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LifeSTAR, Bishops, Porn and Satan


Sara H

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Over the past few weeks, I have been doing a lot of research dealing with Jodi Hildebrandt and Ruby Franke. Yesterday, I was listening to a podcast about a man who has had a lot of interactions with her, and it seems that she did a lot of her therapy sessions through a firm called Lifestar. I was completely unaware of Lifestar and had no idea that the treatment of porn addiction is such a lucrative industry, particularly among LDS counselors and therapists. This whole incident has gotten me thinking back to about 30 years ago, when I had a friend who went to see a therapist who was recommended to him by his bishop in order to deal with a problem that he allegedly had. We weren't exactly sure what the nature of his issue was, but we did know that he was meeting with his bishop on a weekly basis and that he was unable to participate in the sacrament. The only thing that I can clearly recall from our conversation is that the bishop and his therapist were collaborating to assist him in overcoming a challenge he was facing, and that he was beginning to get really irritated with the therapist and the bishop because all of the meetings were eating up so much of his time. This is all I really remember from our conversations. Six months later, he decided to leave the church, and since then, we haven't spoken and I haven't seen him. Now that I've had some time to reflect on his circumstance, I believe that he was most likely going to see his therapist for looking at pornographic material or anything along those lines. When it comes to the role of church leaders and sexual addiction, that is essentially the extent of my knowledge when it comes to porn addiction and sexual addiction in general. Is it possible to become addicted to sexual activity?

Is Lifestar therefore an LDS-affiliated company? I have seen and read a lot of interviews with men who have said that lifestar counseling has helped them with their porn addiction and has helped them realize that Satan is trying really hard to destroy them through watching porn, but I didn't realize that therapists could talk about Satan during a therapy session when it comes to addiction. Recent events have led me to watch a few church films on the subject of addiction to pornography. In one of these videos, guys are seen discussing how they go to their wives and tell them when they are seeing pornography. If my spouse is watching pornographic content, he would better not tell me about it. If he does, I'm going to have to get a new frying pan because the one I have now will have a giant dent in it if he does. Now, I'm sorry, call me an old fuddy duddy, it's not going to bother me that he's watching porn; what will bother me is that he let me know. I'm not stupid; I get guys and how they yearn after women; therefore, I get what they get up to when they're all by themselves; yet, I don't want to know about it. 

This is where I start to become confused. Is it time for LDS bishops and Stake presidents to stop telling both men and women that Satan is trying to control them sexually by getting them addicted to pornography? If you ask me, I believe that to be a catastrophe in the making just waiting to take place. If someone develops a dependency on watching pornographic material, I don't think it's a good idea at all to bring Satan into the conversation about it at all. How can a therapist discuss any kind of addiction with a patient if the patient is being taught that an outside influence, Satan or his angels are whispering in their ear to continue indulging in the activity to which they are addicted? I don't believe that Satan can be blamed for everything that could be considered "bad" behavior.

 

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1 hour ago, Sara H said:

Over the past few weeks, I have been doing a lot of research dealing with Jodi Hildebrandt and Ruby Franke. Yesterday, I was listening to a podcast about a man who has had a lot of interactions with her, and it seems that she did a lot of her therapy sessions through a firm called Lifestar. I was completely unaware of Lifestar and had no idea that the treatment of porn addiction is such a lucrative industry, particularly among LDS counselors and therapists. This whole incident has gotten me thinking back to about 30 years ago, when I had a friend who went to see a therapist who was recommended to him by his bishop in order to deal with a problem that he allegedly had. We weren't exactly sure what the nature of his issue was, but we did know that he was meeting with his bishop on a weekly basis and that he was unable to participate in the sacrament. The only thing that I can clearly recall from our conversation is that the bishop and his therapist were collaborating to assist him in overcoming a challenge he was facing, and that he was beginning to get really irritated with the therapist and the bishop because all of the meetings were eating up so much of his time. This is all I really remember from our conversations. Six months later, he decided to leave the church, and since then, we haven't spoken and I haven't seen him. Now that I've had some time to reflect on his circumstance, I believe that he was most likely going to see his therapist for looking at pornographic material or anything along those lines. When it comes to the role of church leaders and sexual addiction, that is essentially the extent of my knowledge when it comes to porn addiction and sexual addiction in general. Is it possible to become addicted to sexual activity?

