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The books reviewed here include: Goodbye, I Love You by Carol Lynn Pearson (New York, Random House, 1986); Confessions of a Mormon Boy by Steven Fales (Sunstone 130, December 2003), and Dancing with Crazy by Emily Pearson (Murray, Utah, Hulabaloo Press, 2012). 


For those who may not know, Rashomon is a 1950 film by Japanese director Akira Kurosawa in which a bandit, a wife, and her samurai husband all give different accounts of the same series of events during a trial.  Each account conflicts with the others in irreconcilable ways, each one being colored by both the subjectivity and the self-interest of the narrator. Then after the trial, a woodcutter who witnessed the events from the outside gives a fourth and still different perspective on what happened. Rashomon remains a classic of world cinema in its potent treatment of the elusiveness of truth, and the inescapable effects of subjectivity on perception.  It should lead us to wonder about the beams in our own eyes that impede our perceptions and that color our judgments.  The experience of wrestling with contrary perceptions tells us something essential about reality that cannot be learned without such wrestling.  As Joseph Smith says, “by proving contraries, truth is made manifest" [1], truth being “knowledge of things as they are, as they were, and as they are to come” (D&C 93:24). Part of the “knowledge of things as they really are” that comes from wrestling with contraries is in our comprehending just how elusive truth can be, when mediated through human agents, and assessed in human minds. [2]

Soon after its 1986 publication, I had read and admired Goodbye, I Love You, a touching memoir of Carol Lynn Pearson’s marriage to Gerald Pearson, his role in jump-starting her successful career as a poet, their divorce in consequence of his decision to embrace a gay lifestyle, and his later return to her care during his illness and his death from AIDS, quite literally in her arms.  In 1993 Steven Fales married Carol Lynn Pearson’s oldest daughter Emily in the same temple and by the same man who had sealed her parents. In his turn, after fathering two children with her, Fales embraced his homosexuality at the cost of the marriage.  He decided to give a male perspective on this situation in his one man play, Confessions of a Mormon Boy, a version of which was published in Sunstone in 2003. After Emily Pearson read a review of the play in which the critic aptly commented that “it’s disconcerting how completely she disappears between courtship and divorce” [3], she decided to give her own account.  She provided a preview of her perspectives in a Sunstone essay in 2006 entitled, “Irreconcilable Differences.”  That preview expanded into her 2012 memoir and Mormon exit narrative, Dancing with Crazy.  Emily provides a child’s perspective on Gerald’s story, a wife’s perspective on Steven’s, and Emily Pearson the adult also casts light on much that the younger Emily did not understand.

The interaction of these three very different narratives has a very Rashomon-like effect on me.  I’ve considered each of them alone and collectively as they interact with each other and intersect, clash, or shed further light. Additionally, my own perceptions and interpretations as an outside observer have changed over the years as I have had personal experience that intersects with themes of these accounts. I hope in this essay to have an effect rather like that of the woodcutter, to see something from the outside that none of the participants considered, and to make a case that what I see makes as much a difference to their stories as their stories do to one another’s.  Quite simply, none of the participants considers the notion of sex addiction as a factor in behavior and consequently, none considers the implications of the diagnosis.  I have well over a decade of experience in addiction recovery and can draw on the expert literature and my contact with scores of other people in recovery over many years.  These accounts contain only one sentence on sex addiction. It comes in Emily’s epilogue, as one question in a cluster about explanations of homosexuality:  “Is it a sexual addiction?” [4]   As part of her response she declares, “The issue is that people are not accepted for simply being who they are—for whatever reason.” [5]   That is, rather than defining the concept and considering the possible relevance to the story she tells, she redirects our attention to the ideal of tolerance for all.  In this Mormon Rashomon, I come as an outside observer like the woodcutter and I ask, “What happens if you consider the possibility that an individual homosexual could also be a sex addict, and therefore, that addiction could be a significant factor in behavior?”

Even without my outside view, these three accounts all demonstrate that honesty, awareness and perceptivity may be very different things. For example, Carol Lynn Pearson writes with a striking honesty and openness.  Yet, after reading Emily’s book, I can see that Carol Lynn had been lied to about important things, by both Gerald and the younger Emily, even after her divorce from Gerald. For example, Carol Lynn had Gerald promise that when Emily visited him in San Francisco that she would not be exposed to anything that she wouldn’t see in Walnut Creek.  Readers of Dancing with Crazy learn that young Emily regularly saw much that was unhealthy for her personal development, including (from age 12) hardcore gay pornography stacked in Gerald’s apartment and displayed on the walls, as well as browsed during visits to shops, and publically acted out in the Castro street neighborhood. [6]  

I wouldn’t allow myself to feel the discomfort and fear those conversations caused me. In order to steadfastly remain the perfect little daughter and the perfect little sponge, I had to suck it all up, and only blame myself if I wasn’t enough of whatever I was supposed to be in order to handle it all… I was around sex, told about sex, and philosophized to about sex so much that, at thirteen, when I should have been just waking up and coming alive sexually, I was already sick to death and deeply ashamed of it. [7]
Gerald, her father, introduced her to wine and later, at 15, marijuana. [8]   Emily’s codependent relationship with her father was such that she did not tell her mother about these things.  While a post-divorce Gerald could openly introduce Carol Lynn to a succession of his lovers, hoping that each might be “the one” and that she would approve [9], he still kept important secrets such as these concerning Emily even after he came home to his ex-wife to die. This is why Emily adds the word “codependent” as a reflective illumination on her own story, and “narcissist” as a description of her father. After his death, Emily reports a series of dreams in which her father came to her and confessed his misbehavior, and acknowledged that the consequences of his mistakes would be far-reaching in her life. [10] Due to these kinds of details, Emily’s account has tectonic effects on the portrait of Gerald that appears in Carol Lynn Pearson’s Goodbye, I Love You

There are also striking differences in the details of key events concerning Steven Fales’s disclosure of his homosexuality to his wife Emily.  As might be expected in a play with “confessions” in the title, Steven provides all sorts of uncomfortably frank details about his own experiences, particularly in describing his own confrontation with his sexuality, and the kinds of unhelpful advice he was given by various counselors and LDS teachers.  Yet, in comparing the details concerning his disclosure to Emily in his account with that in Emily’s book, the Rashomon-effect emerges in full force, as well.  First consider Steven’s account of the crucial disclosures of his sexual acting-out during his marriage to Emily.  As Steven tells the story in his Confessions, Emily saw him typing on the computer and asked him whom he was writing. [11]

“No one.”

“Are you having an affair?

I couldn’t lie anymore. “Yes.”

“With whom?


“How many men?”


