Amy McCready /age 14 grade 9th/ Topic # 1. How can choosing abstinence impact your present and future life? In their teen years, 1 in 3 minors will choose a life of sex and drugs over abstinence. In America this has lead to a worrisome increase in higher divorce rates, drug addiction, growing criminal rates, and other issues that appear on the newspaper or on any TV news channel everyday. These teens, ignorant of the real world, unable to support themselves but wanting to be free of their parent’s rules, thrive off the support of family and friends. Those who choose abstinence as their way of life are given a freedom from regret. They don’t depend on drugs, have no fear of contracting an STD or pregnancy, don’t suffer from a conditional love relationship, have less future health issues, and have a clear chance of establishing an ideal family of unconditional love; a world of open opportunity. Teens like me go through an emotional phase of wanting a sense of belonging. We look for acceptance, happiness, and most importantly, love. Teens are also lazy so we tend to look for these feelings in a rushed way and we may look in the wrong places. Drugs are seen as an instant release from pain and stress, when “high” one feels giddy and relaxed. Eventually the persons body adjusts to the drug high and it takes higher levels of the drugs to get a high, and the person gets completely hooked and risk getting caught by the police, put in jail with a criminal record, and incur future health problems. Alcohol is a depressant that also gets people in a state of mental relaxation and giddy happiness that turns into loss of self control. This can result in drunken driving accidents that are 45% of the crashes that are the greatest cause of death for people from ages 6-33. Alcohol is the most commonly used drug among young people; it can rip families apart with domestic violence and accidental pregnancy, completely altering the lives of its consumers. The last impact that abstinence can bring is the affect of love. Wanting love is a natural part of human nature, especially wanting to receive love. People in high school and also older people often enter into a relationship based on physical attraction which leads to dating. When fallen people enter into a relationship, they always want to receive love, like they see in movies. Eventually all they care about is if the person they are with makes them happy, totally forgetting that to be in a successful relationship, there must be two people striving to make the other happy unconditionally. Also in these relationships, people want frequent proof of love and satisfaction and enter into a sexual relationship to receive it. 63% of teens who have had sexual intercourse wish they had waited. Sex is a beautiful act, created by God as a way to bring life in a natural and loving way, and to nourish closeness between committed partners. However without commitment people use sex to fill their emotional needs and insecurities. Engaging in sexual relationships outside of a committed and monogamous relationship often leads to STD’s and pregnancy. STD’s are seriously dangerous to both genders and quite embarrassing to admit to. They can spread like wildfire in free sex communities, causing havoc. Pregnancy is supposed to be a celebrated and joyous welcoming of new life made from committed love. But without the support of a seriously committed (married) couple, pregnancy is seen as a negative shift in life that closes many opportunities. A baby is a responsibility that must be cared for at all times. This affects ones opportunities and cuts out future goals and dreams, time for a job, and time for personal fun; evidently leading to an unhappy family of conditional love that was started by an accident. Abstinence is the door of freedom, life, and opportunity. It has no downside. It protects one from regret over bad decisions, dependence on drugs or alcohol, remaining health problems or fatal incidents caused by drugs or alcohol, and preserves a clear mind and record for success in a career, and a happy family of unconditional love. True love is worth the wait.

