The Sexual Degradation of Men and by Extension Women

Human beings are sexual beings. There can be no doubt about it. It is a fact of life. It is the way that God made us. Our inborn sexuality is an essential part of the perpetuation of the species. Without our sexual drives and desires Adam and Eve would have been the first and the Last humans on earth. Because of this biological reality sex has often been the focus of our pop culture, Fashions, Thought patterns and reality of everything we are surrounded by. We cannot escape it. It is a vital and instinctual part of what makes us human.

Throughout history culture and society in general has been patriarchal in nature. Our history of male dominated society has often meant that men have decided the rules for sex. Woman have often been treated as property and as nothing more than something to be used for the purpose of creating children. We as a species have evolved to dramatically surpass this status that woman throughout the ages have had to deal with. Woman for all intents and purposes throughout much of the world enjoy virtually equal status with men in virtually every aspect of their lives. Sadly however this has not extended to the reality of how we are portrayed when it comes to our natural sexuality.

How does this relate to the idea of men being sexually degraded? Perhaps a few stories that have been reported in the media can help us understand. To help illustrate this point here is this story about a Teen sent home over dress code violation. Sadly she had to miss her prom because her dress was not up to a certain standard. Here is another story about girls being sent home because the way the dressed was too distracting to the boys. In this recent story from CTV news another young girl is told she is too distracting to the boys.

These are just a few cases of girls being told that their chosen manner of dress is too distracting. The message being sent to boys and men with these situations is that girls are all about sex and their bodies are there for our pleasure. When you see even the slightest bit of skin it is all sexual and you cannot be blamed for responding by getting sexually aroused.

Girls are being told they are objects to be lusted after by boys and that they must cover up. If they don’t they will cause nothing but lust from boys and (according to some articles) men who are their teachers.

In what way does this serve any good? How does persistently re-affirming in boys minds that they have no control over their hormones and are sex driven animals good for them? How is persistently sending the message to our daughters that they are just bags of meat to be lusted after conducive to positive self esteem?

Much of this problem comes from the near constant onslaught of sexual imagery we see in out media, modern day popular music, and magazine racks at the local grocery store. Just look at your average cosmo magazine. Its all about great sex and perfect airbrushed models. Our daughters are constantly taught by pop culture to dress in sexually provocative ways. They are taught to dress as sex objects by virtually every form of media today. Boys are then shown these images as models of attractive woman. The kind you should only be lusting after. Woman are essentially portrayed as nothing more than sexual objects for the purpose of sexual gratification of men. Boys are taught that they have no control over their sexual urges and that woman are there to satisfy their urges. Then after they have been taught this, girls get sent home from school for perceived immodest dress because the boys simply wont be able to help themselves if they so much as see a bra strap. Girls get publicly shamed for wearing a shirt or dress and boys get told by this action that it is not their fault they are thinking sexual thoughts, the girls caused it by their manner of dress. Girls are told that they are being sexually provocative and treated accordingly.

This problem can be highlighted in the reality of the porn industry. This constant barrage of sexual imagery from the magazine racks, books, music, videos, movies, comic books, video games … has done a tremendous job of reinforcing this ideology that woman are nothing more than sex objects. When this onslaught of media messaging and imagery is not enough it can and has in so many cases lead to pornography consumption. This industry has become a 100 billion dollar industry globally.

We spend so much time trying to combat the symptom (which has nothing to do with how much or little clothing you are wearing) that we ignore the problem.  This is not the way God would have it.  God never intended men to be this way, nor did he ever intend for woman to be the sole objects of men’s urges. Sex is a beautiful expression of love between two people. Sex was always meant to compliment love not replace it. As long as we continue to preach these messages to our children, we are degrading them and not teaching them the true value of who they are, or the true purpose to sex. There is a much better way to approach these issues.

What if instead of telling girls to cover up because of how they choose to dress how about we start to teach them the value of who they are? Talk to them like real people and stop paying attention to what they are wearing. What if we did not focus on their sexuality but rather taught them the true value and nature of love and how sex compliments love rather than replaces love? What if we taught them to love and respect themselves and that their value is not in how they dress, or how many boys or men they can attract, but rather, in what type woman they are and are becoming and how to attract the right type of  boys and men? What if we taught them that ultimately they will be the ones to determine the kind of boys they will spend time with and ultimately have that ultimate expression of love which we call sex? What if we stopped portraying women and girls as nothing more than object to satisfy boys and mens sexual desires?