Is Lifestar therefore an LDS-affiliated company? I have seen and read a lot of interviews with men who have said that lifestar counseling has helped them with their porn addiction and has helped them realize that Satan is trying really hard to destroy them through watching porn, but I didn't realize that therapists could talk about Satan during a therapy session when it comes to addiction. Recent events have led me to watch a few church films on the subject of addiction to pornography. In one of these videos, guys are seen discussing how they go to their wives and tell them when they are seeing pornography. If my spouse is watching pornographic content, he would better not tell me about it. If he does, I'm going to have to get a new frying pan because the one I have now will have a giant dent in it if he does. Now, I'm sorry, call me an old fuddy duddy, it's not going to bother me that he's watching porn; what will bother me is that he let me know. I'm not stupid; I get guys and how they yearn after women; therefore, I get what they get up to when they're all by themselves; yet, I don't want to know about it. 

This is where I start to become confused. Is it time for LDS bishops and Stake presidents to stop telling both men and women that Satan is trying to control them sexually by getting them addicted to pornography? If you ask me, I believe that to be a catastrophe in the making just waiting to take place. If someone develops a dependency on watching pornographic material, I don't think it's a good idea at all to bring Satan into the conversation about it at all. How can a therapist discuss any kind of addiction with a patient if the patient is being taught that an outside influence, Satan or his angels are whispering in their ear to continue indulging in the activity to which they are addicted? I don't believe that Satan can be blamed for everything that could be considered "bad" behavior.

 

According to the Book of Mormon, you are wrong… It’s become clear to me that the reason why discussion boards, like this one, are filled with so much erroneous, unedifying content is because the participants would rather gab on endlessly about their own personal ideas and speculations rather than properly inform themselves by earnestly studying the scriptures before making comments. Here is what the iron rod of the word of God has to say in response to your idea that the devil isn’t necessarily involved in some forms of evil…

15 For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night.

16 For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.

17 But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with A PERFECT KNOWLEDGE IT IS OF THE DEVIL; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him. (Moroni 7)

 

Edited by teddyaware
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2 hours ago, teddyaware said:

 

According to the Book of Mormon, you are wrong… It’s become clear to me that the reason why discussion boards, like this one, are filled with so much erroneous, unedifying content is because the participants would rather gab on endlessly about their own personal ideas and speculations rather than properly inform themselves by earnestly studying the scriptures before making comments. Here is what the iron rod of the word of God has to say in response to your idea that the devil isn’t necessarily involved in some forms of evil…

15 For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night.

16 For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.

17 But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with A PERFECT KNOWLEDGE IT IS OF THE DEVIL; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him. (Moroni 7)

 

And it can destroy lives and marriages.  As a former bishop, I have seen this.

It actually re-wires the brain's pleasure centers.  

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2 hours ago, Sara H said:

Over the past few weeks, I have been doing a lot of research dealing with Jodi Hildebrandt and Ruby Franke. Yesterday, I was listening to a podcast about a man who has had a lot of interactions with her, and it seems that she did a lot of her therapy sessions through a firm called Lifestar.

"She" being Jodi Hildebrandt, correct?

It looks like LifeStar cut ties with Hildebrandt more than ten years ago.  Hildebrandt apparently continued to use LifeStar's intellectual property without its consent, so it (LifeStar) sued her in federal court in December 2013.  Here is a link to the federal complaint against Hildebrandt.  A few excerpts:

Quote

8. LifeStar is an internationally recognized treatment program in nearly 40 cities across the U.S. and Canada. Developed by Dan Gray and Todd Olson, LifeStar is run by highly trained and licensed therapists who specialize in sexual addiction recovery. Each phase of recovery is specifically designed to gently uncover, yet aggressively heal, the destructive patterns that create and maintain addictive behaviors. Workbooks, along with other materials, help provide education and structure throughout the different phases of treatment.

9. LifeStar owns U.S. Trademark Registration No. 3,398,018 for the word mark “LifeStar Network” applicable to counseling in the field of sexual addictions.

