marriage bed symbol

marriage bed symbol

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Reader Question: Mormons, Masturbation, and Maternity

 WARNING: This post contains a topic of a sacred sexual nature and is intended for married couples only. Reader discretion is advised.

Anonymous said...
I have a question....I am a new convert to the church. (my wife was born into it) Ive been a member for almost a year and my wife and I are planning to seal in the temple next month. My wife is 5 months pregnant. 2 months after we married we concieved a child.She is now 5 months pregnant. During courtship we were often very affectionate and close however we maintained the law of chastity. After marriage for the first couple of months our love life and sex life was great and then we conceived a child. She is now 5 months pregnant and she doesnt want anything to do with me in the form of any intimacy. I am trying to be supportive and I know she is uncomfortable, often tired and she doesnt feel good. I also know she is self cautious of the changed in her body to a small extent. I have expressed to her both a physical and emotional need to make love to her but she ends up feeling guilty when she turns me down. I try and remain patient but sometimes get frustrated. I want to put her first and I love her so much. I try and show support and be patient and try my best to help her to feel beautiful and let her know these things in more ways than one. I find lately a lot of tension building up in the fact that we have a lack of intimacy and there is no release for me. Is masturbation in this case considered a sin? I know it wont fulfill my full needs because it is without her and it will feel as if something is missing. Most of all I have a desire to feel connected and close to her. I have two young boys from a previous marriage that ended due to infidelity (on the wifes part) and she has a child she brought into the marriage too so it is added pressure and stress on her - it isnt as if she just gets to lay around and do nothing all day. She is a great mom and wife all around. I just want to be the best husband i can for her and put her needs first...but lately my sexual frustrations are getting the best of me. 

Dear Anon Dec. 28

Thank you for your question and for reading. Congratulations on your marriage, expected child and sealing in the temple. I also commend you both for trying to be thoughtful of each other’s needs at this challenging time in your lives.  That gives me a lot of hope for the both of you.

Is masturbation a sin in marriage from a gospel perspective? That depends. When it comes to masturbation in marriage, we really don’t get into the realm of “sin” against God and/or your spouse until we are talking about solo masturbation. This article by Laura M. Brotherson has some helpful ideas for husbands with a wife who is struggling sexually called "Help for Husbands Stranded in the Sexual Desert"

As I mentioned in my previous articles, masturbation only becomes a problem in marriage when you do it alone and/or without your spouse’s knowledge and consent. Sex is intended to bond a couple together in marriage. If you are masturbating alone, you’re not bonding with anyone but yourself. It often tends to come back later with negative consequences to the relationship.

What can happen is that you start training the brain to prefer masturbating over vaginal intercourse. Repeating an activity over and over again with dopamine reinforcement programs the brain to associate sex with that activity, and it can make it more difficult to become aroused for intercourse if masturbation is done over a long period of time. Neurons that fire together tend to wire together, making it into a regular habit.

A lot of what we do is habit-oriented…tasks such as driving, brushing our teeth, etc. Over time, these activities get easier, and we think less and less about the details involved. Our brain’s natural tendency is to find the quickest and most efficient solution to any circumstance we encounter regularly. Sex is no different. We develop sexual habits over time.

In the ganglion, our brains stores information of repeated activities that we do. This gives the brain a more direct route to action, so we don’t have to think as much about a task. These habits consist of cues that run the habit routine, which gives us the reward we seek. (For more interesting insights on how habits are formed and broken, try Duhigg, Charles. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business. Random House, NY. 2012)

If we apply this to your situation…if the reward you’re seeking is sexual release…and the cue is when your wife refuses to have sex with you…then every time she says no, you go and masturbate, and your logical mind says that this will solve the problem.

Each time you receive the cue to have a sexual release, you go masturbate. Your ganglion stores that routine as a habit, until you reach the point that your brain associates sex with masturbating, and not so much with having sex with your wife. Over time, your efficient brain begins to tell you that there is no reward for having sex with your wife, or even attempting to do so, since there is pain in the rejection.