What if instead of telling boys that girls and women need to cover up so that they don’t distract them we taught them to pay attention to the person they are talking to? What if we taught boys and men that girls and women are also daughters of God that deserve respect and love? What if we taught boys and men that what a girl or woman is wearing is not important but rather who she is as a person? What if we taught boys and men that a girl or a woman can be the ultimate companion and most trusted friend he will ever have? What if we taught boys that sex will be the ultimate compliment to the enduring love he can foster with her? What if we taught boys and men that sex is not the ultimate end goal when it comes to having a relationship with a woman?

When we continue to treat girls and woman like objects of sexual lust because they have dressed “immodestly” we only continue to reinforce the idea that they are nothing more than sex objects to be lusted after. We also treat men and boys like animals without control and inability to curb their desires of exercise any amount of self control. This kind of attitude and actions degrades both men and woman, boys and girls, down to nothing more than mindless beings that are nothing more than slaves to our basest desires. My dog can resist eating a plate of meat and stay put till I tell her she can have it. Do we really want to keep treating boys like they have less self control than my dog?

To close this blog piece I would like to just leave you with what the church has said on issues relating to this topic.

“The scriptures often refer respectfully but plainly to the body and its parts. There is no embarrassment and often there is sacred symbolism. It is the world that makes the divinely created body an object of carnal lust. For example, it makes the female breasts primarily into sexual enticements, while the truth is that they were intended to nourish and comfort children. It promotes male sexual aggression in contrast to Christ’s example of tenderness, long-suffering, kindness, and steadfastness in the home.

Shame about the human body, its parts and purposes, is justified only when a person uses it for carnal purposes. Teach your children that they will find joy in their bodies when they use them virtuously after the manner taught by Christ.”

From a parents guide by the Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints

Men and boys will continue to be treated as carnal beasts deprived of any kind of control, and women and girls, will continue to be treated as nothing more than the objects of their lusts as long as we continue to treat the body as only for carnal purposes.

And that is the Gospel according to Andrew

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By Andrew McLean Posted in Orginals

MASS EXODUS OF SAINTS

There is much controversy in the church over the last couple of weeks concerning the churches treatments and policy of LGBTQ members and their families. Because of the recent policy change it has been causing many members of the church to feel that they are not accepted within the church. Blocking children from access to church membership because their parents are gay does not sit well with many members.  This has caused many to announce their intentions to leave the church and have their names removed from all church records, or announce that they have done so already. This is not just upsetting LGBTQ members but all those who support, love and care for those who are in this community and their families.

One Utah attorney is currently handling over 1500 request for membership removal from the church records. This is only a small sampling of the people who are leaving the church as it is only cases from Utah and only one lawyer. The vast majority of those who choose to leave do not go through a lawyer and send in their resignation letters. I can’t even begin to image just how many people the church is losing over this policy. I doubt that the church would publish the stats on that so we likely will never know.

It has also become common in recent years for members to go to conference and vote in opposition to church leadership. Given this recent controversy and how upset thousands of members are over this I have no doubt we can expect to see a lot more opposition, perhaps even loud vocal opposition at the next conference. Given it has become common practice for protesters to protest the church conference in Salt Lake City I can only imagine how much worse it may be for next conference. It will certainly be interesting to see how this develops.

This mass exodus of saints saddens me greatly and causes me great concern. I can’t help but wonder how many of those leaving are doing so out of a broken faith. How many have simply lost their faith in God and the Church. How many are leaving with their faith in tact in God’s Gospel and yet willfully and willing cutting themselves off from the church and all it has to offer because of a single policy decision.

To say that this has not been a faith trying experience for many would be a lie of great degree. Even for myself I am struggling with having a testimony of the church and the leadership being called of God and yet seeing such a punitive, hurtful, and discriminatory policy come forth within this church. The very idea of cutting children out of church membership over things which they have no control over is to me reprehensible. All those who are living worthy of the gospel should have every right to be a part of this church.

I am not one of those who will leave the church over this but to say that my faith has not at the very least been rocked a little would be a lie. There are also many who are accepting this as God’s will with complete faith in the church leadership in all things. They talk of church leadership as if they are in-fallible and could not possibly make a mistake because they are led by God. I do not need to start listing every mistake made in church history by leadership to make the point that it has happened before. church leaders are not in-falliable and just like you and me can make mistakes. The only difference is that when they make a mistake relating to the church the consequestion are much further reaching. That does not however make them any less worthy or any less called of God.

