Anonymous Questions

Anonymous Questions

Whenever I am invited to speak or present a workshop, I provide the participants an opportunity to ask anonymous questions. It has been a valuable experience to hear the weighty, raw and real concerns of those who are struggling for answers. After presenting for five years now, the questions appear to have similar themes. Also, it is very clear that these concerns are not unique and many would value from the answers.

I have chosen to leave the questions exactly as written/asked. I believe it's important to read the emotion in the way it was asked. Therefore, I have decided to share those responses and have included below, in what will eventually function as a table of contents, sorted alphabetically by topic.

When a question has been answered, I will link the question to its blog post.

The Slides from the Authentic Living in Christ Presentation YSA / MSA Fireside can be found here: Authentic Slides


Addiction” — Pornography And Sexual-Related Issues

Why does the church's ARP program assume that men are addicts and women are "related to addicts"? It is SO difficult to find a women's support group.
A: ARP Fails Women Support Groups

Q: What is your advice to females who have watched pornography or masturbate?
A: This is actually two different questions. 1. LDS Women — Overcoming Pornography 2. Coming soon.

Q: If someone has watched pornography or masturbated in the past, do you feel they are obligated to tell their future spouse? Does it depend on how long ago it was?
A: Transparency In All Things

Q: I used porn years ago to numb problems and feelings and am now in a much better place. I try to be open about this in relationships with girls. Some take it well but most do not. It's difficult to be vulnerable not knowing how they will respond, so I am less likely to pursue relationships. What should I do?
A: 1. Female Struggles with Porn and Masturbation 2. ARP Fails Women Support Groups 3. LDS Women — Overcoming Pornography


Q: How do I keep communication alive when two partners hold opposing viewpoints on things (with the potential to constantly disagree with each other)?
A: Marital Myth of Communication

Q: What kind of marriage partnerships have you seen that are the the happiest? Give some examples of how they work through times of disagreement or misunderstanding.
A: 1) Happiest Marriages 2) Marital Myth of Communication

Dating / Marring Outside Of Faith

Q: I am a 40+ women and still single. I have a hard time finding quality prospect who wants to be married. How to find joy without ignoring my faith and reality?
A: 1) Marrying Outside of Faith 2) Marital Myth of Communication 3) Happiest Marriages

Q: I met a man who is generous, grateful, patient and compassionate but knew nothing about my faith, which is important for me. Is happiness possible with such a person who does not believe in Christ?
A: 1) Marrying Outside of Faith 2) Marital Myth of Communication 3) Happiest Marriages

Q: Would different faiths work out in a marriage?
A: 1) Marrying Outside of Faith 2) Marital Myth of Communication 3) Happiest Marriages

Divorce / Break up

Q: When do you suggest that a problematic/troubled partnership separate? Or keep them together?
A: Coming soon.

Q: How do you successfully break up with someone that you see no potential with?
A: Coming soon.

Q: When does being separated or divorced with kids and get easier?
A: Coming soon.

Q: I’m separated and divorce is taking a while. Is it bad to start dating or start talking to a guy?
A: Coming soon.

Emotional Abuse

Q: My husband gets jealous about Facebook likes, emojis, and comments I get from other men who are just friends. How do you recommend dealing with such situations?
A: Jealousy and Social Media

Family Systems

Q: How does one work through one's own childhood/parental negative behavior patterns influenced by one's own upbringing which manifest later in dating/marriage relationships?
A: Coming soon.


How can queer members of the church live authentically while still trying to be a part of the church?
A: Coming soon.

Marital Sex

Q: What would you do if you had a sick spouse you loved but was unable to perform sex due to illness?
A: Sex and Illness

Mental Health

How to date someone who has medicated but chronic depression, anxiety, and panic attacks?
A: Coming soon.

Q: Is it better for certain people with mental instability, like psychopathy, sociopath, narcissism, to stay unmarried?
A: Coming soon.

