Stance: Studies on the Family

Brigham Young University Student Journal

Category: Politics & Society (page 2 of 4)

Interstellar Movie Review


Interstellar, Christopher Nolan’s newest film starring Anne Hathaway, Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain, and Michael Caine, is a film fundamentally about family.

Sure, it’s a sprawling science-fiction epic about the survival of humanity that transcends space and time, but at its core, Interstellar is about a father and his daughter, and to a lesser extent, his son.  The case could be made that it’s about two fathers and their respective daughters in fact.

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The film suffers from Christopher Nolan’s tendency to be over-ambitious (functioning almost like three distinct hour-long vignettes spliced together). However, the emotional, familial core of the film brings the different strands together, uniting the myriad of themes, questions, and characters.

McConaughey’s character leaves Earth to try and save the human race, promising his daughter, Murphy, that he will return. The most tender and heart-breaking moments are those shared by McConaughey and Chastain, who plays adult Murphy. Their connection drives the plot and works because of phenomenal acting by both Chastain and McConaughey.

The film questions the worth of individuals, asking whether saving those you love matters more than saving all of humanity. The bonds of love, romantic and familial, are explored and have a key role to play in the resolution of the film.

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A beautiful sequence towards the end of the film illustrates the transcendent nature of familial love, connecting individuals across divides of space and time. While the film is agnostic about God (and could be construed in some sense as anti-theistic), this sequence is of particular beauty and importance to Latter-day Saints.

The family relationships play a key part in the resolution (which was a bit too neat for my taste), illustrating the importance of family. This unification of family across time and space resonates strongly with many value systems and LDS theology in particular. The visualization of the ideas is thought-provoking and gives some interesting insight into the connection between the living and the dead, as well as potentially how God views the world.

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Despite its flaws, Interstellar is a thought-provoking, well-crafted, well-acted piece of filmmaking. The centrality of family and human connection to the plot and thematic questions creates a film that has an emotional punch, touching threads close to many of us.

Written by Conor Hilton

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Polygamy: What is Family?

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Polygamy & The Church

Recently on the Church’s website, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released an article, providing updated information regarding polygamy and the practice of it throughout early Church history.

Polygamy is a radically different understanding of the family than frequently espoused in current Mormon ideology. When polygamy was practiced, a family potentially involved a man, multiple women (who may or may not have had other husbands), and children.


As members of the Church living in this dispensation, we must face the following pressing questions. For example:

  • What is a family?
  • How do we understand the idea of family?
  • Have we unnecessarily restricted our idea of what makes up a family?
  • Is a family limited to a husband and wife with children?
  • What does it mean for our interactions as a community that the definition of “family” has changed throughout Church history?
  • Do we gain something by accepting different ideas of what constitutes a family?

Perhaps the most important question is the following:

  • How should we respond to the former practice of polygamy?

3 Lessons to Learn

Unfortunately, I do not have a satisfactory answer to these questions. However, I can provide some possible lessons to learn from polygamy, regardless of whether I understand or like the practice.

  1. The family and community are central to the Gospel. This concept may take different forms, but the fascination with relationships, in many varied forms, illustrates the importance of building connections.
  1. Polygamy helped establish Mormons as a peculiar people. Since polygamy was outside the norm, this practice firmly established Mormons as peculiar and forced a sense of community.
  1. Polygamy functioned as a sort of Abrahamic sacrifice. This sacrifice allowed people to bind together, recognizing the shared cost to the community.

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Now, these three lessons are not one hundred percent positive. It’s possible (and not necessarily wrong) to see the aspects of polygamy that led to these three positive lessons in a negative light. Again, I do not understand the practice of polygamy.


Without a doubt, the practice of polygamy is difficult to understand, particularly within a modern context. Much of what happened is unclear and unexplained, complicating our conception of what occurred. Despite these problems and my inability to personally understand the necessity of polygamy, I better appreciate the value of family and community, by striving to make sense of the past.

By Conor Hilton

Sign the Petition: Represent Women on BYU Campus

Sign the petition. Join the cause. Represent Women on BYU Campus!

To sign the petition, go to this link below:

Why should you sign?

This cause is the result of two intersecting realities.