Mikako Ishii /age 15 grade 9th/ Topic #4. How can one maintain purity when surrounded by a culture that does not recognize that value/ Purity. Abstinence. Teens hear these words so many times that it now seems like an everyday catch phrase. With today’s society sending out mixed messages as it is, it’s no wonder that a question such as whether or not abstinence is worth waiting for would come up. The values of today as opposed to that of 50 years ago for example, are so drastically different that questions are only expected. When it comes to purity, the main factor that people focus on is that of the physical. To each their own, but for me, it’s meaning delves much deeper. Not only does abstinence mean not having sex, but mentally and spiritually, it’s a pledge to myself to stay pure in all ways; a person’s thoughts are just as guilty as their actions. By choosing the road of abstinence, you’re saying that you’re willing to wait for your future spouse. Many decades ago, this would have been the norm, but nowadays, does it still hold the same value? Religion, being one of the major advocates for abstinence, has different ways of showing it. Whether a person may be Christian, Catholic, or Muslim, purity is shown through methods such as promise rings, workshops/church, arranged marriages, and fasts. With the majority of Americans being religious, one would think that everything would be fine if they followed the “guidelines” of their religion. However, with the number of pregnancies going up in the US, it’s no wonder that people would wonder if abstinence actually means something, regardless of religious beliefs. With today’s society as is, staying pure is one of the hardest decisions that could be made as a teen, as well as an irreversible one. Friends, school, internet, and parties; all four being everyday circumstances that teens comes across, and all equally full of temptations. No matter how many promises you’ve made to yourself and God, temptation will always exist. Words are words until you back them up with evidence, and in this case, if as many teenagers are participating in sexual activity as studies show, the fact that people are questioning abstinence is not surprising at all. In my opinion however, it doesn’t matter who says it or how many times it is said, it comes down to the individual. Personally, I’ve taken part in workshops, signed a pledge, and possess a promise ring. Does this necessarily mean that I’ll wait until after marriage? With all other distractions taken out of the picture, one comes to see that a promise is made to be fulfilled, not only until you meet a boy or girl that you’ve come to like. Regardless of the age, or “time” that we are living in, purity will always be important. Hearing these words regarding abstinence in what seems like daily life, and still having so many people fall from their original plans of waiting, is abstinence in fact, an outdated idea? My answer is a simple “no.” Regardless of race and religion, all that matters is that we are human, and saving yourself for your future spouse is an important decision that needs to be made. To have people of different age, ethnicity, and religion encouraging absolute purity, ignoring the wise and age-old advice would be the mistake of a lifetime.

Contestant No.10 /age 17, grade 11th/

            In this culture that thrives on the superficial, maintaining one’s purity can be very difficult. It requires self-determination, confidence, friendship, and most of all purpose. One has to actively participate in the decision to keep pure; it’s not something that can be forced on someone or engrained through dogmatic reasoning. One has to take ownership over their purity. If something else makes that decision for them, then that person will not be able to protect their purity from the problems and distractions of the real world.

            High school is a critical time in a young person’s life, and without a strong personal belief in the value of purity, youths will undoubtedly fall to the wayside. The temptations of security and acceptance are lures that can entice a person to relinquish their standards. In a culture that does not see purity’s value; I have often found myself standing out in the crowd because of my beliefs. However, I have found that the only way to not be cast out as a socially decrepit person, but also maintain my personal standards is to radiate an aura of confidence. This shows others that I have an inner strength.  Often times, even if another person doesn’t agree with those beliefs; they are still able to recognize and respect that strength.

            In the emotional turmoil of high school, it is necessary to have strong friends you can rely on to avoid sinking beneath the waves of social apathy. Sometimes one’s confidence can fail and leave you vulnerable to the outside lifestyle pressures that surround us. Friendships can provide a safety net that you can count on when you personal strength is not enough. Undoubtedly, there will be low points in life where you question your standards. But the journey down the road of life does not have to be a lonely one; good, solid friends can help guide you through the darker times. Once a person has the confidence and inner strength to resist the mainstream culture, people will naturally gravitate towards their inner strength and commitment to something greater. These other people may not fully understand your motivation and reasons behind your actions, but they can sense your greatness and want to warm up to its glow.

            Determination, self confidence and friendship are all necessary aspects of maintaining purity, but they are just the structure. The more important thing is the blueprint, or underlying purpose and motivation that the entire belief system is built around. Without some kind of purpose to guide and justify one’s actions, one can very easily be swept away.

            For me, my reason for maintaining my purity is so that I can be able to fully and completely love my future wife, without any reservations and doubts. I know that when I do meet that one person, I will want nothing more than to give everything to her, and my precious purity will be a gift that she can cherish. This belief is so strong in my mind that it cannot be erased, no matter what the contemporary culture may throw at me. It is my starting point from which I try to build the complex structure that is my life. But even if this building of life is knocked down or destroyed, I still have my foundation belief that is embedded in the ground. In fact, this belief is more than a foundation, it is the very earth my life is build on.

