Sexuality

Prophets gone astray

jonah-and-the-whale
7. Jonah was a prophet, tried to run away,
But he later learned to listen and obey.
When we really try, the Lord won’t let us fail:
That’s what Jonah learned deep down inside the whale.

Certainly my least favorite song in the Children’s Song Book (to the point that I refused to play it at all during my last stint in primary), but the story of Jonah has been going through my mind a lot for the last week or so.

I recently listened to a great podcast episode discussing the Assyrians and Nineveh which put it fresh in my memory.  When you look at the book of Jonah, the first chapter contains almost everything we all remember about Jonah: He was called to preach to Nineveh, runs away, gets thrown overboard, then eaten by a whale, where he stays for 3 days/nights.

However, if you continue on, Chapter 2 is his prayer of thanksgiving for having survived. Things start getting interesting in Ch. 3 (for our purposes at least).  After he’s on dry land, the Lord commands him to go cry repentance to Nineveh (and boy did they need it – see the Hardcore History episode above if you want details), and threaten them with destruction.  When the people hear his dire prophecy, they actually repent, and God stays His hand and doesn’t destroy the city.

Here’s where it gets interesting: Instead of expressing joy like your typical missionary, Jonah then gets MAD! He’s upset that God didn’t punish those darn evil people like He said He would.  The rest of Chapters 3 and 4 go on to show God teaching Jonah how he loves EVERYONE. (more…)

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Protecting the Children (from Cognitive Dissonance)

My response to the recent policy change as well as the subsequent “clarification” has been one of surprise, sadness, and disappointment.

For someone already in the midst of a faith crisis, one of the hardest parts in all of this has been the Church’s response to all this.

  • The fact that it quietly inserted such a drastic policy change into the handbook without any discussion…
  • The fact that they claim their letter was just a clarification and contained nothing new (“there has been no doctrinal change with regard to LGBT issues”). Rather, we’d all just misunderstood the clear wording of the original, or taken it without context (i.e. “has ever lived”).
  • The fact that the earlier video response from Elder Christofferson did nothing to “clarify” the policy, but rather just defended it.  If it was only intended to apply to a tiny subset of those affected by the original wording, why didn’t he “clarify” then?
  • Finally, the fact that this has been represented as simply an effort to protect the children in these households. This is the most outrageous of all.  (see #1 below)

Personally, I feel like the entire policy contains nothing but harmful and hurtful language, and sadly I feel like that was intentional.  In the last week, I have come to an understanding that does make sense as to why the church would move to change the definition of apostasy to include entering a SSM.  The parallel to polygamy initially felt to forced, but now I can see that there is one strong link: Both of these to forms of marriage represent a rather explicit repudiation of the authority of the Brethren over issues of marriage.  That may be due to seeing them as fallen prophets or as stodgy, out-of-touch old men, but the result is the same.  Both acts do represent a deliberate defiance against the leaders in a way that most other sins (fornication, murder, abuse) don’t.  These other sins of passion are seen as “serious transgressions” and may warrant discipline, but these two forms of marriage are somewhat unique. (I’d be curious if anyone ever made the same arguments about inter-racial marriage in the past, when such marriages also flew in the face of counsel from the brethren – see #3,4) (more…)

I Believe…

This post is based on a something John Dehlin did on what he still believes in the church. I’ll use it as a guide. If I agreed completely and couldn’t say it any better, I left it in his words, in italics.


God – I definitely struggle these days to accurately put into words what exactly I believe about God.  But I still feel there is purpose to the universe and my life, and that I have felt power and influence from beyond myself which might rightly be attributed to the divine, and which for now I feel comfortable calling “God”. There are still times when I doubt, but I can say that I do hope and have faith that God is there. I still struggle with the problem of evil, and with a belief in a ‘hands on’ type of God – especially with belief in a “God of lost keys” (thanks Jared Anderson) – i.e. one who would answer my prayer to help me find my keys, yet ignore the pleading of a child suffering years of physical/sexual abuse.  I fully acknowledge that I could be wrong about all this, that there could be no “God,” and that this life could be the only life we get.  Consequently, I remain determined to make the most of my life on earth — whether or not there is an afterlife.

