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FSM 241 / FN 350  DO        7/93--Summit '92 FSM: "The Affection Revolution"
"Let Brotherly (& Sisterly) Love Continue!" (Heb.13:1)

Please read Mama's Letter, "The Need for More Affection in Our Homes" (ML#2857, GN 552), before reading this FSM. Thanks!

       It has been said, "One touch can `speak' volumes & convey your love, acceptance & support." When you receive simple loving affection, how does it make you feel? Some people would say, "Warm & secure," & others would say, "Loved, appreciated, attractive." Others would say, "Comfortable & relaxed." Whatever words you would choose to describe affection, we all can readily agree that it's something that most people greatly need, appreciate & desire. Affection feels so nice & has a wonderful way of lifting your spirit & brightening your day. It's so encouraging & uplifting. A little affection can say so much & go a long way! It communicates love--you can feel someone's love through the affection they share with you.
       Dad & Mama say, "Affection is very important, kisses & cuddles & hugs, just to know you're loved, sex doesn't even enter into it. The physical contact is important, because it shows that you're loved & it helps you to feel secure. Sex isn't necessarily a sign of love, but affection is always a sign of love. That's real love, genuine love & it can even be sacrificial love! Sex can be just a selfish thing, just because you need it & want it. But to give a person love & affection & cuddles to show that you love them, that's something that's beyond & more than & even greater than sex.--That's real love, to show you love them.
       "I think it's real spiritual love & affection that count the most: The real love that you show them, the concerned & loving words you say, the affectionate comfort of holding you in their arms & simply feeling you dear & close to them, to feel that somebody really loves them & cares about them. It's a tremendous blessing & a great encouragement to them, & it inspires their faith to feel that you love them & really care whether they're happy or unhappy, that someone is actually concerned about them & their feelings & their happiness! It is such a small easy way to show it by just a smile or a kind word about the Lord's Love, a few affectionate pats or pecks." (DB2, ML#1923:13; DB9, ML#2445:5; DB6, ML#309:14,25.)
       The Christian Digest on affection says, "A single intimate body contact will do more than all the beautiful words in the dictionary. One touch can soothe, comfort & convey caring in a way that words never can. Touching eases pain, lessens anxiety, softens the blows of life, generates hope & has the power to heal." (See Christian Digest #10, "Affection".)
       In Mama's Letter, "The Need for More Affection in Our Homes", she says that moderate sweet loving affection should be as common in our Homes as saying, "I love you" or "Praise the Lord" or "Thank You Jesus!" She says, "We'd like to see sweet & loving affection become as commonplace in our Homes as our usage of the phrases which are just a normal part of our everyday lives & conversation. Affection between our Family Members should be as natural as when you say `hello' to somebody when you see them & `goodbye' when you leave." (ML#2857:5,10) When you look at it that way, it's clear we have quite a ways to go to improve our showing of affection to one another.
       The leaders who attended the Summit '92 Meetings had the opportunity to read Mama's Letters on affection, at which time they discussed at length the problem of a lack of affection in our Homes, the causes & some possible solutions. We have continued to hear reports that many of our Homes have stagnated in the area of showing simple affection one to another, to the point that in some cases interactions are a little cool & distant without much touching. Some people are feeling lonely, unappreciated & discouraged. There have been instances reported where some people are actually what you might call "starving" for affection. This is heart-breaking! We desperately need to improve this situation & encourage more affection, so that all our dear Family Members can have their "love cups filled". (See "Raise'em Right!", pg.24.)

