Monday, October 16, 2017

Becoming a "Whole Woman" Review of Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife

My review of Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife's podcast on becoming a "Whole Woman":

First of all, YAAAAS!!!!!!!
Second of all, BOOM.
Third of all, Please, please, for the sake of ALL LDS WOMEN, read, watch, listen, and LEARN!!!

This podcast was amazing. It just says it all and so plainly. It really opens your eyes to culturally fed sexual ideals and how Satan has been working in the world to both diminish the sexuality of women while at the same time exploiting them as sexual objects for men. It is so powerful to understand ourselves as women, who we are as intimate beings, and what we have to offer ourselves, our marriages, and our spouse's sexually.

We are such BEAUTIFUL creatures. And it is always important to remember GOD CREATED US!
If He didn't want us to be a certain way, He wouldn't have made us so...therefore, knowing how we work emotionally and sexually is part of understanding God's love for us and why we are the way we are.

I listened to this whole podcast and took some notes. Some of these are exact quotations and others are a little jumbled and combined because I was trying to write SOO fast.
For your own education, please listen to the podcast yourself!
And enjoy :)

Some people feel a perverse pleasure in feeling guilty. 
Some people grow up in families and learn to live in a "self-hate" position. It feels awkward to reach out and stretch and grow.
That is where you find self-respect.
(Insert extra BOOM BOOM!)

Push yourself to stretch and grow, for your sake and for your spouse's.

Giving and Receiving:
You can't be good at one without being good at the other.
Some people are TAKERS. It is not the same thing as receiving.
You have to be a good receiver and giver for healthy relationships.

Step out of entitlement and control.
If someone was to die, could you sustain yourself?
(Answer should be yes)
But you should also be letting the giving and receiving bless your life.

Let your man provide, protect, and support you. (These are man's natural instincts)
Some men do exploit sexuality and they are brutes. But others naturally want to GIVE and receive, and it can really bless. It can nurture. Sex and is part of intimacy for men. We shouldn't put down a woman because of this. It is also how God created THEM.

It should work together as forces of good how we are created. A woman should be able to receive in a healthy way. Her being able to receive, being worthy of it, being feminine, is also and act of "giving" because it is what the man needs.

We get married. It is not a PRISON CELL. We are not a slave. Some of us become slaves to our sex lives, and some of us actually ENSLAVE ourselves! Whether in healthy or unhealthy ways. It is not our "job" or our "duty". 

Being grateful is different than being entitled. Don't snub all the joy out of love and sex by acting entitled to someone's love. If you're thinking you're the "insecure" or "broken" or "weak" one, therefore you're entitled to your spouse's love, then you're not grateful at all. You're wrong.

Many of us "get and take", but fail to "give and receive". How do we increase gratitude?
Ask yourself, "What would I lose if this person wasn't here?"

Sexually, you have to see yourself as deserving. TO make your sex life "male centric" is CULTURAL! If you want a more satisfying sex life, you have to make it more "female centric". Women take longer to become aroused and to climax, but the process requires both parties to give and receive, which brings you closer together.

Sexuality is a threat to goodness in MORMON CULTURE.
Men are interested in women for sex, but women think its a bad thing and either become slaves, or enslave themselves, by diminishing their sexuality and exploiting themselves as a sex object for their husbands. THIS IS WRON.
You can do as much damage to a relationship by sexual exploitation as you can by sexual repression. Real strength begets strength.
Women think, "Well, men need to feel strong. Therefore I must be weak."
A real man needs to let his woman's sexuality be equal to or even ECLIPSE his own, and not be threatened.
Women are actually more sexual because their orgasms are deeper and can happen more than once.
Men have "ten minute sex" and are some how looked at as SEXUAL CHAMPIONS.
The opposite is true. WOMEN are the sexual champions, their longevity and endurance and the end result all equate to their godly design. Biologically, women are more sexual with more sex organs and more sexual nerve endings.

Satan does BOTH exploit a woman's sexuality but represses her as the champion. If God didn't want you to have pleasure as a woman, He wouldn't have designed you that way. 
SATAN and CULTURE diminish the woman and her sexual capacity, while at the same time puffing up a man's "ten second sex" trophy and the woman as a sex OBJECT meant for man's pleasure.
(Sex slave)
SHE is more sexual. She is feminine and powerful.
You will RESENT and NEVER LOVE your husband if you think its your "JOB".

There is NO integration before marriage about the woman and her sexuality.
There is this idea that "My sexuality exits to SERVE my husband."
This is not good sex.
This is not happiness.
Women feel ashamed, dirty, wrong, and repressed in their sex lives. The Mormon culture doesn't have proper sex education. No one is teaching these young women about their bodies and the powerful nature of their femininity. They aren't teaching the men how powerful and necessary a woman is, how wonderful her sexuality is, and what it can bring to their relationship. The intimacy can be so much stronger. It will grow and flourish. Both parties BENEFIT from the sexuality of a WOMAN!!!!!

