A Touchy Subject

As the most fledgling member of the Mormon world, at least in this neck of the woods, I occasionally- alright, often- come across things in LDS culture/doctrine that confuse, confound or downright perplex me. And the thing is, since the LDS world is pretty darn conservative and private about things that are, well, private, I frequently find myself with a passel of questions and no one with whom to ask them. There are many things that I am discovering are cultural, but not necessarily doctrinal. It takes a while to sort out what is what, especially when you have no frame of reference. My husband and I have made MANY changes in our lives since we joined the Church- from our choices of media, to our language, our diet, our home organization, our relationships with family members, our finances, and restructuring our time. This Church asks a lot of it's members- you don't just go to Church on Sundays and call it a week- the commitment is enormous. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining- we have clearly seen the benefits and blessings of making these changes. In sorting through some of the changes we have made, I come across things that perplex me. Like, why did my husband have to give up coffee and tea, but our bishop told him having a Mountain Dew or Red Bull was perfectly ok? Is caffeine out or not? And with all the pain he went through to totally kick coffee- and he did- it's ok to get right back up on that horse with a soda pop? Recently, I asked my husband's aunt, my closest family member who is LDS, about garments. She was embarrassed and mumbled that it was ok to remove them when "experiencing marital bliss" (direct quote!), but otherwise they needed to be kept on constantly. So, to say that I was grateful for the thread over at FMH about garments is the understatement of the year. Most of my questions were kindly taken care of over there, and I had a lot of them- I mean if your mother never wore them, who do you get your info from? Sometimes, as a newbie, one just stands around feeling baffled. In a church where family is so favored, why do mother's have to nurse in a bathroom next to stinky diaper pails? Why do I detect the faint air of disapproval, even if I try and do it in RS where there are only women present? Why do so many meetings and so much work take place on Sundays? I practically hate Sundays because of how hectic they are- and I'm not sure that is how it's supposed to be. Little girls can't wear sundresses? How do you handle people's inflammatory comments when one has close family members who are gay? That brings me to my hot topic. I will attempt to be sufficiently vague. Over at T&S, there has been an interesting series on fertility. A man commented about semen collection, and the problems with it- saying that he would collect his sample from within his wife, so as not to have to use the "little room"- others went on as if this was normal and acceptable, but my head was reeling. A doctor finally commented that this was not clinically usable sperm for in vitro fertilization, and said that the "room" and a sterile environment must be used, and that it was not forbidden to do so for this purpose. So, does the Church have an official stance on masturbation?? Or is this one of those cultural things that is taken as doctrinal? Or did I just misunderstand the whole thing? The thing is, we have young sons, - and our boys, like I thought all boys did, tend to fiddle with themselves. We have given them all the proper names for all their body parts, and have talked with them about inappropriate touching from anyone else. When they begin to fiddle with themselves, which I consider natural and normal body exploration in a child, we have told them that is something they should do in private. No problem, as far as we are concerned. But now I wonder if we are expected to deal with this differently. I am not interested in dishing out the heavy guilt about our bodies that other religions have done for so long- So, doctrine? Or culture? Anyone?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

As far as the masturbation, it's out. See "For the Strength of the Youth" pamphlet. Although, and I haven't asked so don't quote me, the fertility "room" is probably an exception. I also have little boys, and I have found that distraction is excellent. I just act like I don't even notice what they've been doing-after all, they might be doing it absentmindedly-and I give them something else to busy their hands with. That way, there's no shame involved and they can learn about what's appropriate and what's not when they're old enough to wrap their little minds around it.

1/23/2006 03:55:00 PM  
Anonymous lisab said...

Little children are innocent and not capable of sin. I don't call normal exploration in childhood masturbation. This was even emphasized in my BYU Child Development class. Placing on children adult motives and perspectives is somewhat warped and unfair (Like how some people talk about infants manipulating their parents with their cries. Or of 5-year-olds being intentionally deceptive. Please.)

Distraction is good. But also teach that those good and pleasurable feelings are God-given and wonderful and for a wise purpose, not evil in and of themselves.

I'm trying to teach my kids modesty, respect, and appreciation for their wonderful bodies. Line upon line.