What Hinders Us from Showing More Affection?
       Maybe we could begin by examining the different things that hold us back from showing more affection. As Mama brought out in "The Need for More Affection in Our Homes", one of the main things that has quenched or choked out our show of affection has been jealousy--or at least the concern that someone will get jealous. She also explained that one of the ways we can limit the chance of people having jealousy battles is to define what simple loving affection is, including how to show affection & what it means. By doing so, people will not feel insecure or threatened or misinterpret it when they see the person they're close to giving or receiving simple affection. (Later in this article we will discuss some specific points about how to give, receive & interpret loving affection.)
       Apart from worrying about jealousy, there are also many other problems that have inhibited the flow of loving affection in our Homes. Some problems may be the result of ruts that our Homes have gotten into & some may be the result of our own personal bad habits or hang-ups. As we list these other hindrances, please prayerfully consider your own personal situation & Home, & see which ones apply to you. And maybe you can think of some we haven't included.
       We are simply out of the habit, so we don't think about it & being affectionate doesn't come naturally to us. Many of us might not even realise that we're not affectionate, because not being affectionate has become our norm. Unfortunately, that is what now comes naturally to us.
       We are all very busy, so we often don't stop to share a hug or a word of appreciation that could brighten someone's day. Of course, being busy isn't a very good excuse, because it doesn't really take much time to show a little affection--just a few seconds.
       We all have to fight our pride when it comes to affection. Dad has said, "It takes humility to be affectionate & to receive affection."
       Many people are shy. It's very hard for shy people to make the first move. Someone shared the following lesson: "Shyness is a great `hinderer' to my being affectionate. In times past I would want to give someone a good night hug, etc., but often I would wait to see if they would come up & hug me first, & many times they wouldn't! And then it's easy to fall into a habit or rut of not hugging each other, & then you begin to feel a little distant with each other. So I have learned not to be afraid to take that first step, not to wait for others to love me, but to step out & love others!"
       Many may have overreacted to the Letter, "Flirty Little Teens Beware", where Mama warned about the dangers of the wrong kind of affection between teens & adults. While her warning is very needed & still stands, it seems our Home members became so cautious that they now border on being somewhat prudish in regards to affection, not only with teens, but even with other adults. It looks like a case of "throwing the baby out with the bath water", because in an attempt to not be overly affectionate with teens, some of our adults have swung to the opposite side of not being affectionate with them at all--or with anyone! Or teens are worried about giving the wrong impression to adults & think if they give affection it will inspire feelings they don't want to start.
       Fear of relationships. Some people fall in love easily, & one of the safeguards they have set up for themselves (either consciously or unconsciously) is to simply not give or receive much affection. It seems in an attempt to avoid wild fire, many have opted to have no fire at all.
       Fear that the affection given will be misunderstood or misinterpreted. People are afraid their actions might be misunderstood & they don't want to lead someone on, so they choose to refrain from showing affection. This problem ties in with the need to define affection & what it means, so you don't have to worry that someone is going to think you're in love with them or wanting to have a relationship simply because you show them normal sweet affection.
       One brother shared the following lesson: "One thing that held me back from showing more affection to others was I was afraid that I was going to give the wrong signal. I worried that they might interpret it that I was wanting to have a relationship with them. I remember that after I had separated from my mate I really didn't want to get involved in another relationship, as I knew I needed to renew my relationship with the Lord. But there was a single mom around who desperately wanted a mate & she thought I was a likely candidate!
       "Now I don't blame her for wanting a mate, & I think it's great when single brothers get together with single moms, but at that particular time I didn't feel it was the Lord's Will for me to get involved. So I actually became quite cold to her. I felt real bad about that as I knew it hurt her, but I didn't know what else to do, because I didn't want her to think that I was interested in her. Now I understand that I should have just been honest with her & sweetly explained why I wasn't looking for a relationship. I'm sure she would have understood & we could have continued being affectionate one to another without my worrying that a relationship might develop. That would have been much better & much more loving."
       Selfishness is probably another main reason why people don't show each other more affection. Showing affection is giving to another. It costs something to get out of yourself & feel for someone else & pass on a special word of encouragement, a touch, a smile, a hug or a little kiss to someone who needs it. (And we all need affection, whether we readily admit it or not!)
       Laziness & lack of effort are also big culprits! We just don't take time or put forth the effort, because we're preoccupied with ourselves, our ruts, our work, our own situations or problems. Granted, there is a lot going on in our Homes, but maybe we let ourselves off the hook a little too easily, using the excuse that we're so involved with other important business.
       Familiarity also hinders affection. If you've lived with the same people for a long time & you know each other very well, including each other's shortcomings, problems, NWOs, idiosyncrasies, etc., sometimes that can get in the way of showing each other the Lord's Love through affection.
       Often people worry about how their affection will be received or if they will be rejected. They feel insecure & nervous. They don't want to bother others or get rejected, so they don't reach out to others like they would like to.
       If you feel like someone doesn't like you, then you naturally feel inhibited in being very outgoing with that person.
       If people aren't clean & well groomed, it can hinder the show of affection. Bad breath, body odour, dirty hair, etc., are not conducive to sharing affection.
       There are cases (rarely, thank the Lord) in which a brother comes on to the sisters in a fleshy, carnal way when showing affection. This turns the girls off & usually causes them to resent or resist the approaches of that brother.
       If the Home Shepherds are not used to showing affection, or they perhaps hold back for whatever reason, their sample seems to cause the whole Home to do likewise. Showing affection (or a lack of affection) is very contagious.
       We've also become a lot more cautious because of how the System might interpret our show of affection, which has in some cases made us quite reserved towards one another within our Homes as well. For example, some Homes have adopted rules that absolutely no affection whatsoever is permitted between Family Members outside of their Homes. While that may be a wise rule in some situations, as the Word says, "Giving no offense in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed" (2Cor.6:3), unfortunately, such restrictions have eventually influenced the affection we show within our Homes as well, & have contributed to us toning down the good habits that we used to have of showing each other lots of brotherly love.
       Married couples have not wanted to show favouritism or partiality by showing only their mate affection in public within the Home. This, of course, is a considerate attitude & the singles have probably appreciated it. However, there's a down side to this as well, because instead of broadening their show of affection to include everyone, many married couples have instead stopped showing affection publicly altogether, even to each other.
       Sensitivity & comparing can also be hindrances to showing affection in our Homes, if people start comparing the amount of appreciation & affection that others get to what they get. If they feel they don't get enough, then they become discontent or they impose legalistic expectations on their brethren or Shepherds.
       One of the Shepherds shared: "Comparing is a big problem. There are people who watch to see if someone gets a hug & a word of appreciation, & unless they also get something right then & there, they bomb out. Or, if someone they would like to receive affection from goes & sits by someone else, then they feel that that person should also come & sit by them in order to make the share of affection equitable. It's a form of legislating the flow of God's Love. This makes it very difficult, & many times if it gets too complicated, people will simply opt to forego the show of affection to anyone, rather than to have to hassle with these complications."
       While women often find it quite easy & natural to show affection to other women, men sometimes find it very difficult to show brotherly affection to other men. Some have inhibitions because of the way they were brought up, or possibly because of the role models & images that we've grown accustomed to over the years of what it means to be masculine. Even the concern of others thinking you have Sodomite tendencies is a factor that causes some men to be quite standoffish even with normal manly gestures of affection to one another.
       A handyman who was previously on Dad's staff shared the following testimony: "I think pride is the main thing that stops me from hugging as much as I would like. Also, if I'm not in the habit & others around me aren't in the habit, I tend not to hug so much. I love to hug though, it's very special.
       "Of course, receiving hugs from the brothers is very different from receiving hugs from the sisters. Hugs from the brothers are not sexual at all! Receiving a strong hug from one of the brothers is inspiring in that it strengthens our fellowship & shows our unity, that we're fellow soldiers fighting & serving Jesus together. I remember one time when I was praying with a few other brothers & Grandpa. We were holding hands in a circle, & when we were done, Grandpa asked why we didn't kiss each others' hands like he does. He said that just because we were all boys present, that didn't mean we couldn't show affection by kissing hands."
       If someone is very tired, they might feel a little irritated by others' affectionate approaches. They may feel like you're invading their privacy or their need for breathing space or room to escape for a little rest & recuperation. When in that mood, people might not be so receptive to affection or so generous to give affection--at least not until it becomes more natural & more of a habit. If you know you're in that frame of mind, & you're not responding well to someone's affection & you're giving off the "don't bug me" vibes, it's best to apologise to the person & explain that you're very tired or not in a good mood, so the person won't take it personally & will feel free to approach you the next time. (For more on this, please see "Love Thy Sister", ML#2445, DB9.)
       The same can be true when someone is working in the kitchen cooking dinner. A brother may want to give the sister a hug, but for her it's a dangerous time, as she has hot pots on the stove, etc. In this case, she may have to take a "raincheck" on their hug until she's done.
       Some people don't share more affection because they feel it will make them desire more sex, which, if they don't have the option of having more sex, they feel would be quite difficult. This might be a problem in some cases, but the majority of the people that we asked felt that having more affection in their Home would make it easier for them, even if they didn't have more sex as a result. (Of course, there are situations where it might make it more difficult--especially if someone isn't getting any sex! So it's important to try to do all you can to make sure people's sexual needs are being met.)
       One brother shared the following, "If I didn't have lots of sex, I would still prefer having lots of hugs. The reason is because I feel that love & affection via hugs `satisfies' in a simple sort of way. That body contact makes me feel like the person likes me enough to want to hug me, & I find that very loving & helpful."
       Another brother's comments were as follows: "If I am wanting more sex, there is the temptation to think about it more if I am hugging the women. Also, there's the temptation to flirt, but I think I have the tendency to do this anyway, whether I'm having a lot of dates or not. I don't think it's good to go to the extreme where you don't want to show or receive affection because you think it may make you want more sex. I have gone the direction of closing up & withholding affection because of the temptation of it making me want more sex, but in the long run it has never been good for me spiritually. I end up getting more into myself & becoming selfish & dissatisfied. Whereas if I give to others, not looking for anything in return, but just give out of love & affection, I always am more in the victory. PTL!"
       Another brother shared, "Knowing you are really & truly loved by someone is almost as good as sex, I think. Before we had sharing in the Family we had at least lots of love & hugs & closeness, & that kept us going!"

