Marriage Equality


This post is published at Wheat & Tares — but I wanted to post it here for my own records.  So — if you want to comment on it, please do so over there.

Interviewer: But did [Oscar] Wilde identify himself as gay?

Stephen Fry: No, I don’t think he did. He talked about his nature — he was aware of what people’s natures were, to have sex with their own kind. He wasn’t an idiot — he was fully aware there was such a sexual orientation, but the noun “homosexual” did not yet exist in the English language.

I think Wilde had that advantage that he lived in a time when people were not nouns. You didn’t ascribe labels to them. While he was aware of his nature and never apologized for it, he didn’t shout it from the rooftops in the manner of a modern actor with a Larry Kramer sort of gay sensibility.

And I think those who try to read that into Oscar won’t find it there. You might as well wonder why Oscar didn’t have a Web site. He was more mature than our age is. I mean, he had very little interest in sins of the flesh, or he realized that it isn’t very important whether you call them sins of the flesh or not. The only things that matter are sins of the spirit. In that sense Oscar was quite religious.

That’s what so ironic — the religious complain about sins of the flesh, but sins of the flesh are not the kind of thing that Christ would object to. What you do with your penis or your bottom or anything else is so supremely irrelevant in a moral sense. It’s what we do with our personalities and other people that matters.

I still haven’t heard a convincing argument on how allowing gay marriage would affect my marriage in a negative manner.  It bothers me that we’re so focused on the hot button issue of “gay marriage” that the real issues affecting marriage [like spousal abuse, poverty, emotional fulfillment, etc.] end-up being ignored.

I think [despite what evangelical Americans will suggest] that the scriptures are largely silent on the issue homosexual relationships.  The scriptures that do condemn “men lying with men as with a woman”, etc. refer more to the practice of either:

  • sex-rituals [as in, not among married couples]
  • using anal sex to show “domination” or “subjugation” over a conquered group
  • the physical lust for the pleasure of the sex-act

So it’s possible that those scriptures are condemning those behaviors — not “homosexuality” as such.  As Stephen Fry is explaining in the quote above, homosexuality as a sexual orientation and same-gender relationships based on marriage covenants of fidelity between same-gender couples simply did not exist until relatively recently.

Marriage is not about religion because atheists marry.  Marriage is not about procreation because the infertile marry.  I’d like to say that marriage is just about “love” between two people who desire to get married – however, the problem is we have allowed the State to license marriage and ascribe civil benefits to obtaining that license.  Cohabitation, shared beliefs, procreation, love, etc. – do not require legal permission from the government.  Civil rights and IRS benefits, however, do.

Marriage is basically the formation of a “corporation” between individuals.  This “corporation” gets legal benefits from the State [like any other corporation].  I don’t get upset every time a business incorporates — so why should I get upset when people want to incorporate a relationship?  The prohibition against same-gender marriage isn’t an issue because they’re not allowed to live together and love each other.  It’s an issue because the government’s involvement in marriage means that same-gender couples are not allowed to enjoy civil privileges:  receiving insurance through the spouse’s coverage, visitation rights in a hospital, adopting a child, filing jointly for income tax, taking family leave when the spouse is sick, making arrangements after death, etc. because their status is not legally recognized by a State-issue license.

Obviously, the solution to many of these problems is ejecting the State out of our home, family, romantic, and sex lives.  We have such a problem because with the power of civil benefits, the State is seen as legitimizing what relationships matter and which ones don’t.  The church should be at the forefront of getting the State and Marriage divorced because we [with all other Abrahamic religions] believe that humans were gathered into families prior to the establishment of civil governments.  Whether a couple is considered married “in the eyes of God” or not can have nothing to do with a State-issued license.  Thus, a good first step in this direction would be to no longer require a marriage license to perform religious services like for-time marriages and eternal family sealings.

But even if we want to be secular about it – the historical basis of the “family” was multihusband-multiwife tribes that shared food, labor, childcare, and sexual partners — not our present narrative of the two-parent nuclear family with a college-educated urban employment and a suburban house, with the 3 or 4 kids and a dog.  The church adopted itself into that institution [which is politically-termed “Pro-Family”], and re-framed our “Eternal Families” narrative to garner wider recruitment in the wake of the 1890 Manifesto and renunciation of polygyny.

