Friday, March 17, 2017

                                               It’s a Lie! Don’t Believe It!
                                            David H. Coombs, Ed.d, MFT

     A popular magazine seen in many counselors’offices, recently published articles written to normalize and justify pornography. These articles suggests that pornography is harmless and can be an effective tool to help couples achieve the height of sexual pleasure. Further, these articles claim pornography should be viewed not only by men but also should be enjoyed by women as well. This magazine suggests that pornography is only harmful when it creates unnecessary guilt caused by teachings of religious zealots.
    These articles lie. Pornography does pose a serious threat to our society and to the sanctity of marriage, and it undermines the quality of healthy relationships. For better instruction, see the website that details how the poison of porn effects the brain and ruins lives. Also see the work done by premier relationship researchers John and Julie Gottman online at the Gottman Institute: “Open letter on Porn.” I applaud the recent movement to declare pornography a serious health hazard that should be banned.
    We have the benefit of reliable studies and reports published by scholars, who are not religious zealots, that leave no doubt about the  destructive nature of pornography. Additionally, I support those faiths that have joined the fight against this evil in our society. Pornography is a billion-dollar industry that cares nothing about who they harm. Who do you think is behind this movement to normalize something so despicable? Who will benefit the most from a push to justify this addiction and to have it in every home?
    Many young children already have been exposed to the filth of porn from discovering it in their homes, on their dad’s computer, or find XXX movies on the top shelves of the bookcase. Their friends have shared it with them on their cell phones or I-pads. Wives have had their hearts broken by their husbands’ addiction to porn. These wives feel objectified by their husbands’ lust; normal sexual relationships have vanished, empathy and compassion have disappeared, and women’s dreams of healthy relationships have been crushed.
    Boys’ exposed to porn develop distorted views of girls when they delve deeper into the darkness of their addiction for the rush of distorted sexual activity. Girls and women have been made to believe that, to be considered sexually desirable, they must dress immodestly, have their bodies sculpted, and have false breasts implanted, so they can imitate what appears in pornographic images.
    Wives feel that they cannot compete with the women portrayed in porn. In fact, pornography propaganda claims it is the wives fault when their husbands stray to have imaginary sex with other women. Women who pose for the pornographers’ cameras are seriously abused and traumatized. They too are victims of the trade. No parents would want their daughters exploited this way.
    Some porn sites portray violence toward women which lead some men to think that this is what women want or deserve. This violence destroys sensitivity needed for an intimate and sensitive connection. As a result boys and men do not learn to treat girls and women with kindness, courtesy, and respect.
    Porn creates unrealistic expectations—a supernormal experience that cannot be duplicated in normal couple relationships; consequently, pornography reduces the satisfaction for both. Those addicted have the false impression that their partners should be ready on demand for unusual sex play. Pornography prescribes that husbands are to dominate, and wives must willingly submit. How does such thinking promote a quality relationship in which both partners feel equally valued? How many divorces can trace pornography as the root cause?
    These articles tell men and women that the use of pornography is normal and natural; it claims that since it doesn’t effect anybody else, no one is harmed. The reality is that it does negatively effect men and the women in many areas of their lives. When men look to their sweethearts to participate in unwanted and undesirable sexual activity and are rebuffed, these men become angry and rude and lash out; any tenderness or emotional closeness they may have had is gone.
    The addict does not realize the spiritual damage caused by sexual addiction till overwhelmed with guilt and shame. Guilt is knowing you are doing bad, and shame is feeling you are bad. This leaves the addict in isolation, cut off from God and from normal, healthy relationships. These two things: God’s love and the love of others are the very things needed for successful recovery. Just coming out of the shadows and admitting one needs help is the first step.Those addicted to drugs can eventually have the poisons eliminated from their bodies; but those addicted to porn have all the sordid images in their minds and readily available for instant recall; that makes recovery harder. However, recovery is possible. I repeat: recovery is possible; addicts can overcome their addiction with hard work and divine assistance.
    Oh, by the way, did I mention I have cancelled my subscription to this magazine?

