Help. Hope. Healing.

Delivered From Bondage – Personal Story by Duane

By Rex Goode

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Used by permission

I am the son of a Seminary teacher. My father, the Seminary teacher, beat his wife and children. I am the oldest of seven other siblings; therefore a total of eight children. I was introduced to pornography at a very young age. I remember finding crime magazines in my dad.s closet that usually had a picture of a woman in distress. I was not very interested in this type of stuff as the atmosphere in our home was one of constant fear.

My father was a very strict man. Discipline usually turned into beatings. It was common for my siblings and I to meet our father at the door upon his return from work, give him a hug and kiss, and then hide in our bedroom closets so as to not be .in the way. should violence break out. When violence did break out it sometimes was very soul shattering to the young children in the home. I remember at a very young age not being able to see because there was a spot in my sight after my father hit me. At that age I was traumatized by the realization that my father could not only hurt me badly but could kill me.

All was not horrible in my childhood however. My father had another side; a very gentle side. We did everything as a family. Many times we would play .bear. where my father was the bear and he would grab and tickle us. It was the normal consequence of this that the other children would attempt to keep the bear from grabbing one of us or to rescue someone grabbed. These times of my father being down on the floor with all of us stand out in my mind as very good times. Yet, can you see the horrible dichotomy that developed in my life? As I grew older, the dichotomy deepened, as I never measured up to my father.s expectations: I was never good enough. (We later learned my father suffered from multiple personalities.)

Shortly after being ordained a Deacon, I was introduced to pornography and masturbation by the crowd who would accept me. This type of media was much different than that I saw occasionally in my father.s closet. This was peaceful, this was beautiful, and this brought good feelings inside of me. .God has produced nothing more beautiful than the female form. was my constant thought. At first I was very put off about acting out in masturbation because there was not a woman in the room. I was very lost with friends who wanted to sit around and view this stuff as a group and act out. So, I did not act out until I was a bit older. A female introduced me to physical touch and it crossed over into my viewing of ‘girly’ magazines. Let me state here that tender touch was only associated with females because of my home life. My mother was often the source of comfort after violence in our home. I came to associate laying my head on my mother.s chest as comfort.

My entire young adulthood was filled with filth. I cannot remember much of it (thank God). By this time I had almost completely separated my two lives. Life one was the young man who went to church, taught the gospel with authority and power, and stood up for the church. The other person was a loathsome and sick individual who found comfort in dark corners with females he would never think of marrying. Some of the things done were downright disgusting. I was becoming a Dr. Jeckle and a Mr. Hyde. But the reality of marrying one of the girls I dated became real and I decided to .shape up. because marriage was an .eternal. choice.

I stopped my addiction through .white knuckling. long enough to be ordained to various offices in the Priesthood and to get my endowments. The time on my mission was the most free I ever was from this addiction, until I fell. Toward the end of my mission I found a place to be without my companion and took out the book I had found laying in the road. When I came out of that place, I KNEW I had a sickness; I knew I did not have control. I never confessed while on my mission. I came home and confessed to the bishop who made me do some penance and I proceeded to go on with my schooling and my life. I kept myself mostly clean until I was married to my sweetheart of more than three years.

I got married in the temple after being free from my addiction for some time. I thought I had it beat. The pressures of marriage, job, and life soon brought out the monster. The monster came out with a vengeance. And the monster RIPPED my life in two; again the two parts of my life were maintained at any cost, lest my terrible secret be discovered.

I tried, I REALLY TRIED! But I could not keep myself away from the bookstores, the movie houses, and all the rest. I began to steal money from my wife and not tell her about raises. One day I thought I would take a day off, go feed the monster and then go home and my sweetheart would not know any difference. I was in the theater and bookstores all day. When I came out and thought about going home, it was hours past time to be home. I had to think of something to tell her. I was in an alley behind the theater. Since I had spent my ENTIRE paycheck, I decided to tell her I had been robbed. I looked down the alley and saw the building about half a block away and ran as hard as I could toward it. When I was about eight to ten feet from the building, I closed my eyes, removed myself from my body and slammed into the building. I got myself up, looked back down the alley to the storm drain covered with gravel, glass and other stuff. I ran full steam toward it and threw myself onto the storm drain. As I drove home, I realized, again, that I was sick, REAL sick. As I watched the blood drop onto my clothes and onto parts of the car, I was stupid enough to think I could control this.