But yes, adult masturbation is generally considered a breech of the law of chastity and sinful. I think conference talks have specifically stated that no one who is not free of this practice should serve a mission.

There was an FMH discussion of masturbation as a subthread of a Hugo post. I'll see if I can find the link.

1/23/2006 04:17:00 PM  
Blogger Julie M. Smith said...

You might want to check out the book published by the Church called _A Parent's Guide_, which is about teaching children about sex. It is pretty clear and it states that childhood exploration is not masturbation, but that masturbation is a sin.

1/23/2006 04:58:00 PM  
Blogger Abby said...

Caffeine is not against the word of wisdom. No where does it state that one shall not drink a Mt Dew with ones meal. (please, if anyone knows where it states differently I would love to be enlightened) I think the reason that some frown upon caffeinated drinks is that caffeine can be addicting. So everything in moderation.

You have to always remember the church has perfect doctrine, but imperfect people are trying to live it. Sometimes to the extreme.

Here are the basic guidelines I got from my bishop about garments. He called it the rule of four S's. Sex, Shower, Sweat and Swimming. The rest of the time you wear them, period. Also if you find that they don't fit your body quite right you can go to a Beehive clothing store and be measured for the right fit. They will send the measurements to where ever garments are made and sew you your own perfect fitting ones. I do this with all my bottoms so that the length is at my knee, and the waist isn't at my bra. The only catch is that you have to order 2 pairs at once and they ship them to your house. Same price. Make sure that you tell the little lady there that you want them to fit as they should, not to accommodate your daisy dukes.

The last one I will tackle is the little girl sundress comment. (I hate this one.) Modesty is very important. I don't want my girls to think that it is okay to run around half naked, but they wear sun dresses, even to church. I know some of you are gasping and saying for shame, but I am okay with it. I know as my girls get older I will will change what I feel is appropriate, just as their allowance and their curfew will change. So really you are dealing with something that isn't doctrine, just culture. We do as Mormons promote a culture of modesty, but a sundress on a 3 year old shouldn't cause whispers and a priesthood interview.
Just my $00.02 :)

1/23/2006 05:18:00 PM  
Blogger Kage said...

Once when I was in a building on Temple Square I think, I noticed none of the vending machines had caffeinated soda...culture or doctrine?

1/23/2006 06:03:00 PM  
Blogger Heather O. said...

Ok, I can't believe I'm writing this, but today, Jacob spilled some juice on his pants, so he was running around in his underwear most of the morning. We were playing cards, and he got distracted from the game and started making up his own games, complete with rockets and good guys and bad guys. (Only my kid can do that with Uno cards!) At one point, he pulled out his penis, pointed it at the cards, and started making shooting noises, pointing his penis at various different numeral denominations, shouting, "Boom! Gotcha, bad guy!"

Yes, he was shooting bad guys with his penis. He delightfully told me so when I asked him what on earth he was doing.

I told him to put his penis away, that our private parts belong in our underwear. He was disappointed, but put it away, and I hastily put some clean pants on him.

Somehow I can't believe shooting bad guys with your penis is a sin. Inappropriate, maybe, but not a sin. I think it is our job as parents to teach kids what is appropriate to do with their private parts, and what is inappropriate. It's the same with anything--you don't want to dwell on bad language, or bad behavior, you just want to guide everything into socially acceptable parameters.

That said, I know one woman whose husband and 5 year old son pee together so they can play swords with the cross stream. To each his own, I guess.

1/23/2006 06:05:00 PM  
Blogger Kage said...

ps anyone have a link to the garments thread at FMH?

1/23/2006 06:10:00 PM  
Blogger Mo Mommy said...

There are some things that we are given as "guidance". There are those who will take that to mean "doctrine" and run with it.
A missionary once told my neighbor that we don't partake of caffeine, to include chocolate. And she wasn't having any part of a religion that doesn't allow chocolate!!
The guidance is doctrine, but the people who run with it are totally culture. The problem is that some things are so deeply ingrained on the culture that people forget they aren't doctrine.
And some things vary from ward to ward, I nursed in RS all the time, with all of the other nursing mothers.
If you are honestly looking for an answer the spirit will tell you when a decision isn't right. Keep in mind that the Lord leaves a lot of this stuff up to us.
BTW, the room is perfectly acceptable since it is a medical necessity, not a personal pleasure.And most guys who have been there will confirm it's not a pleasure;) Other than that, well, pleasuring oneself is not what they mean when they say "self-mastery"!!
Abby, make that $00.04 because I love everything you said.

