Friday, March 28, 2014

Marriage and Doughnuts

Today I saw a meme that said, "Claiming that someone else's marriage is against your religion is like being angry at someone for eating a doughnut when you're on a diet."  The first thought I had was, "Would you still believe this if we were talking about child marriage?"

I get what their saying.  "You live your life, and I'll live my life."  The problem is that we live in this world together and the different choices we make will affect each other.  I can not stop people from making choices.  However, I do not have to vote to legalize that which I am against.

Can I change the meme?  "Claiming that someone else's marriage is against your religion is like being angry when someone is smoking in public... while that's against your religion."  Well that didn't flow as well.  Do you get my point though?  Smoking in public WILL affect all those who are around them.  (My grandpa died from lung cancer from second hand smoke, so you aren't going to convince me otherwise).  Notice, that I didn't say, "while you have health issues."  No, let's keep the idea that smoking tobacco is against my religion and that is why I'm against it.  Does it make the point that smoking is bad for the entire village any less valid?

Well, you say, marriage isn't smoking.  Yeah, and it's also not eating a doughnut.  I would wager, though, that marriage will affect society a lot more than eating a doughnut.

And I also believe in the freedom to choose for yourself.  And I also believe in being accountable for your choices.  And I will be accountable for the choices I make.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

What I Learned About Pornography

On Saturday I went to the Utah Coalition Against Pornography meeting that they held in Salt Lake City (you know, the one that every bishop in Utah announced about over the pulpit).  I want to share one of the things I learned.

One of the speakers, Jeffrey Ford, talked about the addictive cycle of pornography.  He mentioned that there were five types of pain: physical, spiritual, emotional, relational and sexual.  Pornography, however, is not a sexual issue, it is a relationship issue.  The cycle begins when a person is in pain.  As social beings, we are meant to reach outward.  However, sometimes people reach inward.  They reach inside their minds, and they envision fake situations and people.  They begin to push real people away and rely on the fake ones.  And then the acting out stage is when they actually go and view pornography.

This explains why it is hard to get over the addiction, doesn't it.  By nature, anyone addicted would want to take care of it themselves.  They might tell themselves to get better filters.  They might set up rules for themselves, but ultimately, they need other people.  It's the reaching inward in the first place that led them to where they are, but they probably don't realize that.

Now, that was an oversimplification of what Ford discussed.  This struck me, however, because reaching inward is not a foreign concept for me.

Side note: It's funny, I've always felt myself removed from pornography.  I knew it was real.  Well, let's be honest, it litters our media.  Still, it was hard for me to imagine people being addicted to it.  I had heard these high statistics about how tons of people were addicted to pornography.  Occasionally I would think to myself, "well then there's gotta be people I know who fall into that category."  I would look around me with an accusatory stare, and then decide the statistics must be false.  I didn't want to accuse anyone around me because I think highly about my friends and acquaintances.

Another thing I really liked was said by Kevin Skinner.  He basically testified that the men inflicted by pornography were good men.  He also said that far too many people give up too soon in their marriages when pornography is involved.  Now, I don't like the fact that people give up too soon.  What I liked is that he has faith in people that those relationships were worth saving and that it was in fact possible to do so.  Pornography doesn't just strike wicked people who should be tossed aside as villains.  It strikes good people who need the Atonement.  The path to recovery is long and hard.  It isn't fair to a spouse, but the path is worth taking.

Anyway, I guess I just wanted to share those thoughts.  I highly doubt anyone who reads this is directly affected by pornography.  Still, I hope that maybe if you ever meet someone who is struggling, maybe this will help you see them with different eyes.  Pornography is damaging, but people are worth saving.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

It's Going Down, I'm Yelling Tinder

Once upon a time my friend suggested I get Tinder.  I thought about it.  I decided I would do it.  However, I wasn't ready for it.

Then, months later, I was chatting with another friend who told me I should do it.

I thought about it some more.

Every time I heard the song Timber on the radio, I would hear "Tinder" in my mind.  My subconscious seemed to be telling me something...

Last night I decided to take the plunge.

The End.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Sono una Ragazza Povero con un Bambino Piccolo.

"Sono una ragazza povero con un bambino piccolo."  I heard these words a lot when I served in Rome, Italy.  Every time you got on the metro, and occasionally in other locations as well, a young woman would stand up with a baby and beg for money.  When I was in Rome, I thought about writing down the entire dialogue, because it was always the same thing.  Unfortunately I did not, so you'll have to bear with me with what I remember four years later.  The translated version goes something like this: 

"I am a poor girl with a small baby.  Please if you can spare even just ten cents so that I can buy some milk, God will bless you and you're entire family."

I remember the scowl I got from one of these girls when I offered crystal light.  As missionaries, we weren't supposed to give away our consecrated funds.  However, I had received a package from my parents right before I got transferred, so I was traveling with a lot of personal goodies.  The crystal light was the easiest to get to, so I offered it to the girl.  She took it.  Beggars can't be choosers.  However, I could tell that there was some resentment.  

Anyway, a friend posted this article here, and it broke my heart.  Many times I find myself asking myself, "How do we win?"  Obviously the answer is not to become calloused and refuse to help anyone out of suspicion of their motives.  Some people genuinely need help.  Some people will suck you dry because they know they can manipulate you and your emotions.  In the end, God will judge us according to the intents of our hearts.  Until then, I wish there was something I could do to help relieve the pain of those truly suffering.  On my mission I remember having a strong desire to help the gypsies. I couldn't though.  I mean, I did try to invite them to church, but they hardly ever ended up coming.  Anyway, it's something I still think about.