Bonus - Changing the Narrative around pornography - interview with Heather RackhamMay 11, 2022
Overcome Pornography: Changing the Narrative around pornography - interview with Heather Rackham
*NOTE - This is a transcript of our conversation and may be more difficult to follow than the interview.
Hey everybody on Monday, I said in the podcast that I was going to offer a bonus episode of the conversation that I had with the LDS life coaches. And here it is, I've got it for you right now. I just wanna offer this out to you. You know, we talk about changing the narrative in this podcast and I wanna offer to you Darcy and I would love to come and help you in your ward or your stake or in your congregation to.
change the narrative around pornography to talk about it in a way that reduces the shame, increases our ability to choose. And from a place of agency, make the choice that is going to bring us the most value for our lives. And, you know, we wanna do this, we do it for free. We do it all the time. We love talking to stakes.
We love talking to wards. We love talking to branches. So, you know, if you want to have us come on a fifth Sunday, or just do a zoom meeting for a fireside. We would love to do that. Please let us know. Uh, but if, as you listen to this, if there is anything that you hear that you like, please share it with somebody, please share it with somebody in your neighborhood, your ward, your family, anybody who can use this information.
We want them to have it, want it to be available to them so that they can start changing the narrative for themselves. All right. Thanks so much for listening. And don't forget to review us on iTunes. Here you go. Welcome to latter day life coaches, the podcast where each episode is a conversation between me, Heather rackum.
And one of my amazing coach colleagues. Each coach here is a member of the church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints and certified through the life coach school together. We have one main goal helping you live your best life. No matter what, you ready for this conversation with the coach. Here we go.
Whenever we discuss pornography use in the church. We often refer to it as an addiction, but coach Zach BAFF thinks it is an inaccurate description of what is really happening. And one that needs to change. Zach feels the narrative around pornography use needs to change so that we can allow for agency and mistakes.
When we come to accept that all of us were sent to earth to use our. And that mistakes are part of that agency. Then we can come to view those who look at pornography in a much better way that can actually allow them to choose to not view it instead of being forced by fear to not view it, which by the way, never works.
If you or someone, you know, is viewing pornography and wants to stop. This is a great episode to listen to. Today. I am so lucky cause I get to have a repeat coach on the podcast with me today and I am excited for this conversation. Zach Stafford is with me today. Zach, can you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about you?
Yeah, I'm Zach. Uh, I am the father of eight, uh, husband to Darcy, as I like to say. Uh, it's funny. Most of my life, people are like, oh, you're Darcy's husband. And now kind of in the coaching world. And if I go to events, people are like, oh, you're Zach's wife . So I like to describe myself as Darcy's husband, cuz that's the reality we've lived for a long time.
Mm-hmm uh, and I am tables have turned a little bit. I know. Right? Um, it's it's a little surreal to like walk through Costco and every once in a while somebody be like, I know you, I don't wanna admit that. I know you because of what we do, but I know you right. Of course. Um, and that's okay. That's totally fine.
Everybody's, everybody's where they are. Right. Uh, but I am a coach who helps people eliminate a unwanted pornography habit from their lives. And Darcy helps me, uh, husbands and wives, uh, especially wives who are living that reality. Um, and I, I work primarily with LDS people, men and women, not just men, but men and women who are struggling with pornography and it's such a needed topic and something that is so important to so many people, because it is something that really can get in the way of relationships.
If it's not, if people can't find the help that they need. Yeah, absolutely. I, I find that a lot of times when people come to me, they are in a place. Of not, not just like their relationship is struggling, but they feel like if they could just solve this one problem, mm-hmm, , their, their relationship would thrive.
And, and that's true to a certain extent. And that's the work that I do is I help people, not just like, okay, I'm gonna eliminate this one bad thing for my life, but I'm. I'm gonna help you thrive. I'm gonna help your relationship thrive and I'll help you get the skills that you need, not just to stop one habit, but to interact with your partner in intimate ways that never existed for you before.
Let's just talk. Let's, let's get to the bottom of it. There really is probably no getting to the bottom of it, right? I mean, obviously people get to the bottom of things when they're working with you, but, um, let's just start from the top. I think sometimes we do in our culture. And we, we belong to a religious faith that, um, gosh, teaches us so many amazing things, right?
We're so blessed for. And, and I can see the, the joy that's in my life every day and the peace and the comfort and the hope that comes to my life every day, because the gospel of Jesus Christ, but sometimes traditionally, and the way we talk about things is not helpful. Sometimes in other areas of our life areas.
