Monday, November 30, 2009

Unrealistic Expectations: Chastity

There was a family near me growing up in which the father preached against immorality in such a way that the message was, "All boys have raging hormones and need to suppress their sinful inclinations." I know for a fact that this father faced this particular temptation (without ever succumbing to it), so it is "understandable" that he would think this way, but his sons ended up seeing their very natural urges as sinful, instead of natural effects of the Fall. Therefore, they were wracked as teenagers with feelings of inadequacy and failure and guilt every time they saw a girl and even thought, "Wow, she's hot!" At least two of them ended up convinced that they could never be good enough - and they couldn't based on their Law of Moses definition of perfection.

Recognizing that having such a thought is not actually a sin - that at its very worst it is a transgression caused by our fallen state and at its best solid evidence of heterosexual tendencies (*grin*) - and turning to the Lord for help to see even beautiful girls and women as He sees them - could have removed a tremendous burden from their shoulders and freed them to focus on something else instead. It would have allowed those boys to realize that they didn't need to beat themselves up for being human. Rather than their painful and impossible efforts to become "less human" - which led to almost giving up completely for one and terrible decisions for the other, they could have accepted their humanity as having been redeemed already and simply focused their efforts on managing their natural inclinations properly.


DRC said...

I do like the thought of not teaching children that their sexual urges are not evil and that they should be repressed. However, can we really conclude that these are a result of the fall. I would agree that they are a result of humanity, however, I would submit that they actually draw us closer to God. It is through these acts that we join in the process of creation and build and strengthen marriages and families. In a sense, they are the most God-like acts that one can participate in. But just like anything, we must learn the appropriate bounds in which they should be used.

Papa D said...

DRC, Thank you for your comment.

I agree that the urges are not a negative thing in any way. By describing them as an "effect of the fall" I simply mean that they are a natural part of mortality. As your last sentence says, it is the urge to use them inappropriately that must be controlled, NOT simply the urge to act upon them.

I should have worded it that way originally.

Anonymous said...

Papa D,

Nice post. I think that we often hear this kind of extreme sentiment towards sexuality.

I like the way Alma the elder taught His sons: "...see that ye bridle all your passions, that ye may be filled with love..." (Alma 38:12). When we keep our passions checked, we qualify for the Love of God. Bridling means controlling and restraining, but not completely prohibiting.

Anyways - I like your post (as always). I have a new calling in the Young Women's, so messages like these are always great reminders.

The Clayton Clan said...

I very much appreciated your post, as I was raised by the daughter of the same mother that your wife's mother was raised by. Figure that one out. I was told things like, "Using a tampon is masturbation." "You'd better marry that boy because no one else will have you." "How can you forgive your husband's mother for living in sin?" (I didn't know it was MY responsibility to forgive another's sins?) I often worry that I have gone overboard in trying not to raise my children the way I was raised but I would venture a guess that they have a more healthy understanding of their sexuality than I did growing up.