Friday, April 3, 2015

What if?

Becareful What You Give a Woman...

The Women's Crusade

The Power of a Thirteen Year Old Girl

When I was in 8th grade I read the Diary if Anne Frank for the first time.  She touched my soul then and she continues today with her profound and positive wisdom.  Anne Frank is a reminder of a persevering spirit in the face of tragedy. Her memory, and her words, still hold so much meaning and relevance today.  
Anne Frank’s diary remains one of the most essential pieces of writing in existence — a 13-year-old girl’s account of the most horrifying genocide in modern history. But more than that, Anne’s diary was a beautifully-written autobiography of a brilliant young girl, full of hope, potential and bravery. This year marks the 70th anniversary of Anne’s final diary entry, and she continues to inspire us with her spirit and courage. Today, we’re remembering her with a few of her most empowering quotes — because she so very much deserves and needs to be remembered for them.
1. “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.
2. “It’s a wonder I haven’t abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart.”
3. “I know what I want, I have a goal, an opinion, I have a religion and love. Let me be myself and then I am satisfied. I know that I’m a woman, a woman with inward strength and plenty of courage.”
4. “No one has ever become poor by giving.”
5. “People can tell you to keep your mouth shut, but it doesn’t stop you having your own opinion. Even if people are still very young, they shouldn’t be prevented from saying what they think.”
6. “Generally speaking, men are held in great esteem in all parts of the world, so why shouldn’t women have their share? Soldiers and war heroes are honored and commemorated, explorers are granted immortal fame, martyrs are revered, but how many people look upon women too as soldiers?”
7. “Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.”
8. “Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news. The good news is that you don’t know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is!”
9. “What is done cannot be undone, but one can prevent it happening again.”
10. “I don’t think of all the misery but of the beauty that still remains.”
11. “In the long run, the sharpest weapon of all is a kind and gentle spirit.”
12. “Writing in a diary is a really strange experience for someone like me. Not only because I’ve never written anything before, but also because it seems to me that later on neither I nor anyone else will be interested in the musings of a thirteen-year old school girl. Oh well, it doesn’t matter. I feel like writing.”

Monday, March 23, 2015

What Makes a Man a Man?

(Adapted from an April 1992 conference address. See Ensign, May 1992, page 40.)
How oft you have transgressed the commandments and the laws of God, and have gone on in the persuasions of men(D&C 3:6).
It seems that everyone at some time or another is invited to smoke, drink, steal, or do something else that is immoral, and if he refuses to do it, he is ridiculed and called names like “mama’s boy,” “chicken,” “sissy,” or “religious fanatic.” Such names are used by those who think the ability to drink liquor, blow tobacco smoke out of one’s mouth and nose, or break other moral laws without his conscience hurting him are signs of manliness. They would have you believe that brute force, or crude behavior, uncontrolled temper, foul language, or a dirty appearance make a man.
“What makes a man a man?” is a question used in a popular beer ad. It suggests that by drinking the beer, the drinker becomes a man. How very stupid! Those who try to get you to drink alcoholic beverages and use drugs have no regard for you—you who are the “temples of God.” (See 1 Cor. 3:16–17.)
In his autobiography, Parley P. Pratt gave us a description of a real man. In his account of his imprisonment in Liberty Jail with Joseph Smith and others, he told of one of those awful nights in which they had to listen to the guards brag of their deeds of rape, murder, robbery, and other crimes committed against the Mormons.
When the Prophet Joseph could bear it no more, Elder Pratt wrote, he rose to his feet, and spoke with a voice of thunder: “SILENCE, ye fiends of the infernal pit. In the name of Jesus Christ I rebuke you, and command you to be still; I will not live another minute and bear such language. Cease such talk, or you or I die THIS INSTANT!”
Said Elder Pratt: “I have seen the ministers of justice, clothed in magisterial robes … in the Courts of England; I have witnessed a Congress in solemn session … : I have tried to conceive of kings … : and of emperors assembled to decide the fate of kingdoms; but dignity and majesty have I seen but once, as it stood in chains, at midnight, in a dungeon in an obscure village of Missouri.”
The perfect model of manliness is the Savior. He “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man” (Luke 2:52); He yielded not to temptation (see Mosiah 15:1–8); He grew from grace to grace (seeD&C 93:12–14); and He stood before His tormentors, having been scourged, beaten, spat upon, and platted with a crown of thorns. Pilate admitted, “I find no fault in him.” Then he proclaimed, “Behold the man!” (John 19:4–5.)
Thus, Jesus Christ, the only sinless and perfect man who ever walked this earth, is qualified to state: “What manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am” (3 Ne. 27:27).

