William James

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

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Likely Reason The LDS Church Website Does Not Contain Overt Condemnation Of Masturbation

The question was put (December 2008):

"I recently found a copy of the pamphlet "To Young Men Only" that I received as a young man in the late 70's. It was a talk given by Boyd K. Packer at the Priesthood session of General Conference October 2, 1976. I checked on the church website and found that this talk is not there. The talk by Marion G. Romney makes reference to it, but Packer's talk is missing. I am just wondering why the church does not have this on their website. Have they changed their position on the contents of the talk, or did they remove it to avoid ridicule from critics?"

To which I responded:

My own belief is that the talk alienates many would-be investigators because the science and data available on sexuality indicate that masturbation is simply a natural and acceptable practice. The pamphlet "to young men only" has as its target audience a group which is fragile and vulnerable and ignorant, and which in many cases can be made to feel guilty about the sexuality God gave them. I was among that crowd as a teenage boy. No one came to my aid to explain that Boyd K. Packer's views on the topic were rejected by the majority of the scientific community. As I have said before, there hardly was a doctrine more likely to induce self-loathing in LDS young men than that masturbation is sinful.

To which one person responded:

"In this instance, what you characterize as the attitude of "the majority of the scientific community" is at odds with the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ. As a general Church leader, Elder Packer was entirely within the purview of his duty. Furthermore, he, not the secular "scientific community," is qualified to make pronouncements about what is morally acceptable from the standpoint of the Church."

To which I responded:

Scott: agreed. Elder Packer acting in his capacity as an official prophet, seer, and revelator, and had the authority to issue the pronouncement on behalf of the church. Just don't expect people to come flocking to Zion if it is a place where our God-given sexuality is so stifled that it becomes virtually non-existent. There is a reason why for so many decades the missionaries' approach was not to teach the so-called law of chastity until the investigator had first received a testimony about the BoM, the church, etc. It is because it would scare off a lot of people who might not even consider hearing what the missionaries have to say. Likewise, I think the church's website is intended to put on a face that is not so utterly repugnant to the world that people will be turned off. Later on, once they have a "testimony," the chastity guilt trip can take effect in more private spheres and they will feel trapped into feeling like they have betrayed the Spirit if they later back out because of perceived chastity concerns.

And another person skeptically commented:

"we stifle sexuality? hmmm maybe we define the word differently. do you suppose the high birth rate in the church is more related to 'thinking of god and queen'?"

To which I responded:

A high birth rate does not necessarily mean more sex or even a better sex life. It is more likely attributable to less birth control, prohibition on abortion, a culture which pushes the idea that large families generally are better families, and a view that financial and educational obstacles should not cause people to hold off on having kids. I don't know what you mean by the "thinking of god and queen" comment.

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