Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Judge Not, or in other words, What I Learned When I Was Hanging From a Rock

My sister-in-law climbing and my husband on belay at the bottom

On Friday my husband and I broke out our rock climbing equipment and took my sister-in-law rock climbing up the canyon by our house. It had been several years since I'd been rock climbing (I've been pregnant for the last few summers) and it felt so good to be back on the rocks. I love it. I am always amazed at how much "brain work" rock climbing requires. It really forces you to learn your body, unify your mind with your body and make hard choices quickly. Even though it looks physically hard it is really more of a mental game than it is a physical one. Rock climbing has taught me some important eternal lessons over the years and Friday was no exception.

We were climbing a fairly difficult rock but it didn't really look all that hard until you were the one actually climbing it. When I was the one belaying it seemed so obvious to me what route the climber should take, where they should put their hands and feet, and how they should get out of hard situations. I found myself yelling advice to the climber and wondering why they were having such a hard time. Yet as soon as I clipped in and approached the wall it was like I was facing a completely different rock than I'd been watching the others climb. It was a lot steeper, smoother, and higher than it had appeared from below.

I learned an important lesson when I watched my husband climb a portion of the rock that I had really, really struggled with. He did it very quickly and with little trouble. He found hand holds that I hadn't even seen. I wondered why he seemed to be able to do it so much better than I had. I felt a little embarrassed that I had struggled so much.

My husband climbing

The next time I climbed I followed the same route that he had taken and when I got to the hard part I asked him where the hand hold was that he had used. He pointed it out and I saw that it was at least four feet above my head. I don't have the long arms and legs that my husband does (I am quite a bit shorter than him) and I knew that even if I was to stretch my body to its limit there was no way I would EVER be able to reach the same spot he had so easily reached. I would have to find a different way to get up the route.

Me, stuck in a hard spot

When I got down from the climb I realized that even though I was climbing the same rock, using the same rope, and taking the same route as the others-- my climbs were totally different than theirs. My body was different, my flexibility was different, my experience was different, the connection between my mind and body was different, my fears were different and my weakness were different. I saw that there was NO possible way that I could judge another's performance based on my own experience-- even though it seemed like it should be very similar. I realized that any "coaching" or advice I could give from the bottom would be really subjective and that I shouldn't judge the choices they made or the route they went because I wasn't the one climbing. They would make different choices than I did and would have a different experience than I did because--- they were different than me.

I think I probably should have learned this lesson much earlier in my adult life, it would have saved me a lot of grief, but it has now been impressed upon my soul in a powerful way. I see now how impossible it is for me to make judgments about why people make the choices they do or why they are the way they are. I don't have enough information. My own experience, even though it seems similar, is not enough to base the judgment off of because I am a different person-- a different soul-- with different talents, abilities, and experiences. I think I now understand much better what President Thomas S. Monson said in his recent comments to the Relief Society,
“None of us is perfect. I know of no one who would profess to be so. And yet for some reason, despite our own imperfections, we have a tendency to point out those of others. We make judgments concerning their actions or inactions. There is really no way we can know the heart, the intentions, or the circumstances of someone who might say or do something we find reason to criticize. Thus the commandment: “Judge not.”… Mother Teresa, a Catholic nun who worked among the poor in India most of her life, spoke this profound truth: “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”I consider charity—or “the pure love of Christ”—to be the opposite of criticism and judging… charity that manifests itself when we are tolerant of others and lenient toward their actions, the kind of charity that forgives, the kind of charity that is patient… It is accepting weaknesses and shortcomings. It is accepting people as they truly are. It is looking beyond physical appearances to attributes that will not dim through time. It is resisting the impulse to categorize others.”
Judging is something I struggle with (don't most of us?) and I hope that I will be able to apply the lesson God taught me this weekend to my daily life. I've learned that I can do everything I can to help make sure other climbers are warned, safe, supported, loved and encouraged--if they ask for help I can give it-- but I can't judge their choices. I have my own climb to worry about.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Would You Have Peeked at the Gold Plates?

I just finished reading “Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith” a biography of the wife of the Prophet Joseph Smith. I couldn’t put this book down.  It was such an incredible experience for me to read about LDS church history completely through the eyes of a woman-- that doesn't happen very often.