The church, as presently organized, is a gerontocracy — so leadership today represents a 1950′s era American-style Mormonism from a Utah-centric, cis-, hetero-, anglo-, middle-class privileged lifestyle point-of-view.  And so, with the power concentrated in the hands of these few, we get a gospel presented in those terms only — with nothing for people whose narratives differ either slightly or greatly from that.  I think that with legalized gay marriage in the US being standing a good chance in the near future, the church could be at the forefront of presenting a family doctrine of fidelitous sexual ethics for both straight and gay members.

However, doing so would necessitate a re-evaluation of the stated positions on:

  • what the fundamental purpose of marriage covenants really is
  • what God’s design for getting adults together into families is really all about
  • and what is He wanting us to do/foster in human society by organizing ourselves this way

Because presently the regurgitated, stock-responses are not internally-consistent with themselves:

  • We parrot traditional American Christianity by saying that marriage is about One-man-and-One-woman, but we’ll all allow marriages after a spouse’s death and after a divorce [which would be serial monogamy — not a true mono-].
  • Then, as LDS, we take it further by sealing polygynous and polyandrous eternal families through our policy of sealing any deceased person to all spouses they had while living [which is, again, not one man and one woman].
  • And we’ll also use the natural law argument along with the other Christians to attempt to tie the purpose of marriage families together with reproduction — when many couples are infertile, or marry after reproductive age, and many couples are not economically-sound enough to provide for the maintenance of large families [especially when we keep them separate with sanctions against plural husbands and wives], and there are plenty of already-born children who aren’t cared for well-enough and could be adopted instead.

I think LDS are unique in the position of being able to associate marriage covenants with fidelity, cooperation, commitment, service, intimacy, fellowship, emotional fulfillment, and companionship — without needing them to be hetero- and monogamous.  And I think we can associate “the family” with greater purposes than reproducing children to fill-up the earth.  And while I think that marriage has a God-given “purpose” — I think it needs to be better associated with people having happy, loving, consensual, and faithful cooperative-unions.  If anything’s an “abomination”, it’s not homosexuality — it’s unions where people are taken advantage of, abused, lied to, cheated on, etc.  That should be illegal.  That should be a sin.

The problem is we get more interested in the outwardly-observable behaviors of the flesh — when the only things that really matter are state of the spirit or the heart.  The religious complain about sins of the flesh, but sins of the flesh are not the kind of thing that Christ would object to.  What you do with your penis or your orifices or anything else is absolutely irrelevant in a moral sense — especially when compared to our personalities and how we relate to and treat other people.

Next Article by Justin:  What, on Earth, are you Doing, for Heaven’s sake?

Previous Article by Justin: Using the Word of God as your Tribal Law

Spicing up your church experience


Combating Cultural Mormonism with a Little Anarchy

In my estimation, there seems to be a growing number of LDS that are starting to recognize the difference between doctrinal Mormonism and cultural Mormonism, with a discontent concerning the latter.

I, personally, worry that cultural Mormonism is killing too many of these good people with boredom.  So, if there are any out in Cyberspace who are tired of the Utah culture being exported to every part of the globe, here are some suggestions from your friendly, neighborhood LDS Anarchist to spice up your church experience and bring a little leavening to the doughy masses.

Feel free to run with any of them and to encourage your LDS and, depending on the suggestion, non-LDS friends to do the same.  With enough people doing the following small things, the church will quickly be de-culturalized, leaving only doctrinal Mormonism left.  But even if only a very few people do these things, it will still cause a tremendous shift of attitude among the saints and bring about significant cultural change.  Lastly, if it is only you working, and you are not having any effect, at all, upon the Cult of Conformity, at least you will have de-culturalized yourself and removed much of the boredom you might have been going through.

Bring back the visual cues of manhood

  • Men and boys, grow your beards out.

This is a very easy thing to do, as there is nothing that needs to be done.  It is a passive act.  You simply allow the facial hair to grow out.  This will save you time, energy, electricity (for electric shavers), damage to the skin (no more nicks and cuts) and money (no more shaving equipment needed.)

Many men desire to grow a beard but use the excuse that it grows out in patches and ends up looking horrible, so they cut it.  The truth of the matter is that if you just let the hair grow, even the patches start to sprout hair and eventually everything looks even and full, but sometimes it may take six months for a very patchy man to have a full beard.  A little patience is all it takes.

Teenage boys of 15 and 16, when they start to notice that their peach fuzz is turning into terminal hairs, will immediately start shaving it off.  This is a mistake, as the facial hair is a visual cue that manhood is now upon them.

