Don’t Go Outside the Marriage
It’s important to remember that books written by General Authorities are not part of our doctrinal canon, but simply helpful life advice for their time. “The Miracle of Forgiveness” is a classic book that’s often quoted in our LDS culture as if it were scripture, mostly because there are so few books that refer to sexuality that are written by such an authoritative figure and in such detail.
However, while I would whole heartedly recommend The Miracle of Forgiveness, the Saints today must examine it carefully and recognize that not all perspectives are timeless. Such as parables and metaphors used in teaching that were relevant to a culture heavily dependent on horses for transportation or prevention practices important to a culture without modern day immunizations - such as polio. So to understand requires digging a little deeper into the individuals personal background.
We see that this quote that involves the phrase ‘secret sexual sins’ is located in his chapter about sins against the law of chastity. The section before this one references the sin of adultery.
In this particular section called ‘Love in Marriage’, he addresses those who are already married, beginning with a scripture that is an important key to understanding his meaning. He says that married couples who strictly keep this law will avoid adultery:
“Thou shalt love thy wife [husband] with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her [him] and none else. (D&C 42:22, italics added)
The italics added were Elder Kimball’s doing – and why was that?
A ‘secret sexual sin’ in marriage begins with the thought of adultery, not the action. It begins with a spicy new TV show or movie, or an erotic romance novel, or the co-worker who likes a little ‘harmless’ flirting, or the free profane erotic site that pops up one day in an Internet search that we view out of curiosity.
When we begin to mentally and visually wander outside our marriage sexually, we are engaging in ‘secret sexual sins’. The emotional online affair with someone who’s ‘just a friend’ is a secret sexual sin. The occasional lunch alone with a co-worker, a car ride, or the sharing of a hotel room with a member of the opposite sex at a convention to save money, can be a ‘secret sexual sin’, if for no other reason than for what it looks like to others. (Avoid the appearance of evil – 1 Thessalonians 5:22)
An addiction to profane erotica is a sin, and hiding this addiction from our spouse definitely qualifies as ‘secret sexual sins’[i]. This is one example where, just because you’re married doesn’t mean we can do just anything we want sexually.
Watching profane erotica together to get turned on to make love is bringing a third party into our relationship. A party not part of our marriage covenant. In addition, it financially supports the profane erotica industry. The General Authorities have told us to avoid it as we would a plague, married or not. Using profane erotica to jump start our libido within marriage and not repenting for it not only programs us to be bad lovers over time, it also makes us unworthy to attend the temple.[ii]
Elder Ted E. Brewerton said “…profane (things that defile the sacred) words never edify.”(1983,1)[iii] It stands to reason then that anything profane does not edify and that those things that are sacred/holy are those things that do edify.
Such circumstances should be recognized for the spiritual dangers they present. Fortunately, they can be repented of quickly once we recognize their presence in our relationship. Our sexual activities should be strengthening our eternal marriage, not making it sick.
Stay tuned for part three and if you missed part 1, click HERE
[i] The Four Marriage Killers: Secrets https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2011/10/waiting-upon-the-lord-thy-will-be-done?lang=eng
[ii] Oakes, Dallin H.,Recovering from the Trap of Pornograhy, (2015), https://www.lds.org/liahona/2015/10/youth/recovering-from-the-trap-of-pornography?lang=eng
[iii] Brewerton, Ted E., Profanity and Swearing, Apr. 1983 General Conference, https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1983/04/profanity-and-swearing?lang=eng