Practical Tips for More Affection
       Now that we've discussed some of the main causes of a lack of affection in our Homes, what are we going to do about it? Below are some practical suggestions that you can try. Some are tips that can be adopted & encouraged on a Home level, & others are tips that you'd need to try to practise on a personal level. We've come to the conclusion that you can do your best to have an affection push in which you change your collective habits as a Home, but that probably won't be enough in itself to make a lasting overall change. Along with your Home going on the attack unitedly, you'll also need to make some personal commitments & changes as an individual, in order to become a more affectionate person.
        Slow down. Sure we're all busy, but we're not so busy that we can't take a little time for some affection. And besides, showing affection hardly takes any extra time. The Christian Digest says, "Tactile expression of love requires no extra time; it is easily bestowed while other activities are going on. As you walk through the house & pass a family member, it doesn't take extra time to draw an affectionate hand across that person's shoulder. There are many sweet ways to show what we mean to one another, without taking extra time to do so. Such small gestures carry large meanings." (CD #10.)
Give more hugs! A great time to give & get a hug is when you first greet someone each day. "Greet ye one another with an holy kiss" (1Cor.16:20b). If you don't hug & kiss upon greeting, it seems to be a little more difficult (but not impossible) later in the day. A hug is not only a good way to start the day, but also to end the day.
       Another good time to hug is when you've just thanked someone for something they've done for you. It could be the cook, your Shepherd, a co-worker, etc. A warm embrace is also nice if you've just gotten through talking or counselling with someone. It's a real nice way to close a meeting too! Another fun time to give a hug is when you accidentally bump into someone in the hallway & you're both zigging & zagging at the same time.
       To break the barriers, make hugging a game--a fun Home project. Wear a little tag that says, "I need 12 hugs today! I have had 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12!" And cross the numbers off as you give & receive hugs. Or you can have a "Hug Contest"! Wear a little tag that says, "How many hugs can we give? 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20." And put an X through or a circle around a number each time you have a hug! Mmmmmm ... sounds fun!
       Dances are a wonderful atmosphere to show affection. It's easy to show a lot of affection while dancing. As you talk & touch in time to the music, you'll find it's fun, enjoyable & relaxing, & showing affection under such circumstances comes quite naturally. Perhaps you could plan a dance to kick off your affection push. "That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love" (Col.2:2).
       Take the initiative. Don't wait for others to approach you. Reach out & make the first move. It might help you to realise that the other person probably wants affection as much as you do, it's just a matter of one of you deciding to do something to break the ice & make contact.
       Hold hands during prayer, & kiss hands afterwards.
       If someone does something for you, don't just say "thank you," but give them a hug & kiss, or at least give their hand a little squeeze or kiss.
       Put your arms around each other during united singing.
       Stay clean, fresh, well-shaven. Keep your hair clean, teeth brushed, wear a little cologne, etc., & people will feel more attracted to you.
       A tip for married couples: Hug & kiss when waking, when leaving your room for the day, when returning home after a day out, before sleeping, etc.
       A tip for men: If you feel uncomfortable hugging other men, you can at least touch their arm, look in their eye & greet them with a warm, "How's it going? I sure love you!" Eventually, you will probably find that as you warm up & get freer in the Spirit, it will become much easier for you to share hugs with your brothers. It's not unnatural or weird for men to hug each other. There's nothing wrong with it. At the recent Summit Meeting it was very precious to see the different male leaders hugging each other. They showed lots of love & appreciation for each other with big strong masculine hugs when greeting each other for the day, after meetings, after praying for the food, when saying good night, & when parting.
       Take specific steps to break the vicious nonaffectionate cycle that's developed with those whom you don't have the habit of hugging. Sometimes you can establish a subtle unspoken pattern in your relations with some people that doesn't allow much place for affection. In some cases you don't feel particularly close to those people or there isn't a natural "chemistry" or attraction between you, so you don't touch much. In other cases, you are close & you do feel comfortable together, but you just don't have the habit of hugging or touching each other.
       If you have a nonaffectionate pattern with someone, you might want to talk this over with the person & try to start your relationship off on a new foot. It doesn't have to be a big deal. If there is someone that you rarely hug, you can simply say something like, "I've noticed we don't hug much. I really love you & would like to be closer to you in that way. I miss that contact with you--maybe we can try to hug more often. I'd really like that. Whadaya think?" Then make a special effort to hug that person when you meet & you'll be well on your way to developing a new habit & pattern of affection & warmth together.
       Create an atmosphere conducive to affection by being warm, friendly & approachable. Such an atmosphere invites people to give you affection. When you show people you're interested in them & happy to see them, naturally they'll want to reach out to you.
        If you sense someone is busy, after greeting & hugging, don't "capture" them for a long conversation. If people start to realise that hugging you is usually a big deal that takes a long time, they might think twice before approaching you to give you a quick hug.
       Don't shrink away from affection or respond in a cool unenthusiastic manner. This will make people feel awkward when it comes time to hug you next time. Instead, lean into a hug & respond warmly & appreciatively. This gives the silent message that the affection is welcome, which will make it much easier for that person to approach you again in the future. "Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity, for God loveth a cheerful giver" (2Cor.9:7).
       Don't let barriers grow. If something is bothering you that makes you feel distant from someone or resistant to their affection, talk about it with that person. Forgive & forget.
        Some people feel that in very large Homes it's more difficult to give hugs & show affection. This seems to be caused by many factors, such as: there is a massive amount of work to be done, which causes people to be very busy; there are lots of children that keep everyone hoppin'; there's more departmentalisation, which causes people's paths to cross less often; & some people worry that if they give a few people a hug, they'll have to hug everyone, which could be very demanding. If you live in a very large Home, you may have to make even more of an effort to show affection. Make time! You don't have to hug everyone every day--as that might not be possible, but at least hug some people each day, & try to get around to everyone over the course of a few days.
       Also, remember there are different personalities. Some people are naturally shy & reserved. Others are more outgoing. Don't expect everyone to respond or act the same--be Spirit-led in your interactions with others & be considerate of their feelings, so you don't put people on the spot or make them feel embarrassed. Don't be pushy.
       Have patience, changes take time. If people aren't automatically & instantly as affectionate as you think they should be, keep on loving them & they will probably change eventually.
       Stay positive. Don't fall into the Devil's trap of thinking negatively & accusing others of not showing you enough affection. It's easy to get blue & think, "No one loves me! Why aren't people showing me more affection?" But the key is not in how much affection you're receiving, but in how much you're giving! "The liberal soul shall be made fat, & he that watereth shall be watered also himself." (Pro.11:25)
       Have a Home pow-wow or open-forum discussion on the subject of affection. You could have skits, make it fun! (For more on this, please see page 19 of this FSM.)

Affection Is More than Hugs
       Many of us have the impression that affection equals hugging only. But there are many ways of showing affection. People often enjoy just being touched in a warm, friendly, casual way, which also shows affection & transmits love. For example, you can hold someone's hand momentarily, scratch or rub their back, touch their hair, rub their neck, rest your hand lightly on their leg, etc., (usually male with female, or female with female). If you don't have time for a big hug, even just a little pat or touch of some kind will make contact & show them you care. "Every time you pat someone on the arm or shoulder, you are sending a psychic message such as `I like you,' `I agree with what you're saying,' `You have done well' or `All is well, don't worry.'" (CD #10)
       Also, affectionate words, compliments & words of appreciation pave the way for affectionate touching. As Dad says, "Almost everybody needs encouragement! Most people are not really conceited, but feel a certain amount of inferiority complex & tend to get a little discouraged with themselves, so therefore I think encouragement is a very important thing! I do it all the time! I praise everybody for everything they do that I see is good." (See "Appreciation!", ML#997, DB1, page 212.)
       People want to feel accepted, secure, loved--& words of appreciation, as well as simple loving affection, can do a lot to communicate that acceptance, security & love. Someone on the Folks' staff shared the following lesson: "It's very important to compliment each other, & not to worry what they or others might think of you. Everybody likes to hear a few kind words, especially if it's about themselves! Dad is always very faithful to give compliments, not only to the girls, but also to the guys.--And not just compliments about their looks, but also about their work, that they cooked a delicious dinner, did a super clean-up job, etc."