One of the stories that impressed me the most about Emma was her interactions with the gold plates from which Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon. In September of 1826, Joseph went for a meeting with the angel Moroni on the Hill Cumorah not far from his house. When he had met with the angel before he had been told that the time wasn’t right yet for him to have the plates. This time though Joseph recounted that the “personage told him he could have the record the following September if he brot with him the right person and indicated that Joseph would know who that was.” Joseph Knight, a friend in whom Joseph later confided the story, said the young man “looked into his glass and found it was Emma Hale Daughter of Mr. Hale of Pensulvany.” (pg. 10 of Mormon Enigma)  It is awesome to me that God wouldn't let Joseph have the plates until he had Emma. She was a necessary part of God's plan for the establishment of his church and the Joseph's work as a prophet. She was Joseph's "help-meet"-- his equal.

Evidently after Joseph’s meeting with Moroni he didn’t waste much time and he and Emma eloped on January 18th of 1827. In September of that same year Joseph again returned to the Hill Cumorah, this time with Emma driving the wagon. She waited for him as he climbed the hill and watched as he returned with a bundle wrapped in his coat. She didn’t see the plates but saw the outline of what Joseph told her was a gold book with ancient engravings on them. Over the next year or so those plates, and the translation of them, would become the center focus of Emma and Joseph’s life. She would eventually be chased out of her home, estranged from her father and mother, be bounced from home to home as a guest, loose multiple children, be debilitated by illness, chased by mobs, harassed and criticized, and eventually loose her husband because of those plates.

Yet despite everything Emma went through she never saw the gold plates because Joseph was never given permission by God to let her see them. Later in her life Emma recounted that, “They lay in a box under our bed for months but I never felt at liberty to look at them.”  She said they were sometimes on a table in her living room, “wrapped in a small linen table cloth, which I had given him to fold them in. I once felt of the plates, as they thus lay on the table, tracing their outline and shape. They seem to be pliable like thick paper, and would rustle with metallic sound when the edges were moved by the thumb, as one does sometimes thumb the edge of a book.”  Emma also mentioned that she lifted and moved the plates as she dusted around them but never looked at them.” (Pg. 25 in Mormon Enigma)  Emma claimed that she never had any desire to see them but in D&C 25:4 the Lord tells her "Murmur not because of the things which thou hast not seen, for they are withheld from thee and from the world, which is wisdom in me in a time to come."  So obviously Emma  did struggle somewhat with not being able to see or understand everything her husband did. 
Emma's integrity really impresses me and I marvel that despite her doubts and her struggles she still went forth with faith in things she had not seen. As I've thought about Emma dusting around the gold plates I can't help but imagine myself in the same situation. "Would I have peeked at the plates?” I’d like to think I wouldn’t have, but I don’t know if I could say I wouldn’t have. I have a hard time leaving the "hidden" bag of chocolate in my dresser alone. I don't know how I would have faired with a set of gold plates.  

The more I learn about Emma the more my heart is filled with love and admiration for her. Her life was truly a series of enigmas but really, given all she went through in her life, what an amazing woman!

I'm curious. Do you think you would have peeked at the God plates if you'd been Emma?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Recommended Reading

I've had a few people ask me for good book recommendations lately and so I've put a widget on the sidebar of my blog that has some of my favorite books on women in the scriptures and LDS church history. I will keep adding to it from time to time and if I ever mention a book on my blog I'll add it to the widget so that you'll be able to find it easily. I'll try to do some book reviews soon.

Also, Jocelyn at We Talk of Christ, We Rejoice in Christ nominated me for the "Lovely Blog Award." I'm honored! 

As part of the award I am suppose to:
  1. Accept the award. Post in on your blog with the name of the person who has granted the award and his or her blog link.
  2. Pay it forward to 5 other bloggers that you have newly discovered.
  3. Contact those blog owners and let them know they've been chosen.
Here are the five blogs I am passing the award on to. These are some of my favorite blogs and these women have inspired me so much. They are definitely on my recommended reading list. 

1. Apple Cider Mill-- a Catholic mother who is truly an inspiration. Here series on "Openness to Life" has change my whole view on motherhood and eternity. If I didn't have such a testimony of Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, and the restoration  I'd seriously think about becoming a Catholic thanks to her. 

2. Misfit Cygnet-- don't read her blog if you are faint at heart she will make you re-evaluate your life in hard ways. I don't always agree with her, but she makes me think about hard things and I appreciate that. My little sister just lent me her copy of "The Hunger Games" and I was actually going to start it tonight but after reading her post about them  I think I'll skip this series. 

