Celibacy and Sexuality

Andrew S gay, Happiness, homosexuality, love, marriage, Mormon, Mormons, sexuality, spirituality 64 Comments

As they say, sex sells.

The church has had a lot to say about sex and sexuality. It’s been on a winding path, but over time it has developed a rather comprehensive universe-view to back its positions. I like to think, even if some people vehemently disagree with the church position, or think that the church has become bland on certain doctrinal points in relationship to its past, LDS doctrines concerning the family have been consistently unique, fresh, and vitalic (even though that’s not a word, no other word sounds right to me…so hush up!)

Even when we see the church seeming to move with other groups on matters of sex and sexuality (for example, that most controversial proposition 8 issue), what becomes clear in one way or another is that many of the church reasons will be rather unique. It’s not as if most (if any) other groups who supported prop 8 had a proclamation on the family, theology on the eternal nature of true gender or of the unique role that marriage and the family play in the eternities. Some of the prop 8 allies might not even acknowledge that gender or marriage even exist in the hereafter. Oh well; politics makes strange bedfellows (and that sells nearly as well as sex, if the post-proposition fallout has been any indication).

Prop 8 obviously was a controversial issue, so this is not where this post lies. But I think it shows, to an extent, that sex and sexuality are particularly serious business for the LDS church. I’ve had some non-member friends call the church a “sex cult,” and although I’d disagree with them strongly on many accounts concerning those words (cult? sex? sex cult?! no matter how you spin those words it just doesn’t sound like the well-meaning, wholesome [or at least wholesome-seeking] group *I* grew up in), I can at least rephrase these misunderstanding and negative words to suggest that the church, which understandably has vested interests in the family, cares about what can strengthen or weaken the family and its umbrella’d functions (which includes, yes, procreation and sex).

It seems that, whether doctrinal or cultural, in this viewpoint, we’ve gotten the idea that some people “should” be celibate in this life. We (used generally) might say, “Well, it is unfortunate that people with same-sex attraction [for example] are that way, and we don’t necessarily know why it is, because science is still out on that, and we don’t necessarily condone them just getting married to a woman to “fix” it, and it might be that they don’t “fix” it in this life…but for now, we’ll just have to ask them to hold on for this short, short life without engaging in those attractions.”

And some people object: “Isn’t that horrible?!”

But we’ve got answers. “Well, it’s unfortunate, but there are those of other circumstances who will face a burden of celibacy in this life too. That’s just the way things are.” or “Well, everyone has their thorn to deal with. Some people are predisposed to alcohol, but they have to abstain too.” And we’ve got complex issues (although I suppose these aren’t set in stone) for why this is one issue that cannot change and that cannot be abided.

And so on. No need to “judge,” but I really just wanted to pose a few questions:

  • Do you think lifelong celibacy is what some people (not just any groups I may have alluded to; think broadly) “should” do to keep with the gospel?
  • What do you think the role of sex in a relationship is? Is it “essential” for a “good” relationship?
  • What would you think of a committed, unwed opposite-sex couple who were celibate (by mutual choice) for life?
  • What would you think of a committed, unwed same-sex couple who were celibate (by mutual choice) for life?
  • What would you think of a committed, married couple who were celibate (by mutual choice) for life?
  • (Touchy question from a silly immature no-life-having blogger; don’t need to answer publicly): If somehow, you were pressured to be celibate for an extensive period of time by outside forces (ex: your significant other wasn’t attuned to your desires; society or the church frowned upon your sexual activity, etc.,), would you “give up” the prospect of sex?

I hope this isn’t too risque for MM. If it is, I’ll just have to get a disguise and go to FMH or something.

Comments

comments

Comments 64

  1. “do you think lifelong celibacy is what some people (not just any groups I may have alluded to; think broadly) “should” do to keep with the gospel? ”

    Yes. Lets take a singel adult (not YSA) but a more mature single adult
    if they never marry – and are brought up in the gospel and want to live it then yes they will have to remain cellibate.

    “What do you think the role of sex in a relationship is? Is it “essential” for a “good” relationship? ”
    not essential as such but it will normally form a part of a marriage especially when children are wanted

    “vWhat would you think of a committed, unwed opposite-sex couple who were celibate (by mutual choice) for life? ”
    Id say fair play its not for me at all
    but its their own choice

    “What would you think of a committed, unwed same-sex couple who were celibate (by mutual choice) for life? ”
    same thing really
    fair play to them

    “What would you think of a committed, married couple who were celibate (by mutual choice) for life? ” never thought about that

    “(Touchy question from a silly immature no-life-having blogger; don’t need to answer publicly): If somehow, you were pressured to be celibate for an extensive period of time by outside forces (ex: your significant other wasn’t attuned to your desires; society or the church frowned upon your sexual activity, etc.,), would you “give up” the prospect of sex? ”
    I couldnt do that
    If I were being forced to give that up by my wife – I dont think we’d be together that long. A LOT of people are going to criticise me for that I know, but I am in my 20’s and for me I want that to be a part of my marriage

  2. “For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it” (Matt. 19:12).

  3. I’ll say this, it’s a tricky subject–sexuality always is.

    I’m afraid I’m not in Spencer W Kimball camp (or certain other old-timers) who said certain things like ‘self control, not birth control!’ (I can’t prove HE said that, but it’s a phrase that I’ve heard attributed to certain old-timers of his era quite frequently.

    I’m afraid that in marriage I can’t agree with that. The expression of a physical love is not unhealthy, and can serve to bring a couple closer together as long as both understand what it means to the other. This requires open and honest communication (!), which means that they need to be TALKING!

    Frankly, I’m of the opinion that more has been done to ruin and save marriages over sex than just about any other topic. Again, I can’t really prove that.

    Do I think that it’s ‘fair’ that some people should be asked to remain celibate because they aren’t attracted to a marriageable partner? Let me ask my aunt, who though heterosexual, has never found a man whom she liked well enough to marry. She’s about 76 now, and has remained celibate her whole life. Perhaps she’d like to to have a word with a few of you about what’s fair and what isn’t. Of course, you’ll need to go to Israel to hear her talk, since she moved there some years ago and is living in the northern part of the country working as a physio therapist. She is an active member of the church in good standing, and while she has met several nice Jewish men, she’s rather insistent about the whole temple marriage bit.

    Is it ‘fair’ that some people should have to deal with same-sex attraction and that the church then asks them to remain celibate if they want to be members in good standing? I don’t know, but somewhat like asking if it’s ‘fair’ for the kid who is born with ADHD (if you accept that as a real and valid disorder) to be asked to sit still in primary and all through school! Even with medication (and don’t get me started on the perils of over-medicating our children!) it’s a difficult road for such kids. I’m not equating these challenges by any means (how can we possibly know which challenge is more difficult!?), but I am saying that fairness is hardly the point of this life.

