Category Archives: Pornography Prevention

“My Mind’s a Sacred Place” (new original song) – Arm your Children with the Power of Music to Fend off the Evils of Pornography!

Catherine's family. Photo by Ronni Paxton.

Catherine’s family. Photo by Ronni Paxton.

Download the sheet music and listen to a recording of children singing Catherine’s original song: “My Mind’s a Sacred Place.” (Copyright © 2015 Catherine Doxey White. This song may be copied for incidental, noncommercial church or home use.)

Today’s guest author Catherine is mother of five children ages 6-21. Catherine loves to sing (very loudly and occasionally off-tune), scrapbook, read, and write. She has written a few songs, from the silly to the sacred. Catherine writes:

About half-way through his mission, my oldest son wrote home and said, “Whenever I have some kind of temptation or negative thought, I just think of punching Satan in the face.” I’m a pretty non-violent kind of girl, but I have to admit that when I acknowledge how aggressively Satan is targeting our young, innocent children with pornography, all my mama bear instincts kick in and I want to launch a full-scale offensive attack. Just thinking about Satan’s attempts to envelope our children in darkness and isolation while twisting their view of love, robbing them of self-worth, and ensnaring them in addiction transforms me from a peace-loving pacifist into a wanna-be sniper. I want to take Satan out long before he has a chance to pollute the minds of our precious children.

“My Mind’s a Sacred Place” is my attempt to arm our children with tools to defend themselves against accidental exposure to pornography. Pornography statistics have haunted me ever since I first heard that the average age that a pornography addiction starts is now age 11. I was even more shocked to learn that about 85% of pornography contains violence, making pornography a world public health concern. It is unfortunately no longer a question of whether or not youth will encounter pornography; 100% of today’s youth will be exposed to pornography in some form.

This concerned me so much that I spent the next year and a half studying how to combat pornography and use the Atonement to overcome addiction. As I learned about some of the simple yet effective ways to protect our children, I thought, “Someone should write a Primary song to reinforce these ideas.” I did not expect that someone to be me, until I woke up one morning with the melody and lyrics of “My Mind’s a Sacred Place” running through my mind. The song came so easily that I humbly recognized it as a gift of inspiration from our Heavenly Father. I felt an incredible sense of urgency to share the song, and prayed for guidance with the accompaniment.  My talented friend Andrea came to the rescue as a direct answer to my prayers, writing the accompaniment, improving the melody for the verses, and co-writing the lyrics for the third verse.

 

“My Mind’s a Sacred Place”

There is a battle raging on;

It’s a fight for right or wrong;

It’s a war for my own heart and mind.

Evil traps are drawing near;

Bad pictures can appear

That steal the peace the Spirit helps me find.

 

Chorus:  I’ll turn it off; I’ll walk away.

I will sing, and I will pray.

I will turn to my own loving Savior.

I know my body is a gift,

And my mind’s a sacred place.

I’ll be clean;

I’ll seek light;

I’ll choose the right.

 

Verse 2: Temptations come to look again;

I won’t look; I won’t give in.

I’ll talk to my mom or my dad.

I will run or play or read;

I’ll help someone in need;

I’ll focus on the good and name the bad.

 

Verse 3: When I’m tempted on my own

I don’t have to feel alone;

I can talk to my Father in prayer.

I’ll tell leaders who can guide;

It’s my mind; I can decide

To fill my thoughts with light and truth to share.

I pray that we can teach children to follow the counsel to automatically “turn it off and walk away,” and turn to the Savior. Rather than visualizing ourselves punching Satan in the face or getting him in the scope of a long-range rifle, we can use this song as one more piece of armor to invite the Spirit and give children the strength to “be clean, seek light, and choose the right.”

For sheet music, a recording of the song, acknowledgments, more resources, and more information about Catherine (author of the lyrics) and Andrea (composer of the music), click here.

 

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The Backstory: How Primary in Zion connected with Mormon Media Network

Mormon Tea Episode 9 Fill Your Cup with Primary in Zion

Michelle: Back in February 2014 I gave birth to twins – by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done.  We called in all the willing troops to help with the twins, plus our 5 year old and 8 year old children.  My own mom’s health wouldn’t allow her to come out and help after the babies were born. So my husband’s Aunt Lori decided that she would fly out to stay with us for a week and help keep us alive right after the babies and I were released from the hospital. And boy did she save us.  But that’s another story.

