In the past, John and I would commit to having regular Family Home Evening. We would have it once or twice, and then skip several months. I am sure his addiction had nothing to do with this. (Insert sarcasm.) Now, we are really committed. Sunday is our night for the full-blown scripture, prayer, song, lesson, activity, and treat. Monday we have a short lesson with scripture reading when my daughter gets home from dance.
Two Sundays ago I was giving a lesson on the Sacrament. The kids had been pretty terrible during Sacrament meeting, so I figured that’s what the lesson needed to be on. I was asking the kids questions, and they were answering. One of the questions was: Why is it so important for us to take the Sacrament? Jill said, “I don’t know. Dad doesn’t take it. So why should I?”
John and I looked at each other and I decided to let him handle this one.
I didn’t realize that Jill had noticed John wasn’t taking the Sacrament. Jack noticed almost immediately and I talked with him and let him know Dad had made a mistake and couldn’t take the Sacrament for awhile.
John squirmed a little, looked at Jill and said, “Well, I made a mistake and I can’t take it right now.”
That was not good enough for Jill. “What was it Dad?”
John squirmed some more. Looked at me again. I gave him the eye that it was his call.
He looked back at Jill and at Jack and said again, “I made a big mistake and I’m working with the Bishop to make it right.”
Again, it was not good enough and Jill began to pepper him with question, “What mistake?” “Tell me what the mistake was.” “Why aren’t you taking the Sacrament?” “Why are you working with the Bishop?” “So, what was it? Are you going to tell me?”
I watched John take a deep breath. He looked at both of our children and said, “You know how we have been talking about pornography a lot?” The kids nodded. “Well, I looked at pornography when I was really young and didn’t tell anyone. Then it became a big problem. I told the Bishop and he asked me not to take the Sacrament while I work on it. I am working really hard to be able to take the Sacrament again. That’s why we talk to you guys about pornography. We want you to know that you can talk to us so that if you see it, we can help you before it becomes a problem.”
Without even batting an eyelash, Jill looked at me and said, “Mom, what’s the next question?”
And that was that.
Now our kids know that John has a problem with pornography. I’m sure that a conversation will be had with all three of them, in the future, that the pornography addiction led to a sexual addiction, but I know the time is not right for that conversation. For now, the kids know that we will be open with them, and hopefully, they will remember that, and be open with us when the time comes.
The timing of this question from Jill was “interesting”. John was excommunicated a year ago, on that Sunday. When I think back to how much things have changed in a year, I am truly, truly amazed. John is changing. I am changing. Our family is changing. There is much to be hopeful and grateful for. John and Jack’s relationship has been strained this past year. Jack can’t stand not knowing everything that is going on. Since John told the kids about his addiction, Jack has relaxed. He’s more respectful of John and looks for opportunities to spend time with his Dad again. Yes, things are changing.