1/23/2006 06:11:00 PM  
Anonymous JKS said...

Hi Tracy. I would be happy to address this issue. I grew up in the church in a very active LDS family, my father has had high official church positions. My family moved around a lot and my parents definitely taught us the difference between church doctrine and culture. I feel comfortable and confident that I know official church positions on things that they have an official position on.
Sperm collection for fertility purposes: My husband got cancer, and they said chemo might make him infertile. If we want more kids, we had to freeze sperm. We personally decided that I would go in and "help" him reach orgasm and get the sample into the cup. We turned down the porn they offered, LOL. I know that I felt this was fine, and my parents also felt it was fine, because it was different than "masterbation" because it was medical as well as for procreative purposes, etc. It was not sex with yourself. The church position on fertility is that if it is the husband and wife's sperm, they don't need to comment on the technology (its going to change yearly anyway, who can keep up). It has to do with having kids, so pray about it.
Masturbation: Yes, the prevailing AMerican thought is kids do it, tell them to do it privately, teenagers will probably do it lots.
LDS doctrine is that sex is ONLY for a husband and wife. Masturbation is sex. It involves an orgasm, and it is intentional.
Wet dreams for boys/men are not considered a sin.
So, when my children touch themselves as toddlers, I don't yell no at them, I distract them. My almost two year old explores as soon as she is naked. It is normal, but not something I encourage. Curiousity like that usually wanes. As they get older I tell them it is a special private part of their body. As they get older I explain that it has a purpose within marriage....for sex & then comes sex talks older and older.
And as they get older and touch themselves, they get different feelings. That is what we expect them to be able to control.
Why is masturbation bad? It tends to be addictive. It does often also go along with porn. Reducing one tends to reduce the other.
Yes, it is quite common. Many sins are common. It does require going to the bishop about it.
I plan to raise my children to know that sex is something special to wait for until they are married. It is supposed to feel good, but it is for them to experience with their spouse. I hope to encourage them to keep handsoff, because once they start experimenting, it is easy to keep doing.
Word of Wisdom: Caffeine isn't necessarily wrong. Why don't we drink coffee and tea? We don't really know for sure. Don't think of the Word of Wisdom as only a health code. Before Christ came, the law of Moses was incredibly detailed with odd things. We aren't sure why. But maybe it is because we can learn something by just obeying. Maybe it is to separate us. The Jews still have their food laws...ours aren't nearly as complicated. When our prophets have clarified "hot drinks" they said no coffee, no tea. So we follow that. Some people wisely think no caffeine is in keeping witht he spirt of the law, so they do that too. The last apostle my father heard answer a question about it said "not prohibited, not recommended" about caffeine. Because coffee and tea have caffeine, people have gotten a little confused about it. But the church officially has no position on caffeine. And people need to quit arguing about it, so that poor converts like you get confused!
Sundresses: We dress pretty modestly and expect other LDS people to as well. No one thinks a child is sinning by wearing a sundress. People can really wear whatever they want. But if I wear a tank top and short skirt to church, I'd expect to get a few looks because it looks out of place. If I'm the only one putting my daughters in skimpy sundresses, someone at church might "judge" if they thought it was too cold for it, or if it looks out of the place to them....at the pool on a hot day. My MIL judges my children's clothing all the time based on many different criteria. I don't really worry about it. But, I do care that my children wear clothes that don't seem out of place for what they are doing...whether they are going to school, or to abasketball game (my 8 year old tried to wear a skirt with shorts built in on Saturday to play her basketball game.....I told her no, because I thought people would think it "too" strange...but I let her wear her slightly less strange outfits to school).

1/23/2006 06:18:00 PM  
Blogger Island Queen said...

Abby - right on!

1/23/2006 06:21:00 PM  
Anonymous JKS said...

