Sexuality and Mormonism
Sexuality has a prominent role within the theology of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), which teaches that gender is defined in the premortal existence, and that part of the purpose of mortal life is for men and women to be sealed together, forming bonds that allow them to progress eternally together in the afterlife. It also teaches that sexual relations within the framework of opposite-sex marriage is healthy, necessary, and ordained of God. In contrast with some orthodox Christian movements, sexuality in the Church's theology is neither a product of original sin nor a "necessary evil". In accordance with the law of chastity, LDS Church doctrine bars sexual activity outside of heterosexual marriage.
The LDS Church teaches its members to obey the law of chastity, which is a code of morality and modesty. Under this code, all members are taught to be "morally clean in their thoughts, words, and actions" and to abstain from pornography. Violations of this code include "adultery, being without natural affection, lustfulness, infidelity, incontinence, filthy communications, impurity, inordinate affection, fornication. They included all sexual relations outside marriage—petting, sex perversion, and preoccupation with sex in one’s thoughts and talking."
Though celestial marriage is the only form of marriage recognized as a sacrament, the church permits sex within government-recognized marital unions, the notable exceptions being same-sex marriage, common law marriage, civil unions (in jurisdictions where marriage is available), and polygamy. The church is sensitive about its historical relationship with polygamy, and entry into a polygamous marriage, even where legal, will result in mandatory consideration of church discipline and possible excommunication. Today, the church's teachings allow married couples to decide what is appropriate sexual behavior between themselves. The law of chastity has also been interpreted to include various standards of modesty, which have varied according to cultural norms of the time. Serious offenses of the law of chastity may result in church discipline, including the possibility of excommunication.
LGBT members of the church are expected to keep the law of chastity. The church characterizes its church discipline policy as neutral regarding sexual orientation. If gay or lesbian members desire to enter into a heterosexual marriage, they are advised that they should first learn to deal with their homosexual feelings; otherwise, they must remain celibate. Gay or lesbian sex, in any form, whether the participants are married or not, is grounds for church discipline. Participation in "repeated homosexual activities (by adults)" results in the First Presidency making a permanent special annotation to a person's membership record. In most cases, gay or lesbian sex bars a person, permanently, from serving as a church missionary.
On many occasions church leaders have taught that members should not masturbate as part of obedience to the law of chastity. Salient examples of this include a church guide to stop masturbating produced in the 1970s. Another is the 1990 edition of the church's youth guidelines pamphlet which stated that the "Lord specifically forbids ... masturbation" with the next two editions (including the most current one) alluding to it with statements forbidding anything that "arouses" any sexual feelings or emotions in one's "own body". Apostle Spencer W. Kimball, who later served as church president, warned of the "possible damages" and "dangers" of this "common indescretion" on various occasions calling it a "reprehensible sin" that grows "with every exercise". The apostle Boyd K. Packer gave a 1976 general conference address "To Young Men Only" warning young men not to tamper with their little factory (a euphemism for their reproductive system) lest it speed up and become a guilt- and depression-inducing habit that is not easy to resist. He gave vigorous exercise as a method to help control thoughts and break the habit of masturbation since it is a "transgression" that is "not pleasing to the Lord". The talk was printed as a pamphlet and widely distributed by the church from 1980 to 2016. Since 1985 the church has provided a manual for parents to use in discussing sexuality with their children. The manual includes statements that "prophets have condemned [masturbation] as a sin" and "perversion of the body's passions" that causes one to "become carnal". The most recent explicit mention of masturbation by top leaders in public discourse was by Tad R. Callister who stated in a 2013 speech at BYU-Idaho that God "condemns self-abuse" (a euphemism for masturbation).
Church leaders have stated that outside of marriage "passionate kisses", defined as "more intense and last[ing] longer than a brief kiss", and "prolonged kisses that involve the tongue and excite the passions" are "off limits". For example, church president Spencer W. Kimball, called the "soul kiss" an "abomination" that leads to necking, petting, and "illegitimate babies". He further stated that even when dating for a time a kiss should be a "clean, decent, sexless one like the kiss between a mother and son". He also stated that kissing during casual dating is "asking for trouble" and that kisses should not be "handed out like pretzels". Apostle Richard G. Scott advised that physical expressions of romantic feelings between unmarried individuals should be kept to "those that are comfortable in the presence of your parents".
Church leaders have also condemned erotic touching outside of heterosexual marriage using terms like "necking" for general kissing and stroking of areas outside of the breasts, buttocks, or groin region, and "petting" for "fondling a member of the opposite sex in areas that are private, personal, and sacred" whether under or over clothing. Necking (passionate kissing with intimate touching) has been called an "insidious practice" while petting was called "sinful" and "an abomination before God". Despite the policies on extramarital sex and making out, a 2007 survey of over 1,000 BYU students showed that 4% of single women and 3% of single men had participated in oral sex or intercourse while dating. Additionally, 54% of men and 46% of women BYU students reported "making out and intense kissing" while dating.