How do you like how I said that that was came out funny. Perfect. But I, and I think one of those is the way we talk about pornography. Yeah. And I know that you feel the same way in some regards as I do there. So let's just chat about that for a second. Yeah. I think we wanna position a, a specific narrative.
Around pornography. We, I mean, this is, this is the messaging of the church. This is the messaging of, of a, of a culture and of an organization, right? And every organization does this. This is not unique to the, to the church or unique to any specific organization. The realities of most organizations are. We create a narrative and we say, this is the official narrative.
Even if we like aren't doing it on purpose, it's just kind of the way that it works. Mm-hmm . And one of the problems with the way that we currently look at the narrative around pornography is that it is almost entirely based in fear. So last year in June, I think early June, we had a lesson on pornography.
And if you go back and you read that lesson and you watch the videos that the church put out, they're almost entirely based in this idea. That if you view pornography, you will destroy your life. Now that doesn't sound like a hopeful message to me. We just wanna quit right now. right. Yeah. Well, it doesn't sound like the gospel of love.
It does not sound like the gospel of the atonement. It does not sound like I have, can have faith that I can move past this. It's you know, uh, what was it? There was a very specific title to the lesson. I think it was. Something to the effect of like how to avoid pornography, right. Or how to, I think we, I think our initial, um, podcast episode that you and I did was right about the same time that that lesson was gonna be released.
So we, I think we even talked about that just a little bit there. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. And here's the problem, right? Most of the people, the kids who are watching. Or in that lesson, 99% of them are gonna view pornography at some point, by the time they graduate, maybe they're not gonna get engaged with it deeply.
Maybe they're not gonna be, um, terribly excited about it. Maybe they're gonna find it a little bit off putting, but 99% of the kids that are, you know, in our wards and in our homes, they're seeing pornography at some point before they graduate. So rather than talk about, you know, how do we run away because this thing's gonna destroy us.
Why not talk about, there's a probability that you're gonna see this. Let's talk about how you want to act. Who do you want to be? How do you wanna live and move forward in your life? Because this is a reality that we have in our world. And, you know, if we take that tack, if we take that position and we say, okay, I, it's a good chance.
You're gonna see this and you're gonna interact with this because it's, it's nearly ubiquitous. Then what are the, what are the things that we would want to teach as a, as a church to those individuals? I would want to teach my kids about repentance. Hey, you're probably gonna like this. And that's okay.
Cuz it, you know, touches deeply into the basic biological structures of humanity, but you may want to choose not to based on who you wanna be and that might require repentance. And I think of repentance very specifically. I think of it as changing our mind, it's changing. And so if you look at the Greek root it's to, to have a new mind, um, which means to me, if I like something, I don't have to hate it to not do it.
I only have to decide who I want to be. And that's a big difference. Like when we think about porn in the church, we are like, this is bad. It's gonna destroy you. You have to hate it. Which is a really weird message. Considering the fact that we, I mean, almost universally men and women who view pornography, find it arousing almost universally.
When they do studies on this stuff, it's almost universal that if I view pornography, I'm going to feel feelings of arousal. I may not want to, but I almost universally do. So if we tell people, Hey, this is disgusting. And then they go, oh, I actually like it. What does that do to us? Messes us up. It's like, wait a minute.
Like. When I think there's something wrong with me. I there's something wrong with me because I like this thing that's supposed to be disgusting is and is gonna ruin my life. Yes. And when I think of discussing, I think of like the internal contents of a porta potty, I don't think about porn. Why why?
Because it's not realistic to think that, I mean, and Darcy likes to make this argument, uh, especially with spouses. And this is a tough argument to make, because we are so ingrained with the idea that this is terrible. Um, but it's, but it's a, it's a thought experiment. It's not really like, this is what I believe about it, but it's a thought experiment you could argue that the people that you're seeing in pornography are the most beautiful examples.
Of what sex looks like. Right? You could make that argument now. It's not necessarily one that we ascribe to, but it is an argument that you could make. And from that position, you might be able to understand why it is that your partner, um, engages with it. And you might be able to understand why it is that you feel aroused when you look at it.
and then from there we can go back to agency. So repentance is part of it. Agency is another part of it. We can go back to agency, you can say, okay, I know what's right and wrong. I don't want porn in my life. That's what I want. That's what's right. For me is not having porn in my life. I don't have to worry about that.
I don't think that's really a complicated place to be. I also know the consequences of viewing porn. Here they are. Some of them are fantastic, right? Arousal, ejaculation, orgasm. Those are great. But then there's also, um, a sense that I'm not being the person. I want to be maybe some lack of self confidence or some, some loss of self confidence, maybe in the long run.