    Look, we didn’t come to this life because it would be ‘fair’, we came here, I think, to be ‘proven’. Another way to say that is to say that we came here to have our weaknesses and faults and shortcomings exposed! Exposed to whom? Not to God but to ourselves! We are here to learn what all of our weaknesses and shortcomings are! I have in my head this idea that in the presence of holy angels and God it is EASY to know one’s strengths, but by coming here and only by LEAVING that divine place could our shortcomings and weaknesses become obvious to us. We are here so that we can know that magnitude of these things so that when we do return to God we can do so with the knowledge of not just our strength, but also our weakness and that we can overcome that weakness with His help. That’s just what I see. Maybe I’m wrong. I don’t know.

  4. Amazing how ANON thinks nothing of requiring others to live the law of celibacy but makes a blatant exception for himself living the same law (just because he is married and in his ’20s). What pure hypocrisy. What about the 20 something gay man that has no HOPE of ever getting married and has just as strong and just as natural a sex drive as yourself?

    Why is it that so many straight married members are quick to offer their two cents on single adults, gay and lesbian adults, and other non-marriageable adults living the law of celibacy but cannot even exhibit self-control within their own relationships for much shorter periods of time? That is the most frustrating part of this whole argument.

    Should I lamblast those that have a gluttony problem because they can’t exhibit self control when it comes to the all-you-can-eat buffet? Why is the lack of self-control concerning food more acceptable amongst Church members than the lack of control obeying the law of celibacy?

    And if the Saviour experienced all so He would be able to succor those in need, then he must have lived the law of celibacy himself, don’t you think?

  5. Benjamin,

    I really do admire your aunt for her successful life of living the law of chastity. It is something for her to be proud of. However, she never had to give up hope of finally meeting someone to marry. She was also able to go out on dates, hold hands, kiss, cuddle, dance, and experience other miscellaneous heterosexual advantages that are TOTALLY off-limits to gay and lesbian members. How would you feel if a 25 year old sister brought her girlfriend to a Church dance and they did the same things even though they were living the law of chastity?

  6. Well, this is a tough subject and in this case, I try to put myself in other seat and see how it applies to me. How would I feel if the doctrine was you can only have homosexual relationships, not heterosexual ones? I don’t think I could do it. I’m heterosexual, there’s no changing that. And I have the natural desires that God gave us. So if it came right down to it, I don’t think I could live the Law of Chastity if it required me to be homosexual. I know this isn’t exactly what this post is about, but I can’t really blame homosexual members for doing what comes naturally to them. If the shoe were on the other foot (i.e. all members were required to be homosexual), I’d do the same (i.e. be heterosexual despite what the church leaders said) and I hope my wife would too.

  7. **She was also able to go out on dates, hold hands, kiss, cuddle, dance, and experience other miscellaneous heterosexual advantages that are TOTALLY off-limits to gay and lesbian members.**

    Shawn: I am happy to say that I know several local Church leaders (and past leaders) who do not see the activities you identified as a violation of the Law of Chastity. I think many, maybe most, of them would say that some of these activities are not a great idea, but the activities would not violate any law or be “sinful.” Granted, these leaders are probably in the minority. I am no prophet, but I expect the Church generally to become somewhat more tolerant in this regard.

    Wilt respect to some of Andrew’s question, I guess the answers from the Church’s standpoint are pretty clear. Sex outside marriage is not acceptable, so celibacy is the prescribed course of action for unmarried people. More interesting are the heterosexual, celibate couples. Since marriage and raising children are so important to our mortal experience, I guess their reasons for abstinence/celibacy would be pretty important. Are there health problems or other obstacles that make a sexual relationship difficult or impossible? Are they avoiding the responsibilities of parenthood? These would be important questions for THEM to ask. It is none of MY business.

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    While it seems like some questions have been more popular than others (I guess, understandably so), there were two I was interested in as well:

    # What would you think of a committed, unwed opposite-sex couple who were celibate (by mutual choice) for life?
    # What would you think of a committed, unwed same-sex couple who were celibate (by mutual choice) for life?

    So, since there seems to be (somewhat) consensus that celibacy is what some people will have to do to maintain the law of chastity, what are the thoughts about these scenarios. Now, these are both unwed couples, so no sex here, but are both of these couples following the spirit of the law of chastity (assuming that they never go past a certain point into horizontal mambo land?)

    Because it seems to me like as Shawn said…the straight person always has that hope that if they were to meet someone, they *would* be sanctioned by the church. Benjamin’s aunt’s scenario is interesting, because she does have suitors…she just finds that none of them are worthy for her standards. But the church wouldn’t look down on such a relationship. Whereas, no matter what a same sex couple would want to do, their relationship itself would be suspect, even if they were celibate within the relationship.

    And of course, I recognize that there are single adults who don’t necessarily have the opportunity to choose to reject suitors as well, so I guess that’s another different scenario.

  9. I once heard a very compelling rebuttal to the Church’s “one standard for everyone” defense of its requirement that gay members must remain celibate all their lives. Single heterosexual members who for whatever reason do not marry in this life, and are thus expected to be celibate, always have the hope and the theoretical opportunity to marry in a way the Church approves. Though it is no doubt terribly difficult, they can be confident that their situation is only temporary.

    Single gay and lesbian members have no such hope. Not only are they told they must remain celibate for this life, but they are told that the deepest desires of their hearts for the kind of companionship they feel is right for them can never be satisfied and have no place in God’s plan, so they don’t even have the prospect of a pay-off in the eternities for the excruciating choice of forgoing any kind of intimacy in mortality. As has already been alluded to in one comment above, how many heterosexual members of the Church (1) could do that, or (2) would stay in the Church if they were told that was their destiny?

    And, BTW, I think BYU’s policy of strictly forbidding any public expression of same-sex affection, hand-holding, kissing, etc., probably reflects how most Church members would also interpret the Law of Chastity: not only no pre-marital sex, but no such expressions whatsoever between same-sex couples. Not sayin’ it’s accurate, but that seems to be the current Mormon culture.

    In an environment like this, the protestations that the Church “loves and honors” gay and lesbian members sometimes rings a bit hollow. No wonder so many of them leave.

  10. # What would you think of a committed, unwed opposite-sex couple who were celibate (by mutual choice) for life?
    # What would you think of a committed, unwed same-sex couple who were celibate (by mutual choice) for life?