Over the course of our days together I learned about the new program that Lori was producing and hosting for Mormon Media Network: Mormon Tea.  The more I learned about this program the more fascinated I was.  What a clever idea!  I loved their website’s mission statement: “Bringing Good Things Together.”  I realized that Mormon Media Network and Primary in Zion could make a good pair. Before Lori left us to go home we decided that if my family was able to visit Utah over the summer, then Lori would interview me for a Mormon Tea episode about Primary in Zion, covering topics like how it came to be, what is available on the blog, who reads it, who writes for it, and more.  We were lucky to have family and some professional opportunities that brought us to Utah so we could make this interview happen. Well, I immediately told Marci I was going to start trying to convince her to fly out to Utah and join the interview.

Marci: My first response was “You don’t need me for this. You know this stuff as well as I do, and besides, she’s your aunt. I don’t want to elbow in on a family thing.” Michelle’s response was, “But I’d love for you to come. We’re better on this stuff together, you and me.” I said, “I’m there.” That’s all the convincing I needed.

Michelle: With Marci as easily persuaded as that, we coordinated our travel plans with Lori’s availability and scheduled the interview for August 1, 2014.  We were so excited to think about sharing Primary in Zion with more people in search of these resources.

Marci: To prepare for our first-ever interview, we had a coaching session with a professional radio interviewer who is a former student of mine. Not only did Neena’s tips and tricks give us useful information, but speaking with her gave us confidence that we could do this.

Michelle: On the day of the interview we started with an amazing full Afternoon Tea with multiple courses of gourmet treats served in Lori’s living room. She worked for days to cook up everything for us from scratch.  (My 5-year-old daughter’s favorite were the cupcakes decorated with edible miniature violets from Lori’s garden.) You can recreate your own Afternoon Tea discussion with all the recipes and pictures of each item on this PDF document, designed and edited by Lori. The kiddos  joined us for the tea party and of course we all wore hats!  You can see more photos on the document as well!

Tea Party!

As soon as we wrapped up the tea party we got set up with personal microphones and settled right in to the discussion about Primary in Zion.  We were so pleased to make these resources more available to anyone who is seeking, and to make our blog readers more aware of Mormon Media Network as well.  Our conversation lasted for about an hour and a half. Before the episode goes live there is editing and mastering done behind the scenes by Matt, Lori’s husband and co-founder of Mormon Media Network. It was really interesting to learn a little bit about what happens to pull something like this together.  The audio interview ended up being 47 minutes, with a 14 page PDF document that includes recipes, photos, resources, and other learning materials specifically created to accompany our interview, Episode 9: “Fill Your Cup with Primary in Zion.”

Perhaps you’re wondering what a tea party and a discussion about teaching children the gospel has in common.  I asked Lori what sparked the creation of the program Mormon Tea and this is what she said:

Lori: My husband noticed how joyful I was after a tea party with friends, and he listened intently to my report of the interesting conversations we had over tea.  It was actually my husband’s idea to create the program “Mormon Tea” on our newly-created website Mormon Media Network.  We wanted to be able to share positive, timely, and useful information with our listeners in an atmosphere of beauty and friendship.  “Mormon Tea” is really a play on words as there really is such a thing as an herb tea called Mormon Tea.  Then there is our version of Afternoon Tea which only serves up herbal teas (infusions) in perfect harmony with the Word of Wisdom.  Our content is guided by the 13th Article of Faith: “…If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.”  And one of my favorite tea party quotes is “Life is a cup to be filled, not drained” (by Anonymous).  Coming together with friends to share a lovely pot of herb tea and engage in inspiring conversation always “fills my cup!”  Please join us!  There’s much to talk about and much to learn.  Taking time out for Tea is sure to “fill your cup” too!

The audio interview went live on September 1 and is available to listen to here.  Thank you to the team at Mormon Media Network who made this experience possible!  We hope you enjoy our discussion as much as we did.

~Michelle & Marci

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Pornography Prevention materials: Now in Spanish!

