Thursday, August 11, 2011

A good example how to be both butt-kicking awesome, and all woman

Not exactly the premise of this blog, but fall to good to pass up, Charlotte Grey passed away recently at 98 years old. This sassy young lass was part of the French resistance and had a 5 million Franc bounty on her head.

Nicknamed the White Mouse because she seemed to always escape from Nazi traps.

So feminine was she that when escaping from pursuers on one notable occasion, she dressed in a smart frock, silk stockings, high-heeled shoes and a camel-hair coat, arguing that she didn’t want to look like a hunted woman.

In that same outfit, she jumped from a moving train into a vineyard to avoid capture at a Nazi checkpoint. And so aggressive was she that, after being parachuted into France as a Special Operations Executive agent, she disposed of a German guard with her bare hands and liked nothing better than bowling along in the front seat of a fast car through the countryside, a Sten gun on her lap and a cigar between her teeth, in search of Germans to kill.

I do think we have a crisis of men who act like men and women who act like women, this is how it is done.

She led attacks on German convoys and even took on armoured cars. When asked why she insisted on travelling in the lead vehicle, she said it was because she couldn’t bear dust being thrown up in her face by cars in front.
In one mini-battle, her car was strafed by German fighter planes but she crawled out of the wreck, hanging onto her prized possessions — a jar of face cream, a packet of tea and a satin cushion.
When the roads were too dangerous to travel by car, she cycled more than 300 miles in three days to find a working radio set to contact London.
Nancy never lost her softer side, for all the horrors of war. Two American weapons instructors dropped into her forest hideout found a jar of flowers beside their makeshift beds.

And yet, being both a sexy operative James Bond would be impressed by, and a wife, she was fully loyal and faithful to her husband.

But for all the feminine wiles she employed to get what she wanted, she knew where to draw the line. She was loyal to Henri, the husband she loved.
Any Maquis who fancied his chances was rebuffed. ‘If I had accommodated one, the word would have spread and they’d have been coming over the mountains for more,’ she once explained. ‘So, no love affairs, and that was that.’
This was made clear from the start. When she dropped into the Auvergne, her parachute snagged on a tree. The agent who met her simpered that he hoped all trees could bear such beautiful fruit. ‘Don’t give me that French s**t,’ she snapped back.
Ladies, this is all awesome.

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Effect of the Sexual Revolution on Dating (even if you don't sleep around)

Susan Walsh's blog has some interesting and highly scientific diagrams illustrating the effect of the Sexual Revolution. And while you might not agree with everything she has to say, she is dead on, in this instance.

First of all, prior to the Sex
ual Revolution, men and women paired off like this. There were roughly as many women as men, and everyone paired off.

The benefit of monogamy is that almost everyone has someone.

The Sexual Revolution was supposed to give everybody what they wanted, and for us to be able to sate our hedonist lusts. But shortly enough, women realized that they did not need to go for guys the same level as themselves, they could have the hottest guy they could seduce. On the other hand, guys just got as many and as much as they could. And naturally, this lead to some men who get a lot and some, who get none at all.

Now, how does this affect us? After all, as a church, we don't sleep around. And statistics show, that if we do slip, we don't repeat it.

But while we try to not be of the world, we do share a culture. And a large unmarried population only distorts what we see as available. This in and of itself, gives an inflated sense of where you stand in the dating spectrum.

There is no sense of urgency, which leads to a bigger and bigger unmarried population. At the current rate of decline, the marriage rate will reach zero in roughly 35 years. But that was better explained in a previous post.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

A quote I need to track down

One of the impetuses for this book, was a quotation I heard years ago. Or perhaps a visiting General Authority said it himself.

The quote stated that pornography was created by Satan in order to destroy sealings, that is to say, temple marriages.

Try as I might like, it has been elusive. If any one knows anything of this quote, help a brother out and tell me!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Widow's mite

41¶And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.

42And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.

43And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:

44For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.

Mark 12:41-44

I have been contemplating what we call righteousness. It is certainly more than mere innocence. This story has wide applicability - more so than just monetary donations. But, would we cheer her as much, if we knew she struggled for the faith to cast in those two mites? Did she still cast in more than the rich men? Some days I feel like this widow, casting all I have in, but casting very imperfectly.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Transcendence vs Lust

A passage from my book, in progress.

However, in the midst of our emphasis on the physical body, we have come very close to making a a common, but highly significant error, and as a consequence, missed out on the entire potential of chastity and virtue. We have spoken of love, lust and sex purely in terms of our physical bodies. The problem is, (while everything we spoke about it was quite correct) if we think of sex and romance purely in terms of so many cuts of meat and buckets of hormones, we have a hard time rising above that. And yet, of all physical creations on this earth, we are the capable of the most. I will call it intimacy, though I struggle to emphasize that I mean this in both the emotional-bonding sense, and in the electric “wall-socket sex” sense of the word.