At times God has directed decisions to be made that try our faith. These decisions at the time make no sense and go against everything we have been taught to believe. There are numerous scriptural examples of this. Abraham being commanded to sacrifice his son, something that we would never do and would not expect God to ask of us is probably the most famous example of this. Nephi, in the Book of Mormon was commanded to slay Laban. Nephi responded with I can’t do this you have said to never kill and that murder is wrong. Nephi eventually did as he was commanded but even Nephi did not agree with his commanded to kill Laban. Is this one of those times when our faith will be tried to see if we will accept all that God asks of us? No matter how much we may or may not agree with it? I really cannot see Abraham saying to God “no problem, I will do that happily” I have no doubt he had a mighty struggle and strongly disagreed, as did Nephi, however their faith was strong enough to accept that it was God’s will. In saying this I do not mean to imply that this is God’s will only that in scriptural history there have been times when people have been asked to do things and accept things that did not align with what they have been taught. In the example listed neither one of them agreed with the action being requested. In both cases they had strong opposition to what was being asked. While they still followed through, it was not because of complete and harmonious agreement with what had been asked of them. This disagreement with what was asked did not cause them to be less faithful. They were not questioning church authority, as some have implied that I am, because I publicly make my disagreement known.

This change of policy can only be one of 2 things

  1. It is the result of imperfect men making decisions with God allowing them to fall and stumble for reasons that are his own
  2. It is a God inspired policy change as a result of revelation from on high for reasons we do not understand.

Whichever of these 2 possibilities resulted in this decision by church leadership it is, this is not something to leave the church over. This is not a change of doctrine but of policy. There are many thousands who are upset within the church about this. If you are leaving the church over this change of policy I ask you to look within yourself and ask if your testimony was as strong as you may have felt or believed it was.

Don’t leave the church and all its accompanied blessings. Give time for things to cool down. Wait to see how things play out in the long run. Don’t let a single policy change end something that overall is still a wonderful part of your life. I certainly understand your anger, frustration, shock even. I feel that way as well. If I was a bishop, or stake president or any other authority in the church that would have the responsibility of enforcing this policy I would be seriously considering stepping down and resigning from my position because to remain would potentially put me in a position to enforce policies I strongly disagree with. What I would not do however is leave the Church. It simply is not worth it. The Gospel is worth more than a single policy, and my families eternal salvation is worth more to me than a church policy.

And that is the Gospel According to Andrew

I Find Myself Opposed Follow up

Yesterday I wrote about a change in church policy regarding how the church deals with children of LGBTQ parents in the church. you can read that here.

Due to the swift backlash from members and non-members both on social media and news media the church had no choice but to respond to this. The above video is from Elder Christopherson of the quorum of the 12 apostles. In this video he explains the church policy regarding this decision.

Elder Christopherson talks about and re-affirms that gay relationships are sin and the church has never wavered from that position. He is right. The church always has and I expect will do so for eternity, consider homosexual relations as sin. I would expect nothing less from a church that is led by God. This kind of relationship has been declared sin all through biblical history.

There are concerns that he has mentioned regarding how membership in the church can affect family relationships. These concerns about children being taught one thing at church and another at home and how that may affect family relationshps is valid. The ideals about family relationships in the home they would be taught are that gay relationships are acceptable and at church they would be taught that their parents are sinful and their relationship is wrong.

Elder Christophersons explains these concerns as they relate to children being blessed or baptized due to this conflict. The concerns that church leadership has are in my opinion completely valid. These concerns are very real and even justifiable.

Before we go further I want to make it clear, I have a full testimony and faith in the competency in the leadership of the church. I do believe and have testimony that they are called of God. They have a duty to ensure the integrity of the church. Family is a central part of the church organizaiton and thus family integrity is central to church inegrity. I do not believe that this change in policy affects the integrity of the church in any way.

Some of the things he spoke on regarding this decision by the church were with regard to ensuring those being baptized clearly understand and support the doctrine of the church. This position and requirement is 100% and completely understandable.

The church has within its policies that they will not baptize or perform any ordinances for children against their parents wishes. This policy applies regardless of membership or worthiness status of their parents. Up until yesterday a child’s gay parents could be living as destructively sinful life as one could possibly imagine, if they gave their consent and blessing for their child to be baptized and the child wanted to become a member of the church they would be granted that opportunity.

Within the church we believe that children have reached an age of accountability at 8 years. What this means is we believe that a child of 8 has the ability and capacity to understand right from wrong. Because they have this ability they are old enough to choose for themselves whether they will be baptized or not. This ability to choose however will always be with the blessing of their parents.

Where does this leave my stance on the recent church policy change. To put it simply my stance is unchanged. The concerns Elder Christopherson mentions about how baptizing these children will affect their family dynamics and relations are very valid indeed. I can see these things being a huge problem if children were baptized without understanding what the churches positions is and without their parents being in full understanding of what the church teaches in relations to these matters.

