29 June, 2008

I *heart* the Law of Chastity

No lie, I really do. The other day one of the dearest people in my life called me to ask the name of a talk he was looking for and couldn't find. It was originally given as a BYU devotional, which is why it wasn't originally available on lds.org, but after an easy google search we found the entire text of Jeffrey R. Holland's talk "Of Souls, Symbols and Sacraments." Coincidentally, today in church we had the big annual Chastity Talk with a member of the bishopric and his wife. They passed out copies of this talk initially, and the lesson was one of the most mature, frank, funny, and uplifting discussions on chastity I have ever experienced.

Some fabulous quotes from both Elder Holland and Brother and Sister Magleby:

"Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire." Robert Frost

"May I suggest that human intimacy, that sacred, physical union ordained of God for a married couple, deals with a symbol that demands special sanctity. ... [S]uch a total, virtually unbreakable union, such an unyielding commitment between a man and a woman, can only come with the proximity and permanence afforded in a marriage covenant, with the union of all that they possess--their very hearts and minds, all their days and all their dreams. They work together, they cry together, they enjoy Brahms and Beethoven and breakfast together, they sacrifice and save and live together for all the abundance that such a totally intimate life provides such a couple. And the external symbol of that union, the physical manifestation of what is a far deeper spiritual and metaphysical bonding, is the physical blending that is part of--indeed, a most beautiful and gratifying expression of--that larger, more complete union of eternal purpose and promise.

As delicate as it is to mention in such a setting, I nevertheless trust your maturity to understand that physiologically we are created as men and women to fit together in such a union. In this ultimate physical expression of one man and one woman they are as nearly and as literally "one" as two separate physical bodies can ever be. It is in that act of ultimate physical intimacy we most nearly fulfill the commandment of the Lord given to Adam and Eve, living symbols for all married couples, when he invited them to cleave unto one another only, and thus become "one flesh" (Genesis 2:24). ...

That commandment cannot be fulfilled, and that symbolism of "one flesh" cannot be preserved, if we hastily and guiltily and surreptitiously share intimacy in a darkened corner of a darkened hour, then just as hastily and guiltily and surreptitiously retreat to our separate worlds--not to eat or live or cry or laugh together, not to do the laundry and the dishes and the homework, not to manage a budget and pay the bills and tend the children and plan together for the future. No, we cannot do that until we are truly one--united, bound, linked, tied, welded, sealed, married." Elder Holland

"If we relate to each other in fragments, at best we miss full relationships. At worst, we manipulate and exploit others for our gratification. Sexual fragmentation can be particularly harmful because it gives powerful physiological rewards which, though illusory, can temporarily persuade us to overlook the serious deficits in the overall relationship. Two people may marry for physical gratification and then discover that the illusion of union collapses under the weight of intellectual, social, and spiritual incompatibilities. . . .

Sexual fragmentation is particularly harmful because it is particularly deceptive. The intense human intimacy that should be enjoyed in and symbolized by sexual union is counterfeited by sensual episodes which suggest--but cannot deliver--acceptance, understanding, and love. Such encounters mistake the end for the means as lonely, desperate people seek a common denominator which will permit the easiest, quickest gratification."
Dr. Victor L. Brown, Jr.

"Sex is symbolic of intimacy. It is not intimacy itself." Brother Magleby

"You don't need experience to have success as a married couple. It's something the two of you build together." Sister Magleby

I was really impressed with everything I learned this week, both from reading the talk at my dear friend's suggestion and listening to my Priesthood leaders in church today. Just wanted to share ...

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