When we operate purely on the level of hormones, the most complex part of our brain is at the mercy of the least complex. Humans are not the only species with a developed neocortex, but ours is certainly the most highly developed. The neocortex is the part of the brain devoted to rational conscious thought, perception, spatial reasoning, and motor commands. In humans it takes up 76% of our brain. Our unique neocortex gives us something that, like language or conscious thought, no other animal has the same degree of – intimacy. And again, I use intimacy in both senses of the word.

It should not surprise us that sexuality is so closely tied to spirituality. But, just as sexuality is a complicated and complex thing, and spirituality likewise, the union of the two is no less.

There are two major levels of spirituality when it comes to sexuality. The first level, or the lower level, is need based, which is where we typically start off at. We hunger and thirst for sexual intimacy from a position of emptiness and physical need.

But the universal mistake is, this emptiness does NOT stem from a lack of sex, but is actually, contrary to what we expect, a spiritual emptiness. That is why people who have trouble with pornography or other violations of the law of chastity do NOT find their problems solved by marriage, no matter how good their intentions (or how hot their wife is). Many people, both in and out of the church, think that a good marriage (or even a good relationship for that matter) is what they need. Yet to their shock, they continue to struggle no matter how sated they are sexually. This is because our sexuality and our spiritual condition are not fully separable.

When we assume that sexuality has nothing to do with spirituality, that is only has to do with our bodies and what 'turns us on', then we have a more difficult time understanding struggles when they come and reaching the potential we are capable of. When we struggle from a position of emptiness (and that is more common than the alternative), then we may think that our problems will be fixed by what we yearn after, but no matter how correct the context, but the fundamental problem remains unfixed. The modern world, as a whole, does not understand what is necessary for a healthy marriage and too often, without thinking and without realizing, we absorb the same attitudes that lead to the marriage and divorce rates we see these days.

One of the great warnings of the Law of Moses was that “ye shall eat, and not be satisfied”. (Lev. 26:26) In contrast to that, we are promised, “the Lord will satisfy thy soul in drought”. (Isa. 58:11) The scriptures repeatedly relate keeping the commandments with satisfaction (Isa. 66:11; Ps. 36:8; 22:26; Prov. 19:23), and disobedience with hunger and not being satisfied. (D&C 56:15-17; Isa. 9:20; Ezek. 16:28-9)

When pursue because we hunger, we are spiritually 'needy', and like as in emotional relationships, our position is inferior and is not simply solved with abundance. It is actually these circumstances that are prime for addictive behaviors.

The second level, is characterized not by hunger and neediness, but by fulness and abundance. We do not pursue to quench our lusts, but to give out of our abundance. Many of us have never considered a sexuality based on anything other than our own lusts, on what turns us on. We resist thinking about it in any other way, yet as marriage therapist David Schnarch relates, we can only reach our most potent intimacy after we move beyond the biological imperatives and are not slaves to them. Or in the words of Sebastian Moore, “We are willing to be slaves to beauty, rather than sharers in beauty”. It is no exaggeration out of context to quote the scripture, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly”. (John 10:10)

Spiritual enlightenment ultimately is marked by greater joy, happiness, desire and enjoyment, not the ascetic destruction of all desire. God is the author of all these things.

He has declared,

“the fulness of the earth is yours”


"And it pleaseth God that he hath given all these things unto man; for unto this end were they made to be used, with judgment, not to excess, neither by extortion.
And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments". D&C 59:16, 20-21

He is not the enemy of human desire and passion, but it is always on his terms. He teaches us the best way, in order to bless us.

When we think of sex as so many pieces of meat and techniques, we also send our kids a double message. Whilst we are telling them to not have sex, we are also suggesting they are missing out on the best sex of their life. In our zeal we speak of the beauty of sex, as though that beauty were in sex itself, instead of in the person you are with.

Thus, sex at this level requires a kind of personal maturity and not just physiological reflex. It more about how much of yourself can you really bring into it? It is far more than mere technique and physical stamina.

This requires a certain transcendence of self, and the biological model of sex. But there will be no transcendence without either giving things up, be that temptations or false ideas. Nor can we receive this transcendence without the Spirit of God and the rebirth of the spirit.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The reason we are virtuous

My book on Virtue is making slow, if unsteady progress - mostly by leaps and bounds and then copious rest. Even so, this is the conclusion. If anything, I think I need more on how virtue is closely tied to intimacy.

