STONE SEVEN CONTINUED
Feel: I allow myself to feel. My emotions are part of my being. By allowing myself to feel, I heal and grow.
Instruction: Embrace your sexuality.
Another positive emotion that some religious leaders and institutions have said was evil is our sexuality. Some religions blatantly attack sexual pleasure while others are more subtle in their approach, but their message comes through. Imagine the frustration of not being able to enjoy your sexuality because of your religious beliefs. Some don’t have to imagine it, because they know exactly what it feels like. They have experienced guilt, shame, and condemnation, because their sexual thoughts were “impure and evil” or because they found themselves attracted to someone and couldn’t keep their arousal from spilling over into their thoughts and dreams. Imagine the number of confessions that have occurred, especially for young people going through puberty with all of the forces battling within them. Some have been taught that sex was only appropriate for a married couple trying to have children and only during those times. No wonder some of these religions have grown in numbers because the only time their members were officially sanctioned to have intercourse was to have kids — and the desire to have intercourse is so strong that many members of that religion had lots of children They literally grew the church through childbirth. Even though they might not have wanted a house full of children, their human nature wanted to enjoy the natural and normal act of sexual pleasure.
We are often surprised to discover that some of these leaders have not been able to keep their own sexual desires under control. They have done awful things with young boys and girls and other sexual activities they would condemn their members for engaging in. Of course, we understand that those who have been sexually molested by religious leaders need healing, and Religious Recovery is one organization among many that seeks to repair the abuse that occurred. Recognizing that we have a right and a human need to experience sexual pleasure in appropriate ways might help to end some of the sexual abuse that happens from religious people. Understanding that we were created as sexual beings and are entitled to enjoy the pleasures associated with it combined with and understanding that we are allowed to avoid religious institutions that teach that sex is wrong, to be avoided, or only for procreation would help eliminate much of the religious sexual abuse. We are entitled to our feelings — good or bad. The feelings themselves are not moral or immoral — that is a matter of how we choose to act, or not act, upon those feelings.
Today’s Assignment is to take a moment to consider what religious organizations have taught you about your sexuality? Do those teachings seem right to you? Do they bring you freedom or bondage? When faced with the reality that some religious leaders have sexually abused men, women, and even children, are you able to separate the “face of religion” from your Higher Power? Can you even go so far as to forgive those who have inappropriately given in to their sexual instincts? Keep in mind that we do not condone the act, and we should and do look for appropriate ways to ensure those acts are not repeated, but unless we forgive, we harm ourselves, too.
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Our purpose is to help individuals to heal who have been injured by religion or the religious. We welcome your comments and questions.