Criticism of Mormonism/Books/Becoming Gods/Use of sources/Celestial sex

Table of Contents

Use of sources: Do Latter-day Saints believe in "celestial sex"?

A FairMormon Analysis of: Becoming Gods: A Closer Look at 21st-Century Mormonism, a work by author: Richard Abanes

The Problem

The book displays a disturbing preoccupation with what is constantly referred to as a "sexual union" between heavenly parents: The word "sex" and "sexual" are often inserted into descriptions of LDS beliefs which otherwise never mention the word. The author makes similar claims in his earlier book One Nation Under Gods.

The book speaks of the "LDS belief in 'Celestial Sex'" and "sexual union" between Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother as a fact, yet this characterization is not typical of Latter-day Saints, many of whom would regard this casual attitude to such things as blasphemous and offensive.

The book continues by stating that "sexual union is how many Mormons believe they will procreate in the Celestial Kingdom." Latter-day Saints do not claim to know the process by which spirit children are created.

Reference The claim... The rest of the story... Use of sources
331 n.35 Mormons often seek to distance themselves and their church from a problematic past comment of an LDS leader by ... narrowly splitting terms in order to focus on a minor issue while dismissing the broader point that is being made by a critic of the church. For example, I have often spoken of the LDS belief in eternal "Celestial Sex" (i.e. the process by which Mormons believe they will procreate spirit children in eternity with their spouses, see chapter 6). But this has brought LDS criticisms because the actual phrase "Celestial Sex" is not used by LDS leaders—even though sexual union is how many Mormons believe they will procreate in the Celestial Kingdom. (emphasis added)
  • A search of the endnotes of Chapter 6 shows no references to 1982 anti-Mormon film The God Makers, from which the offensive term "Celestial Sex" originated.
392 n.14 ...thanks to Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother—who, through some kind of sexual union, "clothed" each of us with a spirit-body. (emphasis added) Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 750. "Our spirit bodies had their beginning in pre-existence when we were born as the spirit children of God our Father. Through that birth process spirit element was organized into intelligent entities."
  • Bruce R. McConkie is quoted in the endnote, who never mentions anything about "sexual unions."
157 According to Brigham Young, our spirit body was created via a sexual union of Heavenly Father and Mother..."[God] created man, as we create our children," said Young, "[f]or there is no other process of creation in heaven, on the earth, in the earth, or under the earth, or in all the eternities, that is, that were, or that ever will be." (emphasis added) "...So God created man in his own image. In the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." I believe that the declaration made in these two scriptures is literally true. God has made His children like Himself to stand erect, and has endowed them with intelligence and power and dominion over all His works, and given them the same attributes which He Himself possesses. He created man, as we create our children; for there is no other process of creation in heaven, on the earth, in the earth, or under the earth, or in all the eternities, that is, that were, or that ever will be. As the Apostle Paul has expressed it, "For in Him we live, and move, and have our being." "Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art or man's device." There exist fixed laws and regulations by which the elements are fashioned to fulfill their destiny in all the varied kingdoms and orders of creation, and this process of creation is from everlasting to everlasting. Jesus Christ is known in the scriptures as the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, and it is written of Him as being the brightness of the Father's glory and the express image of His person. The word image we understand in the same sense as we do the word in the 3rd verse of the 5th chapter of Genesis, "And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image."
  • Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 11:123.
  • Does Brigham sound like he is talking about sex? He is talking about how God created man "in his own image." The author ought to do a better job of keeping his mind from slipping into the gutter.

Answer

Latter-day Saints do not believe that the body—or lawful sexual relations between husband and wife—are dirty, shameful, or immoral.

It is ironic, however, that the book uses this as an example of Mormons "splitting terms" while "dismissing the broader point" raised by critics. The broader point is that LDS believe that they will be able to have spirit children if they achieve exaltation. The narrow point is the assignment of the ugly and prejudicial term "Celestial Sex" to this process—a term coined by Ed Decker in the 1982 anti-Mormon film The God Makers ("...engaging in celestial sex with their goddess wives.")