Perhaps you’re already familiar with the materials in kid-friendly language on the Pornography Prevention tab above (or click here). Thanks to Jackie and Derick, the 12-page guide is now available in Spanish! Aprender acerca de la modestia y evitar la pornografía.

Also new are two books added to the resource list:

  • God Gave You a Body by Jocelyn B. Christensen, free picture book download in English and German from beinglds.blogspot.com/
  • Good Pictures, Bad Pictures by LDS author Kristen A. Jenson, for older children, available wherever LDS books are sold

We hope you find these materials useful in supporting parents to have these important conversations in the home. We join with you in efforts to help children protect their minds, bodies and spirits.

“Children are not a distraction from more important work.  They are the most important work,” said John  Trainer, M.D. (Thanks to Lori for passing along this quote.)

-Marci

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Resilience as Pornography Prevention: Eight Child-Building Articles in one FRIEND Magazine!

Sept 2014 FriendYou may already have explored the pornography prevention materials on this site for parents to use in the home (see the Pornography Prevention tab above, or click here). One way that parents can help protect their children is to teach them healthy coping strategies for life’s stresses and disappointments. As BYU professor Mark Butler points out in a Sept 2014 ENSIGN article, “Children who have not learned how to deal with guilt, shame, sorrow, or pain will often turn to addictive behaviors to numb their negative emotions. Even less serious emotions such as stress, boredom, or loneliness can lead to addictive behaviors if the child doesn’t understand how to cope. Emotional pain is not bad. You can help your children learn to relate to pain not as a horrible emotion to be avoided but as a teacher that can lead to incredible growth.”

Then the Church takes that counsel to help children learn to cope and backs it up with real resources to help accomplish it. In a single FRIEND magazine (Sept 2014), in addition to other wonderful articles about God’s love, going to the temple, doing service, etc., I spotted these:

I just love these marvelous articles that speak directly to children, addressing real life situations in kid-friendly language. In every case, the answer is, as always, “come unto Christ.” (Moroni 10:32) “Instead of relying on entertainment to escape your problems, . . . the healthiest way to solve problems is to rely on Heavenly Father, the Savior, and your relationships with others.” (Jennifer Grace Fallon, “Healing Hidden Wounds,” Sept 2014 ENSIGN, 56).

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Primary in Zion now live on Mormon Media Network!

We’re delighted to announce that an audio interview about Primary in Zion is online on Mormon Media Network! Lori Henderson, host of the show “Mormon Tea,” interviewed authors Michelle and Marci in Episode 9, titled “Fill My Cup with Primary in Zion.”  The description of the episode reads, “Not just for Primary workers, ‘Primary in Zion’ provides useful information specific to our day for anyone who works with children.”

Listen here. The link to the pdf is here; the last 4 pages contain blog highlights about building your Primary team, music ideas, behavior issues, Scouting and Activity Days, activity favorites, and resources for families to use in the home.

Grab a cup of herb tea, sit back and listen!

-Marci and Michelle

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My Body is Created in the Image of God, February Sharing Time lesson supplement

exuberance47Week 3 of February 2014 Sharing Time has excellent suggestions about how to teach children about this aspect of the monthly theme, “Heavenly Father Has a Plan for His Children.” Consider these enrichment ideas as the Spirit directs and as time permits. You may also want to suggest these resources to parents to follow up on learnings in Primary.

* SUGGESTED FOR JUNIOR PRIMARY: Your body is a gift from Heavenly Father. You’ve lived in your body ever since you were born. You can use your body to run fast, climb a tree, ride a bike, or hug a friend.

Because your body is such a wonderful gift, and because your body can do such special things, you take good care of it. You eat healthy food, brush your teeth, wash your hands often, exercise, and get enough sleep. All these things help your body stay healthy and strong.

You also respect your body, which means you treat it like the sacred and special gift that it is. You use your body to do good things, always trying to obey Heavenly Father in all the choices you make.

Heavenly Father wants you to respect your body and other people’s bodies. One way to show that you respect your body is to dress modestly. (More at primaryinzion.wordpress.com/pornography-prevention/)

* SUGGESTED FOR SENIOR PRIMARY: Do you have any babies in your life? Maybe a younger sister, a nephew, or a baby in your neighborhood? Being around babies makes you realize how much you’ve grown. It’s hard to imagine that you were ever that little. Now your body is bigger, stronger, and can do many more things. Your body will continue to grow until you’re an adult, without you even telling it to grow. Your body just grows.