You stop approaching her, and simply take care of yourself, leaving her feeling disconnected and lonely, wondering why you don’t want to be intimate with her. You don’t talk about sex, because it’s emotionally painful. Sometimes masturbation may become augmented with pornography for a greater rush, and then the spiritual and psychological problems only grow from there.

Lack of intimacy is actually the root of your challenge. Men and women die without intimacy with another human being. People have affairs because they’re starving for intimacy. They want another person to know them deeply, to care whether or not they’re alive or dead, and to tell them they’re loved. No ones dies from lack of ejaculation.

Avoiding coercion and cultivating good communication about sex is really your best tool in the long run to meet each other’s intimate needs. This is especially true during periods of difficulty such as pregnancy and young parenthood. Problems tend to develop when the couple stops talking and expect the other to read their minds. Men and women don’t always think the same, and they need to verbalize what they’re thinking and restate for understanding in order to keep connected to each other. My article on avoiding gender prejudice may help in this case 

Masturbation, under some circumstances, can help when you’re going through a period where sex is not possible. But pregnancy doesn’t have to mean going sexless for months. On the contrary, there are a multitude of positive health reasons to continue having sex during pregnancy, if you both feel up to it.

I don’t know any more about your situation than what you’ve already shared, so I’m including some tips here for you to consider. Some may apply to you, and some might not. Feel free to use or discard any of these as you choose:

  • Your wife may be under the belief that sex will harm the baby, but this is unwarranted as long as her pregnancy is normal. In fact, sex during pregnancy can actually strengthen the uterine and vaginal muscles which will help your wife to tolerate delivery better. The hormones in your semen can help keep the cervix soft and may also help during dilation of the cervix during delivery. This is according to Dr. Robert Bradley, who founded the Bradley Method of childbirth .

  • When she has her next prenatal visit, ask the doctor or nurse if there is any reason why she should not have sex. If she is healthy and not at risk of going into early labor, this may help alleviate some of her concerns. She may have fears that were instilled in her from her parents or friends. Talk to her to find out what her beliefs about sex during pregnancy are. This article from the Mayo Clinic website may help to spark some conversation.

  • Discuss with each other what you both might enjoy doing. Help her to understand that sex is something that will keep you feeling close to her and strengthen your relationship. Having young children and infants around is the hardest time to have sex, but sex needs to continue through this period in order to be good later in life as well….and it does get better with continued practice.

  • Pregnancy and caring for small children is absolutely exhausting. Ask her what would help her to have the energy to have sex with you. Does she need a nap? Does she need a relaxing shower? Does she need time to think, or just be alone for a little while? Find out what you can do to give her a break to have time for her, to get some rest, and to mentally prepare herself for sexual intimacy.

  • If sex is painful for her because of dryness, try using a lube such as Astroglide or KY jelly to make things more comfortable for you both.

  • Experiment with positions where you are not lying on top of her, or her on you if the extra weight bothers you. The spooning position would likely be a comfortable position for you both. You may also want to try having her lay on her side while you (in an upright position) enter her is a kind of sideways doggy-style. There are lots of other positions to try. Find something comfortable. Here’s a link to a website of different positions that use CGI models . Best to view this one together, as the figures are anatomically correct.

  • If intercourse is out of the question, there are different ways she can masturbate you and you her. Intimacy doesn’t always require intercourse. The point of intimacy is to get emotionally and physically close. Cuddling and pillow talk can increase intimacy. Mutual caresses and massages feel good, and can create intimate feelings. Mutual masturbation is an option. Oral sex is an option if she’s open to the idea and can’t have sex for a time. Taking a bath or shower might be a good time for some sex play that wouldn’t involve intercourse, or it could get her in the mood for it.

  • Allow her to serve you. Be a gracious receiver – even if she is not technically very good at first. Don’t get impatient. She doesn’t have a penis of her own, and most likely has no clue what you feel sexually or how you want your penis stroked.  Gently and lovingly show her how you prefer to be touched, and tell her how good she makes you feel. Don’t tell her she’s doing it wrong, but redirect her to something that makes you feel good, and tell her what she’s doing right.