I am not the best writer, and with three kids, I tend to just rush. I didn't actually list all the reasons wny masterbation is a sin.
Also, I drink caffeine on occasion. I usually don't let my kids have it, if there is something else to drink. But as they get older, they can choose as long as they don't have it later at night and it keeps them up too late. I do know people who are addicted, and I think it is lame. I think it is also lame when you aren't addicted and you have too much in the evening and can't sleep.
Also, I said my husband and I chose to do the sperm collection together, but if it hadn't worked out, I would have been ok with him going alone, as long as he didn't look at the porn.

1/23/2006 06:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I was under the impression that the last time Gordon B. Hinckley went on Larry King, he said that caffeine was the reason for the interdiction on coffee and tea.


1/23/2006 06:36:00 PM  
Blogger The Wiz said...

My little girls wear sundresses. Then one of their friends told them they were being immodest, and my then 5-yo cried because she couldn't wear her favorite dress anymore.

I explained that "no sleeveless" was a rule we would have in our house when the kids were older, but for now, we are OK with it. The neighbors just instituted that rule a little earlier than we did. She accepted that, but I think she was a little confused about why it would matter more later. She'll get it eventually. :)

Everyone else has covered the other issues well, I think, except the inflammatory comments about gays. I find that falling completely silent and staring at people makes them start to squirm. Then I just say "Forgiveness is a wonderful thing, isn't it?" The smart ones know I'm referring to them. The dumb ones think I'm referring to homosexuals. Don't engage it, though - let it go - it's a hot button issue that nobody completely understands the whys and whens about. And people that pretend to are just blowing smoke.

1/23/2006 06:53:00 PM  
Blogger FluffyChicky said...

I let my daughter wear sundresses and tank tops. My son gets to wear tank tops. Lots of kids in our ward do the same thing. As my children grow, I don't see the problem with letting them continue to wear tank tops if they so choose. I wore tank tops until the month before I got married in the temple. Both my bishop and the stake president lived on the same street as I did and I saw them every day and not once did they question my clothing choices, even when I was getting my temple recommend. This may be so because I followed the rules my mother set out: 1) All your shirts have to cover your bra. 2) No cleavage. 3) If you wear shorts, they have to be past your finger tips when you put your arms straight down your sides. 4) No belly showing either. If you raise your hands above your head and your belly shows, its a no-go. These rules worked for me and if my kids want to wear tank tops and such, they will have to follow the same rules.

1/23/2006 07:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Wendy said...

Common sense dictates to me that neither homosexuality or masturbation are sinful, therefore I go with my own heart and mind on these issues, but I'm hardly orthodox.

1/23/2006 09:39:00 PM  
Anonymous DKL said...

With boys, half the battle (at least) is teaching them not to use their penis inappropriately.

1/23/2006 10:00:00 PM  
Blogger HLH said...

Tracy- there were some great articles in the Ensign about 5 years ago about homosexualaity, try searching at lds.org for them. I too have members of my family who practice a homosexual lifestyles. I find no problem practicing my religion and loving them.

I hope you don't walk around church like it is something to hide. I look at it this way- I love my family- all of them. Sure it irritates me that my sister participates in fornication, but that doesn't make her evil or unloveable, the same for my homosexual friends or relatives.

We all sin, all of us, not one of us is any less to God because of our sins, His love is unconditional. But, yes, LDS doctorine states that homosexuality is considered a sin...

Sheesh, I'm really bad at putting my thoughts out there coherently, so I really hope you can make sense of it.

1/23/2006 11:24:00 PM  
Anonymous JKS said...

I believe Larry King was asking a bunch of questions like. You mormons don't drink alcohol right? No smoking? No coffee? Tea? Caffeine? Pres. Hinkley agreed with the whole list.
And it was hardly the types of questions to clarify....well we don't strictly prohibit caffeine, but many members feel since caffeine is an unnecessary drug, and they should avoid caffeine.
Any PR person can tell you that with that type of question and situation, you have to give the simple answer, not the extended version.

1/24/2006 02:13:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh who cares what the Church says? Masturbation is normal, healthy and fun! Boys (and most girls) are going to do it anyway despite what the family religion says. As long as they do it in private, don't worry about it. The Catholic Church is in moral and financial ruin because of their outrageously outdated ideas about sex. Hopefully you Mormons are a little more enlightened!

1/24/2006 10:58:00 AM  
Blogger D-Train said...

Heather O, your kid is amazing. You've made me 20% more willing to father children in the future.

