Not like “The Village”

Yesterday I said that I wanted to start a rural community.

I don’t want to live cut off from society. That’s not what I meant.

This community would still have modern conveniences, including internet. Internet access might be filtered for pornography, though.

There would be plenty of other conveniences, too. I want to have the advantages of living in a city, without the disadvantages. Like traffic. And crowds.

Community

I want to start my own town. Is that weird? Probably.

I want to create an intentional community. A community of people with common beliefs. Common goals.

I want to live around people with the same values as me. People who will help me be better.

I want my kids to be around other kids who will influence them for good. Who won’t try to get them to smoke or drink or watch porn.

This community would start online. Then we would create it in the real world. We would buy a few square miles in a rural area. People from our online community would settle there.

Who’s in?

What’s new?

In some ways, not much. I still live in my mom’s basement. My divorce still isn’t final. I’m still unemployed. My still-not-yet-ex-wife still lives in her parents’ basement with our boys.

In other ways, a lot. I’ve been reading lots of books, mostly self-help and business books. I’ve been going to an addiction recovery group for pron addicts. I joined an MLM, then realized it wasn’t for me and quit. I went to a free real estate thing, which was really a promotion for a three-day seminar. I quit Facebook again, this time I think it’s permanent.

I feel like it’s time to get things moving again. I need to start making money. I need to start making friends. I need to start applying the knowledge I’ve been getting from the books I’ve been reading.

I need to pick myself up, dust myself off, and start moving toward my dreams.

Gay?

In the past I’ve wondered if I was bisexual or gay.

I’m not the most masculine man.

I’m kind of effeminate.

I like cross-stitch.

I’ve sewn and done crochet.

I know I’m not gay, though, because I’m very attracted to women.

In the past I’ve accidentally downloaded gay porn.

“Phil, how did you ‘accidentally’ download gay porn?”

At the time I used LimeWire to download videos.  I had to rely on file names to tell what I was downloading.  Some of those file names were lies.

The feelings I got from watching gay porn were revulsion and nausea.  So I know I’m not bisexual.

I’m not trying to say anything negative about anyone who is gay or bisexual.

I just know that’s not who I am.

I’m secretive

“People will make fun of me for the music I like.”

“I’m a disgusting porn addict.  If anyone finds out they’ll know how disgusting I am.”

“If anyone finds out I believe in conspiracies they’ll think I’m crazy.  No one will ever want to talk to me again.”

These are just a few examples of thoughts I’ve had.

I’m afraid of ridicule.

Of rejection.

Of confrontation.

So I hide the things I think people won’t like.

I’m trying do undo that now.

Forcing myself to disclose things I think people won’t like.

Maybe I will lose some friends.  I hope not.

But maybe some friendships will grow stronger.

Maybe I’ll gain some friends, too.

10 things I can do to help me get to the temple

  1. Read scriptures 30 minutes every day
  2. Pray more
  3. Pray for longer
  4. Get rid of my internet connection
  5. Get to church every week
  6. Start taking the Sacrament
  7. Go to Temple Square on a regular basis
  8. Watch conference talks every day
  9. Watch Bible videos every day
  10. Share the Gospel with others

Why I’m still a Mormon

I’m not a shining example of  “Good Mormon.”

I’ve struggled with pornography most of my adult life.

I’ve lied countless times.  I don’t want people thinking bad things about me.

I’ve been inactive in the Church for most of my adult life.

It would be easier to just leave the Church completely.

But I don’t.

I can’t.

I know it’s true.

Turning my back on the Church would be like turning my back on myself.

When I was twenty-four I hadn’t gone to church for several years.

I felt like I needed to go back.  I was afraid to talk to a bishop.  Afraid to confess my sins.

I decided to take some religion classes.  I could get some spirituality in my life without any pressure.

After about six months I decided to go to church.

I only went for Sacrament meeting.  I didn’t go in the chapel.  I sat out in the foyer and listened.

After a few months I had my records transferred to that ward.

I started sitting in the chapel during Sacrament meeting.

Eventually I started going to all the meetings.

Then one day in priesthood meeting one of the other guys told me a group of guys were going to see a movie together.  He asked if I’d like to come.