  • Have you considered the use of a vibrator? Vibrators are not sinful as long as you both agree to their use, and are respectful of each other’s feelings and bodies. If she uses a vibrator on you, that would be an easy way for her to bring you to orgasm without wearing out her arms or mouth. Because of the upper body strength and stamina needed to masturbate you, she may not be very good, or have the energy, or may become frustrated easily when she’s trying to please you. This can especially be the case when she’s pregnant and tired.

  • She sounds like she wants to be accommodating because she loves you. Talking to her is the best way you can show you care and will help her to be more open to you sexually. Talking with her about sex is also a turn-on, because it stimulates curiosity. If she allows you, let her know you will take it slow and be prepared to stop if she expresses discomfort. You can then troubleshoot from there to try and identify what is causing her discomfort and make adjustments. Love can find a way. J

  • Abstinence is also an option, but be careful. No one has died from failure to ejaculate, but she does need to know (gently and lovingly tell her) that going sexless for many months to years is undesirable. Few men and women get married to be celibate, and going without sex can become a destructive habit. For short periods (short being a month or less), abstaining from sex for a time can increase your desire for each other and keep the passion fresh when you are both physically able to have sex again.

Let me know if you have any additional questions. I’m glad to help you troubleshoot and have a happy and healthy sex life. As endowed members of the Lord’s Church, it’s not only possible to have great sex, but a successful sexual relationship is what God wants for us. It’s worth the work to get there.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Giving and Receiving The Gift of Sex

Each and every time, sex is a gift our spouse gives to us from the deepest part of who they are.

Do we receive that gift with joy and gladness?

Can we give that gift with joy and gladness and expect nothing in return? (Moroni 7:8)

"As we get older...our ability to receive gifts with the same enthusiasm and grace seems to diminish. Sometimes people even get to the point where they can’t receive a gift or, for that matter, even a compliment without embarrassment or feelings of indebtedness.

They mistakenly think that the only acceptable way to respond to receiving a gift is by giving back something of even greater value.

Others simply fail to see the significance of a gift—focusing only on its outward appearance or its value and ignoring the deep meaning it has to the sincere giver...

...At Christmastime we talk a lot about giving, and we all know that “it is more blessed to give than to receive,” but I wonder if sometimes we disregard or even disparage the importance of being a good receiver."

~ Pres. Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Friday, December 21, 2012

Sex in Marriage - Carnal, Sensual, and Devilish...?

Here’s a comment from one of my readers. My answer ended up being too long to post in the comments section, so I’m posting it here. I look forward to your thoughtful and constructive comments, and please, state your references! J

“Many scriptures (Moses 5:13, Alma 42:10, D&C 20:20) put "carnal" (pertaining to the passions and appetites of the flesh) and "sensual" (pertaining to the gratification of the senses and physical, especially sexual, pleasure) together with "devilish" (having the qualities of the devil).

So these scriptures would seem to indicate that sexual pleasure (in or out of marriage) makes us more like the devil. Don't see any way that can be wholesome.”

Thank you for your comment Anon Dec. 20 and for reading.

I can empathize with your concern. Fortunately, we have a modern-day prophet to give us clarification of the scriptures pertaining to sex and sexuality.

The belief that sex is evil and devilish inside of the bonds of marriage is a puritanical belief system constructed by early Catholic leaders such as Augustine and St. Ambrose. (Please see

Unfortunately, too many still hold onto this sub-cultural belief in the membership of the LDS Church, in spite of what living modern-day prophets have taught us.

“The lawful association of the sexes is ordained of God, not only as the sole means of race perpetuation, but for the development of the higher faculties and nobler traits of human nature [a wholesome result from married sexual activity], which the love-inspired companionship of man and woman alone can insure.”
~ Pres. Joseph F. Smith, Improvement Era, June 1917, pg. 739, parentheses added

“ In the context of lawful marriage, the intimacy of sexual relations is right and divinely approved. There is nothing unholy or degrading about sexuality in itself, for by that means men and women join in the process of creation and in an expression of love”
~ Pres. Spencer W. Kimball, Eternal Marriage, pg. 139

This is a bogus dilemma really, because the terms you have chosen do not always mean the same thing in every context. For what you said to be true, words such as sensual, or natural, or unnatural would have to mean the same thing all the time…and they just don’t.