The reaction of these young boys when asked to slap a girl- Beautiful!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Is pornography contributing to the demand for sex trafficking? If it is, should pornography be regulated?

 Pornography-- A Gateway to Human Trafficking

     Pornography has become so mainstream and common in American society today, many people do not think twice about seeing it or using it. It is laced into our movies, advertising and throughout the internet, making it nearly inescapable for people to see. Though some recognize it's detrimental effects, many see pornography representing their freedom as Americans; They ignore the fact that pornography is extremely harmful to everyone involved: actors, producers, users. It corrupts their minds and hearts and causes them to break down mentally, physically and spiritually. 

Pornography is so easily accessible, approximately 11 million teens access some form of pornography on a daily basis, the majority without their parents knowledge. Young adults, single adults and married adults are as well. According to a 2006 Internet Filter Review*, "Every second, $3,075.64 is being spent on pornography, 28,258 Internet viewers are viewing pornography, 372 Internet users are typing adult search terms into search engines, and every 39 minutes, a new pornographic video is made in the United States." 
When you examine the psychology of addiction, there are many interesting commonalities in all types of addictions. One in particular is that whatever they're addicted to, be it gambling, drugs or pornography, the addiction requires an increasing amount of their “drug” to fulfill the thrill. In this way, their addiction is an escalating one. For example, someone addicted to pornography quickly becomes unsatisfied with “standard” adult porn. They may start to seek out porn featuring younger and younger child subjects, or even porn that involves violence. Eventually, when the pictures and videos are not enough, they want a real child victim, or they start acting violent towards their sex partners, to experience what they're seeing for themselves.

Not only is pornography harmful to individuals involved, it has become a leading cause of human trafficking, in particular domestic minor sex trafficking (DMST) in America. There are two reasons for this: 
  • Children and adults who are trafficked are forced to participate in pornographic films. They are threatened with violence if they do not participate and rarely get paid to take part in pornography. Many girls are also forced to watch pornographic films and are likely to be exposed to pornography while they are being trafficked. 
  • Children are being filmed in pornographic movies more often, thus more viewers are being exposed to child pornography. This creates a higher demand for it to be produced, and it also creates an insensitivity to the fact that young children and young adults are being forced to perform sexual acts. Without a sensitivity to what is happening, adults become indifferent and accustomed to seeing this, and even seek out opportunities to act on this. Instead of becoming outraged by what they've seen, they take part in buying girls in trafficking rings
The men who are trafficking these young victims are responsible for forcing them to participate in pornographic films. It's not just these men who are forcing them to participate; the millions of teens, young adults, single men and women, husbands and wives who view pornography, specifically child pornography, are creating the demand for more younger and younger children to be part of the porn industry. Because their buying and viewing habits have created an increasing demand, traffickers are quick to respond to this; there is now a vicious cycle of demand for child sex trafficking in our country, largely influenced by the prevalence of child pornography.

There is plenty of evidence that pornography has long lasting, detrimental effects both physically and emotionally for everyone involved. It is our responsibility now to understand how dangerous pornography is and to create an open environment where people feel safe talking about their addictions. There are resources for everyone to gain a better understanding of the issue, and to get help if they are addicted. Start by informing yourselves and the young people around you of the dangers and harms of being a part of pornography. Not only is pornography harmful to the viewers and the people close to them, it is harmful to the women, men and children who are in the films.

The IRC and women's empowerment and protection
Vision Not Victim | International Rescue Committee

The International Rescue Committee is doing some amazing work around the world.  My heart has been so touched by their efforts to empower women, even if it is just to have a dream.  I hope one day to be able to work for this organization.  This short clip will warm your heart.  Enjoy!

