Personal Online Journal

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Marlin K Jensen Conversations

Here are some notes from the Mormon Channel Conversations Episode with Marlin K. Jensen and his wife.

A paraphrase from Conversations with Marlin K. Jensen

In a sense we've become defrocked   It is interesting to reflect on what we've become. With all the external expectations removed as a General Authority, what kind of people are we?

Elder Jensen quotes Henry Eyring to his son "In this Church you don’t have to believe anything that isn’t true"

"We know that Christ is the be all and end all of our existence. Trying to emulate his life and live His teachings and repent and be worthy of His blessings is really at the heart of our existence. It's a lifelong quest to become a Christian.  The church helps in so many ways, but agency is such a tremendous truth. We have to just want these things they have to be the desire of our hearts." (50:55)

He prefaces this statement with the idea of a final testimony. That this interview is probably his last general exposure because he will no longer be an active general authority. And that hearsay is not generally accepted in a court of law but statements at the end of life are accepted. (53:13)
    I didn't know what to expect when I came to Salt Lake as a General Authority 24 years ago.  I would really want the members of the church, the world really to know, how good my experience has been. How faith promoting to watch at close range, the men and women (one of which you [Sheri Dew] were one at one point in this church's history) who are of the highest caliber and charity and integrity who have given their lives to this cause without a lot of earthly remuneration; but are just tremendously devoted. I think it would be very difficult for anyone to understand how devoted, how serious this matter of the church is taken by those who are general leaders. And our experience has been just, overall tremendously positive and pleasing.

    I really know this is the true church. I know this is God's kingdom. I know this is how he wants us to live our lives. And I just hope that we can do a good enough job of that individually and as families that people who aren't yet of our faith will be able to see it and will want to investigate what it is that makes life what it is for us. So to have the chance to say that one more time with all sincerity and in contemplation of death, is a great blessing for me, thank you for it.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Supreme Court Marriage Decisions

Here is an info graphic that quickly summarizes why I support marriage as being between a man and a woman.

Here is a post that shows that any legal issues for same sex couples that be justly handled without changing the definition of marriage.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A Man, Truly and Positively Empowered

Here is an article about sex and modesty I found enlightening. In the world we live in, we can choose to be afraid and powerless or we can choose to look past the stories we grew up with that do not serve Faith in our Lord.

There is a story about the author and a missionary companion and how they were differently affected by immodestly dressed women they encountered on their mission. His companion had spent several years living in Hawaii.
his normal sexual desire was disassociated from crippling anxiety and the feeling of losing control, of being everywhere surrounded by harm and threat. He loved girls, he said, and had always wanted to be with them regularly. But he didn't obsess over girls or think of them as sexual objects designed for his own titillation, to constantly flee from until you hopefully found the safe haven of marriage at some point in the future. He didn't think girls could directly and irrevocably cause inappropriate thoughts, but that such thoughts were just part of becoming an adult human being, and needed to be acknowledged and managed accordingly. He said he felt free. And that he was sorry for me that I apparently didn't.
It wasn't fair, I thought, that my companion never appeared to fight any battles, that he didn't even seem to know there was a war going on. He wasn't sexually promiscuous, but neither was he a eunuch. He was a man, it seemed to me, truly and positively empowered.
 I liked the last two paragraphs.
Two things, then, must be acknowledged. First, it is absolutely a reality for men and boys that sexual desire can feel overwhelming, all-consuming, and thus, unsurprisingly, frightening. I think this is at least one of the roots of the constant need to present virtue and modesty as acts of vigilance and courage–because fear lies at the heart of what we are trying to confront but doing a poor job talking about. My anxiety and feelings of powerlessness in the face of perceived temptation from the opposite sex on my mission were real; there was nothing untruthful about them. The same is true for other men (and women) in that boat, and it’s difficult to appreciate that fact if you haven’t set sail onto uncertain stormy seas in it. What was untrue, however (what remains untrue), and this is point number two, were the stories that had produced that anxiety and powerlessness in the first place. Stories about girls and women being centers of uncontrollable desire and lust that must look and act in particular ways in order to tame the beast within me. Stories about learning to be strong and courageous while surrounded by frightening temptation everywhere I turned, thereby transforming women around me into either enemies or potential enemies (should they choose at some point to not dress according to current acceptable standards, on my behalf). Stories that metaphorically and realistically banish or exile women from thought and place so I could feel safe and powerful. Stories that divided not just women against men in significant ways, but also women against women, in which women saw other women as potential insidious bearers of the seeds of destruction sown in husbands, sons, and fathers. 
It’s a daunting thought, to consider telling alternative stories about human sexuality, but because, as I am arguing, the problems are structural, the stories that have built the structure are due for a revision and overhaul. Many will be understandably concerned that a different narrative will simply cause us to devolve into wanton permissiveness and excess on the parts of both women and men. Honestly, I don’t know that that wouldn't be the case for some. The traditional stories are rooted in deep soil and might remain powerful for a long time. But it is an unalloyed good to be able to understand ourselves in ways that allow us as men and women to interact with one another in the bonds of love, confidence, and friendship, not fear, anxiety, lust, and distrust. More than any other thing, it will be a climate of fear, anxiety, and powerlessness that will create dependency in ways that lead to sexual addictions of various kinds, which we know are rampant in our communities. The ways we currently talk about sex an modesty are not accomplishing the healthy and empowering understandings of ourselves and our potential that are necessary for us to truly live together.
There must be a path towards a more healthy set of stories about modesty and the building of healthy relationships between girls and boys, men and women. A path that might minimize permissiveness and excess. I do believe that the companion's view is more healthy. Faith is always better than fear.

A friend of mine shared this article "Doctor Explains Why It’s Not Prudish to Encourage Modesty" This was my response. I was thinking of this post.
'Often what happens is “self-objectification”: the girl, or woman, assesses herself as an object on display for others. And the more public the setting, the more likely self-objectification is to occur.' 
To a certain extent this is cultural. I am reminded of an account of a missionary (Jared) serving in Guatemala. He had a companion who had spent several years in Hawaii. After a while being together, the Jared asked his companion how he did not seem phased by the immodesty of the Guatemalans.  
He chalked it up to spending a lot of time at the beach. He no longer saw exposed flesh as an indicator that the woman was trying to be sexy.