100: Going through the ARP for “Porn Addiction” Pt 2

Natasha Helfer Parker interviews Ryan Flake, who was referred to the LDS Addiction Recovery Program by his bishop due to confessions about viewing sexually explicit material and masturbation. They discuss his upbringing as a Mormon and the many messages he received from an early age that contributed to quite a bit of sexual shame by the time Ryan was preparing to go on a mission, even though he was not having any relational sexual experiences. Ryan’s story does a good job of highlighting how certain rigid expectations and attributed meanings can do harm in regards to self-esteem, anxiety management, relational dynamics, sexual development and self-identity. Ryan talks about his experience with the ARP and how he found the messaging shaming and unhelpful in his particular situation where “addiction” was not a correct assessment.

It is the hope of podcasts like these to educate the public about the difference between things such as chemical dependency from relational and behavioral problems that are more common among the general population. It is important to get help and find adequate resources for whatever issues one might be facing. Correct assessment and competent professional help are vital first steps. Unfortunately, the research shows that mental health professionals who come from a religious background themselves, will be more willing to follow a “sex” or “porn addiction” model even though there is no such formal diagnosis. Therefore, the Mormon community needs to be aware that getting adequate help for this topic is complicated and one needs to use caution and good research to get appropriate help.

For more information on why “addiction” is not the correct way to go about treating relational and sexual issues please visit mormonsexinfo.com.

And the following article which I helped author:

How Concepts of Sex Addiction and Porn Addiction are Failing Clients

Other podcasts on Mormon Stories and Mormon Mental Health

Understanding Scrupulosity Within the LDS Church

Pornography, Masturbation, Sex and Marriage in Mormonism

Overcoming Pornography Addiction

One N Ten Program Ryan speaks about volunteering with

Natasha Helfer Parker, LCMFT, CST runs an online practice, Symmetry Solutions, which focuses on helping families and individuals with faith concerns, sexuality and mental health. She writes at The Mormon Therapist for Patheos: Hosting the Conversation of Faith, runs Mormon Sex Info and is the current president for the Mormon Mental Health Association.

4 comments for “100: Going through the ARP for “Porn Addiction” Pt 2

  1. KG Arnold
    May 26, 2017 at 1:08 pm

    I love how you lead him in your questions–he states that he told the bishop he was doing this every 2-3 weeks, but you then ask–now wait he did not ask about your situation and how often, or is masturbation involved, and so forth, the bishop just automatically sends everyone to 12-step meeting? Do you always do that, or were you just not listening?

    He states he is guessing about this couple that there is abuse, then later he changes story, one of the kids told him, then later ads; I was elder quorum secretary and heard everything… Give me a break how many elder secretaries know anything about people in the ward. I guarantee if abuse in anyway comes up in these meetings, they are immediately reported. And 99 percent of bishops are reporting abuse as well.

    Step-6, No one would attend these meeting if they weer not converted to the Gospel… Everyone of your other podcasts I have listened to state that porn is not the problem, we need to find the issues that causes it. Could that be character weaknesses? Abuse, depression, and so forth. All step-6 is the Gospel of Jesus Christ… receiving a complete Change of Heart. To state he is not converted because of statements by Marion G. Romney, or because it says you can obtain TRUE Conversion–once again, completely taken out of context. We all need to obtain a Change of Heart and turn our will and life over to the Savior. I think thats called TRUE CONVERSION!

    True conversion comes from recognizing our weakness’s whatever they are, pride, honesty, depression, abuse. And the program and the ARP Manuel is very clear you most likely will need more than this Manuel but professional counseling! Which is another lie I heard from both of you here. I have seen many overcome their pornography struggle working with professionals. These meetings are not required, lol

    Question for you; do you really believe castration means cutting off the penis? Also WOW, he must have really been destroyed by this meeting, if after attending 3 to 4 meeting he is ready to castrate himself. Masturbating since he was a young boy but these meetings made him him seek castration. lol

    I also love your and his description of what a meeting is like. Yes there are service missionaries (usually older couple) at the meeting, but the real person in charge is the Facilitator, someone that has struggled with pornography and understands exactly what they are going through. 95% have been through professional counseling and recommend it to each participant.

    If you believe it’s and addiction or you feel it’s acceptable in God eyes and do it whenever you are depressed cause you will feel good for 2 minutes… At least learn what you are talking about!

    I have attended 100’s of these meetings, I have never felt Shame, I have felt love and respect. Yes, I agree the typical member does not understand it and, to talk about it would create shame among members… ah duh. You yourself keep saying a person’s sex life should be private. Why is that? Based on your opinion there is no shame or guilt, or need of repentance, why keep it private?

    These meetings are place to go to get away from shame and guilt but to feel love and respect.

    Please understand what you are talking about before you condemn something. Because when it comes to the 12-Step meetings you are clueless.

  2. KG Arnold
    May 26, 2017 at 2:28 pm

    Any particular reason why my comment is not posted?

    • natashaparker
      May 27, 2017 at 1:33 am

      I check my email every day or so… which alerts me to comments that are posted and need to be approved… there is no one moderating comments 24/7.

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