    I guess I just don’t really consider those two options even worth serious consideration. Look, if they are TRULY celibate, and they are unwed, then I don’t really care that much about it. If they choose to enjoy each other’s company in other ways then I’m fine with that–whether they choose to think of it as a ‘date’ or as ‘friends spending time together’, I don’t really care. Why should I?

    Of course, once they move in together, things might be a bit dicier, but as room mates, why not? At some point, however, if they start sharing living space, the celibacy thing starts to become very hard to be certain about. It’s one thing to live together as room mates, but if you start sharing a bed, I’d be really concerned if I were the Bishop. As in, I’d have to do some serious fasting and prayer and perhaps even talk with the stake president before signing a temple recommend (boy am I glad I’m not a Bishop!). I don’t care if you do claim celibacy–sharing a bed with another adult with whom you claim to be in a committed, but unwed, relationship strains credibility in my mind. You MIGHT be able to do this for a while without some sort of problem, but after a while I’m guessing that MOST people would lose that celibacy vow fairly quickly.

    So I guess it all depends on the situation, scenario and the persons involved, which is what makes this all so tricky. As a society we are obsessed with rules, when in truth we should be concerned with people and principles. Somehow this reminds me of the situation with the Jews just before Christ’s birth–the Jews were so concerned with rules and laws about what was legal and permissible that (I feel) they lost sight of the purpose of the law of Moses to a large extent. I hope we, as members of the church, do not fall into this trap.

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    Re 9:

    Although, Jay, I have heard the idea that in the eternity, homosexuality and etc., will not exist, so there will be a “prospect of payoff in the eternities.” That changes the game slightly — because after all, there is still the expectation that in this life, some people are just out of luck.

  12. @Andrew S:

    I’ve heard that too. I grew up in the Church and have read all of the scriptures more times than I can count, and I don’t know of any basis there for the idea that sexual orientation is confined to this life only. In fact, I think the weight of opinion is against that idea. LDS theology assumes gender identities will still be clear in the eternities, and the BoM says the same spirit that inhabits our mortal bodies will have power to do so in the eternal world. So why would sexual orientation, out of all characteristics of a person’s spirit, suddenly vanish at death?

    Another blog I read had a very relevant observation about this, something to the effect of positing that what awaits us in the hereafter is celestial polygamy, and if God rewrites the minds of women who are opposed to polygamy in this life so that they support it in the next, why wouldn’t that be a violation of those womens’ free agency and identity? Why would exaltation itself be valuable to them if it were only available to some artificially transformed version of themselves, someone they never would have recognized in mortality and who wouldn’t share their own actual feelings? In other words, they’d have to give up their authentic selves to qualify. I can seem the same argument being made for gay and lesbian Church members.

  13. You mean after spending my whole life coming to terms with my orientation and living the law of celibacy I am going to be forced to change it all around?

  14. Post
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    Re 12: well, not saying I agree with it, but the idea I’ve heard is that homosexuality is just an aftereffect of the fall that did not exist in the premortal existence and will not exist in the next life. The idea is that gender has it existed in the prexistence and will exist in the next life is eternal, but it represents the eternal, “correct” gender, sexuality, etc., whereas our coming to earth supposedly has introduced sin and sinfulness, etc.,

    I agree with you on that one point — when I read scriptures like Alma 34: 34 (same spirit will have power to possess your body in the next life), and it doesn’t seem like it’s just something that’s going away.

    I also read that same thing you had about celestial polygamy — it was on zelophehad’s daughters.

    In fact, I think Shawn really summed up the spirit of that article in his comment 13, so I’ll go ahead and link to the ZD article. It is here

  15. @Andrew’s #14:

    Yes that’s the theory I’ve heard too. Problem is that in a church which says we have to judge all statements and teachings by what’s in the written and officially accepted scriptural canon, I see no support for it at all. It almost seems like a too-clever-by-half attempt to quickly explain away an otherwise insoluble conundrum that is probably going to take significant new revelation to resolve.

    Because every gay person I’ve ever met, in and out of the Church, who is reasonably comfortable with who they are says that that part of them is something they wouldn’t want to give up even if they could. It is part of what makes them unique and it feels right to them on all levels, emotional and spiritual, not just sexual. So they wouldn’t even want it to be taken away. I agree, Shawn nailed it pretty well: guess what, after a lifetime of loneliness and frustration and misery, your reward is that you’re going to be changed into the very thing you always recoiled from. Now THAT’s welcome news. Like I said, I think it’s going to take serious and possibly faith-shaking new light & knowledge for the Church to resolve this issue, because there’s no way to do it with what we know now. And revelation tends to come only when the Church is ready for it or its existence is threatened. I don’t see either of those on the horizon for a while.

  16. I think that just a clarification or greater understanding of Matthew 19:12 and Isaiah 56 through the mouth of the Prophet would go a long way. Eunuchs in the scriptures definitely represent gay men. There is too much historical evidence to support it. The definition was subtly changed by the Catholics back in the 400s and 500s to justify the celibacy requirement and to minimize impact from church property being claimed through inheritances by children. I am reading a great thesis from the University of Chicago on this very topic.

  17. I’ve often pondered this idea in talking with nuns. They find great fulfillment in their lives doing what they love, serving others, etc. The nuns I have known are not like the stereotypical Catholic School bullies whacking kids with rulers. Most of them really do enjoy the lives they have chosen.

    If a person desires to live a life of celibacy due to homosexual feelings one wishes to avoid fulfilling, living with another homosexual platonically is probably not the way to go about it. It would be like a heterosexual couple with mutual attraction deciding to live together platonically. Odds are it’s not going to work out that way. They don’t host monk/nun dances at the abbey for a reason. Even without that inducement there’s plenty of evidence that celibacy didn’t work out.

  18. These are deep issues that cannot be logically resolved at this time I guess. My mind is whirling from reading everything.

    I do know a married couple that are celibate because, they believe that sex should only be for having children. So, years ago, when they decided to quit having children, they quit having sex. I think their youngest is 16, so I guess they went celibate 16 years ago. I think it’s crazy, but, to each his own.

  19. Ian,

    I actually think their decision is the most logical and is the position that had been advocated for centuries by the Jewish/Christian religions. If you are going to make the argument that sex represents the fulfillment of love then you have a hard time denying it to those consenting adults that fall in love (including same-sex couples). If you argue that it is for purposes of pro-creation then you need to stop when you have finished pro-creating. The problem is that heterosexuals want to have it both ways but still deny gays and lesbians the ability to consummate their love.