This is "OUR" sex life. Not "HIS".
That is a culturally sanctioned FALSEHOOD!!!

And those are my notes!!
I hope you really like this podcast. I hope you learn something from it.

Now to go off on a few tangents:
Mormon Fed Repression
I personally understand how culture has fed the problem in society and especially for Mormons. I love how Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife hit the topics hard.
In the home I grew up in, sex was NOT talked about. IT was viewed as wrong and dirty. A "sin".
While sex before marriage is considered a sin, being a sexual being is NOT. For that is how GOD CREATED US. We are obviously cautioned to control our desires and save them for marriage, but having sexual desires is not wrong and when saved for marriage, it is very, very RIGHT.
Also, in my home, women were seen as sex objects. They were both exploited as a sexual object designed for man's pleasure, and repressed sexually. There was a lot of shame culture, both in my home, and in the Mormon religion.

Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife reminds us over and over that to become a whole woman, we have to be in tune with the sexual part of ourselves. It is not wrong or shameful.
(It's a man's sin if he can't control his urges, NOT the woman's)
We do not exist to "serve him" (our husband)
We both have desires and the WOMAN is clearly, biologically, the sexual champion.

I wish more young women in the Mormon religion were taught proper sex education. I wish women weren't repressed culturally. I wish men and society didn't EXPLOIT the woman as a sex object and sex slave, while then punishing her. Shaming her. Repressing her.

I wish Satan would get off his soap box and the "ten second sex" trophy would DIE a horrible death.
Remember that commercial where the plumber comes to the aid of a housewife? She says, "I only have fifteen minutes." While the plumber holds up the cleaning product and says, "I only need five."
It's supposed to make him look cool and very sexual.
(Sexual trophy award.)
Five minute sex???? Please.... that's pathetic is what it is.

50 Shades of He** Yeah!
I apologize in advance for the millions of people I'm about to offend, but...this is one of the reasons I genuinely liked the series 50 Shades of Grey. While most Mormons never read the books, and HATED them at the same time (go figure) a lot of other people, enough to make it a super best-seller and amass MILLIONS in book sales and went on to be made into movies, understand that part of the beauty of this very sexually explicit novel, was the JOY and INTIMACY that evolved between to open partners. you think it was such a hit because it was an erotica?? Dude. There are a bazillion erotica novels.

Yes, Mormons point to 50 Shades as "domineering" and "supporting men beating women" and it's just "disgusting" to them. They also didn't read it, and are realistically probably deathly afraid of being sexual.
(They probably are sexually repressed. By their spouses and themselves)
In the novels, both partners are open sexually and NEVER do anything their uncomfortable with.
She never signs the contract. He never beats her. They communicate. They explore.
The man PLEASURES the woman. Wholly. And in this "giving" he finds it is immensely satisfying. (That's the receiving part for him)
They have a wonderful, consensual, sex life.
Now, they aren't married at the get-go, so for Mormons that is offensive. But it's sad to me that Mormons will also find the very nature of their sex life "offensive".
IT goes to prove how sexually repressed our culture is, and how "shame culture" acts in the Mormon world.
Thank you, Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife for confronting this.

(at the risk of offending LGBT I will continue with simply "man" and "woman"'re all very loved and equal)

All of the confusion surrounding sexuality has increased our society's rape culture.
We teach our young children that sex and sexuality is disgusting.
At one minute, it's wrong and the next, it's .... right??
I don't get it.
Poor Mormons. These young men and women get married (usually as virgins) and then have no idea what to do with their bodies. Men resort to culturally fed brutality (not Christian Grey status) and women respond by acting in their cultural place: the sex slave.
Women are taught that they must "dress modestly" to help boys control their thoughts.
Are you kidding me?
That makes the woman the responsible party in sexual offense, you get that, right?
A woman may become the object in a man's fantasy, but she is NEVER the cause.
Mormon culture is teaching young women it is their fault if men act inappropriately. It increases shame. It increases repression. It's a nasty cycle.
Men are not taught to control their thoughts. They're given too much control and power of the situation, and high-fiving themselves for their ten second performances (even the fantastical ones)
When they're not held accountable, there is no responsibility or guilt in acting inappropriately. The woman is the problem. If she dresses in a way that will illicit a man's sexual desire, it's then her fault when inappropriate actions and thoughts take place.
Modesty has changed throughout the millenniums of human existence. But righteousness never has. Both men and women are cautioned to control their thoughts. "Let virtue garnish thy thoughts always."
I hate HATE hate...did I mention HATE?? the blame placed on women. The blame. With also this expectation! To be a perfect sex object and slave! Be my fantasy, and if you're not: it's your fault if I seek pleasure elsewhere.
Men go into relationships with a false expectation of a woman and her purpose. They support rape culture without even knowing it. It ruins marriages left and right. Parents, mothers and fathers, there is nothing wrong with sex education. Teaching children about their bodies, and how God designed them, does not turn them into a sex freak or porn addict. Duh face.

