Dear Pornography… By Ryan Baker
This letter is written to you from my perspective as a child within my home. These are my memories and I share them hoping to open your eyes to the incredible damage that has been done.
The picture is of a family who was about to catch their father in a terrible online affair with you. These kids had no idea the events that would unfold over the next few weeks. The brave lady sitting in the middle had no idea how hard life was about to become and the two decade fallout that you would have to endure.
My father ran off with you, and abandoned his family. He tried hiding it and the problem got so much worse. He took you to very dark places and got caught. You revealed his selfishness. His actions robbed him of the four most valuable things he has ever had: Ryan, Adam, Savannah, and Diane. They were supposed to be his treasure but along the way they became worthless to him in comparison to his own wants and desires. Pornography was a physical manifestation of his infidelity. You are not the sole reason to his harm and destructive behavior but you compounded and multiplied the attitudes already within him.
Every single night, we knew that dad stayed up late. We could hear him walking the halls, or going through the house. He was pretty quiet for the most part, but each night we knew he would be in the corner of the office on his computer. We all knew not to bother him, that was his space. Every now and then I would wander in there wondering what was going on. If you ever surprised him, and walked in the room, you would hear urgent clicking on his mouse, as flashes on the computer would close. Once I must have been pretty quiet because the glare I got from him was completely unnerving. Much of time after that the door would be shut and the only thing you would see is the colors of flashing lights coming from underneath the door. I learned that whatever dad does in there is something only for him, and it is best to leave him alone. Little trips downstairs for a drink of water would make my heart beat fast as I hoped he wouldn’t get mad at me for interrupting him by coming too close. As we were to find out, he was in a sexual relationship with pornography, and although he was trying to be sneaky, we all knew something was going on.
Pornography, I hate you. You had a huge part in turning my father’s heart away from his family. You had his heart when we did not. I am so jealous of the relationship you have with him that I never had. He would change his schedule for you, and some days he would spend more time with you than with us. I am so ticked off from all the late nights he spent with you instead of me, the mornings he would sleep in to recover from your wild nights were mornings he was NOT eating with his kids. You curbed his appetite for real relationships by giving him superficial fake ones to feast on. I curse you for having been the one that my father ran to instead of us.
Early every morning my mom would have a full breakfast ready, and some new book to read us. Even when I was a teenager she kept up this practice. I had to act like this wasn’t cool, but the stories always taught me something, and made me feel like I knew God better than before. She loved to talk to us about Jesus, and the lives he wants us to live. On more days than I could count, my siblings and I planned how we could get dad to do these devotions with us. We had to wait as he would almost never get out of bed till around noon. When he would get out of bed, we would be waiting to ask him if tomorrow he would read these awesome stories with us. We got a soft “no,” for a little while. Later we got more heated responses that sometimes followed with terrible comments about our mom. He was so intimidated at her love for Jesus that all he could do was lie, shout, make comments, and try to ruin her reputation in front of her children. At the end of the day, my father did not want anything to do with us and our journey through these spiritual truths each morning because he is, “Far too tired to wake up that early.” Pornography, you had a hand in this, you were there keeping him company in these early hours of the day. I hate the grip that you put on your slaves.
As my dad’s heart grew colder, his patience grew thinner. I believe that his online pleasures brought him more joy than I ever could. He made it clear how much he was annoyed by us, and we all saw how happy he was to retreat to his time alone. I grew to hate that my dad had his own company. He would rarely go to work, which mean that when he was grumpy, he would spend the whole day playing video games, and being otherwise occupied by his computer. Eventually we would go to bed and the office door would shut. While all my other friends had dads who worked, mine would leave the house rarely and we had to deal with the abusive way that he treated us, with no reprieve of him leaving us alone. It also meant he could stay up till the early hours of each day which robbed us of time with him. Sometimes he was going to bed as we were waking up in the morning. We thought it was video games that took our dad’s mind and heart away from us but it turned out to be a long standing affair with the countless porn stars that visited him through the screens in our home.
When I was in elementary school pornography was called out on the carpet, as the secret affair was caught red handed. This led to a sequence of events that is quite dramatic and does not have a place in this particular story. It wasn’t just porn, it was the years of deception, deceit, lies, and the crazy ways that my dad was trying to cover up the extent of what he was involved in. Not only that but reports started coming in from young guys saying that he was showing them the porn he had, and was trying to get them to watch it with him. Pornography became the gateway drug to his own selfish behavior. This began the downward spiral that led to my parents’ divorce. My mother was instructed by her pastor at the time that she was not allowed to divorce him. That the abuse, pornography, deceit, and threats of violence were not grounds for Biblical divorce. She was told that no matter the danger she was in, she was forced by God to stay. What a heartbreaking thing for a pastor to communicate to a hurting wife with little kids. Pornography at that moment was addressed, but never fixed. The spiritual leaders that were involved never again checked up on Diane Baker and her three little kids. They were left to suffer at the hand of an addict who was harming his family. We were forgotten about and abandoned by the people we were counting on. My father learned a big lesson through this dark time for our family. He learned that if he was going to keep his love affair, he had to do better about hiding it.