“It’s over Steven, it’s over.”
Emily reports the same events in Dancing with Crazy, but with more detail. After Emily confronts Steven--and displaying far more personality and feeling than he reports--he finally confesses:

“Last fall, in October, I kind of went on a six-month sex binge. I haven’t done anything for the last few months because…” he looked at the floor, “well because I lost my cell phone service.”

I stared at him. “What do you mean a sex binge?”

“I contacted men on the Internet and we hooked up. Em, it didn’t mean anything. I’m not in love with anyone or anything. But it was a lot.”

“How many?”

“At least twenty.”
Emily mentally does the math on that six-month binge and considers the implications based on different estimates of frequency.  Then she asks:
“Were you at least careful?”

“Most of the time. Em, I didn’t even have sex with them all. Some of it was just… I don’t know… fooling around.”

My brain was stuck back on his “most of the time” response.  Most of the time? There is no f---ing most of the time! All it takes is once.  One time! My dad and sister both died of AIDS and he actually had the nerve to tell me “most of the time?” [12]
These relevant details, among many others, are missing from Confessions of a Mormon Boy.   Why?  Drama is based on conflict, and this report is rich in dramatic tension. Why not use it in the play? Fales’s self-interest is conspicuous in both the omissions here and elsewhere, as well as in the stories of failed therapy and of an unsympathetic church court that he selects for detailed inclusion.  It seems to me that for all its frankness and disclosure, Confessions is not so much an admission of guilt and an acceptance of responsibility as it is a declaration of innocence, displacing the guilt and pain of his actions to societal causes. He depicts LDS cultural conditioning as the root cause of his conflicted behavior before and during his marriage. He puts that social conditioning in an irreconcilable and irredeemable conflict with what he considers his God-given sexual nature.  

The differing details in these accounts often expose unintentional ironies as well.  For instance, after Steven’s disclosures and Emily’s decision to get out of the marriage, Steven expresses the expiatory notion that what Emily needed was something that he could not provide.

She deserved to have someone ravish her in the bedroom, to celebrate her femininity in a way that only a straight man could. [13]
Notice that at this point what he thinks she needs for completion is lust.  Not love.  After all, as Steven says, “As I handed her the [signed divorce] papers, I said, ‘Anything I ever do will come second to loving you.’” [14] So she has his assurance of his love to keep her and her two children and mortgage warm as he leaves for New York so that she can have what he cannot give despite his profound love for her.  That attitude makes his departure seem something of an atoning sacrifice. Yet, as critics have noticed, Emily totally disappears from the play from that moment on, as do his children. A few paragraphs later, Steven’s second place preferences and personal sacrifice takes him to New York City and what he describes as his attempt to get the city to “Validate me!” via a series of sexual encounters with men all of which obviously feature lust rather than love. [15]   Our value systems are inevitably displayed through what desirable and valued things and/or persons wind up compromised for what other valued things or persons.  Rhetoric notwithstanding, our first and great love rises to the top of our choices.  Unfortunately, the relationships that Steven describes demonstrate that when one’s great love is lust, love is itself lost.

Meanwhile, in Emily’s accounts, we get her equally frank description of the satisfactions given by men capable of providing lust.

They started lining up, one after the other:  The guy that bit my neck and honked my turtleneck sweatered breasts as hard as he could, both of which really hurt, while pretending he was a bucking bronco; the blind date with the macho cop that looked and acted like he was seventeen-years-old and had an hour and a half sobbing breakdown on my couch when I told him I wasn’t interested in dating him; the guy I continued to date even after he told me that he didn’t like my name or the way I looked… [16]
She paints a picture of “some rather ugly dating,” but comments that in some instances “It wasn’t all sick and wrong.”  Though I don’t think Emily meant these passages as a direct response to Steven’s thought that what she needed most was lust, the accounts intersect and change each other when read together.  Emily reports a series of unhealthy relationships with LDS fundamentalist polygamists in recruiting mode and also non-LDS men who often demonstrate a similar pattern of charisma and spiritual talk blended with some form of sexual transgressiveness. These relationships clearly echo the codependent pattern established with her father.  Part of codependence is a diminished capacity to set boundaries, along with impaired judgment, which is why codependence has long been recognized as an actual addiction.

In comparing these three accounts, I am not suggesting Emily is the one to finally set the record straight on all matters. The gap between honesty and perception emerges also in Emily’s book in relation to the Church.  Clearly, she had an unhealthy relationship with the LDS Church, in large measure because of her choices in deciding whose example to follow.  Emily assures us that “I was never overtly taught not to think, but I was taught to have unwavering faith and unquestioning devotion to the Lord and the leaders of His kingdom here on earth.” [17] Dancing with Crazy is styled as an “exit narrative” and such narratives require an explanation for the long period of “captivity” to the LDS Church. That she might have been implicitly taught not to think or question provides a way for Emily to explain her long captivity in the LDS system, just as a decision finally to think for herself provides the key for her eventual escape. [18]

Given that context, it makes perfect sense that from the LDS encounters that she reports, we don’t get anything like Hugh B. Brown saying, “We aren’t so much concerned whether your thoughts or orthodox, or heterodox, as we are that you have thoughts.” [19]  We don’t get Brigham Young saying, “Ladies and gentlemen, I exhort you to think for yourselves, get the Holy Spirit for yourselves, and pray for yourselves.” [20]  We don’t get Joseph Smith’s warning about being “subject to overmuch zeal, which must prove dangerous, and cause them to be rigid in a religious capacity.” [21] Instead, Emily seeks the most narrow and reactionary sound-bites and platitudes available that allow her to set herself up for shattering discouragement, disillusion and disappointment which will justify her exit.

In her own account, however, Emily also reports that her father criticized the Church continually, and that one of her most abusive boyfriends was virulently anti-Mormon. [22]   As a potential positive voice and role model, her mother pushed back against the poorly-informed Sunday School teachers that Emily epitomizes as “Sister-I-Have-No-Idea-How-Much-Damage-I-Am-Inflicting.” For example, she reports that after a particularly troubling Sunday School lesson on how the wicked non-LDS would all be burned, that “Mom stayed with me in the car while I cried, trying to convince me that it just wasn’t true but I wouldn’t believe her.  It was taught at church-it had to be true. Like a little moth still drawn to the raging inferno that threatened to destroy her loved ones, I don’t know why I was willing to listen to little old Sister Blue hair over my mom, but I was.” [23]