  1. The time has come for a prominent campus building to be named after a woman. Take a look at BYU’s campus map. Our buildings serve as monuments to LDS leaders: prophets, businessmen, scholars, scientists, and pioneers of every kind. We honor their legacies in stone.
    Unfortunately, only two buildings are named after women: The Caroline Hemengway Harman Building and Amanda Knight Hall. If neither of these places sound familiar to you, you’re not alone.
    The Harman Building houses BYU’s continuing education program. The vast majority of BYU graduates (in fact, nearly all of them) never pass through its doors. Amanda Knight Hall, a former women’s dormitory, served as a language training center prior to the construction of the MTC. Since 1999, it has “temporarily housed several academic groups during construction and remodeling of various campus buildings”. In everyday parlance: A really nice storage unit.
  2. The second reality at hand is the need for more women in STEM fields. A 2011 report by the Department of Commerce found gaping gender disparity in STEM majors, and even then, women with STEM degrees are less likely to work in related occupations than their male counterparts. Ultimately, only 25% of STEM jobs and 7.5% of patents are held by women.
    We can support women in STEM by honoring those who paved the way. Research conducted at BYU has emphasized the importance of role models vis-à-vis women and STEM: Women whose mothers majored in STEM were 83% more likely to major in STEM themselves (regardless of whether their mother made a career of it).


While there are many Mormon women whose names and legacies deserve honoring, we have a created a shortlist of four: Martha Hughes Cannon, Ellis Reynolds Shipp, Romania B. Pratt Penrose, and Jane Manning James.

The first three women were STEM pioneers during the 19th century, yet not every campus building is named for someone noteworthy within that building’s purview (Harold B. Lee, for example, was not a  librarian, nor was J. Williard Marriott a basketball player). In light of that, the fourth woman on our shortlist is Jane Manning James, a prominent black pioneer in early Church history.

Martha, Ellis, Romania, and Jane are just four of many, many Mormon women whose stories are crying out from the dust. Let’s honor a foremother.

Let’s honor a role model. Let’s give the Life Science Building a proper name.

Mormons + Equal Marriage: Right and Left Perspectives


Last week, the Supreme Court decided to not make a decision. Essentially, the Supreme Court lets state rulings allowing same-sex marriage to stand. Therefore, this decision strikes down bans of same-sex marriage in other states. (Read more here.)

Robert Barns explains, “The decision is likely to expand same-sex marriage to other states covered by the federal appeals courts that already have ruled that the bans are unconstitutional: Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas, West Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina.”

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The Court’s “non-decision” is seen as helping those who are in support of equal marriage. (Read more here.)

Stance: Studies on the Family is run by BYU students. Our journal and blog emphasizes the impact that marriage and family have on society and increases awareness of current issues affecting the family. We encourage professionalism, respect, and tolerance.

So what do we think about this recent news? Two articles below represent right and left perspectives concerning the issue of Mormons and their support of equal marriage.

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Lean Right: “How to Live with Change”

Written by: Karee Brown

I will be honest: I have been out of the loop on political issues for the past two years. I guess serving an LDS mission will do that to you, but after my mission, I didn’t feel any rush or the need to get back into the “loop” of current events. What you don’t know can’t hurt you, right?

Sadly, being ignorant of current affairs can hurt you. Last Tuesday, I was shocked, to say the least, that on Monday, the Supreme Court made the decision to let the appeals court rulings stand in regards to same-sex marriage, thus striking down bans on same-sex marriage in 5 states, including Utah.

I wondered about these questions:

  • What is this decision going to do to our country? To depleting the idea of the traditional family? To the idea that the family unit that is ordained of God?

Inspired prophets and apostles of God wrote and published The Family: A Proclamation to the World. President Gordon B. Hinckley read this proclamation, which was part of his message at the General Relief Society Meeting on 23 September 1995 in Salt Lake City, Utah. We need the truths and principles contained in this proclamation to help us to understand what God wants. With this proclamation—and the words of other prophets and apostles—everyone, both members of the Church and non-members, can gain strength in God’s plan for us.

So how are we going to live with these changes that we cannot currently change ourselves?

In the talk given this October 2014 called “Finding Lasting Peace and Building Eternal Families,” Elder L. Tom Perry taught, “How we learn to adjust to the changes which come along depends on the foundation on which we build.”

Undoubtedly, the inspired messages of General Conference were sent by God, through his servants to prepare us and to help sustain us with the changes that are coming.

