Friday, October 19, 2012

Standards Night Purity Talk

Almost 2 weeks into my studying for the Nevada bar exam and my brain hurts. :) I am hoping some of what I am learning and relearning is sticking in there somewhere. It is difficult to focus with children to tend and laundry to do and errands to run.

But slow and steady is my goal. And so far my studying has been keeping on that track.

Last night Jon and I did a Standards Night class for the youth in our church. Our subject matter was sexual purity. I think it went pretty well. It is nice to team up with my husband to accomplish something. We do work well together I think.

We used fire as an analogy for our remarks. I thought I would share the gist of what we said with you:

Fire Safety / Sexual Purity

Intro: Lets talk about FIRE. When kept within set limits and used for productive purposes, it is a beautiful tool that can both be enjoyable and beneficial to our lives. It heats our homes and our water. It cooks our food. It is great for making smores. Who doesn’t like snuggling up next to the fireplace on a cold winter night?

But fire can also be destructive. It is destructive when it is out of control and outside the confines where we have made a safe space for it.

In out little class today we are going to talk about a kind of fire safety the Lord has given us. This is the class on Sexual Purity. Just like the Lord gave us the power to create and use fire, He has given us the incredible power partner with Him to create life. What a gift! We all have many gifts and talents but this gift from the Father stands apart because when we use it we partner with the Lord in His work of creating life. But, He has given us set bounds or rules for when to use this power – only with our lawfully wedded husband or wife. Today we are going to talk about WHY it is important to keep these powers within the bounds of marriage, we will talk about WHAT the rules are (What exactly is okay and not okay to do), and we will talk about HOW to keep those rules.

Fire has the power to forge strong metals. These intimate sexual acts, like fire, forge a powerful unbreakable bond between the people participating. The Father loves us and doesn't want us to have to experience the hurt and pain of separating from someone with whom we have forged this lifelong bond. That is why He wants us first to make covenants to be married for the rest of our lives before we engage in these soul bonding acts.

The For the Strength of the Youth pamphlet says that when you live the law of chastity: You protect yourself from the emotional damage that always comes from sharing physical intimacies with someone outside of marriage.

The rule to keep these types of physical relations inside of marriage is a PROTECTION to you. Fires burning outside of their areas of safety are DANGEROUS. If you engage in sexual behavior outside of the Lord’s prescribed bounds of marriage, YOU WILL GET HURT. You could have consequences like a pregnancy or a sexually transmitted disease.  But even if you are lucky enough to avoid those consequences, you will ALWAYS have emotional and spiritual consequences. Even if you repent and go through the difficult process of becoming spiritually clean again, you can’t unsee something you have seen. You can’t make someone else unknow something they know about you. You will forever have a connection with that person that you will almost certainly one day wish were not there.

So we have established that we want to keep these fires only in the safe confines of marriage. But what exactly constitutes a “fire?” Or in other words, what is okay to do and what is not? It is the question I most wanted to know as a teenager. WHERE IS THE LINE? WHAT are the rules?

WHAT: Going to church at Panguich lake and the branch president telling us because of the conditions of little snow and little rain and lots of dead trees that we were not to have any open fires at all. 2 weeks later a boy riding an ATV had a problem with the machine and it back fired and let off a spark that caused an huge forest fire destroying acres and acres of land and putting teams of people working round the clock to contain the damage before it hurt people and destroyed homes.

Your lives as teenagers and on into young single adulthood are like those summer fire conditions. You are under the same strict rules that we were given about the fires. The For the Strength of the Youth pamphlet says: “Before marriage, do not do anything to arouse the powerful emotions that must be expressed only in marriage.” It goes on to be more specific, “Do not participate in passionate kissing, lie on top of another person, or touch the private, sacred parts of another person’s body, with or without clothing. Do not allow anyone to do that with you. Do not arouse those emotions in your own body.”
Okay? Do not do anything to become aroused – no open flames. So there is the line. It is somewhere in the range of kissing. Kissing is the most you should ever do with someone before marriage. AND while Some types of kissing are okay, some are not. G rated kissing is okay. If you are kissing like Cinderella you are fine. PG – the line is going to be in there somewhere. PG-13 kissing is not okay and some of it – the kind where you are lying down (rolling, levi loving, etc.) getting passionate and arousing those flames within and sexually exciting either yourself or your partner – necessitates you going to the bishop to have help repenting.