10. LifeStar has developed publications and materials for providing its program, and has common law rights in the mark LIFESTAR as applied to its goods and services.

11. LifeStar licenses its brand, materials, and other resources to therapists in different geographic areas to administer the LifeStar program in their local area.

12. Defendant Hildebrandt was at one time licensed in parts of Utah County, Utah to use LifeStar’s marks and other materials pursuant to a license agreement (“License”) between LifeStar and Ms. Hildebrandt. 

13. Under the License, Ms. Hildebrandt was appointed as a “provider of the Program within the Territory,” and was granted “a non-transferable license, under Licensor’[s] applicable trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets and other intellectual property rights, within the Territory, to market and provide the Program and distribute Participant Materials to Clients.”

14. Due to a series of events, LifeStar eventually attempted to resolve differences with Ms. Hildebrandt and continue the License, but Ms. Hildebrandt was uncooperative in this effort. In December 2012, LifeStar sent a letter to Ms. Hildebrandt providing notice of termination of the License under Section 12.1.

The case later settled and was dismissed in July 2014.

More about Hildebrandt and LifeStar here:

Quote

Two women known for their mental health and child-rearing YouTube and social media content are accused of abusing children from within a residence in a remote Southern Utah neighborhood. Arrested late last week, the pair made their first court appearance Friday afternoon on six felony counts of aggravated child abuse.

 

The charges were filed against Jodi Ann Hildebrandt, 54, of Ivins, and Ruby Franke, 41, of Springville, in connection with an Aug. 30 emergency call about a malnourished boy who showed up at an Ivins residence asking for food and water. A search of Hildebrandt’s nearby residence revealed a second younger child, who was also found in a malnourished condition.

Hildebrandt’s house is located in Ivins within a vast remote area less than a mile south of the Red Mountain Wilderness and more than 7 miles north of Sunset Boulevard in St. George. A sprawling five-bedroom flat roof-style home, Hildebrandt’s residence is one of three finished homes in the low-density neighborhood of Tawgoo Court. That was the residence from which the young boy reportedly crawled out of a window and ran across Uwan Drive to a neighbor’s house for help.

During the initial search, officers located what was described as a “panic room” underneath the garage of Hildebrandt’s home, according to 911 recordings captured at the time. Franke, who lives in the home with Hildebrandt and co-hosts the now-deactivated YouTube channel ConneXions, was reportedly seen in a video filmed in a downstairs room two days before the 911 call, leading investigators to suspect the defendants were aware the children were being abused, starved and neglected.

According to an article published by Business Insider, a video filmed at Hildebrandt’s home contained a conversation between the pair discussing the tenants of victimhood in which Franke mentions that she has a “dirty little secret” without elaborating any further.
...

A history of questionable professional conduct and concerning YouTube content

Hildebrandt moved to Ivins from Pleasant Grove in 2019. She is a therapist with a master’s degree in educational psychology and the founder of ConneXions Classroom, a company that offers parenting master classes, workbooks and podcasts, as well as life-coaching and counseling services. Franke is listed on the company website as a certified mental fitness trainer.

In 2012, Hildebrandt’s license was placed on probation for reportedly discussing a patient without permission with church leaders and the university the patient was employed with while she was working as a counselor and director of LifeStar in Utah County, a national chain specializing in pornography and sexual addiction. Her license was reinstated on Aug. 6, 2013, according to DOPL records.

In 2019, a medical malpractice complaint was filed alleging ethical violations on the part of the Hildebrandt. The following year, a stipulated dismissal was signed by the court, and the case was dismissed.

The malpractice complaint in the 2019 lawsuit against Hildebrandt referenced above is available here (this was later amended twice, but the changes do not appear significant).  The allegations include professional misconduct by Hildebrandt, and are pretty serious.  This lawsuit was dismissed via stipulation in September 2020.

This website also purports to have information about Ms. Hildebrandt:

Quote

License on Probation

Jodi Nan Hildebrandt had her license put on probation by the Utah Clinical Mental Health Counselor Licensing Board for 18 months effective January 25, 2012. Below is detailed information on the probation situation and resolution.