This life eventually led me into further debasing activity; but I would not do the .deed.. After all, that was the sin next to murder in seriousness. I could not do that. I thought many times of wanting to just cease to exist. Suicide was out of the question because it would end me in hell for a long time, so I decided against it. Yet, when I thought about it, I would express the desire for God to just make me fizzle away into nothingness.

The lack of income from a well paying job, the troubles at home, and the troubles at work, all were piling up. Soon a woman showed me too much attention and I found myself in her bed. I remember making the decision to .do it.. I remember thinking, .I have actively rebelled against God.. But somehow, the belonging, the pleasure, the acceptance that I thought I saw coming from this woman made it all right. I decided to divorce my sweetheart and let her out of her misery; or, better stated, I would let her out of MY misery.

After being thrown away by the woman I had given up eternity for I decided to try again. I started to attend church and do life (not live life) right again. I was invited to my mother.s home with the rest of my family. Unknown to me, my sweetheart was coming to the same gathering. After much emotional upheaval that weekend, I told my sweetheart I wanted her to come home and be with me. I told her I would never again be with another woman. It was less than two years later that I broke my promise. All this led to me being first disfellowshipped, and then later, excommunicated from the church.

Excommunication brought a choice that would eventually change my life.

The thought entered my head that I could now let go of the church and do all the sinning I wanted to do. What a lie. But I did not recognize it as a lie until later. The other side of me (remember the two lives) said, .but you do know the truth. What about that!. I decided that somehow, some way, I had to get back in the church and try to do some good. I knew MY salvation was lost; but maybe I could share the truth with my family and others and get them to the Celestial Kingdom. I became a pest, a scriptural .know it all,. a hypocrite.

Excommunication was not hard except for one thing: The realization that I was denied the gift of the Holy Ghost scared me a little; my biggest fear was that I would die before I could get back into the church. In getting back into the church, I STARTED to see things a bit differently. These small things laid the foundation for events later in my life. I was re-baptized and had my blessings restored. Then the monster came back.

This is already too long. Suffice it to say that my efforts turned toward the things of this world. I was making very good money, my family and I were comfortable and I forgot the things of my eternal side. For six to eight years there was not one thought of God, the Restoration, Joseph Smith, or anything associated with things eternal. I was on the fast track. I was moving up the corporate ladder, I drove a nice big car; there were diamonds on my fingers. Then it all fell apart.

I remember during this time wondering if my whole life was coming apart at the seams; even my very own body seemed to be vibrating so badly that it might come apart. I was SCARED; I was big-time scared. I had experienced nothing like it, ever! I had no way of coping, no way of controlling, no way of handling what was happening to me. I was experiencing severe panic attacks that lead to agoraphobia. I had a very hard time walking out of my house. My job was in shambles, being taken from me by a manager bent on not letting me succeed. My marriage was coming apart again. My life was insane. The very foundation of my life was rocking to and fro. The only place I could turn was to God; He was the only One I knew that had the kind of power needed to bring me peace. The immediate need of peace was from all the voices vying for my attention; I felt like millions of voices were yelling at me. I found out later that these voices were making noise to cover the .still small voice. that was always attempting to communicate with me.