Affection Guidelines
       Mama says, "We need more affection in our Homes, but a lot of people shy away from it because of all of the misinterpretations of things, or worry about what he thinks that she thinks, or what she thinks that he thinks, etc., etc.! Everyone's getting the wrong signals from it. Some people are just naturally affectionate, they like to be affectionate, & they don't mean it to go any further. But when they are affectionate, then the recipient thinks that they mean something more than they actually do.
       "I think the solution is that we just have to set a certain standard & certain rules & say, `This is what this means, & it does not mean anything more!'--And it should not mean anything more. It's not supposed to mean anything more, so nobody should take it as meaning more.
       "So in order to get people on the right track & to do some things they know they should do--or not do things they know they shouldn't--you almost have to lay down rules at first to get them into the habit of doing--or not doing--things. So just like we laid down a rule for mandatory adult Word time, & we're going to lay down a rule for mandatory vigil time, & we're going to lay down rules for Acts 2:44 & 45 common-potting, we're also going to have to lay down rules for affection too. Otherwise, there is uncertainty & it causes a double standard, & different people do different things.
       "So we may have to lay down rules for affection in our Homes.--That you have to have affection.--But you have one kind of affection openly amongst all your members--anytime, anywhere--& another kind you reserve for lovemaking with your partner behind closed doors. Your everyday standard of natural, loving affection amongst your Home members during your normal daily interaction with each other is not supposed to signal or lead to sex, which is what you have in your bedroom on your dates behind closed doors." (ML#2857:31,33,37,43)
       Of course, it is not easy to establish specific affection rules or guidelines because people are different; some are naturally more affectionate, others are more standoffish or shy or conservative. Also, the ways people relate to each other are different. A show of affection that might be interpreted by one person as quite sexual may be interpreted by someone else as simply friendly. But regardless of these differences, we do need to have a somewhat definite standard for affection, so we don't end up with a lot of different standards of affection in our Homes. So we'll attempt to outline below the basic guidelines of affection that can (& should) be shown across the board to all Home members during your normal daily interaction.
       Simple loving affection (mostly for someone of the opposite sex) can include such actions as simple hugs & pats, kisses on the cheek, stroking hair, holding hands, walking arm-in-arm, touching the waist, back, neck, arms, face, putting your arm around someone, a hug from behind (that doesn't include touching breasts), laying your head on someone's shoulder, etc.
       Touching that is simply affectionate is tender & loving, not forceful or pushy or heavy. Simple affectionate touches are often accompanied by sweet words of encouragement or greeting; you don't feel a heavy pulling or vacuum in the spirit from the other person. This type of affection is not linked with actual sex behind closed doors later on, & it should not be interpreted as such.
       Simple nonsexual affection therefore should not include such actions as deep kissing, fondling breasts or penies or grabbing bottoms, kissing the neck or ears, hunching, bumping, grinding--or any other activity or action that would be better left for your private dates behind closed doors.
       We felt it was best to go for a middle-of-the-road standard when establishing these affection guidelines--that way everyone can "come up to the average". We believe these guidelines will be good for our Homes overall, that they will encourage more affection while at the same time not cause apprehension, fear, worry or jealousy. You might think the affection guidelines are a little on the conservative side. Well, along with wanting to avoid jealousy & misunderstandings about relationships, there were two other important factors to consider when the affection rules were drawn up.
       Firstly, the affection guidelines must also be able to apply to the affection that is shown between adults & teens (or EAs). It's pretty easy to see that if we had to have two general standards of affection--one for affection of adults with adults & another for affection of adults with teens (or EAs)--it would be extremely complicated! It's much better & easier & generates more unity of spirit to have one general affection standard for all ages. (See more on this point in the section entitled, "Affection between Adults & Teens," on page 10.)
       Secondly, we should not have to alter or tone down the affection we show to each other when we have visitors in our Homes. Our normal standard of across the board affection should, as much as possible, be acceptable to visitors who might drop by our Homes. Of course, they might still be a bit surprised by how affectionate we are, especially in this day & age when affection & touching are becoming almost taboo in many countries. So of course we don't have to try to strictly conform to the System standards or be overly concerned about pleasing the System, but at least our affection should not be offensive or appear to be promiscuous to outsiders. There is a balance to be found here so that we can avoid the appearance of evil, but still have love one towards another, by which all men shall know that we are His disciples! (See Jn.13:35.)
       When we talk about affection that can be shown in public in our Homes, that means in all the public areas of the Home at any given time. In other words, if you happen to be in the kitchen or the living room & no one else is there at that moment, that doesn't mean you should disregard the affection rules, because you never know when someone else might walk in. (And if they see you embraced & kissing, for example, it could cause them a trial--especially if the person you're kissing happens to be someone they're close to!) So "in public" means any public areas of the Home, even if you're the only people who happen to be there at the time.
       Affection that goes further than the guidelines should only be shared behind closed doors in private parts of the Home, such as in a bedroom. (An exception to this would be if a normally public area of your Home, such as an office, classroom or library, is specifically declared a private area of the Home during certain hours & is sectioned off in some way to avoid intrusions, such as having a "Please Do Not Disturb" sign on the door.) Of course, any affection that goes beyond the guidelines would have to be according to the Family rules concerning age groups. That means adults with adults or EAs with EAs, etc. We are not condoning sexual affection between adults & teens, even if it is behind closed doors!
       We want to stress that it's important that everyone abide by the affection guidelines. If you are naturally more affectionate than most people in your Home, if you get too free with your affection & go beyond the guidelines when in public, it could cause problems. For example, say you know someone very well & you've had a friendly relationship for a long while. You understand each other & you know that your obviously sexy hugs & comments & jokes are just for fun, you're not serious & you don't plan to take your relationship any further. So in your opinion, it might seem perfectly legitimate & harmless for you to be more free in showing more affection & to go over the guidelines when in public. You might feel that you don't need to abide by the affection rules, because you are so confident that the other person understands you.
       But the drawback is that other people might not understand. So your sample of affection could stumble others, cause confusion, or it may encourage other people to want to step over the affection guidelines too--which could cause hurt feelings. So overall, it's best for everyone to stay within the affection guidelines when in public.
       Some people might think, "Affection rules--ugh! What bondage!" But in reality, the rules or guidelines are a vehicle for freedom. Through these guidelines most people will be set free to show & receive affection more freely, because they'll know the boundaries & what it means & does not mean. The establishment of affection guidelines is an avenue to show more affection, not less. Even if a few people have to tone down the affection they show in some situations, we believe that you will find that through the initiation of affection guidelines, the amount of affection which is shown to everyone across the board will increase greatly! By defining the affection guidelines, we're not saying that you can do all those things, but that you should!--You should hug, touch, pat, kiss, etc.
       One of the EAs who is living in a WS Unit & who had the opportunity to read an advance copy of this FSM commented: "This FSM has made it clear to me how to be affectionate & what is acceptable affection. I used to want to be more affectionate to others, & I felt like being more affectionate & doing affectionate things, but I didn't know the boundaries & I worried about what others would think. So I pretty much refrained from doing anything. But this FSM is like a map to show me the way to the place I wanted to go & be at. This revolution helps me a lot.
       "At first when I was reading this FSM I felt in a way like, `Boy, this is sounding a little regimented, does it really have to be this defined?' But as I read on & prayed about it & how I could best benefit from it & do it, I saw more & more how all the little rules & guidelines are really the gateway to freedom! Now I'm really glad for the pre-vision, precaution, thought & prayer that has been put into this Affection Revolution. From what I understand, with past revolutions years ago, like the experimentation with the Law of Love, there was more leeway given & thereby more room for error, because not so many specifics were written. But this Affection Revolution is bound to bear lots of good fruit & make it easy for all of us, because it's mapped out so clearly. PTL!"

Affection between Adults & Teens       
       As was mentioned above, the affection rules or guidelines apply to affection that's shown between all ages--which means they also apply to affection between adults & teens (& EAs). In other words, if these guidelines are followed, it should create a means to show gentle, simple, loving affection between adults & teens (& EAs), which at the same time is not overly sexual or tempting for the adults--especially the adult men. Our young people appreciate affection from their parents & other adults to reassure them, encourage them, & show them we appreciate & accept them. Teens & EAs need affection as much as anyone, & in many cases they're feeling distant & hurt because of a lack of simple affection--little hugs & touches & embraces of brotherly/sisterly or fatherly/motherly love. We should be able to give them the affection they need without it getting out of hand in any way!
        It will be much less confusing & will create more unity & warmth in the Home if the affection we show each other does not have to be tailored according to a person's age. We can show the same affection to everyone, without partiality or worry. But a word of caution: By encouraging more affection between adults & teens (& EAs), we are not encouraging adult/teen flirting, nor are we in any way relaxing the prohibition on adult/teen sex. The rule of no sexual contact between adults & teens (& EAs) still stands!
       If any of you, especially you adult men, find that you're having a difficult time controlling your show of affection to the teen or EA girls, please share this battle with your Shepherds or Teamworkers. You can also feel free to modify the affection guidelines (for you personally) to lessen your personal demonstration of affection to the teens or EAs if you feel it is necessary & if it will make it easier for you. (If you do need to do this, it may be advisable to explain the situation to the teens or EAs so they don't get their feelings hurt or think you're mad at them or giving them the cold shoulder.)

Teen & EA Affection among Themselves
       The point of the affection guidelines is not to cut back on or inhibit the affection that the teens & EAs are now showing amongst themselves in more private or intimate situations. Therefore, we suggest the teens & EAs & their Shepherds pray about & discuss in an open-forum discussion under what circumstances the teens & EAs would be able to demonstrate more affection amongst themselves. For example, there may be certain intimate occasions or recreational events such as teen/EA dances that lend themselves to the teens or EAs being able to show more affection to each other than what is allowed in the general affection guidelines for all ages. It might take a little experimentation before you can fine-tune the specific guidelines that would apply to the affection teens & EAs can show each other in the more intimate teen/EA situations. (Coming soon: More counsel & new guidelines for teen/EA friendships, dating, sex & relationships!)

