Saturday, May 23, 2009

Virtuous, or I'll Never Cheapen Her...

So when you wake up to your mother making ear splitting chocking and gagging sounds and 3:45 in the morning and you run into her room an adrenaline worried mess and it turns out she just has super heart burn because she downed some Taco Bell nachos way too late at night but you thought she was chocking to death and you're still so adrenaline ridden hour later you hands are still shaking and you're wide awake there is only one thing to do.


And blog about calming things.

Like sacrament talks that are over so you have 20/20 retrospect on the matter. I know I said I was going to blog about this earlier but, well, the week got away from me.

So for the 3 of my 6 readers that weren't there (and you 3 that were, I love you to bits - thank you) here is the gist of my thoughts.

My assignment was Elane Dalton's talk, A Return to Virtue, from the Nov '08 Ensign.

D&C 121:45 is also our ward theme this year, so Bro. Forester (my bishopric member that gave the assignment) let me know with a certain amount of gravitas, well as much as his jovial self could muster, that this was something they really wanted covered.

I took the assignment and was grateful for the chance to speak, but I kind of giggled to myself for a few reasons.

1) The Church erroneously uses the term "virtue" interchangeably with "chastity" so that essentially meant that the bishopric was passing off the quarterly sex talk to me and I found that funny.

2) I am the super open hippie's kid. We grew up talking pretty openly and candidly about sex and it's roll and implications. This is also a stark contrast to Mormon Cultural norms which, when it comes to sex takes on the "don't ask, don't tell, don't do anything for that matter till you're married. Then - have at it"

I have always found this puritanical approach to chastity less effective. In fact, I think it does a lot more harm than good.

These were my thoughts that I shared in my talk in no significant order

1) Our sexuality isn't something to be afraid off and packaged up and left alone till the fairy tale of Marriage comes along and somehow provides all answers and questions. It's this monster under the bed that we just have to learn to live with and work around. The culture has made it scary and dirty and something that can destroy us if we let it.

I refute that. I think when *doctrinally* examined that we will find a different case. *Fornication* or the abuse of our sexual powers is a huge, nasty, and vile thing. This eschewment has trended toward vilifying that fact that we have sexual tendencies, sexual identities.

I submit that our sexual capacities are some of the most beautiful parts of our person, of our eternal identities. There isn't a state we enter in in mortality that is more god-like than those moments, where we become creators and selflessly exist for someone else.

The crowning ordinances of the temple are all support columns and sacred hedgerows that protect and sanctify our sexual identities. I think that the sanctity and level of reverence we have for the temple should be proportional to the things that the temple protects, which is the family, the physical and emotional connection of a man and a woman. Think about it for a second, like really equate those two and let the Spirit teach you something and help you throw away toxic cultural norms.

I think because it's so close to who we really are and plays so directly into our eternal identities that it comes under the heaviest of fire from the Adversary and its manipulated, trivialized and reduced to selfish recreation and entertainment. OR, and this is just as destructive in my opinion, if the Adversary can't get someone to forsake the covenant the swing the pendulum as far as they can the other way.

They shut off that part of their person. They ignore it. They become afraid of it (like I said before) and buy into the concept that once a wedding ring is on your finger the world changes; you can see fairys and rainbows and galloping unicorns. Marriage isn't the tunnel from LA to Toon Town (start at 2:20). You're not all of a sudden aware and comfortable with every element of your body. I don't know how many people I know that once they got married and tried to consummate it, failed for months because they had to get used to this whole new side of themselves. They had spent their lifetime up to that point stuffing themselves into a proverbial box instead of getting to know themselves and how to *control* themselves.

Head in the ground thinking like that isn't obedience. Obedience is a very deliberate, informed, and pointed state of being. That, my friends, is ignorance. And yes someone completely disconnected from their sexuality isn't sinning but they're not a whole person. They're not learning control and respect. They're not humbling those powers at all. They're not progressing. You tell me which would be a bigger offence to The Plan and our Father in Heaven and what makes a bigger mockery of the Atonement. I know what I'd say.

Now I am by no means encouraging anyone to break the law of chastity as a way of "getting to know yourself". That's not what I mean. Don't go getting ready to go fly your freak flag.

What I'm saying is that I see our sexuality as any other appetite. It needs to be acknowledged, learned about, and controlled. I see it as the difference between anorexia and proper nutrition. Learning to recognize who we are and embracing it, loving it, and respecting it enough to keep it in its proper time and place is a lot harder than just cutting loose or straight jacketing ourselves, sticking our heads in the ground and waiting for Marriage D-Day. It just doesn't work like that.

It's very possible to talk about something all the time and reverence it. We do it with the temple all the time. Why can't we give sex the same respect? I think it would be nothing but beneficial. But like I said, that's just me.

And honestly, "virtue" doesn't exclusively mean sexual purity. Its from the Latin virtus which means strength. It means to be strong. Now, given, our sexual purity and how well we keep the law of chastity is a pretty definitive litmus test for where our moral strength is, how converted we are to the testimonies we have, but it is not just about sex.

It's about being a whole person, about being a spiritual Olympian, about taking not just sexually compromising situations or temptations, but ANY kind of morally compromising situation and being strong enough to make a decision our Heavenly Father would want us to and dealing with the consequences.

And now I'm finally getting tired so I'll leave off there.

Please discuss, question me, do whatever, just start thinking and talking in some form or another. That's all I ask, that's all I want.

That and my mom not to wake me up at 4 am in a panic attack.

A pox on the Taco Bell - a pox on you. It's grade E meat anyway. The the lowest grade they can use and still legally call it meat. Just. Don't. Do. It.



1 comment:

Liz W. said...

Hmmm... I have a lot to say about this subject that I don't feel like typing out in a comment.

Needless to say, when I see you, we'll talk!