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“You Just Have to Risk It:” Some Thoughts on Pornography, Dating, and Double Standards in Mormon Culture

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I don’t know why, but, my Stake has gone crazy talking about pornography. Three times in seven months the Stake Presidency has brought a therapist or someone in to Sunday School or Relief Society to talk to us about the threat of pornography, how to shield ourselves and our families from it, and understanding addictions. And when it’s a group of only women, we talk about what it’s like to date someone with a pornography issue. This is a serious obstacle, but taking time away from spiritual education in Sunday School or Relief Society every other month seems a tad excessive. I am proud that the conversation surrounding pornography is changing from being a subject clouded in shame to one igniting hope and faith in Jesus Christ, but as much as this change benefits those struggling with pornography, I’m worried that we’re going too far and accidentally hurting those who love the strugglers.
Hope is a wonderful thing. By far, it is the best motivator for change as opposed to fear or shame…

Dating at BYU as Told by Pictures at Wells

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"Then Jacob went on his journey, and came into the land of the people of the east. And he looked, and behold a well in the field, and, lo, there were three flocks of sheep lying by it; for out of that well they watered the flocks: and a great stone was upon the well's mouth... And he said unto them, Know ye Laban the son of Nahor? And they said, We know him. And he said unto them, Is he well? And they said, he is well: and, behold, Rachel his daughter cometh with the sheep...
"And while he yet spake with them, Rachel came with her father's sheep: for she kept them. And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother's brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother's brother, that Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the well's mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother's brother. And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept." Genesis 29:1-11 KJV

TLDR: While Rachel goes to water her father's flocks…

I Decide to Hope

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If you don't know, I love the show How I Met Your Mother. I've watched the series numerous times, and if I just want to have something on in the background, it's my typical Netflix-binge show. I've had a lot of people tell me that they don't understand how I can watch it, either because the characters are "horrible people" or because others just don't think it's funny. I for one think it's hilarious, and while one definitely shouldn't emulate Barney, overall it has some pretty good lessons, such as "Some people have expiration dates," "Nothing good ever happens after 2 AM," and "You're not looking for someone who accepts your quirks, you're looking for someone who loves them, cherishes them, and loves you more as a person because of them". But one of the most memorable quotes comes from the last season of HIMYM. This comes from the episode "The Lighthouse," right after the main character, Ted…

I Thank God that It Gets Better

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I think journals are amazing. Just last month I was sitting with my parents at our dining room table and they were reading from their journals about their first encounters with each other. (P.S. It wasn't very flattering, their first written words about their future spouses were about how one seemed clingy and the other appeared stuck up.) This prompted me to get back to journaling, which I haven't done much of since I got back from various travels this summer.

A little bit about my journal: It's adorable.

I really liked the owl design because of all the allusions to Athena, goddess of wisdom, the arts, and war... She's cool. But I didn't actually get this journal for myself. It was a present from my most recent ex-boyfriend, which sadly means that this journal records the implosion of that relationship. But I'm not here to talk about that. The main point is that during those few months I recorded in this journal a few of the darkest points of my life.

I've…

You Don't Need Me

To you,

I stumbled for you.

Not fell. You know what it’s like when I fall for someone, and judging by how put together I am now, I’m going to guess that I have not yet fallen.

I’ve known you for 17 months. You’ve been one of my best friends for almost six.

Hmm. Yeah, I guess I would call you one of my best friends.I haven’t really labeled people as a “best friend” since my last one went to Russia. But in terms of who knows me best, you’re definitely in the top five.

Anyway. I’m sorry I stumbled. Almost. I’m sorry if I stumbled because of all the people who told us we should be together, I’m sorry if I stumbled because I wanted to move on with my life, but I’m not sorry if I stumbled because of the amazing person you are. And I hope it’s because of the latter reason that I’m in this situation.

You’ve changed my standards. I actually feel comfortable around you, except for maybe when you are judging the semester-old garlic I keep in my apartment. I actually feel like I can tell you anything. …

Alone?

I like drinking coffee alone,and reading alone.
I like riding the train alone,and walking home alone. It gives me time to think,and set my mind free. I like eating alone,and listening to music alone. But when I see a motherwith her child, a girlwith her lover, or a friend laughingwith their best friend, I realize that even thoughI like being alone, I don't fancy being lonely. -Debated Authorship
I don’t have much time to be lonely. I’m much too busy. On an average day I wake up five minutes too late, drive a little too fast, drink a little too much hot chocolate, read a few too many books (is there such thing? When you should be doing Arabic, the answer is yes.), and get too little sleep. I run to class, run too work, run to various church activities, often just before I realize I’m actually early. I’m almost always with my roommates, classmates, friends, or family.
I do enjoy my alone time. I very much like having my own room in our apartment, and I even made a ‘cave’ under my bed in order …

To Walk a Mile Without Shoes

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It's been said that to understand someone, you have to walk a mile in their shoes.
And most of us know that this phrase doesn't mean to steal their shoes and walk in them, but that we need to not judge others until we understand what they're going through.
But before you can put on another person's shoes, you have to take off your own.

I may have taken that phrase a little too literally today.

But the concept remains true.
Too many times we try to understand the people around us by putting ourselves in their situation, but when we put ourselves in their situation, we react differently to it then they would.
In other words, we try to walk in their shoes while we are still wearing our own.
Before we can try to understand our friends, family, mortal enemies, ect. we have to take away our own judgements and our own ways of seeing the world, or else we run the risk of saying "Oh, I've faced worse trials than that!" or something to that extent.
What seems like …