            Purity should be seen as a gift, not as a burden. A person cannot go through their crucial formative years living as a begrudged and confused outcast. In order to live a happy life and still maintain a moral standard you must inner strength and vitality. Determination, confidence, friendship and purpose are the tools necessary to create the life of fulfillment everybody desires.

“What would you tell your future children about the value of abstinence before marriage?’ “Abstinence makes the heart grow fonder for someone else,” (Thinkexist.com). In the 21st century, abstinence has become a practice of which many people view as outdated. Today’s society is filled with a fixation that sex is a natural standard that is completely okay anytime in life no matter what age you may be. Abstinence is the key to appreciate the love between a man and a woman. In the future, I look forward to starting a family of my own. It is important to me to let my children know that no matter what values society may have at the time, the most vital information they can have is the knowledge of how much a life of abstinence before marriages can truly have on a person. Throughout my life, I have always known that I want to live with complete abstinence and purity. However, I have not always understood the importance of living in this manner. As I have grown older and more mature, I have also gained more significant information. God is truly a great and loving father. He desires a pure and simple path for each of His children, a path of abstinence. I want my children to know that, though living a life of complete abstinence may be difficult, it provides such an incredible future for your own self. It takes time and patience, yet the rewards of waiting for that one special person are so great. I believe that the love between man and woman, whom have both remained abstinent until their own marriage together, holds such an immense power that those surrounding them feel their passion and their heart. God, too, can feel their love for one another as well as the love that they hold for Him. A life of abstinence is very difficult to lead with the corrupt culture our nation and our world is in presently. But in order to change this standard, the world needs leaders; the world needs demonstrators. When people can see how well a man and woman can unite together after living with purity, it will be as if a light bulb has turned on in their head. They will want the same unity with their spouse; they will envy and desire the love between this man and woman. It is time that God’s children listen up to hear their father calling to them; to hear that each and every person is meant for only one other. Those who live a life of abstinence need to take a stand. It is our time now to stop following and become the leaders that our Father needs in this world today! I feel this with all my heart and for my children to understand the love that God has for each of them and for all of his children, I believe they can understand why abstinence is such a valuable component of life. In the future when I get married, I am looking forward to marrying a man who has also lived a life of abstinence. Looking ahead in my life is scary in a sense. But if both he and I have lived our lives with this value, we will be able to grow together and feel true love for each other as well as the love from God. Living a life of purity has allowed me to save my heart and my love for this man. I can give him all my love without holding back, which is exactly what God desires for each of his children. To abstain from sex before marriage allows a person to give their whole heart and, really, their whole lives to this one person. The most precious information I can share with my future children is that abstinence allows you to feel the utmost love for your one significant other and at the same time you can give an immense amount of love to God!

James Burgess Topic #3. Purity is advocated by many religions, but is it an outdated idea? In secular society, sexual abstinence before marriage is viewed as a joke. Why deprive yourself? What is the point? Many adults do not even think it is possible to keep teenagers from having sex. But is purity really an outdated idea? Purity can only become outdated if it is not practiced. Its value is integral as a foundation for strong marriages and families. In order to investigate the purpose of purity and its importance going forward, we must look into the value of purity, its benefits, and common themes and attitudes in our society regarding purity. Most of the world’s religions advocate their followers to practice sexual purity prior to marriage. Why is this? Even if one does not agree with these religions, or religion in general, the fact that abstinence is a common teaching in many cultures is significant. These cultures valued the meaning of saving oneself for one’s future partner. To dismiss this shared wisdom as outdated without carefully considering its merit would be foolish. Staying pure says an enormous amount about your character. It says that you are strong and able to avoid temptation. In our culture teens are bombarded with sex from the media and popular culture. It takes determination and having a clear goal to stay on the path to purity. Staying pure says that you are worthy of complete trust. If you have refrained from cheating on your future spouse before you even met, how much less likely are you to cheat once you are together? Purity tells your spouse that you are absolutely committed to your marriage. It says that you will love unconditionally without judgment or making comparisons. Purity really speaks for itself, and the lessons it teaches are prerequisite for becoming a mature person. Another key reason why purity is still relevant is that there is value in purity. Maintaining purity before you are married allows you to give all of your love to your spouse. By spreading your love around before you are married, you lose your ability to love with an unbroken heart. If you save that, you will give your spouse the most precious gift he or she can receive. Also, if you remain pure, once you are married you will not have any regrets for having had previous relationships. Someone who is willing to save his or her love for his or her future partner is practicing true, sacrificial love. Even those who do not agree with practicing abstinence can recognize this. However, many young people in our society do not see the purpose of maintaining purity before marriage. They view their virginity as an embarrassment and try to do away with it as quickly as possible. Sex loses its deeper meaning to these people and becomes similar to an addiction. Purity, on the other hand, is about becoming the best person you can be for your spouse. It is impossible for the value of purity to be outdated. I think the main problem with the attitudes of most youth is that they see the culture that we live in and lose hope. They give in to the probability that their future spouse will probably not have kept their purity. If this is the case, they feel they might as well. The youth also feel like they do not want to miss out on something as glorified as sex. It is clear that this common attitude is less than ideal. Youth today are settling for less in their future marriages in order to gratify their desires, rather than waiting for true happiness in their future families. The effects of impatience over sex seen in the 1960’s have already hurt families. This is not a dead and outdated issue. It is imperative to teach the next generation the significance of practicing abstinence before marriage for the sake of the building blocks of our society.

