Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Cloak of Invisibility

In “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” we learn of three objects that bring great power to the person that has them. There is the Elder Wand, the Resurrection Stone, and the Cloak of Invisibility. The Elder Wand was the most powerful wand in the wizarding world and the person that had it could not be defeated in a dual. The Resurrection Stone allowed the owner to communicate with the dead. The Cloak of Invisibility would make the person that used it invisible to everyone and could not be detected by most magic. As good at hiding the person using it, there were a few magical creatures that could sense the cloak and the person under it. The Cloak of Invisibility showed up in the first Harry Potter book. Harry received the cloak as a Christmas gift his first year at Hogwarts and used it many time throughout the series to get around unseen by others.

If I had to choose one of the three Deathly Hallows it would be the Cloak of Invisibility. The ability to go anywhere undetected could be useful and fun. Like anything it could be used for good and evil and the way we use it would determine our character. Dumbledore told Harry “it is not our abilities that show who we truly are, it our choices” (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, p. 333, JK Rowling).

While the Deathly Hallows sound inviting and enticing, as we find out in “The Tales of Beedle the Bard” they usually end up causing more harm than good. Those who had possession of them ended up dead. Harry many time got into trouble when he was using the Invisibility Cloak to do things that were breaking the rules of Hogwarts.

Many times muggles (non magical people) think that we can do things that are not seen by others, as if we had the Cloak of Invisibility. The viewing of pornography is one activity that we may think that can go unseen. It maybe undetected by the muggles around us, but it is not hidden from our Heavenly Father. Pornography, like the Deathly Hallows, if not stopped will end up causing misery and destruction. Many studies have linked pornography to sexual violence and negative attitudes towards women.

In a 2008 study of U.S. young adults coauthored by Carroll and several BYU colleagues, 87 percent of men and 31 percent of women reported using pornography, and 67 percent of men and 49 percent of women thought viewing it was totally okay. As early as 2002 the London School of Economics reported that 90 percent of children ages 8 to 16 years old had viewed pornography online, in most cases unintentionally. Today, with 95 percent of U.S. teens using the Internet, pornography has never been easier for kids to access, and studies document the average age of first exposure as 12 years old.

Carroll says mobile devices are the latest front: 78 percent of U.S. teens have a cell phone. “Parents are losing this in...the cell-phone battles,” Carroll says. “Kids are getting a lot of access parents are clueless about.”

With access to pornography in their pockets and purses, “it’s ultimately going to become about internal regulation,” says Carroll. “It’s going to be about choices kids make, material they turn away from, and an understanding of what it is they are seeing.” (“Arm Your Kids for the Battle”)

The author of “Arm Your Kids for the Battle”, Lisa Ann Jackson Thomson, suggests that teaching our children that pornography is bad is not good enough but we need to teach them what is good:

“Our kids need to understand the role of real love in a real marriage, creating and strengthening a real family.”

Butler says teachings about sexuality should contain both a witness and a warning. “The sexual-response cycle exists naturally in us as human beings,” he explains. “The desire and drive we have is a God-given endowment which blesses us, drawing us naturally and affectionately toward the opposite sex, toward marriage, and toward family life. That is the witness.”

The warning is that such expressions must be disciplined and kept within the bounds the Lord has set, says Butler. “As puberty happens, the sexual-response cycle naturally evolves and boys and girls discover ways to...have ‘feel-good experiences,’” he explains, noting that parent-child conversations are particularly helpful to sort through these new feelings. (“Arm Your Kids for the Battle”)

The article stresses that it is natural for youth to feel guilty after viewing pornography but we should not add to their guilt by shaming them. Shaming causes more stress which can lead them back to view it more as a way to cope with the stress. Instead of shaming we need to teach our children of the doctrine of the Atonement.

In relation to pornography, “we rarely hear about a maturation process,” he says. “We all learn through some trial and error in sexual development. It may not all be the same, but everybody, without fail, has some maturity to gain in this part of life.”

Butler believes that the adolescent brain may be one of the primary reasons for the Atonement. “The adolescent brain is not fully formed, and that leads to certain issues like impulse control and lack of forward thinking,” he explains. “A spiritually sincere, striving teen can become crippled by overwhelming guilt when he encounters weaknesses that he is uniquely vulnerable to having with that still-adolescent brain. It is so critical that, alongside teaching the commandments, you teach adolescents the Atonement—that it’s there for the purpose of developmental patience and persistence in life.”

And that is a hopeful message: there is much parents can do to prepare their children to reject pornography, and when they falter, there is an infinite Atonement that makes change and repentance possible.

“There is a light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s not a train,” says Holzapfel. “There is [the light] of a fresh new day, a new beginning, a new start.”

As the article points out our children are not the only ones that have a problem with pornography many adults also find themselves trapped under the “Cloak of Invisibility” of pornography. The Atonement of Jesus Christ can free anyone, old or young, from the chains of sin that binds us (Alma 12:6) and experience the joy of forgiveness that comes when we are cleansed from our sins.

Your comments and questions are welcome.

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