It’s not just a matter of who is there offering advice or opinions, but of who counts most in our minds.  Emily states that “Nine times out of ten the things taught at church were good and uplifting, as we studied how to be more like our Savior and serve one another. But once in a while there was a fire and brimstone lesson that reminded me to be very, very afraid.” [24]   It’s sad to read Emily’s reports of those rare lessons or talks that triggered her religious fears and then to read Brigham Young’s 1861 opinion that “People are not to be driven, and you can put into a gnat’s eye all the souls of the children of men that are driven into heaven by preaching hell-fire.” [25] If for every immoderate LDS voice there were nine moderate voices in her life, highlighting the immoderate seems like a distortion. Emily also depicts the Church as forbidding inquiry into critical perspectives such as can easily be found in any library or bookstore, even at BYU, which she attended. After her own post-divorce crisis of faith and exit, Emily finally makes her own inquiry into websites that predictably tell a different history than that offered by the “official” sources she relied on, basically oral culture and the occasional lesson manual. [26]  

While her own history is quite different in crucial ways than the histories provided by her mother and ex-husband, Emily is able to reconcile with both of them.  Well, why not?  Carol Lynn did not know about Emily’s experiences on Castro Street and could not report on them or respond to them.  Carol Lynn cannot be blamed for what she did not know and must be given credit for how much she tried to help Emily. (I personally can be reconciled to even the least helpful of my own LDS teachers and texts for the same reasons. [27])  Steven is talented and charismatic, fashionably gay, also ex-LDS and therefore part of Emily’s new shared community, and therefore also forgivable. The Church and its members, on the other hand, are not forgivable, it seems.

For instance, Emily reports “an obscure 1940s quote that had wormed itself into mainstream church teachings” and into her Sunday school lessons. [28]  She provides a not quite accurate source report of the teaching as “Once the prophet has spoken, the thinking has been done.”  This is, of course, the 1945 Home Teaching message which was famously refuted by President George Albert Smith. [29] Emily does not report the original source (which she misquotes) and does not mention the express rebuttal by President Smith.  To do so would be to undercut her own paradigm of a mind-controlled community and therefore undercut the insight and experience that justifies her exit.  So she does not discover or report President Smith’s comments, nor any of the available scriptural and prophetic direction that affirms it. [30] The 1940s quote is not only not “church doctrine,” but is rather a direct contradiction to explicit LDS teaching and scripture from which explicit LDS teaching and scripture urges us to repent. [31]

This incident is revealing, and suggests that our own choices have a decisive effect on how we experience the Church. And Emily admits this at the end.  “I chose to follow and obey blindly. I chose not to think things through, to study and learn.” [32]   What Emily (or any of us) does not see, or seek out, or report might as well not exist, even though the consequences or benefits of the unnoticed or unseen could change everything for either the worse or the better.

All three of these stories include quotations and allusions to Shakespeare’s famous “To thine own self be true” from Hamlet, treating the line as sage advice from the Bard and overlooking how the same play continually raises questions about the ways that people justify themselves in taking actions that lead to unintended consequences.  What is self-interest really?  When a person says, “I have to be true to myself,” the meaning is tied up with what their view of the self is.  What self am I primarily to be, or not to be?  Am I primarily a biological self, a sexual self, a spiritual self, an economic self, a political self, a social self?  Is there anyone who can or cannot make any legitimate claims on my behavior? 

Despite Steven’s assurance to his audience that he is being true to himself in following his sexuality, wasn’t he being false to Emily and Carol Lynn, and his own promise to himself that he would never do to Emily what Gerald had done to Carol Lynn? [33] Eugene England points out that the famous “To be, or not to be” question is not about suicide, but addresses the issue of whether a person lives in readiness to meet God, or in taking action against any opposition to personal desire in the here and now. [34] The tragedies in Hamlet all fall from the choice “not to be” whether or not the characters presume to be “true to myself.”

Carol Lynn Pearson reports an important conversation confronting the meaning of choice and sacrifice with Mario, a friend who had been Gerald’s best man at her wedding. Mario tells Carol Lynn:

I have watched someone close to me go with ‘the real him’ all his life. And in order to be ‘true to himself’ [35] he destroyed lots of other people along the way.  Sacrifice is not a bad principle. Sometimes it leads not to death, but to life. When you don’t ‘follow the music that’s in you,’ if there is a noble reason for putting it away, maybe you will find a richer music. [36]
This is a lovely observation, expressed beautifully in Frank Capra’s film, It’s a Wonderful Life, and I happen to believe it.  Mario and his wife Dana appear several times in Dancing with Crazy, both providing important emotional support through various crises in Carol Lynn’s and Emily’s lives. However, Emily reports a subsequent conversation with the same Mario who at that later juncture reports that he is no longer married, no longer attends the LDS church, and has come out as gay. [37] That report subverts the conversation with Mario that Carol Lynn gave.  Notice that Emily’s report makes no inquiries into the effects of Mario’s decision on his wife and children, but only celebrates the result in her own terms. Mario as a substitute father figure has come to more resemble her real father. What else matters?  Why make inquiries that might rain on the celebration?  When Emily first introduced Mario into her narrative, she mentioned that “his wife Dana and their children had been central figures in the early beginnings of the Pearson family.” [38]   But just as Emily the wife and mother and person disappeared from Steven’s narrative, at the end, Dana and the children have utterly vanished from hers.

When Gerald is dying, Carol Lynn asks him “What would have happened if—if you had just made yourself stay when you were with us? If you had just forced yourself to put your other needs away?” [39] Gerald insists that he “had to” do what he did despite the costs, even though he would change some mistakes.  He cites as his paradigmatic example of the alternative choice “Frank,” who through such a sacrifice became bitter and empty and overweight and sexless.  But are these the only possibilities? Self-indulgence leading to pain for his family and death for himself and many of his closest friends, or a forced suppression of essential identify and needs leading to a hollow and bitter life?

Carol Lynn asks another very important question, “Could not other choices have brought us to some better destination?” [40]    Steven’s play and Emily’s book also respond implicitly to the question, even if they answer, “No” to the general question. But I disagree.  There were other possible choices that none of the three accounts describe. 

For example, I have a very different interpretation of the significance of the aversion/reparative therapy stories told in all three of these accounts. [41]   This is not because I believe that aversion/reparative therapy is valid, but because my reasons for believing it to be an inappropriate treatment are different.  In my current view, the main issue is not the direction of a person’s sexuality, but whether the overall pattern of behavior demonstrates sex addiction. Both heterosexuals and homosexuals can suffer from sex addiction, and that condition affects behavior via cravings combined with impaired judgment. Consider, for instance, whether sex addiction would be a reasonable diagnosis if the behavior was strictly heterosexual. For example, suppose that Steven had admitted to Emily that he’d had sex with at least twenty women during a six month binge, with some repeats, some just “fooling around,” and that “none of it meant anything” since he wasn’t in love. Suppose the post-divorce Gerald had his apartment filled with hardcore heterosexual pornography for Emily to view, and that on visits back home he brought an endless string of female lovers to introduce to the family? Would anyone be quick to dismiss the possibility of sex addiction in these cases? 