As stated above, sensuality is wholesome in the context of marriage, but not outside of the context of marriage.

The context of ‘sensual’ and ‘carnal’ you are referring to are doing things that are “holy” outside of the bounds and conditions the Lord has set to keep them “holy”. When we do sexual activities outside of marriage, we are communicating that we believe these ‘holy’ things are nothing more than ordinary bodily desires and functions.

When I did my research into the term “natural”, I learned that there are many such terms that take on multiple meanings and must be understood in the context they were given. For example:

The natural man is an enemy to God (Moses 3:19), but men engaging in things “unnatural” is also considered unfavorable (2 Tim 3 :1-3); except when it’s considered favorable (Alma 41:12).

It’s all a matter of context. Take Moses 5:13 that you shared. The term “carnal” (if you look in the Topical Guide) shows it was referring to those not spiritually reborn yet.

In a marriage ceremony we make covenants to multiply and replenish the earth. That requires sex. To make the covenants, we first must be baptized, become spiritually reborn and keep the commandments. It would be a contradiction to then consider sex in marriage and under that covenant “unholy or carnal”.

Sex outside of marriage would be a counterfeit of this; a perversion of that covenant and therefore would be taking a “holy” act and making it profane or unholy or “carnal”.  

When looking at Alma 42:10, we also have to consider verse 9. This talks about the Fall and how we spiritually die when we stop living the commandments of God. Carnal, sensual and devilish here refers to living our life contrary to the teachings of God. Since sex was ordained of God from the beginning of time to today (D&C 42:22), sex in marriage is contrary to a carnal, sensual and devilish state.

Again in D&C 20:20, by transgressing the laws of God, our actions become carnal and sensual and devilish. The Lord is telling us here that he wants us to worship Him through keeping his laws and commandments. Having sex in marriage is a fulfillment of the commandments (again, see D&C 42:22).  When we break these laws we are instead worshiping our senses (the bad kind of 'sensual'), and worshiping the devil instead of God (which is what the word ‘devilish’ refers to here).

Now I realize that, no matter what I say or what evidences I present, some may be more likely to revert to the cultural belief systems that they are habitually accustomed to.

My hope is that no one will use the scriptures to trap themselves unnecessarily, but instead look at the scriptures together with the quotes from modern sources presented here in their full context, take this to the Lord in prayer, and let the Spirit tell them if sex in marriage is holy (or not) and thus wholesome in this context by the standards of the Lord.

It is my belief that sex in marriage is a wonderful tool that has the power to bring ourselves and our spouses so much joy and create eternal bonds. My hope is to stop any false dilemmas that would keep a married couple from enjoying the sexual pleasure that God not only approves of, but wants us to have.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Wholesome Married Sex

At first glance, the two words ‘wholesome sex’ together may seem like an oxymoron, but is it possible to have a wholesome sexual relationship?

Growing up as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I heard the term “wholesome” my whole life. Eat wholesome food, engage in wholesome activities, use wholesome language, and watch wholesome shows…these were some of the phrases that were commonplace in my ward and in my home.

The term even appears in the For the Strength of Youth booklet:

 “How you speak says much about who you are. Clean and intelligent language is evidence of a bright and wholesome mind…”[1]
If you are like me, you hear a lot of this sort of terminology in the church, but took it for granted.

I learned how important it was to take the time to look up these words and understand their meaning when my understanding of the terminology began to conflict with what I believed. I’m finding that some of the intimacy problems I’m seeing in the couples I coach come from their misunderstanding of the meaning of some of these Mormon terms.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary provides the definition of wholesome as “promoting health or well-being of mind or spirit.”

So based upon this definition, is it possible to have “wholesome sexual activity” in your life?

Douglas Brinley, who has a PhD in family studies and is the author of “Between Husband and Wife” recently wrote an Ensign article called “What Happily Married Couples Do” where he said:

“Intimate relations were designed by the Lord as a sacred opportunity to renew marriage covenants, provide therapy, and keep you two in love. It is essential in a stressful world that the two of you enjoy your physical and emotional relationship.

