Monday, January 9, 2017

Wish They Had VidAngel When I Was a Teen

When I was younger and before I understood the consequences, I saw some bad movies. Dirty movies. When I got older and was married, some of the sexual scenes from these movies would randomly pop into my mind. I forced them out by ignoring them. The images were not tempting me to dwell on them. It was more that I didn’t want the dirt associated with that sacred part of me. It all made me sick. I regretted having made the choice to put those kinds of memories in my mind in the first place. It also made me angry. Angry at the producers and everyone who had been involved in making the movies (E.g. I absolutely HATE Tom Cruise).

“Know ye not, my son, that [sexual sins] are an abomination in the sight of the Lord; yea, most abominable above all sins save it be the shedding of innocent blood or denying the Holy Ghost?” ~Alma 39:5

So 8 years ago, when I decided to face all this, I wondered if there was someway to empty the trash for good. Was there a way to purge these memories from my mind permanently so I wouldn’t have to keep dealing with them whenever they decided to emerge? Was there a way to undo what others had done to me before I was smart enough to establish boundaries against them?

“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” ~Isaiah 1:18

I prayed about it. This was the answer:

Separate the dirt from what was clean, holy, pure, and of God. The reason these unclean memories stayed alive in my mind was that they were so interconnected with a pure God-given need for a relationship that can’t be eliminated. When I thought of good, appropriate sexual relations within marriage, these other tentacle-like parasitic images would be wrapped around them, stuck to them like bacterial slime. So the key was to separate this bacterial slime from the healthy good thoughts and memories. We can’t just purge an inherent God-given need. To attempt to do so is stupid and will end in the adoption of all kinds of vices and strange compensating behaviors that can never truly satisfy.

“And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.” ~Genesis 1:4

Recognize Why These Movies Were Wrong
Selling Sex: Getting it Cheap
Understand that the selling that which is sacred, which belongs privately between a man and a woman in marriage, is what makes it wrong. Sexual relations were never meant to be purchased that freely. In order to rightfully obtain such a privilege it takes developing a trusting relationship with ONE other person of the opposite sex, voluntary sacrifice, and long-term commitments in marriage to both spouse and God. It’s that valuable. It’s that amazingly beautiful. It was never meant to be obtained cheaply. The most valuable gifts are those we sacrifice the most for. The very intensity, duration, and all-encompassing nature of our commitment is what enables us to feel how valuable this gift really is. If it is handed out via movies, websites, magazines, and by cheap people, it loses its value to us. We can’t FEEL its value anymore. Simple as that. And what do we become if we can no longer attain the glorious heights of this kind of relationship?

“For thus saith the Lord, Ye have sold yourselves for nought; and ye shall be redeemed without money.” ~Isaiah 52:3

Public Showing & Sexual Bonding
If the images stimulated me, I was taking part in the sexual relationship to some degree with the actors, the directors, producers, anyone involved in making the movie, and anyone else who was watching it with me. This group obtainment of such a sacred privilege is obtaining it in a scattered deviant way. We are programming our sexual Effect Sensors to receive this privilege in this specific way. It can never sustainably satisfy yet we develop a long-term dependence upon receiving it like that. Forming sexual bonds is an inherent part of the make-up of every son and daughter of God. If we establish sexual bonds through some vicarious relationship with Hollywood and our fellow audience members, it is an opportunity cost to completely bonding with one person sacredly and privately. The only way to obtain a sustainable satisfying sexual relationship is to reserve oneself for one person only. That’s why when I saw these movies I experienced the warning feelings that made me feel very disgusting and slimy. The Holy Ghost was trying to tell me, “Don’t go there. It is addictive and has a bad Paradoxical Result.

“But thou didst trust in thine own beauty, and playedst the harlot because of thy renown, and pouredst out thy fornications on every one that passed by; his it was.” ~Ezekiel 16:15

Establishing sexual bonds with bad movies and the like and trying to establish an intimate relationship with one person is like saying you’re completely and utterly in love with one person, telling them that you are totally faithful to them, and having an affair with another on the side. Impossible. Contradiction. Evil. Conflicting. Even if this is done before marriage, meaning there isn’t anyone to cheat on (besides God), Bad Relationships are developing. And these are very very difficult to break up with owing to the powerful nature of this God-given need and privilege. It can exalt us if we obtain it in the right way or damn us if we don’t. 

“You must wait--you must wait until you can give everything, and you cannot give everything until you are at least legally and, for Latter-day Saint purposes, eternally pronounced as one. To give illicitly that which is not yours to give (remember--"you are not your own") and to give only part of that which cannot be followed with the gift of your whole heart and your whole life and your whole self is its own form of emotional Russian roulette. If you persist in sharing part without the whole, in pursuing satisfaction devoid of symbolism, in giving parts and pieces and inflamed fragments only, you run the terrible risk of such spiritual, psychic damage that you may undermine both your physical intimacy and your wholehearted devotion to a truer, later love. You may come to that moment of real love, of total union, only to discover to your horror that what you should have saved has been spent, and--mark my words--only God's grace can recover that piecemeal dissipation of your virtue.” ~Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

So bonding sexually with a group of strangers through the medium of television, magazines, or internet is one reason bad movies are bad. Sexual relations with our spouse motivate us to keep our commitments to one another. They motivates us to keep the relationship clean and holy. We can’t obtain this privilege from anyone else or anywhere else. If we have issues with one another, as always occurs in close relationships, we are motivated to do whatever it takes to resolve the conflicts in the Lord’s way. We’re motivated to drive out the natural man and become more like our Savior. In this way the good feelings and attraction in a marriage are preserved so that BOTH spouses actually depend upon, desire, and look forward to the intimate relationship. It’s not forced. It doesn’t feel like a chore. If we have an out—another place we can get it, even if it isn’t a pure source, that motivation to repent, apologize, and forgive wanes. Why should we go through that tough relationship stuff if we have so many cheap sources that don’t require anything of us but a few bucks? Bad feelings perpetuate in that kind of relationship. It’s very difficult to continue uniting so intimately with a person with whom we experience continuous conflict or perpetual numbness.