In the early 1980s, the church explicitly banned oral sex even for married couples as it was considered an "unnatural, impure, or unholy practice", which reflected verbiage for sexual misconduct in the church's General Handbook. In a January 5, 1982, First Presidency letter to bishops and other local leaders, it was explicitly stated that members who participated in any oral sex were barred from the temple unless they "repented and discontinued" this practice. A follow-up letter nine months later on October 15, 1982, stated that the First Presidency had received numerous complaints of church leaders inappropriately "delving into private, sensitive matters" and directed leaders to never inquire with "explicit questions" about "intimate matters involving marital relations". The oral sex ban, however, was not removed, modified, or clarified, and the only additional directive to leaders was that "if the member has enough anxiety about the propriety of the conduct to ask about it, the best course would be to discontinue it".
Subsequent discussion of marital sex warned against behaviors that the church considered unnatural, impure, and unholy, including general authority Spencer J. Condie's warning that when couples "participate in unholy practices" during their physical intimacy it can become a "disruptive force" in their marriage. When discussing physical intimacy, a 2003 church manual on marriage quotes church president Spencer W. Kimball, who stated that the idea that "behind the bedroom doors anything goes" is not true nor condoned by the Lord and "if it is unnatural, you just don't do it". In a private letter dated May 17, 1973, church president Harold B. Lee called "oral lovemaking" a "degrading" "perversion" that was "abhorrent in the sight of the Lord". In a popular book sold by the church's bookstore and cowritten by a BYU professor, the authors state that oral sex is unworthy and impure for married couples. An LDS magazine published a bishop's teaching in 2013 that oral sex was forbidden before marriage. Two BYU graduate Mormon sex therapists, however, publicly stated in 2013 that oral sex was okay for married couples as did another LDS therapist in 2014.
LDS church leaders have repeatedly condemned the use of sexually arousing literature and visual material for decades. They have compared pornography to a plague or epidemic that is overpoweringly addictive like hard drugs such as cocaine on multiple occasions. They've also stated that viewing erotic material can become a habit that's "almost impossible to break" which can metaphorically "blast a crater" in the brain. The church hosts meetings and has a website to assist members who wish to curb their consumption of pornographic material, and has asked church members to attend an anti-pornography rally. Church leaders have also stated that women who dress immodestly become pornography to men around them.
The Church Handbook states that the three bishopric members should ensure that members from ages 12 to 17 are interviewed twice a year during which they are to discuss the "importance of obeying the commandments, particularly ... refraining from any kind of sexual activity, and refraining from viewing, reading, or listening to pornographic material." It also states that disciplinary council should not be called for members "who are struggling with pornography or self-abuse."
Sociological research into pornography and LDS individuals has included one BYU study that showed of 192 male BYU students ages 18–27, 100% of the sample considered viewing pornography "unacceptable". However, 35% reported having used pornography in the past 12 months, with 9.2% of the entire sample reporting viewing pornography at least once in the last month. No data was collected on female students. A nationwide study of paid porn subscriptions showed that the predominantly LDS state of Utah had the highest subscription rate of any state. Utah's LDS then governor Gary Herbert officially declared pornography to be a public health crisis in Utah in 2016. In 2017 the church school BYU released a study using data gathered online from nearly 700 unmarried English-speaking adults on the effects of religiosity on perceptions of porn addictiveness and relationship anxiety. The results showed that seeing oneself as addicted to pornography generated far more anxiety- and shame-related negative outcomes individually and in romantic relationships than any potential negative effects of consuming sexually explicit material. Additionally, individuals reporting higher religiosity were more likely to consider themselves addicted to porn regardless of their comparative usage rate.
Currently and in the past LDS Church leaders have looked down on dancing that includes full-body contact or is suggestive of sexual behavior. One youth guide stated that these unapproved movements deemed vulgar included shoulder or hip shaking, body jerking, crouching, slumping over, and backbending.
Birth control and abortion
The current church stance is that "decisions about birth control and the consequences of those decisions rest solely with each married couple" and that they should consider "the physical and mental health of the mother and father and their capacity to provide the basic necessities of life for their children" when planning a family. The church "strongly discourages" surgical sterilization like vasectomies and tubal ligation and encourages members to only turn to it for serious medical conditions after discussing it with a bishop. The LDS Church opposes elective abortion "for personal or social convenience" but states that abortion could be an acceptable option in cases of rape, incest, danger to the health or life of the mother, or where the fetus has been diagnosed with "severe defects that will not allow the baby to survive beyond birth."
In the past the use of birth control methods including artificial contraception was explicitly condemned by LDS Church leaders. Beginning in July 1916, apostles were quoted stating that birth control was a "pernicious doctrine" and that "limiting the number of children in a family...is sinful". The first time that any approval of a non-abstinence fertility control method was publicly expressed occurred in a 1942 Improvement Era article in which apostle John A. Widtsoe mentioned the rhythm method as an acceptable means of spacing children. In his influential 1956 treatise Doctrines of Salvation, then apostle Joseph Fielding Smith called birth control a wickedness which leads to damnation and caused the downfall of nations. He further stated that an LDS couple that deliberately prevents themselves from having more children after their second or third child is guilty of iniquity which must be punished. The 1958 edition of Bruce R. McConkie's popular book Mormon Doctrine stated that all those using condoms or other artificial contraception are "in rebellion against God and are guilty of gross wickedness.":12 The BYU Honor Code in 1968 stated that "the Church does not approve of any form of birth control." In 1969 the first and only First Presidency statement on birth control was released; it reemphasized that it was "contrary to the teachings of the Church artificially to curtail or prevent the birth of children", though, for the first time there was a clarification that men should be considerate to "conserve" the "health and strength" of their wives when planning families since they carry the "greater responsibility" for bearing and rearing children.