    The Half the Sky Movement is cutting across platforms to ignite the change needed to put an end to the oppression of women and girls worldwide, the defining issue of our time.  Inspired by journalists Nicholad Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn's book of the same name, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide brings together video, websites, game, blogs and other educational tools to not only raise awareness of women's issues, but to also provide concrete steps to fight these problems and empower women.  Change is possible.

     Last year more girls and women were forced into trafficking than all casualties combined from all 20th century wars combined.  This is the moral challenge of this century.  When women progress we all progress.  Women are the givers of life, each and every woman deserves respect for that one fact alone.  Half the Sky is an excellent source start your research on the issues of our day.  A documentary has been made about Half the Sky and can be viewed for free on Netflix.

Half The Sky

This is a trailer to an incredible documentary that can be seen on Netflix.  If you care anything about humanity watch this film.  Take the time to understand what Half the Sky is all about.  This is the challenge of the 21st Century.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

                                       What do you associate with romantic love?

It's February and Valentines day is coming upon us. I thought it appropriate for this month to discuss love, sex, intimacy and familial relations in relation to culture.

Since the beginning of time, men and women have sought ways to understand and interpret a vague, yet central theme that colors the quality of human life: Love.  According to the Wikipedia Encyclopedia, "there are as many forms of love as there are lovers." Love can mean an intense feeling of affection, an emotion or simply an emotional state.  Each language, developing alongside a corresponding culture, has a different set of words to describe love.  Here are a few examples:

Forelsket: (Norwegian):  The euphoria you experience when you’re first falling in love.
This is a wonderful term for that blissful state, when all your senses are acute for the beloved, the pins and needles thrill of the novelty. 

Mamihlapinatapei (Yagan, an indigenous language of Tierra del Fuego): The wordless yet meaningful look shared by two people who desire to initiate something, but are both reluctant to start. 
Oh yes, this is an exquisite word, compressing a thrilling and scary relationship moment where neither party has mustered the courage to make a move. 

Cafuné (Brazilian Portuguese): The act of tenderly running your fingers through someone's hair.  I love this!
Retrouvailles (French):  The happiness of meeting again after a long time. 
This is such a basic concept, and so familiar to the growing ranks of commuter and long distance relationships, lovers, who see each other only periodically for intense bursts of pleasure. I’m surprised we don’t have any equivalent word for this subset of relationship bliss. It’s a handy one for modern life.

If you had to describe romantic love in ten words, what words whould you use?  Scientists and researchers at New York Sate University at New Paltz and Russia's Moscow State University carried out a study to see how different cultures view and practice romantic love, the researchers surveyed 1,157 adults from the United States, Russia and Lithuania. Participants were given a 14-item questionnaire meant to gauge how they perceived romantic love, and also asked to write a freelist answering the question, "What do you associate with romantic love?"
According to LiveScience: " Americans take longer to fall in love than their Eastern European counterparts, according to a new study. The findings also showed that Americans frequently cited friendship as a key part of romantic love, while Russians and Lithuanians rarely mentioned it."
"The study found that about 90 percent of Lithuanians reported falling in love within a month of meeting one another, with 39 percent falling in love with in a matter of days.  By comparison, 58 percent of American participants indicated they fell in love with in two months to a year".

The study performed displays the results in the following:

The top 10 listed by Lithuanians:
1. Being together: 50 percent
2. Joy: 20 percent
3. Walk: 17.5 percent
4. Emotional upsurge: 17.5 percent                                    
5. Happy: 16.25 percent
6. Kiss: 15 percent
7. Do things together: 11.25 percent
8. Temporary: 11.25 percent
9. Sex: 11.25 percent
10.          Attention: 10 percent

Top 10 listed by Russians:

1. Being together: 45 percent
2. Sex: 25 percent
3. Walking: 24 percent
4. Unreal: 20 percent
5. Beach/sea: 19 percent
6. Joyful: 16 percent
7. Travel: 15 percent
8. Moon stars: 15 percent
9. Candlelight dinner: 10 percent
10.          Night: 9 percent

Top 10 listed by U.S. participants:                               