Q: When is the best time to tell your new boyfriend or if you are dating about your diagnosis?
I'm scared to date because I have mental health issues such as depression and bipolar disorder. How can I over come this? Or some tips on what to do.
A: Coming soon.

Q: I am having a tough time maintaining close companionship with the Spirit with all this uncontrollable chaos around me. How can I strive to feel the Spirit when I cannot control some of my circumstances?
A: Coming soon.

Q: How do you stand strong on stigma of mental health?
A: Coming soon.

Q: What if you're not okay with your past? What do you do?
A: Coming soon.

Personality Types in Relationships

Q: How do you make things work between an unlikely pair in which each partner's Myers Briggs letters are completely the opposite? (the second letter, iNtuitive vs Sensing, make it hard to understand each other's view points.)
A: Coming soon.

Q: How to make "the wrong" partnerships "right"?
A: Coming soon.


Q: Is it unrighteous to enjoy being single?
A: 1) Coming soon. 2) Subdivisions in the Celestial Kingdom


Q: Is making my little brother a priority over ward activities because of a fear of social instances okay?
A: Coming soon.

Transparency in All Things

Anonymous Question Series:

Q: If someone has watched pornography or masturbated in the past, do you feel they are obligated to tell their future spouse? Does it depend on how long ago it was?

There are three concepts in this question that need to be answered: 1) transparency in relationships, 2) stigma/shame of sexual sins/behaviors, 3) masturbation, is it really that bad? 

The main focus in this question is transparency and stigma/shame of sexual sins/behaviors. I will address the third concept in a separate post.


The quick answer: yes, and if you can't/don't, you should not get married.

Transparency In Relationships

"Where there is respect, there is also transparency, which is a key element of happy marriages. There are no secrets about relevant matters in marriages based on mutual respect and transparency. Husbands and wives make all decisions about finances together and both have access to all information." —Elder L. Whitney Clayton, Marriage: Watch and Learn

I understand the above quote is specifically addressing social media in marriage, which I will address more specifically in my forthcoming post on, "Jealousy and Social Media." Once published, I will put a link to it here.

Nonetheless, this quote is absolutely applicable to premarital relationships, especially if you are engaged. How do you ever expect to be transparent or desire your partner to be transparent if you yourself keep secrets?

The Myth

Let's dispel a myth right now. I have searched all over for a source, a reference, or the origin of one of the most ridiculous myths and traditions in our faith. But I cannot find an original source nor anything that supports it. That is, if you have "repented" of something, you don't need to divulge it to your future spouse (or current spouse). I cannot emphasize how naive, controlling, and dangerous this concept is.

There are women who say, "If it is in the past, I don't want to know about it, I don't need to know about it." For some reason, I've only heard women express this idea, but please realize that this is a rejection of your partner. Not wanting to share and not wanting to know is anything but love. Many excuse it as "true love" and "embracing the atonement" when they don't "dig up the past." These individuals believe it is a rejection of the atonement to bring up the past. When women desire to learn about their loved one, the men often respond defensively, "Why do you keep wanting to know about the things I've repented about?"

This is a huge RED FLAG, and if it wasn't so common, I would tell you to turn and run as fast as you can. Unfortunately, it is far too common of a conversation, which means it's a tradition and myth that good people truly believe. It can be worked through and properly understood, but transparency is an absolute must! Without exception!

Clarity And Perspective

It boggles my mind that we still speak as though pornography is some type of sin of "perdition," unrecoverable and mentally damaging — a sin that turns beautiful, intelligent, amazing individuals into social pariahs. The social and self shame around this topic is unjustified. I assure you, nearly 100% of individuals, male and female have viewed pornography and 80–95% of people have masturbated. In today's information age, it is impossible to not view and even engage in pornography.

Additionally, there is a real problem with even the word "pornography." It's a nonsensical, abstract word. Let me give you a real life example. A wife demands her spouse repent to the bishop because he saw breasts in the movie "Titanic." The bishop, whom the husband will potentially confess to, went on a date with his wife to see "Deadpool." One can argue the bishop and his wife are in serious violation themselves. This is the problem; who gets to define pornography?

