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.