LDS Church featuring the stories of members who have overcome addictions

Posted at 7:41 PM, Aug 30, 2015
and last updated 2015-08-30 23:33:47-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is bringing an important issue to the forefront: addiction.

September is National Addiction Recovery Month, and in response the Mormon Channel is releasing a series of videos that focus on church members who have struggled with and overcome addiction.

The video series is called "12 Steps to Change." It will include 12 videos, each of them about four minutes in length, featuring a person or persons who struggled and overcame some sort of addiction, including drugs, alcohol, food, pornography and gambling.

The goal is to increase awareness that there is help available through the LDS Church's addiction recovery program.

"Much similar to an AA meeting only we are using scripture like, to help with our healing," said Wendy Stilson of St. Mary's Center for Recovery.

The LDS Church acknowledges that it's tough for people to admit they have an addiction and they hope these real life stories inspire others that they too can turn their life around.

People who work in the field of addiction and recovery say these videos can be very influential.

"By the church coming out with these videos it's going to give people permission to say, ' I am struggling and I see that others are struggling too,' and this isn't out of the ordinary, this is something that so many people are struggling with here in Utah," Stilson said.

Stilson said St. Mary's had 134 patients stay at their center for an extended period of time last year, and 40 of them were active LDS Church members.

"I think by the church doing these videos it's going to help them to be able to feel that they can come forward to their bishops or anybody else and reach out for help," Stilson said.

Stilson said the area she is most concerned about when it comes to addiction in Utah is moms on meth.

"I'll speak from a women's perspective, is we feel like we have to be perfect in everything: the clubs, and the sports, and the music and the schools and get our kids everywhere--and a lot of moms have become addicted to meth and called closet meth users because it gives them the energy to do what they need to do," Stilson said.

Mormon Channel posted a trailer for the series of videos on YouTube, see below for that video.