Tag: Chastity, Sex, and Marriage

From Russia With Love- Updated

There is a certain sort of person that is just so self-absorbed and generally unaware that it just doesn’t feel wrong to gossip about them, they’d just enjoy the extra attention. In my childhood ward it was Brother L.- in that ward people traded gossip about Brother L. like baseball cards. In fact it feels so normal to gossip about him that I’m having a tough time not filling this post with endless stories about stupid things he’s done. He was, in short, a tough person to get along with, and take seriously (I think it was his Dracula hairdo, but that’s neither here nor there). I eventually came to think of him as an egotistical-yet-harmless old bachelor. A man that, despite his annoying ways, had probably gone through his fair share of disadvantage and heartache. He was still a child of God who deserved all the respect, love and compassion the ward could muster. This past Christmas I heard…

I am now officially not young

It happened not long ago. I started getting emails from something called the Cambridge Stake MSA. As is my habit with all mass mailings, I deleted the first few without reading them, but after a while I noticed them and realized that I didn’t know what MSA stood for. Turns out MSA is the “Middle Singles,” which is everyone 30-50 years old who isn’t married. In the eyes of the church, I am no longer a “Young Single Adult.” I’m just a “Single Adult.” I am now officially old.

Worthless dating advice

The October 2004 New Era was a special issue dedicated to marriage and dating. As a member of a singles ward, I was encouraged to read the issue, so I did. Frankly, it was to me more a source of hilarity than inspiration– probably at least in part because I was almost twice the age of their target audience. One of my roommates and I amused ourselves for a couple of hours reading our favorite passages aloud and laughing our heads off.


Infertility is a huge topic, as large in its own way as the topic of birth control. Unfortunately, I don’t have the time to do it justice. I fully recognize that this can be an extremely sensitive issue for couples for many reasons. I absolutely do not judge any patients for making choices in dealing with infertility that I would not recommend professionally. I also fully celebrate the life of all children of God, regardless of how they were conceived. With this background in place, I wish simply to make three points.

It is a truth universally acknowledged…

The setting: An experiment using speed-dates to determine what people want in a first date. These are brief, four minute interactions, after which you write down whether or not you’d be willing to go on a date with that person. The subjects: Columbia University grad students The results:

Natural family planning part 1- Medical overview

NFP is not a single method. Rather, it is a group of different “methods for planning and preventing pregnancies by observation of the naturally occurring signs and symptoms of the fertile and infertile phases of the menstrual cycle, with the avoidance of intercourse during the fertile phase if pregnancy is to be avoided.” (World Health Organization, 1982)

Features of an ideal family planning method

Before posting on natural family planning (NFP) or any other family planning methods specifically, I think it is worthwhile to consider a more general question: What would you consider the features of an ideal method of family planning? I am talking here about features, not about any specific method. For reasons that may become apparent below, I prefer the broader term “family planning” to the terms “birth control” or “contraception.”

Are sex and procreation connected?

First, I’d like to thank Matt Evans for the invitation to be a guest contributor to T&S. On the too few occasions that I’ve taken the time to look through T&S, I’ve seen a lot of interesting and often edifying discussions. I hope I can contribute constructively. For my first contribution, I’d like to address the question: Is there a connection between having sex and having children?

Did We Raise the Bar too Far?

The number of missionaries is down about 15,000 from its peak. The number of convert baptisms is down about 20% per missionary. Retention rates are also down. There are numbers of young men who would be willing to serve missions who are not allowed to because of sins that would not have barred them from missionary service previously. Is there a link here?

The Question You Should Never Ask

“Are you pregnant?” In the past two weeks, for some reason I have had four people ask me this question and variations on it: “Are you and Kristen expecting another?” “Are you going to have another baby?” “When is the next baby coming?”

What is the Religious Reason for Gender Differences in Orgasmic Tendency and Ability?

We believe that we were created by God, in His image (or the image of Heavenly Mother, for women). And we believe that our physical bodies are an important part of our eternal progress, a part that will be with us for eternity. As pointed out in an earlier thread, we have strong religious reasons to believe in the sacred nature of our bodies as created. The significance of bodies raises an interesting question: What is the religious reason for the gendered differences in ability to experience orgasm?

Chastity and Terrorism

What are the root causes of terrorism? Poverty (problem: most terrorists seem to come from middle class or upper middle class Middle Eastern families). U.S. hegemony (at least in part). Embarrassment and rage at the decline of Islamic civilization (almost certainly). Another recent candidate has emerged: Chastity.

California Ruling

And now back to our regularly scheduled, “all gay marriage, all the time” programming: California high court voids same-sex marriages. UPDATE: Decision text here (via NY Times).

Limits of the Law of Chastity

Wendy’s comment in the latest SSM thread provoked an interesting discussion between my wife and I yesterday. Wendy wrote: Is same-sex kissing a sin? What about same-sex flirting and dating? Can a same-sex couple live together, love each other, come to church holding hands and sit together in the chapel, hold callings and be okay church-wise, as long as they don’t have sex? This comment relates to the broader issue: What exactly does the law of chastity prohibit?