I don't like having it be a compulsive behavior that I engage with. Right. I don't want it to be the way that I manage my emotion. So there's there's other consequences, right? So we have to know that there's consequences and we have to recognize some of the consequences of viewing pornography are fun. I personally, I enjoy arousal, right?
Like I think most people do that's, uh, again, biologically built in, but is this the way that I want to get there? So that's what repentance looks like is it's it's okay. Do, do I want this and am I choosing this? Am I changing my mind about this? Right. And then the last thing is we have to have the capacity to say yes and no.
And a lot of times within the church, the message is just no, no, no, no. Right. We never allow for the possibility that we might be able to say. And that's tough. You know what that aspect of it. We have to have the ability to say yes and no was something that you pointed out in the last time that we talked and has really stuck with me.
I, I hadn't really considered that before. Like, I think, you know, I, I had, but I hadn't really put words to it. Yeah. And I don't know. I, I just think that that's a point that we need to give some more air time to. Well, I, I mean, if you, if anybody's ever dealt with teenagers, you know, this is the reality, right.
They have to, at some point be able to own their. We can't like, you know, I've got a couple of teenagers. We can't always be like, no, this is the way this, you know, we're not the Mandalorian here. Right? It's you've not watched the Mandalorian. Have you? No, I have. You can tell, I look on my face. I am
you talk about that? You to just let you talk about that. Um, if you haven't watched the Mandalorian, which is just fine, it, that it's star, it's a star wars universe reference it's on Disney. Uh, again, more plugs for giant corporations throughout the entire thing. They say, this is the way like they all come to agreement and they go, this is the way, right.
You can't, you can't do that with teenagers that they have to take it on. They have to own it. Right. Do you know, do you want to go to swim today? Do you wanna do your schoolwork? At some point you cannot keep going in and saying, do this, do this, do this, do this. You have to be able to do yes and no. And within the church, that's the principle.
This is something that has kind of occurred to me over the last little while. Um, we were having a discussion with our state president and I said, when are we gonna get back to teaching principles so that people can govern themselves? rather than going to our youth and saying, these are all the rules, and if you don't follow the rules, you're not gonna get the right outcome rules for outcomes is not the gospel.
And that's what we often do when it comes to porn. When it comes to modesty, when it comes to, you know, you name it. Um, and I think president Nelson has really gotten. um, away from that kind of thing. He's, he's trying to pull us away from that kind of thinking you look at the, you know, the updates to the new handbook and he's like, we don't judge people on what they're wearing.
We want them to be at the event. We're not worried about whether or not their clothes are not the right clothes, but it's the people that are having a hard time letting go of that. Right. I feel. President Nelson is really doing a good job of trying to shed us of those. Yeah. Um, the actions there and, and those words that we have used for so long, and we don't wanna let go.
A lot of people just don't wanna let go, cuz it feels safe. Just tell me a, B, C, and D what to do and then I will be okay. Yeah. And, and this is a problem that we have in the church. I think broadly speaking that, um, that's driving people out. Mm-hmm I even talk in church on Sunday. So Sunday was the Valentine's day.
Um, you know, Sacramento meeting and the theme was you have that. I have nothing like that in my like, Valentine's day. Well, the theme I'm missing out, everybody was asked to speak on love. Right? So you, you know what everybody like. And so the idea, you know, and as I thought about it, I was like, I don't want to talk about like my love life or my relationship with my wife per se.
I don't think that's valuable or valid, but I did talk about, um, You know, so there's the scripture in the, in, in, in the Bible where, um, one of the sades or Pharisees, I can't remember which, but a lawyer from one of those two groups, you know, the sades in the Pharisees, they're like, here's the rules. Tell us the rules.
Mm-hmm where are follow rules. Right. And he says to, um, Christ, he says, , which is the great commandment in the law. Right. And I think what he's trying to do there, if I'm like sitting there as a Sadie, what I, what would I be trying to do? I'd be trying to get Christ to screw something up. Right. I think what he's trying to do there is he's trying to trap him into saying something that they can argue makes him either a blast femur or not a profit.
Right. I think that's what he's trying to do there, because if you look at here's all the rules. but you could pick anyone and then you could argue both sides of it. Right. Because that's how rules work. They're not principles. They're just ideas that we have about how things work well. Okay. So what does Christ answer?
His answer is well, great. Commandment. The number one commandment is love Lord that God, with all their heart, mind and strength, right. And the second is like unto it love that neighbor. As I sell now, fortunately, the girl who spoke before me, the young woman who spoke before me. So there were two young women who spoke before me.