Other discussions of the topic include those by Ezra Taft Benson, who became a church president. He stated that those that advocate for birth control perpetuate types of government that cause famine,:540 that couples should not prevent births for selfish reasons,:543 and that a sterilization operation could "jeapordiz[e] your exaltation.":541 As recently as 2003 a church manual was published containing a quote from the late church president Spencer W. Kimball stating that the church does not "condone nor approve of" measures of contraception which greatly "limit the family".
The church's insurance company Deseret Mutual Benefits Administrators which provides coverage for its employees does not cover any form of birth control and will only cover sterilization by vasectomy or tubal ligation for a couple if the woman has already had five children or is over forty.
From the 1830s, marriage has been a central and distinctive component of Mormon theology. Mormon teachings on marriage begins with the belief that, if performed by a person who has the requisite priesthood authority, a marriage may continue in the afterlife. Such a marriage is called a "celestial marriage" or a "temple marriage", and is a particular instance of a "sealing" which binds people together in the afterlife. Celestial marriage is considered to be a requirement for entry into the highest "degree" of the celestial kingdom (the highest degree of heaven in Latter Day Saint theology), and is thought to allow the participants to continue to have spirit children in the afterlife and become gods. According to Mormon belief, the continuance of a celestial marriage in the afterlife is contingent upon the couple remaining righteous.
In the 1800s, the practice of celestial marriage included plural marriage, a form of polygamy. According to a consensus of historians, the practice of plural marriage was taught by Joseph Smith, the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement, and after Smith's death was formally acknowledged in 1852 by Brigham Young, leader of the LDS Church. The practice became famous during the 19th century when it was opposed and outlawed by the United States federal government, resulting in an intense legal conflict, which culminated in LDS Church president Wilford Woodruff issuing the 1890 Manifesto, which officially discontinued the creation of new plural marriages in church temples. Nevertheless, unofficial plural marriages continued within the LDS Church after 1890 for some years, often in Mexico. In 1904, the church issued a Second Manifesto, which discontinued the official practice worldwide and established excommunication as a possible penalty for violators. These manifestos did not automatically divorce existing plural unions, however, and some couples in the LDS Church continued to live together as plural families well into the 20th century, with the final polygamous marriage in the LDS Church ending in 1954 when one of Edward Eyring's two wives died.
The LDS Church now embraces monogamy and the nuclear family. Members who are found entering into or solemnizing polygamous marriages or associating with polygamous groups are now subject to church discipline and possible excommunication. Beginning in the late-20th century, the LDS Church began supporting political and legal measures to limit legal marriage to a union of one man and one woman.
The LDS Church does, however, continue to recognize some theological aspects of its polygamy doctrine. Although both men and women may enter a celestial marriage with only one partner at a time, a man may be sealed to more than one woman. If his first wife dies, he may enter another celestial marriage, and be sealed to both his living wife and deceased wife or wives. A woman, however, may only be sealed to one man during her lifetime. In the 1950s, one influential church leader opined that plural marriage would "obviously" be reinstituted after the Second Coming of Jesus.
While not accorded the theological significance of a celestial marriage, the LDS Church does recognize civil marriages or marriages performed within other religious traditions. In the 1870s, a prominent Mormon writer wrote that Mormons considered such a marriage to be "no marriage at all." Today, however, non-celestial marriages are respected and recognized as valid by the church, but such marriages must be legal according to the government where the marriage is performed, and must not be a same-sex marriage, polygamous marriage, common law marriage, or other type of non-ceremonial marriages in non–common law countries. Moreover, such marriages are thought to last only for the mortal life, and not into the next. In countries where the church's celestial marriages are not recognized by the government, the church requires that it be preceded by a civil marriage.
In the United States, the LDS Church has expressed support for a constitutional ban on same-sex and polygamous marriage 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." The church's position is that government recognition of such rights will "undermine the divinely created institution of the family".
The church recognizes and officially welcomes gays and lesbians as members under condition that they attempt to live the church's moral code. The church teaches that homosexual feelings, as distinct from behavior, may sometimes seem to be inborn, and that although these feelings are sometimes unwanted, they can and should be controlled. The church's law of chastity forbids homosexual sex in all contexts. Consistently breaking the law of chastity may result in excommunication. Nevertheless, Latter-day Saints who identify themselves as gay or lesbian may remain in good standing in the church, without ramification, if they abstain from homosexual relations.
In addition to opposing gay and lesbian sex, the LDS Church also opposes and campaigns against the extension of marital rights to gay and lesbian families that would, in its opinion, undermine the tradition of heterosexual monogamous marriage. Since the 1990s, the issue of same-sex marriage has been one of the church's foremost political concerns.