I suggest 4 things that I found from General Conference that can help us with change:

  1. Look to Christ. From the talk listed above, Elder Perry also said, “The Savior is the Master Teacher. We follow Him . . . . Jesus is the great Exemplar. The only way to find lasting peace is to look to Him and live.”Therefore, to find peace during change we must follow Christ.
  2. Love others. In the talk “Loving Others and Living with Differences,” Elder Dallin H. Oaksreminds us of the “new commandment” Jesus gave to His apostles: love one another. His talk was based on how we can love others and live with differences. In a world where our beliefs are going to differ more and more from others, loving those individuals, even those who are different from us, will be key.
  3. Follow the prophet. Sister Carol McConkie explained in her talk “Live according to the Words of the Prophets,” “When we choose to live according to the words of the prophets, we are on the covenant path that leads to eternal perfection.”
  4. Blessings will come to righteous families if we follow the Lord and his prophets and apostles. “Remember that the greatest of all the blessings of the Lord come through and are given to righteous families,” says Elder Perry.


Change can be scary. However, we can gain peace, as we are obedient. We must never forget that there is no middle ground, no grey. Our choice is black and white: we must choose to follow the Savior.

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Lean Left: “Mormons for Marriage Equality”

Written by: Conor Hilton

The debate surrounding marriage equality is ugly and quite charged with accusations on both sides. Even the very language we use to discuss the debate reveals our biases and leanings. (I mean would anyone choose to say they oppose marriage equality? No. That makes you sound like a heartless tin man, you say you support traditional marriage.)

As a Mormon, who happens to support marriage equality, I have seen, read and experienced much of this ugliness. To truly follow the counsel of Elder Dallin H. Oaks, we’ve got to stop this. Sure, those that lean left should stop calling conservatives bigots and homophobes. But, that’s not really the problem for most of the Church or BYU.

Instead, progressives/liberals/democrats are painted as apostates or otherwise barely holding on to their dying testimony, the light of which has been doused in the suffocating stream of secularism. This perspective is equally unfair and un-Christ-like.

Here are 5 thoughts to consider:

  1. To politically support marriage equality does not equate to advocating for homosexuality or suggesting that homosexuality is moral behavior. In fact, there are multiple instances of Church leaders saying broadly that there is no political litmus test for Church membership and specifically that members are free to disagree with the political position (President Monson here, Elder L. Whitney Clayton here, and more found here.)

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  2. There is a strong belief in Mormonism of the ability to receive a personal witness of the truthfulness of anything that is said. This statement corresponds to a belief in prophetic fallibility (see note 1), the idea that prophets and apostles are men, inspired by God, but still subject to the foibles that all of humanity faces. This can be seen in any sort of study of Church history, but is a touchy subject for most members of the Church.
  3. The data suggest that rather than legalizing same-sex marriage leading to a disintegration of the family, not only are there slightly higher or average marriage rates in states that have legal same-sex marriage, but divorce rates are lower than the national average, with the lowest divorce rate in the country being in Massachusetts, which has had same-sex marriage since 2004 (
    Obviously, there could be larger trends and changes in the future after short-term benefits. However, the data we do have, suggests that the apocalyptic future predicted by conservative pundits is not coming.
  4. I support same-sex marriage because as the Supreme Court ruled decades ago, separate is inherently unequal. It feels wrong to me to deny someone the right to marry, based on who that is. Given that Church teaching is now that homosexuality is a condition of birth and not caused by sin or deviations later in life. Who am I to claim that one person’s love is superior to another?
  5. I am not opposed to personal morality coloring our political decisions. However, for me if society at large or other individuals are not impacted by the action, it seems immoral to impose my personal code of morality on them. I do not see the slippery slope of same-sex marriage that others do, the logic falls apart for me. This could be an entire post in and of itself, so I’ll just leave it there for now.


I do not believe that all Mormons should necessarily support same-sex marriage. I think that we need political diversity in the Church and need the ability to express our beliefs and feelings in a civil manner, especially when we disagree.

Regardless of your personal stance on same-sex marriage, recognize that there is room for active, faithful members of the Church to be on both sides and treat each other as Jesus would.