One was a return missionary. One was a 12 year old, right. And each of them took on the first two components of that scripture, right? The first component love, love God was taken on by the 12 year old. And then the second component was taken on by the return missionary. She said, love yourself. So, what did I get to talk about?
I, and, and it wasn't like we planned it, but it was perfect. I spoke about how we love our neighbor. One of the things that I think we struggle with in the church specifically when it comes to things like pornography, when it comes to things like doubts, when it comes to things like, how do I live this gospel wholeheartedly is that we don't allow for people to have question.
We don't allow for people to look at things and try 'em out and do the no's. When we think they ought to do the yeses and do the yeses, when we think they ought to do the no's and we struggle to keep people because we struggle to find the space, to be able to hold the space for other people to make the mistakes that they've gotta make.
Mm-hmm cause that's who they, you know, that's how they need to. We can't do that. If we're, you know, never look at porn, if you look at porn, it's gonna destroy your life. That's not two things, not true and not true. Right. Cause if you think about it, you know, mathematically the most recent survey that I looked at, and it's probably not that recent, but I wouldn't doubt these numbers are pretty steady over time.
80% of men and 65% of women roughly have viewed pornography in the last 30. And you think about that. If we look at, you know, the, the United States population as a whole 80% of men, 65% of women have viewed pornography in the last 30 days, how many people do you know whose lives are completely destroy? I mean, I could probably tell you a couple, but I don't have any idea what it has to do with yes, but it's not 80% of the people, you know, it's not 80%, it's not 65% of the people, you know, thank heavens who that's terrible place to live in.
Yeah. So we gotta stop. We, if, if we can do a better job of holding space and loving our. Right. And not making it mean anything about us, that they, you know, viewed pornography, not making it mean that their lives is destroyed. If our kid, our kid is our neighbor, our spouse is our neighbor, by the way, um, you know, members of the ward are our neighbors members who aren't basically anybody other than ourselves.
Right. Anybody that's not me is my neighbor. Right. Yeah. Yeah. So if I wanna have that space for people, I gotta be like, okay, I'm here to I'm, I'm here to be about love and I'm willing to let you stay in my heart. Not willing to let you hurt me. Right. Cause that's different, but I'm willing to let you be in my heart.
And, and let me love you and treat you kindly. Even when you make decisions. I don't agree with. Yeah. Isn't it interesting that we think that we, that other people should do things that we agree with. I think that's so fascinating that like, we make it our responsibility to, to judge what they're doing.
Like it's right. Like it's our job. I don't my favorite thing. When people like my Facebook stuff, sometimes some people come across a Facebook ad that I post and they're like a porn saved my marriage, or porn's not a problem or, you know, whatever it is. Right. And I'm just like, okay, I'm not here to tell you not to look at porn.
Yeah. I, you know, if you don't look at, if you don't wanna look at porn and you're struggling with the process of not doing that, that's what I'm here for. I'm here to help you do that. I'm not here to judge you or tell you you're bad or be like, you know, if you keep doing this, it's gonna destroy you cuz that's not true.
And we gotta quit lying to ourselves, lying to each other. I'm gonna say something, that's probably gonna be a little bit controversial, but we have created within the church, a culture that, uh, rewards dishonesty. Now I know that's probably not a nice thing to say. And I like, I don't want to, I don't want people to feel like I'm trying to bash the church.
That's not what I'm trying to. Um, cuz that's not true, right? Yeah. Like, like I love this gospel and I love the, the brethren and I sustain the brother, but we need to be clear if we tr train our children, not to tell us what's going on for them, because they are going to be shamed for the behaviors that they engage in.
We are creating a culture that in it, rewards dishonesty. So, let me give you an example of what I mean, and the church handbook has changed recently on this. Uh, the church handbook has gone on to say that, um, pornography viewing and masturbation are no longer in I'm paraphrasing, no longer matters of church discipline, unless they rise to a level of just real significant disruption within the family and within the individual's life.
Right. So. Be clear about that. Right. Okay. Thank you. So now, which I think is the way that it needed to be for a very long time, by the way. Um, but now if I go in, if my son goes into the Bishop and he says to the Bishop, Hey, I've been looking at porn and I've been struggling with masturbation and I'm trying not to do it.
And I'm earnestly working through the process. Can you help me? The Bishop says, yeah, of course. I'll help you. The first thing we're gonna do is we're gonna say, why don't you not pass the sacrament this week, or really for the next month, we're gonna actually ask you not to engage in any priesthood duties.
