He Restoreth My Soul: Understanding and Breaking the Chemical and Spiritual Chains of Pornography Addiction Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ Paperback – January 1, 2010
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- Item Weight : 14.4 ounces
- Paperback : 349 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0981957609
- ISBN-13 : 978-0981957609
- Publisher : Forward Press Publishing, LLC; 1st Edition (January 1, 2010)
- Language: : English
- Customer Reviews:
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As good as most of the book is, however, I can only afford it three stars for two reasons. There are two very important things Hilton misses, although I can't necessarily fault him in this because they're things that have just been coming to light in very recent years. Perhaps, hopefully, future editions of the book will be revised to address these issues.
First, the full scope of the physiological effects of porn on the brain is not presented. It's bad enough as presented in the book, but it can in fact be even worse. As Hilton accurately points out, a pornograhy problem can cause a man to be less interested in pursuing marriage and to prefer pornograhy and masturbation to actual sexual relations with a real woman. That second part is bad enough if you're the wife married to a porn addict, but it gets worse than that. Only very recently has it been discovered, since the onset of high speed Internet porn and boys and men masturbating to it regularly for years, that a porn habit can actually cause erectile disfunction in young men. There are guys in their early 20s who started on the high speed stuff as boys and used it for the better part of a decade before getting married. When they try to have sex with their new wives, they can't. Love and physical desire for her is not enough to get it up down there. He can sincerely WANT to have sex with her but is rendered incapable because he has successfully trained his brain to respond only to images on a screen. ED drugs won't help him either, because they target the wrong organ (it's not a penis problem, it's a brain problem). The sexual signals these guys are getting from real women simply do not send strong enough signals from the brain to the trousers to get them ready. For older men this can be a problem too, though usually less severe if they had plenty of real sex with their wives before getting hooked on the high speed porn. Still, should an otherwise healthy man in his 30s lose his libido for weeks at a time? Or have difficulty responding physically to an eager wife? Or find it increasingly difficult to climax during sex with his wife? How must all of this feel for the wife, especially if she doesn't know that his secret porn habit is the culprit?!
Second, this book places way too much emphasis on the supposed co-dependency of the wives. Automatically labeling wives of sexual addicts as co-dependent is an old and flawed practice. Not to mention, extremely hurtful to traumatized wives who had no idea about their husbands' addictions prior to disclosure. The new and clearer thinking is that the wives are suffering from the post traumatic stress of sexual betrayal. Many of the feelings and behaviors of the traumatized spouse mirror those of co-dependency (hense the quick jump to that conclusion in the past, and sometimes still) but the reasons behind those feelings and behaviors are far from that of co-dependency! While it is certainly possible for wives to eventually become co-depependent after learning of and living with their husbands' addictions, this is not something that happens automatically or in every case. This book presents the natural and inevitable feelings and behaviors of the victimized spouse as absolutely co-dependent, which only adds more pain to the immense pain of the betrayal trauma she is already experiencing. Wives are absolutely in need of the support they can find at 12 step groups and the healing of the Atonement in their lives, but because they have been harmed by their husbands' actions, not because they are necessarily co-dependent. Wives are human and thus flaws too, obviously, as we all all human and imperfect. But to label them as co-dependent simply because they unknowingly married a sexual addict greatly minimizes the pain and trauma of their situation. For any wife who finds herself in this situation and is having difficulty feeling understood or validated in her pain and anger, I highly recommend the book Your Sexually Addicted Spouse, How Partners Can Cope and Heal by Barbara Steffens and Marsha Means.
Theologically, Hilton provides a fairly decent argument for the modern wave of pornography being the great worldwide disease predicted in the Doctrine and Covenants. His explanation of the atonement of Jesus Christ is also spot on, and his writings are peppered with quotations, both from the world of science and the world of LDS theology. The result is a frequently inspiring book that, for the most part, does not disappoint.
There are a few weak points, of course. Hilton's description of the brain science behind addiction is contradictory, overly complicated and clearly never saw the red pen of an editor - surprising for a brain surgeon of such renown. One wishes that he would have included a brief explanation and a simplified diagram rather than flexing his own intellectual muscle with endless jargon. This, unfortunately, serves to weaken his case for pornography as an "addiction" - particularly when this is combined with explanations about how "withdrawal" from pornography looks different than withdrawal from illicit substances. Now, this does not make much difference to the habitual user, who is desperate for advice on how to overcome these issues. However, it would have been nice had Hilton at least acknowledged the behavioral science approach to treating this modern epidemic - or, barring that, had he at least made a coherent scientific argument for his point.
Nitpicking aside, this is an excellent book. I recommend reading it even if you don't struggle with breaking the chains of pornography. You won't regret it.