RowboatAndMarbles.org (the “Site”) is an independent, free-access website that seeks to foster among members of the LDS faith (Mormons), other Christians and anyone else affected by the problem, a better understanding of pornography and sexual addiction, as well as recovery from addiction. The Site pursues this goal by way of opinion essays written by regular and guest contributors, most of whom are recovering addicts, co-addicts and/or spouses of addicts.
Jesus and His Restored Gospel
The Site and its contributing writers embrace fully the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ (the “Gospel”) as embodied in the teachings and policies of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the “Church”). The Site firmly advocates that (1) Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world and the only means whereby humankind may receive a remission of their sins and one day return back into the presence of their Heavenly Father; (2) the earthly authority necessary to perform saving ordinances for all humankind both living and dead is exclusively within the priesthood of God which is found only in the Church; (3) Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and the Lord’s instrument in bringing forth the inspired Book of Mormon and restoring the Church; (4) the president of the Church (currently Thomas S. Monson) along with his counselors in the First Presidency and the Quorum of Twelve Apostles (collectively the “Prophets” or the “Brethren”) are Prophets of God and special witnesses of Jesus Christ; (5) the safest course of action in this life is to follow the Prophets.
Follow the Brethren
I believe that statements made and positions taken on the Site are entirely consistent with the Gospel, the Church and teachings of the Brethren. Nevertheless, to the extent that any opinion expressed on this Site is inconsistent with the Gospel, readers of the Site are encouraged always to side with and follow the Brethren.
I also believe that Latter-day Saints have a duty to seek truth and that nothing in the Gospel, the Church or statements of the Prophets bars or discourages the seeking of truth outside the Church. Indeed, members of the Church embrace and rejoice in truth whatever its source. In modern revelation, the Lord spoke clearly on this subject when he admonished, “And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith” (D&C 88:118). The Thirteenth Article of Faith contains similar language.
The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous
Consistent with this commandment, the Church has recognized and embraced the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous as a useful and effective program of addressing and overcoming addictions of various sorts, not just alcoholism. The Church encourages those of its members who suffer from addictions, including co-addiction, to get help. When appropriate, that help may include an effective Twelve Step program either inside or outside the Church.
Nothing in the current statements and positions of the Church and the Brethren discourages participation in Twelve Step programs when such participation can be helpful to the recovery of the addict. I am personally blessed to know a great many LDS men and women who worthily hold a temple recommend, are fully active and even serve in leadership roles in the Church and at the same time participate regularly in one or more Twelve Step programs either inside or outside the Church.
Although the Church and the Brethren accept and encourage appropriate participation in programs based on the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, care must be taken to assure that the individual programs do not promote ideas, activities or behaviors that are inconsistent with the Gospel. Logic dictates that this care would be especially important in the context of sex addiction.
Sexaholics Anonymous Works and So Does S-Anon
Based upon my personal experience and that of hundreds of other men and women I have met, this Site is built on the premise that the programs most strongly suited to help LDS sex and porn addicts and co-addicts are Sexaholics Anonymous (“SA”) and S-Anon. A growing number of Latter-day Saints participate in these two programs and their collective voices speak not just of freedom from addiction but also of an increased enthusiasm for the Gospel. Quite the opposite of competing with the Church, these two programs are helping people become better Latter-day Saints. (As an aside, I note that the suggested reading list on sex addiction found on the Church’s own website includes none other than the White Book of Sexaholics Anonymous.)
The definition of sexual sobriety in SA is completely consistent with the Gospel: no sex with self or any person other than spouse; and progressive victory over lust. The program literature is also compatible with the Gospel although most if not all of it was written by individuals who are not LDS. The message of SA is not “salvation through Christ” but rather “recovery from addiction.” This focus allows many LDS men and women finally to stop acting out with their drug of choice, lust. As they no longer act out, they are able–truly for the first time–to forsake the sin, turn to the Savior to ask for forgiveness with both humility and confidence, and feel the purifying effect of the Savior’s Atonement as it changes the parts inside them that they cannot change on their own.