  20. In the wake of prop 8, I would love nothing more than to have the law of the church be complete and total abstinence from all sexual activity by all members. For the first months and years, the bishops’ offices would be full of fallen men. After a while, these men would give up, just like most faithful gay Mormons do. The pompous say it is part of the great weeding out process. The knowing say “there, but for the grace of God, go I”.

    Telling the other “camps” they need to be celibate is pretty simple. Kind of like men who are 50 pounds overweight expounding on the importance of the word of wisdom.

    re: Shawn #13
    From the Oaks-Wickman public statement of a couple of year ago:

    “ELDER WICKMAN: One question that might be asked by somebody who is struggling with same-gender attraction is, “Is this something I’m stuck with forever? What bearing does this have on eternal life? If I can somehow make it through this life, when I appear on the other side, what will I be like?”

    Gratefully, the answer is that same-gender attraction did not exist in the pre-earth life and neither will it exist in the next life. It is a circumstance that for whatever reason or reasons seems to apply right now in mortality, in this nano-second of our eternal existence.

    The good news for somebody who is struggling with same-gender attraction is this: 1) It is that ‘I’m not stuck with it forever.’ ”

    And he knows this because? Amidst all the things our church does not know about this issue, we somehow know it did not exist before and will not exist after. When I read this, I envision the Prophet talking about Zelph. Or better yet translating the BoA hieroglyphics. At the time, who could, so why not?

  21. Holden,

    With all due respect to Elder Wickman I think he was trying to offer comfort to gay and lesbian members. However, it did come across as an unsubstantiated doctrinal claim.

    The problem is that homosexuality does not neatly fit into the box and, as such, requires a major new revelation to understand it(just like Jay said “I think it’s going to take serious and possibly faith-shaking new light & knowledge for the Church to resolve this issue, because there’s no way to do it with what we know now. And revelation tends to come only when the Church is ready for it or its existence is threatened. I don’t see either of those on the horizon for a while.”)

    The sad part is that those of us that desperately want the further light & knowledge and are ready for it are forced to wait until the rest of the Church membership catches up. I really sympathize with the black members of the Church who were denied the priesthood for so long (even though we are not supposed to compare SSA with the ban on the priesthood!).

  22. Taking sex out of the after-life solves all of the “eternity” questions. We have NOTHING in our canon that insists we will be making out after death – nothing.

    Defining the Law of Chastity in this life equally to allow gay and straight members to do the exact same things and abstain from the exact same things solves a lot of issues in the here and now.

    There is a lot that can be done to make things much better for gay members without compromising any of our core principles and theology. It would require very careful formulation, but it wouldn’t require major revelation. Gay sealing probably would; almost everything short of that would not, particularly as civil laws become more expansive.

  23. When I was a faithful seminary-goin youth, I felt it hypocritical for my parents to order Pepsi at Taco Bell and tell me I couldn’t do so because I didn’t need to start drinkin that stuff. Had the rules for celibacy been different for adults and minors, I would have felt the same hypocrisy.

    I think entering a covenant of marriage you accept the possibility that you could one day face the possibility of a life of celibacy if your partner develops a condition rendering them unable to participate. I sympathize with a friend of mine who fits the category of “significant other wasn’t attuned to your desires”. He is forever struggling with this and spends much time lifting weights at the gym to wear himself out physically so that he doesn’t think about it so often.

  24. @Ray’s #22:

    You’re right, there is nothing in our canon that “insists we will be making out after death.” Nor is there anything that says we won’t be able to or won’t want to. It’s a complete doctrinal blank. What we DO have are general statements that death is nothing more than the departure of the spirit from the body. So Lance Wickman’s statement does seem made up out of whole cloth. I’d sure love to hear him explain his basis.

    You’re right, a one-size-fits-all law of chastity is certainly convenient. But like most zero tolerance rules, it can produce absurd results. It fails to take into account that, again, according to those gay members of the Church whom I’ve heard talk about this, ultimately it isn’t about “sex in the afterlife.” It’s about who they feel the most natural attraction to on all levels. That is, take every good and positive feeling of attraction and closeness and affinity that a heterosexual person feels for his or her spouse, then just switch the gender of the spouse. No other difference. I can understand why they would say they don’t want that changed.

    And I completely agree that much could be done to make things better for gay members. I would have thought the Church would welcome civil unions and even marriage as a way for gay members to have increased happiness and stability in their lives and live essentially the law of chastity as I’ve always understood it, which is “no sex outside marriage.” Now it’s clear the Church isn’t just uninterested, it’s overtly hostile to that idea. Apparently the law of chastity means “no sex outside marriage AND the marriage has to be between two people of different genders.” Some might say “duh, what did you expect, that’s what marriage has always been.” Okay, I get it. But you know, “that’s the way we’ve always done it” never struck me as a particularly compelling argument. Slavery and racism were defended that way too. Not equating them with this, just saying I don’t find the logic persuasive. I would have thought the Church would welcome any social structure that could increase stability, reduce promiscuity, create more homes for kids. Apparently the genders are more important.

  25. Not sure what everyone will think of this but it seems to me that there is a real hole in the doctrine regarding gays and lesbians. Similar to what existed prior to 1978 regarding blacks and the priesthood. A lot of ridiculous ideas were presented to explain why they couldn’t hold the priesthood but looking back now there was always something lacking. Not saying that some kind of doctrinal change is coming, the churches position on Prop 8 seems to indicate the opposite.
    What if there were a new official change of doctrine by the church allowing Gays & Lesbians to be married in the temple? How would the members of the church react? How would the world react?
    Is it necessary to have a ‘male’ spirit and a ‘female’ spirit together in order to have spirit children? What makes your gender, spiritually speaking?
    Sorry if any of this is taking the question too far…

  26. @Jenkins #26:

    Absolutely right, there is “a real hole in the doctrine.” It’s huge, and as I said before, one I think only new revelation will be sufficient to resolve in full. Until that happens, we are going to see the Lance Wickmans of the Church cobbling together creative explanations like we’ve seen so far, akin to the various folk doctrine defenses of the priesthood ban. Until we finally reach a point of crisis and the prophet spends enough time on his knees to get new instructions.

    I think a revelation allowing same-sex temple marriage would be the biggest trial of faith for many in the Church since the darkest days of polygamy. The world would welcome it, and for that reason alone many LDS would scoff at the idea since anything “the world” welcomes must be wrong. Right?

    As to the creation of spirit children, what makes one’s gender, etc., I have no answers and I don’t think anybody else does either. Not even the Church. There’s a LOT we still don’t know anything about.