Recently, I was interacting with a anti-porn advocate who uses her spouse's "short comings" as a platform for her "trauma." Yet, she has a plethora of highly sensual books and movies on her own Facebook "Likes" page. Some could easily be considered "harlequin"-type material. When that was pointed out, she defended it saying there was no "nudity" in those types of entertainment. That statement wasn't entirely true, but it's an example of the double standard and confusion around the concept of pornography.

"Historically the term 'pornography' has an unreliable history of usefulness as a scientific term. Instead, it is a social construct of the human mind. Its social use is vague, inaccurate and is often co-opted for use as rhetoric by those who use it to further their social or political agendas. Over time the term has taken on negative connotations, and is now, also used as a pejorative term in expressions of disapproval. The term "pornography" is like using the term "lemon" to describe an automobile. It describes a negative quality of an object in the minds of many people.

... Now is the time for scientists to break a bad habit of using this socially biased, non-scientific term. As scientists we create problems for ourselves when we adopt unscientific terminology that has culturally evolved, and is loaded with cultural or moralistic bias. We handicap the social effectiveness of our research when we use such terms." —Mark Kim Malan, Ph.D., A New Taxonomy: Scientific Misuse of the Term "Pornography"

As I pointed out in my previous post, problematic sexual behavior is an ambiguous terminology socially defined by white middle class christian males. (See also ARP Fails Women Support Groups)

Fortunately, Elder Oaks has addressed this topic well in an Ensign article October 2015 where he embraced a more scientific and correct view. He said there are four types of pornography use: (1) inadvertent exposure, (2) occasional use, (3) intensive use, and (4) compulsive use (addiction). The Church is making great progress in defining the "problem" and eliminating the shame.

Stigma/Shame Of Sexual Sins/Behaviors

From a "doctrinal" and spiritual perspective. Our culture has traditionally lumped ALL "porn" into the same level of severity and seriousness. In spite of logic and the infinite atonement, we conceptually view — even 5 minutes of pornography — as a sexual "sin next to murder," which is not accurate.

"Corianton’s sin was a composite of several elements, specifically sexual immorality by a priesthood leader that caused him to abandon his ministry and therefore neglect the spiritual needs of his flock, thereby leading them into apostasy. In effect, Corianton metaphorically “murdered” the testimonies of those he was commissioned to bring unto Christ when he was lured away by Isabel (cf. Alma 36:14).

This understanding of Corianton’s particular situation is strengthened by of the fact that in Alma 39:5, Alma speaks of “these things” (plural) being “an abomination in the sight of the Lord.” Apparently, “these things” included not only Corianton committing sexual sin, but purposefully neglecting “the ministry wherewith [he] wast entrusted” (v. 4). Perhaps, then, “the more serious infraction was the resulting spiritual damage inflicted upon others who had witnessed Corianton’s sinful actions.” —Michael R. Ash and B. W. Jorgensen, "Knowhy #147"

Let me be clear, the prevalence of a sin or behavior doesn't make it right (just because everyone is doing it). However, we treat pornography and masturbation with such rejection, that emotionally we loath ourselves and others for engaging in it. In the great words of Elder Uchtdorf, "STOP IT."

Doing it Right

We must stop it; stop being ashamed and own it. The fact that people view it with such seriousness makes this a landmark conversation in the relationship. My suggestion is to go into a relationship with the assumption that the other has engaged in these behaviors. As the relationship matures, it will provide appropriate opportunities to discuss the history and severity of the behaviors.

Every relationship is different and there is no fast and set rule on when to divulge your past. You cannot control your partner’s responses, but you can begin to view yourself in the loving context of the atonement. Their response is a reflection of their spiritual and emotional maturity. In fact, your sharing and their response can be an excellent indicator of their marriage readiness.