Young men, aren’t you tired of people treating you like a child?  Grow your facial hair out and watch how quickly people begin treating you as a more mature individual.  Watch the reaction of your parents, male peers, school teachers and the young women of your age.  A beard is a very strong visual cue of manhood and everyone will start to treat you as an adult, especially when your voice deepens.  Remember, things should match.  A deep voice goes with a full beard.  A high pitched voice goes with a clean-shaven (boyish) face.  These visual and audible cues were given to us by God on purpose.

Men, unless you are in a profession that requires you to be clean-shaven, let the hair grow out into a full, bushy beard.  Ditch the fads and trends of trimming into this or that beard style.  You don’t need a goatee, you need a full beard.  You were created in the image of God.  He’s got a full beard.  You’re supposed to have one, too.  Be like God in heart and look like God in image. Don’t trim his image.  If the mustache gives you trouble when you eat, or if you find that the beard becomes a “flavor saver” (because food gets stuck in it), just exercise the patience of the saints and let it grow until it is long enough to no longer get in the way.

Now, I say grow a full, bushy, untrimmed beard because that is the most manly of beards. Short beards, even when full, indicate young men, whose beards have not yet attained the length of a fully grown man.

Women, compliment your husbands and sons on the fine beards they are growing.  You are hard-wired to find beards attractive.  Why?  Because beards are manly, and women love manliness.  So, dump all the (beardless) Roman and (beardless) homosexual propaganda that has filled your head and embrace the real image of Christ. You don’t want a beardless Roman, now do you?  Remember, the beardless Romans killed the bearded Christ.  You want a Christ-like man, right?  So, encourage the growing of the beard, ladies.  Besides, you know that women constantly complain of how grown, adult men act like immature 12-year olds, right?  Well, have you ever considered that they act like 12-year olds because they still look like 12-year olds?  Can you really expect your men to grow up and be adults if they just look like bigger versions of beardless kids?

Men, women and children should consider the functions of the full beard and respect them.  Here are some examples:

  • Beards come in quite handy during intimacy.  (I ain’t gonna elaborate on this one.)
  • Beards help to develop the manual dexterity of infants and toddlers, who, as they are held by their fathers, grasp the beard, which fully develops the hand and fingers of the child.
  • Beards help to distinguish the father from the mother in the eyes of the child, causing them to view the sexes as very, very different.  (“Viva la difference!” as the French say.)  This causes young girls to develop into very feminine women and young boys to develop into very masculine men.
  • Bearded men (full, bushy beards, mind you, not the sissy trimmed beards) elicit an involuntary reaction upon all who see them.  Beards emit power and virility and evoke instant respect.  Big, clean-shaven men with tattoos all over the place, piercings, etc., who look for confrontations, involuntarily avoid bearded men because they don’t feel manly in the presence of bearded men.  In point of fact, bearded men look upon beardless men as less manly.
  • When two bearded men enter an area and spot each other, they are naturally drawn to each other, involuntarily complimenting the other for their fine facial hair.  (This is significant, as men normally do not give compliments of appearance to one another.)  A bearded man talking to another bearded man feels like he is talking to a man. A bearded man talking to a beardless man feels like he is talking to a boy. All beardless men know this, or feel this inferiority of manliness when in the presence of fully bearded men.  There is no worse feeling to a man than to feel less than manly.
  • Conversely, there is no greater feeling to a woman than to feel feminine, but femininity must be contrasted with masculinity to get its greatest effect.  A fully bearded man gives the highest contrast of manliness to a woman, which is why women who have experienced fully bearded men don’t want them to ever cut the beard off.  They feel supremely feminine in the presence of such a manly man.  (Of course, cultural conditioning can take away this natural affinity that women have towards manly beards.)
  • Fully bearded men have an air of authority around them that children and women (and beardless men) respond to.  There is something in our psyche that still remembers Heavenly Father and that responds to His bearded image.
  • There may be many other reasons to grow a beard, but I’ll end with this one: if the Lord ever wants to send you out among the people to prophesy like one of His prophets of old, shouldn’t you look the part?

Worldly trends to eliminate beards Can you imagine a homosexual male with a full beard?  Kind of hard to picture, isn’t it?  Ever wonder why adult, homosexual males are almost always clean shaven, or have a minimum of facial hair?  Every wonder why the “playboy” image, started by Hugh Hefner, is clean-shaven (kind of like the homosexuals?)  Homosexual males don’t have children because they don’t get into long-term, committed relationships with females (otherwise known as “marriage.”)  “Playboys” (or nowadays the term is “players”) don’t get into long term, committed relationships with females, either.  (No marriage.)  You think the parallels between homosexual males and players is mere coincidence?