  27. Jay, thanks for the response.
    I threw the the spirit children/gender question out there more to illustrate our lack of knowledge regarding the issue rather than expecting an answer…

    It’s easy to tell others they have to suck it up and just be celibate. I liked #6 turning the question around.

  28. The “how” of the creation of spirit children is something of which we know absolutely nothing, and that is one of the reasons I am open to all kinds of possibilities in the after-life. I love the concept of eternal marriage and being with my wife forever as part of a united whole, but how that will be accomplished in the grand scheme of things is beyond my ability to fathom. There simply are too many possibilities.

  29. Sex is necessary to be a complete human. Of course eunuchs are human, but they are not complete, in that something (more) is missing from their lives. Being celibate and not a eunuch is likely worse. Procreation is NOT the only purpose of sex in human life. Were that so, then once the woman is too old to bear children, sex life would end, which it doesn’t and shouldn’t. Of course one could have a committed relationship without sex whether the partners were gay or straight. The question is, how to best fulfill one’s sexual nature. I think that it is best fulfilled in the context of a committed monogamous relationship, regardless of whether gay or straight. Committed polygamous relationships could also be fulfilling but let’s not go there now. Anyhow, marriage has done a lot for me, and I don’t see how letting gays marry is going to impact my relationship with my wife, so why not let them marry if that is what they want. Marriage doesn’t work for everyone, but it seems to work for a lot of us. I don’t doubt gay marriage is coming. It is not an issue for the vast majority of those under 35, so it is just a matter of time, regardless of what the Church does.

  30. Do you think lifelong celibacy is what some people (not just any groups I may have alluded to; think broadly) “should” do to keep with the gospel?

    Only if the Spirit tells someone they should. This is kind of a trick question, because it assumes that the Gospel requires celibacy for certain groups. Even if it did, the Spirit commands some to break commandments or do things outside of protocol (Nephi, Alma the Elder, etc.)

    What do you think the role of sex in a relationship is? Is it “essential” for a “good” relationship?

    Sex is essential for most people for a good, committed relationship. Probably genetic/evolutionary in origin. Sexual acts are probably more “essential” for men than they are for women, although both seem to be more agreeable and happy from the emotional bond sexual expression can provide.

    What would you think of a committed, unwed opposite-sex couple who were celibate (by mutual choice) for life?

    Whatever floats your boat. Just don’t go claiming that everyone else should do the same, or that its “better”.

    What would you think of a committed, unwed same-sex couple who were celibate (by mutual choice) for life?

    Whatever floats your boat. Just don’t go claiming that everyone else should do the same, or that its “better”.

    What would you think of a committed, married couple who were celibate (by mutual choice) for life?

    Whatever floats your boat. Just don’t go claiming that everyone else should do the same, or that its “better”.

    (Touchy question from a silly immature no-life-having blogger; don’t need to answer publicly): If somehow, you were pressured to be celibate for an extensive period of time by outside forces (ex: your significant other wasn’t attuned to your desires; society or the church frowned upon your sexual activity, etc.,), would you “give up” the prospect of sex?

    If my wife or I were to become, through health reasons, incapable of normal sexual activity, we would become more creative and expand our horizons. If my wife decided to stop having sex for relationship, psychological, emotional, or other reasons, I would try to work together (with professional help if necessary) to help address and overcome those issues. As much as I love my wife, however, if she categorically refused sexual activity of all kinds, it could be a deal-breaker for me. If society or church frowned on the sexual activity in my relationship with my spouse, I would tell them to mind their own business.

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    re 30:

    so geb, what would you thikn of the couple who became celibate after they decided they didn’t want any more children (re 18)

    Re 22 and 29:

    Interesting comments, Ray (as usual)…it’s just that I have often heard that the eternal nature of gender and the complementarity of gender serve precisely to implicitly say the “how” of the creation of spirit children. Perhaps I’m not reading into him correctly (since I don’t really agree), but take Chris Bigelow’s many, many, many arguments against gay relationships. For him, it’s inconceivable that God could take part in such a relationship, which is how we “know” that straight relationships are what is sanctioned. So it seems to me that Chris takes a position that this biological complementarity is the “how” of creating worlds beyond number, etc.,

    Of course, not saying I agree or anything. I mean, isn’t the major thought process outside of the church that there won’t even be gender, etc.,? So the church already is making bold steps with the revelation that there will be.

    Re 15:

    Jay, the thing is that many would say that part of this life and part of the church’s goal is to get people to overcome what they are “naturally” comfortable with — the natural man — to become perfected. So, I could easily see an argument that would go something like, “everyone has some sin they are inclined to, or that they feel is a natural part of them, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try to overcome it.”

    I dunno. I’m not one of the people advancing this argument, and I’m not really the person to talk to about what belief should be. But it seems to me that there’s a place where homosexuals will run into a brick wall against church theology as it currently stands and there will be and can be no compromise.

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  33. @Andrew’s #32 response to 15:

    You’re right about the “natural man” argument and lots of people in the Church lump being gay in with other “afflictions” like “natural” propensities to anger or substance abuse or physical violence or other more serious things. But that’s a non sequitur when you think about it. It assumes (1) all “natural” inclinations are at least suspect, if not evil; (2) every “natural” inclination must therefore be “overcome”; (3) being gay is intrinsically bad. When you think about it, none of those things are true, but they are the premises this argument rests on.

    If that argument’s going to fly, we have to define our terms and ask “what is ‘the natural man’ that must be overcome?” Most people assume it means any “natural” inclination. Does that mean we have to starve ourselves to overcome the natural inclination to want to eat? Obviously not. So what parts of “the natural man” have to be “overcome”? How do we define “the natural man” for that purpose? I don’t know that there is one generally accepted answer. But I think it’s a mistake to blithely assume that just because homosexuality is “natural” it’s therefore evil and must be “overcome.” Hunger, thirst, self-preservation, love, curiosity are all just as “natural.” Since the natural man is an enemy to God, I think we have to look at the effects of any given “natural” characteristic and decide whether it leads toward or away from light and truth.

    I have friends in the Church who are gay who tell me that being so is completely “natural” to them and being otherwise is simply beyond their capability. Probably lots of Church members would scoff and say well they’re just not trying hard enough. But decades of efforts are showing that “reparative therapy” to try to eliminate homosexuality doesn’t work. Best it can do is teach coping skills, but it doesn’t seem to be able to change orientation. Many Church members have taken their own lives after trying unsuccessfully to “put off the natural man” and become straight. These same friends tell me that when they were finally honest with themselves about who they were and what was in their hearts, their whole lives improved, they felt closer to the Spirit, more filled with charity. That doesn’t sound like enmity to God.

