The man sat alone in his parked car, holding a smartphone.
Fresh off another wild business trip, this LDS husband and father was driving home when the years of shame and guilt for living a dual life compelled him to pull over. He knew he needed to tell his wife.
Eventually, he typed a lengthy message, confessing a serious addiction to pornography and narcotics. He pushed the send button and waited. There was no telling how she would react.
After some time, a single-sentence message appeared: “Come home and start to become the man I know you really are.”
Over the next few days, the gravity of the man’s transgressions and betrayals began to sink in. Things seemed hopeless. That’s when a call was placed and the couple met with Donald L. Hilton and his wife, Jana, family service missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They invited the couple to participate in the LDS Church’s Addiction Recovery Program.
It was the beginning of a long road back to happiness through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
"We were able to convince them that there were other people who had experienced what they had, who had attended recovery meetings based on the Atonement, and now had experienced hope and healing and were again happy, productive and moving forward in life," Hilton said. "They at least believed us in that. They agreed to participate in the groups."
As the couple attended ARP meetings over the next two years, the Hiltons witnessed an incredible change in their lives. Today, that same man serves as a facilitator, a person who continues to attend meetings to offer support to other recovering addicts in the program. The couple say their marriage is as strong as it's ever been.
"It was like watching a flower grow," Hilton said. "It’s marvelous to see this couple now."
As pornography plagues society, the LDS Church’s Addiction Recovery Program, with close to 1,300 groups worldwide, uses a 12-step process to help addicts discover the healing power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
“We look at it (LDS Addiction Recovery) as pure joy,” Hilton said. “What we see are those who come out of absolute darkness, with no hope, and into his marvelous light again to partake of the fruit of the tree of life. They become human again, feel and love again, pray again and remember who they are."
Recovery and rescue
President Thomas S. Monson has called pornography “deadly." President Gordon B. Hinckley described it as a “plague” and “poison.” Hundreds of bishops and stake presidents listed pornography as their No. 1 concern for church members, according to a 2007 LDS Church News article.
"I believe that every family in the church has loved ones who are affected by pornography addiction. In a family or extended family, someone has been affected in some way," said Hilton, a neurosurgeon from San Antonio. "We are not immune in the LDS Church. We have wonderful members and the restored gospel, but if we think we are not vulnerable to this scourge, we are being shortsighted and are at risk."
Christianpost.com offers the following statistics on the prevalence of pornography.
More than 12 percent of websites on the Internet are pornographic.
More than 40 million Americans are regular visitors to pornography sites.
More than 2.5 billion emails are pornographic.
More than 25 percent of search engine requests are pornography-related.
The average age at which a child first sees pornography online is 11.
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