50 p.m.

    This whole porn equaling pure evil is getting old.

    I've watched porn before. I'm fine. I'm not addicted. I have a great career, LDS girlfriend, and bright future. I'm well known as a positive person full of love and generosity.

    Please stop saying porn is evil. It's insulting to me. It's like saying I've partook in pure evil when I've always went out of my way to make sure people don't get hurt.

  • catcrazed Eagle Mountain, UT
    May 14, 2012 1:43 p.m.

    What a brave couple. This is not an easy thing to share with others. Thank you for helping others understand this terrible addiction. And "amen" to all of the comments reflected here.