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Note 1. “With respect to people feeling that whatever the brethren say is gospel, this tends to undermine the proposition of freedom of speech and thought. As members of the church we are bound to sustain and support the brethren in the positions they occupy so long as their conduct entitles them to that. But we also have only to defend those doctrines of the church contained in the four standard works—the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. Anything beyond that by anyone is his or her own opinion and not scripture. Although there are certain statements that whatever the brethren say becomes the word of God, this is a dangerous practice to apply to all leaders and all cases. The only way I know of by which the teachings of any person or group may become binding upon the church is if the teachings have been reviewed by all the brethren, submitted to the highest councils of the church, and then approved by the whole body of the church.”

—Hugh B. Brown, LDS Apostle 1958–1975, Member of First Presidency of LDS Church 1961–1970, quote from ca. early 1970s, from Chapter 8, An Abundant Life: The Memoirs of Hugh B. Brown

General Conference: #PreparetoShare

As LDS General Conference approaches, I find myself sniffing around for cinnamon rolls and setting out my favorite pair of pajamas. However, this weekend means a lot more than sleeping in and overeating. We have been told by authorities in the Church that if we will prepare for General Conference by listening with questions to be answered and minds open to receive, we will be enriched and enlightened. That is awesome.

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf gives us two more steps in preparing for Conference. He said, “don’t discount a message merely because it seems familiar,” and “The words spoken at general conference should be a compass that points the way for us.” If we keep these two things in mind during our viewing of Conference, we will find that we will get a lot more out of it that we would have otherwise. (Read Elder Uchtdorf’s full talk here)

But there is one more step I hope we take while preparing for General Conference. Elder David A. Bednar alluded to it when he spoke at BYU Education Week this summer. He said:

“Beginning at this place on this day, I exhort you to sweep the earth with messages filled with righteousness and truth—messages that are authentic, edifying, and praiseworthy—and literally to sweep the earth as with a flood.” (Read of watch Elder Bednar’s full address here)

We should be preparing to share the messages we hear and the feelings we have during Conference, especially on social media. Using hashtags such as #LDSconf and retweeting quotes from accounts that live-tweet Conference are great ways to do so. You could also create a cute picture with your favorite quote and pin it on Pinterest. Or share a video of your favorite talk on Facebook. The possibilities are endless.

If you’re feeling nervous about sharing, start by simply following the LDS Church on Twitter and Instagram, and liking the page on Facebook. President Thomas S. Monson and other general authorities also have social media accounts that you can follow. This small act can indicate to others your beliefs, and perhaps encourage them to talk to you about them.

Due to Elder Bednar’s exhortation, I feel that we all have responsibility to share “authentic, edifying, and praiseworthy” messages. And Conference weekend is a great place to start.

Happy Conference Weekend to you all! #PreparetoShare

Sam Lund, Social Media Advisor

P.S. See here  or here for other great ways to share the gospel through general conference.

It’s all Greek to me: Dating a Foreigner

imageWhether you’ve just begun a steady relationship or you’ve been married for a while, being in a relationship with a person from a different country can be a journey. When I started dating my Canadian husband you can bet your bottom “loonie”* that we learned a lot about each other. Our differences are not as pronounced as other couples I have met, but here are three tips I’ve gathered for couples with different nationalities.

*a loonie is the Canadian dollar coin. Look, you just learned something new!

  1. Expect differences, and embrace them. When I say “expect differences,” I mean you shouldn’t assume that your significant other is going to do things the same way as you do. Regardless of whether your honey is from South Africa or South Jordan, there will always be differences. I really like this quote from a previous blog post:

“I wish I would have known that when two people get married, they bring two entirely different cultures into one house. It’s important to understand that while your spouse may cook rice differently, clean the bathroom differently, or do the dishes differently, it doesn’t mean that their way is wrong. Be willing to compromise on these things!” –Kaitlyn, What I Wish I Would Have Known (part one): Marriage

(see full post here)

The compromising Kaitlyn mentioned is one way of embracing the differences between you two. Another idea is to praise your significant other for things they may do better than you. Luckily for me my husband is way better at driving in the snow. Praising him for this always makes him feel good and needed. For two more ways to embrace your sweetheart’s specialties, keep reading!