In 2008, the church participated in a campaign in support of California Proposition 8, which proposed limiting the definition of marriage to a union of one man and one woman. This mobilized many of its members to donate time and money towards the initiative. The political organization ProtectMarriage.com, the official proponents of Proposition 8, estimate that about half the donations they received came from Mormon sources, and that "eighty to ninety percent" of the early volunteers going door-to-door were members of the LDS Church. The church was criticized for its involvement by non-members and by some of its members, and in 2010, general authority Marlin K. Jensen personally apologized to church members in California for the church's role. In December 2012 a landmark website "Mormons and Gays" was launched dedicated to the topic of homosexuality.
Gender identity and roles play an important part in Mormon theology which teaches a strict binary of spiritual gender as literal offspring of divine parents. Part of Sunday Church meetings are currently divided by biological sex, and for most of the 1800s church presidents Joseph Smith and Brigham Young had men, women, and children sit separately for all Sunday meetings.:410,413–414 Expressions and identities for sexuality and gender are "separate, but related" aspects of a person and stem from similar biological origins. As far as gender minorities, Church leaders have stated that they have unfinished business in teaching on the difficult and sensitive topic of transgender individuals. In the past, church president Joseph Fielding Smith, stated that he believed that those who did not reach the celestial kingdom in the afterlife would be "neither man nor woman, merely immortal beings".
Within the church, there have also been a number of unofficial statements regarding gender. For example, "Strengthening Our Families: An In-Depth Look at the Proclamation on the Family" (a book compiled by the School of Family Life at the church-owned Brigham Young University) states, "Although we do not fully understand the eternal nature of gender, we should acknowledge its meaning and purpose, and humbly seek to understand and appreciate the nature of divine gender distinctions in God's plan for His children." The book also states:
God created us male and female. This is not a mistake or a variety of genetic or hormonal chance. What we call gender is an essential characteristic of our existence prior to our birth. Gender is part of our eternal identity and essential to our eternal progression. Although we may not know all the reasons why this is so, we do know some of the reasons why gender is essential to our eternal progression. To achieve our exaltation, an eternal marriage between a man and a woman is necessary. ...The sexual union between a married man and woman is, among other things, the means God has ordained to bring His spirit children into mortality, which is an essential step in the plan of salvation.
Apostle David A. Bednar stated: "[Gender] in large measure defines who we are, why we are here upon the earth, and what we are to do and become. For divine purposes, male and female spirits are different, distinctive, and complementary. ...The unique combination of spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional capacities of both males and females were needed to implement the plan of happiness". Apostle M. Russell Ballard taught, "The premortal and mortal natures of men and women were specified by God Himself. ...[Sometimes women] ask: 'Is a woman's value dependent exclusively upon her role as a wife and mother?' The answer is simple and obvious: No. ...Every righteous man and woman has a significant role to play in the onward march of the kingdom of God."
- Christian views on contraception: Mormonism
- Christianity and abortion: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
- "Chastity". Gospel Study: Study by Topic. LDS.org. LDS Church.
- Secondary definition: Incontinence (philosophy): lacking in moderation or self-control, especially of sexual desire.
- Kimball, Spencer W. (November 1980), "Kimball Speaks Out on Morality", Ensign
- Handbook 1: Stake Presidents and Bishops (Salt Lake City, Utah: LDS Church, 2010) §§ 6.7.3, 6.9.3.
- Some church leaders have taught that oral sex, anal sex, and contraception are sinful, but there is no official policy prohibiting them.
- "Modesty". Gospel Study: Study by Topic. LDS.org. LDS Church.
- Handbook 1: Stake Presidents and Bishops (Salt Lake City, Utah: LDS Church, 2010) §§ 6.7.2.
- Hinckley, Gordon B. (November 1998), "What Are People Asking about Us?", Ensign
- Lattin, Don (April 13, 1997), "Musings of the Main Mormon: Gordon B. Hinckley, "president, prophet, seer and revelator: of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sits at the top of one of the world's fastest-growing religions", San Francisco Chronicle,
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.
- Oaks, Dallin H.; Wickman, Lance B. (2007). "Same-Gender Attraction". Newsroom, LDS Church (Interview: Transcript). Interviewed by LDS Church Public Affairs staffers. Salt Lake City, Utah.
- Handbook 1: Stake Presidents and Bishops (Salt Lake City, Utah: LDS Church, 2010) §§ 6.13.3.
- Handbook 1: Stake Presidents and Bishops (Salt Lake City, Utah: LDS Church, 2010) §§ 4.5.2: "A candidate who has participated in homosexual activity during or after the last three teenage years will not normally be considered for missionary service, especially if the person has participated in such activities with several partners or with one partner over an extended period of time. In rare cases the stake president may submit a recommendation that the First Presidency consider an exception if there is strong evidence of genuine repentance and reformation and if the candidate has been free of transgression for a sufficient period of time. This period of repentance should be at least one year and may be as long as three years if the acts occurred several times or over an extended time or if the person was the aggressor."
- Understanding and Helping Those Who Have Homosexual Problems: Suggestions for Ecclesiastical Leaders, Salt Lake City, Utah: LDS Church, 1992. Reprint without permission at qrd.org
- Packer, Boyd (1976), To Young Men Only (PDF), LDS Church, archived from the original (PDF) on March 11, 2016
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- For the Strength of Youth (7 ed.). Salt Lake City, Utah: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1990.