(Original Article archived on Salt Lake Tribune)

Porn therapist Jodi Hildebrandt violated state law and disciplined for telling LDS church, BYU about man

A “porn addiction” therapist has been reprimanded by the state for discussing a patient — without his permission — with his LDS Church leaders and Brigham Young University.

All of the claims made by Jodi Nan Hildebrandt were false, the man asserts, but they led to his loss of privileges in the church and his ejection from BYU.

“She just lied wherever she went to [further] an agenda to destroy my life,” said the man, who objected to bills that were as high as $2,000 a month. “We came there for marriage counseling, and she pulled us into her porn marathon.”

Hildebrandt, a professional counselor, is on probation for 18 months and must meet 22 conditions or she could lose her license.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said Wednesday that Hildebrandt is no longer on LDS Family Services’ referral list due to the case.

She is the director of LifeStar Utah County, a franchisee of a national company based in Utah that specializes in pornography and sexual addiction.

Excessive use of pornography is not recognized as a disorder by the American Psychiatric Association.

The conditions on Hildebrandt’s license include working under a supervisor approved by the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing. The supervisor will sit in on, videotape or audiotape at least one clinical session a month and review 20 percent of her patient files, according to a January order from DOPL.

The supervisor will also instruct her on issues related to confidentiality, boundaries and relationships. She may also need to undergo a psychological evaluation and complete treatment if necessary.

Hildebrandt did not return a phone call or email message. In the DOPL order, she agreed that her actions violated state law and the American Counseling Association’s code of ethics.

Hildebrandt’s lawyer, Robert Harrison, said in an email that her license is “active and her practice has and will continue without interruption.”

In 2008, Hildebrandt provided therapy to a married couple, identified by DOPL only as John and Jane Doe, who later divorced.

John Doe agreed to an interview but asked not to be identified because he fears repercussions from the therapist. He has subsequently been told he can return to study at BYU if he chooses, and he is currently a member of the church.

Between 2008 and 2010, Hildebrandt repeatedly discussed the couple with their LDS clergy and other mental health therapists, without having signed authorization, the DOPL order said.

In 2009, she talked about John Doe to the Honor Code Office at BYU.

In those conversations, Doe said she accused him of having serious problems but never actually diagnosed him or spent enough time with him to do so.

“She spent hardly any time knowing about my life,” he said. “She didn’t want to talk about my personal goals or my progress. She would only threaten me that if I didn’t take more sessions and have my wife take more sessions, the alleged addiction would destroy my life.”

In addition, while Hildebrandt was providing therapy to Jane Doe, she allowed the woman to work in her clinic without documenting whether she had given the patient information about the benefits or risks of blurring their therapeutic relationship.

In an interview, John Doe said the couple had been referred to LifeStar for marriage counseling by their LDS bishop, whose brother co-founded the Murray-based national LifeStar Network. It licenses others to use its counseling materials.

John Doe said he did not have addiction issues, and once he began to question Hildebrandt’s therapy — which cost $1,200 to $2,000 a month — his personal life started to unravel.

He believes Hildebrandt was using his marriage as leverage “for me to pay for everything.”

Todd Olson, with LifeStar Network in Murray, said he is aware of the discipline order against Hildebrandt. He said she is licensed to use the company’s materials but she is not an employee, and he has no authority over her Utah County office.

Olson said LifeStar is on the LDS Church’s authorized referral list for sex addiction therapy. The church has recently emphasized the dangers of pornography. Hildebrandt was listed as a speaker, addressing pornography, at the 2010 BYU Women’s Conference.

hmay@sltrib.com 

The John Doe here is apparently not the plaintiff in the 2019 lawsuit, as the 2019 lawsuit states that the plaintiff and his wife hired Hildebrandt in April 2014, whereas the John Doe fellow hired Hildebrandt in 2008.

2 hours ago, Sara H said:

I was completely unaware of Lifestar and had no idea that the treatment of porn addiction is such a lucrative industry, particularly among LDS counselors and therapists.

What information do you have indicating that "the treatment of porn addiction is such a lucrative industry, particularly among LDS counselors and therapists"?

