Monday, January 31, 2005

why chastity? (warning: slightly explicit)

today we had our annual chastity lecture from the bishop. he posed the question, "why does god want us to live the law of chastity?" the two usual answers came about: because it's playing with the power to create life (ie. you might get pregnant), potential std's, and 'because god said so'. as expected i disagreed with all of these, but it got me thinking - why should we live the law of chastitiy?

as i have written earlier, 'god's saying so' is not any justification of a commandment. to the issue of potential pregnancy and disease, the response should be given (as i gave in sunday school) that if this were the reason, then if we knew that the partner was safe and proper protection was applied then we should be okay to have extra-marital sex. my bishop oddly agreed, said that there must be deeper reasons, but did not open it up for any further exploration. this got me thinking

as i had just mentioned, it couldn't be just about the potential stds and pregnancy because then sex with proper protection would be ok. one could respond that no form of protection is 100%. sure, i agree, but let's say that hypothetically, two persons are medically sterile (fertility and std). if the law of chastity were about about potential stds and pregancy, then it would be ok for them. one might argue that miracles do happen and couples who have been told they could not have children have conceived and given birth. though this goes against my hypothetical example (in which they are in fact unable to conceive) it still leaves oral sex, petting, and such which (As far as i am aware) cannot cause pregancy (excluding levi-lovin which is supposedly how allen iverson was conceived).

i believe the reason why the lord wants us to live the law of chastity is that in the act of sex (or related activities), one objectifies their partner. the other person goes from human to sex toy. from soul to commodity. the partner is a tool for one's self-gratification. a thing to be used. this is the same condemnation of murder. turning a life into a commodity. using another person for a personal gain.

but what then if it is consensual? i don't think this necessarily matters. all this means is that both parties are turning their partner into a thing for self-gratification.

how is marriage any different then? marriage should be different in that rather then seeking pleasure, sex should be an act of love. if real love is present then then the partner is not objectified into a sex-toy, but is rather seen as a person loved. if however, even in marriage, if one uses their husband/wife for sex, then that person is just as guilty as breaking the law of chastity.

if two people really love eachother, couldn't they then have sex out of wedlock? if they really love eachother so much, then they should get married? if they are holding back from getting married... then perhaps their love isn't all that real.

this view, i believe, also covers why other forms of sex, petting, masterbation, and even pornography are wrong. each of these in one way or another objectifies the other into a commodity for self-gratification (in the case of masterbation and pornography, though nobody may be directly involved, they usually go together and involve the objectification of persons).

furthermore, all of these things can be addictive and thus reducing free-will.

of course there still remain many questions and problems such as engaged couples, homosexuality, and a few others things...

anways, as always... lemmee know what you think


  1. I like your thought process.

    Sex is to be used as an expression of committed love, and all other uses are profane. Right?

  2. profane because rather than an expression of real love, it is selfish seeking of gratification. using a person as a commodity rather than a receptor of love

  3. You've probably read this, but Elder Holland's Of Souls, Symbols, and Sacraments is a great explanation about this topic.

    I think you've essentially echoed the doctrine he taught in that particular address.

  4. Oops, that was me. --Mason

  5. Hey Tyler,

    The BBC World Service (radio) is currently serializing The Rainbow by D.H. Lawrence. Not that I would suggest always looking to the author of Lady Chatterly's Lover for tips on the meaning of chastity, but there was a passage in this morning's installment (from Chapter 3 of The Rainbow) where we learn of the sexual ups and downs of the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Tom Brangwen.

    At the beginning of Chapter 3--after the birth of their son, Tom Brangwen becomes a bit jealous of the attention his wife is devoting to the boy: after some time passes, things get resolved and Lawrence describes their sex life this way:

    Their coming together now, after two years of married life, was much more wonderful to them than it had been before. It was the entry into another circle of existence, it was the baptism to another life, it was the complete confirmation. Their feet trod strange ground of knowledge, their footsteps were lit-up with discovery. Wherever they walked, it was well, the world re-echoed round them in discovery. They went gladly and forgetful. Everything was lost, and everything was found. The new world was discovered, it remained only to be explored.They had passed through the doorway into the further space, where movement was so big, that it contained bonds and constraints and labours, and still was complete liberty. She was the doorway to him, he to her. At last they had thrown open the doors, each to the other, and had stood in the doorways facing each other, whilst the light flooded out from behind on to each of their faces, it was the transfiguration, glorification, the admission.And always the light of the transfiguration burned on in their hearts. He went his way, as before, she went her way, to the rest of the world there seemed no change. But to the two of them, there was the perpetual wonder of the transfiguration.Is Lawrence just using very flowery language here? Or is he getting close to the idea of marital union that you were describing in your post--one that goes far beyond just (pardon the expression) "getting off" by using each other as objectified sex toys.