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- Kimball, Spencer (1982), The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, Deseret Book Company, p. 269, ISBN 978-1-57008-938-1
- Kimball, Spencer (January 5, 1965), "Love vs. Lust", BYU Speeches of the Year, pp. 22–24.Transcript reprint with permission at mentalhealthlibrary.info
- Kimball, Spencer (1980), President Kimball Speaks Out on Morality
- Kimball, Spencer (1972), Faith Precedes the Miracle: Based on Discourses of Spencer W. Kimball, Deseret Book Company, p. 174, ISBN 978-0-87747-490-6
- Kimball, Spencer (April 1967). "The Mistletoe". LDS Church. LDS General Conference. Retrieved February 3, 2017.
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- Kimball, Spencer (May 4, 1954). Speeches of the Year 1953-54: Be Ye Clean. Provo, Utah: BYU. p. 6.
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First Presidency letter; Dates: 1982 January 5; Photocopy of a typewritten letter signed by Spencer W. Kimball and other members of the First Presidency of the Mormon Church. ... Includes instructions for local leaders to avoid indelicate inquiries into marital relations, as well as an interpretation of oral sex as constituting an unnatural, impure, or unholy practice.
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LDS President Harold B. Lee: I was shocked to have you raise the question about 'oral lovemaking in the genital area among married couples.' Heaven forbid any such degrading activities which would be abhorrent in the sight of the Lord. For any Latter-day Saint, and particularly those who have been taught in the sacred ordinances of the temple, to engage in any kind of perversions of this sacred God-given gift of procreation, would be sure to bring down the condemnation of the Lord whom we would offend were we to engage in any such practice.
- Kay, Lorelei (May 19, 2016). From Mormon To Mermaid. Dog Ear Publishing. p. 207. ISBN 978-1457542930.
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- Ingraham, Mike (July 20, 2000). "Sex in Zion: A manual for Mormons, written by a Logan native, is leaping off the shelves". The Herald Journal.
The index is not so coy. 'Oral sex, 163-71' it says. That is the chapter 'Drawing the Line.' 'We wrestled with that,' Brinley says. The authors evidently decided to take their cue from President Boyd K. Packer who told BYU students 'If something unworthy has become part of your relationship, don't ever do it again! Now what exactly do I mean by that? You know what I mean by that.'
- Fulton, Ben (June 11, 2007). "The Missionary Position: An LDS guide joins the fray of sexy religious books". Salt Lake City Weekly.
Then there’s a topic so sensitive it dare not speak its name, except to those curious enough to look it up in the index. ... Discussion of oral sex requires a definition of oral sex, a duty Brinley was loath to navigate. Most Mormons already consider the practice impure anyway, because it’s practiced by gays, lesbians and prostitutes. Besides, Brinley's confident that readers know what the chapter’s discussing by its tone alone. 'When we talk about sexual acts that are unworthy and unnatural, people know what we’re talking about. We’re not talking about biting your wife’s ear,' he says. “[Oral sex] is something you just don’t talk about. It’s like getting a hole-in-one on Sunday. You’re not supposed to be on the golf course anyway, so how can you tell anyone?'
- Eastland, Larry (November 7, 2013). "A YSA Bishop Talks to the Sisters About Intimacy". Meridian Magazine.
I have counseled too many of the brethren who are currently in a lustful relationship doing things they know are wrong including improper touching and oral sex. ... So that there is no misunderstanding about what I am saying, let me be both blunt and indelicate: ... 3. No oral sex.
- Piper, Rachel (September 4, 2013). "The (Mormon) Sex Girls Explain It All". Salt Lake City Weekly.
Is oral sex forbidden by the LDS Church? Kristin Hodson: No, except in myths and urban legends. Alisha Worthington: And there could be some bishops who you go in and ask who are like, "Oh, no." Again, it’s who you get. KH: There’s only "don’t do anything unnatural," or abusive or coercive. It’s pretty neutral. [Oral] is just part of marital bonding, part of the buffet of sexual experiences.
- Helfer Parker, Natasha (March 24, 2014). "The Mormon Therapist on Approaching Sexual Decisions". sunstonemagazine.com. Sunstone Education Foundation, Inc.
I have the same question about oral sex: I've heard one camp say that it’s not spiritually uplifting and therefore wrong, while the other says that once you’re married anything is game. So which is it? ... It is my opinion that any sexual experience between spouses can be spiritually uplifting, as long as both are comfortable and enjoying one another. ... Let’s not give other fallible humans the authority to make decisions regarding our most private, personal pleasure.
- Reeves, Linda. "Worthy of Our Promised Blessings". ChurchofJesusChrist.org. LDS Church. Retrieved February 3, 2017.
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- Benson, Ezra (October 1959). "Call to Repentance". LDS Church. Conference Report. Retrieved February 3, 2017.
- "Power to Overcome Pornography". ChurchofJesusChrist.org. LDS Church. Retrieved February 20, 2017.
- Hinckley, Gordon. "Be Not Deceived". ChurchofJesusChrist.org. LDS Church. Retrieved February 20, 2017.
- "LDS Media Library". ChurchofJesusChrist.org. LDS Church. Retrieved February 20, 2017.
