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By Patrick B. Craine

RALEIGH, North Carolina, June 25, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Two years ago, Jeff and Marsha Fisher's world fell apart after their denominational leaders discovered Jeff's addiction to pornography. Jeff, who had been pastor of a plant church in Buffalo, had to leave his position, and they moved with their two young children from Buffalo to Raleigh.

Now, they are using their experience for God's glory through a new online ministry, Porn to Purity, where they share their story and their continued battle through a blog and podcasts.

About a year after starting the new church plant, Jeff was confronted by the director of the local denominational office and the pastor of the church that was helping to sponsor the plant, he tells listeners in a podcast. “They had a folder full of questionable websites that I had searched while in the office alone,” he recalls. “It was an intervention.”

Marsha knew about Jeff's struggles with pornography, and had already given him a second chance, but after this discovery, Jeff told LifeSiteNews.com (LSN), she “was understandably very angry with me.”

But, rather than making him sleep on the couch or leaving him, Marsha eventually chose to embrace Jeff. ”God really touched my wife and after a few weeks,” he told LSN, “she saw how much I was hurting, and saw how we were being treated by our mentors and leaders and felt compassion for me. … I would say, at some point, … about two months in, she came to me and said that she realized that this is not just my problem, this is our problem.”

“Think of this as a 'one flesh' problem,” Marsha tells listeners in a podcast. “The Lord in his loving kindness gave me the ability to see Jeff's pornography problem as OUR marriage problem.”

“[Marsha] embraced me,” Jeff told LSN. ”I know one of the driving things for her was that she didn't want us to be one of those failures, and be one of those statistics of a marriage that didn't work. So we both had to go into counseling, we both had to deal with the shock of this.”

The Fishers have posted a list of statistics about pornography on their website, which reveal that pornography is a pervasive problem in the Church. According to ChristiaNet, for example, 50% of all Christian men and 20% of all Christian women are addicted to porn. And according to Pastors.com, 54% of pastors surveyed had viewed Internet pornography in the last year, and 30% within the last 30 days.

After the intervention from his leaders, Jeff realized that he had to deal with his addiction in a deeper way. ”I had to start dealing with 'Okay, there's some deeper stuff here', and we need to take a look at this,” he told LSN. ”We need to go beyond just 'Do something different when you're at the computer', or 'Do something different with your hands' … We had to deal with porn addiction in a deeper way.”

“I had to start practicing truth,” he said. ”I had been covering it up. … I needed to start having a network of people that I could talk to about it. It started with just talking to counselors and then I had my best friend, who I had not told about this, I called him and just confessed everything, and what had happened. And he's one of those friends … that said, you know, 'Jeff, I'm a good friend, and we're gonna work this.' For … at least the first month, he and I talked every day … It's been almost two years now, and we still talk at least twice a week.”

Jeff believes that churches are not dealing with pornography addictions well enough. ”In the church circles, it's just not something that is talked about, it is very hushed,” he said. ”Most sermons that I've heard related to pornography are very condemning, in the sense of, 'If you are involved in this, then shame on you, a Christian wouldn't do that.' I just think that's the wrong approach.”

“One of the things that Marsha and I intended when we started our website was, we want to talk about it,” he said. ”Every time that we share our story, people have responded, and people feel like they're not alone. I think that people who are in pornography feel like they're the only one … A message that churches need to share is that this is a real problem in society, it's not what God wants for us, and here's how to work it.”

Further, “parents have to create a safe environment where their children can feel like … they can come talk to them,” Jeff said. ”There was an absence in my family and in Marsha's family with talking about sexual things.”

The Fishers have already started opening up dialogue with their two children. Jeff said that they have begun speaking about the risks of internet use with their nine-year-old daughter. ”I think we have to say that … there are bad things out there,” he said, “and things like nude pictures, and … you're probably going to see those. Come see Mommy and Daddy and let us know immediately. And we're not gonna blame you, you're not in trouble.” Jeff told LSN that he even has modeled this behavior by telling his wife and children when he accidentally sees pornographic images online.

Jeff and Marsha want people who are struggling with pornography to have access to the resources they need to conquer their addiction. Besides their blog and podcasts, they have listed a variety of resources on their website.


See related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:

No, It is Not Okay for Christian Couples to View Porn Together as a Warm Up for Sex
https://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/mar/08031902.html

Study Proves “Pornography is Harmful”
https://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2002/mar/02031203.html

Pornography “One of the Most Pervasive and Destructive Problems in Our Society”—Philly Cardinal
https://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2006/jun/06060908.html

Experts Link New Study on Aggressive Sexual Behavior to Pornography Usage
https://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2007/dec/07120406.html

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