3. In the Doghouse Now-- if you want great spiritual insights this is your woman.  I love her post on the three veils of water.

4.  Conversion Diary-- another Catholic mother who has really influenced me. She used to be atheist and now is a faithful Catholic. I shared this article she wrote on my facebook page but it really impacted me so I'll share it again here-- the Catholic perspective on openness to life really resonates with my soul.

5. Asking Jane--  Jane is an LDS mother of 11 kids and has the absolutely most amazing outlook on life. She constantly reminds me that motherhood is a spiritual calling and that I should rely more on God, the scriptures, and personal revelation for parenting advice than on books or next door neighbors.

These are great reads, I promise.  Also I am ALWAYS looking for good books or books to read so if you have any good recommendations I'd love to hear them!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Hannah’s Birth Story: “My Horn is Exalted in the Lord”

"For This Child I Prayed" by Elspeth Young
Most of us are familiar with Hannah’s story in 1 Samuel 1-2, Hannah is barren, she goes to the tabernacle and prays earnestly for a child, she promises the Lord that if He will bless her with a child she will consecrate him to the Lord, she is praying so passionately that Eli the priest thinks she is drunk, she explains herself to him, Eli blesses her, she later conceives Samuel, and after weaning him she presents him to the Lord and Samuel is raised in the temple and becomes a great prophet. Hannah’s story is so rich and while there so many different aspects her story to talk about the thing that impresses me most about her story is her desire and willingness to conceive, bear, and love a child she knew she wasn’t going to get to keep.

In Hannah’s day women who were unable to bear children occupied a lower social status that women who had children and were viewed to be “cursed” or “afflicted”. They were also a woman’s “social security” in her old age. In view of these things one can imagine that Hannah may have wanted a child in order to gain more social status in her house hold, to secure her own comfort in the future, or she may have wanted to “show up” her husband’s other wife, Peninnah (who had children) and who often “…provoked her [Hannah] sore, for to make her fret, because the Lord had shut up her womb.”

Yet it is interesting to me that in her prayer to the Lord Hannah didn’t mention any of those motives as her reason for wanting a child. In 1 Samuel 1:11 we read about how Hannah, “in bitterness of soul” went to the tabernacle in Shiloh and “vowed a vow” to the Lord that “… if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life…” Hannah had gotten to a point in her life where she was ready and willing to surrender her will completely to the Lord. She doesn’t ask for a child for selfish reasons, all she asks for is the blessing of being a vessel to bring a child to earth. She knew from the very start that she wasn’t going to get to raise Samuel, she knew that he wouldn’t be there to take care of her in her old age, she knew that she wouldn’t get to dress him up and parade him in front of Peninnah or the other women. In fact, she knew she would have to face one of the hardest tasks any woman could face-- turning her child completely over to the Lord. She knew all this before she even conceived Samuel and yet she still wanted him.

In vs. 24 of 1 Samuel 1 we read more about her sacrifice and the condition of her heart, “And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with three bullocks, and one ephah of flour, and a bottle of wine, and brought him unto the house of the Lord in Shiloh: and the child was young. And she said… I have lent him to the Lord; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the Lord. And he worshiped the Lord there. ”

We don’t know for sure how old Samuel was but women in Hannah’s culture often breastfed their children into their toddler hood and didn’t wean them until they were around 3 or 4 years old. My little son is turning three soon and as I think about Hannah and her little Samuel my heart aches for what she must have felt during those years she nursed him. I wonder if she had a constant battle going on in her head and heart about whether or not to honor her vow to the Lord. She easily could she could have kept Samuel and no one, except the Lord, would ever have known. It is such an example to me of her faith and integrity that Hannah honored her vow to the Lord and gave her little son to the Lord like she had promised. I can only imagine her pain as she walked away from the tabernacle leaving behind her little son, knowing that from that point on that she would only see him once a year when her family would bring their offering to the tabernacle. Did Samuel cry for her as she left? My heart aches as I imagine her weeping that night as she rode back to her tent, still filled with Peninnah’s passel of children, empty handed.

Yet despite the sorrow she must have felt she still found voice to praise God. In chapter 2 of 1 Samuel is Hannah’s psalm in which she sings “ My heart rejoiceth in the Lord, mine horn is exalted in the Lord… There is none holy as the Lord; for there is none beside thee… for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed… The Lord killeth, and makest alive; he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up… the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s and he hath set the world upon them.” (vs. 1,2,6,8).