In all addictions, whether chemical or behavioral, the damage involves the enlargement of the dopamine receptors in the mid-brain, which produces increased craving, and a corresponding shrinking of the areas of the cerebral cortex associated with weighing risks and benefits in any action.  Bluntly speaking, addiction involves actual brain damage.  That damage affects cravings and the capacity to weigh consequences in a way that Alcoholics Anonymous pioneers accurately labeled as “cunning, baffling, and powerful.” Pelting the symptoms of that damage with disapproval or indulgence, excommunication or enabling, shaming or celebration does nothing to address the fact of the damage. All addiction involves the presence of a physiological basis for the combination of craving and impeded judgment.  Readers of the narratives in our Mormon Rashomon should ask, “Do any of the key figures display powerful cravings? Do any of the figures display impaired judgment regarding the risks and benefits of their choices in regard to those cravings?”

One potent argument against describing sexual behavior as addiction has always been that drug addiction involves putting foreign substances into the body whereas sexuality is natural. This overlooks the importance of naturally occurring chemicals in the brain, such as the endorphins, (which are natural opiates chemically resembling heroin and morphine), serotonin, and dopamine. Donald Hilton explains:

In the brainstem, a chemical called dopamine is produced in the ventral tegmental area (VTA), which has been found to be important in the brain’s pleasure and reward system. When activated by a pleasurable stimulus, the VTA causes dopamine to be released in an area of the thalamus called the nucleus accumbens. Other chemicals such as the brain’s natural opioids, the endorphins, also stimulate the nucleus accumbens. It may be that dopamine is more important in wanting pleasure, whereas the endorphins are more important in liking pleasure. These pathways are important because without them we would not value appropriate pleasures. An area of the cerebral cortex called the frontal lobe helps control the amount and context of the pleasure. It also helps us weigh the benefits and risks of a pleasurable stimulus. For instance, uncontrolled eating may be pleasurable, but it is unhealthy. Unrestrained sexuality may be pleasurable, but it destroys relationships and spiritual power and insight. It is the frontal lobe that tells us to judge these risks and benefits.

When we overuse pleasure centers, the cells that produce dopamine are overworked, and in what may be a defensive reaction, the brain decreases the amount of dopamine available for use and also causes shrinkage in the cells that produce the dopamine and in the frontal control areas. Paradoxically, the pleasure cells in the nucleus accumbens may actually enlarge in the addicted state because they have less dopamine available for pleasure and are seeking to extract every possible molecule. These physical changes in the brain have been called long-term potentiation and long-term depression. Thus, in addiction, normal pleasures are not enough to alleviate the craving for dopamine, and this craving in the newly reset pleasure thermostat in the brain is likely key in the desire to relapse. The shrinkage in the frontal control areas also contributes to the compulsivity and impulsivity seen in addiction. Interestingly, as neurosurgeons, we see these same characteristics in frontal lobe shrinkage from traumatic brain injury, and this has been recognized by addiction scientists. Sexual addiction obviously involves other neurotransmitters, two of which may be oxytocin and vasopressin. Oxytocin is important in bonding and increases trust in humans, and vasopressin may be important in sexual bonding, particularly in males. [42]
So sex addiction not only involves behavior but potent drugs that the addict carries in their own body.  In Hope and Freedom for Sex Addicts and their Partners, Dr. Milton Magness reports that crack cocaine addicts have consistently reported that recovery from sex addiction is much harder to manage than recovery from drug addiction. [43]   I recently heard the lament of a man who had managed a year of sobriety from his alcohol and narcotics addictions, but couldn’t manage a week of sobriety from sex.  The addictive behavior--in whatever form--is not an end in itself but a means to access that internal drug supply. 

[T]he sexual high comes from the neurochemical release that is found in the compulsive sexual behavior. Even if the addict finds a partner whose appetites are similar to his own, continued sex with the same person over a period of time results in more normalized neurochemical levels. What some call the ‘adrenaline rush’ or more accurately an increased level of dopamine, cortizol, norepinephrine, and other neurotransmitters diminishes. The lower level of chemical reinforcement does not satisfy the addiction.” [44]
So the addict eventually goes elsewhere to satisfy the addiction.  For this reason, marriage is not a cure for sex addiction in either heterosexuals or homosexuals. [45]   Steven’s disclosure, for example, came in a period of what Carnes describes as “de-escalation,” when he is not binging, but is still guarding the secret world:

The addict makes every effort to make life manageable and to live an honorable life. …there is a rapid de-escalation to safe or acceptable behavior…They continue to guard their secret world, either to hide their obsession (which convinces them they are not curable) or to keep intact the web of lies they wove during the time they were acting out. Thus de-escalation is not recovery. Honesty with oneself and others, self-acceptance that includes one’s illness, and support for change by people who know the addiction’s power to delude are prime determinants for recovery. [46]  
In addiction the brain is tricked into treating the object of addiction as equivalent to survival. [47]   Subsequent cravings and impeded judgments reflect that distortion of values. Something that should be optional or, worse, taboo and/or dangerous, feels necessary. The distortion of values leads to impaired choices, aptly described in recovery literature and experience as “bargains with chaos.” Addiction in this model is not a moral issue to be addressed by either shaming or punitive approaches directed at symptoms. It is not a matter of a “true self” to be nurtured by an enabling society that strives to protect people from the consequences of their impaired choices.  Compulsive acting out accompanied by impaired judgment is a symptom of addiction, not the disease itself.  I see aversion/reparative therapy as an attempt to re-direct the symptoms while failing to recognize and treat the actual damage.

And addiction is a progressive disease.  A person may begin with subtle cravings and slightly impaired judgment. Such things do not go away with neglect or shaming or imprisonment or suppressing or social disapproval or legalization and enabling. To do comparisons and say, “I’m not as nearly as bad as some other addict” can be a way of saying, “I am only slightly brain damaged so far, and my consequences aren’t bad yet.”  To do comparisons and say, “My modes of acting out are more socially acceptable than some conveniently extreme example,” also serves addiction. Periods of de-escalation are not the same thing as recovery. [48] It can get much worse. 

There is an addiction treatment that works, that actually does address and heal the physiological damage involved in addiction, a treatment that shrinks the enlarged area of the brain containing the dopamine receptors, and restores the area of the cortex associated with weighing costs and benefits.  It is not a treatment for homosexuality as such any more than it is a treatment for heterosexuality.