Leighton DeGoede/age 22, college/ Topic #2. What would you tell your future children about the value of abstinence before marriage? Well kids, the short story is, “it was worth it.” Just look at your mother, she’s a pretty awesome lady isn’t she? So now you’re convinced? You’re not satisfied with that?! It’s a long story. Alright, alright, everybody circle round then. Back when I was as short, skinny and shy as you can imagine, yep, more shy than even Jimmy, my mom and dad told me about the importance of purity and abstinence before marriage. I don’t remember exactly what they said, but I got the distinct impression that girls meant trouble, like just be careful not to get too close. So I was wary. Why, in elementary and middle school I was so scared of talking to girls that if one ever spoke to me directly and it wasn’t about an assignment or some project I would feel so uncomfortable that I wouldn’t know what to say. Yep, I was a special case. It took me a long time to learn how to talk to girls. They were all so pretty and I always felt funny inside. But I’ll tell you the first secret I learned: I had to think of them like they were my sister! Simple, huh? I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me earlier because I had two little sisters myself and they were girls of course and I played with them and we had a natural good time. Well, finally in 10th grade I was able talk to girls without getting all discombobulated. That was also the time that I became a lot more involved in church and I started being like an older brother to the youth group. As I began to really care about my brothers and sisters and how they were doing, I naturally got out of myself more. So that was the first secret I learned. If I just treated girls like they were my sisters and not like a girlfriend or anything like that, it felt right. The more I grew up, the more I saw the value of keeping it that way, just brother sister relationships. My friends at school struggled because they didn’t do that. Many of them started to play the silly game of dating and getting girlfriends. But it was never long before things would get tough and they’d break up. The more they dated, the less likely they were to really trust the next girl, and the less committed they were to the relationship. It was like my parents said: they kept sticking their tape on a girl when they dated, and when they broke up they pulled it off, and eventually it would stop sticking. Now I don’t know about you, but I like fresh sticky tape that does the job, so don’t waste your tape if you know what I mean. Looking back I feel sorry for all my friends because they were trying to find their “one true love” but their parents weren’t going to match them so they were going about it all the wrong way. My dad even told me that for him it was kind of scary before he met True Parents because he used to think to himself “oh man, all the best ones are going to get taken.” But then True Parents matched him to your grandma so everything was okay for him too. Actually, getting matched is the greatest thing. All I had to worry about was trying to be the best son and brother I could be. I knew my mom and dad loved me a lot, and I knew that God loved me just as much so I felt sure they would do their best. Plus, and you can trust me on this one because I’m your dad now and I know, parents always know their kids real well, and my mom and dad knew exactly what kind of lady I needed to create the super ultimate family. And that there is your mom! I didn’t have to worry about who it was going to be, because I knew it was going to be someone incredible. God has someone special in store for each one of you too. Honestly, when I got matched to your mother, I felt more blessed than I could have ever imagined before that moment. I didn’t believe it for the first few days, and I even wanted to do a 40 day prayer condition just to make sure it was what God wanted and not just me and her or just our parents. Now you know why it’s real important that you stay abstinent before marriage, because then you’ll save up all your love for your future spouse, and it’ll be so awesome that you’ll be grateful to God forever. Now look, it’s way past your bedtime! Alright, everybody up! First one under the covers get’s a kiss from mommy. You like that better than daddy’s beard don’t you? Don’t forget to brush your teeth!