- Packer, Boyd. "Cleansing the Inner Vessel". ChurchofJesusChrist.org. LDS Church. Retrieved February 20, 2017.
- Johnson, Valerie. ""Hold FAST": Elder Holland Speaks at Utah Coalition against Pornography Conference". ChurchofJesusChrist.org. LDS Church. Retrieved February 20, 2017.
- Wirthlin, Joseph. "Press On". ChurchofJesusChrist.org. LDS Church. Retrieved February 20, 2017.
- Kimball, Spencer. "A Report and a Challenge". ChurchofJesusChrist.org. LDS Church. Retrieved February 20, 2017.
- Scott, Richard. "To Acquire Spiritual Guidance". ChurchofJesusChrist.org. LDS Church. Retrieved February 20, 2017.
- Oaks, Dallin. "Pornography". ChurchofJesusChrist.org. LDS Church. Retrieved February 20, 2017.
- Hinckley, Gordon. "A Tragic Evil among Us". ChurchofJesusChrist.org. LDS Church. Retrieved February 20, 2017.
- Holland, Jeffrey. "Place No More for the Enemy of My Soul". ChurchofJesusChrist.org. LDS Church. Retrieved February 20, 2017.
- "Overcoming Pornography through the Atonement of Jesus Christ". overcomingpornography.org. LDS Church. Retrieved February 20, 2017.
- "Addiction Recovery Program". ChurchofJesusChrist.org. LDS Church. Retrieved February 20, 2017.
- Pugmire, Genelle (August 24, 2014). "LDS church releases new video on porn addiction". Daily Herald. Retrieved February 20, 2017.
- "Catholic and LDS Leaders Ask Support for Anti-Porno Rally". The Daily Herald. United Press International. November 6, 1977. p. 16. Archived from the original on December 8, 2017.
The bishop of Salt Lake's Catholic Diocese and the First Presiency of the Mormon church have joined in a call for church members to attend an anti-pornography rally Nov. 12. ... 'We encourage members of the church to attend (the rally) and to invite their friends and neighbors to also attend.'CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
- "7.1.7". Handbook 1: Stake Presidents and Bishops. Salt Lake City, Utah: LDS church. 2010. Archived from the original on November 15, 2017.
- "6.7.1". Handbook 1: Stake Presidents and Bishops. Salt Lake City, Utah: LDS church. 2010. Archived from the original on November 15, 2017.
Failure to Comply with Some Church Standards: A disciplinary council should not be held to discipline or threaten members who do not comply with the Word of Wisdom, who are struggling with pornography or self-abuse, or whose transgressions consist of omissions, such as failure to pay tithing, inactivity in the Church, or inattention to Church duties.
- Padilla-Walker, Laura M.; Nelson, Larry J.; Carroll, Jason S. (2010). ""I Believe It Is Wrong But I Still Do It": A Comparison of Religious Young Men Who Do Versus Do Not Use Pornography". Psychology of Religion and Spirituality. 2 (3): 138, 140. doi:10.1037/a0019127. Retrieved February 3, 2017.
- House, Dawn (March 2, 2009). "Utah is No. 1 - for online pornography consumption". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved February 20, 2017.
- Edelman, Benjamin (Winter 2009). "Red Light States: Who Buys Online Adult Entertainment?". Journal of Economic Perspectives. 23 (1): 209–220. doi:10.1257/jep.23.1.209.
- Phillips, Amber (April 22, 2016). "Porn has been declared a 'public health crisis' in Utah. Here's why". Washington Post. Retrieved February 20, 2017.
- Leonhardt, Nathan D.; Willoughby, Brian J.; Young-Petersen, Bonnie (March 13, 2017). "Damaged Goods: Perception of Pornography Addiction as a Mediator Between Religiosity and Relationship Anxiety Surrounding Pornography Use". The Journal of Sex Research. 55 (3): 357–368. doi:10.1080/00224499.2017.1295013. PMID 28287845. S2CID 34868037.
- Ley, David J. "Religious Conflict Makes Porn Bad for Relationships". psychologytoday.com. Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers. Retrieved July 21, 2017.
- Wood, Benjamin (May 2, 2017). "BYU research: Faithful more likely to label themselves as porn 'addicts'". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved July 21, 2017.
- "Music and Dancing". ChurchofJesusChrist.org. LDS Church. Retrieved June 1, 2017.
- Wesson, Karl E. (April 1975). "Dance in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints 1830-1940". BYU: All Theses and Dissertations: 126. Archived from the original on October 29, 2017.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
- For the Strength of Youth (1972 ed.). LDS Church. 1972.
- Ogden, D. Kelly. "Steadfast and Immovable". ldsmag.com. Meridian Magazine.
- "Birth Control". ChurchofJesusChrist.org. LDS Church. Retrieved February 5, 2017.
- "Handbook 2: Administering the Church". ChurchofJesusChrist.org. LDS Church. Retrieved February 8, 2017.
- Handbook 2: Administering the Church (2010).
- "Birth Control". Relief Society Magazine. 3 (7): 364, 368. July 1916. Retrieved February 5, 2017.
- Bush Jr., Lester E. (Fall 1976). "Birth Control Among the Mormons: An Introduction to an Insistent Question" (PDF). Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. 10 (2): 21. Retrieved February 5, 2017.
