William James

William James
We must get by on what truth we have today, and be willing to call it error tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Damaging Effects Of Church's Stance On Sexuality

The question was put:

There is a new petition site for those who want to pressure the LDS Church on changing its position on Homosexuality.

[Members should not presume] to correct the Lord's annointed.

Visit: LDSApology.org"

To which someone commented:

"Does anyone make arguments about the Church driving people to suicide for any of their other teachings? Are there people driven to suicide because they can't stop smoking and the Church teaches it's wrong, for instance? How about suicidal sabbath breakers?"

To which I responded:

Yes. People have made arguments about the Church's prohibition on masturbation as contributing to suicidal tendencies, and as far as I'm aware, there was even a major lawsuit about it a decade or two ago. In the case of smoking and sabbath breaking, those prohibitions are much less likely to contribute to suicides, for two main reasons: (1) the level of emphasis is much lower; and (2) the behavior is not as innate to the human condition. I can't remember the last time anyone stood up in church and gave a detailed fire-and-brimstone sermon about the evils of smoking. But I can certainly say there have been numerous talks (and private chats) on issues dealing with sexuality. A person's sexuality in most cases is part of the core of that person's being. Attacks on their sexuality can cause emotional trauma in ways that other criticisms could not. Just as I would expect a rape victim to have a much greater likelihood of lasting emotional trauma than the victim of a mere physical beating, so, too, I would expect people to be much more affected by attacks on their sexuality than by attacks against non-sexual vices they may have. If you truly reflect on the matter, you might realize how rare it is for any member of the church to publicly admit to sexual sin; yet it is quite common for members to jokingly admit to other behaviors as long as they have nothing to do with sex. I think there is a reason for that: the shame factor is much stronger when it comes to sex. One could expect little else in a Mormon culture which ranks sexual sin just below murder in the heirarchy of vices.

Do you know of any instances where a member was excommunicated for smoking? How about breaking the Sabbath? I don't know of any.

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