Don't go to the temple. None of that. Okay. All the things that actually help bring you some peace and hope in your life. Right? Right. Because what the Bishop's trying to do is he's trying to manufacture a consequence to a behavior. in an effort to, uh, help us re you know, find the motivation to leave that behavior behind he's he's trying his best.
And mm-hmm, , I've never met a Bishop who wasn't trying their best. So please don't, you know, Bishop's any Bishop who hears this, I fully recognize your job is very, very hard. I've been in a Bishop brick. I've never been a Bishop, but I've been in a Bishop brick. And I know it's a very hard job, and I'm not trying to take anything away from you, but you know, if you're a Bishop and you were like professionally, an engineer, Well, engineers are all about cause and effect, right?
Like that's, that's what we do. And humanity is kind of about cause and effect. So if you, if you're, you know, not trained in how to talk about this, it might be difficult. So if you want, if you want me to come train you, I'm happy to do it. I'll do it for free. Or if you want me to just come speak in your word, I'll happily do that too.
I'll do that for free. I love this. And Darcy will come with me, but what, what then happens, especially if that young man is one of three. Deacons or five deacons if, especially if that young man is an integral part, mm-hmm of his, uh, quorum in a way that when he's not performing his duties, but he's sitting in the pew, it's clear, something's different.
What have we created? We've only created a moment where that young man is obviously not performing his duties, duties, the duties that he's been assigned, because there's something wrong now, think about which perpetuates the secrecy. Right. And keeps them from getting help that they could get, because.
They're not taking problems someplace to their Bishop and, and they're not getting help from, and it creates shame. Yeah. And, and now again, just don't I hope nobody listening to this is like, well, this guy's a jerk, right? Cause that's not what I'm trying to do here. I'm not trying to like, no, Zach is not a jerk.
Call call people into question for doing their best. Cuz I hope I, I, I hope everyone listening to this is doing their best, especially if you're a member of a Bishop, Rick, if you're a member of a state presidency, even if you're a member of the 70, hopefully members of the 70 listen to year podcast, I think that's awesome.
Right? well, that would be awesome. Yeah, for sure. Right. You know, if you're the, if you're the president of the church, if you're all the apostles, I don't know. I don't want people to feel like what I'm saying. You're doing it wrong and you're terrible. And I hate you guys, cuz that's not the truth either.
But what I am saying is, um, I think we could do a better job if we look to the saviors example of how he handled, what I think is probably one of the few interactions he had with someone who had sin. Right. So I think about the woman taking an adultery. This is a fascinating story. And I think we probably talked about this, this the last time.
But to me, that is the marquee experience. That is the experience that we all need to look to. When we think about the way that the savior would handle a conversation with an individual who's coming to them, contr and prepared. To repent. Right. And other Wilcox, brother Wilcox, I think in his general conference talk, I think he was, you know, I think he hit the nail on the head.
He said, people who are moving in the right direction should not be counted. Unworthy should not be pushed into this box of I'm a bad human and. And treated as though they need some external consequence. Most of the consequences that we see within our lives are really internal consequences. They're about how do I feel about who I am?
That's most of what almost every interaction we have in the world and decision we have in the world is so you go back to Christ and how he dealt with the woman taking it in adultery. And she was brought there. She didn't like volunteering and go, Hey, I'm like, you know, Christ, uh, Jesus Christ. Check me out.
I have this problem. Will you forgive me? She was brought there under some significant Dures and you know, I always like to point this out were none of those dudes fast enough to catch the other party. No, no, don't get me started. There's some bias there. Let's just say that. Yes. Some bias. Yes. Right. Okay.
And then what does Christ do? He, I think, I think he tries to, uh, allow for mercy for both the people who brought this woman and the woman herself. Right. Cause he ignores. The first thing he does is ignores him because I think he's hoping, and this is just my interpretation, but I think he's hoping maybe they'll see that what they're doing is kind of not right.
Maybe if I just get a little bit more time, they'll think about this and they'll see, right. Maybe that's what he's saying. I don't know. But of course they press him and they say, okay, listen, you know, we should throw rocks at this lady until she dies. And of course, Christ in, in his infinite wisdom asks okay.
Or says, you know, okay, whichever one of you is without sin. Let him cast the first stone. And of course, all of the men there are convicted by their own conscience. And then this is where this story becomes to me the most real it is that moment where Christ looks at this woman and he says, have no men convicted me?
And she says, no, no, man, Lord. Right. And then he says, then neither do I condemn the go and send no. This isn't to say that when someone comes in and sits down in the, you know, the chair across from the Bishop and sense that every time we should just say, okay, well I'm not gonna continue. Go and send no more.
