So, I kinda balanced myself on the side so I could reach in and grab one and of course, I fell right inside. And suddenly, it was like when I was a kid. I was looking at garbage, sitting in garbage and I realized, I gotta get out of there as quickly as I could.
End of Teaser Jim Daly: And I get it. Yeah, Jim, pornography is so prevalent. Girls and many women struggle, as well. They kind of dismiss the grab, the hold that pornography can have on a heart and a life. And for young men, that number is 7 out of The brain science points to a correlation between pornography and addictive drugs. Certainly that was the case for our guest today, Jonathan Daugherty, who grew up in a Christian home. But he was also hiding a deadly, spiritually deadly secret, a secret that almost destroyed him, almost destroyed his marriage and it will be an amazing discussion with him today.
You know, let me say this from the beginning. Why do you do it? Now I never want to talk about it again? You know, we hear in the Christian community a lot of times people called into ministry, right? And I think those of us who are Christians understand that to mean that God starts prompting us in ways. He starts orchestrating things in our circumstances. He starts narrowing our focus.
And I thought, but I know my story. So part of it was just understanding that God kept moving me in this direction. Well, and I applaud you for going there because again, this is something that, as I said in the open, oftentimes we get criticism here, John, because we talk about this from time to time.
Before we get into your story, I just want to reinforce those numbers for those that might be just joining us right now.
Laughter But the reality is I think anecdotally even, we can look around in our culture, not only just in the culture at large, we can look around in our churches and what we found in our ministry is, we start to hear these stories, it really supports those statistics. And we start realizing whatever the numbers are in actuality, what the effect is culturally and even within the church is being felt.
We need to talk very openly about this so the Lord can do the work He needs to do in us. Could I actually share that with someone? And we can talk a little bit about that later.
But we need to start at the beginning. So, where were you? What was the circumstance you were in when you were first introduced to pornography? Well, I can only describe it as a traumatic event in my life. I was not expecting to see pornography. How old were you? We got up the next day. Ironically, I did end up seeing something dead. So, you felt, it really reached out and grabbed you.
When you saw it, it got ya. It was powerful in two ways, not only that kind of punch like guilt and fear, but it was powerful because I also felt like something woke up inside of me. Why did it become a secret and what was secretive?
You just lived in a quiet place. You never exposed this to anybody and what was the activity like as you continued through , , years-old? Where does a year-old kid in even a Christian home sometimes, feel safe enough to initiate that conversation with his parents? I mean, I had good godly parents. There was no abuse or anything, you know, out of the ordinary.
I had no idea where to take this and so, then when you talk about , , 15, as I started kinda adding into this my own pursuit and discovery of pornography and other activities, it became a place that I could escape to and it was more intentional in my secrecy. So, originally it was just more like a path of least resistance. What does a scared kid do?
So, it was more active secrecy later on. But also shame I would think. Sure and we want to get to that. But in this stage, how did that addiction or how did that desire for pornography, how did it keep you from authentic relationship? Can you look back now and say, it was preventing me in developing in some healthy ways? And what would that look like? I realized that I had essentially stopped growing emotionally at years-old.
It took me down this area where I was starting to spend emotional energy attaching to pornography which was preventing me from learning really how you attach in a healthy way to your parents and to your siblings and to your friends.
And I think where it really manifests is I became an expert liar. So, it kinda honed a negative skill. It did and I think underneath the lying was this paralyzing fear. What if my parents found out? What if my pastor found out? What if, what if, what if? You know, the more you ask what if, it always ends poorly. How were you in your relationship with the Lord at this time? Are you noticing girls?
Those are common discussions I have with my teen boys. And how were you managing that environment and knowing more about what God expected of you at that time? And so, I felt very conflicted. Well, I had my school image. I had my church image. And what I did was, I learned how to read people and figure out what do they want? I mean, what was your relationship with your dad like at this point?
It was more like just a disconnect relationship. And bless his heart, I mean, he tried. I learned later from my mother that he would spend nights just praying how do I connect with my son? And I can relate to that. You know, I went the first seven days of my life without being physically touched. I was in an ICU and all this because I tried to breathe too early. I think one of the biggest things and this is where I feel like fathers have trouble with this, is tell him your story. Just tell him your story.
Yes, tell him the honest story. And let me tell you some stories from then. Let me tell you what I was like when I was You need to already be preparing him for the body changes that are gonna be coming in the next few years.
Also even average age of first-time exposure to pornography is 9- to years-old. Jonathan, that is such good advice and let me turn to you, the listener.
Here at Focus, we want to support families who are dealing with these tough issues. You just need to access it here at Focus.
Many children and teens get trapped by pornography when they click the wrong link and it pops up right in their face. And I want to take another swing at this, but again, your relationship with the Lord, where you were at in trying to, I guess, hold onto these opposing forces in your heart, in your soul. Describe that for us. How did you rationalize going to church on Sunday? You were learning more about sexual impurity, which is, you know, throughout Scripture in different ways-- Jonathan: How did you encounter those Scriptures or that Sunday school message and process that as a , , year-old?
I think the biggest disconnect I had was, you know, the Bible says that Jesus was full of grace and truth. And I had a real heavy leaning toward the truth side. And so, I was trying to perform in such a way that again, others would find me acceptable.
In fact, this got so heavy and such a burden for you, it was creating depression and you were even contemplating suicide, correct? Well, how old were you when those thoughts began to enter your head and how did you process that?