2 hours ago, Sara H said:

This whole incident has gotten me thinking back to about 30 years ago, when I had a friend who went to see a therapist who was recommended to him by his bishop in order to deal with a problem that he allegedly had. We weren't exactly sure what the nature of his issue was, but we did know that he was meeting with his bishop on a weekly basis and that he was unable to participate in the sacrament. The only thing that I can clearly recall from our conversation is that the bishop and his therapist were collaborating to assist him in overcoming a challenge he was facing, and that he was beginning to get really irritated with the therapist and the bishop because all of the meetings were eating up so much of his time. This is all I really remember from our conversations. Six months later, he decided to leave the church, and since then, we haven't spoken and I haven't seen him. Now that I've had some time to reflect on his circumstance, I believe that he was most likely going to see his therapist for looking at pornographic material or anything along those lines. When it comes to the role of church leaders and sexual addiction, that is essentially the extent of my knowledge when it comes to porn addiction and sexual addiction in general. Is it possible to become addicted to sexual activity?

From ChatGPT:

Quote

{T}he Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), does not include a specific diagnosis called "sex addiction." However, it does include disorders that may encompass aspects of problematic sexual behaviors or impulsivity. Some of these disorders include:

  1. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): Individuals with OCD may experience unwanted, intrusive thoughts related to sexual themes and engage in repetitive behaviors or mental acts in response to these thoughts.
  2. Impulse Control Disorders: Conditions like "Intermittent Explosive Disorder" and "Kleptomania" fall under this category. While they primarily involve issues with impulse control in general, some individuals may manifest impulsive behaviors related to sexuality.
  3. Hypersexual Disorder (Proposed for further research): Although not formally recognized as a disorder in the DSM-5, "hypersexual disorder" was proposed as a condition warranting further research in the DSM-5. It describes excessive and problematic sexual behaviors that may negatively impact an individual's life.
  4. Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders: This category includes disorders related to substance abuse and addiction. While not directly related to sexual behavior, these disorders share aspects of impulsivity and loss of control, which may be present in individuals struggling with problematic sexual behavior.

There are a number of participants on this board far more qualified to speak on this issue.

2 hours ago, Sara H said:

Is Lifestar therefore an LDS-affiliated company?

I'm not sure what you mean by "LDS-affiliated," but it is listed on the Church's website here (as one of many "Outside Resources" for dealing with pornography) :

Quote

Outside Resources

These resources can help you better understand why people use pornography, and they also provide support and ideas for preventing pornography use. They may be helpful depending on an individual’s age and gender, as well as his or her unique biological, psychological, social, and spiritual issues.

These resources are not created, maintained, or controlled by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Church does not endorse any content that is not in keeping with its doctrines and teachings.

 

2 hours ago, Sara H said:

I have seen and read a lot of interviews with men who have said that lifestar counseling has helped them with their porn addiction and has helped them realize that Satan is trying really hard to destroy them through watching porn, but I didn't realize that therapists could talk about Satan during a therapy session when it comes to addiction. Recent events have led me to watch a few church films on the subject of addiction to pornography. In one of these videos, guys are seen discussing how they go to their wives and tell them when they are seeing pornography. If my spouse is watching pornographic content, he would better not tell me about it. If he does, I'm going to have to get a new frying pan because the one I have now will have a giant dent in it if he does. Now, I'm sorry, call me an old fuddy duddy, it's not going to bother me that he's watching porn; what will bother me is that he let me know. I'm not stupid; I get guys and how they yearn after women; therefore, I get what they get up to when they're all by themselves; yet, I don't want to know about it. 

I understand your stance.  However, I think some women do want "to know about" this.  It's an individual thing.

2 hours ago, Sara H said:

This is where I start to become confused. Is it time for LDS bishops and Stake presidents to stop telling both men and women that Satan is trying to control them sexually by getting them addicted to pornography?

I question the premise.  What information/evidence do you have that "LDS bishops and Stake presidents" are "telling both men and women that Satan is trying to control them sexually by getting them addicted to pornography"?

2 hours ago, Sara H said:

If you ask me, I believe that to be a catastrophe in the making just waiting to take place.

Could you elaborate?

2 hours ago, Sara H said:

If someone develops a dependency on watching pornographic material, I don't think it's a good idea at all to bring Satan into the conversation about it at all.