1/24/2006 11:03:00 AM  
Blogger Heather O. said...

Glad you approve!

1/24/2006 01:59:00 PM  
Blogger Cheryl said...

"The Catholic Church is in moral and financial ruin because of their outrageously outdated ideas about sex." (anonymous)

Sorry, not gonna happen to the Mormons. Our "outdated" ideas about sex have been around pretty much forever and it ain't gonna change. Enlightenment doesn't mean it's okay to choose sexual sin because of some new trend or sexual revolution. Truth is eternal. It doesn't change on some cultural wind or because people are weak.

Just because masturbation can be "fun" doesn't mean it's right. Getting drunk and then driving a car can be "Fun". Having sex with 50 people at once could be "fun".
Stripping in public could be "fun". Having an affair can be "fun". But all of these "fun" things can destroy lives.

Try telling my friend, who's fiance became addicted to porn because of his masturbation, that it's okay because he was doing it "for fun".

Sorry, I'm a little angered by your comment...

1/24/2006 04:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Wendy said...

Sorry, not gonna happen to the Mormons. Our "outdated" ideas about sex have been around pretty much forever and it ain't gonna change. Enlightenment doesn't mean it's okay to choose sexual sin because of some new trend or sexual revolution. Truth is eternal. It doesn't change on some cultural wind or because people are weak.

What about polygamy or the lifted ban on black men in the priesthood? The eternal truth changed there.

1/24/2006 05:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am, as most of my friends refer to me as a "dry mormon". I don't ever plan on converting from my religion over, however a good seventy five percent of my friends are LDS. I find this topic interesting because as an outsider, I can tell you the judging on these subjects is what sets people back from interaction with the Church. I have two boys, two girls. I have no problems with them exploring their bodies and I don't see how anyone can say that there should be a problem. One woman here writes that porn and masturbation go hand in hand, for lack of a better word. This is simply not true. Studies show that 79% of the time men are masturbating about a fantasy with their spouse. Women have an even higher percentage rate of that. Being naive to reality is generally what creates these false impressions on what masturbation is. I know many women who would never have been able to tell their spouses how to make them climax had they not experienced for themself how to do it. My husband and I have a wonderful marriage and an amazing sex life. In part due to masturbation. We are open and honest with each other about it and that creates a relationship that is beyond a joining together of two people, but of two souls. So, when my children touch themselves, I simply tell them to be private about it. That it is okay and that it is common. There is no reason to feel guilty about it and it is a perfectly healthy feeling although my religion preaches against it as well. To each their own, that is the best way to deal with it! And if people judge, they will have to answer for that in the end.

1/24/2006 08:24:00 PM  
Blogger annegb said...

My husband used the little room. Bless his heart, he did it for me, so we could have Princess Buttgold. I don't think any sin is involved. He was embarrassed, but everyone was professional and he survived.

I'm iffy on masturbation. I just don't see it as a big deal, at least for adolescents. I never did it, but I bet 99% of teenagers do. I just don't think it's the worst thing.

1/24/2006 11:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Elizabeth said...

20 years ago those of us who treat addictions worked with alcoholics, gamblers, cocaine addicts, etc. Now, many people come to my practice because they have sex addictions, or they come because of depression, chemical issues, whatever, and eventually they disclose the sexual compulsivity. How do they start? With masturbation. Whether they view porn, go to strip clubs, have unhealthy sexual expectations of partners, etc., it invariably started with masturbation.
Part of what constitues an addiction is that it has social/occupational/legal effects (any/all of the above).

Do I like to drink Dr. Pepper? Yes. Do I limit my intake of caffeine? Yes. Will all people who drink caffeine become addicted? No. Will all people who masturbate as adolescents become sexually addicted? Absolutely not. Most people who drink alcohol drink very responsibly, but there is a percentage of the population whose lives are absolutely devestated by addictions. So, I think the prohibitions against drugs, masturbation, etc. are a hedge to keep us safer.

As an aside, my sister is 31 and lives in Houston. She had been going to a singles ward but has switched to a family ward. She was talking to her bishop about dating concerns. Her bishop told her that more than half the men in the ward weren't worthy to attend the temple because they were struggling with pornography. These single guys are not fantasizing about their wives. But, should they get married, they may have an unhealthy view of how women respond sexually, what is arousing to them, etc.