Furthermore, I know several men who can report and demonstrate that a homosexual who is not also an undiagnosed sex addict is capable of choices and behavior that a sex addicted homosexual cannot easily manage. Similarly, a heterosexual who is not sex addicted is capable of choices and behavior than an addict cannot easily manage.  Without addiction, there’s no longer a dichotomous choice; we get a different answer to Carol Lynn’s poignant question, “Could not other choices have brought us to some better destination?” [49]   

Emily does recognize and mention co-dependence, which is an actual addiction for which she had done research and therapeutic work.  It happens that addicts tend to attract co-dependency in relationships, and addicts tend to narcissism.  Emily, for one acknowledges the codependency in herself and the narcissism in Gerald and Steven.  Addicts also tend to complain about unfair and unjust treatment by other people, keeping long lists of grievances.  Such resentments serve to lubricate a sense of entitlement and self-justification that fuels indulgent behavior.   According to the accounts of their wives, Gerald and Steven compulsively voiced their grievances.

A key diagnostic element of sex addiction appears as a person comes to believe and feel that “sex is my most important need.” [50]    When I first read Goodbye, I Love You in the 1980s, I had my own issues that had a part of me sympathizing with Carol Lynn’s poignant narrative, and another part listening to Gerald’s story and asking “What makes your frustrations so special?”  Later when I read Confessions of a Mormon Boy, I was already dealing with the aftermath of my own worst behavior and subsequent confessions, and had begun reading books by Patrick Carnes on sex addiction and recovery. Within a few years I got involved in 12 Step Recovery groups, and have since read many books, and listened to scores of life stories against which none of the stories and behaviors reported in the Mormon Rashomon seem particularly unusual.  My experience in and out of addiction led to my 2012 calling as the Addiction Recovery Representative for my stake.  I’ve done training for the bishops in the stake, and for the LDS Addiction Recovery Program in the North East U.S. region. 

While a lot of the process of recovery from addiction was no fun at all, there have been moments of sublime compensation.  One is my continuing marriage.  Another is my daughter’s marriage, which would not have happened had I not been willing to do whatever it took. Another is my granddaughter, who, obviously, would not have arrived.  Another has been helping eight men in my program (at this writing) embrace recovery and save their own marriages, and preserve their relationships with their children. I compare this compensation to what might have happened had I decided to be “true to myself” (that is, in this context, “be true to my lust”).

Carol Lynn’s Mario has the right idea about the nobility of sacrifice, even if he did not have the solution at hand to carry it all the way to the end. The sacrifices involved in addressing sex addiction are not about perpetual suppression and denial of self, nor about a willingness to torture one’s self to the point of having “bloody knuckles.” Rather, it’s about healing both the cravings and the impaired judgments that serve them.  Once a person has recognized and dealt with addiction, they have a much clearer view of their true self, something that previously had been masked by the addiction.  Recovery and healing begins with recognizing the problem (Step 1 of Twelve Step recovery), envisioning a way out (Step 2) and deciding, “I will do whatever it takes to heal” (Steps 3-12).  Deciding “this is just the way that I am” and “I have to be true to myself” are choices of perspective that block the path to healing.

After reading these books in light of my own long experience in recovery it appears obvious to me that Gerald, Steven, and several of Emily’s boyfriends all show clear signs of undiagnosed, and therefore, untreated, sex addiction. [51] Unfortunately, none of them, nor any of their counselors or spiritual advisors display any awareness of what that diagnosis is and what it might mean for their perception of their own choices.

In his book Facing the Shadow: Starting Sexual and Relationship Recovery, Patrick Carnes includes a diagram of addictive behavior, depicting a ball rolling down a hill and gaining momentum the further down it goes. [52] At the top of the hill in a section labeled Obsession/Preoccupation, we see as a starting point Lifestyle Imbalance, that is, excessive stress.  Think about the stresses that Steven and Emily describe as they begin their marriage with the constant stresses of his theatrical schooling and career, several drastic moves, plus children, and simmering sexual issues.

Carnes observes that this life imbalance and consequent stress presents sobriety challenges, including euphoric recall, and impaired thinking. Steven’s account provides excellent examples of these challenges, such as being cast in gay roles in plays, displaying euphoric recall evident in his retelling of his “research” into gay porn.

Carne’s next level down is called Ritualization, which involves boundary collapse, placing oneself in high-risk situations with no coping strategies, leading to a loss of control. Ditto for Steven’s account as he describes his encounters with gay pornography, and then with other gay men looking to connect.

The next level down is Sexual Compulsion, which involves Initial slip, abstinence violation effect, and then ongoing use.  Finally, the ball’s momentum plunges it into a condition of Despair, involving a Secret Life, Shame/Guilt, Hopelessness and Pain.  Steven’s sexual binging leads to his being found out while chatting online with a boyfriend, commiserating about his guilty secrets.

Carnes also notes that “The surest sign that the addiction has escalated to a point of dominance is when the addict dispenses with secrecy. When attempts to deal with the world on the world’s terms are totally abandoned, the acute phase of addiction is reached.” [53]

After leaving for New York, Steven has obviously dispensed with secrecy. All of the details of Steven Fales’s personal account of his actions appear to map point for point onto the Carnes diagram of a pattern of addictive behavior.  Carol Lynn’s account of Gerald’s disclosures and behavior fits he same pattern as well.

Elsewhere, Carnes also discusses addictive relationships in ways that cast light on the codependency in Emily’s account.

“Compulsive Attachments…where intimacy and addiction become most obvious.  All these relationships have commonalities:

Notice the hallmarks of secure attachment and successful intimacy are absent: safety, reliability, trust, vulnerability, creativity, and intentionality." [54]
This kind of information casts wonderful light on Emily’s accounts of her various unhealthy relationships that underlie her apt choice of title: Dancing with Crazy.  Emily for her part shows a conscious awareness of codependence and its effects, and the need to treat it as condition rather than an essential declaration of self. Also contrast what Carnes describes as necessary for secure attachment and successful intimacy, “safety, reliability, trust, vulnerability, creativity, and intentionality” with Steven’s notion that what Emily needed is someone who would lust after her.  You will look in vain through these three accounts for a single example of a lasting relationship built on the foundation of lust.

Again, treatment for sex addiction is not treatment for homosexuality any more than it is treatment for heterosexuality.  It is treatment for any and all compulsive sexual behavior.  Fully embraced, with recovery attained, it means that sex becomes optional.  If sex is optional, rather than “my most important need” that defines my identity and rules my relationships, intimacy can be then based on “safety, reliability, trust, vulnerability, creativity, and intentionality.”  