Virtue is more than merely an important commandment, or aspect of the Gospel – it IS the central goal of Gospel. It is God's Covenant with Abraham, and the uniting of families in eternal marriage, both our immediate families, and the families of all who will repent, both in the world, and in eternity. It is what exaltation and godhood consists of.

Faith, Virtue, Knowledge..... these are the beginning of the traits we need to be partakers of the divine nature and to be like God, as are Faith, Hope and Charity. Charity is the pure love of Christ, and the amount of charity that we have is limited by how virtuous we are. Enduring love for either that special someone, or even for the rest of humanity necessitates actual virtue.

We are virtuous so that we might be filled with love. Pornography and non-marital sex were brought forth to destroy sealings and loving relationships. Virtue impels us to empathy, while forcing us away from narcissism and pleasing ourselves. We can not serve two masters, for the spirit that impels us towards one, is in opposition to the other. We can not be unvirtuous without losing both the capacity to hear the still small voice of the Spirit of God, and eventually, the cries of man. Virtue is inseparable from our ability to feel.

Because of the Fall of Man, our natures are naturally inclined to be carnal, sensual and even devilish, unless are we are spiritually reborn. Because the Fall is so deeply rooted in both our bodies and spirits, we must make continual effort to have the Spirit with us and be born-again over and over. The Lord intended this, so that be thus struggling, we might return to Him. He gave us our weakness, that we might be humble and rely on Him as our Savior. If we will be draw near to God, He can make our weaknesses become our strengths. We need to overcome and tame our weaknesses, so that we can filled with love. Abusing the hormonal highs of intimacy outside of marriage saps our passion slowly, while increasing our hunger. It increases our focus us on ourselves.

Our bodies are temples – we are temples. We need to remember this sacredness, so that we treat the body that way, and become holy. If we do not understand ourselves as holy, we do not comprehend ourselves as children of God. We can not treat the body lightly, either ours or anothers, without seeing ourselves or others, lightly. We need to leave the World, and the ways of the World behind even while we must live in the midst of it.

Not only did the Fall bring our separation from God, it also set men and women at variance with each other, yet God demands a sacred unity between us. Virtue is not simply for its own existence – it is the proper relation of husband and wife and family. Mere celibacy is not sufficient to receive the blessings this commandment is predicated to reach. Though if we can not marry, our celibacy should be joyful. Joy is an not optional part of the gospel.

The center of the Gospel is the Family. It is the enduring unit of organization in Eternity. When we leave this life, we take nothing, but what we have learned, who we are, and the eternal bonds of family we have forged and sealed in this life. Virtue is what sustains those holy bonds, and even what makes them possible. This is the heart of what the Abrahamic Covenant is, and the central feature of our final exaltation. Our relationships are inseparable from our exaltation. No one is saved alone.

Eternal marriage is consecration at its finest. We can not fully accept Christ, without accepting this law. This is not something we can casually remove from the Gospel or alter to suit modern sensibilities, because is both the goal and the living of the Gospel. Immorality is a subtle idolatry. Virtue is worship, and is the consecration needed for exaltation. For many of us, is it the defining sacrifice (Abrahamic Trial) where we truly give our all and like Abraham, put everything we cherish on the alter. This moment of personal Gethsemane is something we all must pass through, if we wish to become like the Son of God.

Virtue has everything to do with coming back into the presence of our Heavenly Parents and family.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Decline of marriage in graphical form

I have stated before that marriage itself is in a decline but most of the time, people kind of yawn, and don't pay it much attention. I suspect part of this is because we have so many problems in society as it is that one more inspires a collective yawn, especially when it seems so distant.

The blue line is the divorce rate in the United States per 1000 married women, corrected for the ordinary things such as population. We can see the divorce rate is roughly holding steady and perhaps even improving a bit. This is a red herring because as we can see, the marriage rate is in rapid and serious decline. If it continues the same decline it has been in for the last several decades, marriage as we know it will cease. Now, I don't expect it to entirely end - it will still continue to some degree among the very wealthy and the very religious. I hope to be among the latter group, if not the former!

I made an extrapolation for the year 2045. I am not worried greatly if that year is not exact, because the downward trend is what most significant. It may, and probably will be years off, and I have no idea what the next 35 or so years will hold. But this decline is going to put some incredible strains on our society and us individually.

And yet, the irony is, our society is arguably having less sex than in the '60s, even while we become more obsessed. A few guys will get a lot more, while most guys will get little if any. Girls will be pumped and dumped with greater and greater frequency and chutzpah. It does not make for a more enjoyable society except for the few alpha men and the pretty girls in their 20's and in the end, for no one at all.

In the words of Elder Neil A Maxwell, "From here on out, it is high adventure.".