Dr. Coombs is a licensed marriage and family therapist with his office in Washington, Utah. Contact him at 435-705-3579, email to or visit
                        The Book of Mormon Promise

“I feel certain that if, in our homes, parents will read from the Book of Mormon prayerfully and regularly, both by themselves and with their children, the spirit of that great book will come to permeate our homes and all who dwell therein. The spirit of reverence will increase; mutual respect and consideration for each other will grow. The spirit of contention will depart. Parents will counsel their children in greater love and wisdom. Children will be more responsive and submissive to the counsel of their parents. Righteousness will increase. Faith, hope, and charity - the pure love of Christ - will abound in our homes and lives, bringing in their wake peace, joy, and happiness.”
Marion G. Romney, Apostle of the Lord
and member of the First Presidency. General Conference, April 1980.
                                          We Cannot Do Democracy Without Civility
                                                     Dr. David Coombs, Ed.D., MFC

    We cannot do democracy without civility. In most elections, nearly half of the voters do not like how the election turned out. This article is not an argument for or against the out-comes of elections. What should concern us all is the intense hatred, crudeness, crass behavior, and destructive riots. Vile criticism, false information, and distorted news flows without restraint from the media which is tearing this country apart. While we have always had contentious debates, this time they appear more extreme.
    Emmylou Harris, popular singer and song writer said, “As citizens we have to be more thoughtful and more educated and more informed. I turn on the TV and I see these grown people screaming at each other, and I think, well, if we don’t get our civility back we’re in trouble.”
     The constitution gives citizens the freedom to march in the streets, to carry placards, (even when they are obscene and vulgar), to gather in peaceful assemblies to express their frustration. But that law does not give them the right to riot, to destroy public and private property, to burn cars, to smash windows, and beat-up voters who voted against their candidate.
    Across our nation, citizens are behaving irresponsibly and irrationally.  Where is the mature and reasonable thinking that we would expect from members of a democracy that is based on a constitution that guarantees the rights and freedoms of all citizens.
    Are we not a civilized nation that knows how to channel our feelings of discontent? Can we not disagree without, not only being disagreeable, but without demonizing and annihilating those who think differently?
    Our nation fought a Civil War in which over 600,000 thousand American citizens lost their lives because of a war of words that got out of control. People were proud; when they were offended and their ideas were rejected, they justified a response with swords, guns, and cannons. Fathers fought against their sons; brothers murdered their brothers; families were torn apart, and for what? Couldn’t we have resolved the slavery issue without going to war?
    Kevin Stirtz, popular author, stated, “To work best democracy needs a diversity of thoughts, ideas, and expression. This is only possible with freedom and civility.”
     When we disagree and have strong feelings, we must learn to discipline our language and our behavior to maintain decorum. Failing to do so has already lead to civil strife.
    In 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln, called upon our nation for a day of fasting and prayer. He said the nation was being punished for their sins because they had “forgotten God.” President Lincoln stated that our nation had become “too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!” He admonished the nation to humble themselves, “to confess our national sins, and pray for clemency and forgiveness.”
    We today must pray for our elected leaders, both local and national, and do all we can to aid them to be successful in the offices which they hold. Their success will be our success. Pray for the families in our country, pray that parents will their raise children in an atmosphere of love, kindness, and civility. Let there be no ugly rhetoric in our homes as we speak of our leaders.
    Samuel Johnson, Oxford scholar and English Statesman of the 1700s stated, “When once the forms of civility are violated, there remains little hope of return to kindness or decency.”       
    We are a Christian nation, “one nation, under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” Unity helps us preserve our democracy on which our freedoms depend. We must do our part to minimize ranker and civil strife both in our homes and in the public square.
(Quotes from this article came from an online source “Quotes on Civility.”)   

 "To Maintain our self-esteem:

            We must

            kindly correct,
                   constantly support, 

           quickly forgive


Dr. David H. Coombs, Ed.D, MFC
1296 W Red Butte, Washington, Utah (435) 705-3579
When confronted with temptations repeat the following to yourself:

I don't want it!

I don’t need it!

I have no right to it!