    I agree with you that there is a theological brick wall right now and the Church believes it can’t compromise. I also believe that the Church’s holding fast to its position could well lead to the next major crisis that might precipitate the new light & knowledge needed to resolve our current lack of understanding. That’s been the historical pattern. My 2 cents.

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    re 35:

    well, but then there are multiple ways to answer that. A faithful believing perspective or all kinds of other ones.

    I mean, because I’m not going to say “being gay is intrinsically bad” or even that “gay relationships are intrinsically bad.” But then again, I’m also not going to say that I represent a faithful member.

    So if none of those things are true, then the question is: why subscribe to a church that takes them to be true (or if not those premises, takes premises similar to them that produce effectively similar consequences).

    I would think though, that even for a faithful member, these premises are too exaggerated. it wouldn’t be that *any* inclination is evil/suspect, but that inclinations are suspect only after a certain degree or only after a certain point. So, hunger is not intrinsically evil. Gluttony is. For those who are inclined to be more gluttonous, then yes, the idea is that they *should* overcome that.

    So, is sexuality evil? The church wouldn’t say that. But the church would say that sexuality has very clear limits for righteousness — only between a man and a woman who are married. At this point, you could say, “Well isn’t this limit arbitrary” or “the reasoning WHY this is the limit is not convincing,” but that’s the thing — the church, as the authority structure, decides these things.

    So, the church is going to argue that any inclinations that are outside of the limits should be overcome. Every person is going to have some inclination, whether in one area or another, that they will be expected to overcome.

    I mean, it seems like there is no compromise position if you’re going to still accept certain tenets that the church proposes. After all, the church doesn’t do reparative therapy and even now, they recognize (very slimly, but they do recognize) that “perhaps” homosexuality as an orientation is not changeable (I guess the church is just slow to admit)…but this doesn’t change its position that homosexual acts are not kosher under Law of Chastity. This doesn’t change the fact that trying to change this position would rock quite about about the LoC (what about single heterosexuals, etc., will the church have to marry homosexuals in the temple to square things up doctrinally, etc.,)

    I certainly hope that this could lead to new light and guidance, but at the same time, I’m just too skeptical. The 1978 revelation for priesthood for blacks was major, yes, but at the same time, it’s not like that involved major rewriting about big doctrines, whereas moves toward gay people would involve 1) big revelation on eternal gender, 2) the nature of the family on earth and in heaven, etc.,

  35. Just something to consider:

    Even a few decades ago, it would have been considered ludicrous to believe that mortal babies could be conceived outside the womb. Now, it’s a question more of if the womb really will be necessary in time – at all. If we are moving that way in our limited sphere (if that appears to be a distinct possibility in MORTAL reproduction), why do we cling to the notion that sex will be necessary in the next, higher, more advanced, immortal stage of our lives?

  36. Of course what I first think of when I see this topic is marriages where one party or the other is disabled and the marriage has been sexless for twenty or thirty years.

    Or guys I’ve known with low testosterone, in the 150s or lower, who no longer have any interest in sex (or any ability). There is a huge varience in what happens with age, and when it happens, if it happens.

    Though it maks me wonder about sex and identity, to the extent is so dependent on chemical balances.

    The other area this sort of thing comes up is with men who have gotten older, but their sexual tastes have not matured, so that they decide to trade their wives in for something younger.

    Under what circumstances is a man of fifty or sixty in the right when he drops his wife and picks up with someone who is in their twenties?

    (I’m asking the question for the alternative perspective it provides. I seriously hope no one reading it agrees with those idiots).

    How do those two examples differ from the other ones we are discussing? That is a useful exploration.

  37. Jay 35 – you’ve got a straw man argument there. It’s not supported by the statements made by Wickman or Oaks in their interview (the church’s statement of policy on this topic). They don’t decry the “natural” as something to be overcome. They state that they do not have an official stance on where these feelings originate (how much is nature or nurture), but that regardless chastity outside of marriage is required. They were not going down the path you mention.

    Where the interview made me squirm was in the assumption that most families would love and accept the gay family member without trying to exhibit any acceptance of the lifestyle including sometimes limiting contact with the family. It was almost compassionate, but erred a little on the side of fear IMO as if family members might catch the gay disease or be persuaded to become gay (as if there are not enough obstacles). Jesus supped with publicans and sinners, which seemed a stark contrast to this advice. Did He require that they sign a statement before dinner that they weren’t going back to the street corner to make a living after dessert? Should we likewise refuse to dine with those family members or their partners who have committed adultery? Which is worse? Yet adultery is not so singled out (that we should not invite them to Thanksgiving dinner). What about non-members? Who else might persuade us to sin instead of passing the potatoes (that sounds like a euphemism but is not)?

    I was also skeptical about Wickman’s unsourced claim that one is only gay for life, not beyond. Oaks notably did not confirm or deny his statement.

  38. Jesus supped with publicans and sinners, which seemed a stark contrast to this advice. Did He require that they sign a statement before dinner that they weren’t going back to the street corner to make a living after dessert? Should we likewise refuse to dine with those family members or their partners who have committed adultery? Which is worse? Yet adultery is not so singled out (that we should not invite them to Thanksgiving dinner). What about non-members? Who else might persuade us to sin instead of passing the potatoes (that sounds like a euphemism but is not)?

    Made me think of “would Jesus make me sign an NDA” (to the words of “Would Jesus wear a Rolex on his television show?”). (NDA=non-disclosure agreement) …

    That is a good point. I think we should love those that God loves, and if God loves someone, we ought to ask ourselves about the meaning of that love.

    Maybe even speculate on the point.

  39. Do you think lifelong celibacy is what some people (not just any groups I may have alluded to; think broadly) “should” do to keep with the gospel?

    Yes. I think some people must remain celibate in order to “keep with the gospel.” By that, I mean that if people want to be able to participate in the church, the church will require this of them. Do I think that’s necessarily good or fair? No.
    What do you think the role of sex in a relationship is? Is it “essential” for a “good” relationship?

    I think sex in a relationship is very important. Essential. Of course, I don’t have any experience being in a relationship absent sexual intimacy, so I have nothing to compare it to. I’m just speaking from my own experience. It’s important.

    What would you think of a committed, unwed opposite-sex couple who were celibate (by mutual choice) for life?

    I honestly can’t imagine a couple (whether same-sex, opposite-sex, married or not) making this choice, but I try not to speak for others.

    (Touchy question from a silly immature no-life-having blogger; don’t need to answer publicly): If somehow, you were pressured to be celibate for an extensive period of time by outside forces (ex: your significant other wasn’t attuned to your desires; society or the church frowned upon your sexual activity, etc.,), would you “give up” the prospect of sex?

