If a young man has had a long history with pornography, it is beneficial to have regular contact and support from his bishop for at least one year. Suggest to the member that he continue to meet with you monthly for a celebration of his ongoing success. If the member is going to move from your ward, encourage the member to continue his monthly celebration interviews with his new bishop. Offer to contact the new bishop to help with the transition.
Many prospective missionaries attending school away from home will have worked with their local YSA bishop in overcoming pornography involvement. Many will have their missionary papers sent in after they have been abstinent for 3 months. They then receive their call with their departure date 2-5 months out. Most return home and are set apart by their home stake presidents. The period of time between the last interview by their YSA stake president and the setting apart by the home stake president could be as long as six months. The stake president doing the setting apart is to perform a worthiness interview prior to the setting apart. In the current environment, it is likely that a university YSA stake president, when interviewing a prospective missionary, will have no idea that the young man had recently been on probation with his bishop for pornography use. This is likely the situation of the home stake president who will interview the elder prior to setting him apart as a missionary. A time of transition is typically a difficult time for someone who has/is struggling with pornography. Unfortunately, there is a high probability of relapse between leaving school, moving back home and departing on a mission. In the event of a relapse, typically one of two things will happen at the worthiness interview prior to the setting apart. The prospective missionary does not confess and is set apart. Or confession takes place but the stake president minimized the sin and proceeds with the setting apart.
There is a tremendous amount of social pressure at that time to get young men on a mission. Many have the feeling that if we get them on a mission this problem will go away. Regrettably, repentance has not occurred and avoidance skills were never learned. The result is one of the following:
The YSA stake president should require of his bishops that they make him aware of any history of pornography within the past year when they send him a prospective missionary. The YSA stake president, upon finding the elder worthy to serve, will tell the prospective missionary that his priesthood leaders are lovingly concerned about him and his continued worthiness. Because of this, the YSA stake president is going to notify the home stake president and suggest that there be regular accountability interviews prior to the missionary’s setting apart. He will also ask the home stake president to inquire about this issue directly in the final worthiness interview. This provides the prospective missionary additional motivation to remain clean, and with a longer period of abstinence he has a better opportunity to move past this sin. This notification to the home stake president can be done via letter or phone call.
There are a few situations, because of a family circumstance, where a YSA stake president, at the request of the home stake president, performs the setting apart. In this event, the YSA stake president should make sure that there have been regular accountability interviews with the prospective missionary since the missionary application was submitted. And since many times family members travel from out of state to the YSA stake for the setting apart, the final worthiness interview should take place earlier than just a few minutes prior to the setting apart.