Friday, October 28, 2011


Perception. I love this word. It's the lens by which we see everything. Our perceptions determine how we see ourselves and those around us. Jared and I have talked a great deal about this idea the last week. It's been during those "pillow talks," those heart-to-heart moments when we've both realized that we don't always see things clearly, whether that be in reference to our relationship, the world and its problems, how other people choose to live their lives, and even certain aspects of the gospel. He sees things one way, I see them another. In many ways we agree, in some we don't, and there are some things we may never agree upon. It's like this with anyone we interact with, especially those we are closest to. So lately Jared and I have found ourselves asking "what is really real?" How do I know whether or not my perception of someone or something is accurate? I suppose that's why this scripture has become most meaningful:

"...for the Spirit speaketh the truth and lieth not. Wherefore, it speaketh of things as they really are and of things as they really will be..."

Jacob 4:13 (emphasis added)

Aside from the discussions that Jared and I have had that have brought this subject to my mind I also came across something else that brought this all together for me. A friend posted an internet article about a public high school in New York and its material for sex education next year. It includes far more details and ideas than any high school kid should be exposed to, or anyone for that matter, and way oversteps the boundaries of intimacy as being something sacred and divinely given. It includes more than I was ever taught or exposed to. This was one father's response:

"I think it's a good idea," he told the station. "They're going to have sex. They know it exists. Teaching them about it in my mind doesn't sanction it or encourage it."

I don't think this father has an understanding of how this perception of kids today, particularly his own for whom he has the greatest influence, will have an impact on them as to the choices they make. Today I just read this:

"In the eyes and attitudes of the parents and teachers who raise and educate them, children find mirrors through which they define themselves (71)."

Raising Self-Reliant Children In A Self-Indulgent World
Glenn and Nelson

The book went on to explain that children largely see themselves as a result of how those closest to them treat them, whether it be to treat them "as they really are" or not. I combined that thought with the New York father's incorrect and damaging view of kids and their use of sex. Because he believes most kids will sleep around, regardless of what they're taught, his actions toward them will reflect that belief. Perhaps it's true. Lots of kids will sleep around no matter what....but what about the one? Perhaps there may be a sixteen year old boy out there for whom, a belief in—or against—him and his ability to be chaste may be what makes all the difference between a correct or an incorrect choice.

"Stand up for integrity in your business, in your profession, in your home, in the society of which you are a part. Again, it is not enough that you retreat to your private cloister and pursue only your special interests. Your strong voice is needed. The weight of your stance may be enough to tip the scales in the direction of truth."

President Gordon B. Hinckley
Stand Up For Truth, BYU devotional on 17 September 1996

As I grew up I was surrounded by people who constantly re-affirmed the pure Gospel truths. I learned them from family, church leaders, friends, and teachers, to name a few. I was taught that we are children of God, that our bodies are divinely given, that intimacy is sacred, and that as hard as it may be to stay chaste, it was possible.....I could make it. I learned to see myself this way because others believed in me. As a result I also recognized that Heavenly Father believed in me.

Although there are countless things I still don't know, and things I think I know but later find out were perceived incorrectly, there are some things I do know, things I've come to see "as they really are," which experience we are all able to have if we look through the right lens.