By definition, people with options have more freedom than people who feel they cannot choose otherwise.  One of Emily’s brothers tells her, “Gerald was gay, Em, he just did what he had to do.” [55] The dying Gerald tells Carol Lynn, “I had to do what I have done.”   Such assertions collide with Carol Lynn’s own poignant questions. “Had to? All that we had… all that we lost…  Could not other choices have brought us to some better destination?” [56]   A knowledge of addiction and recovery provides choices that can lead addicts and their partners and families to better destinations.  “Frank” is not the only alternative, as any recovering addict could tell you. Patrick Carnes explains that:

[T]he capacity to image a future reality has an enormous power to bring it into reality.  That is why models are so important. For [a person] to meet people who had been in the same shape she was, or worse, and to see them with years of recovery behind them, gave her real courage. And to learn that her success as a newcomer was vital to them in their continued progress felt very affirming. [57]
An appreciation of the concept of addiction and healing opens the way to imagine a future reality. A period of sobriety based on helpful group accountability reverses the enlargement of the dopamine receptors. In my experience, neural pathways begin to heal after 90 days.  The writing, careful self-examination, disclosing secrets, and dismantling of grievance stories helps to restore judgment of risks and benefits to actions. The stories that people share in groups creates trust, uncovers secrets, removes toxic shame, and those in the group provide helpful role models for behavior.  The first sex addiction recovery group consisted of people who saw the resemblance between their lusting and their alcohol and narcotics addictions.  They successfully adapted the Twelve Steps of recovery from A.A. and N.A. programs to their sexual addiction.  Patrick Carnes began studying the successes of these people. [58] In other words, the therapist went to the recovered addicts and asked them how they succeeded.

In a book called He Did Deliver Me From Bondage, Colleen Harrison first pointed out that the Book of Mormon contains the twelve steps of addiction recovery. [59] Consider that Laman and Lemuel saw an angel, but did not change in the way Alma does.  Alma’s encounter involves a complete moral inventory (compare Alma 36:13-14 and Steps 4 and 5), his coming to believe that God could help him (Alma 36:18 and Steps 2-3, and 7). Alma demonstrates an ongoing amends and obvious spiritual awakening (Steps 8, 9 and 12).  Laman and Lemuel, in direct and obvious contrast, and very much in line with the insights of recovery literature, focus on fear of Laban, resentment of their younger brother trying to direct their lives, their shame at the eccentricities of their father compared to the appeals of popular thinking, their grievances at their personal sacrifices and social compromises, and their own desires to increase their personal and political power, and to enjoy unrestrained pleasure without judgment or consequence.

For nine years, Harrison’s book was adopted as the pilot text for the LDS addiction recovery program, showing that the solution to addiction had been in hand but unrecognized in our own scriptures. The LDS addiction recovery program is now a significance resource in the church. 

After coming out, both Gerald and Steven both rhapsodize about how wonderful it was to find communities that accepted them, filled with men who empathized with them, accepted them, and understood them.  This is understandably much more gratifying than being demonized and ostracized.  However, the same degree of understanding, empathy, acceptance, and fellowship can be found in recovery communities. In real life it turns out that the kind of people who hang out in recovery groups have back stories every bit as colorful as Gerald’s and Steven’s, but who, by their participation in recovery, demonstrate far more ambition for themselves and more concern for the people they care about. There is a huge difference between those who urge you to live for the moment with no thought for the consequences, and those who urge you to live one day at a time with every thought for the consequences. 12 Step recovery leads to sanity, and works without even having to resort to bloody knuckles.  Just honesty and commitment.

One of the two books that I recommend to everyone I work with in recovery is Your Sexually Addicted Spouse: How Partners Can Cope and Heal, by Barbara Steffans and Marsha Means.  Their book includes a three page table of the “Stages of Healing and supporting Resources and Techniques.”  The third page of the table, toward the bottom, gives the step of “Reframe yourself as a survivor rather than a victim.” [60]   Steffans and Means don’t put this down as a first easy step, but the change comes as an important culmination of other work.  They describe several things that a spouse must do, starting with find support, re-establish safety, build a good support system, create boundaries, practice good self-care mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually, eliminate cognitive distortions, recognize and process your feelings, develop personal empowerment.  This empowerment culminates in reframing one’s self as a survivor rather than a victim.  And from here, and not before, a person is ready to “consider forgiveness.”

This process can have the power to change everything. On the one hand, perpetual victimhood becomes a means to keep everything the same.  As in “Life happened to me, did unchangeable things to me, and as a consequence I can’t be other than I am.”  Survivors, on the other hand, can move beyond the past, and take their experience into a present of their own choice and making.

Another important insight from Barbara Steffens and Marsha Means involves the reaction of a partner to sexual addiction.  Because the first sexual addiction recovery groups modeled themselves on Alcoholics Anonymous, both the groups and the researchers that studied them also adopted the model of codependence/co-addiction for partners developed by Lois Wilson.  However Steffens and Means have argued that in most cases the response of the partner is better understood in terms of trauma, rather than as co-addiction or co-dependence.

We believe that the partner’s emotional and behavioral responses to living with a sex addict are better framed and understood as attempts to find safety and security following the most devastating of all traumas: the betrayal of trust.

Rather than believing …partners demonstrate the characteristics of addiction, we believe partners of sexual addicts engage in attempts to seek what they can no longer find: safety in unsafe relationships with sex addicts to whom they feel their deepest attachment bonds. [61]
This is important because healing from trauma calls for different treatment than for codependence.  For example, while Emily is a good candidate for codependence in her marriage to Steven, Carol Lynn’s response to Gerald’s infidelity and Emily’s response to the gay pornography she is exposed to are far better understood as trauma. 

In It’s a Wonderful Life, the root of George Bailey’s pain is not his life as it is, but rather his experiencing that life primarily in terms of his personal frustration and not in terms of the significance of his personal relationships. Before committing to marriage, he resists a life path of compromising his personal ambitions, declaring with passion, “I want to do what I want to do!” a sentiment that perhaps a few fence posts or rocks would not sympathize with. And over and over, it seems that he chooses not to do what he wants to do.  George Bailey eventually begins to experience his life more and more as though he were the victim of his own virtue, a man who tries to be a good person and suffers for it.  Mircea Eliade, in The Myth of the Eternal Return, observes that what troubles people most in life is not suffering, but meaningless suffering. [62] What Clarence gives George Bailey is a vision of the meaning of his life. At that point, he is ready to “go to jail” and be happy about it (and not even imagining the rescue by his friends and family) because his life has meaning far beyond his personal frustration with not always being able “to do what I want to do.”

When recovering sex addicts reach the final step of recovery, they find themselves in a position to take the worst behavior of their lives, and offer it to other people who are suffering as they had done, and find that in that circumstance of self-giving, the worst of their life is transmuted into gold.

