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  1. I appreciate the positive tone you are taking with this podcast. There is much to admire in the church and its support of sexual responsibility– “abstinence before marriage and fidelity after.” I have been blessed to have been spared the heartache that comes with confusion about sexual boundaries, largely because of my upbringing in the church.

    So why is it that the vast majority of my close friends have been sexually abused, many by active, believing members? Why is it that I have heard so many stories of inappropriate behavior by church leaders in confidential worthiness interviews? I have not sought for these stories, but the sheer numbers seem to be evidence of a systemic problem.

    I wonder why none of the podcasts under the umbrella of The Open Stories Foundation have yet to fully tackle the underbelly of sexual abuse and its subsequent cover-up within the church. Someone once told me that sexual abuse follows patriarchal systems as predictably as night follows day. She said that, demographically, you can predict where sexual abuse will become systemic by determining the level of patriarchy in a given area. There is substantial evidence that is the case here.

    I just watched the movie Spotlight about the Boston Globe’s exposure of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. It is well done and highly recommended. I cried during that movie. The stories of the victims sounded familiar to me. Many of the dynamics that led to this abuse within the Catholic Church exist, I believe, in the LDS church. In one instance, I know of a family with extensive, systemic, multi generational abuse that became known by church leaders but nothing was done about it on the church level. Cover-up is the other side of the coin that perpetuates this disturbing behavior.

    As a corollary, the practice in the church of sexually invasive priesthood interviews is evidence of a tragic lack of understanding of the psychology of sexuality that, I believe, points to a deeper problem which, paradoxically, coexists with the positive messages you highlight in this podcast. I have spoken to many women (and I’m sure there are men) who have experienced a subtle, but still traumatic, abuse within those interviews. I believe it goes much further. Moreover, plural “marriage” as it was practiced and the legacy it has left was and is sexually traumatic (which, unless it is disavowed by the leadership, does not give the church a solid moral high ground to be in a proper position relative to homosexuality or sexuality, in general). All of these issues need to be discussed as part of any overall examination of the church’s doctrines, practices, and policies related to sexuality. Certainly we can point out where the church gets it right, as you have done in this podcast, but the whole story has not been told.

    I am proposing that this information come out, not to place blame or to condemn or to vilify, but as useful information. One of the participants in this podcast (not sure who it was) said at about minute 48:45, “The more you know what’s in your luggage [past sexual trauma and its source] . . . , the better.” This information and understanding of its scope, I believe, is necessary for the church to move past it and more powerfully teach healthy sexual behavior.

    I believe it is time to bring this to light.

  2. Thank you for this podcast! I’d love to hear it become a series of sorts delving into these topics with roundtables of male and female therapists that work with individuals and families. Also, have any of these folks done a review of the church’s addiction recovery program? I have family members participating in it and want to be supportive in a healthy way while recognizing that it may be just a step in their healing — and maybe not the end all be all program for them. Most of my family is anxious to not step outside of church recommended healing routes and I’ve seen the harm that causes.

  3. An enjoyable podcast. Several years ago, as I began to face the realities of my own sexless marriage, I really began to look at the dialog we have in the Church around sex and sexuality. At that time, I recall imagining a hypothetical Priesthood lesson on chastity. After discussing all of the “evils” of sexuality (probably including segments on pornography, adultery, entertainment, and modesty), I tried to imagine ending the lesson with something like “After discussing all of these evils, does anyone have any good and positive to say about sex and sexuality?” I tended to imagine this segment as being fairly quiet, but it was also a useful thought process to imagine. Sometimes it seems to me that our dialog around sexuality is so focused on the evils, that it is good to remind ourselves of the good things we believe about our sexuality.

  4. The sex-positive podcast is primarily a rebuttal to the predominant negative messages from mormonism, as in “see, it’s not all bad”. However, mormonism is predominately sex-negative. Mormonism’s primary concern about sex is rules, controlling, silence, judging, shaming, and shunning. Mormonism has a long history of this religiously and culturally: masturbation, porn, skinny dipping, french kissing, necking, petting, “unnatural” sex, or anything sexual outside of marriage, blah, blah, blah. That’s why podcasts about sex in mormonism are often about its negative sex messages, or in this case, a spin by way of rebuttal that mormonism is sex positive, but primarily it’s not. Yet believers have already made up their mind; they’ve already drawn their presumptions and conclusions, and will spin the facts to fit their presumptions and conclusions that mormonism is sex positive.

    Not to beat up just on mormonism on this topic. Sex negativity is problem with religion generally, especially with fundamentalist types, and it seems the more fundamentalist it is, the weirder it is about sex. Catholics, muslims, mormons, evangelicals, baptists, etc, all have weird sex problems and hang-ups in their community. Here’s a novel idea: (r)eject religious control of sex. Empowering individual autonomy along with education and fostering healthy relationships is generally what’s needed for healthy sexuality. Overall, religion hurts, not helps, sexuality. Holy/divine god(dess(es))/ghost are not needed to foster healthy sexuality. There are compelling individual and social reasons enough without resorting to otherworldly things.

  5. Pingback: 101: Professionals Weigh in on Problems w/ "Porn Addiction" Model - Part 1 | Mormon Mental Health Podcast

  6. Pingback: 102: Professionals Weigh in on Problems w/ “Porn Addiction” Model – Part 2 | Mormon Mental Health Podcast

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