I wonder how prevalent this Satan-centric approach is amongst Latter-day Saint bishops and stake presidents, particularly in the context of sex-related moral transgressions and behavioral addictions.

2 hours ago, Sara H said:

How can a therapist discuss any kind of addiction with a patient if the patient is being taught that an outside influence, Satan or his angels are whispering in their ear to continue indulging in the activity to which they are addicted?

Again, I question the premise.  What information/evidence do you have that "therapist{s}" are counseling patents regarding "an outside influence, Satan or his angels are whispering in their ear to continue indulging in the activity to which they are addicted"?

2 hours ago, Sara H said:

I don't believe that Satan can be blamed for everything that could be considered "bad" behavior.

Nor do I.  But again, i question the premise.  How prevalent is it in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for leaders to teach that "Satan can be blamed for everything that could be considered 'bad' behavior"?  My sense that there is a much more consistent emphasis on themes such as agency, individual accountability, repentance, forgiveness, and so on.

"The Devil Made Me Do It!" is not, in my experience, a common refrain in Latter-day Saint circles.  If anything, the Church's emphasis on personal accountability and agency may tend to foster excessive feelings of guilt in the individual, who blames himself for his own "'bad' behavior."

Thanks,

-Smac 

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2 hours ago, teddyaware said:

 

According to the Book of Mormon, you are wrong… It’s become clear to me that the reason why discussion boards, like this one, are filled with so much erroneous, unedifying content is because the participants would rather gab on endlessly about their own personal ideas and speculations rather than properly inform themselves by earnestly studying the scriptures before making comments. Here is what the iron rod of the word of God has to say in response to your idea that the devil isn’t necessarily involved in some forms of evil…

15 For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night.

16 For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.

17 But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with A PERFECT KNOWLEDGE IT IS OF THE DEVIL; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him. (Moroni 7)

 

I take it that in your opinion, everything that goes wrong with us or anything that could be considered a "sin" is the result of the influence of the devil. In this life, those of us who want to follow a spiritual path do so either by following Christ or by following the devil, right? 

 

I really hope that you are not stating that because if you are, then that would mean that none of us are truly unique individuals who have a choice in any situation while we are still physically present on this planet. 

 

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18 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

And it can destroy lives and marriages.  As a former bishop, I have seen this.

It actually re-wires the brain's pleasure centers.  

That is not likely in my opinion. Porn, like any other pleasurable hobby, has the potential to become an addiction if it is utilized excessively. I've witnessed firsthand how easily one may become addicted to lifting weights, and how that addiction can ultimately lead to the dissolution of a marriage. My friend got a divorce from her husband because all he cared about was playing playoff golf every Saturday and Sunday, and he spent more than one thousand dollars a month on golf while she drove around in a vehicle that was 20 years old. I know this because I am her buddy. 

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3 hours ago, Sara H said:

How can a therapist discuss any kind of addiction with a patient if the patient is being taught that an outside influence, Satan or his angels are whispering in their ear to continue indulging in the activity to which they are addicted? I don't believe that Satan can be blamed for everything that could be considered "bad" behavior.

Good.

Then stop contradicting yourself.

"Don't speak of Satan, but he cannot be blamed...."

Calling it "Satan" or a "serious addiction" doesn't make any difference if you are the one with the problem.

Satan can be overcome; addictions can be overcome.

The "scars" will last forever though.

Christ's body still bears the signs of His overcoming.

If you accept the story of Jesus overcoming sin, you must also accept the results some kind of "addiction". 

Sin IS addiction; addiction is sin.

It is the loss of agency, regardless of what word you choose to name it.

 

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6 minutes ago, Sara H said:

That is not likely in my opinion. Porn, like any other pleasurable hobby, has the potential to become an addiction if it is utilized excessively. I've witnessed firsthand how easily one may become addicted to lifting weights, and how that addiction can ultimately lead to the dissolution of a marriage. My friend got a divorce from her husband because all he cared about was playing playoff golf every Saturday and Sunday, and he spent more than one thousand dollars a month on golf while she drove around in a vehicle that was 20 years old. I know this because I am her buddy. 