Intimacy is not to be abused. This is your spouse, companion, confidant, lover, and therapist all rolled into one, and you two should enjoy the privilege of sharing your masculine and feminine traits in a wholesome way.

Of course, the relationship must be healthy if this part of the marriage is to be cherished. Intimacy should not be used as a punishment or a weapon to hurt the other spouse or reward “good behavior.” It is also important not to solicit behavior that is offensive to your spouse. Rather, loving, kind interactions facilitate greater unity.”

For greater clarification, let’s break this down.

Does sex promote health of the body, or the well-being of the mind? Let us consider the following from WebMD’s article "10 SurprisingHealth Benefits of Sex:"

Does sex in marriage promote health or well-being of the spirit?

“The expression of our procreative powers is pleasing to God…”[2]

 “…Participation in [sex] offers an experience like nothing else in life. When entered into worthily, it combines the most exquisite and exalted physical, emotional and spiritual feelings associated with the word love. Those feelings and the lifelong need for one another bind a husband and wife together in a marriage wherein all of the attributes of adult masculinity are complemented by the priceless feminine virtues of womanhood.
 That part of life has no equal, no counterpart, in all human experience. It will, when covenants are made and kept, last eternally…”[3]

Can these benefits be obtained outside of marriage? Perhaps for a time when it comes to physical or mental benefits, but even these cannot last long-term.

If you ever question whether or not sex outside of marriage can truly be wholesome, may I suggest reading Mark Gungor’s article, entitled ‘It’s Not Just a Bunny’.

To Mark’s article, I would like to add that, for those who may have already transgressed the law of chastity in some way, that repentance and forgiveness is available to us through the Atonement of our Lord and Savior.

He can take away the pain and regret that we may feel from such sins, but consequences can remain. The physical and mental consequences that Mark Gungor talks about can linger, even after proper repentance. Medical or mental or legal counseling, learning new habits, and/or an additional measure of discipline can be required to manage the fallout from sexual sin.

It is always better not to sin in the first place.

Is sex in marriage a ‘wholesome’ activity? You be the judge.

[1] For the Strength of Youth pamphlet, pg. 22
[2] Dallin H. Oaks, Ensign, Nov 1993
[3] Boyd K. Packer, The Fountain of Life, Things of the Soul, pg. 105-17

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Who Gets To Have Sex In The Eternities?

Warning: This blog post has anatomically correct terminology and discussions of sexuality in the context of marriage. To any singles reading, please click here

Hi Sam…I have a question…

A couple of years back I was chatting with a friend and seasoned  priesthood leader and somehow we came to talk about eternal marriages and the status in the eternal world of those who do not qualify for the highest degree of glory…

My friend says "Well, I am not sure what will happen to the sexual organs of those who do not enter the celestial marriage, if they will not be a part of their bodies any longer or what, but one thing I do know for sure, they will not be able to use them".

That statement has made me think a lot. Yes, we all hope to attain the highest glory, but still, some won't.

In the pre-existence we all held our first estate when we chose to side with Christ, and by doing this we were unconditionally promised the blessings of a physical body. With that in mind it feels a little bit like going backwards on our earned blessings if we would no longer be able to use this precious body to its full extent.

In general terms, I have always had within me the idea that most of us, when all is said and done and we receive our resurrected bodies, we will be in a better, happier, and more glorious place than this mortal life, even if we don't make it all the way to the highest glory.

But how would it be possible to feel happy and fulfilled for all eternity without physical intimacy in our lives.. this very key ingredient in a happy life that we already got to use and learned to love here on earth?

Is it possible that we are missing an important point here? Could it be that the key difference between the highest glory and those below is the ability to have eternal offspring, and that even at the lesser glory, physical intimacy will be a part of our lives...?


Eternally Troubled

Dear Troubled,

The first statement you made that caught my attention was - "the key difference between the highest glory and those below it is the ability to have eternal offspring, and that even at the lesser glory; physical intimacy will be a part of our lives."

I believe that this statement is a correct one, and there is doctrine and scriptures that support that belief.

Your friend's statement that we might have body parts but will not be able to use them, I believe, is partially right and partially wrong.

 Why both?