“Do this thing which I have commanded you, and you shall prosper. Be faithful, and yield to no temptation.” ~D&C 9:13

Condoning Immorality
Condoning sexual relationships between two people who aren’t married also makes bad movies bad. From what I have seen, the usual way movies present the most sacred act is between a man and a woman who are not married. Way cheap. (And even if they are married, they are still sharing this relationship with everybody on the movie set and in the theater.) 

So movies act as a brain-washing device. They show people cheating like this and then completely happy afterwards. They don’t give the real story. They don’t show what happens to two people when they enter into a sexual relationship without first making serious marriage commitments with each other and God. 

The Result is a personality disorder. Take the goodies without having to ever do the work. Get all the privileges without any of the risks. Start a relationship like that and see where it goes. What you will find is that kind of selfish attitude, that fear/refusal-to-commit yet-still-want-all-the-privileges attitude, is interwoven into the smaller relationship interactions. It will rear its ugly head in finances, chores, the kids, or any other part of life that requires sacrifice and commitment. Immorality means Survival of the Fittest. It means people are living for themselves, wherever they can get the advantage of another to meet their own needs without having to commit to so much. 

“He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.” ~Luke 16:10

We do get something out of sexual relationships outside of marriage. Some people may even be satisfied with that. We just don’t get everything that God has in store for those that keep his commandments in regards to this relationship.

“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” ~1 Corinthians 2:9

Sexual Relations are of God
I think the number one thing that makes bad movies bad is that good girls and boys end up being repulsed and ashamed by ALL sexual relations. Those of us who are trying to live our life as the Savior would have us live it have a deep desire to do what is right. If we have seen movies that depict sexual relations and we have subsequently felt very bad about it, we most likely mistakenly associate the pure God-given gift of sexuality with this dirty feeling. We end up thinking sex is dirty in whatever relationship. So again, this was the critical part of cleansing myself of the memories of the bad movies without having to turn into the negative connotation of a Prude. I had to recognize that the sexual relationship itself is not the wrong, dirty, bad thing. The scriptures and prophets testify of the righteousness of such a relationship.

“Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” ~Genesis 2:24

“THE FIRST COMMANDMENT that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.” 

“WE DECLARE the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed. We affirm the sanctity of life and of its importance in God’s eternal plan.”

“And [Jesus] answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” ~Matthew 19:4-6

I would say the number one strategic plan of the Behind the Scenes Author of ALL bad movies is to put asunder that which God hath joined together.

“…may I suggest that human intimacy, that sacred, physical union ordained of God for a married couple, deals with a symbol that demands special sanctity. Such an act of love between a man and a woman is--or certainly was ordained to be--a symbol of total union: union of their hearts, their hopes, their lives, their love, their family, their future, their everything. It is a symbol that we try to suggest in the temple with a word like seal. The Prophet Joseph Smith once said we perhaps ought to render such a sacred bond as "welding"--that those united in matrimony and eternal families are "welded" together, inseparable if you will, to withstand the temptations of the adversary and the afflictions of mortality.” ~Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

How to Erase The Memories Once and For All
So my instructions were that once I had differentiated a good healthy sexual relationship in marriage from the specific variables that polluted it, I needed to work on developing that kind of relationship with my spouse. Having a healthy sexual relationship with our spouse protects us from temptation. If we have it in the appropriate way, we won’t need it from any other source. 

If you are not married, the next thing to do is to go out and date. This is what I told my boys about dating: Don’t be a wimp! Yes, I understand that girls can be total jerks. I’m glad I don’t have to deal with them. 

It’s like some crazy head-hunting cannibalistic ritual, where you have to avoid being killed (arrows flying at your head right and left) by the very person you’re trying to capture. Hmmm…not unlike marriage sometimes when you think about it. But if you have developed a solid enough relationship with your Savior (total key), you will be able to withstand this onslaught. He gives you the armor and the weaponry. Dating is getting out there, hunting, dealing with the pain, participating in the real appropriate behaviors (the looks, hand-holding, “Does she like me?”, the first kiss, all that exciting stuff) that eventually will lead to your selection of a young woman whom you will some day marry. You don’t want to jump into all the heavy stuff anyway. There is so much fun in the preliminaries!

Getting the memories of bad movies out of my mind was all about separating the bad from the good—my real God-given needs and Desires from the inappropriate way to get them met. I had to get this all straightened out in my mind. After I went through this cleansing process the images stopped popping into my mind. They were forgotten. They no longer pollute this sacred relationship. So I was free (prison doors unlocked) to deepen that beautiful relationship with my spouse. I’m not saying this solves all marital sexual relationship issues. There are a few more things to consider to get that all nice and balanced out but we’ll save that discussion for another day…or another blog.

Even though VidAngel wasn't around when I was a kid, through the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ the Savior helped me filter out all the dirt so I can just remember the beautiful story. We see how VidAngel is kind of like our Savior in that way. No wonder the bad guys are trying to eliminate them. Go VidAngel:  Please pray for them to win the lawsuit that is trying to force them to stop filtering the dirt out of movies for us! Also go to and add your name to the petition. (Ignore the part about aunt Gretchen in the following video. That’s completely irrelevant! It shocks me every time I hear him saying my name. Wait…what?)

Also, FYI, VidAngel had to shut down their movie rentals until the lawsuit is settled. Total Bummer. I guess it's guilty until proven innocent in this case. : (