I think there's more of a conversation than that, but I do think that that's an example of how the direction of the conversation needs to go. Right. And I think it's clear from, uh, From what I know of humans that Christ did not expect her to never sin again, ever in his life. right. So he might have meant something along the lines of keep getting better, keep growing, keep going through the process of coming closer to your heavenly father.
Right. As . Yeah. You know, and, and as we look at that, it, to me says this isn't about punishing that woman. She's convicted by her own conscience. She knows that she doesn't want to be that human anymore. She knows that. And yet she stands there in front of Christ and he forgives her. That to me is how is the love that we need to bring to the conversations that we're having with our youth, with, uh, other individuals, with everyone, both around the gospel and around.
It's about how can I love this person and help them see no matter who they are or how they operate. I can love them. And when we take fear into our lessons, when we take fear into the way that we operate around our children and the way we operate around the rules of the go of the church and the way that we operate around the gospel, in the sense that.
If you don't do this, it's going to have catastrophic, uh, outcomes. Then we are not within what I would call the gospel of Jesus Christ. My understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Now I could be understanding it wrong and, um, I'm happy. I'm, I'm open to a different interpretation, but I don't, I don't think I'm wrong here.
I could be wrong. Well, I think the gospel is love, right? Like the gospel of Jesus Christ is love. And, and for me, love is what inspires progression. And so when we are, when we feel enveloped in that love our ability to progress, whether you know, progress from a place where we feel that we're stuck and we can't move from, if we are, if pornography is something we don't want, if that's something we don't want to have be part of our life.
I mean, the progression out of that is stemmed by love and. And the more we can get of it, the more we can fill our lives with that from all resources, whether it's church leaders and parents and everything, um, that's just a much stronger catalyst to inspire that progression. Yeah. I think for men, I think that a really good example of ex of exactly what you're talking about right there is when you have a good boss who, who you love you do more for that boss.
You you work harder. You never want to disappoint that boss. You put yourself in a position to succeed more Val, more readily because of your love for that person. When you have a good, I mean, you might not call it love. You might call it respect. You might call it right. For men. I think that's a really easy thing to see.
Yeah. If I have a good boss, if I have a terrible boss, guess what I do. Yeah, I do the bare minimum bare minimums. And sometimes I leave because I can't take that human anymore. Right. So it's just like this, oh, wait a minute. It's not just, it's not just the gospel. It's, you know, it's available to see in human nature, which is awesome.
It's just another Testament. It's another testimony of, of what the value of love is. So if it's not obvious to people by listening to this conversation, you. Have a different perspective and on, on this than probably a lot of people do. I'm curious if you can expand on that a little bit, tell us what's different about the way you work with people and pornography than what they might find elsewhere.
um, I, I think one of the biggest things that I use, uh, that is ex just miles different from everyone else is I don't talk about it from a, from an addiction perspective. Um, there's a, there's a number of reasons why I don't believe that pornography is an addiction and, and it's it. A lot of it stems from the, the reality that, um, For most people, if, if you walked in on 'em looking at porn, they would stop doing it immediately.
Whereas if you, you know, walk in on a heroin addict, they, they don't care. They're. Like I'm gonna do my drugs. Right. Um, and then there's a chemical dependency component, right? So cam Staley, who's a PhD researcher. Uh, I think he's at a Boise state now, but he did a lot of his, um, clinical work at BYU. He went in to prove that pornography was an addiction.
And what he found was that, um, pornography just like food. is when you take that away, when you take away overeating or eating is a way to cope with your, your, um, emotions. Just like if you take away pornography as a way to keep coping with your emotions, the only thing you're left with is your emotions.
You're not left with a chemical lead down. Right. So if you're, you know, if you're like physically. Dependent on a chemical. That's usually what an addiction really looks like. And he found through his research, which by the way, he went in to prove that porn was an addiction because in the DS five, the diagnostic manual of psychological disorders, it's not there porn addiction isn't there.
And he was like, well, that's, that's a travesty. And coming from his LDS background, he's like, no, porn's an OCHIN obviously that's what I've been told my whole life. He went in to prove it. And guess what he found, not the case. Right. Now, I didn't know that until afterward. I just didn't feel that it was a valuable idea to believe that I was addicted to something.
Here's why, even if I am addicted, let's just pretend that I was what's that give me what's the value in believing that nothing. Yeah. I I'm a victim of something I can't control. Does that mean I wanna stop doing that thing anymore? No, it doesn't mean anything. What it means is I, I have an excuse to keep doing this.