- Bush, Lester E. (1994). Multiply and Replenish: Mormon Essays on Sex and Family. Salt Lake City: Signature Books. pp. 187–188. ISBN 978-1-56085-050-2. Retrieved February 5, 2017.
- Smith, Joseph Fielding (1954–56), McConkie, Bruce R. (ed.), Doctrines of Salvation: Sermons and Writings of Joseph Fielding Smith, 2, Bookcraft, pp. 273–274,
Birth control is wickedness. The abuse of this holy covenant [to be fruitful and multiply] has been the primary cause for the downfall of nations. ... When a man and a woman are married and they agree, or covenant, to limit their offspring to two or three, and practice devices to accomplish this purpose, they are guilty of iniquity which eventually must be punished. Unfortunately this evil doctrine is being taught as a virtue by many people who consider themselves cultured and highly educated. It has even crept in among members of the Church and has been advocated in some of the classes within the Church. It should be understood definitely that this kind of doctrine is not only not advocated by the authorities of the Church, but also is condemned by them as wickedness in the sight of the Lord. ... Possibly no greater sin could be committed by the people who have embraced this gospel than to prevent or to destroy life in the manner indicated. ... Birth control leads to damnation.
- "Teachings Concerning Birth Control and Family Size: First Presidency Statements and Church Handbook of Instructions" (PDF). emp.byui.edu. BYU-Idaho Employee Website. May 2004. p. 3. Archived from the original on January 15, 2007.
- Dye, David A. (2007). Changes in Mormon Doctrine: A Comparison of the 1958 & 1966 versions of Mormon Doctrine by Bruce R. McConkie. Lulu Press. ISBN 9781257255009.
- Wilkinon, Ernest L. (August 18, 1967). Presidential Files, Memorandum: Conference Held with First Presidency. Provo, UT, BYU HBLL Special Collections UA 1000 Box 271 Folder 22: BYU. p. 2. Retrieved November 20, 2016.CS1 maint: location (link)
- Bush Jr., Lester E. (Fall 1976). "Birth Control Among the Mormons: An Introduction to an Insistent Question" (PDF). Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. 10 (2): 27. Retrieved February 5, 2017.
- Benson, Ezra (June 1969). "To the Humble Followers of Christ". The Improvement Era. 72 (6): 44.
- Ezra, Benson. "To the Humble Followers of Christ". byu.edu. Brigham Young University.
The world teaches birth control. Tragically, many of our sisters subscribe to its pills and practices when they could easily provide earthly tabernacles for more of our Father's children. ... True to form, many of the people who desire to frustrate God's purposes of giving mortal tabernacles to his spirit children through worldwide birth control are the very same people who support the kinds of government that perpetuate famine.
- Benson, Ezra (October 1, 1988). The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company. ISBN 978-0884946397.
- "President Benson Lauds Blessings of Motherhood". ChurchofJesusChrist.org. LDS Church. May 1987.
Do not curtail the number of children for personal or selfish reasons. Material possessions, social convenience, and so-called professional advantages are nothing compared to a righteous posterity.
- Benson, Ezra. "To the Mothers in Zion". byu.edu. Brigham Young University.
- Burton, Rulon (April 1, 1994). We Believe: Doctrines and Principles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Tabernacle Books. p. 263. ISBN 978-0964069602.
- Benson, Ezra (1974). God, Family, Country: Our Three Greatest Loyalties. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book. p. 224. ISBN 978-0877475415.
- "Eternal Marriage Student Manual: Birth Control". ChurchofJesusChrist.org. LDS Church. Retrieved February 5, 2017.
- Westlund, Tessa Lara (February 8, 2019). "Federal sparring over contraceptive coverage doesn't impact Y employee, student benefits". Daily Universe. Brigham Young University.
DMBA does not cover any form of contraceptives for BYU students or employees, according to its plan summary, and has not done so historically. The Church's website says its stance on birth control is that 'the decision of how many children to have and when to have them is a private matter for the husband and wife.' The summary from DMBA does not cite an official reason why DMBA doesn’t cover birth control.
- Brooks, Joanna (August 8, 2012). "LDS Church and the Birth Control Controversy". Religion Dispatches.
- White, Katherine A. (July 1999). "Crisis of Conscience: Reconciling Religious Health Care Providers' Beliefs and Patients' Rights". Stanford Law Review. 51 (6): 1711. doi:10.2307/1229534. JSTOR 1229534. PMID 10558539.
45. Telephone Interview with David Call, supra note 7. The Deseret Mutual Benefit Administrators HMO (DMBA) does not cover sterilizations until a woman has had five children or reached the age of forty. While the DMBA policy does not directly refer to LDS church doctrine, the policy is set by the DMBA Ethical Advisory Committee, which has issued guidelines stating that the DMBA will provide benefits consistent with LDS church teachings.
- In the 19th century, the term "celestial marriage" was used interchangeably with the term "plural marriage". Some early Mormons (and present-day Mormon fundamentalists) considered polygamy to be a requirement for exaltation.
- Handbook 1: Bishops and Stake Presidents (Salt Lake City, Utah: LDS Church, 2010) § 3.5.1.
- Woodruff's declaration was formally accepted by the membership in a church general conference on October 6, 1890.