For this reason it is vitally important that when a child is going to be baptized that the childs parents are fully and 100% supportive and involved in the processes leading up to the baptism and beyond. Without this kind of support then baptism is clearly not the right choice at this time till that child is living independently and no longer needs parental support in his or her church activity. It is difficult for me to see why the church would still deny access to these ordinances with this kind of positive support from gay parents. When parents leave the church and no longer support the church their children can still be baptized with parental permission. The same family problems can arise in such a circumstance so why does this policy only apply to gay couples?

One part of this policy in this video that was not addressed was the provision in the policy that states an adult child, living with a gay parent who has or is currently living with or in a gay relationship cannot be baptized. This part of the policy is problematic in that a adult child in any other circumstance where parents are not gay, or polygamous as mentioned in the video, even if they are living in sin can still be baptized and join the church as they are legally an adult and no longer require permission.

This policy still leaves many questions that need to be answered. with 10% of the world falling into the LGBTQ category that would leave, statistically speaking, 1.5 million members of the church and their children are potentially affected by this change in policy. I personally know at least 3 people who fit this category that have been baptized into the church. None of them have children, but that does not mean they won’t at some future date.

The desire to protect children from the trials relating to membership in a church that teaches that their parents way of life is wrong is sinful is commendable, but I also find it to be a bit presumptuous that the church is assuming that a child, and their family cannot handle it properly. Ultimately is it not the childs, and their parents who are the best judges of whether they can handle it or not?

These situations should be handled with care and prayerful considerations before a baptism or any other ordinance is performed, just as it should before any child wishes to be baptized with non-member or other family situations where church teachings preach against the way in which members of that family are living. I also agree that no child should be baptized into the church without parental consent.

Allowing children of gay parents to become members of the church and opening all blessings that come with that membership does not, will not and cannot change the doctrine of God regarding same-sex marriage. It will not, does not and cannot invalidate the churches position on same-sex marriage. As I have understood, the church has had openly gay members who have been afforded all the blessings of membership so long as they live the gospel and live in accordance with church teachings. Shouldn’t everyone who is living so be afforded the same opportunity? Denying children membership because of their parents choices relating to their sexuality will not stop these kids from living, believing, preachings and practicing church teachings or attending church if they so choose.

There are processes in place that ensure that those joining the church and in the case of children and their families understand and fully support and accept their child’s decsion, this should be treated no differently. If we look at this rationally, does it make sense in any way, that gay parents would allow or support their child joining an organization that preaches strongly against what they wish to teach their own children? What possible rational would they have for supporting such a choice? Why would they voluntarily commit to joining a organizaiton that preaches against them?

What I have heard from Elder Christopheson is that policy was changed because of questions from church members and local leadership have been brought to their attention. There has been no mention of actual situations where this has been problematic. What I wish to know is have there been situations where this has been a problem and so policy was needed? How many times has this been a problem for church clergy? How often are they dealing with this? Is it really so often that new policy is needed to deal with such circumstances? We don’t need to know names and who was dealing with it but answers to these questions would bring about clarity to many members such as myself to know just how widespread, if this problem really is an issue within the church.

The Lord gives guidance to those he has called to lead his church on matters of policy and doctrine. Of this I have no doubt. This testimony of mine however, does not mean that I will agree with every policy decision brought forth by the church. I fully and 100% support the doctrine of the church regarding same-sex marriage and that the laws of man do not apply within the church regarding its teachings and doctrinal practices. Just as the laws of the church do not apply to our secular governments. What I do believe however is that children of gay parents should be allowed and afforded all the ordinances such as baptism that any other child member of the church would be permitted, so long as their parents support and approve of the child’s decsion. This to me is only fair, right and just. Denying a child opportunity because of the choices of their parents just does not sit well with me.

Many times throughout church history the Lord has permitted his church leaders to make wrong choices in an effort to teach his wisdom. The lost manuscript of the first 116 pages of the Book of Mormon is a good example of this. I do not know if this was a right or wrong choice in the end. What I do know is that I do not agree with it. I also know, that like other missteps in church history, this policy change will not cause the church to stray from its mission, or stop the work that it is doing throughout the world. The church will continue to grow. ultimately I do not have the authority, knowledge, or experience to judge if this policy change is a misstep, bad choice, wrong etc… That is not my prerogative and in the end it does not affect me or my family, at least not directly.

My support for church leadership does not wane, despite my position on this church policy. I love the gospel. I love the church. I may not always agree with every policy position taken but my support of the gospel will always be there.

And that is the gospel according to Andrew.