Dear Women: SPEAK UP! For yourselves, and for your daughters. Femininity is beautiful. It is godly. It brings joy to a relationship. Intimacy is a GOOD thing. Both emotional and physical. I hope you teach your daughters (and sons) the truth about our sexuality and the wonderful blessing intimacy can bring our lives, our relationships, and our posterity.

By Brittany Shannon

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Atonement and Resurrection

Atonement and Resurrection

I read this article and found it to be fantastic.
I have made a regular habit of reading on Sundays—all things Christ and God-centered. I’ve decided to help me absorb and remember the thoughts and feelings I have when reading, I’m going to also take notes.
Feel free to read the above article on the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and maybe share your own thoughts and feelings.

Here is what I wrote based on the above article:

He knows us so well. We longed to be with Him like none else. He wept for us. The grace is already given. HE felt things so he would know how to empathize and properly help us heal on a very individual basis. It doesn’t have to be fair. As we grow closer to Him and work on our own healing and recovery we are blessed with Christlike love toward any who wrong us. Families will face opposition, we don’t just face hardships from evil people. In fact, when being righteous we avoid a lot of evil people and will therefore face little opposition on that journey. That’s a blessing just being in the Promised Land has provided. Our growth MUST come through opposition in ALL things. So then we must face it in our families and friends and loved ones. It is all part of the journey. It doesn’t mean we did something wrong. It doesn’t mean THEY did something worse. It is just part of the Lord’s plan and we need to trust it. We need to let Him consecrate our afflictions to our good and benefit. We will become like Him. We will through THIS the mortal trial you’re facing, it wasn’t placed before you to be an everlasting burden. It was placed to help you meet and become like Christ, like a God. Do not be afraid of it. You’re not alone.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Obedience is Required

Since I was little, I have often been prompted to obey the Holy Spirit. Sometimes, there is no other lesson to be learned other than being obedient.

Why does God ask us to be obedient?
What purpose does an "obedience only" lesson provide?

Have you ever heard how military personnel are trained? Do you know how rigorous their exercises are, and how repetition is key?
Why are the sergeants so strict and "mean"?
How come they're always shouted at to comply?
Why is there absolute order?

My dad was explaining to me in my youth that a fighter pilot, in the BLINK OF AN EYE, must be able to follow a command. It would mean life or death. If you're flying up in the air, and you hear your superior speak into your ear, "EJECT!" There cannot be even a moment's hesitation. You follow the order. You eject. 
Even if you don't know why.
Even if you don't sense danger.
Even when you don't see the bigger picture.

God can be our superior. HE can see the bigger picture. He knows the why. He sense the danger we don't always sense. When He says "EJECT", we must obey.

As a small girl, I was having a sleepover at a friend's home. In the middle of the night, I woke up and felt a strong desire to go home. It was strange. I'd had many playdates with this friend. My mother obviously felt comfortable enough to let me stay the night over there, even though we came from different backgrounds and beliefs. There was no visible danger. I have no idea why, to this day, I was prompted to wake up my friend, who then woke up her mother, and ask if I could call my mom to go home. My mom came and got me and that friend's mom then forbade us from ever having sleepovers again ;) I'm sure it was very inconvenient for the mother and my friend. Nonetheless, there was a reason the Spirit needed me to obey. It may have just been a lesson of obedience, for I don't know what could have possibly gone wrong...

In another situation, I was asked to obey God because OF IMMINENT DANGER. In my first marriage, there was a lot of addiction and abuse coming from my spouse. I did not believe in divorce. I would NOT. It didn't fit my idea of an "eternal marriage". Nor did I think any marriage was perfect. Isn't that what enduring to the end means? Long-suffering? Helping one another make it to the end despite struggles?

The marriage was so unhealthy and became a danger to my safety. I was prompted by the Spirit, time and time again, to leave.
I ignored it.
EJECT! the Lord said.
I questioned whether it was really the Lord or the adversary.
EJECT! he would calmly cry. EJECT! EJECT! Brittany, EJECT!

One day, a stranger gave me a priesthood blessing and confirmed my darkest fear.
"Guard your womb."
I finally obeyed.