I love the phrase she uses “mine horn is exalted in the Lord”. ‘Horn” in Hebrew is a figurative way of saying “power” or “capacity” and exalted can mean either “elevated” or “ joyful”. So another way to interpret what Hannah is saying in her psalm is that her “power, or capacity” has been “elevated” by the Lord. I don’t believe Hannah is talking about worldly power but rather rejoicing in God’s power and in the great miracle that he had allowed her to participate in. God had given her power to create and she recognized that it was not her own power, but that she had been a vessel through which the power of God had flown.

Hannah’s story has meant a lot to me in my life because at the beginning of my marriage I had some health problems and at one point was faced with the possibility that I might not be able to have children. Up until that point in my life I’d never really wanted to become a mother. My life plans included a Ph.D., traveling, and doing important things- which in my mind meant working for the UN fighting AIDS and world hunger. Children were not a priority in my life and I figured they would come someday when I had started all the "important" things I wanted to do with my life. Then, when I was faced with the fact that I might never be able to have children and suddenly ALL I wanted in the whole world was to be a mother-- desperately. I spent hours on my knees pleading with God, telling him that my heart had changed and begged Him, like Hannah, to “not forget thine handmaid”.

The year I struggled with infertility (I know that sounds pathetic compared to what some women experience) completely changed the direction of my life. I came to understand the hunger and desperation that Hannah must have felt when she went up to the house of the Lord and “was in the bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the Lord, and wept sore.” I felt like that trial had awakened a part of my soul that I had tried to silence for most of my life. I felt my “mother heart” awaken; it was powerful, overwhelming, and completely soul changing. I still don’t know why I had that short, yet hard, trial of infertility. What I do know is that during that year I discovered the seeds of creation within my soul; I watered them with my tears, fed them with the insatiable hunger of my soul and I felt them grow and expand. I knew, as surely as I could know anything, that those seed would one day sprout—in this life or the next.

I know there are people who will disagree with me but I feel that within every woman is a mothering heart—the divine seeds of love that yearn for continuing life. I realize that there are women who say they aren’t “natural” mothers, they don’t like children, or they have never had those sort of desires. I understand that, completely, because for a long time that was what I said about myself. Yet I firmly believe that we have been created in the image of God, male and female, and that like him we find out greatest joy in creation. When we participate in any sort of creation -- whether it be creating a new life, a piece of art, music, writing, the construction of a building, or the nurturing of a garden-- we get to be an instrument in God’s hand and vessels for his power. They are the times we see, like Hannah did, that we are nothing without Him and they cause us to exclaim, “My horn is exalted in the Lord.” They are the experiences our souls hunger for.

Questions to Think About:

  • I realize that not all men and women have the opportunity to use their procreative powers on this earth. What ways do you exercise your creative power?
  • Do you think that there is something within men and women’s eternal soul that desires children? Why or why not?
  • Why are women willing to make such sacrifices, including risking their lives, to bring children into the world?
  • Could you dedicate your child to the Lord like Hannah did?
  • What other women in the scriptures does Hannah’s story remind you of?
  • Why are women so quick to judge each other unkindly and “provoke each other sore”, especially in relation to the experiences of child bearing, pregnancy, labor and mothering?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Learning Our History

Every six months Later-day Saints have a worldwide General Conference in which we get direction and inspiration from our church leaders. This year Julie B. Beck, the president of the Relief Society, gave a talk that made my little blogger heart rejoice. She talked about how her
"...presidency has prayed, fasted, pondered, and counseled with prophets, seers, and revelators to learn what God would have us do to help His daughters be strong in the face of “the calamity which should come upon the inhabitants of the earth.” An answer has come that the sisters of the Church should know and learn from the history of Relief Society. Understanding the history of Relief Society strengthens the foundational identity and worth of faithful women."
How exciting to me that the answer they got from the Lord about how to fortify women was to learn their history! I know that Sister Beck was talking specifically about the history of the Relief Society but I couldn't help but extrapolate her talk to include all the history we have about women's involvement in the gospel and with Jesus Christ... all the women in the scriptures.

Her talk reminded me of why I am writing this blog and why I feel that understanding the history of the women of the scriptures is so valuable. I think she outlined the reasons well, she said:
"We study our history to learn who we are. There is a worldwide hunger among good women to know their identity, value, and importance.

