“Stay Watchful,” New Era, Mar. 2014, 32
I have many regrets about the last four years of my life. I was raised in the Church, and many family members and friends have set good examples for me. Despite these blessings, I was not watchful enough, which caused a series of problems in my life.
It started when I was about 13 and became addicted to media. I watched endless TV and acted as if I would die without video games. My media addiction led to another problem: I didn’t have any good friends because I had not made enough of an effort to befriend the boys in my quorum. In an attempt to find friends, I looked in the wrong places and became part of an online chat group. In this group some people posted pornography. Because of the weakness that had come from my other problems, I was easily ensnared by pornography.
I tried to justify my behavior by making excuses: it’s not hurting anyone; it can’t be that wrong. I hated viewing pornography from the first time I saw it, but I became hooked. I wanted to be a good member of the Church, but I had made a series of mistakes and did not correct them in the right way for a long time.
It took me one and a half years to see my bishop. He helped me overcome the desire to view pornography. Over time I also began to make friends with the people in my ward, stake, and seminary class. I am 17 now, and only recently have I been able to feel free. Only in the last few months have I conquered my addiction to media, sincerely prayed daily, and regularly read the scriptures.
Do not let any of these problems take root in your heart. I testify that the Lord does forgive those who have sinned. But you will have a much less painful life if you don’t have to repent as I have. I beg you to spare yourself as much pain as possible by learning the consequences of sin in such a way that you will fear and avoid it. I say this because sin kills the soul, and if you sin, you will feel pain. The devil hates us, seeks our misery, and has power to influence us if we let him. But I testify that we can find grace, charity, kindness, and safety in the Atonement of Jesus Christ.