Recovery also transmutes one’s perceptions of those who have preached against the unhappy path the addict has taken. Rather than viewing, for example, the Church as cruel for their doctrine, a different view, as expressed by French anthropologist Rene Gerard may be found more apropos:

The most powerful anti-Christian movement is the one that takes over and ‘radicalizes’ the concern for victims in order to paganize it…they reproach Christianity for not defending victims with enough ardor. In Christian history, they see nothing but acts of oppression, inquisitions…

Neo-paganism would like to turn the Ten Commandments and all of Judeo-Christian morality into some alleged intolerable violence, and indeed, its primary objective is their complete abolition. Faithful observance of the moral law is perceived as complicity with forces of persecution that are essentially religions…Neo-paganism locates happiness in the unlimited satisfaction of desires, which means the suppression of all prohibitions. [63]
On leaving the LDS faith, Gerald, Steven and Emily talk about the stunning revelation that God is much bigger than the LDS church.  This is important knowledge, something I believe and find worth embracing, but I came to the same insight within the Church many years ago.  All I had to do was read the LDS scriptures and teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith for myself.  Alma explains that “the Lord doth grant unto all nations of their own nation and tongue, to teach his word, all that he seeth fit that they should have” (Alma 29:8). Nephi remarks that God “speaketh unto men according to their language, unto their understanding” (2 Nephi 31:3), Alma reports that God speaks not only to “men but women also (Alma 32:23), and Mormon explains how the light of Christ is given to all, and there are “divers ways that he did manifest things unto the children of men which were good” (Moroni  7:24). 

Joseph Smith explained that “We need not doubt the wisdom and intelligence of the Great Jehovah; He will award judgment or mercy to all nations according to their several deserts, their means of obtaining intelligence, the laws by which they are governed, the facilities afforded them of obtaining correct information, and His inscrutable designs in relation to the human family; and when the designs of God shall be made manifest, and the curtain of futurity be withdrawn, we shall all of us eventually have to confess that the Judge of all the earth has done right.” [64]

In the end, God offers us better choices than we offer ourselves.   As I read these three Rashomon-like works of heartache, I could not but yearn that Gerald, Steven, and Emily would avail themselves of those better choices, here or in the eternities.


[1] Joseph Smith to L. Daniel Rupp, 5 June 1844, printed in History of the Church, 6:428. [Back to manuscript].

[2] See the Perry Scheme for Cognitive and Ethical Growth. I was introduced to the Perry Scheme by this emailed summary from Veda Hale: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/22100469/Perry%20Scheme.pdf . She had written a study of Levi Peterson’s Canyons of Grace, using the Perry Scheme as a framework to understand the character arcs.  I prefer the Perry Scheme to Fowler’s Stages of Faith, since Fowler’s model is concerned more with the conclusions a person comes to, whereas the Perry Scheme deals more with how a person processes information. [Back to manuscript].

[3] Emily Pearson, Dancing with Crazy, “Introduction.” I’ve got the Kindle edition which does not have page numbers, and does include two additional chapters. My footnotes therefore, are to chapters. [Back to manuscript].

[4] Pearson, Dancing with Crazy, Extras, “Homosexuality.” [Back to manuscript].

[5] Pearson, Dancing with Crazy, Ibid., a few pages on.  [Back to manuscript].

[6] Pearson, Dancing with Crazy, “Battle Cries of the Sexually Dysfunctional”. [Back to manuscript].

[7] Pearson, Dancing with Crazy, “Battle Cries of the Sexually Dysfunctional”. [Back to manuscript].

[8] Pearson, Dancing with Crazy, “It’s Always Fun Until Someone Gets Sacrificed to Satan.” [Back to manuscript].

[9] Pearson, Goodbye, I Love You, p 159-163. [Back to manuscript].

[10] Pearson, Dancing with Crazy, “Fatherless”. [Back to manuscript].

[11] Fales, Confessions of a Mormon Boy, p 46. [Back to manuscript].

[12] Pearson, Dancing with Crazy, “Mountain”.  Letters deleted by me, not Emily. [Back to manuscript].

[13] Fales, Confessions of a Mormon Boy, p 54. [Back to manuscript].

[14] Fales, Confessions, p 55. [Back to manuscript].

[15] Fales, Confessions, p 55. [Back to manuscript].

[16] Pearson, Dancing with Crazy, “Revelation.”  Also compare the later “Relationships” section. [Back to manuscript].

[17] Pearson, Dancing with Crazy, “A One Way Ticket to the Bad Place.” [Back to manuscript].

[18] Pearson, Dancing with Crazy, “Epilogue.” [Back to manuscript].

[19] Hugh B. Brown’s address to BYU on May 13, 1969. Entitled “An Eternal Quest: Freedom of the Mind.” [Back to manuscript].

[20] Quoted in Hugh Nibley, “Educating the Saints,” in Nibley on the Timely and Timeless (Provo, Religious Studies Center, 1978), 241. [Back to manuscript].

[21] Joseph Smith quoted in Nibley “Zeal without Knowledge” in Nibley on the Timely and the Timeless, 266-67. [Back to manuscript].

[22] See Emily Pearson, Dancing with Crazy, “Doormat of the Damned” and “Many” discussing her toxic relationship with Simon. [Back to manuscript].

[23] Pearson, Dancing with Crazy, “A One Way Ticket to the Bad Place.” [Back to manuscript].

[24] Emily Pearson, Dancing with Crazy, “They’re Here, They’re Queer, Get Used to It.” [Back to manuscript].

[25] Journal of Discourses 9:124. [Back to manuscript].

[26] Pearson, Dancing with Crazy, “Religion” in the Kindle edition. [Back to manuscript].

[27] Some years ago, while my wife was preparing for a Relief Society Lesson on “Sustaining our Leaders,” we decided to look up “sustain” in a good dictionary.  The results proved amazingly enlightening:
1. to keep up; maintain prolong.
2. to supply as with food or provisions.
3. to hold up, support
4. to bear, endure
5. to suffer; experience: “She sustained a broken leg.”
6. to allow: to admit, to favor
7. to agree with; confirm
If I permit myself to consider the full range of meanings for the word “sustain” I can also see a full range of options to employ in dealing with other LDS members in all their varieties of temperament, maturity, and level and quality of knowledge.  If I select and apply only the last meaning when I sustain someone, I may, like Emily, be letting myself in for a world of pain.  [Back to manuscript].

[28] Pearson, Dancing with Crazy, “A One Way Ticket to the Bad Place”. [Back to manuscript].