Honorary Mention Pastor Mike and his daughter Topic # 4 How Can one Maintain Purity When Surrounded by a Culture That Does Not Recognize that Value? Every person makes or follows trails along a map we call life. The question is not just where are you going, but how will you get there? Breaking a trail instead of skipping along a paved street is far more arduous. Yet, as we break the trials of an old culture, we create new paths for morally-minded people to follow. We conceive, we believe, we achieve the path of maintaining purity when surrounded by a culture that does not recognize that value is possible. The evil culture is powerful. It is often more naïve and basically uneducated about the new culture. Rather than being sharp in tongue or overly critical, we must be more embracing and understanding. Like younger family members who need guidance at times rather than a scolding, we must set new standards and inspire to see new paradigms and new ways of living. So often young people are faced with concepts that try to teach them what is okay or even the “right” thing to do. And, many times, these people believe. They follow a path that was treaded by so many others, oblivious to signs of pain and suffering. Their hearts are punctured by thorns along the roadside, but they keep going because to stray would mean the end of acceptance into a society that revels in romantic embarrassment and heartache. There are so many people that have been negatively impacted by these sorrows and long for purity. Amazingly, people are attracted to a new culture that encourages purity of heart. So, as difficult as it is to go against today’s traditions, friends and family gain inspiration from moral thinking and moral trend setting. We become a new value and renew the value of others. So we need to find that zest, that motivation to embark onto and keep going on the correct trail to abstinence and moral purity. Where and how do we gain the power to do what is right when others say it is wrong, old-fashioned, or not normal? It comes from talking to parents and having good conversations among the family. It comes from Mom and Dad loving each other and being open to support, listening and guiding. It comes from not having secretes and trusting that we can share with our parents and parents with their child. It can even come from a single person who has the courage to stand up for something bigger than the self, something as big as the restoration of humankind. Knowing our own value sparks inside us the aspiration and the determination to be in fact a role model for others. At times we need to pray to seek power and inspiration. Sometimes, we need to read inspiration words on abstinence and understanding why our lineage is so precious. Education is power. We too must realize that there is energy in living up to our principles. People cannot hear us for our actions are speaking louder than our words. The comments that come back to us from other parents, friends, teachers and community leaders inspire us to keep going. We break the trail and when we look back, sometimes right behind and sometimes a ways back, others are following our trail. The culture is changing and we are helping change one step at a time.

Pure Love Essay Contest 2011-2012 Washington State

First Prize High School Category (11-12)

Second Prize High School Category (11-12)

First Prize High School Category (9-10)

Second Prize High School Category (9-10)

First Prize Alumni Category

Second Prize Middle School Category

Read Northwest Chapter Pure Love Essay Contest 2010 Excerpts Here.

Northwest Chapter /WA,AK,ID,MT,OR/ 

 Pure Love Essay Contest 2009

Middle School: 

1st Place Winner- Latrice Johnson

2nd Place Winner- Akalia Woods

High School 9th and 10th grade:

 1st Place Winner - Amy McCready

2nd Place Winner - Mikako Isshi

 High School 11th and 12th grade:

1st Place Winner - Justin Taylor

2nd  Place Winner - Seneca Anglin

 College:

1st  Place Winner- James Burgess

2nd  Place Winner - Leighton Degoede

Special Recognition: 

Pastor Mike and his Daughter Naomi

 

Essay Contest 2007 WDC

Topic: "Is sexual abstinence better for unmarried persons?"