1. Being together: 38 percent
2. Happy: 35 percent
3. Friendship: 27 percent
4. Mutual: 20 percent
5. Care: 13 percent
6. Love: 13 percent
7. Sex: 13 percent
8. Comfortable: 11 percent
9. Connection: 10 percent
10.          Secure: 10 percent

I think it is very interesting that of all three countries "being together" is ranked as number 1.  Sex is a very different story; it jumps all over the place.  Lithuanina ranks sex at 9, while Russians rank sex at second and the U.S. follows at 7th place.  Apprently Russians associate sex with love at a very high level.  I wonder why that is?  Joy being associate with romantic love ranks very highly with Lithuaninans at second and 6th with Russians.  Americans according to this study don't associate "joy" at all on the top ten. Hmmm.

Short Iraqi Terrorist Interview

Funny Iraqi Terrorist Interview

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Honor Diaries - Official Trailer

This is a must see for every human being!  I know all you guys in my International studies class eyes will glaze over when watching this trailer because you are more interested in drug cartels and sanctions; but let me ask you this question… How many sanctions made by men have put women and children into these horrific situations?  A man's role is to provide and protect his family.   Why are women having to create their own armies to protect themselves?  Come on guys lets be men.  It's time to fulfill your purpose for being on this earth- provide and protect women and children!
This 12-year-old girl almost got married last week. Here's why

Friday, January 30, 2015

What Every Country in the European Union Does Best
We Love Europe... But Here's What Every EU Country Is the Worst At

There is No SuchThing As Culture

        Don Mitchell is a geographer writing a scholarly paper to fellow geographers.  His title “There’s No Such Thing as Culture” is a reconceptualization (meaning to form into a concept) an idea of culture in geography.  Mitchell is bringing up a very interesting concept to his fellow geographers that maybe the way in which cultural geographers look and focus on culture pertaining to geography should possibly be challenged.  Mitchell is suggesting that the main focus of modern geographers should not be on its original origins.  Instead, Mitchell is suggesting that culture and it’s origins are almost impossible to define because culture is not naturally occurring.
        Mitchell goes on to explain that, “In this paper I will establish a rationale for dispensing with the notion that ‘culture’ is ontologically rooted, and then proceed to show how such an understanding liberates geographers and others to understand how the idea of culture (rather than culture ‘itself’) has been deployed by powerful social actors.”
        Mitchell is trying to move away from the idea that “culture is everything” as so many geographers focus on.  He argues that, “the idea of culture leads to an infinite regress:  there is no solid ontological ground that serves as a foundation for ‘culture’.  Even so, powerful social actors continue to behave as if there is something called ‘culture’, for it is precisely the phantom nature of ‘culture’ that provides the idea’s power.”  Mitchell would rather see more studies and a focus on the idea of culture being used as a means of attempting to create order, control and a way to define others in the name of profit and power.
        Disagreeing with culture geographers like James Duncan and Peter Jackson whom both have very different views of what culture is and how it should be defined; Mitchell proceeds to agree with one aspect of which Jackson appears to hint that, “ ‘culture’ in the end is indefinable, suggesting that ‘the stuff of culture … is elusive, best approached obliquely in terms of the processes through which meanings are constructed, negotiated and experienced’ “. 
       The author continues to expand that culture ” is simply a list of activities.”

In reading this article I had a few “ah ha” moments of my own.  I would like to further discuss my ideas and thoughts on those in power who create culture for their own personal agenda and how it affects individuals.  Secondly, I would like to discuss how culture drives some of us crazy and stifles “authentic living”.  Lastly I would like to share my thoughts and feelings of the millennium and if culture will play a role or not in society.
     Mitchell brought up a very interesting concept that had never crossed my mind before.  He expresses the idea that culture is not naturally evolving.  He emphasizes the thought that culture has been created by those in power for their own profit and gain.  This concept flabbergasted me.  It’s so true!  There are endless examples of this in history and in modern day.  From the scriptures we can read about the Judges in Alma chapter 11:20.  These judges purposely fed contention in the land to one against another just so they could make more money. 
(Do you think Culture naturally exists or is it just all made up?)