A Practical Matter

I’ve been trying to put my finger on what is so troubling to me about some of the recent discussions of abortion. Aside from the distressingly obvious lack of female participants in the discussion, I think the thing that makes me twitchiest is the discussion of whether or not rape victims should be *allowed* to hear from a compassionate bishop that abortion is an acceptable course. I’ve been thinking a lot about how a bishop could provide appropriate and helpful counsel in that situation, and I have to say that I think the odds are stacked against him, even before he opens his mouth.

Lessons on Sex and Morality, from the Book of Esther

The Old Testament gives us all sorts of strange stories. One that I’ve been thinking about lately is the delightfully wacky book of Esther. In particular, I’ve been wondering about the lessons on sex and morality that we can learn from this book. And I find the answers a little surprising, to say the least. We’ll start with lesson one from Esther: Use sex to get power.

Yet Another SSM Post

Somehow I ended up on the official Church website for UK and Ireland and found this on the top of the page: “The Gender Recognition Bill, which is currently being considered in the House of Commons will allow a man to become a woman in law (and vice versa). This means transsexuals will be able to marry in their assumed sex. The legislation also makes it a criminal offence to disclose the birth sex of a transsexual. We stress that this Bill poses a real threat to religious freedom and we oppose it because we believe it runs counter to the will of God. Please make your opposition known by writing to your local MP as soon as possible. “


As is often the case, Matt Evans was way ahead of the curve when he discussed polyamory back in January with the post, “The Conservative Case for Group and Sibling Marriage.” But here is a new angle (at least to me): some Unitarians are now actively promoting polyamory. The money quotation: It’s the new polygamy, and according to the Unitarian Universalists for Polyamory Awareness, their relationships are at least as ethical as other marriages — gay or straight. At least as ethical? The implication, of course, is that they may be even more ethical. How so? Consider this from Jasmine Walston, president of the Unitarian Universalists for Polyamory Awareness: “Polyamory is not an alternative to monogamy. It’s an alternative to cheating. For some of us, monogamy doesn’t work, and cheating was just abhorrent to me.” As Meg Ryan said (often) in Joe Versus the Volcano: “I have no response to that.” But I am sure someone else here does.

The “War on Porn”

A recent article about the Justice Department committing new resources to prosecute a “war on porn” has started lots of discussion in the blogosphere. (See here, here, here). Many people think that setting up an office with 32 prosecutors, plus assorted investigators and FBI agents, is a misguided use of resources, given current budget deficits and the ongiong war in Iraq. And this isn’t child porn we’re talking about — some of the targets of the new investigation include soft-core cable programs on HBO, and adult movies offered at hotels on pay-per-view. What should we think of this effort, as church members? I’m a bit conflicted. Porn is clearly a problem; it is clearly a bad thing; and I hate to go on the record as being in favor of porn. On the other hand, I’m skeptical of laws telling people that they can’t voluntarily watch adult movies. (Child porn is a completely different issue — those laws should definitely…

Reality TV, Morals and Marriage

I just read an article in the March 2004 issue of Harper’s Magazine by Francine Prose titled, “Voting Deomcracy Off The Island: Reality TV and the Republican Ethos.” It’s a rather long, impassioned exploration of the messages and influence of reality tv programs that I found quite disturbing, especially given the popularity, growth, and perceived innocuousness of such programs. She notes incentives for deceit and dishonesty; institutionalized deceit on the part of producers; cruelty and humor at the expense of others; “morality as an albatross or obstacle” to success; that “every human being can and will do anything for money” [italics hers]; and the reduction of marriage to seduction and consumerist spectacle. [Note: Prose doesn’t, I feel, make her case that these values are intrinsically Republican. Corporate, yes. Republican, not really. GOP’ers can safely read it while on the train driving their Hummers. ;) ] I never watch reality tv, or more accurately, “reality tv,” and didn’t know who Ryan…

Enhancing Nature

At first blush, this may not seem like a serious entry, but it is. (Well, mostly serious anyway.) The other night, I was watching television just before midnight. I don’t remember the program for sure, but since I have a limited palate, it must have been Law & Order, Monk, or a college baskeball game. In other words, nothing that would have signalled to me that I should be especially cautious about the commercials. Suddenly, I was assaulted by a commercial featuring a woman talking about “that special part of a man’s body.” I could not believe what I was watching! And, of course, like a gawker by an accident, I could not change the channel. I just sat there, slack-jawed. She kept saying that phrase over and over, using her tone to put it into italics.

Marriage According to Biblical Principles

A February 25 statement by Congressman Jim McDermott highlights some of the potential problems of arguing that marriage should be (as the Presidential prayer team has suggested) based on “biblical principles.” Such as: A marriage shall be considered valid only if the wife is a virgin. If the wife is not a virgin, she shall be executed. Ouch! (See also this blog providing further textual support for the passages the Congressman didn’t give verses for). (Link via Heidi Bond).