High School Division: Grades 9 to 12

First Place Winner: Tierra Glymph: Go to Essay

Second Place Winner: Charise Hughes: Go to Essay

Middle School Division: Grades 6 to 8

First Place Winner: Raquel Reed: Go to Essay

Third Place Winner: Mary Carew: Go to Essay

 

Tierra Shanise Glymph, 9th Grade

March 4, 2007

Ultra Teen Choice Essay

“Abstinence Better for Unmarried Persons”

In today’s climate where HIV is rampant, values are distorted and respect is lacking, abstinence until marriage is better for unmarried persons.  I believe abstinence is better for unmarried persons because intimate relationships have consequences.  People who are considering sex and intimacy must remember that every action has a reaction and a consequence.  Males and females that remain abstinent until marriage are sending a clear message that they want to be respected and that they have respect for themselves and others.  They are also showing that they choose “life”.
I believe in Ultra Teen Choice and abstinence because statistics have shown that young people who indulge in sexual activities too early and before marriage are often more predisposed or receptive to other problems and negative behaviors.  These teens, for example, often become involved with drugs and alcohol.  As they indulge in these negative behaviors, they end up having poor self-esteem and very little respect for themselves and others.  Their negative behaviors often lead to poor school attendance, inability to concentrate, declining grades and depression.  In some cases, many become high school dropouts.  In addition to declining academically, their social skills also decline as they lack respect for themselves and others – including parents and friends.   
Teens that indulge in sexual activities too early are also more at risk to acquiring sexually transmitted diseases such as Chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and even HIV.  They are often more at risk because they are not aware of protections that are available.  HIV affects millions of men, women and children worldwide.  HIV has no respect for gender, color, income, or even sexual preference, meaning that the disease that was once considered “the gay disease” is now rampant and affecting everyone.  
Teens who are sexually active too early often become victims of circumstances because they are unprepared to cope with serious relationships and their consequences.  One of these consequences is teen pregnancy.  Yearly, hundreds of babies are born to unmarried teens that either do not want children or are unprepared to become parents.  
Surveys have shown that in the same manner that adults are affected by drug and alcohol abuse, teens are also affected.  Many of these negative behaviors often accompany people that are sexually active too early.  According to a CDC and Prevention Survey, 25% of 9th graders reported binge drinking (defined as having five or more drinks on one occasion); 40% of ninth grade students reported having consumed alcohol before they were age 13; 26.2% of 9th graders reported having smoked cigarettes and 11.6% reported having used marijuana before age 13.  The key is that many of these behaviors tend to follow teens that are sexually active too early and not abstinent until marriage.
Serious relationships require a level of maturity and commitment, and marriage    is an expression of this commitment.  Between the ages of 12 and 18 years of age, are we really prepared for these types of relationships?  Shouldn’t we instead be more focused on finishing high school and college?  Some people think that this type of thinking is only for geeks.  But, I assure you that college in one of the pathways to success.
Teens who are sexually active too early often become victims of depression because they are once again unprepared to cope with serious relationships.  According the American Counseling Association, 30% of teens suffer from depression.  This depression often leads to low self esteem, low school attendance, and poor grades and suicide.
As young women, we are often degraded verbally and not taken seriously by our male counterparts, many of whom view their girlfriends like trophies that they place on shelves to gather dusk.  As young women, we must insist on being taken seriously.
By being abstinent until marriage, we are sending a clear message that we
(1) have a choice; (2) we choose “life”; (3) we want to be respected; (4) we want to be taken seriously; (5) we care enough about our bodies not t not to share it with any and everybody that comes along; and (6) we want to follow God’s plan.
            As my mother would try to talk with me about sexuality issues, I would often say “TMI” or “Too much information.”   But, then I realized that this is reality and that we need to be aware of ourselves and our environment.    By learning about my environment, I am able to make the choice of abstinence.
By being abstinent, we are telling our male counterparts and the world that we want to be respected and not be referred to by the “h” word (hoe) or “b”***** word.  Each and every one of us is important!  By waiting until marriage, we are committing ourselves to the special person that we care about and who cares about us. By waiting until marriage, we are choosing “life”, a life in which exposure to HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases are minimized.  Abstinence until marriage is important!