Monday, October 26, 2009

Sexual immorality leads to selfishness, brutality, abortion, sexual abuse, violent crime, and [GASP] acts of homosexuality

I was preparing my seminary lesson - as I often do on Sunday afternoon. In addition to the seminary teacher resource manual, I was also referring to the Institute Religion 121-122 Book of Mormon student manual - as I often do - for further insight. This week we're studying the book of Jacob.

The prophet Jacob chastened the people for, among other things, sexual immorality - leading to further discussion in both the seminary and institute manuals. The institute manual included a quote from Elder Richard G. Scott which ended with the following paragraph:
"Sexual immorality creates a barrier to the influence of the Holy Spirit with all its uplifting, enlightening, and empowering capabilities. It causes powerful physical and emotional stimulation. In time, that creates an unquenchable appetite that drives the offender to ever more serious sin. It engenders selfishness and can produce aggressive acts such as brutality, abortion, sexual abuse, and violent crime. Such stimulation can lead to acts of homosexuality, and they are evil and absolutely wrong” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1994, 50–51; or Ensign, Nov. 1994, 38).
Say what??? I had to go back and re-read this a couple of times. I was OK with everything he said prior to this paragraph. If he had ended with the first or second sentence of this paragraph I would have been OK. But, to suggest that sexual immorality leads to brutality and violent crime? I've known a lot of people who, according to LDS doctrine, are sexually immoral. Good people - who just don't agree that sex should be limited to married couples. To suggest that, if they don't get married, they will eventually become brutal and violent criminals just seems ludicrous. I'll wager a guess that most people who are brutal and violent probably have no qualms about sexual immorality - but to suggest that their sexual improprieties led them to become brutal and violent is like saying all people who have died have consumed water - therefore, water must be hazardous to our health.

And the whole business of sexual immorality leading to acts of homosexuality - I just don't get that at all. Is he suggesting that heterosexual boys who keep having sex outside of marriage will eventually get bored with girls and start banging other boys?

And, to equate homosexuality with brutality and violence - seriously, does he even know any homosexuals? As a group, homosexuals tend to be far more humble and passive than their heterosexual counterparts. Show me two guys - one gay and one straight - and ask me which one is the brutal and violent criminal - and I'm going to say that, in all likelihood, it's the straight dude.

What especially bothers me is that, while the quote is from several years ago, the institute manual itself is brand new - copyright 2009. Do they not ever stop to consider how the quotes they put in these manuals might affect people? Consider the young man, sexually chaste his whole live - yet struggling with unwanted feelings. Perhaps he's a returned missionary - trying to figure out why his missionary companions were more attractive to him than girls. How is he going to feel after reading this passage? Uplifted with the knowledge that he is right with God? Or is he going to feel dirty and unworthy simply because of these feelings he has - feelings he's never acted upon?

Mind you, I'm not excusing sexual immorality. As I stated in my last post about my journey - I place a high value on fidelity within a relationship. I just think sometimes, these guys don't know when to stop. Surly God did not reveal these "truths" to him.

Some might say I'm nit picking - and perhaps I am. But, I'm in a position where I'm supposed to teach these things to our youth. How can I relate things as "inspired teachings" that I personally see as stupid and dumb? And, if he totally missed the mark on this very serious topic, how can I trust anything else he says?

Yesterday in priesthood meeting the lesson was on Adversity. As part of the lesson, a quote was read by Boyd K. Packard where he taught that "gender was determined in the pre-mortal existence." Not really quite sure what that has to do with adversity - but it somehow led to a discussion of California's proposition 8 centering around this being an unpopular teaching in the world today - because, apparently, all of us gay guys want to be girls.

. . . people just shouldn't talk about things they know nothing about.


MNJ said...

UGH! This is so where I am right now. I have been listening to conference talks in the car while commuting. The golden question keeps coming up, "if they are wrong on certain topics-how do I trust them on others?" They are WRONG on some things. I know they are just & "just" men, but come on. For my whole 39 years (okay, not ALL 39 years, but most of them) I have just trusted. Somehow, I just can't anymore. I don't want to leave but I'm finding it harder & harder to stay...........

Chester said...

Scare tactics. Cattle prods.

I studied music at BYU. As a way of making money, student musicians would often give private lessons to local youth there on campus. The music department had a policy, though, that the various practice rooms of the music building were not to be used for that purpose (something about not using university facilities for personal profit).

Instead of being honest about why, the music department decided to post a sign that read, "It is against the Honor Code to use university practice rooms to give private lessons."

Really? Honor Code, huh? Not just a school or music policy, an Honor Code violation?

Scare tactics. Cattle prods.

Fear is a great motivator. If you have pre-marital sex then you could become one of the most hated things imaginable - a HOMOSEXUAL!!!

Goldarn said...

