September Young Women Lesson: How Do I Guard My Virtue?

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The outline for this lesson is here and the corresponding Young Men’s lesson is How Can I Resist Pornography? Despite not including it in the lesson title, the outline for the young women talks a lot about pornography and both lessons use the same scripture sources. Keep in mind the ages and maturity of the youth you are teaching and respect the boundaries of the parents. If you are going to go in the direction of discussing pornography, I think it would be wise to type up your outline and what quotes/scriptures you will be using and send that to the parents ahead of time.

I will first give ideas for a general “virtue” lesson. After that, I’ll add “bonus” material for pornography discussion.

At the end of the year in Primary when I was 8 years old, my teacher gave each of us little placards with our names and a scripture on it. Each child in my class got a different scripture. Mine was Proverbs 31:10, “Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.”

I was fascinated by this scripture and learning that there was a whole chapter (a whole chapter!) directed at women. This was new to me and I took the scripture to heart. I definitely wanted to be worth more than rubies, so I spent years trying to figure out what  it meant to be “virtuous.” I had a hard time finding a definition of “virtue;” the Bible Dictionary doesn’t give a definition, the Topical Guide gave few references, and all the Church-y books seemed to make “virtue” = “virgin.” I didn’t like that because I wanted to actually do something to become virtuous, not just “don’t have sex.” That’s not doing anything.

It was years later that I realized that the whole chapter of Proverbs 31 is discussion various attributes of a virtuous woman.

Activity: Read Proverbs 31 verse by verse together. When an attribute of a “virtuous woman” is listed, write it on the board using modern terms. For example verse 19, “She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff,” might be put up on the board as, “She is industrious and works hard.” At the end of the chapter, you’ll have a variety of attributes such as hard-working, decisive, generous, etc. 

Discussion: A virtuous person has good morals and traits. Have the girls add other good traits to this list. Prompts: What sorts of traits do you value in a friend? Think of someone you look up to. Why do you admire them? I think the Wikipedia page on virtues has a good list.

Read: Doctrine and Covenants 121:45-46. What does it say about virtue? How would you “garnish your thoughts” with the attributes listed on the board?

https://www.flickr.com/photos/edithosb/2044207655/Another interesting aspect of “virtue” in the scriptures, is that in a couple of places, when Jesus heals others it states that virtue “went out of him” (Mark 5:30Luke 6:19, Luke 8:46). I’m not sure what this means, but it might be a good thing to talk about. Ask the girls what they think about these passages.

Discussion: Tell a story of someone you know who was particularly virtuous/moral in a tough time. Perhaps someone gave a difficult and sincere apology or worked hard to achieve a difficult goal even though it would have been easier to not bother. Has your life been blessed by the virtues of others? Open up the discussion for the girls to share similar stories. Maybe ask them to write down an example in their journals/notebooks to get their brains going.

Conclusion: At the end of class, challenge them to pick a virtue to think about or work on throughout the next week. I would emphasize that developing virtue is an active process that they have control over. They determine their own virtue. And their price is above rubies no matter what.

 

If you feel that your class is ready for a pornography lesson, then here are some ideas. I write this with older teens in mind.

What is pornography? What is not pornography? It might be helpful to give the definitions of soft porn and hard porn: soft porn is nudity or semi-nudity. Hard porn consists of depictions of sexual acts. It is also important to remember that pornography is a product: images, video, audio, literature. A person is not porn. Wearing certain outfits does not turn a person into pornography, even if the skirt is “short,” the shirt has no sleeves, or the swimsuit does not cover the middle. People are not pornography.

At this point, I would have the class direct the lesson. There is too much to cover. Ask the class why they think the leaders in the Church are worried about pornography. List the responses on the board. Some topics that come up might include:

Porn is addictive. This is what the True to the Faith pamphlet focuses on and you can read from it. Discuss what an addiction is and that an addiction is compulsive and interferes with a person’s ability to live a normal life. Addictions (whether to pornography, drugs, alcohol, food, Internet, etc) keep a person from enjoying life as they normally would. Addictions cannot usually be overcome by the person simply having strong will-power. And if you are working on an addiction, you are not a failure or bad person if you can’t control it.

It’s important to note that viewing porn does not automatically make someone a porn addict just like having a drink doesn’t make someone an alcoholic. Also, it might be useful to discuss that guilt and shame for an addiction fuels the addiction. See also: Addiction Within the LDS Community by Natasha Helfer Parker.

Pornography does not portray the human body or sex in a realistic way. 

Porn affects the way we think about our bodies. Killing Us Softly is about advertisements, but many ads use soft porn for selling things:

Another video you might use to show how media affects our view of ourselves is here:

A lot of porn is made with the “male gaze” in mind. Here’s a good FAQ that explains the “male gaze.” I think everyone can think of a time when we saw a character in a movie in a certain angle or outfit because that’s what’s assumed “men” would like to look at.  Also, I think this example given to us by Cate Blanchett shows us how even in non-pornographic media, the camera is used to treat women as objects to be seen and not individuals themselves.