Avoiding Jealousy
       Now that we've listed some of the causes of a lack of affection in our Homes, some practical tips for improving the situation, & some general guidelines for affection, let's go back to the subject of jealousy. Many of us can relate to what a big battle jealousy is. It can really be a serious distraction--a very debilitating, discouraging & time-consuming battle that can really get you off the wall. So it's no wonder that we have tried to avoid problems of that nature in the past! Of course, we should do all we can to continue to avoid jealousy problems, but the time has come when we're going to need to get over this hurdle & make progress in the battle with jealousy. Mama said, "Everybody's going to have to work on their jealousy & they're just going to have to start lovingly showing sweet, Godly natural affection to each other! Because I'm afraid that in many of our Homes, almost worldwide now, we've allowed people who have jealousy battles to keep us back from being the very openly loving & affectionate Family we should be, & I think that's very sad." (ML#2857:12)
       Below are listed some points that we pray will help us all show more affection & at the same time minimise problems with jealousy:
        Stay within the affection guidelines! Mama suggests that one way to overcome the jealousy hurdle to some degree is to "put limits on the affection & set a certain standard for the affection we display, & put a certain interpretation on our affection--what it means & what it doesn't mean. The emphasis we need to make now is that you should be able to be normally & moderately affectionate to all of your Home's members without it being interpreted as a prelude to sex. In other words, we should have a standard of affection that is permissible & approved, which is practised in our Homes, the kind of affection that is not meant to lead to sex." (ML#2857:6,28)
       We have listed the basic affection guidelines earlier in this article. However, in order for the affection guidelines to be effective, it's important that everyone try as much as possible to stay within those guidelines when in public. Don't try to push it to the limit or try to see how much you can get away with! Stay lovingly moderate & make it easy for others to be good!
        Realise that affection does not mean sex. As we begin to go on the attack to show more affection in our Homes, it might be a little difficult at first for people who are jealous, because they might not be very accustomed to seeing the person they're close to show lots of affection to others. It might take some getting used to. But if everyone knows that the increase of affection does not mean there will suddenly be an increase in sexual relationships, that will make it a lot easier. It's almost as though we need to be re-educated to understand that simple affection is not & should not be synonymous with sex or a sexual come-on. And even after we understand the principles of the affection guidelines & what they mean & don't mean, we need to have faith that this indeed is the case.
       If you have a tendency to be jealous, don't listen to the Enemy when he tries to get you to misinterpret, overreact, exaggerate or read into the affection more than is really there. Mama says, "Nobody should take this kind of affection to mean anything more than it is: Just sweet affection, our loving each other as members of the same Family, just doing what is the natural thing for those who love one another to do.--So don't take it as anything else!" (ML#2857:8)
        Love without partiality! One major factor that will make it easier, especially on people who are prone to be quite jealous, is if the affection shown to others is without partiality. If everyone is showing affection to everyone else, then it helps to reinforce the signals that we're all simply showing brotherly love to one another & it's nothing to worry about.
       Put yourself in the shoes of a person who is battling jealousy...if you see the person you're close to only giving hugs to a few select people, then you might be tempted to think, "Oh dear! It's a budding love affair...they're going to fall in love for sure!" But if you (still in the shoes of the jealous person) see the one you're close to giving affection to everyone, this helps greatly to ease your worries. In fact, you'd probably be happy to see your loved one encouraging others through sweet loving affection.
        Be considerate, prayerful & Spirit-led. We do need to work on showing affection & getting over our problems with jealousy, but at the same time we want to avoid causing unnecessary trials for people who are tempted to be jealous. We're not suggesting that we now just "let it all hang out" & "let the chips fall where they may" & expect people who tend to be jealous to just be able to take it. As much as possible, this Affection Revolution should be an all-around pleasant, encouraging & uplifting experience for everyone, something that will make our Homes even happier places & our Home members even more content. So please be very considerate of everyone's feelings. Take time to talk things over, pray together, reassure each other. Be prayerful & Spirit-led!

