04 March 2007

The Evils of the Internet

I was talking with my youngest brother-in-law recently. We're really good friends. He's in High School now, and I've known him since he was seven years old.

A few weeks ago we talked about pornography and masturbation. He mentioned a couple things about "my friend" does this and "my friend" does that, and when I didn't freak out, he let on that he did it too. I let him know I don't think he's a terrible sick person for doing it, and he's healthy and normal. He was incredibly relieved.

We discussed the difference between using porn and being addicted, how masturbation is safe solo sex, etc. I mentioned that porn sex can be distorted, it's not a place to learn about sex and what women want, and real sex is infinitely better.

Apparently he was so enheartened by my reaction that he decided to tell his dad and the bishop, too.

Oops. FIL banned him from the internet, and the phone, and from everything besides school, plus then some. The bishop was practically more moderate. I was actually really surprised and disappointed with FIL's reaction.

BIL basically told me "see if I ever tell my dad anything again." He's already figured out ways to sneak past them. I think that is so, SO much worse than any of the porn stuff—the fact that he isn't ever going to tell his parents what he really does because of what they'll do to him. He's a good kid, but what if he did take a bad turn, or he didn't know where to turn? What if he needed some advice?


At 11:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm glad you had such a good talk with your BIL. Too bad FIL was so weirded out by it.

I had a similar experience as him, in that I learned quickly to hide things from my parents because of their reactions. They reacted very harshly to things much, much milder (in Mormonism) than masturbation (I never did anyway)--things like choice of movies, liking boys, kissing boys.

Rather than stopping to do those things, I just did them and didn't tell them. Not the reaction they wanted.

I am trying to raise my son differently, and making home a safe place to speak and act his true self. I realize he'll still hide things from me when he's a teenager, but I hope he can feel safe to ask his dad or me about sex, condoms, masturbation, etc.

At 5:52 AM, Blogger C. L. Hanson said...

I think you gave your BIL good advice, and it's a good thing for him that he has a responsible adult to talk to about such things (since he's clearly not getting any reasonable advice from his family).

The one thing I would recommend pointing out to him is that a lot of times when people figure out that certain rules are unreasonably restrictive, there's a danger of not knowing what guidelines to set for oneself. I would encourage him to show that he's capable of making responsible decisions for his own life, and show him that you have confidence in him.

It's hard for young people to find their own way once they realize the simple black-and-white rulebook of Mormonism is basically useless for dealing with the complexity of life. These sorts of questions of dealing with parents, relationships, and sexuality are the whole point of my novel Exmormon (far more than the story deals with questions of whether or not one should believe in the church and why).

At 3:28 AM, Blogger Chino Blanco said...

If you've yet to join the conversation re X-Mormon of the Year over at Main Street Plaza, this here is your official invite! ( And all apologies for this spamalicious OT comment ! )

At 11:23 AM, Blogger Heather said...

Hi I’m Heather! Please email me when you get a chance! I have a question about your blog. HeatherVonsj(at)gmail(dot)com


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