- The LDS Church has clarified that a woman may also be sealed to more than one man. A woman, however, may not be sealed to more than one man while she is alive. She may only be sealed to subsequent partners after she has died: Handbook 1: Bishops and Stake Presidents (Salt Lake City, Utah: LDS Church, 2010) § 3.6.1. Church leaders have not clarified if women in such circumstances will live in a polyandrous relationship in the afterlife. It should be noted, however, that proxy sealings, like proxy baptisms, are merely offered to the person in the afterlife, indicating that the purpose may be to allow the woman to choose the man she wishes to be sealed to.
- Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine (Salt Lake City, Utah: Bookcraft, 1958) s.v. "Plural marriage": "Obviously the holy practice will commence again after the Second Coming of the Son of Man and the ushering in of the Millennium."
- Penrose (1871, p. 4)
- Handbook 1: Bishops and Stake Presidents (Salt Lake City, Utah: LDS Church, 2010) § 3.6.1.
- Hinckley, Gordon B.; Monson, Thomas S.; Faust, James E. (October 20, 2004), First Presidency Statement on Same-Gender Marriage, Salt Lake City, Utah: LDS Church.
- Hinckley, Gordon B. (November 1999), Why We Do Some of the Things We Do, Ensign,
Our hearts reach out to those who refer to themselves as gays and lesbians. We love and honor them as sons and daughters of God. They are welcome in the Church.
- Oaks, Dallin H. (October 1995), "Same-Gender Attraction", Ensign, retrieved August 17, 2011
- McKinley, Jesse; Johnson, Kirk (November 14, 2008), "Mormons Tipped Scale in Ban on Gay Marriage", The New York Times, retrieved December 24, 2008
- Joanna Brooks, "Mormon Leader: ‘I’m Sorry’ For Hurtful Legacy of Prop. 8", Religion Dispatches, 2010-09-28: "According to attendee Carol Lynn Pearson, a Mormon author and longtime advocate of LGBT concerns, Elder Jensen said, 'To the full extent of my capacity, I say that I am sorry... I know that many very good people have been deeply hurt, and I know that the Lord expects better of us.'"
- The Family: A Proclamation to the World, LDS Church, 1995
- Bednar, David A. (June 2006), "Marriage Is Essential to His Eternal Plan", Ensign: 83
- "18. Meetings in the Church". Handbook 2: Administering the Church. Salt Lake City, Utah: LDS Church. 2010.
- Quinn, D. Michael (1996). Same-Sex Dynamics among Nineteenth-Century Americans. University of Illinois Press. ISBN 978-0252022050.
- "Resolution on Gender and Sexual Orientation Diversity in Children and Adolescents in Schools". American Psychological Association. APA. Retrieved December 9, 2016.
- Bao, Ai-Min; Swaab, Dick F. (April 2011). "Sexual differentiation of the human brain: Relation to gender identity, sexual orientation and neuropsychiatric disorders". Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology. 32 (2): 214–226. doi:10.1016/j.yfrne.2011.02.007. PMID 21334362. S2CID 8735185.
- Petrey, Taylor G. (February 13, 2015). "A Mormon Leader Signals New Openness on Transgender Issues. This Could Be Huge". Slate. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
- Levin, Sam (March 28, 2016). "Transgender and Mormon: keeping the faith while asking the church to change". The Guardian. Retrieved December 9, 2016.
- Allen, Samantha (March 15, 2016). "Mormon Man Risks Excommunication By Sharing His Transition". The Daily Beast. Retrieved December 9, 2016.
- Smith, Joseph Fielding (1954–56), McConkie, Bruce R. (ed.), Doctrines of Salvation: Sermons and Writings of Joseph Fielding Smith, 2, Bookcraft, p. 396,
I take it that men and women will, in [the terrestrial and telestial] kingdoms, be just what the so-called Christian world expects us all to be—neither man nor woman, merely immortal beings having received the resurrection.
- Dollahite 2000
- Dollahite 2000, p. 76
- Dollahite 2000, p. 223
- Ballard, M. Russell (April 2002), "Women of Righteousness", Ensign: 66–69
- Argus (September 9, 1871), "History of Mormonism: An Open Letter to Brigham Young", The Daily Corinne Reporter, 4 (84).
- Corcoran, Brent, ed. (1994), Multiply and Replenish: Mormon Essays on Sex and Family, Salt Lake City: Signature Books, ISBN 978-1-56085-050-2, OCLC 30318983
- Dollahite, David C. (2000), Strengthening Our Families: An In-Depth Look at the Proclamation on the Family, compiled by the Brigham Young University School of Family Life, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, ISBN 978-1-57345-824-5, OCLC 43936969
- Olson, Terrance D. (1992), "Sexuality", in Ludlow, Daniel H (ed.), Encyclopedia of Mormonism, New York: Macmillan Publishing, pp. 1306–1308, ISBN 978-0-02-879602-4, OCLC 24502140
- Penrose, Charles W. (October 5, 1871), "Special Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints", Deseret News (published October 11, 1871), 20 (36), p. 4.
- "Sexual Purity", For the Strength of Youth: Fulfilling Our Duty to God, LDS Church, 2001, archived from the original on June 7, 2012