Sunday, November 21, 2010

God's Word on Full Body Scanners, part 2

There have been some misunderstandings concerning the intent of my last post, and there have been many recent developments in this area since then, so I thought I had better take the time to clarify and update you.

To begin with, the intent of my last post was to point out that Latter-day Saints should not expect to receive any official declaration from Church Headquarters concerning the recent deployment by the TSA of naked/full body scanners and the subsequent "enhancement" of pat-down techniques to include a complete groping of all areas, including genitalia and breasts. The Church MAY release a statement, of course, but we have no reason to expect such a statement because we DO NOT NEED such a statement. We have already been given sufficient guidance that may be confidently applied to the situation. I then laid out several examples of PRINCIPLES, as all as COMMANDMENTS, from the scriptures:

Both of the current TSA practices violate the principles of chastity and modesty. "I, the Lord God, delight in the chastity of women [and, we may add, men and children]. And whoredoms are an abomination before me; thus saith the Lord of Hosts" (Jacob 2:28). Our bodies are sacred and should not be touched or displayed except under certain circumstances which always include our spouse and no one else. We have been given the principle of chastity to keep our bodies sacred. They are to remain covered when in public. "Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them" (Genesis 3:21). See also Genesis 9:20-27, and TG Body, Sanctity of.

If we allow the government to dictate instances when the Law of Chastity is void, we are placing the government above God.

There were some who interpreted my words to mean that we will held accountable to God for the subsequent violation of our bodies by TSA officials. I believe this misunderstanding is due to my use of the term "Law of Chastity," which refers to a specific covenant made in LDS temples. My intention was in reference only to the principles behind that covenant. Perhaps I should have used the phrase from earlier in the paragraph, "the principles of chastity and modesty," in order to avoid confusion. In my mind, I believed I had already made it clear that these practices were violations of PRINCIPLES, and not that allowing ourselves to be subjected to them would somehow be commission of a SIN, which I do not believe it is, by the people being scanned or groped, i.e., airline passengers. I repeat, for clarification: you are not committing a sin by allowing yourself to be subjected to current TSA procedures.

HOWEVER, the fact that WE will not be held accountable for the act does NOT mean that we should allow ourselves to be subjected to the act! We still have choices that can enable us to avoid these demeaning acts. There are still buses, trains, and cars, and, if all else fails, I do not PERSONALLY believe that there is anything in the world that I need to attend, that would justify allowing myself to be pornographically photographed and/or felt up by total strangers. In other words, you can always stay home:

But, you may say, I have a funeral to attend and I can only get there by plane! "Jesus said... Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead" (Matthew 8:22). We must remember that our first priority is to follow the Savior, and His counsel takes precedence over the customs and traditions of men.

But, you may say, my family/friends will resent me forever if I don't show up for function X (including, quite possibly, the above mentioned funeral)! Well then, should you choose to violate a godly principle with this justification, you are fearing man more than you fear God, and that is unwise. "The Lord is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?" (Psalms 118:6) See also Proverbs 29:25.

Again, I am not saying that you will necessarily by punished for allowing yourself to be violated by TSA. But, what if the Lord told you to avoid coming home a certain way because you might get raped, and you ignored him and got raped? Would you be punished by him? Of course not; you would have received the punishment already, which his advice would have helped you avoid. In other words, being violated is its own punishment.

I can think of several ways in which this is true. First, of course, those of us who hold that our bodies are sacred, will find it hard to forget the incident, not to mention the irretractable fact that a stranger has touched or seen us in places we consider sacred. There is also the fact that God has taught us to keep our bodies sacred, which thing we are trying to teach our children. This belief is a strong deterrent to the commission of actual sins of a physical nature. My own children, for example, have been taught to always keep their bodies covered, and my 8-year-old son feels uncomfortable when his sisters even see him without a shirt, such as when Mommy cuts his hair. Because of our teachings and example, it would take a lot of desensitization to cause him to knowingly commit a carnal sin. I see these TSA procedures as steps in a desensitization process. And it's only getting worse. I believe this about sums it up:

What I am truly concerned about, though, is the fact that some people, particularly adults, seem to be unwilling to take personal responsibility on this matter, even in so small a way as to simply avoid flying.


"Passengers cannot opt out of both the scan and the pat-down once they have been selected for the enhanced searches, according to TSA rules. If they then try to evade the measures, they could face an $11,000 fine. Even if someone in a security line becomes frustrated and decides not to fly, TSA rules require they submit to a scan or pat-down."

"Flight attendant says TSA forced her to remove prosthetic breast"

Muslim women may be exempt from some TSA precedures

"TSA Now Putting Hands Down Fliers’ Pants"

After official promises that naked body scanner images are not stored, "One Hundred Naked Citizens: One Hundred Leaked Body Scans" are available online
[Please note that these are the worst quality images I have seen. Many scanner images (others are available online) are as clear as it gets. Like this one.]

This is all under the guise of "public safety." Does any of this make you feel "safer?" Do you feel that the Lord approves? I don't.

"Here's A List of US Airports Currently Using Full Body Scanners"

Patrons of the Sacramento International Airport should be advised that in the absence of a full/naked body scanner in that airport, they will be subjected to the groping, with no opt-out procedure, according to the Sacramento Bee.

I close by repeating the following exhortation from my previous post:

Joseph Smith once said, "I always stand by a correct principle, even if I stand alone in it."

We are given principles to help guide our decisions. These come to us in the form of scriptures, and the wise counsel of our living oracles. We must stand firm in our principles, even (and especially) when it becomes an inconvenience. This is the meaning of the phrase "endure to the end." This is also what Alma meant when he admonished us to "stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death" (Mosiah 28:9). "Even until death" implies that we are to do what God would have us do, even when it means the alternative is unpleasant. See Job 13:15.

Unfortunately, Satan has learned that if he holds our wants and/or needs hostage, we will often choose to ignore the Lord's counsel in order to get them back. We may want or need to fly somewhere, for example. This is now being held hostage, and in order to get it back one must allow oneself to be seen and photographed unclothed, by a stranger, in direct violation of God's counsel, or opt out of that procedure and be physically molested by a stranger. OR stand firm in correct principles... and not fly. An unpleasant option in some cases, to be sure, but the correct one nonetheless...

"And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the [government] which your fathers served that were on the other side of [this argument], or the [desires of your heart], in whose [fulfillment] ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord" (Joshua 24:15, with minor adaptations).

"And behold... they humbled themselves and put their trust in the true and living God. And behold, they were faithful until the end; therefore they were saved" (Alma 5:13).

I hope this clarifies both the issue at hand, and my intentions in posting about it.