Episode 164: Zach and Darcy Part One - The Beginning

Oct 24, 2022

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 Episode 164: Zach and Darcy Part One - The Beginning 



Hey, everybody, and welcome to thrive beyond pornography. I'm Zach. And I've got Darcy here with me today. Hello, how are you doing? So good. We wanted to start a three-part series today with the story of Darcy and me. We've never discussed that in depth. It will give you an idea of who we are and how we came to be doing what we do. So today, I want to start with Darcy. And give you her story from the beginning. Everything important.

All right. So it would be essential to discuss this because I realized on our podcast that we've never told our story from start to finish. We've been interviewed on different podcasts and stuff if you've listened to those, but we, on our own podcasts, have never done this. And since we are switching to focus more on the actual relationship. I wanted to give you guys an idea of who we were growing up and how we've gotten to where we are today. So that is why we're doing this sounds exciting. I know. I probably repeated everything Zach said. I wanted to say it anyway, so I was born in 1983. So that puts me in the last year of my 30s. And my parents had four kids really, really quickly. And then there was a four-year gap. And I came, so I was the youngest of five. Growing up. My mom was a hardcore Catholic. She went to Catholic school as a kid and got hit with rulers by the nuns. So all five of my siblings were all baptized Catholic. But shortly after I was born, my family stopped going to church. My mom said it was just way too hard to go to church with five kids nine and under. 

And so we stopped, and we went for  Christmas Eve and maybe Easter that I can remember. So when I was born, I lived in Yorba Linda to start, and then in second grade, we moved to Temecula. And that California was my killer California. And that was where I finished out the rest of my school years. And I graduated in 2001. So I was the baby of the family until basically my 16th birthday. And just before my 16th birthday, my parents went to Kazakhstan and adopted two little girls. One way they picked her out, she was seven months old at the time, and my other sister was six. And so I spent the week of my 16th birthday welcoming my new sisters. And we celebrated my 16th birthday. And my new sisters. It was her first birthday the day before mine. And so that's been what we've done every year. And in my junior year of high school, my parents went back to Kazakhstan and adopted one more baby girl. So when all was said and done, There ended up being eight kids and my family of origin. Three boys and five girls, which is kind of funny because Zach and I have eight kids. And we have five girls and three boys. And I never really thought that, so that's kind of weird. I never actually put it together in my own mind right now. So yeah. Anyways, halfway through my junior year, I started dating a freshman in college, and I knew him through a previous boyfriend. And in fact, we went to prom sophomore year in the same group of friends. This new boyfriend of mine was a Mormon. And I'll be honest, looking back, I didn't really know what it meant to be a Mormon, except that you didn't have sex, your one-piece swimsuit. 

And you went to church for a lot of hours. And you went consistently way back when it was three hours. Yeah. And that was honestly my understanding of what a Mormon was. After a few months of dating, he handed me a pass-along card. And on it, he wrote a scripture verse, and it was Scripture about how God knew me before I was formed in the womb. And I thought that was a really odd scripture he shared with me. I wanted to attend church with him to see what it was. But my mom and I were majorly against it. And so I never went. And then you fast forward to my mom being back in Kazakhstan, adopting my last sister. And it was junior prom night. And I went to prom with him. And then, the next morning, I attended church for the first time, and I loved it. I loved that it was real. People got up and shared what was important to them. I loved how I could understand what it was that was being taught. And I was able to apply it was very different than the Catholic church, where the priests got up and recited things and tucked really deep. Many times, I didn't really understand what was going on. So I continued to go to church against my parent's wishes, and the missionary started teaching me about the gospel in my front yard. Because they were not allowed to come into my home.


It really wasn't even for me learning it in the yard. It's just that my mom worked full-time. And my dad was traveling all the time for work. And so they didn't really kind of know what was going on. I mean, they did, but they did it. And they couldn't really stop it. So basically, they just weren't allowed in the house.