Dr. David H. Coombs, Ed.D, MFC  1296 W. Red Butte, Washington, UT 84780  435-705-3579
                                          Pressures on Women To Be Thin Can Be Deadly
                                                        Dr David Coombs, Ed.D. MFT

    The obsession for women to achieve the “right” body size can contribute to the development of a mental illness called Anorexia Nervosa which has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.
    Enormous pressures by the media cause women to focus their lives on being thin and gorgeous in every way. Women, throughout the world, pay a high price to fit into a prescribed mold. To be acceptable, they believe they must wear a size 2 which for most women is not only unrealistic but is also impossible. Women spend fortunes on extreme diet programs, endure plastic surgery, buy expensive cosmetics and hair products, enroll in gym memberships, have home exercise equipment or simply just starve themselves.
    Recently, a survivor of an eating disorder Dr. Nicole Hawkins, PhD, gave a presentation sponsored by Therapia and Center for Change for Southern Utah. She reported society’s media teaches women to hate their bodies. Certain destructive elements of our culture trap women into thinking they must do all they can, even not eating, to have the perfect, acceptable body.
    A few highlights from Dr. Hawkins reveal the stress many women feel:
Only 2% of women in the world call themselves “beautiful.”
86% of women are dissatisfied with their appearance.
When asked, two out of five women said they would gladly give up 3-5 years of their lives if they could just reach their ideal weight.
51% of girls who were teased and mocked thought of suicide. Peers can be shockingly cruel on social media. (i.e.“You are so fat and ugly, why don’t you just kill yourself.”) Frequent use of Facebook creates greater eating pathology and body dissatisfaction.
The average model is 5’11” and weighs 117 lbs, and wears a size 2. The average American woman is 5’4” and weighs 166 lbs and wears a size 14.
The majority of the images presented in media have been airbrushed or manipulated. 56% of girls believe models have “perfect bodies.”
90% of women diet regularly. 90% of diets fail after one year. Dieters regain all weight lost plus another 10%.
14% of 5-year-old girls diet. 50% of 9-year-old girls diet. 80% of 10 year-old girls diet. 90% of high school girls diet regularly.
Major depression is a common side effect of extreme diets that do not deliver the desired results.
    Dr. Hawkins is the clinical director for the Center for Change and reports remarkable success when girls suffering from eating disorders are medically stabilized and receive adequate nutrition. With individual and group counseling,  girls and women are taught the truth about the destructive influences of our society. They also learn healthy ways of thinking, eliminating distorted thought patterns, gain greater respect for their miraculous bodies, and grow in appreciation for who they are, and how beautiful they really are.
    Doctors with the Wellness Center behind the IHC hospital in St George also provide help for women with legitimate health issues that cause weight gain and weight retention in spite of appropriate diet and exercise. One long-distance runner kept gaining while eating correctly, lifting weights, and running an average of 40 miles a week. The wellness Center helped her measure her metabolism and discovered it was barely working. She learned she was gluten and dairy intolerant. With her diet changed, her metabolism corrected, she lost 30 pounds to reach 170 pounds. Her coach told her that she had reached her perfect weight. Not many women would jump for joy at weighing 170 pounds. However, she was delighted and was able to hear and accept what the doctor said and left feeling beautiful. Women’s goals ought not be set by the media but by their achieving their own healthy weight—determined by their genes and their age, coupled with eating correctly—not dieting—and exercising.
    More must be done to protect women, young and old, from expecting their bodies to go where they cannot go and from the damning and deadly effects of eating disorders. All women can learn to be grateful for the bodies they’ve been given and to stop comparing themselves to others.

(Several books were recommended at the Center for Change Conference: Making Peace With Your Plate, (“eating disorder recovery") by Robyn Cruze and Espra Andrus, The Body Image Workbook by Thomas Cash, and Intuitive Eating, by Evelyn Tribole.)