[29] “The leaflet to which you refer, and from which you quote in your letter, was not "prepared" by "one of our leaders." However, one or more of them inadvertently permitted the paragraph to pass uncensored. By their so doing, not a few members of the Church have been upset in their feelings, and General Authorities have been embarrassed. I am pleased to assure you that you are right in your attitude that the passage quoted does not express the true position of the Church. Even to imply that members of the Church are not to do their own thinking is grossly to misrepresent the true ideal of the Church, which is that every individual must obtain for himself a testimony of the truth of the Gospel, must, through the redemption of Jesus Christ, work out his own salvation, and is personally responsible to His Maker for his individual acts.” See http://en.fairmormon.org/Mormonism_and_church_leadership/The_thinking_has_been_done[Back to manuscript].

[30] My favorite is the one hidden in plain sight in D&C 1:24-28, as part of a formal declaration of “mine authority, and the authority of my servants” (v6). 

These commandments are of me, and were given unto my servants in their weakness, after the manner of their language, that they might come to understanding.
And inasmuch as they erred, it might be made known;
And inasmuch as they sought wisdom they might be instructed;
And inasmuch as they sinned, they might be chastened that they might repent;
And inasmuch as they were made humble they might be made strong, and blessed from on high, and receive knowledge from time to time.
If that is what I expect in LDS culture and leadership, then I am neither shaken nor stirred when that exactly what I see. [Back to manuscript].

[31] See Kevin Christensen, “Sophic Box and Mantic Vista: A Review of Deconstructing Mormonism” Interpreter v7 (2013) 135-140 and 171-176. Online at http://www.mormoninterpreter.com/sophic-box-and-mantic-vista-a-review-of-deconstructing-mormonism/ . [Back to manuscript].

[32] Pearson, Dancing with Crazy, “Religion.” [Back to manuscript].

[33] Pearson, Dancing with Crazy, “Plan B”. Though both Steven and Emily tell the story, only Emily reports the explicit promise that “Oh no, Carol Lynn…that’s not me. I would never do that to Emily. Or to you.” [Back to manuscript].

[34] Eugene England “Shakespeare and the At-one-ment of Christ” in Why the Church is as True and the Gospel (Bookcraft, Salt Lake City, 1986) 36. Compare the difference with the speech staged in the Zeffirelli Hamlet, set in a tomb as though Gibson’s Hamlet were contemplating suicide, with the Branaugh Hamlet, set in front of a one-way mirror, showing Hamlet’s dialogue mirroring a hidden Claudius. [Back to manuscript].

[35] Again, notice the allusion to Polonius' famous line from Hamlet. [Back to manuscript].

[36] Carol Lynn Pearson, Goodbye, I Love You, 163. [Back to manuscript].

[37] Dancing with Crazy, “They’re Still Here and They’re Still Queer.” [Back to manuscript].

[38] Emily Pearson, Dancing with Crazy, “”Fatherless”. [Back to manuscript].

[39] Goodbye, I Love You, 205. [Back to manuscript].

[40] Goodbye, I Love You, 205. [Back to manuscript].

[41] For background, see http://en.fairmormon.org/Mormonism_and_gender_issues/Same-sex_attraction/Aversion_therapy_performed_at_BYU . [Back to manuscript].

[42] See Donald Hilton at, http://scottwoodward.org/Talks/html/z-Scholarly%20Articles/HiltonDL_UnderstandingTheAddictiveNatureOfPornography.html . [Back to manuscript].

[43] See Milton Magness, Hope and Freedom for Sexual Addicts and Their Partners (Carefree, Arizona, Gentle Path Press, 2009) 56-57. [Back to manuscript].

[44] Milton Magness, Hope and Freedom for Sexual Addicts and Their Partners, 47. [Back to manuscript].

[45] See “Comparing the Lifestyles of Homosexual Couples to Married Couples” at   http://www.frc.org/get.cfm?i=IS04C02 in light of this paragraph. Then consider the stories in our Mormon Rashomon. [Back to manuscript].

[46] Patrick Carnes, Contrary to Love, 90-91. [Back to manuscript].

[47] See the DVD Pleasure Unwoven: An Explanation of the Brain Disease of Addiction. (2010). [Back to manuscript].

[48] See Patrick Carnes, Contrary to Love: Helping the Sexual Addict, 88-93. [Back to manuscript].

[49] Goodbye, I Love You, 205. [Back to manuscript].

[50] Patrick Carnes, Contrary to Love, 87. [Back to manuscript].

[51] Emily’s own story raises several red flags (early sexual abuse, early exposure to pornography, masturbation as a means to cope with stress, and serial relationships, etc.), although I agree with her own self-assessment that her primary addiction was codependence. [Back to manuscript].

[52] Patrick Carnes Facing the Shadow: Starting Sexual and Relationship Recovery (Wickenburg, Arizona, 2001) p 173. [Back to manuscript].

[53] Carnes, Contrary to Love, 87. Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde provides an apt metaphor. [Back to manuscript].

[54] Patrick Carnes, Recovery Zone Vol. 1: Making Changes that Last: The internal Tasks (Carefree, Arizona, Gentlepath Press, 2009), p 53-54. [Back to manuscript].

[55] Dancing with Crazy, “Hurricane Emily.” [Back to manuscript].

[56] Goodbye, I Love You, 205. [Back to manuscript].

[57] Patrick Carnes, Contrary to Love: Helping the Sex Addict (Center City, Minnesota, Hazelden 1989) 162. [Back to manuscript].

[58] Patrick Carnes, Don’t Call it Love: Recovery from Sexual Addiction, 1. [Back to manuscript].

[59] Colleen Harrison, He Did Deliver Me From Bondage, 20th Anniversary Edition (Hyrum Utah, Hearthhaven Publishing, 2012). [Back to manuscript].

[60] Your Sexually Addicted Spouse: How Partners Can Cope and Heal, 111. A little further down, on that last page of the table, you find, “Think about forgiveness.” [Back to manuscript].

[61] Steffens and Means, Your Sexually Addicted Spouse, 25-27. [Back to manuscript].

[62] Mircea Eliade, The Myth of the Eternal Return: or Cosmos and History (Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1954). “Misfortune and History” 96-98. [Back to manuscript].

[63] Rene Girard, I See Satan Fall Like Lighting (Marynoll, New York, Orbis Books, 2001) 180-181. [Back to manuscript].

[64] History of the Church 4:595. [Back to manuscript].

Full Citation for this Article: Christensen, Kevin (2016) "A Mormon Rashomon: Three Books by Pearson, Fales, and Pearson," SquareTwo, Vol. 9 No. 1 (Spring 2019), http://squaretwo.org/Sq2ArticleChristensenRashomon.html, accessed <give access date>.

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COMMENTS: 1 Comment

I. Bob Smith

Kevin Christensen's article in the Spring 2016 issue is brilliant, profound, and fascinating. The Rashomon-like multiple perspectives are essential to explaining a continuing family dilemma. Add to that his summary of how addiction-recovery actually works and why, and I come away in grateful awe. Thank you.