Your evidence does not support your assertion.

What does golfing have to do with porn?

What broke the marriage was ADDICTION- any kind will do.

I'm bowing out now.

Life is for LIVING, not because  "somebody is wrong on the internet"

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2 hours ago, teddyaware said:

I don't believe that Satan can be blamed for everything that could be considered "bad" behavior.

In the Millennium when Satan is bound there will still be sin. We are quite capable of sin without him*.


* I go so far to say that Satan is not an integral part of the Plan of Salvation but a disruptive and noisome influence. This position is not commonly held among the Saints. But we all agree that God in his infinite wisdom is not disrupted in his plans by the saboteur.

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20 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

Sin IS addiction; addiction is sin

I apologize, but in my opinion, labeling addictions as sins presents a number of risks, and we should use extreme caution while doing so. Attempting to imply that addiction is connected to Satan might be harmful for someone who is already battling an addiction because many people view addiction as a brain condition in some circumstances. In my perspective, Satan is neither the cause of all and all addictions, nor is he the cause of what some of us regard to be sin one hundred percent of the time.

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1 hour ago, Sara H said:

I take it that in your opinion, everything that goes wrong with us or anything that could be considered a "sin" is the result of the influence of the devil.

Actually, I think the Church is substantially more likely to inculcate the principles of agency and individual accountability.

1 hour ago, Sara H said:

In this life, those of us who want to follow a spiritual path do so either by following Christ or by following the devil, right? 

Do so by choosing to follow Christ or the devil, yes.  The emphasis is on the individual.  His agency.  His choices.  His works.  His accountability.  His repentance.

1 hour ago, Sara H said:

I really hope that you are not stating that because if you are, then that would mean that none of us are truly unique individuals who have a choice in any situation while we are still physically present on this planet. 

I don't think he's saying that.

Thanks,

-Smac

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43 minutes ago, Sara H said:

I apologize, but in my opinion, labeling addictions as sins presents a number of risks, and we should use extreme caution while doing so. Attempting to imply that addiction is connected to Satan might be harmful for someone who is already battling an addiction because many people view addiction as a brain condition in some circumstances. In my perspective, Satan is neither the cause of all and all addictions, nor is he the cause of what some of us regard to be sin one hundred percent of the time.

These are different paradigms and vocabularies for the same phenomena.  You are mixing different cultural constructions for the same "reality". 

Different vocabularies, same phenomena.

Satan IS a "brain condition" - EVERYTHING IS.  Without a brain, we wouldn't know much.

Without vocabularies it's hard to talk about anything.  ;)

 

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The LDS addiction recovery program is adapted from the 12-step program developed by Alcoholics Anonymous. The Church uses it for all forms of addiction, not just for drug and alcohol addiction. The program is focused on accountability, forgiveness, and repentance. If there's any surrendering of one's agency to an outside power, it is a surrendering to God.

LDS Addiction Recocery Program

I don't know about LifeStar or their practices, but actual Church practices seem to draw upon the best practices in addiction recovery.

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27 minutes ago, Bill “Papa” Lee said:

Forgive me, but where on earth are you trying to go with this? Comparing “porn”, to something as harmless as golf, lifting weights, etc., is just (again forgive me) SILLY! 

Do you have any idea how many individuals spend their time watching pornographic content? There are people who watch porn who are not hooked on it, and there are other people who are not being led astray by Satan because they watch porn. There are varying degrees of pornography, some of which is gentle and useful to interpersonal connections, while other pornography is extreme and offers no positive outcomes in any way. If a couple is having problems connecting sexually, if there was a chance that watching porn could assist their relationship, do you think it would be OK for them to watch porn?  

https://ct.counseling.org/2021/11/bringing-pornography-use-out-of-the-shadows/#

Edited by Sara H
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5 hours ago, teddyaware said:

for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.

17 But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with A PERFECT KNOWLEDGE IT IS OF THE DEVIL

IMG_7530.jpeg.8e209233480b8d05b1d25cc35b9661e6.jpeg

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21 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:
Quote

 

for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.