Bruce R. McConkie once gave a talk in which he pointed out that past prophets had been wrong about the blacks/priesthood thing, and that we need to get behind a current prophet. But like others have said: If they were wrong in the past, isn't it likely they are wrong today?

Richard G. Scott, after all, is a man who got pissed at some women who cut him off in traffic. As a sign of their wickedness, he points out that they were dressed in men's clothing (gaps!) and very immodest clothing (probably tank tops, I'm guessing). This led to a talk in GC where he encouraged the young men to tell the girls when they weren't dressing modestly enough.

I know it's hard to have to listen to stuff that's just crap, knowing that other people in the same room will treat it as absolute truth. Best of luck to you.

A.J. said...

Honestly that quote reeks of President Kimbal's writing in Miracle of Forgiveness. Glad the kids have you as a teacher 'cuz I know you won't teach them false doctrine like that.

Alan said...

I can assure you Abe that the salaried curriculum writers who put these books together never even think of anything you've mentioned here. They are TBMs to the core and in their minds Elder Scott's words get a free pass without question as de facto scripture. I can promise you that no Church-employed manual writer stops to check whether Church policy on anything "evil and absolutely wrong" has changed since the statement was made.

I love Daniel Peterson's story from when he was on the committee that wrote Gospel Doctrine manuals:

"Once, the scriptural selection about which I was assigned to write a lesson included, among other things, Acts 20:7-12, in which the apostle Paul drones on for so long in the course of a sermon that a young man (ironically named Eutychus or “Fortunate”) dozes off and falls from the rafters. Paul has to restore him to life. As a joke, I inserted a passage in my lesson manuscript that read somewhat along the following lines:

“Have a class member read Acts 20:7-12. Have you ever killed anyone with a sacrament meeting speech? How did it make you feel? What steps can you take in the future to ensure that it does not happen again?”

Members of the committee laughed, and the committee chairman sent my lesson on up, incorporating their suggested revisions but also still including my little joke, to Salt Lake City. Where it passed Correlation. (I can only assume that each member of the committee chuckled and then passed it on, expecting that somebody else would
> remove it.) When I received the galleys of the lesson back for final approval just before it went to press, the joke was still there. I faced one of the greatest moral crises of my life, but finally called Church headquarters and suggested that they probably didn’t really want the lesson to go out to Church members entirely as it stood. So the joke was removed.

The point being that Gospel Doctrine manuals are not to be confused with authoritative divine revelations."

Check out this thread at BCC, it might give you some insight:

J G-W said...

Actually, I'm guessing there's a fair number of brutal, violent people out there who are sticklers for sexual morality....

But in fairness to Elder Scott, and just to play "G.A.'s advocate"...

True, to take this statement literally and at face value is a bit absurd. But I think what he's driving out here is that when we are willing to violate our own moral code for selfish reasons, then we've entered the proverbial slippery slope. If we've justified one form of immoral behavior for selfish reasons, what is to keep us from violating more serious moral prohibitions down the road, should the opportunity and the inclination arise?

Now this particular quote, of course, demonstrates the precise type of ignorance about the nature of homosexuality that seems to be prevalent among so many general authorities. It's based on the notion that all people are born heterosexual, and homosexuality is the result of sexual excess, lack of boundaries, etc. So to my way of thinking, the quote is actually useful because it shows us exactly what kind of ignorance we're dealing with.

I've generally, however, been trying to rid myself of the all or nothing mentality that would say because a G.A. is in error on one point, there is no longer a single thing that I can trust coming out of his mouth. We are all of us, every one, experts on some things and idiots on other things. It doesn't mean we don't all have things to learn from one another. Just consider the nature of the witness. There are so many talks I've learned marvelous things from Elder Scott... And I trust I will continue to learn marvelous things if I keep my heart and mind open to the Spirit when I listen to him.

Joe Conflict said...

I think this is just a sloppy statement on his part. Could it lead to those things--well of course. But I know lots of people who were never sexually moral who don't have involvement in any of those things.

Yet I know a few abusive individuals who consider themselves highly moral in this manner and raped their wives when she wouldn't accommodate their wishes.

So why is sex anything other than sex. It is something I've thought about. Yes it can be selfish--but it can also be loving. Yes it can be part of an affair--but usually isn't. Yes it can lead to abortion--but doesn't need to. Yes it is a poor choice for immature teenagers, but is it so for consenting adults of a reasonable age.

Yes this is one of those topics I wonder about...

A.J. said...

doh I missed that it said Elder Scott it sounded like SWK. sorry-A.J.

Frank Lee Scarlet said...

Funny that you should write this, in Seminary--where we are also studying Jacob--our substitute teacher somehow found a way to bash the evil gay people.
Lovely way to start the day: hymn, opening prayer, devotional, and a healthy dose of hatred.