Dr. Coombs is a licensed marriage and family therapist with his office in Washington, Utah. Contact him at 435-705-3579. email to or visit

                                     Key Points from a Marriage Enrichment Presentation
                                                   Dr. David H. Coombs, Ed.D., MFC

    Because most people will not attend a marriage enrichment seminar, even though it would be wonderful if they could, couples may be interested in a short taste of one. Recently, Cliff Farnsworth. LCSW, Southwest Trainer for Utah Foster Care, conducted such a seminar that was well received by couples eager to improve the quality of their relationships. This article is a composite of notes taken at the presentation along with thoughts generated by the discussion that followed. Here are a few highlights.
    One of the top predictors for a successful marriage is husbands’ being agreeable. When husbands most often agree with their wives’ comments, ideas, or suggestions, the wives feel supported and validated which does marvelous things for women’s self-esteem and, even better, for their love for their husbands.
    Other top predictors for successful marriages include faith in God, emotional maturity, sufficient training and education to be gainfully employed, and freedom from addictions.
    Humor strengthens and builds healthy relationships. We need daily smiles, chuckles, and hearty laughs. One wife said, “My husband’s humor is so corny. He used to be a scout master, and I think he gets all his jokes out of Boy’s Life, but he still makes me smile.”
    A couple slid off the freeway, careened twenty feet into a barrow pit, and smashed into a tree, totaling their vehicle but hurting no one. The wife turned to her husband and said, “Wow, Honey! Now we get to have a new van.” She could have scolded her husband, called him names, and let him know he was driving too fast. But criticism never works; humor does and often defuses tense situations.
    Someone suggested that when we go into a marriage, we should do so with our eyes wide open and afterwards keep them half closed. While  opposites may attract, such couples will have more differences to negotiate which makes their marriages more challenging—but not impossible. Having as many things in common as possible makes the path smoother. Yet, all couples will have differences to resolve. Farnsworth referred to research showing that 67% of marital differences are never resolved, yet those marriages remain successful when partners make accommodations, are flexible, and learn to to live with the differences. For example, one wife shared that her husband does not celebrate Valentine’s Day but shows his love in other great ways; she accepts that.
    Farnsworth quoted freely from John Gottman’s book, “Why Marriages Succeed or Fail” (particularly from pages 72-95) wherein Gottman identified four patterns of communication that often destroy marriages: “1.Criticism: Attacking someone’s personality or character. . . usually with blame. 2. Contempt: Insulting or demeaning the spouse; indicating by words or actions that one believes the spouse to be ‘stupid, disgusting, incompetent, a fool.’ 3. Responding defensively to complaints, criticism, or contempt by making excuses, denying, arguing, whining, or counter-blaming rather than trying to solve the problem. 4. Stonewalling: Withdrawing physically or emotionally from the relationship when disagreements occur, becoming like a stone wall.” These negative patterns can change if couples want to improve their marriages. They are bad habits and should not be labeled as “just the way I am.”
    The question was asked: “Which is more important? Love or commitment?” The answer was commitment! There may be times when out of neglect or foolish mistakes, couples’ feelings of love fade away. They stay together because they made covenants to each other. The loving feelings return by partners doing loving behaviors such as extending the gift of forgiveness and performing acts of kindness. As people continue to go through the motions that loving couples normally do, the love returns.
    Love is a feeling, and it is also a choice. Consider doing the following: 1. Pray individually for your spouse and pray as a couple each day. 2. Always kiss good-bye and hello. (Research indicates that kissing for six seconds will ensure that the spouse remembers the kiss actually happened.) 3. Call/text/email at least once daily. 4. Have at least 5 minutes uninterrupted conversations in which you give each other undivided attention. 5. Hug for at least 30 seconds once each day.
    Successful marriages don’t just happen. They require significant effort and time. Couples need time together daily; they need weekly dates. Couples need min-moons (short honey moons) in which they get away from jobs, children, and the house for at least one or two nights every six months. Leave children in the loving care of others.
    Intimacy is a constant and needs to be mutually enjoyed on a regular basis. All couples determine a rhythm that works best for them. A healthy understanding of sexuality, not poisoned by pornography, is essential. Daily non-sexual contact-comfort such as caresses, holding hands, brushes across the cheek or arm, sliding fingers through hair, tickling backs, rubbing sore feet, keeps spouses emotionally connected with one another.
    Couples make financial investments in hopes of significant returns. They make significant investments in the maintenance of their cars and homes and yards. They work hard in their careers and look forward to successful retirements. Yet, the most important investment they will ever make is in their marriages. No other success can compare to the success couples create in their homes with each other and their children. Remember, if only one partner improves their behavior, that has significant impact on the marriage.
    Thank you, Cliff Farnsworth, for a wonderful evening.