Sexuality and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints


Sexuality and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches that members must obey what it calls the 'law of chastity", which is a code of morality and modesty. Under this code, members are taught to be "morally clean in their thoughts, words, and actions" and to abstain from pornography. [See Gospel Topics - Chastity [http://lds.org/portal/site/LDSOrg/menuitem.3933737ad2ff28132eb22a86942826a0/?vgnextoid=bbd508f54922d010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=23e80bbce1d98010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____] .] Violations of this code include "adultery, being without natural affection, lustfulness, infidelity, incontinence [Secondary Definition Incontinence: lacking in moderation or self-control, esp. of sexual desire.] , filthy communications, impurity, inordinate affection, fornication. They included all sexual relations outside marriage—petting, sex perversion, masturbation, and preoccupation with sex in one’s thoughts and talking." [Kimball, Spencer W. [http://www.lds.org/portal/site/LDSOrg/menuitem.b12f9d18fae655bb69095bd3e44916a0/?vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=d70ffc3157a6b010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&hideNav=1 President Kimball Speaks Out on Morality] New Era, Nov 1980]

Though Celestial marriage is the only form of marriage recognized as a sacrament, the church permits sex within most government-recognized marital unions, the most notable exceptions being common law marriage, same-sex marriage and plural marriage. [The church is sensitive about its historical relationship with polygamy, and entry into a polygamous marriage, even where legal, will result in excommunication. "Church Handbook of Instruction" (1998).] The church's teachings are ambiguous about the scope of allowable sexual behavior between legally married couples (i.e. the Church leaves it to the couples to decide what is appropriate). [Some church leaders have taught that oral sex, anal sex, and contraception are sinful, but there is no official policy. It is also unclear to what extent, if any, pornography or masturbation may be used as part of marital sex.] The law of chastity has also been interpreted to include various standards of modesty, [See Gospel Topics - Modesty [http://lds.org/portal/site/LDSOrg/menuitem.3933737ad2ff28132eb22a86942826a0/?vgnextoid=bbd508f54922d010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=fa699daac5d98010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____] ] and varies according to cultural norms of the time. Serious offenses of the law of chastity may result in church discipline, including a possible excommunication, in which a member loses their church membership and privileges, but may still continue to attend meetings.

LGBT members of the church are expected to keep the law of chastity. [Hinckley, G. (1998, November). [http://lds.org/portal/site/LDSOrg/menuitem.b12f9d18fae655bb69095bd3e44916a0/?vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&sourceId=7c86605ff590c010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____ What Are People Asking about Us?] "Ensign", 71. The church characterizes its church discipline policy as neutral regarding sexual orientation [http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/1997/04/13/SC36289.DTL Lattin, Don (1997) Musings of the Main Mormon] (Pres. Gordon Hinckley: “Now we have gays in the church. Good people. We take no action against such people – provided they don’t become involved in transgression, sexual transgression. If they do, we do with them exactly what we’d do with heterosexuals who transgress.”)] If they desire to enter into a heterosexual marriage, they should first learn to deal with their homosexual feelings; otherwise, they must remain celibate. [ [http://www.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=27f71f1dd189f010VgnVCM100000176f620aRCRD&vgnextchannel=726511154963d010VgnVCM1000004e94610aRCRD Interview with Elder Oaks and Wickman] ] Gay or lesbian sex, in any form, whether the participants are married or not, is grounds for excommunication. [Church discipline for members who have gay or lesbian sex is slightly more onerous than for heterosexual members who have heterosex. Gay or lesbian sex will result in an automatic special annotation to a person's permanent membership record. Church Handbook of Instruction (1998), p. 129. Also, gay or lesbian sex will normally bar a person, permanently, from serving a mission. Id., p. 81.]

The church has supported a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage and polygamous marriage in the United States, and has stated that it "favors measures that define marriage as the union of a man and a woman and that do not confer legal status on any other sexual relationship." [http://www.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=a1312e636369f010VgnVCM100000176f620aRCRD First Presidency Statement on Same-Gender Marriage] ] . The church's position is that government recognition of such rights will "undermine the divinely created institution of the family".

Marriage

In the 1870s, the church taught that the only valid form of marriage was a Celestial marriage performed by the church, and that " [a] marriage by a magistrate of civil officer was to [Mormons] no marriage at all…and, whether single or plural, must be administered by one having authority from God." [Citation
last=Penrose
first=Charles W.
author-link=Charles W. Penrose
title=Special Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
newspaper=Deseret News
year=1871
date=October 5 1871
publication-date=October 11 1871
volume=20
issue=36
pages=4
url=http://udn.lib.utah.edu/u?/deseretnews3,1444
.
] Today, non-celestial marriages are recognized as valid by the church, though they last only for this life, and not the next.

exual orientation

tatus of transgender and intersex Mormons

The LDS Church teaches that gender is inherently linked to sex, but the church has no official policy on the status of intersex persons. Transgender persons are accepted in the church and may be baptized, but may not receive the priesthood or enter the temple if they are considering or have undergone elective sex reassignment surgery. ["Church Handbook of Instructions: Book 1, Stake Presidents and Bishoprics" (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2006) at 41, 78.]

ee also

*Law of Chastity
*Homosexuality and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

References


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