President Spencer W. Kimball said years ago, in the Miracle of Forgiveness:
“Even though sex can be an important and satisfactory part of married life, we must remember that life is not designed just for sex. Even marriage does not make proper certain extremes in sexual indulgence. (1969, 73)
This part I addressed in a previous blog entitled “sexual extremes in marriage”.
However, Spencer Kimball goes on to say:
“To the Ephesian saints Paul begged for propriety in marriage: ‘So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.’ (Eph. 5:28.) And perhaps the Lord’s condemnation included secret sexual sins in marriage, when he said: ‘… And those who are not pure, and have said they were pure, shall be destroyed, saith the Lord God.” (D&C 132:52.)” (Miracle of Forgiveness, 73, emphasis added).
I wanted to address this quote today because of the concerns I’ve been hearing that have plagued members’ marriages since 1969, when this book was published.
Separating Cultural Myth from Gospel Truth
Recently, I’ve received questions from married couples whose parents are now using the phrase “secret sexual sins” to justify telling their married children what sexual practices are and are not okay to do in marriage – even when many of those sexual acts are perfectly acceptable to the Lord for a husband and wife to do in the sanctity of their marriage bed.
One reader in particular was still troubled, even after her bishop had told her what they are doing was fine and that the local leaders have been counseled not to tell a married couple what they can or cannot do sexually in marriage, which was correct counsel.
Her mother’s advice contradicted the bishop’s, saying that any Saints that couldn’t live up to the doctrine indicated by Spencer Kimball’s quote and her interpretation of it were not strong enough to be Saints, leaving this reader not knowing who to believe.
What comes to mind with the phrase ‘secret sexual sins’?
I’ve seen the phrase ‘secret sexual sins’ slyly referred to as oral sex, anal sex, using a vibrator, sex in positions other than missionary style, having sex naked, and even having sex in places other than the bedroom.
In all my research, I have found nothing canonized in our gospel that says any of these are forbidden in the loving, consensual bounds of marriage.
So what did President Kimball actually mean by “secret sexual sins”? And how do we know whether or not we have committed them in our own marriages?
For that answer we have to read the statement in the full context it was given, look closely at the scriptures referenced in this section of the Miracle of Forgiveness, revisit what exactly the law of chastity is for those of us who are married, and ask ourselves “Is this a cultural myth or a doctrinal fact?”
Come back next week to discover more.