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Unformatted text preview: Intimacy and Fidelity
Guy L. Dorius Brigham Young University Setting aside sins against the Holy Ghost for a moment as a special category unto themselves, it is LDS doctrine that sexual transgression is second only to murder in the Lord's list of life's most serious sins. By assigning such rank to illicit indulgence in a physical appetite so conspicuously evident in all of us, what is God trying to tell us about its place in His plan for all men and women in mortality? I submit to you He is doing precisely that commenting about the very plan of life itself. Clearly God's greatest concerns regarding mortality are how one gets into this world and how one gets out of it. These two most important issues in our very personal and carefully supervised progress are the two issues that He as our Creator and Father and Guide wishes most to reserve to himself. These are the two matters that He has repeatedly told us He wants us never to take illegally, illicitly, unfaithfully, without sanction. Jeffrey R. Holland, “Of Souls, Symbols and Sacraments,” Brigham Young University Devotional Address, 12 January 1988 I recognize that most people fall into sexual sin in a misguided attempt to fulfill basic human needs. We all have a need to feel loved and worthwhile. We all seek to have joy and happiness in our lives. Knowing this, Satan often lures people into immorality by playing on their basic needs. He promises pleasure, happiness, and fulfillment. If you are married, avoid flirtations of any kind. Sometimes we hear of a married man going to lunch with his secretary or other women in the office. Men and women who are married sometimes flirt with and tease members of the opposite sex. Socalled harmless meetings are arranged or inordinate amounts of time are spent together. In all of these cases, people rationalize by saying that these are natural expressions of friendship. But what may appear to be harmless teasing or simply having a little fun with someone of the opposite sex can easily lead to more serious involvement and eventual infidelity. A good question to ask ourselves is this: Would my spouse be pleased if he or she knew I was doing this? Would a wife be pleased to know that her husband lunches alone with his secretary? Would a husband be pleased if he saw his wife flirting and being coy with another man? My beloved brothers and sisters, this is what Paul meant when he said: “Abstain from all appearance of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:22). If you are married, avoid being alone with members of the opposite sex whenever possible. Many of the tragedies of immorality begin when a man and woman are alone in the office or at church or driving in a car. At first there may be no intent or even thought of sin. But the circumstances provide a fertile seedbed for temptation. One thing leads to another, and very quickly tragedy may result. It is so much easier to avoid such circumstances from the start so that temptation gets no chance for nourishment. Ezra Taft Benson, “Chastity,” BYU Devotional, 13 October 1987, BYU Speeches of the Year, 198788, p. 50. Altogether too many men, leaving their wives at home in the morning and going to work, where they find attractively dressed and attractively madeup young women, regard themselves as young and handsome, and as an irresistible catch. They complain that their wives do not look the same as they did twenty years ago when they married them. To which I say, Who would, after living with you for twenty years? The tragedy is that some men are ensnared by their own foolishness and their own weakness. They throw to the wind the most sacred and solemn of covenants, entered into in the house of the Lord and sealed under the authority of the holy priesthood. They set aside their wives who have been faithful, who have loved and cared for them, who have struggled with them in times of poverty, only to be discarded in times of affluence. They have left their children fatherless. They have avoided with every kind of artifice the payment of courtmandated alimony and child support. Gordon B. Hinckley, “Our Solemn Responsibilities,” Ensign, Nov. 1991, 49 You women who are single, and some of you who are married, who are out in the workplace, may I give you a word of caution. You work alongside men. More and more, there are invitations to go to lunch, ostensibly to talk about business. You travel together. You stay in the same hotel. You work together. Perhaps you cannot avoid some of this, but you can avoid getting into compromising situations. Do your job, but keep your distance. Don’t become a factor in the breakup of another woman’s home. You are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. You know what is expected of you. Stay away from that which is tempting. Avoid evil—its very appearance. (Gordon B. Hinckley, “Walking in the Light of the Lord,” Ensign, Nov. 1998, 97) I believe in marriage. I believe it to be the ideal pattern for human living. I know it to be ordained of God. The restraints relating to it were designed to protect our happiness. Marriage is yet safe, with all its sweet fulfillment, with all its joy and love. In marriage all of the worthy yearnings of the human soul, all that is physical and emotional and spiritual, can be fulfilled. Boyd K. Packer, “That All May Be Edified,” pp. 29094 A Symbol of Total Union