Days went by in this emotional hell. Finally I found that if I could not get glad about the situation I sure could get mad. I had been praying again and not much seemed to be happening. I remembered that I still held the Priesthood of God, even though I had not even thought of that fact for years. I literally crawled into the living room of my house and fell across the table in that room. I leaned heavily on the table as I brought my body to an upright position and my right arm to the square. In a loud voice I commanded in the name of Jesus for the evil around me to depart from my home, telling the evil it was not at all welcome in my home. The voices around me fell silent. As I contemplated the silence, I was blessed with the revelation that it was I who had INVITED the evil into my home through my own choices and actions. I was the avenue through which the devil.s imps gained access to my home. I was also blessed to realize that I was not standing on the foundation of Christ, as I had supposed; I stood on my own foundation.

In this same period of time, I had a meeting with my Stake President. I had nothing to lose so the questions so long locked in the secret places of my soul came out. The Stake President taught me that I did not need to hide the .bad. things of my life from the Lord; but in reality I should have been talking to God about the bad things all along. It was during this meeting that I finally asked the question of whether I had committed the unpardonable sin. Over a couple of meetings, I learned that I had not, that my salvation and entrance into the Celestial Kingdom was still possible. The Lord led those meetings as the answers came directly from the scriptures through a man of God who was LISTENING very closely on my behalf.

I went back to work. Before leaving for work each day I would vomit. I would live for lunchtime when I would go to my car, lock the door and devour the scriptures for an hour. I would then exist through the rest of the day for 5PM when I could go home. This continued for about a year and I read the entire standard works in this time period. Shortly after this I went to work only to be faced with a panic attack more horrible than I had ever considered they could ever be. I have described this event as so much greater than the previous that if there were a third one I felt it would kill me. These events led me to a therapist who was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ. Working with this particular therapist I was able to address the underlying causes of my addiction. A poster on my therapist.s wall led me to Heart .t Heart (HtH), a 12step recovery program for Latter-day Saints. Since the therapist and the group were helping me come to Christ, recovery moved forward. Hindsight is always 20/20; but I must express here that the hand of God was in all these events. I have no doubt whatsoever that Almighty God Himself led me to these people.

I was eventually deemed unfit for employment and so I was not working. Thank God for that. I had to put my life back together. I realized that if something did not change, I would remain the same and would eventually fail. I made the CHOICE to change things in my life. I practically stopped watching TV and spending time on the computer. I found other things to do with my time. I literally invented ways of being with and thinking about God. I was determined my life would change. How different that change would be I had no clue. I changed the music I listened to. I made excuses NOT to go where my triggers were.

My first HtH meeting was awesome. No one at the meeting mentioned sex addiction but it was on the minds of some as I later learned. I came face to face with being powerless, although I held on to the idea that I was the power. The steps of recovery are, in my mind, baby steps toward repentance. These steps go way beyond repentance to establishing a ..conscious contact.. with God. Conscious means deliberate and well thought out. My approach to God has become a well thought out, deliberate, approach to obtain a close, personal and intimate RELATIONSHIP to Him. Before I had gone to the first meeting of HtH, I had gone over the workbook, He Did Deliver Me From Bondage. I was skeptical of LDS programs outside of the Church; and besides I had to know if the conclusions of the workbook were .doctrinally. sound (what arrogance!). The Lord hid from me everything in the workbook that I did not believe at that time. He did not let me see it; because after my first meeting, I knew this was of God and that at least for me it was a path I was to follow.

My second meeting at HtH was to set the tone for how vocal I have been about my addiction and in helping others in their recovery. My first meeting had been attended my mostly woman; but there had been a few men in attendance. During these meetings there is a time where you go around the room and each person tells their first name and tells their addiction in kind of an introduction. The introductions started and there were overeaters, perfectionists, relationship addicts, and others there. When it came my turn, I spoke for the first time in a HtH meeting. I was the only male in attendance; yet I was in so much pain that I just blurted out my name and said very frankly that I was addicted to pornography and masturbation. When I was done I was in shock, I was embarrassed and I felt like running. But looking at the faces around me, I found acceptance and there was not a hint of shock. I stayed. I kept coming back. I became very active. At first I was attending up to four or five meetings within a fifty-mile radius of my home every week.