Do you think that masturbation was as big a concern in pioneer days? (Oh my gosh I saw her wool-covered calf!!! Yowza!) Or is it more of a problem for our time? Has it always been thus?

1/24/2006 11:55:00 PM  
Anonymous meems said...

I'm a late comer here, but I have to say to Tracy M that her post is much appreciated. I have all these questions too, even though I've been a member for a long time. I didn't go to the temple until a couple of years ago, so that fMh thread was truly a much needed source of info for me too. It's hard to get straight answers on things when you're talking to someone "in person."

Heather O., love you make me feel better. My son (5) uses his penis to play air guitar with. He really likes to strum it and sing along. (!)

1/25/2006 09:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The wonderful thing, I think, about the gospel is that, overall, we are working towards holy lives. We are all on that journey somewhere. But one would be fooling oneself to argue that the holy virtue of chastity, which is a virtue as much of the mind as of the body, included masterbation. THAT simply does not make sense. Masterbation, for unmarried youth at least (and that's who I'm talking about here), involves unchaste thought. Search the LDS.org site for "Chastity -- A Principle of Power" by Steve Gilliland for more positive things about chastity. Also, footnote number 3 has an old pamphlet by Boyd K. Packer from 1976 which I found helpful in figuring out how to explain to my sons when they are teens about masterbation. He gives a useful analogy about a factory, and how masterbation increases the production of hormones inappropriately (inappropriately because they have no other outlet than porn, fornication, etc.).

Anyway, I teach my young kids (5 and under) to respect their bodies and not bother them in that way. There are so many things for us to do in this life, that it seems silly to me that we should spend our time that way!

1/25/2006 11:13:00 AM  
Blogger Cheryl said...

For wendy:

"The Lord has told me to ask the Latter-day Saints a question, and He also told me that if they would listen to what I said to them and answer the question put to them, by the Spirit and power of God, they would all answer alike, and they would all believe alike with regard to this matter.

The question is this: Which is the wisest course for the Latter-day Saints to pursue—to continue to attempt to practice plural marriage, with the laws of the nation against it and the opposition of sixty millions of people, and at the cost of the confiscation and loss of all the Temples, and the stopping of all the ordinances therein, both for the living and the dead, and the imprisonment of the First Presidency and Twelve and the heads of families in the Church, and the confiscation of personal property of the people (all of which of themselves would stop the practice); or, after doing and suffering what we have through our adherence to this principle to cease the practice and submit to the law, and through doing so leave the Prophets, Apostles and fathers at home, so that they can instruct the people and attend to the duties of the Church, and also leave the Temples in the hands of the Saints, so that they can attend to the ordinances of the Gospel, both for the living and the dead?

The Lord showed me by vision and revelation exactly what would take place if we did not stop this practice. If we had not stopped it, you would have had no use for . . . any of the men in this temple at Logan; for all ordinances would be stopped throughout the land of Zion. Confusion would reign throughout Israel, and many men would be made prisoners. This trouble would have come upon the whole Church, and we should have been compelled to stop the practice. Now, the question is, whether it should be stopped in this manner, or in the way the Lord has manifested to us, and leave our Prophets and Apostles and fathers free men, and the temples in the hands of the people, so that the dead may be redeemed. A large number has already been delivered from the prison house in the spirit world by this people, and shall the work go on or stop? This is the question I lay before the Latter-day Saints. You have to judge for yourselves. I want you to answer it for yourselves. I shall not answer it; but I say to you that that is exactly the condition we as a people would have been in had we not taken the course we have.

. . . I saw exactly what would come to pass if there was not something done. I have had this spirit upon me for a long time. But I want to say this: I should have let all the temples go out of our hands; I should have gone to prison myself, and let every other man go there, had not the God of heaven commanded me to do what I did do; and when the hour came that I was commanded to do that, it was all clear to me. I went before the Lord, and I wrote what the Lord told me to write. . . .

I leave this with you, for you to contemplate and consider. The Lord is at work with us. (Cache Stake Conference, Logan, Utah, Sunday, November 1, 1891. Reported in Deseret Weekly, November 14, 1891.)

