My "best-selling" upload to a Compuserve Library (the
Latter Day Saint Section library in the Religion Forum) of
all time is a file called SEX WAVES.  I am sure the
hundreds upon hundreds of people downloading this file
were disappointed with its content.

Its title, given that so many people search for the word
"sex," is what caused its popularity, not its content.  Its
content is very specific to an article in a Mormon journal,
hence its context is Mormon.  That probably turned most
readers off for starters.  What the upload says in essence is
that there is hypocrisy and spiritual injustice in the stance
taken by this (and other) churches in requiring that
unmarried persons be celibate.

But the real value of the upload, I believe, is in its suggestion
that it is exactly the morbid focusing on sex as a heinous sin
that gives that "sin" power over us.  That is where the title
comes in, and to explain it here would mean you won't read
on.  So cheat and read the conclusion already!

Here is where the Compuserve library version begins:

DIALOGUE 24:4 has a pulpit pounding message by Robert
A. Rees that suggests singles have celibacy as a cross to
bear.  The way the article used love and fear and guilt to
enforce singles' celibacy rang so many of my chimes that I
wrote a letter to the editor that was not used by
DIALOGUE.  I submit it to this forum with the hope that it
may be helpful to some, and at least thought-provoking to
the others who may disagree (and many have let me know
they disagree, which is fine, I am not attempting to convert
anyone to being me instead of who they are).  --abe--

                                   SEX WAVES

     Robert A. Rees' pulpit-message on sex and singles is
going to be responsible for some miserable marriages based
on guilt and fear and the urge to make amends for offenses
against God.  Rees protests 'love' and in its name pours
down the flaming pitch of guilt and fear: illicit sex will
remove your priesthood, will diminishe your self-respect,
will lower your standing with God, and will deny you sexual
privilege in the eternal world.

Rees ensures that a believing Mormon single will be
miserable, unless celibate.

Rees' basic message is OK: deploring the use of others for
gratification as callous, dangerous if unprotected, and not
likely to lead to bonds of soul-satisfying intimacy.  But the
wrappings are hateful and simple-minded: they are hateful
in that they ensure severe anxiety in believing, but sexually
active singles.  They are simple-minded in that they fail to
satisfy the demands of logic.  For one example of ill logic,
Rees' message makes it unlikely that a believing single
person in his flock (he is a Mormon Bishop, leader of a local
congregation) will be engaging in premeditated sexual
activity.  Yet Rees deplores a 90% rate of failure to use
protective measures that he has discovered in his
inquisitorial routine!

Rees' love-gift of flaming pitch is disguised in
'happy-doctrine.'  Even a start at a contrary opinion is
quashed as a revelation from that bodyless sex-fiend Satan.
Happy-doctrine says that Joseph Smith (first Mormon
prophet, and founder) and God said sex was OK, if used
within bounds.  Satan, on the other hand, tells us the bounds
are obstacles to our happiness.  Many are seduced and
will find themselves eternally celibate, like Satan.  Did it
ever occur to Rees that perhaps it is biology that designed
and created sex as a force for ensuring a propagating
species?  Even in Mormon theology, such as it is, God is
Father because sex already existed.  As to Satan, could it be
that he is no more nor no less than the chemical systems of
the sexual adult of the species, conspiring for the
continuance of the race?  Rees correctly observes that man
ruthlessly exploits this universal urge, to make money.  That
is evil, but it requires neither a loving God at a "Priesthood
On/Priesthood Off" switch (all Mormon males are eligible
and expected to be part of the lay priesthood that runs the
church), nor a vicariously lusting Satan, both watching
couples grope and rooting for opposite outcomes.

Rees uses Joseph Smith in his pulpit message, and also cites
words about ideal, soul-expanding human intimacy.  The two
are fire and water.   Joseph Smith cheated on his wife, broke
her heart.  Smith is especially loathsome since he used his
position and Priesthood authority to talk young women into
believing they were married to him in a special way, and he
had sex with them, some of them vulnerable teen-agers
under his wife's benevolent care and protection.  It is from
Joseph Smith that we have the gem of revelation that proves
God doesn't give a fig for intimacy but callously declares
women man's property to be used for procreation:   . . . "he
[any man] cannot commit adultery with that [plural wives]
that belongeth unto him and to no one [any other man] else."
. . . . "for they [plural wives] are given unto him to multiply
and replenish the earth" . . . . "for their [wives'] exaltation in
the eternal worlds, that they may bear the souls of men;" . . .
. (Doctrine & Covenants 132:61, 63)   This is about as
inspired as Article 1124 of the Napoleonic Code, adopted by
many nations, which states that . . . "woman was given to
man so that she could give him children.  She is therefore his
property, just as a fruit tree is the property of the

No wonder Rees' singles are obsessed with sex.  When your
leader tells you a fundamental aspect of your being is
extremely dangerous, you focus on it.  Rees says a morbid
obsession with sex is created by placing anathemas on most
of its expression, and then proceeds to keep the believer
obsessed.  I feel strongly on this issue because as a
true-believing young adult I was jumping up to fight every
wave of sexual feeling rolling in to shore.  I was focussed on
it, and obsessed by it, and the continual fighting made me
weak.  I spent not a few hours in the confessionals described
by Rees, effectively allowing a real adult to take charge of
my childish life.  When I declared my status as a
non-believing heretic to my stake president a few years ago,
he tried to regain control over me by grabbing me by
my Mormon incapacity for sexual self-control.  He
threatened me with the solemn prediction that within a few
years I'd be having affairs, lose my family, etc.

By this time I had learned that when the waves roll in, you
just stand on the sea-bottom and let them roll over you.  As
you feel their tug you don't sing a fearful hymn, but just
smile and remember that nature has placed this urge in you
to trick you into maintaining the species.  It is a biological
thing, no big deal, the feelings are pleasurable and one of the
few freebies offered by nature.  Until you act on them that is,
then the price goes up dramatically whether you act in a
committed relationship or outside of it.

I'm not promiscuous and don't advocate promiscuity. 
However, I believe that a single person may have an
occasional, deep and sincere relationship complete with
responsible sexual expression and not be abnormal,
unhealthy, promiscuous, or spiritually incapacitated. 
Perhaps such love-experience is even spiritually
empowering.  It is certainly good reality-therapy for singles
who may otherwise build up either distortedly idealized or
cruelly bizarre fantasies of what sex is all about.  It is my
impression that these good singles are often among the ones
who come away from their honeymoons realizing they've
made a grave mistake in choice of partners.

Rees bears testimony, and so will I.  I found that as soon
as I stopped obsessing about the Eternal, Cosmic Sex Act
and put it in its place as one of nature's more-powerful urges
authored by the mindless forces that shaped a certain
segment of the Animal Kingdom, that it ceased to be a
burning (literally) issue.

Rees' approach keeps it burning, and thereby keeps
believing single adults in an infantile, ever-fearful state.

[Reference for Napoleonic Code citation:  Dijkstra, Bram. 
1986. Idols of Perversity - Fantasies of Feminine Evil in
Fin-de-Siecle Culture.  Oxford University Press.  New York. 
p. 111 ]

Go Home