What I'm about to type is an abridgement, perhaps the beginning of a series, regarding a pamphlet my husband was given back in his teens, probably sometime after turning sixteen. I don't know. But it was produced and handed out by our then Stake Presidency. So this is circa 1995-1999.
It says we cannot control ourselves sexually. And I understand that once things get going, wants become needs. I understand that control becomes an issue. I've a stepsister with three kids from three different daddies. I've known some teen pregnancies. I remember how unbelievably attracted I was to my husband while we were dating (still am, don't get snarky :). I get it.
But come on.
President Kimball and those who worship his words and works are very much focused on sex, sex by itself and sex as a sin.
They say these things understanding that our sexuality is a fundamental part of who we are. Like porn, it becomes so saturated in our church media that we wonder if its not attracting us. I wonder if aggressive campaigns of this nature are in part self-fulfilling prophecies.
I mean, if french kissing is suggestive of "the sex act" doesn't that make your inner antennae perk up a bit? Sounds good, right? I hadn't even thought of that until I read this, after all.
Personally, I'd rather be spoken to as an adult--not just the spiritual reasons for abstaining from such things, but the secular reasons as well. Appeal to me as an intelligent person and then leave me to govern myself. I like to think most people are pretty intelligent and will act accordingly if treated as such.
But that's just me.
What you're about to read (and there's more) makes me think: my God, with all that can go wrong--why bother at all? My own thoughts are in blue.
1. NO DATING UNTIL AGE 16; NO SINGLE DATING UNTIL 18. "...President Kimball went on to counsel us that beginning the dating process too soon almost always brings on young immature marriages or immorality and sin."
Funny. I think all the sexual repression does this. This also assumes there are no immature marriages if a person follows the Church's prescribed formula. I can say from personal experience this is patently untrue: a young couple will marry ASAP because they've been told to and they want to have sex. Many marriages still surivive, but this doesn't mean marrying quickly is always the answer. They also become parents before they are truly ready regarding finances and maturity levels. Do they survive despite? Sure. But this isn't always the right answer.
"Remember, NO STEADY dating until after missions. It is an excellent idea to always double or group date until at least the age of 18."
Anyone else finding some inconsistency there? What of that year between 18-19? I mean, if a young boy is readying to go on his mission, wouldn't Satan be extra vigilant in getting that young man to give into sexual desires? Or wouldn't Satan, as he did in the Garden, tempt young Eve to get Adam to do something that would keep him from his mission?
Be on your haunches, young men!
2. MISSIONS BEFORE SERIOUS DATING. I know plenty of couples who have ignored this bit of counsel. They're the ones who get married two weeks after he returns home.
3. DO NOT DATE NON-MEMBERS OR UNWORTHY MEMBERS. "I do not believe that the Lord would expect the choice young people of His church to find their eternal mates among non-members! He would not ask us to go against both His counsel throughout the ages or against the counsel of His prophets. President Kimball told us "Clearly, right marriage begins with right dating...therefore, this warning comes with great emphasis. DO NOT take the chance of dating non-members, or members who are untrained and faithless." Now, do not rationalize by saying that you are doing missionary work. The Lord does not instruct us to do missionary work one-on-one with members of the opposite sex"
well, hell, I had an fresh RM teaching me about the gospel before i dared speak with the missionaries. i had a huge crush on him too.
4. DO NOT PARTICIPATE IN "KISSING-HUGGING" SESSIONS. (making out, or necking, as it is sometimes called). I am not talking about the serious sin of "petting" but the lengthy make-out sessions that many feel are "okay" as long as you do not let it get too far. President Kimball taught us, "Among the most common sexual sins our young people commit are necking and petting. Not only do these improper relations often lead to fornication, pregnancy, and abortions -, all ugly sins - but in and of themselves they are pernicious evils..." Necking or making out, the kissing-hugging sessions, is wrong IN AND OF ITSELF, not just because it may lead to something worse. I'm not saying there isn't a proper time in a dating relationship to kiss. There IS a proper time and place. President Kimball advised us, '"Kissing would be saved at last until these later hallowed courtship days when they could be free from sex and have holy meaning--'
i can only assume "these later hallowed courtship days" means after one returns from a mission and is "steady dating"
"--In an address delivered to returned missionaries (not high school age people), President Kimball say '"A kiss is an evidence of affection. A kiss is an evidence of love, not an evidence of lust--but it can be. Don't ever let a kiss in your courship [sic] spell lust. Necking and petting are lustful; they are NOT love...I don't mind your kissing each other after you have had several dates; but not the "Hollywood kiss," not the kiss of passion, but the kiss of affection and there won't be any trouble.'
(it gets better)
5. "NO FRENCH KISSING. This type of conduct is far too intimate and is suggestive of the sex act itself. A French kiss does not meet the standards President Kimball described above. President Kimball stated that '...The "soul kiss" is an abomination and stirs passions to the eventual loss of virtue. Even if timely courtship justifies the kiss, it should be a clean, sexless one, like the kiss between mother and son, or father and daughter.--"
(the bolded part is one of my favorite LDS quotes of all time)
"--In Isaiah we read: 'But draw near hither, ye sons of the sorceress, the seed of the adulterer and the whore. Against whom do ye sport yourselves? against whom make ye a wide mouth, and draw out the tongue? are ye not children of transgression, a seed of falsehood?" (QUOTES from Spencer W. Kimball, Chastity: Isaiah 57:3-4)
6. DO NOT PARK. Especially in the high school years, parking in an automobile has been the downfall of many choice young people. President Kimball told us that, "In interviewing repenting young folks, as well as some older ones, I am frequently told that the couple met their defeat in the dark, late hours, in secluded areas...the car was most often the confessed seat of the difficulty. It became their brothel." BEWARE! Often I have found that a couple originally parked to discuss a problem or work out an argument--not to make out. However, after the problem was resolved, they kissed to make up and things developed from there. It does not matter the reason: DO NOT PARK. After a date, GO HOME! Once you are there, go into the house, ALONE!
And just in case I'm accused of blanket hyperbole again, here is number 17:
17. DO NOT THINK THAT YOU ARE THE EXCEPTION TO THESE RULES. Don't say to yourself, "Boy, do I know so-and-so who needs these rules." The rules are for you! To think that it could never happen to you is an error. It CAN happen to you. You are not so in control that you can afford to say to yourself, "oh, I would NEVER do that, therefore, I can go into an apartment alone with my date, or park, or whatever." This is an open invitation to Satan to prove you wrong! And, he will! The biggest error of all is to think that you are an exception to one of these rules.
And yet, somehow, my husband and I made it.