Now I will tell you what was manifested to me and what the Son of God performed in this thing. . . . All these things would have come to pass, as God Almighty lives, had not that Manifesto been given. Therefore, the Son of God felt disposed to have that thing presented to the Church and to the world for purposes in his own mind. The Lord had decreed the establishment of Zion. He had decreed the finishing of this temple. He had decreed that the salvation of the living and the dead should be given in these valleys of the mountains. And Almighty God decreed that the Devil should not thwart it. If you can understand that, that is a key to it." (From a discourse at the sixth session of the dedication of the Salt Lake Temple, April 1893. Typescript of Dedicatory Services, Archives, Church Historical Department, Salt Lake City, Utah.)

"Aware of the promises made by the prophets and presidents of the Church who have preceded us that at some time, in God’s eternal plan, all of our brethren who are worthy may receive the priesthood, and witnessing the faithfulness of those from whom the priesthood has been withheld, we have pleaded long and earnestly in behalf of these, our faithful brethren, spending many hours in the Upper Room of the Temple supplicating the Lord for divine guidance.

He has heard our prayers, and by revelation has confirmed that the long-promised day has come when every faithful, worthy man in the Church may receive the holy priesthood, with power to exercise its divine authority, and enjoy with his loved ones every blessing that flows therefrom, including the blessings of the temple. Accordingly, all worthy male members of the Church may be ordained to the priesthood without regard for race or color. Priesthood leaders are instructed to follow the policy of carefully interviewing all candidates for ordination to either the Aaronic or the Melchizedek Priesthood to insure that they meet the established standards for worthiness.

We declare with soberness that the Lord has now made known his will for the blessing of all his children throughout the earth who will hearken to the voice of his authorized servants, and prepare themselves to receive every blessing of the gospel."

Sincerely yours,


The First Presidency

Eternal truth hasn't changed. Polygamy will still exist in the eternities. The Lord always meant for every worthy man to hold the Priesthood. It has been man that has tried to stop Eternal truth.

It's okay to question man. I don't think it's a good idea to question God. He knows what He's doing.

Thank you for asking me about this --it gave me a chance to really think about what I had said.

1/25/2006 12:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Wendy said...

Interesting that the church could just blame man for all the changes. Can't argue with that rationale...or can you? I think you can, but I lack the energy or desire to do so.

Good day to you.

1/25/2006 01:32:00 PM  
Blogger nestle said...

YOU POOR THING!! I am soooo sorry that you've come into contact with some VERY judgemental people as far as culture and stuff goes.

I hadn't heard about the caffine thing before going to BYU. My first day there I stocked my fridge with the things I drank (moutain Dew and Dr. Pepper) I had a girl (from Logan, Ut) come in and say "Can I put something in your fridge?" Upon seeing what I had in there she froze and told me I was going to hell. Needless to say it was major culture shock and the first time I had come in contact with a harsh "utah-mormon" (sorry don't mean to offend but there's a stereotypr for a reason). I've now learned that the caffine thing is about recommendation. We are counseled not to partake of anything that is habit forming so that we are not subject to any addictions. Does that mean I don't drink caffine. Tell that to the diet pepsi in my hand right now. No I do it in moderation. That's the key moderation. It's funny because my father used to have this saying "We are all on the path to eternal life. The goal is to get there. As long as we are on that path who cares what anyone else says. Sometimes we run into those people who are on the path but are turned around facing the wrong direction yelling at the people passing her by who are running down the path. Who is she/he to tell you how to go down that path? You do what is right. The spirit will direct you."

Sundresses? Bikinis? There is nothing more beautiful than a baby's belly! The rule with our family is that up until puberty they are allowed to dress in cuteness!!!! Honestly I really don't care what anyone else says. At puberty that will change but hey I have a couple more years to that. I like the rules that flffychicky set in play. I might hold back on the tank tops but that's my perogative as well as hers (I unfortunately come from a family of flabby armed women so tank tops are quite unbecomming on us. Not to say I never tried).

As for the gay comments. There was a talk by people are ignorant. I understand the church's stance on homosexuality and I agree with it. This is what Pres. Hinkley said on Larry King

KING: ... we were all people.

But as the mores have changed - for example, I know that the Church is opposed to gay marriage.


KING: Do you have an alternative? Do you like the idea of civil unions?