How about the sex performers and industry?  The only hair on their bodies (male or female) is found on their heads (and sometimes not even that for the men.)  Ever wonder why all this shaving of armpit hair, pubic hair and facial hair?  All of the visual cues of adulthood (for men and women) are snipped off by this industry, by the homosexuals and often by the playboys.  But think about it, if you take away this hair, what does an adult look like?  Answer: A large child.

None of this is coincidence.  Just as the hair that develops during puberty is designed by God to be a visual cue that the body is becoming an adult and getting ready for its sexual function between ADULTS, the world would remove all this hair so that it looks like CHILDREN are performing these sacred acts.  Thoughts to consider.

(After writing the above, which is based upon my own, personal observations, I did some Internet surfing and came across the following web site that confirmed what I had perceived about beards.)

All About Beards (beards.org)

Pay your tithing in silver

Stop writing checks or paying in cash.  Take whatever cash amount you would spend on tithing and convert it into silver coins, specifically, this silver.  Package and mail the coins off to your bishop, along with a tithing slip inside.  Make sure the slip is filled out so that you are anonymous.

Leave boring sacrament meetings after partaking of the sacrament

If you are tired of banal, boring, lame sacrament meeting talks and seriously consider going inactive, don’t.  Just go to church, partake of the sacrament, and as soon as the priests and deacons are dismissed to sit with their families, walk out and go home. You can return later to attend the Gospel Doctrine class, Relief Society or Priesthood Meetings, if you want or need to.  If Gospel Doctrine is lame, skip that, too. (However, to remain in good standing, priesthood holders must attend their priesthood meetings, even if they are boring.)

Doing this will allow you to keep your sanity for a few more years.  Also, if enough people in your ward participate in collective ditching, the bishopric may get the message that boredom is not a generally accepted principle of the gospel and may make needed improvements to the sacrament meeting.  But don’t hold your breath on that one.

Ditch the necktie and white shirt

Last I checked, you can’t be ex’d for that, or even disfellowshipped.  But some anally retentive bishops may decide that you are no longer worthy to bless or pass the sacrament, give talks, teach classes or perform ordinances of church record, so, if you are looking for a breather from a heavy church load, conveniently make sure that every Sunday your white shirts and ties are too dirty to wear and dress in nice, comfortable, casual clothes, instead.  And if you are called to give a priesthood blessing to some sick person in the ward, don’t be anally retentive yourself and rush home to get dressed in a white shirt and tie.  Just go as you are and bless them.

Grow your hair long

Jesus did it.  Samson did it.  Who is more manly than those two?  Long hair and a full, bushy beard complement each other.  If you have the Roman hair (short cut) and the Israelite beard (full and bushy), it will almost look hypocritical, like having one foot in Babylon and one foot in Zion.  Put both feet in Zion and grow the hair out.  You’ll look a whole lot more handsome and manly if you do.  Plus, you’ll save on all the barber shop money you spend.  (Or, to appease a wife that is unaccustomed to long hair, tell her that you are going to the barber, but instead come back with chocolates and roses…and uncut hair.  She’ll soon look forward to your “barber shop” excursions and will end up being the one insisting you never cut your hair.)  If anyone asks you why you are not cutting the hair, say you are trying to be like Jesus, or that you have taken a Nazarene vow, or that you’ve noticed that your strength increases the longer your hair is, and you’ve decided to enter a strongman contest.

Call everyone brother and sister so-and-so

And I do mean everyone.  Bishops, presidents, missionaries, apostles, prophets and all General Authorities.  Everyone.  And make it part of every sentence, too, when you are called out on the practice.  So, for example: “Hello, Brother Brown.’  “Uh, I’m the bishop, Brother Green.”  “Yes, I know, Brother Brown.”  “Well, it is customary to call one’s bishop by the title bishop and not brother.”  “I was aware of that, Brother Brown.  But thanks for the information, anyway.”  You get my drift, right?  If anyone asks why you are doing this, just get all emotional and, if you are able to, shed a few tears while giving him (not her) a big hug and saying that you love him as your own brother.  Fairly quickly, no one will ask you again about it.

Print out your own set of scriptures

Include whatever canon you want.  Let it contain the four standard works (any version of the Bible you want, or multiple versions, or the red-letter version, etc.), the Apocrypha, the Inspired Version, etc.  Use a desk-top publishing program and a good printer and take it to a binding shop to get it professionally bound.  Remember, the saints set the canon.  You are a saint, so set your own canon.