Christ.  I believe very strongly in Christ’s central teachings, which for me center around charity, compassion, faith, service, love, humility, kindness, repentance, honesty, responsibility, etc. (e.g. the golden rule).  As Moroni 7:46-47 reads: (more…)

Mormonism, Masturbation, and Growing Up Male

This is another post from the old blog. This one was born after reading a post at the old CulturalHall called “Confessions of Serial Masturbator/Repenter.”  A very interesting read, but I haven’t been able to locate it again to link here. 

My Story

 We’ll start at the beginning, my beginning. I grew up in a Mormon family… pretty much. We went to church every week. But there was very little religion at home, no FHE, prayers, scripture study, etc. I grew up more or less believing that the church was true, but never really had reason to doubt it either. When I was approaching puberty, my dad lost his job, and had to go back to school. Since we live in a rural area, that meant he was gone during the week, and came to visit on weekends for a few years. That meant dad was no longer coming to church. I’d also reached that age where you start to question things, and, long story short… I pretty much decided over the next few years that there was likely no such thing as God, and I was starting to be ok with that.
Discovery
It was during this time, when left with large open spaces, solitude, and a rather introverted personality, that I discovered masturbation. (more…)

Modesty, Garments, & Nudity within Mormonism – Part 3

Rape Culture
Finally, I must address a final aspect of the modesty issue.  The way modesty is taught in the church is harmful, I believe; to the men, women, boys and girls of the church. I think it is flat wrong to teach the young women of the church that it is their responsibility to control the thoughts of the young men, by dressing in a way that would not be sexually appealing to them. It tells the girls that if they do get inappropriate attention, ogled, harassed, or raped, that somehow it is their fault. And IT’S NOT!
Some will say they’ve NEVER heard that taught in church…. for which I’m glad.  Explicit statements like this are disappearing, I believe.   But, the implied message remains, and is picked up on by both sexes.

 

The World teaches our girls that:
  • A) In order to have value, they must be desirable to men.
  • B) In order to be desirable to men, they must appear sexually available
  • C) Clothing is used to indicate sexual availability
  • D) Therefore, our girls should wear X (where X= revealing, tight-fitting, you-name-it) to indicate they are sexually available, therefore desirable, therefore valuable. (more…)

Modest, Garments, & Nudity within Mormonism – Part 2

Please see part 1 here
Modesty.
So, back to modesty. What is it really all about? I think it’s about avoiding pride. If we look at it this way, the admonition to be be modest in our dress has more to do with dressing so as not to intentionally draw undue attention to ourselves, being “free from conceit or vanity.” Wearing a swimsuit to church would be immodest, because it would serve to draw attention to myself. Going swimming in tuxedo would likely have the same result. It seems that it is all about our attitude in the clothing choices we make. The outcome we desire has an impact on the correctness of an action. If my desire is to wear clothing that is suited to the activity and location, that’s fine. If my desire is to lift myself up above others, there’s a problem. (Note, this is not dependent on other’s reactions, simply our intentions. This is a complex topic as desiring others notice us and our appearance are normal human desires, and I don’t believe they are sinful or wrong.)

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Modesty, Garments, & Nudity within Mormonism – Part 1

This is an old post from the old blog, with some new editing, links and streamlining.

Modesty:

So what exactly is modesty? It’s really interesting, considering the increasing emphasis in the current church, that I wasn’t really able to find anything in the scriptures on the subject. A quick search of the scriptures led to a single use of the word modest, in 1 Timothy, Ch 2. Here, the use seems to fall in line with the traditional definition of modesty, which has nothing to do with dress per say. It’s about being humble. About avoiding what the Book of Mormon calls fine twined linens and costly apparel. About not being prideful.
Looking through the scriptures, I find lots of negative comments about clothing generally, and some neutral ones like admonitions not to worry about it. When it’s not mentioned negatively, any positive views are often talked about only in reference to clothing the naked. Here, it seems, it’s more about providing something to someone who is poor, no different than providing housing to the homeless.

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