17 But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with A PERFECT KNOWLEDGE IT IS OF THE DEVIL

 

IMG_7530.jpeg

I don't understand.  Theists designate God as the arbiter of right and wrong.  Joseph Smith put it this way:

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That which is wrong under one circumstance, may be, and often is, right under another. God said, "Thou shalt not kill;" at another time He said, "Thou shalt utterly destroy." This is the principle on which the government of heaven is conducted--by revelation adapted to the circumstances in which the children of the kingdom are placed. Whatever God requires is right, no matter what it is, although we may not see the reason thereof till long after the events transpire....

In contrast, Korihor's preferred arbiter is the individual.  From Alma 30:

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13 O ye that are bound down under a foolish and a vain hope, why do ye yoke yourselves with such foolish things? Why do ye look for a Christ? For no man can know of anything which is to come.
14 Behold, these things which ye call prophecies, which ye say are handed down by holy prophets, behold, they are foolish traditions of your fathers.
15 How do ye know of their surety? Behold, ye cannot know of things which ye do not see; therefore ye cannot know that there shall be a Christ.
16 Ye look forward and say that ye see a remission of your sins. But behold, it is the effect of a frenzied mind; and this derangement of your minds comes because of the traditions of your fathers, which lead you away into a belief of things which are not so.
17 And many more such things did he say unto them, telling them that there could be no atonement made for the sins of men, but every man fared in this life according to the management of the creature; therefore every man prospered according to his genius, and that every man conquered according to his strength; and whatsoever a man did was no crime.
18 And thus he did preach unto them, leading away the hearts of many, causing them to lift up their heads in their wickedness, yea, leading away many women, and also men, to commit whoredoms—telling them that when a man was dead, that was the end thereof.

I assume you land somewhere in the middle, ascribing to some flavor of secular/humanist ethics.  Is that correct?

If so, it seems like every arbiter of right/wrong can be characterized, in the end, as self-referential (as reflected in your power strip image).

Thanks,

-Smac

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43 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

Every moral and philosophical framework is bootstrapping it. Yes. Just pointing that out to Teddy. 

In that sense, I can appreciate how a secularist would prefer to designate this or that humanist consensus as the authoritative arbiter of right and wrong (as opposed to the individual, or to "God").

For me, I repose very little trust in the competency of humanists to get the tough moral questions right.  Same goes with the individual.  So that leaves me with, you guessed it, "God."  But not just an abstraction:

Quote

I have found this comment from Michael Ash very helpful:

Quote

In a previous installment I explained that Roman Catholics take a three-legged tripod-like approach to determining truth—Scripture, Tradition, and the Pope. I believe that we Latter-day Saints are asked to take a four-legged approach to truth, like the four legs of a stool. These would include: Scripture, Prophets, Personal Revelation, and Reason. By utilizing the methodologies for all four of these tools, we have a better chance of accurately determining what is true.

The other legs of the stool (scripture, prophets and reason) function well in "vetting" personal revelation.  Utilizing all four "legs" is, in my view, a far more reliable mechanism for discerning truth than relying on just one of them exclusively.

I would think that a secularist would not wholly relegate responsibility for his moral barometer to some nebulous humanist consensus, that he would incorporate his personal moral arbitration into the mix.  If so, the secularist would seem to have a two-legged stool (humanist consensus + personal reasoning/experience).  A bit too wobbly for me, but them I'm very partial to the four-legged stool described above.

Thanks,

-Smac

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4 hours ago, Sara H said:

Do you have any idea how many individuals spend their time watching pornographic content? There are people who watch porn who are not hooked on it, and there are other people who are not being led astray by Satan because they watch porn. There are varying degrees of pornography, some of which is gentle and useful to interpersonal connections, while other pornography is extreme and offers no positive outcomes in any way. If a couple is having problems connecting sexually, if there was a chance that watching porn could assist their relationship, do you think it would be OK for them to watch porn?  

https://ct.counseling.org/2021/11/bringing-pornography-use-out-of-the-shadows/#

Again, why are you fighting so much and possibly (spiritually) dying on this very odd hill. A hill littered with the many souls of those who did not heed the words of the Lord, and the countless sermons on this very topic, in countless General Conference sermons. I do not wish to be rude, but “methinks thou protests too much”. 

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