As we age and grow, so does our spirit. We each have a unique timetable for spiritual maturity in this life. Some people experience their conversion and immediate growth in their testimony and knowledge of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ very early on in life while others mature at their own pace. This can lead to confusion within family dynamics since parents will expect the same growth and development in their children as they experienced themselves.
My parents converted when they were 16 and 17 years old respectively, so I was raised with the expectation that all my siblings and I would follow suit. As a result, I felt that if we didn’t remain righteous enough it was our fault; something must be wrong with us. This created unnecessary guilt and shame for me as a young adult who struggled to secure my testimony during those teenage years (something many people experience).
It wasn’t until later on in life after accepting an invitation to attend Relief Society that my eyes were opened. One of the lessons shared at Relief Society was about modesty – how women should dress modestly to help men focus on spiritual rather than physical things. The teacher shared how her husband was only concerned with physical attraction when they were dating and he struggled to pay attention in the church because of it. Her words hit me like a ton of bricks, I suddenly realized that this was something I had been struggling with myself. Not the struggle against immodesty but the tendency to view women through a lustful lens rather than recognizing their intrinsic worth as daughters of God.
I began reading everything I could about the subject, learning how Satan has always used this tactic since the beginning of time in order to discredit women and make them feel unworthy (see Genesis 3:1-5). It made me sick at heart when I realized how often I had fallen prey to his lies over the years, even at church, where I should have felt the Spirit the strongest.
This understanding didn’t come all at once but continued to grow gradually over several years of scripture study and prayer as I allowed myself to be open to it. I can see now that my conversion was not complete or mature enough at an early age, therefore lacking conviction when it came time for me to choose whether or not to repent for this thing that had gone on in my heart undiscovered. This is what Heavenly Father must always feel like with us – how could we ever make Him happy if He doesn’t give us the chance to learn these things on our own?
I wish I would have gotten it sooner but better late than never! It’s up to each one of us to be proactive about our spiritual education. As we study the scriptures and learn from the Holy Ghost, we become more sensitive to His influence in our life. This will help us to recognize when Satan is trying to deceive us into believing things that are not true! Being open and receptive has been one of my greatest teachers as I have continued to seek a deeper understanding of Heavenly Father’s plan for me. It makes living worth it – feeling His love every day, knowing where I’m going after this life, having someone who will never leave or forsake me throughout all time and eternity!
I wish you peace as you continue your journey at whatever pace you choose.
…Also if anyone could recommend books on modesty, that would be great as well.
God bless! ^_^
See comments below for additional sources to help you learn more about the topic of modesty and pornography as it relates to men. Thank you so much for your courage in sharing, that was a very insightful article!