Pornography can be linked to sex trafficking and violence against women. What Men Can Do: Working to Prevent Men’s Violence Against Women.

A note on “Sexting” I would hope that most of the youth have had the “don’t send pictures of yourself over the Internet” lesson from their parents, but it’s always worth repeating. General Internet safety rules apply. But I would also add a note/discussion on what to do if you get unsolicited explicit pictures or texts from friends or strangers. Someone sending you a nude picture of themselves is sexual harassment and should be reported. Here’s a link that defines online sexual harassment legally. Sexual harassment is not something you ever ask for and you are not at fault if it happens to you.

Conclusion: Finally, it’s important to make sure the girls know that it’s ok to be curious about the human body and porn. We are meant to find other people attractive! That’s how our Heavenly Parents designed us and we shouldn’t feel guilty for feeling curious or aroused by other people. It’s how we deal with our curiosity and arousal that is important. I hope every teen has an adult they can trust with questions about sex and pornography.

About the atonement: if we get caught in addiction or know of someone struggling with it, it is always possible to turn around. It’ll be difficult and there will probably be relapses, but that’s ok and how it works. Good scripture to end on: Doctrine and Covenants 58:42

Leçon des Jeunes Filles : Comment protéger ma vertu?

La leçon correspondante des jeunes gens s’appelle « Comment résister à la pornographie? » Même si le titre de cette leçon ne le mentionne pas, la leçon des jeunes filles parlent beaucoup de la pornographie et les deux leçons citent les mêmes Ecritures. Gardez en tête les âges et la maturité des jeunes filles que vous enseignez et respectez les limites de leurs parents. Si vous voulez discuter de la pornographie, je pense que ce serait sage de donner un résumé de votre leçon, ainsi que les Ecritures citées aux parents à l’avance.

Je donnerai d’abord des idées pour une leçon générale sur la vertu. Ensuite j’ajouterai quelques « bonus » pour parler de la pornographie.

A la fin de l’année la Primaire quand j’avais 8 ans, mon instructrice a donné à chacun d’entre nous une petit plaque inscrite avec notre prénom et une Ecriture. Chaque enfant a reçu une Ecriture différente. La mienne était Proverbes 31 :10 : “ Qui peut trouver une femme vertueuse? Elle a bien plus de valeur que les perles.”

J’étais fascinée par cette Ecriture, surtout d’apprendre qu’il y avait un chapitre entire écrit pour les femmes. J’ai tenu cette Ecriture à coeur. Je voulais avoir une valeur bien plus que les perles donc j’ai passé des années à savoir comment être “vertueuse”. J’avais du mal à trouver une définition du mot “vertu;” le Guide des Ecritures ne donnait pas de définition et peu de références et tous les livres de l’Eglise semblaient dire que vertu = vierge. Je n’aimais pas cela que je voulais faire quelque chose pour devenir vertueuse et non pas simplement rester chaste.

Quelques années plus tard, je me suis rendue compte que tout le chapitre de Proverbes 31 est une discussions des attributs d’une femme vertueuse.

Activité: Lire ensemble Proverbes 31. Quand on mentionne un attribut d’une femmes vertueuse, écrivez-le sur le tableau en termes modernes. Par exemple, verset 19 : « Elle met la main à la quenouille, Et ses doigts tiennent le fuseau » pourrait être transcrit comme « Elle est industrieuse et travaille diligemment. » A la fin du chapitre, vous auriez trouvé une grande variété d’attributs tels que industrieuse, décisive, généreuse, etc.

Discussion: Une personnes vertueuse a de bonnes morales et de bons caractéristiques. Demander aux filles d’ajouter d’autres traits à la liste. Ex : Quelles qualités admirez-vous en une amie ? Pensez à quelqu’un que vous admirez et pourquoi.

Lire: Doctrine et Alliances 121:45-46. Que dit cette Ecriture sur la vertu ? Comment ornez-vos pensées avec les attributs listés sur le tableau?

Discussion: Racontez une histoire de quelqu’un que vous connaissez qui a été particulièrement vertueux ou moral pendant une période difficile. Comment votre vie a-t-elle été bénie par les vertus des autres? Ouvrez la discussion aux filles, demandez-leur d’écrire un exemple dans leurs cahiers.

Conclusion: A la fin du cours, lancez un défi de choisir un vertu à travailler pendant la semaine. Je soulignerais que développer une vertu est un processus actif sur lequel elles ont le contrôle. Elles déterminent leur propre vertu. Et leur valeur surpasse celle des perles quoi qu’elles fassent.

Si vous sentez que votre classe est prête pour une leçon sur la pornographie, voici quelques idées. J’écris cela avec des adolescents plus âgés en tête.

Qu’est-ce que la pornographie? Qu’est-ce qu’elle ne l’est pas ? Il est important de se rappeler que la pornographie est un produit : des images, une vidéo, de la littérature. Une personne n’est pas de la pornographie. Porter une tenue particulière ne transforme pas une personne en pornographie, même si la jupe est courte, même si le haut n’a pas de manches, même si le maillot de bain ne couvre pas le ventre. Les personnes ne sont pas la pornographie.

