Lead us not into temptation

By Timothy Rollins
web posted January 15, 2001

It has often jokingly been said, "Lead me not into temptation; I can find it myself". Apparently, this is not enough for the FOX Television network. Following the heels of its predecessor of sleaze, that being "Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?" and on the heels of other network outings of voyeurism such as CBS' "Survivor", "Big Brother" and MTV's "The Real World", we have to ask ourselves just how low will these networks go in order to capture what is a dwindling market share, now that there are over 500 channels from which to choose thanks to the advent and rise of cable and satellite television?

Fox's Temptation Island
Fox's Temptation Island

Last week, FOX aired "Temptation Island". This latest effort to satisfy the increasing ranks of the voyeurs in America and elsewhere features four unmarried but serious couples at a resort in Belize, where there are 26 very attractive singles running around. The object for these couples is to run a sexual gauntlet if you will, and avoid being unfaithful to their partners. To make matters worse, all of this is going to be recorded on film for one and all to see.

One has to ask what kind of message this is sending to others, particularly young people. In a day and age where we have AIDS and a plague of other assorted sexually transmitted diseases, not to mention the risk of pregnancy, you would think a couple of things: One, why would any couple in a monogamous relationship – whether they were sexually active or not, submit themselves to this situation, and two, why would a television network aid and abet in the destruction of the most sacred expression of trust?

For those of you who have read my bio you know that I am a practicing Latter-Day Saint, and that as a member of my faith, premarital and extramarital sexual relations is condemned in seriousness second only to murder. Those within the faith who engage in these activities are subject to internal church discipline that is designed to help them get back on track in living lives of honor, integrity and trust. Those who break these rules, whether members of any church or not, demonstrate to their partners, others and particularly themselves that they are not worthy of trust as that is the ultimate expression of trust.

As a church officer myself (we have a lay clergy), I have had the opportunity to observe a number of people over the past 20 years and change, and I can tell you that among the young single adults I observed, the ones who abstained from sexual activity until marriage were by far the happiest and the most guilt-free. Having survived an enlistment in the Marine Corps and remaining a virgin until I married at age 21 while I was in college, I can assure you that if I can do it, anyone can – especially with my libido such as it is. The ones who failed to do so found themselves unhappy and their lives far more complicated than they needed to be. In most instances, that was often the death knell to the relationship, as they discovered that failure to keep that trust, even with each other, showed that neither were ready for the commitment and responsibility that marriage brings. In many cases, they came to the realization all too late that sexual fidelity was the most essential ingredient in the glue that holds not only relationships together, but also marriages in particular.

In my dealings with married people, both inside and outside of my faith, I have come across a number of couples where adultery had entered the picture of their lives, and in only one instance did the marriage survive. In almost all cases, once that trust is gone it is irretrievably lost and the best thing to do is to learn from the lesson and move on. In many cases, the person who committed adultery is somewhat stigmatized not only by the ex-spouse, but by the children as well who resent the injury done to the mostly innocent parent – I say mostly innocent because if things at home were 100 per cent hunky-dory and the lines of communication fully open, chances are the adultery may not have happened in the first place.

I can say this in my relationships as a single man following the end of my first marriage, and that is while I was willing to consider dating those who had never been married as well as those who had been divorced, the only instance where I would not date a divorced woman was if I found out that the divorce had been for adultery on HER part. The reason for that was that it showed me not only a lack of integrity, but also a lack of communication skills on her part. So while I am a forgive and forget kind of guy, when it comes to adultery, there would always remain in the back of my mind that nagging thought that if I hooked up with her, it could be ‘déjà vu' all over again.

So if America is to learn anything from this new low with which the FOX network has sunk to, it is they now have the opportunity to boycott the FOX network as well as the sponsors of the show "Temptation Island".

The last part of The Lord's Prayer" states, "… and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil". May each of learn from these wise words in order that we may not bring that violation of trust into either our lives or that of our families. ESR

© 2001 Timothy Rollins

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