Fear of Relationships & Sexual Come-ons!
       Another major problem besides jealousy that has hindered the show of affection is the fear of relationships. And this problem is accentuated if the affection given is more of a sexual come-on, or at least is interpreted to be more of a sexual come-on than just simple affection.
       You might be asking yourself, "What exactly is a sexual come-on?" Well, it can sometimes be difficult to define or describe. To begin with, reactions to sexual come-ons vary greatly from person to person & situation to situation. There's no set formula as to how people will react to a sexual come-on. Whether it is met with appreciation or resistance depends on many varying factors. For example, it depends on how you feel about the person giving the affection--whether you're sexually attracted to them & if you feel open to their advances. It also depends on whether you're single or married, & whether your mate is jealous or not. It also depends on whether you are a man or a woman, & so forth.
       When preparing this article we did some research about affection & asked different Family Members how they feel about affection, how they respond to it, what they like & don't like, what made them feel that affection was a sexual come-on, etc. It was interesting to note that most of the men's reaction to the idea of a sexual come-on in affection was, "Great! Terrific!"--whereas women were overall more cautious, & commented that they sometimes found a sexual come-on to be a bit bothersome or even a little offensive.
       This side of affection is a little bit complicated because, according to opinions of various expert marriage counsellors & psychologists, it seems that generally women can more easily separate affection & sex, whereas it seems to be more natural for men to associate affection with sex. Women often see affection as an end in itself, whereas men often see affection as a prelude to sex. So, what sometimes happens is a woman may feel a little offended or put off if she receives what she thinks is a sexual come-on, when she's just looking for affection; whereas the man is a little offended if the woman is put off by his enthusiasm since he is sometimes oblivious to the fact that he's apparently coming on too strong & his demonstration of affection is too sexual.
       If a man comes on too heavy, or especially if he is in a carnal fleshy spirit, instead of making the woman want to curl up & purr under his affection, it makes her want to escape from it. Or if a man's affection is too familiar or forward, when you don't know each other well, it can make the woman feel uncomfortable & unappreciated as an individual. For example, someone shared the following reaction: "Recently I was introduced to a brother. When he greeted me with a hug, he bent his knees so that his penie was at the same level as my pum--which was very obvious because he's real tall--& he hugged me real big & grabbed my bottom & sort of pushed me into his penie & made a big `ooohhhh' expression.
       "This display of affection was done in front of others, & although I'm not a particularly shy person, under these circumstances I felt quite embarrassed. It seemed a bit too familiar & premature & made me feel a little cheap. I probably shouldn't have felt that way, as I'm sure that wasn't his intention, but his actions were unexpected & a little overdone, considering we had never met before. After that I felt a little resistant to that brother's affection. What he did may have possibly been okay under different circumstances, for example if we had been in a private situation & were more intimately involved, but as it was, I felt it was a little poorly timed, overly familiar & not done in good taste."
       So what can we do to keep everyone happy & avoid misunderstandings or offenses due to affection that is viewed as a sexual come-on? Well, first & foremost, as Mama explained, it will help if everyone realises & accepts the fact that simple affection that is in line with the affection guidelines does not represent a sexual come-on & it's not laying the groundwork for a future sexual relationship. If affection is kept within the guidelines, then it should be pretty easy to interpret it correctly, & no one should feel sensitive, resentful, nervous, uncomfortable or scared away by thinking the affection they receive is too sexual or a sexual come-on when it's not.
       Secondly, it might help to explain a few actions that may (not always) tend to give off heavy "sex vibes", which might cause the affection to be looked upon as a sexual come-on. Both men & women would want to avoid these particular things when showing simple affection in public & when your relationship is a casual one. (These points were compiled from different people's comments when asked to describe a sexual come-on.) Please understand that the purpose of these examples is not to set down a hard-&-fast "politically correct" standard, but simply to broaden perspectives as to how others may interpret the things we do.
        Some hugs can be pretty hot & sexy, depending on the style of hugging. Naturally, a very long hug tends to be more sexual. Or hugs that zero in on the erogenous zones of the body. For example, if someone gives you a long hug, with penie against pum, rubbing back & forth--well, that's pretty sexual & that type of hug would not fall under the category of simple affection. It might be better to reserve those kinds of hugs for private, as long as you know both people are desiring it! (But please don't over-react & resort to giving "A-frame" hugs where you're a metre apart in the pelvic region! It's nice to give nice, natural, snug hugs that are close enough that the man & woman can feel each other chest to chest.)
        Of course, it goes without saying that a hug where you hold someone's bottom & pull them closer to you or fondle their breasts or penie or pum is pretty sexual.
        Clinging hugs accompanied by whisperings in the ear & heavy breathing are more than simple affection.
        Hugs can also be pretty sexual because of what the person says. For example, if someone hugs you & says, "Oooooh baby, what you do to me! You really turn me on!" That would probably be interpreted as a sexual come-on, especially when compared with the normal comments during hugs, which are something like, "You're so sweet. I sure love you! God bless you! Have a happy day!"
        If a person doesn't normally pay much attention to you, doesn't talk with you or greet you, but then gives a hug or affection that is "oozing" with sexual overtones, it can be quite a turn-off & is often interpreted that that person is only interested in sex or your body, not really you as a person. This is usually interpreted as a sexual come-on.
        It can be quite confusing if a person makes a lot of jokes while hugging about "Let's go do it!" or "Why haven't we made love lately?" or "Hey, how about a date? Are you free right now?" etc. It's awkward because you don't know if the person is serious or if it's just a joke. (Not to mention that it's not the best sample because even if the hug is minimal, the words spoken are contradicting the affection guidelines.)
        A sexual come-on is felt in touches that are accompanied by intense eye contact & very little exchange of ordinary everyday conversation. In fact, such touches are usually accompanied by words with heavy sexual overtones.
        You might find that some people "don't let go" when they hug you, & therefore the hug lasts much longer than you want it to. Although this isn't necessarily a sexual come-on, it still can be a little unpleasant. If you're not sure if the hugs you're giving someone are lasting too long, you can simply ask them. That will help avoid misunderstandings or barriers growing between you.
        Please understand that there is a difference between public sexual come-ons, & private affection that is sexy. By explaining the problems that can result from sexual come-on's in simple public affection, we don't want to paint a negative picture that mistakenly leaves you with a feeling that all affection that is sexy is "bad" or "wrong" or "against the rules". Of course there are times when it's perfectly alright to be lovingly sexy in the affection you show. You can be as sexy as you please & express God's Love & the freedom of the Spirit through sex & affection as much as you want, provided it's under the right circumstances & with the right people & in the right setting. There is absolutely nothing wrong with showing affection that is wild & free & sexy & a sexual turn-on for both yourself & your mate, lover, sharing partner or friend, as long as it's done according to the guidelines of the Law of Love & the age requirements & is in private, behind closed doors.
A Clean Loving Spirit vs. a Lustful Spirit
       Even though we have affection guidelines, loving affection is not something that can really be legislated, because the spirit & motives behind the affection make a big difference. Sometimes one person can do something that will be received as gentle, sweet, loving, fun & inspiring; whereas another person can do more or less the same thing & it will be unpleasant & distasteful. The difference is often not so much the exact details of the actions as the spirit! Mama instructs us that we're going to have to watch that affection is done in a good, clean, loving spirit, not a selfish lustful spirit.
       It very much depends on the spirit of the person. For example, an adult male giving an adult female a sweet little pat on the bottom, even though a "sexual" zone, depending on the person giving it & the spirit that is carried with it, can be a fun & affectionate way of showing someone brotherly or sisterly appreciation & acknowledgment. On the other hand, the same little pat, if delivered in a lustful carnal manner can be offensive & ugly. "For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another." (Gal.5:13)

Don't Overreact & Go Cool
       There is the chance that with all this explanation of how to show affection, & how to avoid being carnal & fleshly, etc., that some people (mainly women) will overreact & get too picky & critical & legalistic. Our explanation & exposure of the problem of misinterpretations & sexual come-ons in affection should not be used as an excuse for people to be standoffish, or expect to be handled with kid gloves & treated exactly right before they'll cooperate & respond to the affection given them! Please try to be open, understanding, patient & let love be your guide!
              We believe that with the Lord's help everyone will try to do their best to be loving & Spirit-led, but there will still be an element of sacrifice involved in giving & receiving affection sometimes. It's impossible that every single situation & person will be 100% to your particular liking--but even if everything is not as you would choose, the Lord still expects you to get out of yourself & give & receive simple affection from your brothers & sisters.
       Mama says, "Some women are just too particular, & some men are just too lustful & sexy in a sort of carnal, fleshly spirit, so they'll all have to work on their shortcomings." (ML#2857:12) We'll all have to work on our shortcomings & hang-ups so we can all be the affectionate loving people the Lord wants us to be.

Teach People How to Be Affectionate
       If someone has a problem with being a bit overbearing & lustful in their affection, the solution is not to shun that person & cut them off from the affection they need just because their style doesn't suit your fancy or offends you. Instead, teach them! Lovingly show them how to be more affectionate in the right way, & explain what they're doing wrong & how they could improve. Pray with them & counsel them & help them. Some people are just not experienced with giving or receiving affection, & they don't realise the effect their actions are having on others; or they are trying to overcompensate for shyness or an inferiority complex.
       One way to help people learn to be affectionate is to discuss it in a pow-wow & have a few skits. This is a gentle & effective way to get the message across. But if people who need to don't take the hint, then don't hesitate to give them a few little tips & lessons personally.
       On the other hand, if someone's affection is nice, be sure to tell them so. That will reinforce their good behaviour & make them feel welcome the next time they want to hug or touch you.

Affection towards Children
       It seems we do better at showing affection to children than we do to adults, mainly because children are more up-front about their desire to be close & receive affection. But nonetheless, it wouldn't hurt us to try to improve & show even more affection to the little ones as well. Mama says, "Even though we certainly do not believe in or practise any kind of sexual abuse of our children, we do believe in showing our children normal legitimate affection, care & love. Virtually all of the recognised child psychologists & experts agree that children need such visibly manifested & demonstrated affection in order to properly develop psychologically & emotionally.
       "Just because the Devil has propagandised the World to look suspiciously on any sign of physically-manifested affection, love or warmth as a possible sign of evil-doing, we can't stop doing what we know we're supposed to do! We can't stop showing our children the love & affection they need, demonstrating our love for them through normal non-sexual affection, which is actually one of the only ways that small children can even comprehend or understand love!
       "Dad has repeatedly said that the only way others are going to know we love them is if we show it physically, & this is certainly true of children. They definitely need to have love demonstrated & shown to them. They constantly need affection--hugs, kisses, a pat on the back, an arm around the shoulders--and we can't suddenly stop all such absolutely normal & natural displays of love just because the Devil threatens, `Oh no no, don't do that! You must never touch your children--you'll be accused of child abuse!'" (ML#2536:2-4)

Following are some tips for showing little children affection:
       If you kneel down to the level of the child to hug & kiss them, it shows a lot of consideration & love.
       Don't grab children to give them a hug, or suddenly interrupt their activities without warning. That can be startling & annoying to them.
       Pray a one-sentence prayer as you come down to their level & hug them: "Lord, please bless dear little Johnny with a happy day that's full of new experiences & challenges."
       Use words of affection & praise also, such as: "I love you," "I'm proud of you," "You're special to me," etc.
       As you hug them, encourage them about their progress, talents, special little accomplishments, etc.
       Kiss the children goodnight when you can.
       It's always fun for children when someone they aren't normally with comes along & gives them a hug, or some acknowledgement.
       If you can't actually make physical contact with children when you see them for some reason, explain that you're on your way to the phone or you're late for a meeting or appointment (or whatever the case may be), at least greet them & blow kisses to them. Acknowledge them!

