Why is Sexual Sin so bad?!–Alma 39

Yes, that was the assignment I was given to speak on!  Seriously!

In Alma 39, Alma is chastising his son Corianton for his behaviors during his mission which he was serving with his father.  Corianton boasted in his own strength and wisdom and then apparently left his missionary work to go and chase after the harlot Isabel.  Alma labels his son’s sins as “an abomination in the sight of the Lord; yea, most abominable above all sins save it be the shedding of innocent blood or denying the Holy Ghost”. 

copyright:  Karen Larsen

Our question today, is why is sexual sin, defined as any sexual relations outside of the covenant of marriage (marriage being one woman and one man), is so bad?

Well, in order to understand that, we have to know about two laws. 
The Law of Agency = I am free to choose
The Law of Opposition = I can choose between good and bad, righteousness and wickedness, happiness and misery.

Both of these laws are laid out in the doctrines, but plainly explained in 2nd Nephi 2 by the prophet Lehi to his son Jacob.
4…for the Spirit is the same, yesterday, today, and forever. And the way is prepared from the fall of man, and salvation is free.
 And men are instructed sufficiently that they know good from evil. And the law is given unto men. And by the law no flesh is justified; or, by the law men are cut off. Yea, by the temporal law they were cut off; and also, by the spiritual law they perish from that which is good, and become miserable forever.
Commentary:  All men know good from evil.  We are instructed sufficiently.  How does Heavenly Father make sure that statement is true?  We are all given the ‘Light of Christ’ or what the greater population calls our conscience.  We know right before we do something wrong, ‘Hey, this isn’t such a good idea’.  Thus, our choice to do wrong or commit evil, is a knowing choice of which we can be held accountable.  No flesh is justified because we have been instructed sufficiently to make a better choice.  And when we make a wrong choice, the law says, we are cut off from the presence of God.
copyright: Karen Larsen
  Wherefore, redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah; for he is full of grace and truth.
Commentary:  The only way to reconcile our wrong choices and being apart from God is through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

 And now, my son, I would to God that ye had not been guilty of so great a crime. I would not dwell upon your crimes, to harrow up your soul, if it were not for your good.
 But behold, ye cannot hide your crimes from God; and except ye repent they will stand as a testimony against you at the last day.
 Now my son, I would that ye should repent and forsake your sins, and go no more after the lusts of your eyes, but cross yourself in all these things; for except ye do this ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God. Oh, remember, and take it upon you, and cross yourself in these things.

10 And because of the intercession for all, all men come unto God; wherefore, they stand in the presence of him, to be judged of him according to the truth and holiness which is in him. Wherefore, the ends of the law which the Holy One hath given, unto the inflicting of the punishment which is affixed, which punishment that is affixed is in opposition to that of the happiness which is affixed, to answer the ends of the atonement—
Commentary:  Because Christ intercedes for all, we will all be brought back into the presence of God to be judged by Him.  We may not stay there, but we will be in His presence long enough to receive our judgement, which will affix punishments to our bad choices or happiness to our good choices—because The Law is that we have consequences for bad choices and happiness for good choices.
 11 For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my firstborn in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.
Going back to our original question:  If sexual relations outside of marriage is so bad, bad, bad, then because of the Law of Opposition, then sexual relations with marriage is so WHAT?  Good, good, good!  Right.
Let’s hear the words of the prophets. President Packer, last General Conference:
“…the end of all activity in the Church is to see that a man and a woman with their children are happy at home, sealed together for time and for all eternity…

The commandment to multiply and replenish the earth has never been rescinded. It is essential to the plan of redemption and is the source of human happiness. Through the righteous exercise of this power, we may come close to our Father in Heaven and experience a fulness of joy, even godhood. The power of procreation is not an incidental part of the plan; it is the plan of happiness; it is the key to happiness.

The desire to mate in humankind is constant and very strong. Our happiness in mortal life, our joy and exaltation are dependent upon how we respond to these persistent, compelling physical desires…..”
copyright:  Karen Larsen
..dependent upon how we respond to those compelling physical desires…what does that say?  They are compelling desires but we have a choice in how we respond to them.  Hmmm…the Law of Agency applies to those choices.

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The problem with homosexuality today is that Lucifer has convinced many that they are not free to choose their sexuality, they are compelled and there is no agency…
What are the results of the ‘no agency’ theory?
Lehitells us, 
13 And if ye shall say there is no law [of agency], ye shall also say there is no sin [If I cannot choose, then I am not accountable for my behavior–there is no sin]. If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if there be no righteousness there be no happiness. And if there be no righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery. And if these things are not there is no God….
But, we like Lehi, know verse 14-16:
 14 And now, my sons, I speak unto you these things for your profit and learning; for there is a God, [therefore there is a right and wrong, laws that designate so] and he hath created all things, both the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are, both things to act and things to be acted upon.
 15 And to bring about his eternal purposes in the end of man, after he had created our first parents, and the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and in fine, all things which are created, it must needs be that there was an opposition; …..
16 Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself.
We can choose how to respond to our compelling physical desires…
copyright:  Karen Larsen
Here is what President Packer says about responding to them righteously:
“And if you suppose that the full-blown rapture of young romantic love is the sum total of the possibilities which spring from the fountains of life, you have not yet lived to see the devotion and the comfort of longtime married love. Married couples are tried by temptation, misunderstandings, financial problems, family crises, and illness, and all the while love grows stronger. Mature love has a bliss not even imagined by newlyweds.