Elder Scott gave a great talk in 1996 entitiled “DO what is Right” when I was in college and dating about what was okay to do and what was not. In it he said, “A safe rule to follow is to never do anything alone that you wouldn’t do in the presence of parents shortly before marriage.”

Keep that in mind.

That is where the Lord has drawn His line. But once you get close to the line it is so difficult to stay on the right side of it. That is why we are encouraged to stay far away from the line. In Elder Scott's talk, he also encouraged us to take some time or reflection, fasting, and prayer to decide where OUR line is going to be. It should be even more protective than the Lord's line. It should help you stay safe from ever getting so close the Lord's line that you accidentally slip over it.

HOW: Many of the other classes you have tonight with help you with the how to keep your passions from igniting. Pay attention to the For the Strength of the Youth pamphlet guidelines on Dating, Media, and Modesty in particular.

I have one more rule of thumb. Let’s go back to our fire analogy: Fire needs 3 things to come into existence. they are sometimes represented in a triangle diagram-- Heat, fuel, and oxygen. If you don’t want to have a fire start or if you need to put one out, you simply have to remove one of those elements. If these three elements are all together it is highly likely that a fire will start. Trust me I know. Don't ever put a hat on top of a lamp. I almost burned down my dorm room that way. Not a good combo.

I have a similar triangle for our sexual flames. Here the three side are for my combustion triangle: Alone, Long Time, Close Proximity : Explain. Never allow yourself to be alone with a date for a long period of time and in close physical proximity. And it should be noted that if you like a person and are alone with them and have no productive planned activity, keeping away from them is not going to be easy. Some examples: sitting close watching a movie is only okay if you are around a bunch of other people and have no blankets over you. (Blankets make any part they cover "alone.") It is okay to go alone for a long time together on a hike as long as you always stay an arms length apart. It is okay to give a kiss as long as it is brief. And by brief I mean brief. Sometimes 30 seconds can be too long for some people. Be aware that your fire may not ignite as quickly as your partners and you need to make sure neither of you has any open flames going. 

Lastly, we want to talk to you a little about what to do if you get burned. Anyone here ever had a burn before? What do you do if you get burned? First you pull your hand away from what burned it. You don't leave your hand on a hot stove. So if you feel a flame ignite in you, STOP what you are doing and back away quickly. Don't feed the fire.

Next if you have a burn you run it under cold water. If you put it in cold water for 30 seconds can you take it out and be fine? NO! It keeps burning. You have to put it under the cold water for a long time or it will keep burning. The worse the burn the more time under cold water is needed. If you run into trouble and cross YOUR line with someone in this area – cool it off. Don’t just keep dating. Cool it down right away and for a long period of time. Date other people. Hang out with different people. Give it time to cool off or the heat of that fire will just pick right back up where it left off.

And if you have been burned passed that line and ignited sexual flames in yourself or your partner, in other words, if you have crossed the Lord's line (PG-13 type kissing, rolling, levi loving, touching another persons private body parts etc...) it is like having a 3rd degree. If you get burned this badly, you do not stay home and risk infection. You go to a doctor. If you have crossed the Lord's line, go to the bishop. He can help you. That is why He is there. He won’t yell at you. He isn't going to go tell on you to your parents. He will help you repent and become healed from the spiritual wounds you will have caused yourself and will help you find more strength not to allows those fires to burn you again.

We know that this gift when it is kept in the bounds of marriage can bring us great joy. There is such a wonderful joy in going to the alter of marriage pure and clean and reserved especially for your spouse. And creating a family together brings the greatest joys this life has to offer. This gift is given to us to bring us joy. We want you to be happy. Your parents want you to be happy and most of all the Lord wants you to be happy. Keeping yourself sexually pure and saving those powerful emotions to share only with your husband or wife will make you happy. 

And repentance is a wonderful gift and opportunity. There is no greater joy than feeling clean before the Lord. If you have any lingering worries about things you have don't that might have been wrong. Go see the Bishop. It isn't as scary as you think it might be. He loves you and is there to help you feel clean before the Lord. Through the Atonement you can be clean before the Lord.