Tips for Shepherds
       The amount of loving affection that is shared in a Home is often greatly dependent on how much affection is shown by the Shepherds. If the Home Shepherds are open & loving & affectionate with all, then that sample is very contagious & others will want to be affectionate as well. If Shepherds are rather reserved & not so affectionate, it can have quite a devastating effect on the Home & others might also feel compelled (either consciously or subconsciously) to hold back on showing affection.
       A WS Shepherdess shared the following personal lesson: "This subject of affection reminds me of the verse, `He that hath friends must shew himself friendly.' (Pro.18:24a) You have to give affection first if you wish to receive it. Speaking from my own experience, I was a very unaffectionate person. Thank the Lord, I've had a few breakthroughs in my life in that area. Before I joined the Family I just loved animals. I would readily hug my animals, but it was really difficult for me to show affection to people. I realised that the problem was with me & I had to go on the attack. I remember when I was first in the Family, a brother told me, `If there's someone you don't feel close to, just go on the attack & hug them.'
       "I later realised that, because of my position as a Shepherdess, people look to me & judge how they're doing by whether or not I'm affectionate with them. Sometimes if I don't hug someone or show them my love openly through affection, they worry that I'm mad at them or that they did something wrong. So I've found that hugging comes with my job. And because I was not naturally affectionate, I had to make it a habit & a ritual, because I knew it was expected of me. I made myself hug more & kiss people on the cheek.
       "I had to really go on the attack. And I found that when I went on the attack, then the feelings started to come, even though it was kind of ritualistic at first. Even though there were some people I didn't particularly want to hug or kiss, I found that when I warmed up to those people, it became more enjoyable. Soon we got closer & we began sharing better hugs & squeezes. And after a while, what was once ritualistic became more natural, & where there was once a barrier, affection flowed easily & naturally. When I first started giving more affection I felt a little fake & artificial, but like Mama's counsel in `Let Jesus Shine', even if you don't want to do something you know the Lord wants you to do, you should just go ahead & do it. You're not being hypocritical, you're doing what you should!
       "What I've learned personally is that if you want to learn to be more affectionate, you just have to start doing it, & pretty soon you will become more affectionate, sort of like Dad's quote, `Faith & obedience come first, then God answers prayer.'
       "It doesn't necessarily have to be first thing in the morning--you don't have to go down the line & hug every single person in a row. But throughout the day you can hug people when you meet them or see them. It becomes more natural when you start doing it & you get a lot of returns after a while. You'll soon start feeling more affectionate & enjoying it."

Ritualistic & Forced?
       This brings us to a good question. People wonder, "Aren't all these specific guidelines going to make the show of affection like a formality, a little ritualistic & forced? Can't we just do what comes naturally? Where's the spontaneity?" Well, of course, we in no way want to hamper spontaneity, or make anyone feel forced or unnatural. The problem with "just doing what comes naturally" is that if you don't have a good habit of showing affection, it won't come naturally. It's something that needs to be cultivated through putting forth a conscious effort, & then gradually it will become more natural & you will find you begin to show affection without really thinking about it or having to make a deliberate effort to remember to do so.
       So while we're all working on building the good habit of showing affection, please don't fall into the Devil's trap where he tries to tell you, "Those people don't really love you--they're just showing you affection because they have to. You're just being phoney. This affection business is all very forced & even hypocritical!" You're not being hypocritical if you show affection, even when you don't feel like it! You're doing the right thing! This is similar to the principle of "putting on a happy face" even if you don't feel so happy inside.
       Mama's counsel in "Let Jesus Shine" (Maria #57) can be applied with a slight paraphrase as follows: "You have to realise that it's not you, it's the Lord's (Love) you're showing in your (loving affection). It's not being hypocritical to `put on' (loving affection) when you (don't feel like it), & you are not pretending, because it's the Lord's (Love) you're showing, it's not yours anyway. So you are not being hypocritical. To the contrary, you are being a wonderful example of Jesus shining through you.... It's part of Love when you are happy (& affectionate) with people & smiling & sacrificing. It's part of showing Love when our expression does not make other people feel bad, or feel that we don't like them, or look as if we're being critical or fearful, or when we're just down in the dumps. If you put on a happy face (& show affection), that is part of showing people the happiness & joy & the Love of the Lord. He's showing His Love (for them) through you!--Isn't that wonderful?"
       So the point is, just do it, even if you don't feel like it. And with time, you will feel like it. PTL!
Mama also confirmed this principle recently when she commented on how to have loving relations with others. Following are some excerpts of what she said: "People say, `Why should I smile if I'm not happy?' Or `How can I be affectionate when I don't feel like it?' Or `Why should I say things that I don't really mean?--How can that be honest?' Well, you can do it for the sake of others, that's one reason. If you love others, why don't you try to do it for them, even if you don't feel like it?--Even if you don't feel like you're being honest.
       "What's the most important thing?--To be honest or to be loving? The answer, of course, is to be loving--even if you feel that you're not being completely sincere about it. The Lord says the most important thing is love. So if in order to be loving you have to be what could perhaps be termed a little `insincere' or `dishonest' at first, don't worry or let that stop you, because if you go by faith & do what you know the Lord wants you to, He will help your feelings to change. If you will just try to voice the words you should say, or show the affection or respect you should show, then the Lord will help your feelings to follow. And as time goes on, your feelings will match your actions more & more.
       "If you express love when you don't feel like it, it shows that while you may not feel like it, the Lord feels like it, & He needs to show that love through you. He's not being deceptive & He's not being dishonest, because the Lord really does love that person, & we are supposed to be showing the Lord and His Love to others. Whatever we feel really shouldn't matter, it's what the Lord feels & what the Lord wants us to express that's important.
       "There is this problem about sincerity that comes up when you're trying to follow instructions like this, about relations with others. You've got to remember that the feelings will follow. You might not mean it at first, but that's the way we learn to do things right. You have to follow the rulebook in the beginning. You have to say or do things that you don't feel comfortable with & that are not natural to you.--We all have to do that. We shouldn't be suspicious of each other's motives & say, `You don't really mean that, do you? You were just told to say or do that.'
       "You shouldn't wonder what a person's motives are or where it's coming from or if they really mean it. Just thank the Lord if somebody can show you some love, no matter whether they feel it or not. Thank the Lord that it's His love! Just remember that & don't look a gift horse in the mouth!"

       The affection guidelines are an avenue to show more affection, across the board to all Home members, without partiality. The guidelines are not primarily boundaries & limitations to what you can't do, but they represent a gentle path leading you to what you can & should do.--You should hug, touch, pat, kiss, etc.
       Simple loving affection can include such actions as simple hugs & pats, kisses on the cheek, stroking hair, holding hands, walking arm-in-arm, touching the waist, back, neck, arms, face, putting your arm around someone, a hug from behind (that doesn't include touching breasts), laying your head on someone's shoulder, etc.
       Simple nonsexual affection should not include such actions as deep kissing, fondling breasts or penies or grabbing bottoms, kissing the neck or ears, hunching, bumping, grinding--or any other activity or action that would be better left for your private dates behind closed doors.
       The affection guidelines are for simple, loving, nonsexual affection that is shown in the public places of the Home.
       Affection that is according to the guidelines is not meant to lead to sex behind closed doors later on, & it should not be interpreted as such.
       We have tried to hit a happy middle-of-the-road standard in the affection guidelines--not too liberal, but not too conservative either--so everyone feels comfortable.
       The guidelines apply to affection shown between all ages--adults with adults, & adults with teens (& EAs), etc.
       By encouraging more simple affection between adults & teens (& EAs), we are not encouraging adult/teen flirting, nor are we in any way relaxing the prohibition on adult/teen sex. The rule of no sexual contact between adults & teens (& EAs) still stands, both when in public & in private!
       The affection guidelines are designed so that you don't have to adapt them or tone them down when you have visitors in your Home.
       The simple affection guidelines are not intended to restrict or put a damper on affection that is shown in private. Behind closed doors you are free to be as sexy as you want, provided your actions are according to the guidelines of the Law of Love & the official age requirements or limitations.
       Teen/EA affection amongst themselves can go beyond the standard affection guidelines when they are in more intimate personal teen/EA situations, such as teen/EA dances. The specifics about such affection--when, where, how it can be shown--should be discussed & decided upon in an open-forum discussion with the teens & EAs & their Shepherds (or Home Shepherds).

