Believing in the Power to Heal

Tara's Story

A couple holding hands in front of the Salt Lake City temple.

During my early college years, I began dating the man of my dreams. He was 21 and preparing to serve a mission.  I sometimes wondered what had kept him from serving a mission at 19. He mentioned some things in his past he was taking care of, but at the time I didn’t feel like I needed to know the specifics.

While he was serving his mission, I decided to serve as well.  After we both returned, we dated off and on, but in the back of my mind I knew there was something in his past that could affect our possible future together.  He always told me that if I wanted to know about his past, he would tell me.

One day, as we talked on the phone, I finally asked what had kept him from serving a mission at 19. He explained that he had problems with a pornography addiction. I felt like I had been punched in the stomach and couldn’t speak for minutes.  I told him I needed some time to think and hung up.  Hundreds of questions raced through my mind. Was this a reason not to become serious with him? All my life I had tried to live a righteous life for my future husband, but since he hadn’t done the same, did that mean we shouldn’t be together? How would this affect our future family? Would he always have this problem?

I wanted advice, but I didn’t know who to talk to.  I didn’t feel like it was something I should discuss with my parents or my friends.  I decided I couldn’t go forward with our relationship, so we chose to remain friends.  But as I continued to date others, I always had him in the back of my mind.  We later connected and started dating again, but the same questions plagued my mind. After much thought and debate, I went to the temple to inquire of the Lord. I felt feelings of calmness and peace, knowing that I could go forward with our relationship.

After dating for several years, we finally decided to marry. During our engagement, my bishop suggested we attend meetings from the Addiction Recovery Program. We decided to give it a try, and it became a great blessing for us as a couple preparing for marriage.  We were able to be very open with each other and discuss any questions or concerns.  The support group was exactly what I needed as I learned about addiction, the power of the Atonement to heal, and how we would be able to handle the situation together. All of the questions I had were answered.  I also found great strength in the women who attended the ARP meetings, all dealing with similar situations.  They became my friends and confidants.

I realized that my fiancé’s addiction to pornography had nothing to do with me or the way I looked or acted.  I wanted to be supportive and help him, but ultimately it was something he had to work through for himself. 

I knew we would have our struggles, but through my experiences, I learned that the Atonement is real and works for all of us in the way that we need it.  I firmly believe in that power to help, comfort, and heal.  We have had some struggles, but with the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we continue to work through them.