The whole physical body is earned by all who come to mortality

Let's start with Alma 40:23 -

"The soul shall be restored to the body, and the body to the soul; yea, and every limb and joint shall be restored to its body; yea, even a hair of the head shall not be lost; but all things shall be restored to their proper and perfect frame."

Forgive me if this sounds patronizing (this is not my intention), but Alma did not say penises or vaginas or breasts or any other sexual organs would be excluded from the resurrection of the body. I can find no scriptural account of a body part being taken away in the resurrection as a result of unrighteousness, or that any body part would not be functional in the eternities.

On the contrary, if everything is restored in the resurrection to its “proper and perfect frame”, I believe it’s safe to say it will function as it should – perfectly; completely.

Therefore, body functions such as sexual intercourse, ejaculation, and orgasm may all be available to those who inhabit lower kingdoms, and for eternity.

Some members may feel cheated by this possibility or say, "Why would a righteous God allow people who should be punished to find comfort in fornicating in their kingdoms, where they’ll never carry the responsibilities of marriage, and never get diseases, and never die?"

The ability to have children will stay with God in the next life

There is doctrine that talks about eternal increase, meaning the  ability to have children. This power would only be available to those who are entrusted with it, and they gain that trust by making and  keeping covenants in the temple:

"In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees; and in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood (meaning the new or everlasting covenant of marriage); and if he does not, he cannot obtain it.
He may enter into the other, but that is the end of his kingdom; he cannot have an increase."[1]

You asked the question, "But how would it be possible to feel happy and fulfilled for all eternity without physical intimacy in our lives.. this very key ingredient in a happy life…"

The Lord has a great and generous love for all his children, not just those who will join him in his kingdom someday.

He wants all his children to be happy wherever they choose to be, and He sorrows for those who cannot.[2]

Those who go to lower kingdoms will not be able to marry.[3] They will not be able to have children.[4] If what Alma taught about the restoration of the body is accurate, they likely will be able to have sex. So that is how your friend is partly right, and partly incorrect.

Even the lowest level of the Telestial Kingdom will be nicer than anything we can imagine here on Earth, but the Terrestrial and Telestial Kingdoms will not be an eternal Club Med.  People can’t sin without any consequences, even though from our temporal perspective, it may seem that way.

To be jealous of those who seem to commit sin with no consequences is to fail to see the latent consequences of unrighteous choices. For those who sin and are momentarily happy, we should be happy that they're happy, but sorrowful that their happiness cannot last.

Wickedness never was happiness; misery always follows, sooner or later.[5]

Elder Holland expresses the Lord’s thoughts concerning our envy of others:

“’Why should you be jealous because I choose to be kind?’

Brothers and sisters, there are going to be times in our lives when someone else gets an unexpected blessing or receives some special recognition. May I plead with us not to be hurt-and certainly not to feel envious-when good fortune comes to another person? We are not diminished when someone else is added upon. We are not in a race against each other to see who is the wealthiest or the most talented or the most beautiful or even the most blessed. The race we are really
in is the race against sin, and surely envy is one of the most universal of those.

Furthermore, envy is a mistake that just keeps on giving. Obviously we suffer a little when some misfortune befalls us, but envy requires us to suffer all good fortune that befalls everyone we know! What a bright prospect that is-downing another quart of pickle juice every time anyone around you has a happy moment!"[6]

I believe this includes those who appear happy in sin.

"Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb."[7]

Eternal ‘Barbie dolls’?

Your question is one I've heard suggested in other places online, and even growing up in the church, with some pretty creative answers. I've heard some members speculate that those in other kingdoms other than the Celestial Kingdom will become 'eternal Barbie dolls' with only smooth places where their sexual organs used to be, thus being deprived of the ability to have sex for all eternity.

Those who hold to this belief are subscribing to something more mainstream Christianity in nature than LDS gospel-oriented. The religious beliefs of a God with 'no body, parts, or passions' and that we will shed these sinful bodies and be free of them someday feeds into that idea that the body is somehow disposable or a necessary evil while we fulfill our purpose on earth. This is not LDS doctrine at all, and contradicts the scriptural teachings of resurrection.