20 Now, it was for the sole purpose to get gain, because they received their wages according to their employ, therefore, they did stir up the people to rioting’s, and all manner of disturbances and wickedness, that they might have more employ, that they might get money according to the suits which were brought before them; therefore they did stir up the people against Alma and Amulek.
On the contrary we can also see in the Scriptures that King Benjamin was a vital component to Nephi culture for the good in bringing about much righteousness among his people.
 16 Behold, I say unto you that because I said unto you that I had spent my days in your service, I do not desire to boast, for I have only been in the service of God.
 17 And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.
 18 Behold, ye have called me your king; and if I, whom ye call your king, do labor to serve you, then ought not ye to labor to serve one another?
 19 And behold also, if I, whom ye call your king, who has spent his days in your service, and yet has been in the service of God, do merit any thanks from you, O how you ought to thank your heavenly King!
 20 I say unto you, my brethren, that if you should render all the thanks and praise which your whole soul has power to possess, to that God who has created you, and has kept and preserved you, and has caused that ye should rejoice, and has granted that ye should live in peace one with another—
 21 I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another—I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants.
 22 And behold, all that he requires of you is to keep his commandments; and he has promised you that if ye would keep his commandments ye should prosper in the land; and he never doth vary from that which he hath said; therefore, if ye do keep his commandments he doth bless you and prosper you.
 23 And now, in the first place, he hath created you, and granted unto you your lives, for which ye are indebted unto him.
King Benjamin is a fine example of his words and deeds.  He labored for his own food and did not take from his people to provided riches for himself.  Those were not his desires.  He desired to keep the commandment of God and serve others and that in turn affected his peoples culture and his teaches became part of them and they were able to have a mighty change of heart and come closer to God.
A similar vision of those whose task it is to run BYU-I have created the Honor Code.  Those in power instill good values and have crated a culture defined by the “spirit of Ricks”.
In more modern culture we can see the affect on culture by those with power and authority.  The Cultural Revolution in China.  The civil rights movement.  The women’s movement and sexual revolution have clear implications that have affected our culture.  Today we see the “green movement”, multiculturalism, and extreme fitness movements in the USA.  I can’t help but question the motives of these movements.  Who is behind these movements?  What do they have to benefit from them?  Why do we feel that need to participate?
My second “ah ha” thought that came to me while reading Mitchell’s work was that if Culture is fake and made up by those in power trying to push an agenda, why on earth are submitting ourselves to these ridiculous standards put in place in our society?  Mormon culture kills me!  I suffer from major cultural dissonance here in “Mormon Land”.  The box of what a Mormon woman is supposed to be is so very small.  I don’t fit in that box.  I have a potty mouth; I’m a single mom with five kids who loves to wear skinny jeans and heels.  I can’t stand maxi skirts, and Mormon style.  I am very passionate and have oppinons about things that acutually matter and am not afraid to voice them.  I hate gardening and canning and have no desire to start up a WHAM company.  Oh, sewing.  Not going to happen!  Crafting, toll painting, scrapbook-not for this minimalist.  I feel like I don’t fit in or have a place or home here because I don’t fit in and fit nice and neatly into “the box” and just get brushed aside.  My situation in life of being “single” in my mid thirties just freaks people out.  I am not introduced as Sister Donnelly, I’m a “single sister”.  Really?  I am defined by my familial status among church members.
My biggest beef about culture is that it prevents us from living true, authentic lives.  We all want to have a place and belong, so we try to find our niche in society.  For some that is comforting.  They play the part well and they don’t have to stop and look deep down inside, they can find comfort in mediocracy.  I can’t do that. Yet, I feel like I have to smother my true self.
My final thoughts on Mitchells paper are concerning the Melinium.  I was pondering on the idea if culture would even exisit during the melinum.  If everything is running in God’s way during that time will we naturally come to be the like the spirits that we were in the preexistence?  That’s very profound to me.  Will we see things in such a different light?  Will we rejoice in the beauty of individuality and uniqueness, or will we be a bunch of cookie cutters?  I don’t believe we will be the latter.  It touches my heart to think of the time and effort and explicit thought and time Heavenly Father put into each of us when he created us.  Is it an insult to our Father in Heaven when cover up our authenticity and judge and snicker at others?