    Silly immature comment: has anyone seen the studies of how long men were willing to give up sex in order to get a huge flat-screen TV? It was like six months, I think. Amazing!

  40. @Hawkgrrl’s #40:

    Agreed on all points. I was not arguing “the natural man” thing in relation to the interview with Messrs. Oaks & Wickman, but to explore the possible thoughts of those in the Church who claim homosexuality is a corrupt, fallen world-specific example of a potentially evil “natural man” trait (a la the BoM “enemy to God” thing) which must therefore be resisted and overcome. This was a response to earlier posters who mentioned this as one perspective in the Church. You’re right, nothing to do with the GA interview, and I agreed with all your other points about it too. Distasteful at best to seem to condone treating gay family members as if they were infectious, and interesting indeed that Oaks didn’t back up Wickman’s otherwise unsupported theory.

  41. Forming a durable pair bond with a special person is a compelling and nearly universal human need. If you or your spouse had physical injuries that prevented sex, you’d still have each other. You would still be each other’s beloved. Mature, loving couplings have remarkable durability, in sickness and in health.

    Contrast that to what we ask of gay and lesbian members of the Church: utter, lifelong loneliness with not a shred of hope for love and companionship. It’s not unfulfilled sexual desire that causes all those suicides in gay LDS youth.

    When I came out twenty years ago, my kindhearted LDS parents chose me over doctrinal purity, and it made all the difference in my life. Loving someone gay (as Holden does his son) seems to be what finally opens people’s hearts to this issue.

  42. re 37:

    Ray, I’m trying very hard not to say, “It’s amazing that we cling to many ideas at all,” with an evil smirk on my face (nwe heh heh!).

    but the thing that I didn’t address about your train of thought is…that now it’s kinda like, “Sorry gay people, now you don’t even have the afterlife to look forward too, because sex just may not even be an issue there.”

    of course I’m touched by MoHoHawaii’s comments about pair bonds in general in 44. really, this discussion is bigger than just the nuts and bolts of one act. It’s about the most important relationship one will have with another living person.

  43. I’m going to answer before reading other responses.

    No one can say to another, “this is what you should do”. What can be said—and is said by the Church—is this is what you must do to attain these blessings. It is always up to the individual to weigh obedience and conformity against the value of those blessings. For some, sex may be worth more than the perceived value of the offered blessings for celibacy. For others, it may not. In the end, no one can or will compel another to heaven.

    Those who believe the promised blessings are worth the sacrifice ought to be free to share that opinion—and even work to support that opinion— so long as they are not condemning another for their choices. The truly righteous person might feel sorrow or regret on behalf of the other, but will not be angry or feel superior.

  44. What would I think of a couple who became celibate because they didn’t want any more children? I’d think they were kind of dim. I think that would be bad for their relationship and perhaps even their health. Most people know how to have sex without having children as a result. I suppose if they had moral objection to birth control, then that would have to be their choice. Many of those that I know (including family members) who are intolerant of the usual forms of birth control seem to find some excuse for the woman to be sterilized (tubes tied) after a certain number of children. To me that is a pretty strong method of birth control.

  45. @Silver Rain’s #46:

    All fair points. Certainly the Church has the right to say “We believe this is the path and these are the requirements.” And nobody should feel angry or superior as a result of disagreeing with others’ choices.

    The problem is that the Church’s statements as to what’s necessary to obtain such blessings has changed over time. For a while, polygamy was an essential requirement. Now it’s not. For a while it was no problem to not strictly keep the WoW, now it is, and not keeping it will deny you access to saving ordinances. For a while, birth control was sinful and therefore presumably would knock you out of the running for the top prize. Now it’s not. For a long time, dark skin was an inherited curse that prevented holding the priesthood, though there were always some members who knew that was wrong.

    With a track record like this, plus the belief in an open scriptural canon that is theoretically subject to significant change at any time, it’s not unreasonable to ask whether today’s “requirements” for exaltation as stated by the Church might not change in the future. In which case, how to recompense those who may have suffered significantly in order to comply with the former requirement if they actually didn’t need to do so after all? And what about those who individually may have correctly anticipated the change, whatever it might be?

  46. #Do you think lifelong celibacy is what some people (not just any groups I may have alluded to; think broadly) “should” do to keep with the gospel?

    Everyone who is not married HAS to be celibate to keep with the gospel. We don’t even get to approach the issue of “should”, as God has been pretty clear on the matter.

    # What do you think the role of sex in a relationship is? Is it “essential” for a “good” relationship?

    What do you mean by “relationship”? I have a relationship with my father. Is it not a good relationship because there’s no sex involved? Are you using relationship as a synonym for romance? Marriage? Something else? I need to know what you mean before I can answer.

    # What would you think of a committed, unwed opposite-sex couple who were celibate (by mutual choice) for life?

    Isn’t this something we call “friends”? I don’t know about you, but I feel pretty committed to my friends, several who are women (and even married). Do you mean living together, but celibate? Romantic but celibate? I must be missing something you are assuming in asking the question.

    # What would you think of a committed, unwed same-sex couple who were celibate (by mutual choice) for life?

    Again, isn’t this what we call “friends”

    # What would you think of a committed, married couple who were celibate (by mutual choice) for life?

    Well, I’d be confused. My first thought is “Why?” but I figure I got enough problems working things out in my own life to waste time trying to run other’s. That’s between themselves and God. Of course, God has commanded us to be fruitful and multiply, and of course He seems to have created sex as a way of bonding husbands and wives together. So I suspect it’s a little out of sort with the typical way God has things planned for a married couple. But that is their business, not mine.

    # (Touchy question from a silly immature no-life-having blogger; don’t need to answer publicly): If somehow, you were pressured to be celibate for an extensive period of time by outside forces (ex: your significant other wasn’t attuned to your desires; society or the church frowned upon your sexual activity, etc.,), would you “give up” the prospect of sex?

    Umm… isn’t this what every person who makes it to the altar as a virgin doing? Do you mean permanently? Seeing as you don’t know that you’ll ever get married, being chaste is at least indefinite.

  47. Whenever we trot out the phrase “natural man” to promote the idea that humans must “overcome” and resist their natural urges, appetites and desires, we are taking the scripture out of context. The only reason the “natural” man is an enemy to God is because what God desires is the “spiritual” man. That whole scriptural lesson mentioning the natural man is teaching us about the rebirth of the spirit. It is about becoming spiritual beings. In my opinion, one’s sexual orientation is not a factor.