...We study our history to learn what we are to do. Through our history we learn how to prepare for the blessings of eternal life.

...We study our history because it unites faithful women.

..We study our history because it helps us change. Ultimately, the value of history is not so much in its dates, times, and places. It is valuable because it teaches us the principles, purposes, and patterns we are to follow, it helps us know who we are and what we are to do, and it unites us in strengthening the homes of Zion and building the kingdom of God on the earth."

You can go here to read her full talk entitled "Daughters in My Kingdom: The History and work of Relief Society".

I just want to add my testimony to Julie Beck's and say that there is such power in knowing our history. It reminds us that God is no respecter of persons and that throughout history he has always poured out his spirit upon his righteous daughters. The more I learn about them the more I see that God is the same yesterday, today and forever. Women have such an incredible role to play here on the earth and it is so exciting for me to see the power and the strength He is pouring out upon his daughters. What a wonderful time to be a righteous woman and what great examples we have to follow!

Also I just wanted to share again the re-enactment of the first Relief Society that I wrote last year for our ward to perform. It was an incredible experience for our ward and I just wanted to let some of my new readers know about it. You are welcome to use this script for your own use and I hope that if you do you will send me pictures about how it went... please, pretty please.

Friday, October 8, 2010

How Much is a Mother Really Worth?

I have a conundrum for you all and would like your help in solving it. Here it is:

Why is it that when I watch my own children, clean my own house, make dinner for my own family, or teach my own children the people don't consider me to have a “real job” or be contributing economically? Yet if I was to watch someone else’s children, clean someone else’s house, make someone else’s dinner, or teach someone else’s children people would consider it a “real job” and would easily admit that I was contributing economically.

Does that seem ridiculous to anyone else?

Maybe I should start having my family write me a paycheck every month. Then maybe that would make the work I do in my home “worthwhile” in the eyes of the world?

How much do you think I’d be worth each month as a mother and a wife?

I just read that Salary.com puts out an annual report on what the economic contribution of mothers is. They surveyed thousands of mothers in the US and Canada and chose the top 10 "mom job functions" that mother reported doing daily and matched them to what people doing those jobs for "real jobs" got paid. The ten jobs they based their calculations off of were-- laundry machine operator, janitor, van driver, computer operator, housekeeper, day care center teacher, cook, chief executive officer, psychologist, and facilities manager.

For 2010 they found that the average stay-at-home mother puts in a 99 hour work week and that a working mother puts in 96 hour work week when you combined her full-time job and her mom hours. Based on what this work load would be worth on the "real" economic market they figured that to compensate a stay-at-home mother for the work she does in her home would be an annual salary of $117,856 and for a working mother it would be an additional $71,860 above her regular salary.

That would be $9,821 a month! I'm starting to think that my family probably wouldn’t be able to afford me.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Our Zero Tolerance Policy

This post originally started as a response to some of the comments I got on my "When is it Art? When is it Pornography?" post but then it got too long and I figured it needed to be a post all of its own.

I've had a bit of a change of mind since I originally posted my comment in response to what other readers had said that stated that I was going to keep the book and all its pictures. In the comment I'd said, "... just have to make sure to talk about it at a young age with my son and daughter and I think you are all right... it will be a GREAT teaching tool."

That was my original decision about the book, but that evening as I sat down and talked more with my husband about the pictures and about how we, as a family, were going to define pornography. After talking about it we realized that an accurate definition of pornography for us is... anything, no matter what the medium, that is intended to sexually arouse.

With that definition we both went back through the book and decided that those pictures were intended by the artists to be sexually arousing. I think Michaela explained this very well in her comment, she said:
" Artists make decisions about what to include in their art based upon the emotional response that they want to evoke in their audience. Based on the way you've described those paintings being set, the stage of the stories depicted involve the suggestion of sexual intercourse (prevented as in Judith, and impending as in Esther). The artists meant for viewers to think of this in order to locate the scene in the story. Therefore, the painters made bare-chestedness as sexual suggestion necessary to the painting for viewers to understand it. But because it was meant to evoke those feelings, this means that those paintings ARE pornography. And not only is it pornography, it is pornography of the most insidious and deceptive variety because it is being presented in a biblical context. Just ask yourself, how would Satan try to get good church members pulled into pornography? By packaging it as Bible art, of course!'
In the end my husband and I decided to keep the book but to tear out the pictures which we (especially my husband) felt were pornographic... meaning their intent was to sexually arouse. We didn't tear out all the nude ones, for example we kept Michelangelo's Sistine chapel pictures depicting the creation of Eve, because the nudity was about the creation of their bodies and not the fall, which often times was synonymous with sexual transgression to many early artists. Yet there were other Adam and Eve pictures that we did tear out because we felt they were sexually charged.