My father grew more and more distant from us as we got older. The abusive way he treated us got worse, and terrible things started happening. I always wondered why he was always so mad at us. I wondered why no one else was treated the way we were. It was like something was going on behind the scenes and it was up to us to keep dads big secret. Who we are in public is not who we are at home. We don’t talk about what we are going through, we don’t question dad. He is allowed to do, and say whatever he wants because he is in charge of the family. A few misinterpreted Bible verses later and he would convince us that he is allowed to do what he wants because he is “the head of the home.” “Children obey your parents” became, -I will hurt you and there is nothing you can say or do because I am in charge-. Pornography is not to blame for all bad behavior, but I believe with my whole heart that had it not been in my dad’s life, he would have had more room in his heart to love us, and treat us the way we deserved. I believe pornography siphoned off his ability to passionately pursue others because he was too consumed in loving his addiction.
Selfishness is the most common form of pride. We all have this in abundance, we all are selfish in some way or another. Unfortunately pornography is one of the most selfish things you could do. To sacrifice your marriage vows at the feet of a porn star, is never worth the cost. I was told over, and over again by my father that, “all guys look every now and then.” This is a cop-out, and a terrible excuse. To say, “I saw porn but its ok, because other guys do it too.” Is completely asinine. We all need to man up and call it what it is, “I cheated on my wife with my heart and mind because I wanted to.” Stop making excuses, stop giving yourself a reason that it is ok. Your kids might just find out about this hidden world of immorality, and all the things you have been hiding. I can tell you from my experience, the cost of hiding this from the people that love you is dangerous. The things that were open, and discussed, and talked about was ALWAYS worked through. The things that were hidden by my dad were permitted by him to stay in our home and grow to illegal proportions.
Pornography seemed to be one of the things that my dad ran to in order to whisk him away to a world that he liked better than the family he had. We were not the priority, his online mistresses were. His cold eyes were hungry, always looking for the next visual link he had to the world he enjoyed in his mind. The affairs were worse than real, they were portable, and accessible everywhere. The porn stars he loved got more time with him than his kids did on some days. The industry of porn had a huge part to play as I lost my relationship with my dad. To be very clear, it was more than porn, but the immorality pushed him into some VERY dark places that he had yet to recover from. His pornography addiction is directly linked to the abuse in our home, and the wicked things he did to the ones he was instructed by God to protect.
Pornography is a manifestation of the selfishness within mankind. It does not make people selfish, it reveals the selfishness that is already there. Porn is the essence of lies, as it states that it is more satisfying than the warmth of a spouse. It shows the pride that creeps from the heart as it prioritizes self-pleasure rather than the morality that is found in purity. Pornography whispers in your ear to hide what you have done rather than to be Humble, Open, and Transparent about your failure. The worst part of pornography might be the way it turns reasonable, rational, and decent human beings, like my dad, into people that hurt, abuse, threaten, cause harm, and seek to destroy those around them.
I have had heart wrenching conversations with Madison over my selfish behavior on this subject. I have had to dig out the dirt on myself and reveal what I had chosen over her. I have had to watch my wife’s heart break over my wicked choices. My wife has cried many tears through the conversations where I told her what I have done. It is so much better to own my own terrible choices than to have been caught later and dealt with the fallout. The hours of therapy we have had is one of the largest factors contributing to our healing and restoration. I refuse to hide what I have done for the sake of being afraid of the consequences.
To be very clear. Pornography is not the unpardonable sin, but it is the equivalent of playing with a nuclear bomb. It will go off and set a chain of events where you could lose everything important to you. It is sexual immorality and should be treated as such. I am not condemning anyone, simply sharing my memories and feelings about a sinful pattern that was a key player in the separation I have with my father. I beg you as a son, please do not knock on the door of pornography, it is a terrible mistress and will rob you of everything you have. Pornography will convince you that it is a better lover than your spouse and will take you away from the things in life that you should truly value.
Pornography, you have lodged yourself everywhere. You are ready to crawl into the bed of anyone willing to have you, and you have turned thousands of people from their families as they try to hide their struggle. I rebuke this in the name of Jesus Christ. I pray that all kids, teens, adults, married, and single people in the world would NOT HIDE their struggle, but bring it to the surface to the ones who love them. If we would just stop hiding this, we would make progress to rid it completely from our life. The solution is simple. Take what is in hiding, bring it to the light, and own the consequences BEFORE things get out of hand.
Posted with permission from Ryan Baker