I found that I did not have to be perfect; God does not expect that. He only expects us to be WILLING to accept the idea that perfection can be obtained through our choices and God..s help. I had been taught we make three covenants at baptism and when taking the sacrament. In reality we make only one covenant on these sacred occasions. We covenant to be WILLING to try and do three things; and we all know what those three things are. Also I read in the scriptures where it says that the best gifts (remember exaltation in the Celestial kingdom is the greatest gift) come to those who keep all the commandments, comma, .and those who seek so to do. (see D&C 46:9).

I learned that God was NOT a vengeful God. I used to think He was looking down on me waiting for me to make a mistake so he could punish me. (Many of us put the attributes of our earthly parents on our Eternal Parents.) Joseph Smith in the Lectures on Faith states that in order to manifest faith unto salvation we must know the true character of God. As I grew closer to God I knew in myself that I must trust God. I could not do it. Finally in another prayer of desperation I told Father and Jesus that I could not trust them. Every male authority figure in my life had done me wrong and now I was being asked in my 12step recovery to trust the ultimate male authority figure. I told God I needed to know that I could trust Him. Thereafter, I found daily reminders that He was always watching over me and I learned bit by bit to trust Him.

The true character of my problem was a deficit of faith in God. I did not really believe in the promises of God. I did not really trust God. So how could I turn my life and the care of my life over to Him? I had been taught I had to reach some level of righteousness before He would notice me. I spent so much time showing Him how much I was suffering in a vain attempt to get His attention, when I had His attention all along. I had developed what some call .spiritual dyslexia.. The scripture says, .Come unto Christ and deny yourself of all ungodliness.. It does NOT say, .Deny yourself of all ungodliness and then come to Christ. (see Moro. 10:32). I had to come to Him first! Then through the blessings of His Grace, His Mercy, His love, I could qualify for the blessings and promises that allow me to change from the inside out.

There is so much else I could write. When these revelations came I learned that God was my biggest fan. He offers me such love, strength, power and grace. He is a loving benevolent Parent who is doing all in His power to bring to pass MY exaltation. In fact that is His only work; that is all He spends time doing. If I will only make the choice to allow Him access to my life, my being, my all, He has promised me that He will give me power above and beyond myself to continue in good works. He has promised me if I will continue to put Him first and choose to follow Him in all things, I will be with Him once more.

When I fall, sin and/or make a mistake, I must return to Him as fast as possible. Repentance is real but many times it is not immediate. I must also learn to trust Him in His timing. My perfection through Christ, my exaltation comes in His time, not mine. It comes in His way, not mine. So I became a truth seeker. I seek His will for me each day. I pray for the courage and strength to do His will. Only he sees the big picture only He has the measuring stick. I cannot even judge how well I am doing. And if I don.t get it right this time, I pick myself up, dust myself off by asking His forgiveness and for better judgment and more strength for next time. By doing this I re-orient myself toward the Celestial goal, and then I take another step toward it and toward Him, and with His help I continue to take those steps. Those steps are no more than using my power of choice to choose Him, to remember Him, to wear the name of Jesus in all things and at all times.

One last thing: along this road and through this process, I found myself released from the hold of our common enemy. I was taken out of the dungeon of filth. I could now make the choice, in the presence of my triggers whether to sin or not. In continuing to choose the right I was given more of the grace, mercy and power of God. I owe my all to Him. He died for ME, not all of humanity (at least that is the way I have to look at it). After I made the choice to follow Christ and to lay claim to the promises of Christ, a great calming influence, a peace and serenity came into my life. I have since asked myself why that is. Elder Neal A. Maxwell gave the answer when he said, .We can [then] leave so much else behind.. I left my fear, my insanity, and my crazy life behind. I now have ONLY the responsibility to keep choosing Christ and His way. When I make a mistake, I leave the guilt and the mess behind by repenting, and moving forward again.

Copyright 2002, Duane Call

 

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