Yes. Partly because there was nobody else, they couldn't go in the house with just me, which 

find fascinating. Because if your boyfriend had come over, you could have been alone in the house with him. Yeah, but Well, no, the missionaries weren't allowed in. I know. That's what I'm saying. Okay, but my boyfriend was away at college at this point. Oh, that's true. And on a mission, actually. Anyways, I worked towards receiving my medallion and everything before I even got baptized in your young women's Medallia? Yes. And then, I got baptized in July, right after I graduated high school. And yeah, it's kind of crazy. But so my experience with going to church was that many girls were really cruel. At church to me. Looking back, I can see that I was a threat to them. I was dating the guy they all wanted to date. I dressed in a way that I was confident and comfortable, but now understand was viewed as sexual sexually enticing and immodest. I never considered how I dressed as an act of seduction or trying to get boys' attention. I genuinely dressed the way I did because I felt comfortable and confident. And I loved my clothes.


And Darcy loves clothes. Let's be honest. Yep. So I quickly learned, though, from the community that I was in the way I was dressing was not appropriate and that it made it hard for boys to think pure thoughts, my body became slowly became something that I was no longer comfortable with. My body felt as though it was no longer mine and that it belonged to those around me, it was something that I loved and was so comfortable with, but that was now something that was threatening my safety and the safety of others. And it just was a very different shift for me. I made huge changes in the way that I dressed and the activities I did with boys. I wanted to belong.

It's a really, really polite way of saying you stop making out with boys and more. But yes. But yeah, I just really wanted to be accepted by this new tribe. And I very much internalized that if I wanted to belong to this group I needed, I needed to change; I needed to dress in a certain way. I needed to act a certain way. And I needed to not deviate from that. And you might be thinking, Okay, why is she sharing this, and the reason why I'm sharing this is that you really set me up in this mindset of not being willing to be sexual. It kept me from fully embracing my sexuality once I was married, and then it also helped. It gave me reasons to judge other women harshly. And when Zach was struggling with pornography, it just, it was just a constant theme in my life. And it wasn't until many, many, many, many, many years later that I was able to take back my body and reclaim it. And we'll talk about that more later. But that is why I wanted to share this bit about when I joined the church and kind of what my experience is now. I realized that nobody necessarily told me exactly these things. But I very much internalized all of these ideas. As from those around me, and from the culture, so.

So what you're saying is you picked up a lot of information in that cultural shift from being who you were without the gospel to coming into this culture and into the Gospel itself. So coming into both the doctrine and the culture of the church, and some of those things that you picked up, created for you a barrier to your own sexuality, and then also to how you interact and create some, some struggle with how you would interact with me later on in our struggle with pornography.

Yes, absolutely. Yeah. So then, after I got baptized in July, it was, gosh, maybe not even two weeks later, I moved up to BYU, Idaho, for college. And I loved being surrounded by so many church members; I roomed with my new bestie Aubrey, who was a year older than me. But it was her last year of girls' camp and my first year ever going. And my Mormon mom basically went up to Aubrey and said, Hey, I need you to go be her friend. So can you just be her friend? So basically, already my paid friend at the girls' camp. And we're actually best friends to this day. And we're actually going to interview her at some point for the podcast. So she can tell her side of the story because she was there to the outside looking in version. Yeah. But she was there.  , I think you're gonna have a plate and all the things. SoI think you'll also have to explain what a Mormon mom is because that's not a thing. Yeah. So my Mormon mom is actually the guy that I dated mom. So obviously a mother if I didn't end up marrying him. He came home from his mission. And we decided not that we weren't going to be a thing. And I was a student at BYU. And anyway, I met Zach four months after. Yeah, he came home. So we still,   that's a family that we still hang out with. And they're lovely people. And we love them. Yes. They're wonderful people.