And I didn't want an excuse. I wanted to be able to say, I'm going to solve for this problem. And as I did my own research, and as I did my own work, I didn't know about cam sta and I, I didn't really know about Jennifer Finley and Fife. And I didn't know about the tools at the life coach school. I started to learn these things from the school of heart kn.
I've walked this path. I've literally been, you know, if you're, if you're out there and you're listen to this and you're like, yeah, I look to porn. I look at porn every day. I look at it once a month. I look at it once a week, whatever it is, I've been where you are, whether you're a man or a woman I've been where you are.
Well, I've never been a woman, but , but, but I've been where you are when it comes to this sense that I don't know how to solve for this problem. And I need help to figure it out. Any tools to solve for this. And so I've been there. And so, you know, if you, there's lots of people out there who are doing the work that I'm doing, there are, there are a number of people out there, cam cam Staley's one of them.
He has, you know, this phenomenal background in research and in psychology that I don't have. But when you listen to him, talk, you hear me. And when I listen to me talk, I hear him, right. I have this information from the school of heart and hard knocks. He has it from a, from a research perspective. He isn't saying, Hey, this is where I was, and this is what I did.
And this is how I solve this problem. So he's essentially leading you from a place of theory, right? If he, if you go to work with him, right. And then there's people like, um, you know, there's a, there's a woman. Who is also a life coach from the life coach school who helps people work on their pornography struggle, and she's doing it again from a place of theory.
She shouldn't say, I, you know, I know this problem I deeply, uh, and, and simply abide in this problem with you. And I've been there. And I, and I know this trajectory and I know how to get from where you are to where you want to be, because I've walked that path. She says, I think I know. And let me show you and, and there's nothing wrong with.
Right. But when I go to business conferences, I don't wanna hear from a guy who's like, let me tell you the theory I have of this thing, of how to run a successful business. right. When I go to, um, to learn how to play sports, I don't go and say, all right, tell me the theory of how to play this game. Right?
What, what, like my high school football coach. They were all football players. Mm-hmm they all knew how to play the game. They walked the path, they knew how to hit somebody, which doesn't sound like a really good thing to know. But if you don't know how to do it right, and you can't literally show someone because you know how it feels, there's a good chance.
You're gonna screw it up and maybe get injured right. When you're playing football. And that's the problem, right? When you go with somebody who has a theory, They're like, well, let me, let me test this theory on you, cuz I don't really know it might work, but it might be that you could get further faster with somebody who has done the work themselves.
I, I don't wanna take anything away from people who are doing this work cuz they're great. People. Cam is a great person. He's phenomenal researcher. I've had conversations with him. He and I are both. Um, co-authors in uh, Richard ostlers book on his chapter. Uh, on pornography, right? So we, we both wrote parts of that book for Richard Osler.
And, you know, he's a phenomenal dude, but he is not saying I've walked this path. And the truth is it is I think, easier to know where to go if you've walked the path and how to get there, if you've blocked the path. And that's, I guess that's the difference between me and maybe anyone else out there. Um, and I don't like.
I don't like the idea of thinking about it as, you know, an addiction, because it's, I just don't think it's helpful. There's a lot of research out there that shows, uh, and if you've ever been to a 12 step meeting, you, you know, right. You like you walk into those, uh, they, I think they call 'em passage meetings now.
Uh, but you walk into that addiction recovery program that's put on by the church. And if you're in there with 20 people, um, which you can be in certain parts of the country, um, You sit there and you hear every single one of them say, hi, my name is, and then they say something like, I'm an addict, I'm a recovering addict.
Um, but no matter what they say, there are very few, very, very few who are actually being successful to the level that they would wanna be successful at. If I told you that there was a 5% chance that I could help you solve this problem. Would you, would you pay me $5,000 to do it 5% chance? 5% chance.
Probably not. Right. like I was thinking, I hope that's the right answer. I hope they, the answer he's looking for. That's the answer I would give. Yeah. That statistically speaking. That's what addition recovery programs do they help people succeed at about a 5% rate? Do you know what the average rate of people succeeding on their own is?
No. I'm curious to know that 5%. Hmm. So what you're finding is that there's statistically no difference between choosing to go to an addiction recovery program and not choosing to go to an addiction recovery program. That's interesting. Right. So what does that tell you about the methodology? It's not effective?
Broadly speaking. In fact, it's probably in some sense detrimental. And here's why, because there's a lot of shame that comes along with not succeeding in that program. The big book, the book that is, you know, the way the man, basically the manual of how to run a, a 12 step program says if people aren't succeeding and I'm paraphrasing, paraphrasing here, if people aren't succeeding, it's because they're not dedicated and they're not doing.