Reverse the order of prayer

Instead of ending “in the name of Jesus Christ,” make it a habit of starting with “Heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, …” and then end with a simple “Amen.”

Reverse the order of priesthood blessings

Instead of saying, “John Smith, by the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood, we lay our hands on you…etc.” and then ending with, “…and we leave this blessing with you in the name of Jesus Christ, amen,” just begin with, “John Smith, in the name of Jesus Christ and by the authority of…” and end with, “amen.”  Sure, you”ll undoubtedly get elders telling you afterward that you screwed up the blessing and must do it again because the order was reversed, but stick to your guns and teach them a thing or two, namely, that stating the authority is what is required, not the order in which the authority is stated.

Drop all the archaic expressions of prayer

Don’t worry, you won’t tick God off by calling him “you” instead of “thee.”  Lol.  That is a Mormon cultural artifact, nothing more.  Use plain, modern English when talking to God and drop all the thees, thous, wilts, etc.  Do this in private and in public, after all, it’s going to take practice to get out of this habit.  But it’ll be well worth the effort both to witness the expressions of horror by the LDS around you after you’ve said your prayer, as well as seeing how more accepting Christians are of you when you’ve said a prayer without archaic, “holier-than-thou” expressions.

De-McConkie-ize the church: stop ending talks with “In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.”

This practice was started by Bruce R. McConkie.  The early saints just said, “Amen.” to end a talk, or just ended it however they wanted to end it and then sat down.  Surely you don’t think your entire talk speaks for Jesus, now do you?  So, leave off speaking in His name except for ORDINANCES which require speaking in His name and for those times when you are filled with the Spirit and are prophesying in the name of God.  (Now how many times has that happened, huh?)

Build an altar in your home

Purchase bottles of vodka and leave them out to be seen

Use the vodka to wash your bodies, as directed by the Word of Wisdom.  Make sure they are conspicuously displayed and then invite some church members over for dinner.  Have fun with the discussions that ensue.

Other ideas

Obviously, these are just ideas to get you started.  Cultural Mormons will probably call you a sinner for doing these things.  But then, they also see anarchy as evil, which it isn’t.  Just smile and do them anyway.  Eventually, the tide of Mormon cultural crap will turn.  If you have any other ideas to offer, or if you are already doing some of these or other things, feel free to leave a comment and inform us all of your experience.

Next Anarchism/Anarchy article: Anarchism

Previous Anarchism/Anarchy article: Let Us Unite Our Efforts to Establish Gift Societies Based Upon Tribal Anarchism

Complete List of Articles authored by LDS Anarchist

The Law of Chastity: What It Is and What It Isn’t


As part of an article that I have been preparing on the law of chastity, I thought it would be good to first define it.  However, as I began writing that portion of the article (the definition of the law of chastity), the article became quite long and I realized that this was a topic sufficient for its own post.  So, I am splitting the article into two, this being the first part.

There have been two definitions given of the law of chastity in the temple of God.

The temple definition of the law of chastityprior to April, 1990

“The law of chastity…is that the daughters of Eve and the sons of Adam shall have no sexual intercourse except with their husbands or wives to whom they are legally and lawfully wedded.”  (Source: The Telestial World.)

and

“We are instructed to give unto you the law of chastity. This I will explain.

“To the sisters, it is that no one of you will have sexual intercourse except with your husband to whom you are legally and lawfully wedded. To the brethren it is that no one of you will have sexual intercourse except with your wife to whom you are legally and lawfully wedded.”  (Source: The Terrestrial World.)

The temple definition of the law of chastityApril, 1990 Revision

The 1990 revision speaks of sexual “relations” rather than sexual “intercourse.”

The 1990 revision does not have women and men covenant separately to keep the law of chastity. Instead, women and men simultaneously covenant to have no sexual relations except with their “husband or wife” to whom they are legally and lawfully wedded.  (Source: The Terrestrial World, Notes 1 and 2.)

Paraphrased law of chastity with pre- and post-April, 1990 revision comparisons

I will paraphrase the definition given previous to April, 1990, and state it as follows:

The law of chastity is that no woman will have sexual intercourse except with her husband to whom she is legally and lawfully wedded and that no man will have sexual intercourse except with his wife to whom he is legally and lawfully wedded.

And here is a paraphrase of the definition given in the April, 1990 revision:

The law of chastity is that no woman will have sexual relations except with her husband to whom she is legally and lawfully wedded and that no man will have sexual relations except with his wife to whom he is legally and lawfully wedded.

