THE GOLDEN QUESTION
Forty eight year-old Joe had been masturbating and viewing porn for several months BEFORE his wife accidentally discovered a credit card charge for some explicit porn in a random email. With tears in her eyes and a broken heart she confronted him with the “The Golden Question” which is “Who is looking at this?” (Knowing deep down inside it could only have been Joe.) Joe responded with “The Golden Answer” which is “I have no clue honey. It wasn’t me. You know I’d never look at porn. I’ll check it out tomorrow…”
Joe recognized his porn problem. It took him awhile but he quit. Later, he told his wife the truth.
Sin (and addictions) strengthen across time. Sins typically have three seasons of growth. We learned about the first or Spring Season of Sin in the blog; Pleasures of Sin. We know during this season Satan deceives us by allowing us to experience pleasure while we sin. During the second or Summer Season of Sin we learn this pleasure begins to end.
and by and by the end cometh” 3 Nephi 27:11.
Summer Season of Sin is characterized by the following:
The “Seed of Disobedience” (the Spirit withdrawing) is planted during the Spring Season (See: Pleasures of Sin). During the Summer Season of Sin this seed sprouts into several forms of dishonesty like lying, stealing, cheating etc etc
“Teens [and adults] in substance-abuse trouble invariably tax their parents’ [and spouses’] patience to the very limit. They [the sinners] are almost always deceptive, secretive, manipulative, and belligerent.” (“When a Teenager Uses Drugs or Alcohol: How to Cope …,” Ensign, Mar. 1988).
You’ve heard the saying before: How do you tell if an addict is lying or not?—“Their lips move.” Well, for the most part it’s true.
Satan’s effective use of the Gradual Process Principle increases the individual’s willingness and ability to live with more and more of the sin. The mind, the physical body and the spirit each develop tolerance while leading to the Fall Season of Sin – bondage/addiction.
One aspect of tolerance means eventually it takes more of the sin to get the same level of “pleasure” received in the Spring Season-this is especially true for alcohol, drugs and porn.
Here’s an example of pornography and tolerance.
Pornography in all its forms is especially dangerous and addictive. What may begin as a curious indulgence can become a destructive habit that takes control of your life. It can lead you to sexual transgression and criminal behavior. (For The Strength of Youth, pg. 17)
(Tolerance is powerful. I’ve seen people who have developed a tolerance to amounts of drugs or alcohol in the Summer Season that if taken during the Spring Season would have been lethal.)
OTHER CHARACTERISTICS of the Summer Season of Sin
* The sin continues to effectively cause pleasure.
* Pain begins to occur– guilt and shame; lack of money; school and work failure; STDs; getting caught; relationship conflict with others; etc etc
* The sinner realizes they can cope with “the pain” by engaging in the sin to “feel pleasure.”
* Will power is still intact the sinner can stop -for a good reason. Individuals in the Summer of Season of Sin can successfully stop the sin by initiating self-recovery techniques and exercising willpower.
The Spring and Summer Season of Sin binds loosely like ………………
and NOT YET like “the strong cords [many]” that “bindeth forever.” (2 Nephi 26:22)
In our example above, Joe appears to be in the Summer Season of Sin by demonstrating:
* tolerance having moved from “free porn” to “paying for more explicit porn”.
* dishonesty by hiding and lying about – his porn use.
* quitting by using will power and personal resources.
A typical attitude of someone in the Spring and Summer Season –of sin is that they believe it is possible-to experience the pleasures of the sin but avoid the effects of bondage. In some ways they believe they have “beat the system” and can successfully sin.
Dallin Oaks says it this way:
“…members of the Church who commit serious transgressions knowingly and deliberately, relying on their supposed ability to repent speedily and be ‘as good as new.’ Such persons want the present convenience or enjoyment of sin AND the future effects of righteousness, in that order. They want to experience the sin but avoid its effects.” (Sin and Suffering, Ensign, July 1992.)
Which, for the most part the successful sinner appears to accomplish – “enjoy sin AND yet avoid it’s bondage” – during the Spring and Summer Seasons. (One of Satan’s powerful tools of deception.)
The Prophet Joseph Smith observed that “there are so many fools in the world for the devil to operate upon, it gives him the advantage oftentimes.” (Teachings, 331).
Evaluate your life.
Are there sins/addictions that you need to stop NOW before they strengthen.