    Still, while this situation might be the ideal, I wonder how often even the most committed married couples can enter into such a "transfiguration."

  6. I would argue that because God says so is good enough reason to follow any commandment. I say this because how can you go wrong when God is commanding.

    I think the most important reason that I think that you may have overlooked, which would help explain why engaged couples and homosexuals are prohibited from sexual activity is the third reason Elder Holland mentioned... Sex links mortals to diety. The very creation of life is perhaps God's most precious power and to see his children wantonly abusing this power is why I believe Alma ranked sexual sin as the 3rd most dangerous form of sin.

  7. "I would argue that because God says so is good enough reason to follow any commandment. I say this because how can you go wrong when God is commanding."

    i think i have posted about this earlier. this view is wrong for at least a couple reasons reasons. you reduce your free-will when you just follow what someone has told you to do, rather than making this choice for yourself. to say 'god said so' is very problematic in itself (which is a much longer topic which i do not have time for).

  8. Speaking as someone who has not actually had sex yet I thought I'd put in my two cents anyway. I think that perhaps this whole issue is about power. You talked of objectifying the other person. I would suggest that perhaps that is the power to destroy--to destroy a person's confidence and or self-worth. To repeatedly be objectified by another person would really tear you down.

    Sex could also be the power to create and I don't just mean to make babies here, although that does apply. It is the power to create, in the other person, a sense of self-worth, a confidence. Perhaps when done in a feeling of love and in an act of love it could help lift the other person up because it would involve not only the body but the soul as well. If done in that manner it would give a sense of unity and oneness.

    Anyway, those are my thoughts on that issue.

  9. When my wife and I decided it was time to have kids, I must confess that there were many times during Sportcenter when she was ovulating and it was very hard to muster up “real love”. Some might say this is a personal problem but after a few years of marriage, some things can wait another half hour. Just like any other doctrine, there are different degrees to which one understands and lives that doctrine. The same is for married couples, even though they can honestly answer “yes” to living the law of chastity.

  10. I am so glad im not married to any of you people,buy the way,as the narator and all(omniscent point of veiw?)you should know that all your favorite music(with the exeption of beatifull south)are total secular drug induced rippoffs of straight-edge hardcore/post-hardcore bands from the late eighties and early ninties hardcore & indie rock underground.Why do you people lap up all of this secular culture and then theologise about the gravity of secular lifes effects?When musicians began making music for pleaser that was for THEIR OWN EGOS not to praise god,do you think the people involved in making"fight club"hold the same or even similar values as you?is it ok to be a voyeur at the tabloid gossip level watching pychic garbage like the modern"vertigo"genre but not involving yourself to the point of actual masterbation? If"fight club"was based on a true story would you be useing those peoples misery for your own pleasure?Is it funny that people are desperate for human touch?(the cancer patient)or that a castrated man grew breasts?or do you just enjoy to cringe and wonder at life and judge its meanings from your lofty standpoint as narrator? Are the people in porography real or characters?Can a person play the role of an architype only?does america really LOVE marilyn monroe or a name a face a figure, a symbol, is that figure the same as the person?are we objectifing athletes?How do sports serve gods will?Do you like athletes,care about there well being?Do you know them personally?Who said having sex with your wife just to have sex is wrong?The yahwaee cults,the jews, the early christians?NO!How and why do the romans and other ex-pagans from farther north have a better grip on the will of the god of Abraham than the actuall people of Abraham?Do you ever read impartial histories?Do you ever question your faith?How can you honestly be so bold as to decide you know for certain that the cosmology passed down to you from other men who experienced or are experienceing life the same as you. born,lived,died,just men/who are you to say that you know and the people who told you were right? then to go ahead and ignore all other human thought and spend your days inturpreting"gods will"the book you read has been changed to fit several political agendas throughout the years and the people who forced it on your ancestors crucified christ!The one thing you can trully have faith in is that you will die like everything that has ever lived.Why do you have fath in your relegion?Does it feel good?Help you fit in with the people you know?OR DO YOU REALLY BELEIVE?Turn off the sports for a while and look yourself in the mirror,look at your own hands,look into your own eyes,know that you live as billions have lived.look at your body.think about whats on the inside,meat puppet.Think about the cosmos that swirls around you just like it swirled around your bearded ancestery.Like the cells in that body. like the atoms in those cells.Do men truly know the mind of GOD?Do you think you do?YOU have all the answers?You must learn everything and then forget it all to truly understand your faith,let the baby jesus open your mind and shut your mouth...and remember,pride is sin.GOD bless you.


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