Would the real law of chastity please stand up?

According to the Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary, the term sexual intercourse has two shades of meaning:

1 : heterosexual intercourse involving penetration of the vagina by the penis : COITUS

2 : intercourse (as anal or oral intercourse) that does not involve penetration of the vagina by the penis

(Definition taken from this page.)

According to the same dictionary, the term sexual relations has the following, singular definition:

: SEXUAL INTERCOURSE

(Definition taken from this page.)

We see from these definitions that the terms sexual intercourse and sexual relations are synonymous.

More on the second shade of meaning

As stated above, the term sexual intercourse has two shades of meaning.

So that there is no misunderstanding over the second shade of meaning, which is defined as intercourse, here is the definition of the word intercourse:

3 : physical sexual contact between individuals that involves the genitalia of at least one person <anal intercouse> <oral intercourse>; especially : SEXUAL INTERCOURSE 1 <heterosexual intercourse>

(Definition taken from this page.)

And for those who aren’t sure just what is considered human genitalia,

“The Latin term genitalia, sometimes anglicized as genitals and genital area, is used to describe the externally visible sex organs, known as primary genitalia or external genitalia: in males the penis, in females the clitoris and vulva.”

(Taken from the Sex organ entry of Wikipedia.)

Church manuals give the same definition as the temple definition

For example, in the book Gospel Principles, in chapter 39, entitled, The Law of Chastity, under the section called What Is the Law of Chastity?, chastity is stated this way:

“We are to have sexual relations only with our spouse to whom we are legally married. No one, male or female, is to have sexual relations before marriage. After marriage, sexual relations are permitted only with our spouse.”

The Gospel Topics Gospel Library found on lds.org, an official web site of the Church, under the entry Chastity, states the following:

“Chastity means not having any sexual relations before marriage. It also means complete fidelity to husband or wife during marriage.”

Church manuals and leader’s teachings often go beyond the temple definition

To give an example, I refer back to the Gospel Principles book, same chapter, same section, and directly under the definition quoted above.  Two paragraphs follow which state:

We have been taught that the law of chastity encompasses more than sexual intercourse. Elder Spencer W. Kimball warned young people of other sexual sins:

“Among the most common sexual sins our young people commit are necking and petting. Not only do these improper relations often lead to fornication, [unwed] pregnancy, and abortions—all ugly sins—but in and of themselves they are pernicious evils, and it is often difficult for youth to distinguish where one ends and another begins. They awaken lust and stir evil thoughts and sex desires. They are but parts of the whole family of related sins and indiscretions” (The Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 65).

This tendency to go beyond the temple definition and lump together anything and everything that can lead to breaking the law of chastity is fairly common in the church.  These “related sins and indiscretions” are often categorically labeled immorality.

The sexual laws of the Bible

What the Bible says about proper sexual activity is not quite the same as the temple definition of the law of chastity.  It is not my intention to address the biblical sexuality laws here.  It would take too much time and require more than one post.  Others, however, have addressed these issues, so I will refer the reader to one of them, the Controversial Truths section of the Righteous Warriors website, in which can be found biblical sexuality articles.

For the purposes of this post, I will be sticking to the temple definition of the law of chastity and to nothing else.

Where fornication and adultery fit in the law of chastity

For the sins of fornication and adultery, only the first definition of sexual intercourse applies.  In other words, if a married woman has oral sex with some guy she’s not married to, she is breaking the law of chastity, but she isn’t committing the sin of adultery.  If she has a lesbian affair, she is breaking the law of chastity, but she isn’t committing adultery.  The sins of fornication and adultery require vaginal penetration by the penis.  But, don’t take my word on this. Go ask your bishop to see the church handbook for yourself.

Now that we know what the law of chastity is, let’s talk about what it isn’t.

Masturbation does not break the law of chastity

To break the law of chastity, at least two people are required.  Therefore, masturbation, which is sexual self-stimulation, does not break the law of chastity.

Kissing does not break the law of chastity

Kissing, even passionate kissing, as long as the genitalia are not involved, does not break the law of chastity.

Petting does not break the law of chastity

Petting and even heavy petting, like kissing, does not break the law of chastity, as long as the genitalia are not involved.  Also, keep in mind that the breasts are not considered genitalia.

Viewing pornography does not break the law of chastity

For the reasons stated above, looking at pornography does not break the law of chastity.  It is impossible to physically have sexual intercourse with just the eyes.