Is that true? Nope. No, I don't think so. No, no, it's probably cuz we are not teaching them the right tools. Yeah. Which is a huge difference. And when you come to a program like mine, I've literally done this. So I know how the tools work. I literally have used these tools. You go to learn how to do welding.
You don't learn it from a dude who doesn't have any idea who hasn't used, the tools you go and you work with a guy who's been welding. And that's the difference. Yeah. And I think that's, I think that really sounds so. I mean, I think when people have struggles too, they think I can, I can just pray myself out of this.
Right? Like if I just pray hard enough, I'm gonna be able to Bo my way through this problem. And, and that creates a problem too, because then when it doesn't work, same thing as. You know somebody well, the problem is, is what we're praying for. What do pray for, what do you pray for? What do you ask for? Yeah.
You're well, I know now what to pray for, lead me to the tools to help me figure out how to, to do this. But I think so many times people just feel like we can just pray a blanket statement, help me not to wanna be porn anymore. Help me not to wanna do this. And that's. That's not gonna work. And it also makes you feel then, well, I must not be faithful enough.
I must not be quote unquote, righteous enough to, to have this prayer answered. And so I think there's some verbiage there that we really need to be careful with. Well, and here, I think it's important to understand why that kind of prayer doesn't work. That kind of prayer doesn't work because it's contrary to the principles of the gospel.
If I go to my heavenly father and I say to him, Hey, please take away this burden from. Please solve this problem for me, please make it. So I don't want to look at porn anymore. There's a good chance that he's gonna say no, because he doesn't wanna take away my agency. Yep. In fact, I think if we think about, you know, the, the laws and principles of the gospel, there's some imutability there.
He's not allowed to, if he wants to remain God, he can't just like jump in and throw cat videos into your web browser. Every time you, you know, type in boots. Right. Oh my gosh. Not to mention why would he want to, he wants you to learn and grow and figure it out for the most part, right? Yes. Yes. You're gonna have that image in your head for like the rest of your life.
I know. Right. But that he can't do that. He won't do that. He is unwilling to do that. Not because he doesn't want you to not look at porn. He, he wants you to choose the right. He wants you to choose to be clear and clean in who you are, but he isn't willing to jeopardize your capacity for growth. By intervening in your agency.
He's just not. And so when we pray and we ask heaven, father, Hey, can I, can you do this for me? Um, if we're asking the, for the, for certain things or asking things in a certain way, he's probably obligated to say no to that. Yeah. And so we gotta be really clear. Okay. What am I praying for? And I think you're right.
Help me learn the tools, help me find the way, help me figure it out. Help me move past this view of what I see right now. Cuz I can't quite see. Now let me help me, help me have the desire and the faith to take the next step. Even if I don't know how it'll turn out. Those are the things that I think we can pray for.
But when we go to heavenly father and we're like heavenly father, just please just take this one problem away from me and then I'll be a great. You name it. Great husband, great disciple, great child. Great. Whatever. Right. He's going, man. I wish I could. I can't because if I do, you won't grow and growth is essential.
We have to learn to grow. Because if we don't grow, guess what we become damned, damned literally like that's the real definition. Yes, yes. Right. He's not gonna do that to us. Oh, all right, Zach, I can talk this all day. We can talk about that all day. cat Mees, apparently cat and Walmart, Walmart and Amazon, and the Mandalorian, which you have no idea.
no, they don't. Okay. Where can people find more of you so they can get more of this? And not since we are, we need to wrap it up here today. Yeah. So you can find me on Instagram SBA for coaching. You can find me, uh, on the internet. You can go to Zach staff.com or if you're listening to this and you want to help me, you can go to the website that I'm building.
It's called the LDS coach.com. It will eventually be my main website. I don't know that I'll always keep that, that, uh, web address. But if you can go to that website and try and break it, and then send me, just send email me, Zach zap for.com and be like this isn't working. I would love that. it's great.
It's great to have other people help you figure out, oh, wait, this isn't doing what it's supposed to. Yes. Cause super. So you can go to any of those places and I will, I will interact with you as much as you want. If you wanna just, you know, send me an email and say, Hey, this is what's going on for me. I'd love to chat with you.
Awesome, Zach, thank you so much for being with me today. It's been a delight. Good, good laughs. Good conversation and important conversation. It's perfect. I love it. We'll talk to you soon.
Hey, we just wanted to thank you for spending part of your day here with us at latter day life coaches and being part of this conversation, share this with your friends so that you can have a conversation with them on this topic as well, and as always subscribe. So you don't miss a single episode, have a good one.
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