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  1. What an amazing love story! Thanks for this great interview.

    Going to “addiction” recovery helped push me away from church, but not for porn. In my ward all the women were encouraged to go for basically any kind of “sin” including having a sweet tooth. I had a ridiculous amount of cognitive dissonance and shame as a result. I probably also had a degree of scrupulosity/religious OCD, and I’m sure many of the women in that “support” group do as well.

    Eventually like this couple I found my way to a real therapist who was indispensable.

  2. Wow, quite a story. I am always amazed at the Mormon compulsion to confess.

    “When I no longer had to be perfect, I found that I could just be good.”

    John Steinbeck-“East of Eden”

  3. Wow! The Mormon church has become more of a dumpster fire than I realized! I left around the time they issued their “no oral sex” policy, at least back then members collectively shut that policy down. The Mormon church should be declared a threat to public mental health.

  4. So inspirational. I live alone in a foreign country and both my former wife (TBM) and loving partner of the last 25 years are both dead now. So I feel no shame admitting to occasionally watching a little porn. In my former life, serving on Bishoprics, I always felt terrible having to interview wonderful souls about their intimate sexual activities. I hated Kimball´s nasty little tract, and BKP´s Factories!
    My poor wife was raped as a child by her father (a bishop) and never recovered, and spent most of her life suffering from depression, which ended our marriage. I discovered my sexuality later in life. Since, I´ve enjoyed many happy years, and all my kids are out of the church, and now I enjoy a better relationship with them than ever before.

  5. This was superlative! Thank you so much, Nik and Dawna, for being so vulnerable, open, and honest. John’s comment at the end about saving lives is undoubtedly true.

    John, this episode needs to highlighted as “most something”… most profound, most helpful, most meaningful… I’m sure that it will soon qualify for most popular.

  6. Dr. Dehlin, can I ask you a question?
    Around 03:48:00 you mention that by rejecting ideas of high stakes, shame, deeply sinful, addiction, etc. it helped reduce the pornography problem, do you feel like it
    causes 100% “sobriety,” or only reduce the problem? If it only reduces the problem, what more needs to be done in a healthy way to reach 100% sobriety?
    (This is irregardless of whether this problem is really considered a problem).
    On around 03:54:00 you review “decrease” in the problem. Is that a decrease trending toward 100% sobriety? Or is that simply a reduction?
    The reason I think this is important is that there are some things in life that even once is not tolerable.

  7. John,

    I just finished the Podcast with Nik and Dawna. What an eye opener. It got hit square in the face with how unhealthy the LDS church is with shaming. I have spent all my 40 years fighting and shaming myself for not being a perfect mormon. I am currently in my 2nd faith crisis and both of them have followed the death of a parent. I am trying to make sense of it all. Anyway, everything in the podcast helped me realize how much guilt I have placed on myself and how uncomfortable all the confessing has been. Then I get even more sad when I realize that I have allowed my 4 children to sit through those awkward interviews with a Bishop. I just feel horrible that I did not shield them from that. One last parting thought…..Tithing…..Isn’t it amazing that we pay to be shamed? It sounds a lot like indulgences. I feel like I am paying my way to heaven! So may things are going through my mind right now. I am lost on what to do next with this new and obvious realization that the shaming that causes depression has to stop!

  8. Thank you Dawna and Nik for telling your story.
    For me and other recent pod casts have been emotionally challenging by reopening episodes in my life.
    When the twelve step addiction program was introduced in our ward I ended up in a heated discussion with the couple called to present the program from the region. I argued that the church was not qualified and did not have training for leaders to to truly help the members who are suffering
    Nik’s story of trying to stay worthy to serve a mission was intense for me.
    I remember arriving at the Salt Lake mission home January 7 1973. The mission president spent all day Monday questioning if we were all truly worthy. They told use that Tuesday night they would have extra leaders there if we needed to confess our sins. I was amazed that when Tuesday night came every missionary lined up outside each office to have a confession with these guys. I refused to participate because I was of the belief that I had already repented of sins before I applied to go on a mission. In the end I was forced to sit down with a a old fat bishop from a local ward to re-confess my sins. I certainly lied to him.
    He did ask a lot of detailed questions that I did not understand.
    I think the pressure to be worthy is insane and has contributed to my depression and suicidal ideation. Over the years.

  9. OMG this episode! Thank you so much Nik and Dawna and John Dehlin for putting this together. It resonated with me to the core and I’m sure it will with many others. You are helping people to heal from these events. My heart ached for both of you as you described the feelings of self-loathing and difficulty in having healthy sex lives after being raised Mormon and hearing so many negative messages about sex. It is so sad that in this short life, some of us have to spend the second half of our lives recoding our brains about how to just be human and enjoy it.

  10. John, Is this PASG (or however its spelled) program affiliated with the Church? It’s not listed anywhere on the church website that I can find. And whats taught in our area (Houston, Texas) does not sound anything like that program.

  11. This episode spoke so powerfully to me. and should surely end up as a top 10. I find it so disturbing that a girl who is raped ends up being blamed and then punished for an encounter she clearly had no control over. What could that bishop have been thinking?!? Absolutely not… Each bishop trying to do their best (if that’s the truth) is in no way good enough. Then with every effort to do as the leadership counseled, and still falling short, the shame piled higher and deeper, cannot be an inspired way. Though I’m still a member of record, I cannot support The Church of Toxic Guilt and Shame for Latter Day Saints for their methods. I hold Nik and Donna, in very high esteem for having the courage to come forward, with vulnerability, and relaying their story. God be with you my eternal friends.

  12. I keep hearing at church that pornography is destroying families and lives. It is strange to think that a large number of those destroyed familes and lives likely owe that destruction to the unprofessional untrained muddling performed on them by church sanctioned and recommended remedies. This story reminds me of the white lab coat wearing lobotomy performing psychologists of yore, absolute incompotent clownery with minds, lives, and families in the balance. If any other non religious institution had done this they would be sued into oblivion. It just seems crazy to me that in modern times this sort of abuse is going on.

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