Committing adultery in one’s heart does not break the law of chastity

Jesus said “that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.”  (See Matthew 5: 28.)  The Lord also said, “He that looketh upon a woman to lust after her hath denied the faith, and shall not have the Spirit, and if he repents not he shall be cast out.”  (See D&C 42: 23.)

“Looking on a woman to lust after her” means that a man consciously wishes that he could cheat on his wife (if he is already married) and have sexual intercourse (1st shade of meaning of that term, which covers the sin of adultery) with another man’s wife.

Obviously, this is a sin that can rapidly lead to breaking the law of chastity, but in and of itself, this sin does not break the law of chastity.

Immodesty does not break the law of chastity

How you dress can affect how you feel about yourself and how others treat you, but it is outside of the jurisdiction of the law of chastity, therefore, dressing immodestly does not break the law of chastity.

(For a fuller treatment of modesty, see its Wikipedia entry.  For a brief review of modern LDS modesty standards, see the blog post, A Style of Our Own.)

Why knowing the definition of chastity is helpful

People often beat themselves up unnecessarily.  A person is, of course, free to add as many personal rules as they want to the laws of the gospel, including the law of chastity, as did the Pharisees, but when it comes right down to it, chastity is what the Lord, in His holy temple, has defined it as being.  Nothing more, nothing less.

So, the next time you are sitting in a temple recommend interview with your bishop or stake president, and you are asked if you live the law of chastity, you may want to keep these things in mind.  Having the temple definition in your head may make answering the question a whole lot easier.

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Does legalized, same-sex “marriage” break the law of chastity?


As I was doing research tonight for an article on the law of chastity, I came across something interesting that has to do with same-sex “marriage.”  Having been through the temple, I knew that the law of chastity is defined for us there, so I went to ldsendowment.org to get the exact text of the definition of the law of chastity.  It was then that I noticed the following:

Pre-1990 definition of the law of chastity

We are instructed to give unto you the law of chastity. This I will explain. To the sisters, it is that no one of you will have sexual intercourse (1) except with your husband to whom you are legally and lawfully wedded. To the brethren it is that no one of you will have sexual intercourse except with your wife to whom you are legally and lawfully wedded. (2) [Taken from this page.]

[Footnotes: (1) 1. The 1990 revision speaks of sexual “relations” rather than sexual “intercourse.” (2) 2. The 1990 revision does not have women and men covenant separately to keep the law of chastity. Instead, women and men simultaneously covenant to have no sexual relations except with their “husband or wife” to whom they are legally and lawfully wedded. This revision was no doubt made to streamline the ceremony. However, the new wording has the presumably unintended consequence of bringing same-sex marriages–if legalized–within the pale of the law of chastity.]

1990 definition of the law of chastity

We are instructed to give unto you the law of chastity, which is that each of you shall have no sexual relations except with your husband or wife to whom you are legally and lawfully wedded.  [Taken from this page.]

Now, I have always assumed that the 1990 definition had a way out of permitting same-sex “marriage” in its use of the words “legally and lawfully.”  Essentially, I figured that “legally” meant it was permitted by the State and that “lawfully” meant it was according to the laws of God.  In other words, that a matrimony could not break the law of chastity with one another as long as their marriage was right with the State and also right with God.

However, I am no lawyer.    And I wonder if I am wrong in my assessment of the meaning of “legally” and “lawfully.”  I wonder if the temple definition could be used against the Church by church members, who, given the current marriage situation in certain States of the Union, decide to “marry” another church member of the same sex, legally (and lawfully?)  If the Church tries to take action against these members, saying that they are openly fornicating (breaking the law of chastity), and attempting to get them disfellowshipped or excommunicated, what would happen if these same members brought up the current temple definition of the law of chastity in their defense, stating that as they are married, they are complying with the law of God?  And if the Church disregarded such a defense, could these members take this to the law of the land (the State) and say, “Look at the definition of the law of chastity which we received in the temple and see that we have fully complied with that definition, thus, the Church is in error, not us?”

There is no doubt that the pre-1990 definition excludes same-sex “marriage.”  But does the 1990 definition do the same?  If it doesn’t, meaning, if the wording is not sufficient to exclude it, and if the temple definition can be used as a defense in a lawsuit, the Church may be in for some legal trouble should any members decide to engage in legalized, same-sex “marriage” or, perhaps, if any non-member, same-sex “matrimony” decides to investigate the Church and desires baptism without first divorcing.