I know that this might seem extreme to some of you but it was really eye opening to me to see that out of all the comments about the pictures all the males boldly stated that they felt they were pornographic and that there was not a difference between art and pornography.

For example here are snippets from two comments I got from male readers:
Joseph said: "I am appalled at how so many of them [women commenters] still feel it is appropriate to exploit that sacredness just to teach a lesson to their boy. I noticed that all the comments came from women. I wish I could comment on each one of them and tell you why I feel they are so terribly wrong in saying it is ok to expose a young boy to the “art” of the woman’s body... You’ve heard the story of the king who needed a carriage driver and wanted to test them on their skill on a road through the mountains with a steep cliff on the side. He tested three of them. The first two came within inches of the edge and boasted of their great skill. The third told the king he stayed as far from the edge as he possibly could for safety’s sake. The third was obviously hired. You have been entrusted with a great gift in your son and the question to ask is how close to the edge are you willing to get without sending him careening into the chasm of pornography? My suggestion is to get as far from the edge as possible. Not everything good is right."
And elopingcamel said:
"I know how I and my friends thought in our youth, and the artistic intentions of an artist did not make seeing a nude female any less stimulating. The medium didn't matter. Photography may be more enticing or arousing than painting or sculpture, but that does not make painting or sculpture somehow "safe." ... there is no line between art and pornography; art that arouses sexual appetites IS pornography. "
After reading these comments and talking more in-depth with my husband I discovered that, as a woman, I have a much higher "threshold" for pornography than I realized. I was amazed that when I looked at these pictures I saw a beautiful, strong woman without a shirt on while men-- really wonderful men at that-- saw sexual arousal. I didn't realize that I'd become so desensitized to the sexualization of women's bodies that it seems acceptable and even beautiful to me sometimes.

Then I read this post "Mother's Who Should Know Better" LDS Ark Culture Embraces Pornography" by Misfit Cygnet and really had my eyes opened. PLEASE take just a few minutes and read that post... especially if you've ever read the Twilight books or have let your daughters read them.

I realize that I have been allowing much more filth into my life and into my home than I should be permitting. This really bothered me and my husband talked it over and decided to create a Zero Tolerance policy about pornography in our home.

When I was in High School we had a Zero Tolerance Policy about weapons, meaning that anything that even remotely resembled a weapon, no matter how harmless it appeared, was promptly (with its owner) removed from the campus. Having a Zero Tolerance Policy in our home concerning pornography means that anything that is even remotely designed to sexually arouse, no matter how harmless it may seem, will be promptly removed from our home. Enforcing this policy has meant that we have had to change some some of our habits. We've gone through our house and examine each picture, movie, television show, magazine, book, CD and piece of clothing we own and if it any part of if is intended to sexually arouse- there by making it pornography-- then it has been thrown in the trash, turned off or cut into rags.

Seeing the pile of "pornography" we found in our home really drilled it home to me how immune I've become filth. I realized that more than anything I want to make my home a safe haven for my children, a place where they can escape all the filth the world throws at them. Having that security is SO worth the small price of giving up a few DVDs, getting rid of some pieces of clothing, and tearing out a few pictures. Like Joseph mentioned in his comment, I’d rather stay as far away from the edge as I can… rather than one day discover, tragically, that I was pushing it too close. I realize that every family has to make their own decisions about what or what not to allow in their home, but this is what we've decided and in the end... it feels really good for us.

Side note: Let me be very clear that I don't think that breastfeeding falls anywhere near the line pornography. Personally I breastfeed in public, sometimes I cover and sometimes I don't. I know that when I breastfeed I am using my breasts for what God designed them for. My intent is anything but sexual. It is not my, or my baby's, fault that we live in a world that has overly sexualized breasts so that many people can't look at them any other way. There weren't any pictures of women breastfeeding in the book, but if there had been we wouldn't have torn those ones out.