I recently read that Mormons believe that sexual sin is next only to murder and denying the Holy Ghost in terms of seriousness. I wondered if this could be true because it seems so extreme to me. According to the official Church website (or what I believe is; someone can correct me if I am wrong), this is indeed so. It quotes a passage in Alma, which is a scripture in the Book of Mormon, the official Bible of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
My thought when I read this was that everyone knows that murder is wrong, regardless of whether or not they are affiliated with a particular religion. We instinctively seem to understand that the taking of another life is evil. We are denying, for one thing, that person to repent so that they can assure themselves of a better eternal future. Although God knows our hearts and if we were denied a chance to repent, when we would have if given that chance, then I think everything’s going to be ok!
But back to the law of chastity, at least in the Mormon church: According to the site I source beneath this article, we are not even supposed to engage in behaviour that could trigger sexual desire. This part does make sense to me. If the sin of sex outside of marriage is so grave, then it is logical that we should avoid anything that leads up to that sin. We should not look at pornography, kiss passionately, etc.
The law of chastity states that there should be no sex outside of marriage, and only sex between man and wife after marriage. This means that homosexuals, before gay marriage was legal in many places, were doomed to a life of no way to express the love they feel for their partners. I am not taking a stand one way or the other on homosexuality because I honestly don’t know how God feels about this issue. To me, there is evidence for and evidence against. There are, of course, other groups of people who do not marry other than homosexuals. Some people are disabled to the point where marriage is out of the question for them. For these people as well, sex is out of the question because they will never get married.
However, I also remembered that in the early days of the Mormon church, Joseph Smith introduced the practice of polygamy. Surely it is easier to be faithful within marriage if you have more than one partner? It seems like an unfair double standard. These are extra thoughts I had while thinking about this issue. Now, back to a summary of the article provided by the church website.
Sex is for the procreation of children, and also a symbol of the intimacy and love that should exist between husband and wife.
Life on earth seems incredibly hard to me. So many awful things happen. I am not sure what I think about this issue of the sin of sex being so serious, because it seems like, as long as we are not hurting anyone, that grabbing whatever pleasure we can snatch from life is appropriate and should even be sought after. On the other hand, it makes sense to me that life is a lot less complicated if sex only occurs within marriage. You don’t have to worry about disease, extramarital pregnancies, etc. The simpler life is, the easier it is to be happy.
I will be writing several articles on this issue from several different angles, because I think it is a really fascinating topic. I will look at what Mormons think in more depth and give examples of what leaders have said. I will look at what Muslims and groups of other religions think about the topic. Let me know what you think!