I got spooked.

I didn’t go back to church for awhile.

I slowly started going again, eventually going to all the meetings.

Then one Sunday it happened.

Just before Sacrament the Bishop’s Secretary came up to me.  He asked if I could see the Bishop after the meeting.

This was it.

The Bishop had just wanted to meet me.  I spilled my guts anyway.

I felt so much better afterward.

I started meeting with him every week.

At that point I decided I’d better find out for myself if the Church was really true.

I’d believed it was for years.  I was never quite sure, though.

I’d been reading the Book of Mormon on and off for several months.

I’d never finished the whole thing.

I decided now was the time.

I finished it.  Then I prayed about it.

I got a feeling I’d never felt before.

I knew it was true.

I still do.

I’m not a “Good Mormon”

I’m a hypocrite.  I’m lazy.  I just don’t wanna go.

I don’t say these things to condemn myself.  I just need to work on them.

I haven’t gone to church for most of my adult life.  I’ve been wandering in the wilderness.

I don’t have a good reason.

That’s not to say I don’t have any reasons.

I have social anxiety.  Especially around people I don’t consider friends.

I haven’t made any friends at church.  Because of the social anxiety.

I feel ashamed.  I don’t live up to the Church’s standards.  I want to, but it’s hard.

That’s no excuse, though.

I love the feeling I get when I’m at Church (as long as no one’s trying to talk to me).

Sometimes I feel the Spirit so strong.

It moves me to tears.

Every week I think, “I’m going to go to church next Sunday.”

Then Sunday morning comes.

Those of you who struggle with getting to church know what I’m talking about.

Dragging myself out of bed.

Dragging the kids out of bed.

Getting them ready.

Getting me ready.

Etc.

The people who go to church every week have these problems, too.  Well, maybe not all of them.

I want to be more like them.

I still love my wife

It’s a weird situation.

My wife told me almost six months ago she wants a divorce.

She was thinking about it a long time before that.

We still live together.  We sleep in different rooms.

She hasn’t filed for divorce yet.  She talks about it occasionally, though.

I’m not really in a hurry.  I just wish I knew for sure what was going on.

I still think the world of her.

She has plenty of flaws.  I’m sure she knows that better than I do.

She wanted to be with me when I could barely support myself.

She was supportive of me when I was laid off and couldn’t find another job.

She worked to support our family so I could go to college.

She forgave me the first time I told her I’d been lying to her and that I was addicted to porn.

She stayed with me when I told her I wasn’t going to finish my degree.

Best of all, she’s given me two sweet, wonderful little boys.

I hate that I hurt her.  Again.

It hurts me to lose her.

Whatever happens though, I want her to be happy.

Divorce

My wife told me at the end of June that she wanted to separate.

This wasn’t the first time she’d said that.  This time was different, though.  This time she wouldn’t be talked out of it.

She felt like she couldn’t trust me anymore.

I’d lied to her about watching porn.  That was worse than the fact that I’d been watching porn.

Six months earlier I’d decided to come clean to her.  We’d been going through marriage counseling, and I started feeling a lot closer to her.

I knew my lies were getting in the way of us getting closer.

One night she confessed something to me.  So I confessed to her that I’d been lying.

At first she seemed ok.  By the time I came home from work the next day I could tell she wasn’t ok.

She went into a deep depression for several months.  I was worried, but I didn’t know what I could do.  Most of the things I tried to do were mistakes.

We went through cycles.  She’d let me know she wasn’t happy with me.  I’d work hard at being the best husband ever.  After a while I’d slack off.  I couldn’t stick with it.  She’d get upset again.

She was gentle when she told me.  More gentle than I expected.  I cried.  She comforted me.

I told her I was really going to change this time.  I meant it when I said it.

Eventually I got used to the idea.  She was going to divorce me no matter what I did.

I decided once we were divorced I’d change.  I’d become the best version of myself, and hope she’d like the new me.  Then maybe she’d want me back.

Later it sunk in that she was probably never going to take me back.

Now I’ve accepted it.  I’m ready to move on with my life.

I think…