  48. The use of the word “couple” in the questions should have helped Cicero out. He apparently had not had his coffee yet.

  49. Well, then, on the assumption that you mean romance:

    # What do you think the role of sex in a romance is? Is it “essential” for a “good” romance?

    No it is not essential. It is an important element, but the most important part of sex with in a romance is that it treated properly- as something that only takes place between married couples. Sex implies commitment, if you claim you’re committed without marriage than I think you’re fooling yourself.

    # What would you think of a committed, unwed opposite-sex romantic couple who were celibate (by mutual choice) for life?

    Well, that makes sense. Presumably there must be something preventing them from marrying. There is a lot of literature that explores this very issue. The fact that they are unwilling to compromise their virtue despite their romantic attraction is simply evidence of the purity of their love… or at least that’s what all the literature on the matter seems to say. I probably wouldn’t phrase it so flowery, but I agree with the sentiment.

    # What would you think of a committed, unwed same-sex romantic couple who were celibate (by mutual choice) for life?

    Fine by me. I’m not gay so I can’t really relate, however, there is the term “hetrosexual life partners” that I hear every now and then which is usually used to describe same-sex couples who are committed to each other very strongly, but without any sexual aspect to it. So I’m not sure if this really has to be divided along sexual orientation lines. (This idea of male bonds being as strong as romantic marriage shows up a lot. Even children’s shows. Fred Flinstone and Barney Rubble for example, or Cory and Shawn from Boy Meets World for a more modern example. Cory’s wife even comments on it once saying “I know he [Cory] loves Shawn more than me, and I’ve come to accept that.”- Just trying to point out that the emphasis the modern world puts on sex isn’t natural.)

  50. In the back room at my office (couldn’t have it out front), we had a cartoon hanging for years. It was a woman scolding three men. I don’t remember the reason for the scolding, but she was very mad and wanted them to reflect on what they had done. As I recall, in the next to last frame, she told the men that she wanted them to take a good, hard look at the one thing in their lives that gave meaning to their lives. Simultaneously and without talking to each other, all three men pulled the front of their pants away from their bodies and looked down.

    I don’t believe the world obsesses more about sex than before. The outward emphasis is more, but the thoughts within us have not doubt been around since Eve appeared on the scene.

    That is why when I hear about same-sex attraction being referred to as an “inclination” or a “susceptibiity” my temperature rises. In most people, heterosexual feelings can hardly characterized as mere “inclinations” or “tendencies”. Same-sex attraction is the same as heterosexual attraction, but obviously different.

    Sex is weird either way, present or absent, in a relationship. Living in a relationship without it would seem unnatural and less than fulfilling. That being said, there is certainly more than one right way to live. Everyone is different. Even those who are the same.

  51. Celibacy = sex offenders. See Catholic church. See all those hidden mormon tales, if like me, you’re from a multi-generational mormon family, you know one or two fathers/grandfathers in positions of priesthood power who abused children and got away with it. Celibacy is not a way that male humans can live. It’s an easy question. Look at the sex offender studies, if you don’t believe me.

  52. djinn, I agree that celibacy leads to sexual abuse for some who are asked to be celibate, but you’re mixing examples. Celibacy has never been part of Mormon history, so blaming it for Mormon child abuse simply doesn’t work.

    Also, ANY and ALL family histories unfortunately have “one or two” child abusers in them – inside and outside the Church, active and inactive. To cast your own family history somehow as a uniquely Mormon problem of Priesthood power (as your comment implies) is wrong – pure and simple.

  53. Sexual abuse is not a problem of priesthood power. It WAS (I hope hope hope) a problem of those with priesthood power being protected because of an unwarranted assumption spirituality due to the assued spiritual power due to their role in the church, to the severe detriment of the women involved, including someone rather extremely close to me, who never blamed the church. That’s left to me.

    In the interest of honesty, I am aware of a similar non-church (mostly) related problem where the man in question had tons and tons of money–which he doled out to his kids. Guess who got believed when rumors of G’pa misbehaving came out? Well, after the police became involved, the kids. But it took awhile.

    Also, studies show (such a lovely phrase) that sex offenders disproportionately come from religions that see sexual expression, esp. masturbation as bad bad bad. The most recent came out of Australia–often to the visible discomfort of the scientists involved. Self-reported religiosity is closely correlated with sexual abuse.

    Celibacy = bad.

  54. So, Ray, I agree and disagree with you. Of two of the cases of which I am most familiar (both with many victims) the perpetrator was protected. Once because of his church calling, and once because of his hands on the purse strings.

    So, perhaps no message, except, I don’t really know. Life is difficult. Being in Church doesn’t protect your kids, neither does hanging out with rich, famous people. Lucky us.

    Rather beside the point, but getting to know you, if only for pretend on the web has been one of the bigger blessings of the magical intertubes for me. I now and always respect you. Doesnt mean I won’t disagree with you, though. Actually, it’s a (perhaps unplesant) sign of my respect that I engage in these painful tussles with you.

  55. djinn or whatever you call youself.

    You preach the words of the devil.

    You’re saying that self-control is not possible, and that if we don’t violate God’s law of chastity we will become sex offenders?

    That’s a bunch of BS.

    You’re just trying to justify your sins, like everybody else does no adays.

    Continue preaching such doctrine and you will face Hellfire.

    God is merciful to sinners, He’s a lot less merciful to people who deny that sin is sin and go around telling others that there is no such thing as sin.

  56. Cicero, djinn is talking about celibacy and its effects. The LDS Church doesn’t teach celibacy; in fact, it teaches that marriage and sex is the correct path and celibacy is not a good option. Homosexuality is a different issue, so how is what djinn has said in her comments in this thread “of the devil”?

    djinn never said, “self-control is not possible, and that if we don’t violate God’s law of chastity we will become sex offenders”. She said celibacy leads to sexual offenses more often than sexual activity does. That’s pretty non-controversial nowadays, and it’s one of the main reasons the LDS Church doesn’t encourage celibacy as a life choice for those it otherwise counsels to marry.

    If you want to criticize what someone says, that’s fine. Please, do so. However, please don’t do so through exaggeration and hyperbole.

  57. Celibacy is just not what people normally presume it to be. The sexual abstinence amounts to hardly 10% of the job. 90% celibacy is practiced mentally. Observing absolute purity of thought is what Celibacy is all about! The day invocation of sensual thoughts stops forever… one practically reaches the end of celibacy.

    Physical celibacy is all about preserving the cosmic quota of energy month after month and transmuting it to more creative channels. Physical celibacy does not mean total abstinence. Householders are permitted a maximum of two sexual indulgences per month.

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