Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Women of God

Artist: Munier, 1888

The following is a quote that has often been on my mind:
“Women of God can never be like women of the world.
The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender.
There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind.
There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined.
We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith.
We have enough greed; we need more goodness.
We have enough vanity; we need more virtue.
We have enough popularity; we need more purity."
~Margaret D. Nadauld  

Taking a stand as Women of God is never an easy thing. A video about fighting the plague of p*rnography recently came to my attention. There is an organization called Morality in Media that is teaming up with other similar groups to stand up and ask our government leaders to uphold the obscenity laws that are already in existence. 

One woman in the organization who posted a video (VIEWER BEWARE: She does describe some of what she saw. I turned down the volume during that part of the video. I just want you to be aware before you view.) of her experience of being exposed to p*rn on an airline flight has been working hard to help remove filthy material from airlines, libraries, and schools. 

Since she decided to take a stand and make the video, she has been bombarded with hate mail and even threats against her life.

Standing up for righteousness is never an easy thing! And in this day and age, it might just be dangerous. But when we choose to stand up and speak out, we also have God on our side, helping us, so we have no need to fear.

Right now, there is a petition we can sign which is asking for a Congressional Hearing on the issue of p*rnography. There are already laws in place that prohibit this kind of material in our country, but the laws are being ignored by those in authority-- those that we have elected to uphold the law! Will you join me in signing the petition here?

The content of the letter is this:
We, the undersigned, strongly urge you to hold hearings on the harm from pornography and the need to vigorously enforce U. S. laws prohibiting distribution of obscene adult pornography. The U.S. Department of Justice has stopped all enforcement of these laws at a time when our nation is suffering an untreated pandemic of harm from pornography.
Last April, 117 Members of Congress, 75 from the House and 42 from the Senate, sent the attached letters to U. S. Attorney General Eric Holder calling to his attention the evidence that pornography is causing profound harms and urging him to vigorously enforce federal obscenity laws. Those laws prohibit distribution of obscene (hardcore) pornography on the Internet, on cable/satellite TV, on hotel/motel TV, in retail shops, through the mail, and by common carrier.
In their letter to General Holder the Members noted that “illegal adult obscenity contributes to violence against women, addiction, harm to children, and sex trafficking. This material harms individuals, families, and communities and the problems are only getting worse.”
We also know that consumption of adult pornography leads many consumers to harder and more deviant material over time and even leads many to consume child pornography, contributing to the widespread and increasing problem of child pornography distribution in America. Children are also too often targeted by the pornography industry through free distribution of illegal hardcore Internet offerings, leading many child consumers into sexual exploitive behaviors and life-long accompanying problems.
We believe that the U. S. Congress needs to do more to explore the true harms of pornography and that a Congressional hearing in either or both the Committee on the Judiciary and Committee on Energy and Commerce, bringing together leading medical professionals and researchers on the subject of harm from pornography, is now vitally necessary.
The harms of pornography are devastating youth, families, marriages and country.
We respectfully request a hearing on the pandemic of harm from pornography.
Most Sincerely,
List of Signatures
We should do all we can to remove this evil and its devastation from our lives, our homes, our communities, and our country.

Fresh courage take,

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Why is Violence Okay?

Charlotte Corday after the murder of Marat (1861) 
by Paul-Jacques-Aime Baudry

"If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report, or praiseworthy, we seek after these things." ~From the LDS Thirteenth Article of Faith

Alright. Enough is enough. I can stay silent no longer.

I am getting more and more frustrated by all the fawning praise and hype that has been surrounding a certain best-selling book series that has recently premiered as a movie. I am disturbed by what the violent images presented in this series have the potential to do to individuals-- mothers and fathers, young adults and teens, but especially to children.

The embracing of violence in movies and books that is done by many of the same people who condemn sexual images and innuendo has long confused, annoyed, and concerned me.

I do not get it.

Of course, exposing ourselves to p*rnography and suggestive images and scenes (including descriptions in books) is wrong. We know that virtue is chastity and purity.

So, the question I'm asking is this: Is it virtuous, chaste, pure or lovely to immerse ourselves in murderous, violent thoughts-- even those of a fictional character?

Even if it's in a book about how scary it is to live in a world without freedom?

For example:
"A boy, I think from District 9, reaches the pack at the same time I do and for a brief time we grapple for it and then he coughs, splattering my face with blood. I stagger back, repulsed by the warm, sticky spray. Then the boy slips to the ground. That’s when I see the knife in his back." 
"It takes a few moments to find Cato in the dim light, in the blood. Then the raw hunk of meat that used to be my enemy makes a sound, and I know where his mouth is. And I think the word he’s trying to say is please. Pity, not vengeance, sends my arrow flying into his skull."
I don't know about you, but I do not find ANY way, means, or justification for the quotes above to fit within the description of "virtuous, lovely, good report, praiseworthy."