  1. Try new things. My husband loves ice skating (a product of all the frozen water in Canada). Because I was raised in the desert of Nevada I only went ice skating a couple of times. For our first date we went ice skating… and it was embarrassing. I barely shuffled along as my husband literally skated circles around me. Ever since then I have begrudgingly gone skating with him at least once a year, and slowly I have gotten better. The only way to get better at things is to try! Even if you don’t particularly like your significant other’s favorite sport, food, or music, giving it a try shows your love for them and opens up your own mind as well.
  1. Get the facts. Do you know anything about llamas in Peru? Could you locate Yugoslavia on a map? When you’re dating someone from another country, pull out your atlas! This may seem obvious, but if you know nothing about their country there’s a chance you’re missing out on important aspects of their personality. This can also be true for couples from the same country but differing cultures. Fundamental to understanding someone is knowing where and how they grew up. When my husband and I were dating I spent at least a few hours researching hockey teams. I did it because I realized that if I didn’t understand hockey, then I didn’t understand Canada, and if I didn’t understand Canada, I wouldn’t understand this guy I was dating. My husband really appreciated it, and his family did as well (brownie points)!

Keeping these tips in mind has always helped me and other couples that I have talked to. Hopefully you and your foreign sweetheart will find meaning in them too!

By Sam Jenkins, Social Media Advisor

BYUSA Elections

by Danielle Cronquist


If you are a student at BYU then you may have noticed from all the Facebook updates and the posters around campus that BYUSA election season is upon us. Maybe this doesn’t seem important to you, but it is. BYUSA does a lot for our school by planning events, making changes, and improving campus life, and they could do even more if you vote for the right person.

So, who are the candidates this year and what are their platforms?

Amberly Assay and Austin Jones

Amber is a communications major and Austin is a business major who are both actively involved at BYU and especially in BYUSA. They have some great ideas to make life at BYU even better. They want to…

  • get vending machines in the library
  • create organized trips (hiking in Zion, Jazz games, etc.)
  • provide an All-ArtsPass for students who want to see all the concerts, plays, and shows.

Brandon Beck and Erika Nash

Brandon and Erika are both business management majors at BYU, and after serving in leadership positions in several BYU clubs and groups, they have the skills they need to be BYUSA president and vice president. They want to…

  • turn BYUSA into an involvement-hub to give more students an opportunity to involved
  • create a comprehensive student calendar
  • address towing and booting problems in Provo
  • give the students a louder voice with the Student Advisory Council
  • create an end-of-year event and concert
  • enhance game day experience with pre-game events and by BYU-ifying Provo

Both candidates have some great ideas and things that I know I would love to see implemented at BYU. Don’t be the student who thinks that this doesn’t affect you. Look up the candidates’ websites and Facebook pages, figure out what changes they want to make, and most importantly VOTE! Exercise your right to have a voice in what is happening with your tuition money and your time here at BYU.

Voting for the 2013 BYUSA Elections begins Monday, March 4, at 8am and goes until Tuesday, March 5, at 5pm.

Click here to vote.

The candidates will also be answering questions from the student body on TODAY at 11am in the WSC Varsity Theater. Questions may be submitted in advance to

Internet-use Disorder: Compulsive Addiction or Society’s New Direction?

by Mandy Teerlink

Image courtesy of Gamesingear.

The inside of a gaming trailer, a vehicle where gamers can pay to go game together.

Psychologists are now categorizing addictions to internet gaming and gambling as a psychological disorder. They are focusing most of their research on the rising generation, as they are more prone to this kind of disorder which can be detrimental to health. However, the disorder still requires much more research before psychologists will be able to fully understand the phenomenon or treat it.


Some symptoms that have been established so far are:

  • Obsession with internet gaming
  • Withdrawal symptoms when not using the internet
  • Necessity of using the internet more and more to achieve the same high
  • Lack of interests/hobbies
  • Internet replaces human relationships
  • Internet becomes a tool to escape sadness/depression
  • Failed attempts to quit using the internet as often

(List courtesy of


The effects of internet-use disorder still require heavy research, but some studies have revealed that the effects can be similar to drug addiction.


Meanwhile, the necessity of declaring internet addiction an actual disorder has come under fire. The web is a relatively new addition to our society, and we are still learning how to apply its many uses. Internet usage that may seem excessive to adults is commonplace for many children. With the increasing advances in technology, it may be that internet junkies are the way of the future.

Infertility: Do You Have a Story?

by Alissa Strong


Today by chance, I came across a blog. The author is a girl totally unknown to me, although we attend the same university. Her story piqued my interest specifically because it involves a topic that is almost the elephant-in-the-room in not just our university but in society.


This girl is twentysomething years old and suffers from infertility.