True love requires reserving until after marriage the sharing of that affection which unlocks those sacred powers in that fountain of life. It means avoiding situations where physical desire might take control. Pure love presupposes that only after a pledge of eternal fidelity, a legal and lawful ceremony, and ideally after the sealing ordinance in the temple are those procreative powers released in God’s eye for the full expression of love. It is to be shared solely and only with that one who is your companion forever.

When entered into worthily, this process combines the most exquisite and exalted physical, emotional, and spiritual feelings associated with the word love. That part of life has no equal, no counterpart, in all human experience. It will, when covenants are made and kept, last eternally, “for therein are the keys of the holy priesthood ordained, that you may receive honor and glory” (D&C 124:34), “which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever” (D&C 132:19).”
He continues:
“The spirit and the body are the soul of man” (D&C 88:15), and there are spiritual and physical laws to obey if we are to be happy. There are eternal laws, including laws relating to this power to give life, “irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated” (D&C 130:20). These are spiritual laws which define the moral standard for mankind (see Joseph SmithTranslation, Romans 7:14–15 [in the Bible appendix]; 2 Nephi 2:5; D&C 29:34; 134:6). There are covenants which bind, seal, and safeguard and give promise of eternal blessings….

“Our passion is to be controlled. When lawfully used, the power of procreation will bless and will sanctify (see Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith [1998], 158).

“Temptations are ever present. Because the adversary cannot beget life, he is jealous toward all who have that supernal power. He and those who followed him were cast out and forfeited the right to a mortal body. 
“He seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself” (2 Nephi 2:27). He will tempt, if he can, to degrade, to corrupt, and, if possible, to destroy this gift by which we may, if we are worthy, have eternal increase (see D&C 132:28–31).

If we pollute our fountains of life or lead others to transgress, there will be penalties more “exquisite” and “hard to bear” (D&C 19:15) than all the physical pleasure could ever be worth.”
copyright:  Karen Larsen
The reason sexual sin outside of marriage is so bad, is because sexual relations within marriage are so very, very good.
Elder Holland likens it to a sacrament before the Lord.
The union between husband and wife is so sacred and symbolic that it is the symbol of being completely unified in everything, heart, soul, mind, body and purpose.
Genesis 2:24:  Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother and shall cleave unto his wife and they shall be one flesh.
Married couples are commanded to be one flesh.  Usually we think of that as the physical intimacy between a husband and wife and so it may be, but where else do they become one flesh?
In the lives of each and every one of their children.  We have nine little (big now) Carin and Drew flesh running around out there in the world.
“Lo children are an heritage of the Lord and the fruit of the womb is his reward.” (Psalms 127:3).
copyright:  Karen Larsen
Elder Holland:
“Does any of this help you understand why human intimacy is such a serious matter? Why it is so right and rewarding and stunningly beautiful when it is within marriage and approved of God (not just “good” but “very good,” he declared to Adam and Eve), and so blasphemously wrong–like unto murder–when it is outside such a covenant? It is my understanding that we park and pet and sleep over and sleep with at the peril of our very lives. Our penalty may not come on the precise day of our transgression, but it comes surely and certainly enough, and were it not for a merciful God and the treasured privilege of personal repentance, far too many would even now be feeling that hellish pain, which (like the passion we have been discussing) is also always described in the metaphor of fire. Someday, somewhere, sometime the morally unclean will, until they repent, pray like the rich man, wishing Lazarus to “dip . . . his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame” (Luke 16:24).

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.

In closing, consider this from two students of civilization’s long, instructive story:

No one man [or woman], however brilliant or well-informed, can come in one lifetime to such fullness of understanding as to safely judge and dismiss the customs or institutions of his society, for these are the wisdom of generations after centuries of experiment in the laboratory of history. A youth boiling with hormones will wonder why he should not give full freedom to his sexual desires; and if he is unchecked by custom, morals, or laws, he may ruin his life [or hers] before he matures sufficiently to understand that sex is a river of fire that must be banked and cooled by a hundred restraints if it is not to consume in chaos both the individual and the group. [Will and Ariel Durant, The Lessons of History (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1968), pp. 35-36]

Or, in the more ecclesiastical words of James E. Talmage:

It has been declared in the solemn word of revelation, that the spirit and the body constitute the soul of man; and, therefore, we should look upon this body as something that shall endure in the resurrected state, beyond the grave, something to be kept pure and holy. Be not afraid of soiling its hands; be not afraid of scars that may come to it if won in earnest effort, or [won] in honest fight, but beware of scars that disfigure, that have come to you in places where you ought not have gone, that have befallen you in unworthy undertakings [pursued where you ought not have been]; beware of the wounds of battles in which you have been fighting on the wrong side. [Talmage, CR, October 1913, p. 117]
copyright:  Karen Larsen

And that was my talk.

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