Second, may I suggest that human intimacy, that sacred, physical union ordained of God for a married couple, deals with a symbol that demands special sanctity. Such an act of love between a man and a woman isor certainly was ordained to bea symbol of total union: union of their hearts, their hopes, their lives, their love, their family, their future, their everything. It is a symbol that we try to suggest in the temple with a word like seal. As delicate as it is to mention in such a setting, I nevertheless trust your maturity to understand that physiologically we are created as men and women to fit together in such a union. In this ultimate physical expression of one man and one woman they are as nearly and as literally "one" as two separate physical bodies can ever be. It is in that act of ultimate physical intimacy we most nearly fulfill the commandment of the Lord given to Adam and Eve, living symbols for all married couples, when He invited them to cleave unto one another only, and thus become "one flesh" (Genesis 2:24). After soul and symbol, the word is sacrament, a term closely related to the other two. Sexual intimacy is not only a symbolic union between a man and a womanthe uniting of their very soulsbut it is also symbolic of a union between mortals and Deity, between otherwise ordinary and fallible humans uniting for a rare and special moment with God himself and all the powers by which He gives life in this wide universe of ours. A Holy Sacrament In this latter sense, human intimacy is a sacrament, a very special kind of symbol. For our purpose here today, a sacrament could be any one of a number of gestures or acts or ordinances that unite us with God and His limitless powers. We are imperfect and mortal; He is perfect and immortal. But from time to time indeed, as often as is possible and appropriatewe find ways and go to places and create circumstances where we can unite symbolically with Him, and in so doing gain access to His power. Those special moments of union with God are sacramental momentssuch as kneeling at a marriage altar, or blessing a newborn baby, or partaking of the emblems of the Lord's supper. This latter ordinance is the one we in the Church have come to associate most traditionally with the word sacrament, though it is technically only one of many such moments when we formally take the hand of God and feel His divine power. But I wish to stress, as my third of three reasons to be clean, that sexual union is also, in its own profound way, a genuine sacrament of the highest order, a union not only of a man and a woman but also very much the union of that man and woman with God. Indeed, if our definition of sacrament is that act of claiming and sharing and exercising God's own inestimable power, then I know of virtually no other divine privilege so routinely given to us allwomen or men, ordained or unordained, Latterday Saint or nonLatterday Saintthan the miraculous and majestic power of transmitting life, the unspeakable, unfathomable, unbroken power of procreation. Jeffrey R. Holland, “Of Souls, Symbols and Sacraments,” Brigham Young University Devotional Address, 12 January 1988 I must include a caution to you who are married. A couple may be tempted to introduce things into your relationships which are unworthy. Do not, as the scriptures warn, “change the natural use into that which is against nature” (Romans 1:26). If you do, the tempter will drive a wedge between you. If something unworthy has become part of your relationship, don’t ever do it again! Now, what exactly do I mean by that? You know what I mean by that, and I will not respond to any questions about it. We do not, in our counseling, enter the bedrooms of members of the Church. Boyd K. Packer at BYU, “The Fountain of Life,” March 1992. The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife. “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102 The Family: A Proclamation to the World Also disturbing is the shift in attitude about the purposes of marriage. More and more young people view marriage “as a couples relationship, designed to fulfill the emotional needs of adults, rather that an institution for bringing up children.” The pursuit of such “soul mate relationship[s] may [well] weaken marriage as an institution for rearing children.” James E. Faust, “Challenges Facing the Family,” Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting, January 10, 2004. Thirtyfive years ago when I first started practicing medicine, it was a rare thing for a married woman to seek advice about how she could keep from having babies. When I finished practicing medicine, it was a rare thing, except for some faithful Latterday Saint women, for a married woman to want to have more than one or two children, and some did not want any children. We in the Church must not be caught up in the false doctrines of the world that would cause us to break sacred temple covenants. J Ballard Washburn, “The Temple Is a Family Affair,” Ensign, May 1995, 11 I am offended by the sophistry that the only lot of the Latterday Saint woman is to be barefoot and pregnant. It’s a clever phrase, but it’s false. Of course we believe in children. The Lord has told us to multiply and replenish the earth that we might have joy in our posterity, and there is no greater joy than the joy that comes of happy children in good families. But he did not designate the number, nor has the Church. That is a sacred matter left to the couple and the Lord. Gordon B. Hinckley, Cornerstones of a Happy Home, 6 ...
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