When pornography addiction makes us feel broken, we can find healing through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
When a plague of fiery serpents befell the ancient Israelites, the Lord gave Moses a solution: make a serpent of brass, fix it to a pole, then invite those who have been bitten to look upon it to be healed (Numbers 21:8). Though it was a straightforward action, not every Israelite chose to look up to the symbol, and as a result many succumbed to the poison of the serpents (1 Nephi 17:41).
In his Ensign article “Overcoming Addiction through the Atonement,” Brother Benjamin R. Erwin of LDS Family Services identifies a modern fiery serpent: pornography addiction. He explains that often those of us plagued by addiction keep it hidden in layers of secrecy, overcome by shame and grief. By hiding it away, we effectively stop ourselves from seeking help. “But the nature of addiction—and all sin, for that matter—is such that we cannot heal ourselves from it,” Brother Erwin says. Like the Israelites of old, we must “look to the source of healing: [our] Savior, Jesus Christ.”
Looking to Christ is one key to overcoming pornography addiction, Brother Erwin explains. Instead of dwelling on the consequences of addiction (painful as they are), we should focus on the light, hope, and healing that our Savior offers us to find the strength we need to fight our way back. “It takes faith, hope, and time to heal from the patterns of self-deception, isolation, and secrecy that nearly always accompany addiction,” Brother Erwin says. But as we look to Christ, the healing does come.
Jesus Christ is the master healer, but sometimes—like the ancient Israelites—we feel too far gone to save. In those times, Brother Erwin says, “we need to not give up…there is hope in Christ. He is the hope of recovery.” By making the effort to replace addiction with hope in Christ, we look to our Savior, our own brass serpent. When we trust in his promise to heal us, we can overcome the addiction that seeks to keep us spiritually imprisoned.
Read more about how to turn to Christ in the midst of addiction in Benjamin R. Erwin’s full Ensign article, “Overcoming Addiction through the Atonement.”
—Rachel Webb, Latter-day Saint Insights
FEATURE IMAGE BY MERRI J
Find more insights
Listen to Sherrie’s recovery story on how she overcame her pornography addiction.
Learn five simple steps on how to deal with a pornography addiction from the Church’s manual Help for Me.
To find resources on how to support a loved one struggling with an addiction to pornography, visit overcomingpornography.org.