The body is vital to our ability to experience a fulness of joy, now and forever, and everyone who has earned a body will be resurrected and have the full use of that gift forever.[8]

The next world will be different than mortality, with different consequences

Consequences will also continue through eternity, but the physical consequences will change. There will be no more physical death or physical pain.[9]  Everyone will likely be happy and comfortable with the kingdom they inherit at first. The scriptures suggest, however, that emotional and spiritual pain and suffering will in some ways continue.[10]

As previously mentioned, those who inherit the lower kingdoms will live in worlds with no children.[11]  The people in the Terrestrial and Telestial Kingdoms will learn all they can learn, and do all they can do. A time will come when there is nothing new under the sun anymore.

There will be no one new to tell their stories to who haven't heard them already. All the songs will become old. There will be no one new to teach and no continued progression at all… only repetition of the same old thing, over and over, for eternity.[12]

Which would you choose? Celibacy or Promiscuity?

Those who enter the Celestial kingdom, but choose not to enter into the
covenant of marriage (when the opportunity is given), will be ministers to those who do. They will not have sex, because they cannot break the law of chastity and live with Father in Heaven. These will only progress themselves so far until they are perfect.

But, they will be privileged to live in a world with new spirit children around them, and they will benefit from the progression of others - for eternity. They will always have someone new to tell their stories to, and teach, and watch over and care for peripherally.[13]

Those who enter the highest level of the Celestial Kingdom will retain their marriage under the Lord’s covenant and stay faithful to those covenants.[14] They will have sex that will be perfect physically, emotionally and spiritually.  They will have spirit children to teach, to raise, to watch and pray for, to encourage, and to create new connections with and watch that newness over and over again.[15]

Those children will be as numerous as the sands of the sea and as long as there are new minds to teach, to raise, and to care for, there will be variety, and progression, and caring, and growing, forever and ever.[16]

Can you see why the Lord values the fruit of procreation so much? Can you see why sex is so important to control and protect?

My understanding from these scriptures is that children are the key to a life worth living forever. We should aim to live where the children will live – with Heavenly Father in His kingdom.[17]

Sex does not equal happiness all by itself.

Having sex can be as far from being happy as having lots of money means you're wealthy. There's more to wealth (and sex) than just the material possession of it. There's also the joy that can only come from the righteous utilization of it.

There are lots of people out there who have sexual, "lifestyles", habits, dependencies and addictions. They are getting sex, but it brings them misery and only produces destruction and heartache all around them, but they become resigned to it as part of the use of it in order to get the sexual release or intimacy fix. Many others enter into loving consensual sexual relationships of one type or another, but unless they live according to the principles of the gospel, knowingly or unknowingly, their relationships turn out hellish and miserable, and sometimes end even when the sex itself is good. Intimacy is more than just friction on membranes and chemical releases.[18]

The joy we get from sex comes through the increase we obtain from it - building a relationship that will last through the eternities and having children and watching them grow.

Even if a couple is unable to have children in this life, this ability will be given them in the eternities - if they honor their covenants and do the best they can.[19]

A lower-kingdom view of sex and children

It's very ironic that many in the world looks at children as an unfortunate by-product of sex, and that all the happiness and satisfaction comes from the sex itself. In the Lord's view, this is reasoning turned on its head.

To illustrate, Elder Dallin H. Oaks recently taught:

"We remember our Savior's teaching as He placed a little child before His followers and declared:
'And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea'(Matthew 18:5-6).
A Harvard law professor describes the current law and attitude toward marriage and divorce: 'The [current] American story about marriage, as told in the law and in much popular literature, goes something like this:  marriage is a relationship that exists primarily for the fulfillment of the individual spouses. If it ceases to perform this function, no one is to blame and either spouse may terminate it at will. . Children hardly appear in the story; at most they are rather shadowy characters in the background.'[20]

Elder Oaks goes on to explain how the secular world's view is an evil tradition. This attitude is not consistent with the lifestyle of celestial beings.

Some gifts are freely given, and some are earned

Before God will entrust us with the power of producing spirit children in the eternities, he has to know he can trust us to be creators and not destroyers with the fountains of life in this world.