Even thought I could see the danger and knew the threats, I wasn't willing to listen...It seems so odd and counterproductive for the Lord to advise one of His children to end an eternal marriage, yet, He did so for me and I've since learned He does so frequently for OTHERS.

Why? What lesson was I to learn?
I'm not a quitter.
I don't take my covenants lightly.
So, why?

God had a greater plan for me. "My eternal plan of happiness" required me to go through that experience, yes, but not to stay in it forever. It shaped me and refined me, and taught me principles I wouldn't have otherwise learned.
As I left, I was comforted knowing "Divorce is not the end."
I had quite a bit of hope that we could reconcile later, that the divorce was simply a consequence that had to be implemented due to the hazardous behaviors of my spouse. That didn't mean repentance wasn't possible and that we couldn't maybe later get back together.
That was NOT what God had planned for me.

It took me a long time to come to terms with this new "failure", and later see it as a HUGE accomplishment. The next few years I would weave through painful healing processes, that eventually led me to the man I was supposed to marry and start a family with at this stage in my life. If I hadn't gone through my first marriage, I wouldn't have become the patient, calm, peace-keeping woman I am today. I wouldn't have met the man I'm married to, either, for it was in a dark place of self-loathing and wayward "activities" that our paths crossed. We were both roaming...seeking solace. I knew IMMEDIATELY he was going to be the father of my children.

With this knowledge, I still face trials in my life. My marriage isn't always easy. We're still two opposite people trying to live side-by-side, congruently. We still wake up and face Satan and his servants who put contention and conflict in our path. There are times God asks me to serve my husband when I'm most angry. I don't want to. I don't think its what I deserve, just like I don't think I deserved to be the one who threw in the towel on my first marriage after giving it my absolute ALL and then some. Yet, I know God wants me to be obedient. It isn't always for my spouse's benefit that I'm asked to do these things. Sometimes it is, and sometimes it's just for me. Sometimes its for both of us. AND OUR KIDS!
We won't make it through this life without the same problems every other marriage faces, but they are made "easy" because we listen to God and obey. I'm so happy with my life now. I CAN'T imagine it any other way. Including being asked to "eject", and going through my first flight that "crashed and burned."

This generation is scourged with wickedness. It hurts me. Physically, emotionally, spiritually.
I see broken hearts more than I see whole ones.
(I'm not trying to be pessimistic)
We aren't pushing handcarts across a frozen country, but our hearts are being blackened by the frost of the Devil's bite. It's an ugly, bloody battle out there...
but if we listen, if we obey, we may just hear the commands of an all-powerful, all-knowing, loving God, saying, "EJECT!"
I promise you, dear child, I am in control. You are in my hands. Listen to me now. Eject. It is for your own good. You will fulfill your purpose by following my will. Let the Spirit guide you. It may save you from further agony, and help you bear up your current burdens. It will be a comfort during the hardships I ask you to face. Trust me.
Obedience is such an interesting thing, and it was easier for me to understand once I had kids.
"Don't go into the street!" I shout.
"Don't touch that, it's hot." I caution.
"Be nice to one another!" I admonish.

My kids might not yet understand all the why's, but someday they will. As they grow and learn and experience.

We already know who wins the war, it's just a matter of choosing whose side to be on.
Have we ever paused to consider WHY so many horrible acts of terrorism occur--and perhaps is there a correlation between them and the natural disasters AND the political divide in a chosen people?
I began to wonder if the Lord sees all the hatred among people. The racism the nationalism the sexism...after asking and pleading and COMMANDING us to be loving, accepting, compassionate, and we refuse, if He then visits us with a force of nature that compels us to reach out and serve. When disaster strikes, people put differences aside. They don't care about color or financial circumstances...they help one another. When tragedy strikes, people actually COME TOGETHER.
How ironic is it that the beautiful freedoms of our country that include political presidential elections can TEAR people and love to pieces, and yet mass shootings and hurricanes that TEAR homes and cities to pieces coincidentally draw people closer together?

I may not always know why, or see a clear picture, but I have total faith that when the Lord asks, He is asking because He knows what I need.
My promptings aren't always loud. They're rarely life-changing.
Most of the time they're something like, "Go down this aisle at the grocery store."
"Send _____ a hello text."
"Smile at that stranger."
"Read this article."
"Don't yell."
However great or small, my acts of obedience are carving virtue into my frame. The results soften the fabric of my soul. They strengthen me.
It is then that I am prompted to try and help another, to lift them up, to share my experiences, to mourn with those that mourn and comfort those in need of comfort.
I promise. As scary as it may seem, as far as the fall my appear, frightening as the unknown will be, and as painful as the choice could become, everything will be okay if you trust in your superior.