HINCKLEY: Well, we're not anti-gay. We are pro-family. Let me put it that way.

And we love these people and try to work with them and help them. We know they have a problem. We want to help them solve that problem.

KING: A problem they caused, or they were born with?

HINCKLEY: I don't know. I'm not an expert on these things. I don't pretend to be an expert on these things. The fact is, they have a problem.

KING: Do you favor some sort of state union?

HINCKLEY: Well, we want to be very careful about that, because that - whatever may lead to gay marriage, we're not in favor of.

As far as I understand things in the church, and I'm not pretending to understand everything or even a lot of things, and maybe this is really simply stated. Everyone on this earth is tried. Some people have issues with the word of wisdom. People who haven't experienced the addiction that comes with that don't understand how hard it is to quit. However many and I mean MANY people in the church are tried with "the easiness of the way" so they judge others who have other problems. Thier problem is their readiness to pass judgement on others. They tend to be UnChristlike and mean. The Lord holds us accountable for the knowledge we have. "Where more is given more is required" thing. Many people outside the church don't know it's wrong. The church believes homosexuality is wrong, meaning the act, not the person. I have several friend who have feelings for people of the same sex. They have said that that feeling is something they have to fight everyday because of their belief in the church and the church teachings. That is their burden and their test in this life. It is not anyone's place to judge them or ridicule them in any way shape or form.

As for the little room. If it's medically necessary... HELLO!!! My father's a surgeon, he uses cocaine to hamper the blood flow of the nose. It's a common drug used in the medical field (not advertised often though). Is that wrong? Ummm no. Caffine for migraines... gooooood stuff.

Wow, sorry to go on for so long. You touched on several topics that I have strong opinions about.

1/25/2006 02:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it is easy for people raised in the Church to see the W of W in terms of no caffeine, no alcohol, no tobacco. But most of us aren't very good at following the fine print. If we followed it more closely, less of us would be overweight, have heart problems, etc.
I'll never forget my great-aunt's comment to her bishop when she was about 85 years old. She was having her temple rec. interview. He asked her if she obeyed the WofW. She said, "Look at me. I walk my dog twice a day, I live alone, do my own laundry, raise my irises, plant my garden. I don't take any medication. You tell me if I follow it."
She had a doctor who had told her to a bit of coffee each morning to help her colon get working, so she did what her dr told her to do. She didn't want to lose her temple rec b/c she followed Dr orders. She lived well into her 90s.

1/25/2006 03:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it is easy for people raised in the Church to see the W of W in terms of no caffeine, no alcohol, no tobacco. But most of us aren't very good at following the fine print. If we followed it more closely, less of us would be overweight, have heart problems, etc.
I'll never forget my great-aunt's comment to her bishop when she was about 85 years old. She was having her temple rec. interview. He asked her if she obeyed the WofW. She said, "Look at me. I walk my dog twice a day, I live alone, do my own laundry, raise my irises, plant my garden. I don't take any medication. You tell me if I follow it."
She had a doctor who had told her to a bit of coffee each morning to help her colon get working, so she did what her dr told her to do. She didn't want to lose her temple rec b/c she followed Dr orders. She lived well into her 90s.

1/25/2006 03:09:00 PM  
Blogger Ana said...

I think to understand the Church's stance on masturbation it is important to understand that sex is about more than procreation and also about more than pleasure. At its best it also cements a spiritual relationship -- the relationship of a married couple. When we co-opt it for any other purpose, what do we do to that relationship?

1/25/2006 04:36:00 PM  
Blogger Bonez said...

The number of comments on this topic certainly indicates the great need for understanding. It's impressive to see so many who are open-minded and realize that masturbation is simply self-pleasure, and nothing more.

We have a young friend who recently moved out after finishing high school, not by choice, but because she lived in a household where her sexuality and personal needs were frowned upon and repressed. I felt like suggesting that instead of causing trouble by having her boyfriend over, that she just masturbate and think pleasant thoughts of him instead.

6/11/2006 09:55:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's see if I can clarify - Joseph Smith was a pedophile and, seduced other men's wives, and was clearly a sex addict, but masturbation is a sin. Hmmm, wonder why I'm no longer in the church?

5/08/2009 05:38:00 PM  

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