So we go camping with my Mormon mom every year. Yeah. At the beach. So. So yeah, that is kind of my upbringing. And where I came from; I hope that gives you an idea of who I am. And a little bit anyway, yeah, a very little bit. A 10-minute version of who I am. Yeah. Well, yeah. Before we got married anyway. Yeah. So for me, my struggle with pornography. And my story really starts in earnest when I found pornography, and I'm sure I've mentioned this on the podcast. Still, when I found pornography for the first time, I found it on Dugway Proving Ground in an old abandoned well; it wasn't about it, it was they put truck tires, giant truck tires, on our playgrounds, and then, you know, as kids, we would play in them for no good reason, because they always smelled cat pee. And there it was, I mean, it was sitting in there. I don't think I ever really played in it. But he was one of those places you jump in real quick. And then you would leave because it stunk. And they're inside that truck tire. And I actually had a client tell me the other day, he's, yeah, the first time I found pornography was also in one of those giant truck tires. So apparently, they are repositories of pornography. So you should teach your children never to go into them ever. If they still exist, they still exist. I would think they still do it somewhere anyway. Anyhow. So I found pornography. And it wasn't so much that I was, Oh, this is bad or anything. It was just, oh, this, I'm interested in this. This is I'm curious about what this is. I didn't think anything of it from a moral perspective, although I'm sure I didn't tell my parents.


So you know, that's, that's one of those things where it's, yeah, I can I, maybe I could tell that it wasn't something I would share with them. But it wasn't necessarily something that I was; this is totally not a good idea. And as I grew beyond that, so, you know, we moved to Germany, we spent a couple of years in Germany, and pornography was really easy to get and really easy to find in Germany. I know that. Well, let me just say that one of my older brothers had his fair share of pornographic magazines that you could just literally go down to the grocery store and pick up from the corner store, and nobody would bat an eye at it as a kid. Even as I mean, I don't think my brother was 17, my oldest brother, so it wasn't a big deal there. And I think Europe is a lot less. Well, I know Europe is a lot less strict about, you know, who can buy pornography and that sort of thing. So not a big deal, but I would find his stuff, and I would, you know, peruse it, and it was, again, I was curious. I was interested in what it was and why it was that it was so interesting to me. 

And after that, we moved to Alaska, and I think this is where this was where I realized that masturbation was kind of forbidden by the church and it wasn't an appropriate activity for me. To be engaging in according to the things that I had been taught in the in, in the Gospel, and that was the first place where I really had said, Okay, this is the last time I'm going to do this. And at that point, there wasn't a lot of access to pornography, although occasionally I would come across as a cross it, it wasn't as though I, you know, had this constant access available today. So, it was a very different space than anything that I think kids are living with right now, where they can constantly get access to it. But it was something that was, again, it was curious to me. But also, this place is really the place where I was really. I had learned that masturbation and masturbation felt great. And I was engaging with it somewhat regularly. But I was also thinking, you know, I, this needs to be the last time. I'm not going to do this anymore. This isn't who I really want to be. And of course, every time I would say, this is the last time, it wouldn't be the last time it was one of those things where I was basically saying to myself, Okay, I'm going to quit next time. But I never said, Oh, I'm quitting this time. So that led us to Illinois, so we moved a lot. My dad worked for the government. And he was the deputy director of mortuary affairs for the Navy. And we moved to Illinois, where they had Great Lakes Naval Training Center. 


And we got access to the internet in our house for the first time. It was dialed up. And this is when they would still mail you these CDs from AOL. Online, which doesn't you can't even get internet from that. Now, I don't think that even exists anymore. And you would plug it into your computer, and you get a month free of internet. And that was the first time I had internet at home, and porn became accessible. And this is probably where the real trouble started for me regarding my capacity to get as much pornography as I wanted and engage with it. Unbeknownst to my parents, they didn't pay for the internet. I basically had clandestine internet and would set it up in my room. Then it would go from there, right? So from that point, I started to get ready to go on a mission. And I was getting ready to go to college. And I knew that I didn't really want pornography in my life. But I didn't have any tools. There was literally nothing out there.   if I had gone to my bishop and said, Hey, I have a porn problem, my bishop would have been, okay, good luck, there would; I mean, the best he could have done was to send me to maybe a 12-step group. 

