November 3, 2014

The Heart of the Matter: There is Power in Media to Change Lives for the Better

By Jessica Mockett and Rod Santiano

I just released my first feature-length documentary film after a long 3-year journey making it. The Heart of the Matter is a life-changing, possibly even a life-saving, film. Sex addiction is almost always shrouded in shame and secrecy, and among Christians there are even deeper levels of shame when one is knowingly acting against their personal beliefs. This new film offers a remedy simply by finding honest, vulnerable, non-shaming ways to openly address these difficult issues within families and in the church.

I knew the potential power this film could have when, as we wrapped our 5-day studio shoot and over the next few days, about 50% of the crew members expressed to me that they were struggling with pornography. The interviews we shot had impacted them in such a way that they wanted to come forward; to be honest and seek help; to remove the heavy burden they had been carrying in silence for years.

_MG_0135Recently, at our Utah screening, Rod (one of our awesome crew members) came up to me and expressed that he too struggled; that the film had greatly impacted him. So I’ve asked him to share his story.

April 26, 2012 was a relatively normal day, so I thought. Little did I know that it would eventually change my life infinitely for the better. 

I was one of a few camera operators for a documentary shoot on the subject of pornography addiction and recovery called The Heart of the Matter. I knew what some of the dangers of pornography addiction were and I was grateful to be a part of such a production because the film was about coming out of the darkness and talking about the problem. I had been married for eight years with five beautiful children; the last four years of which I had been privately struggling with pornography addiction. I knew this film could maybe do great things for other people… but not me. No way. There would be no possibility that my wife would ever know this dark secret. I would take this to my grave.

_MG_0121Being on the set for a day and listening to these brave and incredibly open people tell their stories of heartache and hope planted a very large seed in my heart. Their stories were so moving, tragic and hopeful all at the same time. I found myself crying much of the time — hiding behind my camera. I hadn’t realized how negatively pornography affects so many aspects of people’s lives and that there actually is great hope in recovery. Hearing the stories of how pornography affected marriages really made me want to come out of the dark. By the end of the first day of shooting, I started to consider the inconceivable: telling my wife about my struggle.

But I couldn’t. Not yet, at least. Instead, I told my wife all the things that I had learned, in hopes that someday, when I did tell her, she would be more prepared for the news. So two more years passed of failed attempts to stop my addiction on my own.

On February 9, 2014, I finally got the courage to tell my wife. It was one of the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do — a moment I thought I would never be able to face. I am thankful for so many perfectly articulated personal and professional testimonies in The Heart of the Matter that began my change of heart, encouraged me to step into the light and seek help from my Savior, Jesus Christ, and my loving wife.

I hope this film will be seen by as many people as possible; that those struggling with this addiction — as well as those around them — will be more open to talking about it, and ultimately, find healing and recovery through love, understanding and faith.

I am so grateful that Rod was a part of this film. That it planted the seed that led him to finally open up and seek help and healing and to include his wife in his struggle. It took some time for Rod, while some of the other crew members opened up to their wives that same week of shooting. They awkwardly chuckled in recognition as they began seeing each other at recovery support groups. If for no other reason – the film was made to help these men find their way to hope and healing.

But I hope there are more reasons – hundreds of thousands of reasons – for this film to have been made. Save your life, the life of a loved one, or the lives of all in your congregation. If this film touches your heart, tell everyone you know to watch too and together we can move in mass towards healing and prevention.

Please purchase a copy of the film at the Porn Harms online store and get more information about it on our website.

Further Reading