This topic has been on my mind lately, as over the past five months I have encountered a number of people who have experienced infertility in one form or another. It has been eye-opening to meet these people and hear their stories, because so often in the dating-, marriage-, and family-centric bubble of Utah Valley, surrounded by singles and couples in their late teens and early twenties, one rarely stops to consider these questions:


What would happen if I could not have children?

Would this impact my dating relationships?

What would my identity be if I couldn’t be a mother or a father?

Even if I can have children, what do I do or say around those who can’t?


Stance for the Family is a journal, magazine, and blog for all families—regardless of their makeup. Because of this, I want to hear from and write to this group of families and singles who may previously have felt a family-themed journal has no relevance to them.


If you or someone close to you has dealt with or is currently dealing with infertility, we want to hear from you. Single, married, religious, agnostic—we want to hear your stories. If you have a story to tell, please email Alissa at We will not publish anything without first requesting your consent. But this is an issue that so many unknown faces of our community need to hear about—whether it affects them personally, or whether they simply need help knowing how to support someone else going through this trial. Your story, no matter how small, may be just what someone else needs to give them hope.


What I Stand For: An Editorial Response Inspired by Former President Clinton

by Alissa Strong

On Tuesday morning, Former President Bill Clinton appeared on CBS and issued a no-holds-barred statement to Muslim activists. Clinton condemned the tendency to resort to violence when the Islamic faith is disrespected and claimed that the modern world is too diverse, too grounded in the principles of free speech, and too connected socially on the Internet for groups to avoid being offended at one time or another.

He added, “You can’t react every time you’re insulted. . . . You cannot live in a shame-based world. You won’t make it in the twenty-first century.”

I do not claim to subscribe to all the beliefs held by Former President Clinton. I do not agree with all of his political ideas, and I do not endorse all of the actions he has taken. However, I do recognize true and good words when I hear them, and I will proudly announce my agreement with such a statement, no matter from whose lips the words came.

I believe that Former President Clinton’s words are true, not only for Muslims but for all people. We live in a world where, for the first time, Internet communication allows us to know what other people from all cultures all across the world are saying and thinking about us.

It is no longer a matter of if we will encounter disagreement and ridicule, but when. 

Learning to allow others the freedom of speech and action that we desire for ourselves is part of growing up. Not that taking offense is always childish—quite the contrary. When others demean us or our innermost values and beliefs, they can cut deep into our hearts. It is our natural reaction to protect what is dearest to us. But as we grow, we must learn to protect those things appropriately.

I believe that there is a difference between protecting your beliefs and reacting violently. I come from a religion that teaches us from our youth to “stand for something or you’ll fall for anything.” Standing for what you believe in is an appropriate way of protecting what you value. It includes firmly but politely (also legally) doing what you can to uphold your beliefs in a situation where you can make a difference. Reacting violently, on the other hand, is an emotional and physical response that infringes on the rights of others and does not always have an effect except to harm those whom you have targeted. Such behavior is immature and unacceptable.

I believe that violent reactions are also ineffective. In 2002, approximately seventy Afghan refugees illegally seeking asylum in Australia sewed their lips and the lips of their children together to protest against the Australian government. The government did not react to their request and continued with their typical immigration processes.


Because if the government had granted the refugees what they wanted, future refugees would learn that self-harm to one’s self or children was likely to induce a wanted action. Behavioral psychology’s operant conditioning theory (introduced by B. F. Skinner) teaches that if a behavior is rewarded, we condition ourselves to continue that behavior in the hopes of gaining another reward. If a behavior is punished, presumably we will avoid that behavior in future to avoid future punishment. Thus, reacting to an offense with violence will likely make little to no difference to a cause because governments—or those we offend—are unlikely to acquiesce to such demands and encourage the likelihood of more violent protests in the future.

The world is changing, and not always for the better. But I believe that we can change for the better.

I believe there is strength and honor in turning the other cheek—in doing what we can to live and protect our beliefs, but also granting others the respect and courtesy to do the same.

I believe there is no honor in resorting to violence to protest when we are offended—be it physical violence or even simply bullying another via the Internet.

I believe that we have the responsibility and obligation either to solve disagreements like civilized adults—communicating clearly and rationally—or to look the other way and focus on the good that is in the world. To do any differently would defeat the purpose of standing for a greater good.

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