Je laisserais la classe diriger la leçon. Demandez-leur pourquoi les dirigeants de l’Eglise s’inquiètent à cause de la pornographie. Quelques sujets possible :

La pornographie peut devenir une addiction. Le livret Ancrés dans la Foi se concentre sur cette idée. Définissez l’addiction : une activité compulsive qui empêche à la personnes de vivre normalement. Elles ne peuvent pas être surmontées simplement par notre bonne volonté. Si vous luttez contre une addiction, vous n’êtes pas une mauvaise personne si vous n’arrivez pas à la contrôler.

Il est important de noter que regarder la pornographie ne vous rend pas automatiquement un addict, tout comme boire de l’alcool ne vous rend pas automatiquement un alcoolique. Ce serait aussi utile de discuter comment la culpabilité et la honte encouragent une addiction.

La pornographie ne dépeint ni le corps humain ni le sexe d’une manière réaliste.

La pornographie affecte la manière dont nous pensons à notre corps.

 

La pornographie est souvent liée au trafic humain et à la violence contre les femmes.

Conclusion: Enfin, il est important de s’assurer que les filles savent que c’est normal d’avoir de la curiosité à propos du corps et du sexe. Nous sommes censés être attirés par les autres! Nous ne devrions pas nous culpabiliser pour cette curiosité ni cette attraction. Ce qui est important est comment nous gérons ces choses. J’espère que chaque adolescente a un adulte auquel elle fait confiance et à qui elle peut poser ses questions sur la sexualité et la pornographie.

Sur l’expiation : si nous sommes prises par l’addiction ou si nous connaissons quelqu’un qui l’est, il est toujours possible de faire demi-tour. Ce sera difficile et il y aura surement des rechutes, mais c’est comme cela que  l’Expiation fonctionne. Voici une bonne Ecriture pour finir : Doctrine et Alliances 58 :42.

TopHat

TopHat is putting her roots down in the Bay Area with her husband and three children. She loves the earth, yarn, and bicycling.

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10 Responses

  1. These are two excellent, empowering, faith-promoting lesson plans. I admit that when I saw the title I was nervous, but this was so well done.

  2. Cruelest Month says:

    Great handling of difficult topics. I was very intrigued by the idea of virtue going out of Christ and what that might signify in understanding how women hold the priesthood/use Godly power. Wonderful videos and additional resources. I’ll be revisiting them with the teenager in my home.

  3. Violadiva says:

    Really well put together, TopHat! I’ve always loved Proverbs 31, due in part to a great YW leader who taught virtue like you have it above, not the harmful dichotomy that virtue = virginity.
    My favorite? “She is not afraid of the snow”

    I also love pointing out in this text that virtue and wisdom are attributes of our Heavenly Mother, and this is one portion of scripture where we gain some insight into her character.

  4. Wayne Borean says:

    Trying to protect children, by not telling them the truth, tends to be self defeating. How can any child know how to handle sex, pornography, sexual abuse, drugs, etc. if they haven’t been told about them?

    When I was a kid, we didn’t have Sex-Ed in Health until Grade 7. During Grade 6 one of the girls disappeared. No one knew what was going on. Then I was off school feeling sick one day, and my Mom talked me into going out for a trip to town with my Grandmother. We ran into that girl, and her mother outside of Woolworth’s. She was about 7-8 months pregnant.

    She’d never been told anything about sex – her mother was over fifty when she hit eleven, and like most people that age, wasn’t comfortable talking about sex. At eleven she hit puberty, and got interested in playing around. Since she had no idea of what could happen, the inevitable happened.

    Protection by ignorance is a terrible thing to inflict on children. They won’t know what can happen, and they will still get blamed when it does.

    Wayne

    • Wayne Borean says:

      I should point out that this happened in the summer of 1967. Canadian attitudes were a lot different then.

      Wayne

    • TopHat says:

      Yes- parents should have talked about sex and pornography before now. That’s why I think it’s a good idea to give a head’s up- give the parents a chance to talk about it before the teacher is the first one to do so!

  5. TopHat says:

    I’ll add another video that might be good for the teacher to watch ahead of time: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gRJ_QfP2mhU

    And a good article to read by Natasha Helfer Parker. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/mormontherapist/2014/08/how-do-i-teach-my-kids-about-pornography.html

  6. Jeanmarie says:

    This is just wonderful. If I were a mother of girls (or boys for that matter), I would definitely make use of this.

  1. August 16, 2014

    […] I was fascinated by this scripture and learning that there was a whole chapter (a whole chapter!) directed at women. This …read more […]

  2. August 27, 2014

    […] I would like to point out some excellent Young Women lessons that discuss chastity and virtue as good guides to delve further into this section of the lesson: Top Hat’s lesson guide on “How do I Guard my Virtue?” […]

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