Whenever I bring up my objections to literary (this applies even more so to the movies) violence such as the quotes above, I hear these excuses:
"Yeah, but have you READ the books? They're sooo good!"
"The author is such a great writer!"
"I couldn't put it down-- it just sucked me in!"

Well, let's apply these lines of thinking to p*rnography.
"Yeah, but have you actually LOOKED at the pictures? They're so tastefully done!"
"The photographer is so talented!"
"I couldn't look away-- the pictures were just so captivating!" 

In this day and age, I think most people I know can agree that it's sad that society at large is rarely willing to call evil what it is-- EVIL.

And so I am puzzled why so many people who consider themselves good parents, concerned citizens, and followers of virtue are allowing themselves to tarnish and damage their spirits-- and the spirits of their children-- all in the name of entertainment or pop-culture!

No, I don't get it.

I pray that my family and I will always consume and contribute only to those things that uplift and inspire us toward becoming more holy. And for me, there is no way that violence-- real or read and watched-- can bring us to that higher plain.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Worth Waiting For

I know far too many people in society today who think that sex outside of marriage is "no big deal." But those people who say that are usually the ones in relationships that make them unhappy and unfulfilled.

Keeping ourselves chaste until we're married is giving ourselves AND our spouses a beautiful gift! But we cannot imagine its value until we exercise the patience and self-restraint that makes it the GREATEST gift we can give to our true and only love.

And for those who did not recognize the gift that they had in store for their future one and only, and chose the lesser gift, THERE IS HOPE. Jesus Christ has made it possible for us to be clean and new, untainted and pure. All it takes is a change of heart and trust in the Lord's infinite power to make us chaste, once again.

As the Lord said,
"Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool."

You and your amazing future are worth waiting for. And, as Jesus showed us, you're worth dying for.


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Thoughts from a Mother of Many

Me with MacKenna at her birth (She's baby #8, my first water-birth)

I just want to share part of a comment I wrote in response to a GREAT blog post on pregnancy I read today.
I think when people hear the number of kids I have, they imagine eleven 2 or 3-year-olds running around causing craziness. They forget about all the helpers, cleaners, chefs, diaper-changers, and assistants we have in all the older children we took the care to train.
The same could be said of pregnancy! It's not all the pregnancy sickness, heartburn, aches, bone creaks and swollen ankles all in one big "OUCH." Each pregnancy come one at a time, each with its own aches, miracles, and cravings.
I think that we in the modern age are just used to ease and convenience-- but being pregnant is neither of those things! However, pregnancy is a sanctifying sacrifice that brings us closer to God, relying more on His power, wisdom, and help.
I am grateful for the ONE-BY-ONE refining that eighteen pregnancies have given me. (Eleven births, six miscarriages, and one baby coming in September.)
The most beautiful part about the sacrifice of pregnancy is that we get to be a HUGE part of the lives of some of Heavenly Father's most amazing children.
ANY sacrifice is worth that. :)

I truly do think that we have it easy in this day and age. We have every kind of comfort, convenience-- and even fashion-- for our pregnancies that we could wish for! Most modern women opt for pain-free births. (Been there, done that, NOT judging in the least!)

But pregnancies are neither pain free nor easy. They were never meant to be! They are HARD. Yes, even for a "baby-making machine" like me. (Ha!)

But how many women work their tails off to get beautiful, fit bodies? Is that easy and fun? NO WAY! I submit that there would be a LOT more beautiful, fit, trim people around if it were!

It's a matter of what we value. Is pregnancy easy on anyone's body? Uh... no! (My stretchmarks alone can attest to that!) But I happen to think that bringing another baby into the world is more important than having a lovely body. (Obviously!)

Each couple needs to keep the decision of how many babies and how often they come, between them and the Lord. But DO WE INCLUDE THE LORD? Really?

I've dictated my personal wishes and ideals to the Lord countless times, only to be blessed when I finally submit to HIS plan instead of my own. I am amazed at His patience with my selfish, "well-ordered"plans. It's so wonderful that He wants to continue to teach me and humble me! All the times that He leaves me to my own own ideas because I cut Him out of the decision-making process have been pretty disastrous. (And I'm talking about more than just having babies.)

Not every family can or should look the same. But I hope that I am always willing to allow myself to be molded and formed by the Master's hands.

I pray we all allow His assistance in the forming of our families, as well. (And then rely on Him in raising them, as well!)

May the Lord bless each one of you!

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