Asher was in the ER last night for an unfortunate (and mysterious) backward fall down the stairs and into the pointy edge of a table- thankfully, the Dr gave me a choice, and I felt I should say "no" to the staples and as luck (or intuition) would have it, it did not bleed at all by the time we got home and he slept like a baby- I however, did not, I kept playing and replaying, what I imagined the scene to be that led to the injury. Sigh, sigh, sigh.
Then, Bria asked me for a ride from the airport- Dulles- at 3, which meant I had to leave RIGHT after church
And this morning, there was a pretty back car accident involving a family from our ward. I can soberly say, we (as a ward) were terrified, as it seemed that the man- John, might die. He wrecked his brand new Jaguar and flipped it- he and his two boys had to be cut out of it- literally around the corner from church (shivers). All appears to be well, however.
Anyway. My lesson.
I brought amazing cupcakes and passed them out, and left one for myself.
I then asked what the LAW of chastity was- super fun.
And posted the definition from the book.
Then asked why we need this law?
Then we talked about the influence of hormones, attraction, procreation, etc.
I then talked about the For the Strength of Youth address (by the way, Matt gave me this pamplet when we were dating and we read it together and committed to the principles, how funny is THAT?!)
“Before marriage, do not do anything to arouse the powerful emotions that must be expressed only in marriage. 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” (For the Strength of Youth [pamphlet, 2001], 27).
Then I talked about my life- I AM the product of broken laws of Chastity- so are all my brothers. I know that I was resented as a child- by my mother, and her parents for sure. That is a terrible "place" for a child to be born. It is not fair. All babies should be as wanted and cause for excitement from the beginning.
We then talked about what a "VIRTUOUS WOMAN" is and if we could pick one out of a crowd in the mall.
I cautioned people to not judge others' sexual status by clothing, movies, music, etc. I mentioned that while I was shocked to hear so many people watch things on TV that I find completely inappropriate, it would be more inappropriate for me to make judgments on if they are chaste because of it.
Then I talked about my view on little girls being sexualized. I do not believe it is even possible for a little girl to be sexy, so while, sure, there are some things that are inappropriate, sundresses, in my view are not and that we should not shame a girls' body when her body looks just like her brothers' you know? Anyway, I had (surprisingly) not a lot of disagreement there, but no answers as to when and why this started. So then I wrote down Law of Chastity- v- Culture and made mention that the Law of Chastity is very clear, cultural expectations and the like can be really hurtful if we are not even sure why "we" believe what we believe.
Then. We talked about the value of being chaste to ones' self. It brings immeasureable value and worth to ones' life. We are in control of our passions, our sexuality, our intent and our morals. I mentioned that of my students who drop out in college, most (90% or more) do so because of depression associated with a sexual relationship of some sort that they were not ready for.
Finally, I licked all the frosting off my cupcake and offered it to the group. I told them, that often times this is how chastity (virginity) for girls is viewed- no one wants it now that it is "gross" and "used up." We have to be careful to not have that be what we impart to our children for a couple reasons but 1) is that they will feel worthless and like it is not worth trying, if they have lost something they can never have back and 2) sooooo often people are abused in ways that takes away the frosting due to no fault of their own and I testify that feels just as desperately awful for that person.
I talked about repentance, clinging to forgiveness and accepting it- but making the absolutely necessary step of truly rectifying and admitting the wrong in the ways that we are instructed as per temple recommend interviews, etc., and then allowing the wrong to be forgiven and accepting that the atonement IS IN FACT enough to account for our misdeeds.
Finally, I talked about 1 Corinthians 10:13 (my favorite scripture!).
There hath no temptation ataken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be btempted above that ye are able; but will with the ctemptation also make a way to descape, that ye may be able to ebear it.
This is often misinterpreted as "God will not give us more than we can handle." that is NOT what this scripture is saying. It says, we all have (similar) struggles and there are ways to overcome temptations, figure out what works for you and use it.
I shared that when I dated after I joined the church, if I was in a situation that was passionate, I would visualize the face of Christ and purposefully think of Him in the Garden of Gethsemane and think "Do I really want to add to the pain of the sins of the world He felt that night?" EVERY time, the answer was no, and I put on the brakes... and ended many relationships, sadly, but necessarily.
Then Matt came along with his For the Strength of Youth pamphlet. :-D
Finally, I then told them all- "once I received my temple endowments, I definitely was well-behaved too- for the covenants are serious and my garments of the Holy Priesthood would have been a REALLY BIG SURPISE to whomever... they really served as a shield and protection to me." Lot's of laughs there.
I do have a testimony of Chastity. It brings about self-worth, control and a sense of such triumph when we are able to "give ourselves" in a way that is ordained and divinely GIVEN by God himself after marriage. It is such a blessing and satisfaction unlike any other.
Then I talked about this incredible book (that one lady had read) and LOVED and then I said sexual intimacy is a wonderful thing that should be valued, treasured and enjoyed (to lots of shocked laughter).
It was a good (albeit interesting) first lesson to teach adults.
Afterward, I had lots of kind comments (maybe I will hear unkind ones later) and 2 women actually thanked me on behalf of their little girls' sundresses . One lady had her daughter in a gorgeous sundress (I bought SEVEN of these and have given them to nieces and one friend) and no shirt underneath or sweater on top and said, "You are right, my 5 year old is NOT sexy." and SHE had just taught about Modesty in primary. I was giddy with delight. What a wonderful example of thinking and believing and standing for what YOU believe is ok. Of course, if someone covers the shoulders of their pre-pubescent daughter, that is fine too. Where I take pause is the reasoning behind it- and if it is truly an issue of immodesty and presented as such, I contend, it may cause right -v- wrong ideas that are not, necessarily healthy.
Regardless, we are a bunch of moms who love our children and want the best for them.