Saturday, March 29, 2014

Shielding ourselves from one of the most deadly of diseases

This is a paper that I wrote in my Doctrine & Covenants class here at BYU (plus a little more that I've added over the last few days. It's about pornography, a rather heavy subject that not many people really like to talk about, but for some reason I felt like talking about it. Here's what the prompt was: What can I do now to build (then maintain) a wall that will help me resist pornography LATER in life? My paper went a bit beyond the scale of that prompt, but here it is. Hopefully, there's somebody out there who needs this.

            Pornography is becoming more and more prevalent, and more and more easily found. In fact, according to the all-knowing fountain of knowledge that is Google, nearly 70% of men 18-34 years old regularly look at pornography. Anyone who has ever encountered it knows the drawing temptation that comes from it. In 1998, President Gordon B. Hinckley said, “Stay away from pornography as you would avoid a serious disease. It is as destructive.” In order to keep away from this serious, destructive disease, we have to shield ourselves from its attacks that can come out of nowhere and hit us hard. To do that we have to know what we’re up against, what will build us up instead of tear us down, and the rewards we receive from having a shield against pornography now and in the future.
            First of all, what’s at stake with this whole pornography thing? It can’t be that dangerous, right? In D&C 42:23 it says that if a man looks on a woman to lust after her (that is, entertain sexual urges toward a woman), he “ shall deny the faith,” “not have the Spirit,” and if he doesn’t repent, “shall be cast out.” Being “cast out” (presumably from the church, but it could also be God’s presence) seems like a pretty big deal to me, and one that I’d like to avoid. D&C 50 says that the Spirit of God edifies us as we learn or see things. In verse 23, it says that whatever doesn’t edify isn’t from the Spirit and is “darkness.” I assure you, that pornography does not edify. It doesn’t lift. It doesn’t fill you with light. It leaves you a feeling no better than you had before, if not worse. You don’t want it. Period. Just trust me on this one.
            But, enough doom and gloom! How are we going to hold up against that temptation? Fighting the temptation of pornography isn’t a passive battle. It’s an active one. So the first step comes to us. In D&C 43:9-11 the Lord tells us to learn His laws and sanctify ourselves, and when we do that we will be given glory. That’s where our shield begins. We learn what we’re supposed to do and as we do, that glory we receive starts to build around us. Back in D&C 50:24-25, it says that what is from God brings light into our lives. And light chases out darkness. Remember the darkness of the last paragraph? Imagine replacing that doom and gloom with happiness and peace. That’s how it works. Robert D Hales said, “light and darkness cannot occupy the same space at the same time,” (April 2002 General Conference). When you put things that add light like scripture study, prayer, temple attendance, and pretty much anything else constructive, the temptation and darkness of wanting to look at pornography leaves. And your shield will grow into an armor that can protect from any attack that might come at you. The world opens up to you and nothing can hold you back from feeling God’s love for you.
            If you are experiencing problems with pornography, start fixing them NOW. There is no time to waste. Get help from somebody. A parent, a spouse, a friend, your bishop (probably a really idea for this one); somebody who care about you and will keep caring about you no matter what you’ve done. Like a destructive and deadly disease, pornography will leave scars on you spiritually. You're going to remember what you did and saw for a LONG time. On that note, here’s another quote for you: “Never be ashamed of a scar. It simply means that you were stronger than whatever tried to hurt you.” If you’ve overcome pornography, yes, you did something stupid, but you have experienced what few others do, and you can use that to help others. Never be ashamed of having seen pornography during the “Law of Chastity Sunday” lesson in your priesthood quorum. Know that you have kicked a legitimate addiction. Congrats to you. God doesn’t love you any less for having seen what you did. Move onward. In D&C 58:42-43 Christ says, “Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more. By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins- behold, he will confess them and forsake them.” Stop it. Talk to a priesthood leader about it. And leave it behind. God doesn’t even remember that it happened.
            One more quote from Jeffery R Holland to send you off, “Whoever you are and whatever you have done, you can be forgiven. Every one of you young men can leave behind any transgression with which you may struggle. It is the miracle of forgiveness; it is the miracle of the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ,” (October 2011 General Conference).  That’s coming form an apostle. Build yourself a shield against pornography. One so thick, that it can’t ever penetrate or break through. If your shield wasn’t quite up to the attack, start building again. It’s never too late. You're never too far gone. You can come back. I promise. I know.

Friday, March 28, 2014

We meet again Mr. Bond...

Hey folks. It's been a while. I'm going to revive this. Just so you know. Get ready for awesome!