Your body is a wonderful gift from Heavenly Father. He made everybody’s body just a little bit different. Some are tall, some are short. Some bodies have curly hair, some have straight hair, in many different colors. God made your body special, just for you. He gave you your body so you can learn how to use it well. He wants you to use your wonderful body to do good things, so you can come back to live with Him.

Take good care of your body by keeping it clean, eating right, exercising, and getting plenty of sleep. You’ll want to treat your body with respect, which means to treat it like the special gift that it is. Taking care of your body and treating it with respect shows Heavenly Father that you appreciate the wonderful body that He has given you.

One way to show that you respect your body is to dress modestly.  (More at primaryinzion.wordpress.com/pornography-prevention/)

* REFLECTIONS ON TEACHING A LESSON ABOUT MODESTY:

Becky talks about unexpected learnings here: Teaching Modesty in Sharing Time: Clothing as Advertising.

God bless you as you teach children these important truths to keep them safe in the last days.

-Marci

Photo from seedsareblest.blogspot.com

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Teaching modesty in Sharing Time or Family Night: clothing as advertising

Today’s guest author is Becky, whose Primary leadership experience spans many years and whose love for the children shines from her eyes. She writes:

Last summer I taught the modesty lesson from the 2012 Sharing Time manual. Which, of course, meant explaining what modesty is and why it’s important, in a way that even the youngest kids could understand without getting into concepts that are best discussed at home. After beating my head against a (metaphorical) wall for awhile I came up with the idea of showing them pictures of people in clothes that tell you something about who they are or what they are doing.

I searched online for coloring pages and found an astronaut, chef, bride and groom, ballerina, etc.

During Sharing Time I held up each picture and asked what the children could tell about the person by looking at their clothes. Then we talked about how all clothes give messages. We talked about how we wear nicer clothes to church than to school out of respect for Heavenly Father. Some clothes, like the bride’s wedding dress, are for special occasions, and other clothes are only appropriate for certain activities, like swimsuits.

We also talked about how some clothes are never appropriate because they give people bad messages. I told them that Heavenly Father made each one of us special and everyone deserves to be treated with respect. They should be careful to wear clothes that remind others of that. Wearing clothes that cover the “important parts” of our bodies completely (the parts covered by a swimsuit) is part of that.

Now, obviously these discussions went very differently in Junior than Senior Primary but it worked well with both. The Junior Primary needed to have “respect” defined. I defined it simply, “respecting Heavenly Father means remembering that He wants us to be safe and happy, and trying to always be grateful for all He does for us and do what He asks.” I defined “respect for other people” as “remembering that they’re just as important as you are, and that Heavenly Father loves them and wants them to be happy just like He loves you and wants you to be happy.” Neither of those is a particularly complete definition, but for the Sunbeams even that much is a big concept. Some of them were still young enough not to truly understand why we shouldn’t all just run around naked, and so I fell back on the true, but incomplete, explanation that this is how Heavenly Father wants us to dress.

Meanwhile, in Senior Primary the children threw out gleeful (and completely unsolicited) examples of clothing we should never wear, and the 11 year olds could easily have taken the discussion in directions not appropriate for the 7 and 8 year olds. That meant I had to put some extra effort into keeping things on track. In both groups I had to remember to answer the older children’s questions in ways that were appropriate for the youngest child in the room, which took some careful phrasing. No matter what age group you’re teaching I strongly recommend cutting the topic down to its absolute most basic level in your head before even planning, much less teaching, a lesson on this subject. It makes answering questions on what could easily be a very awkward subject so much easier.

Thanks to some careful planning and some inspiration I ended up actually enjoying teaching the lesson, which was not at all what I expected when I first found out about the topic I was going to teach!

-Becky

Also see Pornography Prevention for families.

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Friend or Foe?

My daughter loves bugs.  She’s never shied away from picking up worms, roly-polies, spiders you name it!  She finds them fascinating.