One of my favorite analogies is of sex being like fire. Restricting fire to a fireplace and not letting that fire get out of control has the ability to do many wonderful things for us. It can warm us, cook our food, help us create glass and metal, even produce power to light our home and run machines. This is how those who inherit the Celestial Kingdom will live and have sex and create.

Fire can also be used to destroy, which will be reflected in the attitudes and beliefs and misery-producing habits of those who will inherit the lower kingdoms. Imagine a person who felt that keeping fire in the fireplace was too restrictive and developed the habit of only using it to spray fire everywhere they went. He/she would burn their home, the people around them, and their world.

Sex is the same. If we are a loose cannon and inclined to use it freely and with wild abandon on whomever or whatever we cross paths with, why would God want to entrust us with that sacred power to create spirit children after this life?

“…that same sociality which exists among us now…”

We will obtain the kingdom where we are the most comfortable, and at the level we can be trusted. When we are resurrected, we will not magically become holy and spiritual beings instantly just because we lived in the culture of the Church.[21]

We will be the same as we have lived our lives here on Earth.[22] We may be able to have sex, but it will not automatically equal joy, peace or happiness. That is, unless we’ve learned how to create those kinds of relationships by applying the principles of the gospel to our lives. We cannot escape the consequences that come from abusing the sacred gift of sex.

After our resurrection, we will still be able to experience misery that comes from hurt feelings, sexual abuses, and emotional abuse. We will still experience the self-hatred, disappointment and loneliness that comes with an inability to stay faithful to our relationship commitments.

We avoid that and obtain the joy and happiness of procreation by showing the Lord we can be entrusted with it. We are entrusted with it in the eternities by applying the Atonement, repenting frequently, making and keeping covenants, and keeping sex in the bounds the Lord has set.

Prepare now to live a Celestial life…

Whatever kingdom we inherit is our choice and contingent on how we exercise our agency. We can share the gospel and encourage others who live differently to repent, but we can be most effective by showing an example of how to live in a Celestial manner.

We do this by thinking and living the way that God does and asking ourselves “What would Jesus Christ do?”

Instead of worrying about what will happen to those who will someday inherit lower kingdoms (whoever they may be - hopefully as few as possible), it would be better for us to spend our time creating marital and sexual happiness in our marriages, so that all who see us will know the happiness and the joy that can come from living the gospel, no matter what our circumstances.

[1] Doctrine and Covenants (D&C)131, italics added
[2] Moses 7: 26-37
[3] Matthew 22:30
[4] D&C 132:19, 29-32, D&C 131:1-4
[5] Alma 41

[6] Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “The Laborers in the Vineyard", April 2012 General Conference
[7] Psalm 37:1-2
[8] Alma 42:23

[9] 1 Corinthians 15:26
[10] Joseph Smith-Matthew 50-55
[11] Moroni 8

[12] A taste of this can be found in the Book of Ecclesiastes, especially chapters one and two.
[13] D&C 132: 16-20

[14] D&C 132:18
[15] Moses 1:39
[16] Genesis 17: 1-7
[17] Matt. 18:3
[18] See Dr. David Schnarch "Passionate Marriage" pg. 83, and also D&C 130: 20 - 21
[19] Handbook 2: Administering the Church (2010), 1.3.3.; found at
[20] Dallin H. Oaks, “Protect the Children”, General Conference, Oct 2012, italics added

[21] Some have come to think of activity in the Church as the ultimate goal. Therein lies a danger. It is possible to be active in the Church and less active in the gospel. Let me stress: activity in the Church is a highly desirable goal; however, it is insufficient. Activity in the Church is an outward indication of our spiritual desire. If we attend our meetings, hold and fulfill Church responsibilities, and serve others, it is publicly observed.
By contrast, the things of the gospel are usually less visible and more difficult to measure, but they are of greater eternal importance. For example, how much faith do we really have? How repentant are we? How meaningful are the ordinances in our lives? How focused are we on our covenants?
I repeat: we need the gospel and the Church. In fact, the purpose of the Church is to help us live the gospel.

– Donald L. Hallstrom, “Converted to His Gospel Through His Church”,April 2012 Gen Conference
[22] D&C 130: 2 and Alma 41:4