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The dissolution of the corporate LDS Church via “gay marriage”


I’ve stayed out of all the online LDS discussions concerning what is termed “same-sex marriage,” “SSM” or “gay marriage,” after all, I’m an anarchist, so I don’t believe in government involvement in what I consider private affairs. The recent First Presidency letter read in California sacrament meetings asking California saints to do all they could to pass Proposition 8, which would amend the California constitution to have a definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman, has sparked a lot of online talk among LDS. But I have remained silent.

However, my own belief and understanding has always been that the main reason why the Church (with a capital ‘C,’ indicating the corporate entity, not the lower case ‘c,’ indicating the baptized people of the Lord) is supporting this California constitutional amendment is that “gay marriage” may lead to the dissolution of the corporate Church.

Yes, I am aware of the moral and other reasons that the Church is putting forth for this push to define marriage, in documents such as The Divine Institution of Marriage, which is the Church’s latest press release concerning this issue (and thanks goes to the Faith Promoting Rumor blog for bringing this press release to my attention), but what has gnawed at me for a long time were the legal ramifications. What does this mean to the corporate Church?

The new Church press release briefly mentions some legal aspects of legalized same-sex “marriage.” Here are the two paragraphs devoted to this issue:

Other advocates of same-sex marriage are suggesting that tax exemptions and benefits be withdrawn from any religious organization that does not embrace same-sex unions. Public accommodation laws are already being used as leverage in an attempt to force religious organizations to allow marriage celebrations or receptions in religious facilities that are otherwise open to the public. Accrediting organizations in some instances are asserting pressure on religious schools and universities to provide married housing for same-sex couples. Student religious organizations are being told by some universities that they may lose their campus recognition and benefits if they exclude same-sex couples from club membership.

Many of these examples have already become the legal reality in several nations of the European Union, and the European Parliament has recommended that laws guaranteeing and protecting the rights of same-sex couples be made uniform across the EU. Thus, if same-sex marriage becomes a recognized civil right, there will be substantial conflicts with religious freedom. And in some important areas, religious freedom may be diminished. (Emphasis mine.)

Apparently, I am not the only one thinking about the legalities of SSM. Just yesterday a LDS saint alerted me of a letter from a stake president who was asking for donations to pass the California Proposition 8. In that letter, here is what the stake president wrote:

The ramifications of this vote are wide-spread and numerous. In places where the definition of marriage has been expanded, institutions have been forced to accept and embrace alternate lifestyles or risk losing government privileges, including tax-exempt status. (Emphasis mine.)

My understanding is that the Church is incorporated in the state of Utah [changed from ‘Nevada’, see below] as a corporate sole, under 501(c)3 tax exemption. Corporations have got to obey the laws of the state in which they are incorporated, right? And states have the “good faith and credit clause” by which they respect and accept the judgments of judges made in other states, right?

So I can conceive of the corporate Church coming to the point where it has to pick sides: either obey the laws of Utah [changed from ‘Nevada’, see below] and keep its corporate charter and articles (and the corporation itself) intact while disregarding the Lord’s moral directives toward homosexuality, or obey the Lord’s moral commandments and disobey the laws of Utah [changed from ‘Nevada’, see below] , effectively opening up the possibility of forced dissolution of the Church.

Now, anyone who has sufficiently gone over this blog should know that I have no problems with the dissolution of the corporate Church. I feel that we should be a free-church, not a corporate state-Church. And I feel that we ought to voluntarily un-incorporate the Church, whether doing so ourselves or by using the services of certain free-church ministries.

But do I really believe that the Church will un-incorporate itself of its own free will? Of course, not. Corporations, like governments, tend to do everything in their power to perpetuate their own existence. However, legalized “gay marriage” may be just the thing that will force un-incorporation upon us, making us a free-church, and finally allowing the natural system of tribal anarchy to reign among the saints, in preparation of all that is prophesied to happen in these days.

If Prop 8 is defeated, and in my opinion, it will be, regardless of how much money is pumped into its campaign by LDS and others, what will happen to the corporate Church? Anybody versed in corporate law is welcome to respond and give his or her understanding as to whether legalized SSM may present a real danger to the life of the Church corporation sole or its tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status. As I am not schooled in corporate law, my understanding may be flawed. Feel free to correct me.

Liberty under a free-church

If and when the Church becomes un-incorporated, whether by its own volition or through government force, and we truly are a free-church, proponents of legalized SSM cannot use the law to force the church to accept homosexual arrangements, whether legal or illegal. Because a free-church is outside of the jurisdiction of State regulations, it essentially does not exist in the eyes of the State, therefore all religious pronouncements are of a completely private nature.

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