Recently we were in the garden watering the vegetables when she excitedly came running with her pointer finger held out cautiously excited to show us her

new friend!  “Look at my new friend who landed on me to say hello!”  She held out her finger to let us inspect closer.  Sitting on her finger slurping up her blood greedily was a mosquito.  We immediately tried to swat it away to save her from the inevitable but she was devastated.  “NO!  He’s my friend, he’s visiting me!”  We tried to explain but I guess being only 4 years old she didn’t know any better, and couldn’t remember what last summer’s mosquito bites felt like.

Unfortunately, the next day she became very aware of a large, very itchy bump on her finger.  We explained to her that it was a mosquito bite from her “friend” and she was crestfallen.  She paused for a second and I could imagine her feelings of betrayal.  She was only being nice, letting her “friend” perch on her finger safely when others would have squished him instantaneously.

As this experience transpired over a few days I reflected on how this mosquito is much like Satan.  He may seem pretty harmless; we may think that we are strong enough to resist his temptations; but in the end he is still Satan.  He will always leave us feeling betrayed, uncomfortable and wounded.  Thankfully, we have our spiritual “mosquito repellent” handy to ward off attacks: The Holy Ghost.  Just as my daughter needed to learn that mosquitoes are only able to bite when they land on her, so must we teach our children to avoid the pitfalls of life and childhood: peer pressure, pornography, dishonesty, stealing, cheating etc.  Teaching our children to feel and recognize the Holy Ghost is one of our best defenses against the storms (and mosquitoes) of life!

Maybe you want to re-tell this story and use the analogy of the mosquito to help teach your Primary children about choosing wisely.

~Michelle

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Pornography Prevention: When should parents start?

Download the one-page handout Fast Facts, Conversation Starters, Age-Appropriate Teaching.

Few problems in the church today are as thorny as pornography. Like many other situations, prevention is far better than cure. Our goal in posting these pornography prevention materials on the PrimaryinZion blog is to support parents to have these important conversations in the home.

But parents can be the most effective teachers on this sensitive but important topic. How early should parents begin to have these conversations? Elder Quentin L. Cook said in October 2012 General Conference: “[A] young man . . . earnestly asked if the Apostles knew how early in life teaching and protecting against pornography and impure thoughts should start. With emphasis, he stated that in some areas even before youth graduate from Primary is not too early.”

But in case you’re a little late, skip the guilt, and just get going. Let yourself off the hook. As H. David Burton said, “The first step is to begin. The second is to continue.” (Ensign, March 2009, 60.) May you feel the sweetness of God’s spirit as you have these important conversations to protect the children you love.

-Marci

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Modesty – including followup for families about pornography prevention

Modesty lessons are no longer just for the youth. In the past few years, the Primary Sharing Time outline has had a lesson about modesty as well. This reflects the need for clear teaching in the last days, as immodest habits are creeping to younger and younger ages. But our choice latter-day children are up to the task!

For example, week 4 of the June 2012 Sharing Time outline suggests a lesson about modesty under the monthly theme “I Choose the Right by Living Gospel Principles.” Here’s some suggested language on how to discuss this sensitive but critical topic:

Your body is a gift from Heavenly Father. You’ve lived in your body ever since you were born. You respect your body, which means you treat it like the sacred and special gift that it is. One way to show that you respect your body is to dress modestly. Dressing modestly means covering your body with clothes. When you’re in public, you should always wear clothes that cover at least your private parts – the parts covered by your swimsuit.  Modest clothes for school and play and church cover even more of your body than your swimsuit. Grownups can help you figure out how to dress modestly for the right time and place.

A good followup to this Primary lesson about modesty is to let parents know about the resources at PrimaryinZion.wordpress.com at the pornography prevention tab above. While modesty is a wonderful topic for Primary, followup discussions about pornography prevention should happen in the home, not in Primary, so parents can gear this essential but delicate conversation to the needs of the individual child. At the pornography prevention tab above are materials for younger children, older children, and parents — including scriptures and songs for further learning.

Some folks get nervous to talk about these things — but when done appropriately and with the Lord’s guidance, you might be surprised at how sweet the Spirit is when children feel the strength of their parents and leaders helping them navigate these tricky issues safely.

As you plan this lesson about modesty, we welcome your good lesson ideas!

-Marci

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