I don't know that I'm sure they existed at that point. But I didn't; I hadn't ever heard of any. And I think that anybody who was in my position at that time was basically in the same boat; there were no resources; there was nothing other than the first Strength of Youth pamphlet, which was, Hey, don't look at porn. And then, of course, this cultural message, which was essential, if you look at porn, it's going to destroy your life, which made me not want to tell anyone ever about any of it. Right? I was, I'm not good. I'm not going to admit to everybody in my life that I will destroy my life because I look at porn, which is not the; I'll be honest with you; that was not a helpful message for me anyway. And then, you know, I cleaned up everything. And it's kind of a funny story. But so the very first time I had a wet dream, I had been cleaning up Macs and trying to get ready to go on admission, and the very, very first time I ever had a wet dream. I was, devastated. I was, oh, no, I gotta go in, I gotta tell the bishop, I'm gonna have to confess. And I thought I was doing so well. And I was just so distraught. And I go in, and I talked to the bishop, but he's, Oh, that's totally normal. Sorry, I'm sorry that you feel so sad that this happened? Because it's not a bad thing. It's totally fine. But I never had, I had never experienced that, to my knowledge. So it was one of those things that, it's eye-opening for me to look back on it and go. Yeah, I had no idea. I literally had no idea.


Well, what I think is super fascinating is that you went and talked to your bishop about that, right? Yeah.Well, I was trying to go on a mission. And I thought, oh, man, if I had Jackie late, that means I've broken the rules. That's what I thought. And, of course, that's not true. It's just a matter of education, and I have done it. I mean, my parents weren't terribly keen to have that conversation with me because they would be honest. But the only conversations we ever had about sex were when my sister would talk about it or bring it up at the kitchen table when we were all having dinner. And usually, it was not; it was basically crass. My sister pushed buttons, my older sister, and so it was more than that. It was more we were speaking about whatever crafts thing my sister had picked up or wanted to talk about. And it wasn't really, Okay, well, this is what it looks to have a wet dream, or this is how, you know, whatever X thing is works. It was never educational. It was always just somewhat conversational. But I imagine your dad would probably change the subject. Oh, yeah, absolutely. Yeah, no, my dad was very uncommon. I think that's why my sister would bring those things up at the dinner table because I think she s pushing his buttons. So, you know, you go on a mission, and I even on my mission, so I went to Rome, and Rome is, you know, it's wonderful. It's amazing. Lots of naked, naked statues around and lots lots of topless women at the beaches. 

So we weren't really allowed to go to the beaches. So I never really saw any of that at the beach. But, you know, nudity was less of a big deal to Italians then than it is to Americans. So occasionally, you'd see, I remember one billboard, it was for olive oil. But it was a baby sucking on suckling on his mother's breast or on the mom's breast, right? Full-on breast with a baby attached to it. Giant billboards all over the city. And right, so as a missionary, that was, you know, those were the things that I fought against. It was this thing where it's, oh, I can't look, I can't see that again. You know, and you have this major drama around something as simple as a baby breastfeeding, which is so fascinating because in other countries, a baby breastfeeding, it's totally normal you would see that, you know, you go to the Iranians or anywhere basically, besides America, and women breastfeed without covers, probably everywhere, you know, not a big deal. Yeah, no, and you're exactly right. So can you even hear, you know, you've had friends that go to South America, and they'll share stories? 

Oh, yeah. You know, women just breastfeeding right then and there while they're teaching them the discussions, and that kind of, it's not a big deal. It's not a big deal. Culturally, yeah. Where I think a lot of the way that the church and the culture of the church have dealt with pornography, nudity, and just the blanket idea that we call modesty, which I think is a number of things that have less to do with. So for me, personally, the blanket idea that the church culture calls modesty has a lot less to do with how much we're covered. And, and has a lot more to do with, you know, what we think and who we're being and where we're coming from in our, in what we choose to wear, right? So there I was, you know, as a missionary, just dealing with it, just everybody else. With basically no access, we didn't have smartphones. I didn't even have a cell phone. This was. So I was on a mission during 911. So from 2000 to 2002, essentially was my mission, and came home, I was ecstatic to get home. And I didn't have much trouble most of the time. That first year after I got home, but then, you know, things progressed, and I got to a place where I was looking at porn every once in a while and still kind of struggling with how to talk about it. I remember once I went, I   brought my dad in because I had told my bishop that I was struggling. And my bishop was, Well, I think she talked to your dad about it. So I remember this vividly bringing my dad into my room, and I'm sitting in my office chair at the end of my bed, and dad's just standing there, and he's, what's up? What do you need? And I'm, Hey, so I'm struggling with pornography and masturbation. And, you know, here I am,   telling him this really important, excruciating thing that I'm dealing with, and probably pretty dang hard for you to share. 


