To Young Men Only

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Cover of the 1980 pamphlet, which printed the sermon.

"To Young Men Only" was a sermon delivered by Mormon apostle Boyd K. Packer on October 2, 1976, at the priesthood session of the 146th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). The sermon is addressed to young men of the Aaronic priesthood (ages 12 to 18) and discusses issues of human sexuality, puberty, and morality. Since 1980, the sermon has been published as a pamphlet by the LDS Church.

Content[edit]

Packer described his remarks as matters that "fathers should discuss with their sons."[1] Packer stated that "[b]ecause some young men do not have fathers and because some fathers (and some bishops) do not know how to proceed", he would be addressing sensitive subjects.[1] The sermon compares the male reproductive system to a "little factory" and teaches that masturbation, use of pornography, and homosexual activities are immoral and forbidden by God.[1] Packer teaches that nocturnal emission is natural and designed by God and that young men "should not feel guilty" when it happens.[1] The sermon also offers suggestions on how to control one's thoughts and resist temptation.[1]

Publication[edit]

Unlike most general conference sermons, "To Young Men Only" was not published in the church's official magazine, The Ensign, and is consequently not available in its online general conference archive. Instead, the sermon was published in 1980 as a 14-page pamphlet that was available for church leaders to distribute to members. The pamphlet is also available on the LDS Church's website.

Criticism[edit]

Packer's sermon encourages young male Latter-day Saints to "vigorously resist" homosexual advances, even with violence, if necessary.[2] In 2001, gay Mormon historian D. Michael Quinn described the sermon as "[t]he low point in the Mormon hierarchy's homophobia since the 1950s";[3] Quinn argued that Packer's words constituted an endorsement of gay bashing and that the church itself endorses such behavior by continuing to publish Packer's speech.[4] In 2000 and 2001, David E. Hardy, a Salt Lake City lawyer who is the father of a gay son, criticized the sermon for "demoniz[ing]" gays and implying that "homosexuality is a matter of choice".[5][6][7]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Boyd K. Packer, "To Young Men Only".
  2. ^ "There are some men who entice young men to join them in these immoral acts. If you are ever approached to participate in anything like that, it is time to vigorously resist. While I was in a mission on one occasion, a missionary said he had something to confess. I was very worried because he just could not get himself to tell me what he had done. After patient encouragement he finally blurted out, 'I hit my companion.' 'Oh, is that all,' I said in great relief. 'But I floored him,' he said. After learning a little more, my response was 'Well, thanks. Somebody had to do it, and it wouldn't be well for a General Authority to solve the problem that way.' I am not recommending that course to you, but I am not omitting it. You must protect yourself."
  3. ^ D. Michael Quinn, Same-sex Dynamics Among Nineteenth-century Americans: A Mormon Example (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2001) p. 382.
  4. ^ D. Michael Quinn, "Prelude to the National 'Defense of Marriage' Campaign: Civil Discrimination Against Feared or Despised Minorities", Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought vol. 33 no. 3 (Fall 2000) pp. 1–52.
  5. ^ Hilary Groutage Smith, "Mormon Pamphlets on Gays Criticized", The Salt Lake Tribune, 2000-08-06, p. B2
  6. ^ David E. Hardy, "BYU's Dismissal of Gay Students Continues Confusion for Gays, Parents" [opinion], The Salt Lake Tribune, p. AA3.
  7. ^ In the sermon, Packer stated: "There is a falsehood that some are born with an attraction to their own kind, with nothing they can do about it. They are just 'that way' and can only yield to those desires. That is a malicious and destructive lie. While it is a convincing idea to some, it is of the devil. No one is locked into that kind of life. From our premortal life we were directed into a physical body. There is no mismatching of bodies and spirits. Boys are to become men—masculine, manly men—ultimately to become husbands and fathers. No one is predestined to a perverted use of these powers."

External links[edit]