Open-forum Home Discussion on Affection
       Sometime soon after reading this FSM, we suggest you have an open-forum discussion with all adults, EAs & teens on the subject of affection to talk about how this article applies to your Home & how you can put it into practice. Also, some additional topics you can discuss are the "four C's"--that's the "four suggestions for putting a `touch tone' in your life" from the Christian Digest on affection. Those four C's are:
       Commit yourself to increasing touch daily. (Talk about how to increase affection within your daily routine & activities. Make commitments, adopt some new practices as a Home & personally, etc.)
       Communicate your need & desire to have more physical contact. (If you wish, express in words your desire for more touch & affection. Explain how affection makes you feel, how you like it, when you miss it the most, etc.)
       Connect yourself to others by reaching out & touching them. (Renew your loving contact with your brothers & sisters. If there are people you're not real close to or not in the habit of showing affection to, talk to those people & open the lines of communication & touch.)
       Comfort with a touch. (How can you put all you've learned & discussed into practice? List all the ways you can comfort others with a touch. Share experiences or testimonies of how a loving touch has comforted you or helped you through troubled moments. Maybe set a date for your next Home discussion on affection to reevaluate how you're doing & to remind everyone to stay on the attack so you can keep making steady progress.)
       Please try to make this Home discussion a fun upbeat time of sharing lessons, tips, ideas, etc. You can even have some fun & humorous skits. For example, you could show examples of acceptable & unacceptable affection--or you can demonstrate the different kinds of hugs.
       Here are some tips from the author of the book, "Touch Therapy", about how to demonstrate different kinds of hugs: Check out the effects of different kinds of hugs by making a hug test on a person you would enjoy embracing. Give different types of hugs & see which one the person enjoys the most. Exaggerate your finger & hand movements to be sure each hug is distinctly different from the others.
       Give an "A-frame hug", each clasping the upper body & sticking out the bottoms.
       Give a "Baby Burp hug", rapidly hitting his/her back as if you were trying to bring up gas.
       Hug like a "Chimpanzee", flapping & patting with your hands from the wrist down, right hand, left hand, right hand, left hand, etc.
       ({\ul \i Editor's note}: Maybe you can think of {\ul \i other} kinds of nonrecommended hugs for this skit, like the "bear hug" where the man really squeeeeeeezes until the woman can hardly breathe. Or there's the "won't let go" hug where one person obviously wants to end the hug because they need to move on, but the other person won't let go. Or how about trying the "here I am" hug where a person stands still with their arms opened, expecting {\ul \i you} to do all the hugging, rather than them {\ul \i also reaching out} & {\ul \i giving} the hug.)
       Then show the right way to hug by giving the full-bodied, full-palm hug with fingers closed, rubbing his/her back. (end of tips from "Touch Therapy")
       It might help you get the Affection Revolution off the ground in your Home if after this pow-wow you declare a "new beginning" where you can start afresh in your relations with others. It can be like you all just moved into the Home & you're just getting to know one another. You're all new creatures, starting off with a clean slate. If there are people you haven't been in the habit of hugging, don't worry about the past, just start showing affection today. PTL!

       We pray this article has been a help to you & that the Lord will supply all your needs as you reach out to others. "The Lord's been awfully good to us, far more than we could possibly deserve, because we have delighted ourselves in Him. So He's not only given us all of our needs, but the desires of our hearts, our wishes, our wants & things far more priceless than money, all the love & the affection & the pleasure the Lord gives us, much of which cannot be bought. You couldn't possibly buy the kind of Love that we have, real Love!" (ML#2399:59)
       Have fun! Enjoy yourself as you give & receive loving affection! PTL!
"By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one for another." (John 13:35)

Self-rating Home Affection Test
       It might be a good idea to review the Affection Revolution every once in a while to stir yourselves up again so you can keep making progress. Each month or two, you might want to evaluate your Home with the following little self-rating test to see how you're doing with the Affection Revolution. Would your Home answer "yes" or "no" to the following questions?
       [EDITED: " "] Yes [EDITED: " "] No  Is the Affection Revolution still in progress in your Home, or has it petered out?
       [EDITED: " "] Yes [EDITED: " "] No  Is everyone progressing in building "the hugging habit"?
       [EDITED: " "] Yes [EDITED: " "] No  Are you trying your best to show affection without partiality, including to the teens & children?
       [EDITED: " "] Yes [EDITED: " "] No  Is everyone's need for affection being met?
       [EDITED: " "] Yes [EDITED: " "] No  Do your teens & EAs have the opportunity to show affection amongst themselves?
       [EDITED: " "] Yes [EDITED: " "] No  Is everyone in your Home staying within the affection guidelines?
       [EDITED: " "] Yes [EDITED: " "] No  If any people have a problem with jealousy, are they making progress?
       [EDITED: " "] Yes [EDITED: " "] No  Are you doing well at avoiding sexual come-ons in simple affection?
       [EDITED: " "] Yes [EDITED: " "] No  Are you confining your more intimate show of affection to behind closed doors on your dates?
       [EDITED: " "] Yes [EDITED: " "] No  Are you faithfully reaching out to show affection, even if you don't necessarily feel like it?
       [EDITED: " "] Yes [EDITED: " "] No  Has your Home had a dance fairly recently?
       [EDITED: " "] Yes [EDITED: " "] No  Do you often hug after meetings, meals, conversations, Sunday Fellowships, etc.?
       [EDITED: " "] Yes [EDITED: " "] No  Are the Shepherds of the Home showing lots of affection?
       [EDITED: " "] Yes [EDITED: " "] No  Have you had any games, skits, open-forum discussions or Home pushes on the subject of affection?
       [EDITED: " "] Yes [EDITED: " "] No  Is everyone in your Home well-groomed?
       [EDITED: " "] Yes [EDITED: " "] No  Are the married couples in your Home showing affection to each other, as well as to the others in the Home?
       [EDITED: " "] Yes [EDITED: " "] No  Are the people who are a little clumsy or forward or carnal in their show of affection learning how to give better & more loving affection? Is someone teaching them, if needed?
       [EDITED: " "] Yes [EDITED: " "] No  Are those people who are shy learning to reach out more?
       [EDITED: " "] Yes [EDITED: " "] No  Do you often hold hands during prayer?
       [EDITED: " "] Yes [EDITED: " "] No  Do you kiss hands after prayer, at least sometimes?
       [EDITED: " "] Yes [EDITED: " "] No  Are you learning other ways to show simple affection besides just giving hugs?
       [EDITED: " "] Yes [EDITED: " "] No  Are the men showing affection to each other?
       [EDITED: " "] Yes [EDITED: " "] No  If you live in a very large Combo, is everyone making an effort to hug at least some people each day, even if you can't hug everyone every day?
       [EDITED: " "] Yes [EDITED: " "] No  Are you also learning to show affection through loving words of appreciation?
       If you can answer "yes" to most of the above questions, your Home is a "Heavenly Hearts Home"! PTL! Good for you!
       If you answered "yes" to about half of the questions, your Home is a "Slowly but Surely Home". You're doing better, but please keep trying because there's lots of room for improvement!
If you answered "yes" to only a few of the questions, then your Home might be a member of the "Lonely Hearts Club". Oh dear!--You'd better do something quick to get that loving affection flowing!
       How does your Home rate?
       [EDITED: "end"]

Copyright 1996 The Family