Yeah, it was tough. I mean, it was tough to share. But you know, I, you know, my bishop was, Yeah, you should tell him. And so I was; I thought it was the right thing to do. Yeah. My poor dad, I think I hit him dead in the eyes,   a deer in the headlight. He was, Okay. He basically didn't say anything. And then he walked out of the room, and I was, Okay, I think that was a mistake. I had no idea. Why did he think he did not share any of his he wasn't oil. Some, you know, it's really important to yet none of that. It was just nothing, nothing. Yeah. And my dad is a great guy, but it was clear he didn't know how to handle it. Yeah, no, it definitely did not know how to handle anything. And I think that's not an uncommon reality for a lot of people. 

So it was, it was just, okay, all right, then I'm on my own. And, you know, things went from here to there. And I continued to struggle. And then, of course, I was always dating girls. And I was always trying to find the girl I would marry. Because at that point, it was, you know, return from a missionary from being a missionary. And I was, This is my one job other than getting an education. So I was dating every girl that I could get a date with. Because I thought, in part, I thought, well, once I get married, this will be solved. I really did believe that I was, yes, absolutely. 100% I'll be able to have all the sex because my wife will, of course, have sex with me. And then this will, manage the urge to look at porn because I'll have a real naked woman instead of a fake naked woman and all of that stuff. And that, you know, no, I know now, and I, and I'm sure anybody who's listening to this knows now, that's not true. But it was the mentality I took into our marriage, and even that last night, so it's interesting, right? So my cousin gave me my best man and my cousin, who I love, he gave me a book kind of as a gag. 

And it was, I think it was a Kama Sutra book that was illustrated with real people doing natural positioning. And I checked that out and thought, while I was doing it, I'm a bad citizen for even looking at this. So it was a really, it was really tough. To be honest, it was tough to not have really any good guidance, it was really tough to think that I was never going to resolve this, and it was really tough to not have any real support, not because my not because people didn't want to support me, because I don't think anybody knew how to support me, I don't think people really knew what to do, even 20 years ago, because the message was essential if you look at porn, you will destroy your life. Everyone around you will burn. Run away, run away. And, you know, the messages that we hear. Or that we attended as a youth that I attended as a youth was, you know, if a boy looks at porn, you run the other way. And which is this message of iridium ability, you're never going to solve this. That's a stern message that was tough for me to internalize. I'm sure that was tough for many young women to think, Oh, well, and maybe it wasn't tough for young women to hear. Perhaps they just thought, oh, yeah, that's what you do. If a boy looks at porn, you just run. And that's not a big deal. 

But I know for a lot of the people who are listening to this, a lot of the people who have struggled with pornography in their marriage, that message or that kind of message kind of gives you this sense that when you find out your spouse is viewing pornography. You had no idea. It gives you this sense of, Oh, I'm screwed. I'm out of luck. And that was, you know, I think that was probably the message that I was I was working with. I was operating under this idea of, Listen, if you can't fix this when you get married, you're screwed. That's it. That's the end of it. And you gotta keep this secret because she'll run, leave you. After all, that's the only thing she can do. So that was tough. That was a callous reality for me. So I hope this gives you a sense of who we are. In the next episode, we'd like to tell you a little about our hiring Matt, how we met and how all of this came together. And what happened when kind of the secret came out and what that meant to each of us in that time. So we really appreciate you guys. Listen, if you can, just leave us a review. It's a fantastic way to help us share this message with more people. And the more people who see this message and hear this message, I think the more people we can help. So thank you so much, you guys. We'll talk to you next week. Bye.



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