The most disturbingest thought I ever wish I never did have

In spite of my constant grumbling about patriarchal religions and the oppression of women, I actually really enjoy being a woman. My hair’s not going to fall out, I can flirt my way out of a speeding ticket, I’ll get less time should I choose to commit a violent crime, and I didn’t have to pay for the dates when I was single. There’s plenty of other reasons why it’s fabulous to be a woman, but I’m keeping this post G-rated. *cough*

However, there’s a lot that sucks about being a woman, and pregnancy and childbirth went into my “sucks” column as soon as I tried it. I’ve met women who enjoy being pregnant and giving birth, and I’ve heard women gush about what a spiritual zenith these experiences were for them. To borrow an analogy I heard somewhere else, I admire such women in the same way I admire people who run triathlons and don’t swear: I think that’s wonderful, but I have zero desire to be them.

It’s easy to understand, then, that an afterlife which involves women giving birth for eternity sounds a lot more like hell to me. Critics of the LDS church have been asserting that this is what Mormonism teaches for ages. For example, The God Makers film states, “Heaven to the Mormon woman is being pregnant for all eternity, one spirit baby after the next.” Responses from LDS apologists usually run somewhere along these lines:

A mental picture is thus drawn [by The God Makers film] which is supposed to be repugnant to today’s “liberated” women and somehow un-Christian.  In reality, God has not yet completely revealed the process by which spirit children are added to His eternal family (of which we are all a part).  But surely the process is more sophisticated than the nine-month gestation period and pregnancy through which mortal women suffer to give birth.  It was only after the Fall that God said to the woman Eve, “I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children.”  Therefore “pregnant” is a term which in all likelihood is applicable only to the post-Fall mortal condition.

While I agree that the “eternal pregnancy” charge is something of a caricature of LDS belief, it’s not a baseless one. In another post earlier this year I pointed to an LDS Institute manual which taught that LDS deification “involves giving birth to spirit children and setting them on the road to exaltation.” Other LDS leaders have taught it or heavily implied it with a wink and a nod (Bill McKeever of Mormonism Research Ministry is, of course, all over that). I myself have met Mormons who believe it, or are at least open to it; my own husband is one of them. The teaching strikes me as a natural extension of Mormonism’s emphases on the necessity of eternal heterosexual marriage, the sacred nature of motherhood, and the importance of the human body.

Fair is fair though: other Mormon thinkers are against it and see it as incompatible with the teachings of Joseph Smith. Geoff J at New Cool Thang has a good round-up of some of the perspectives on this.

This isn’t actually a post about whether or not Mormons believe in the doctrine of “eternal pregnancy” though, and I have zero interest in debating that. Let’s move on to my point. The other day I was discussing this issue with my husband and he made his case for why pregnancy in the next life would not be so bad. “Your body would be perfect and there wouldn’t be any pain,” he explained. My response involved a lot of British swear words and throwing something at him.

However, not long after we had that conversation, another thought occurred to me. Evangelical Christians believe that procreation was possible in the Garden of Eden. We think that when God commanded Adam and Eve to “Be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28), He meant they could do it when He said it. Mormons disagree because Moses 5:11 indicates that Adam and Eve were somehow unable to procreate until after the Fall. If we evangelicals believe in pre-Fall procreation then, what was it like? Is it such a stretch to assume that it involved pregnancy as we know it, only in a perfect body free from pain, discomfort, gestational diabetes and stretch marks?

Even better question: When asked what the world would have been like had there been no Fall, most of the evangelicals I know reply that earth would have been “like heaven.” But doesn’t that mean that heaven involved marriage, sex, and pregnancy? And if that’s the case, why do we think Mormons are wrong for believing they’ll be returning to those things in the next life?

I have my own thoughts on the subject, but I’m curious what other evangelicals think. Personally, I’m having a hard time denying the logic in this line of thinking, and it disturbs me greatly.

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About Bridget Jack Jeffries

Bridget Jack Jeffries is a human resources professional living in Chicago. She holds a BA in classics from Brigham Young University with a minor in Hebrew and an MA in American religious history from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. She is a member of the Evangelical Covenant Church and a single mother of two. You can read more of her writings at www.Weighted-Glory.com.

101 thoughts on “The most disturbingest thought I ever wish I never did have

  1. So I’m back-ish… still really busy IRL. I’ll try to get around to making some replies on my last post later this week. I had to get this one off my mind.

  2. Ahhh, very nice post. I had no idea Evs believe that Adam & Eve could procreate pre-Fall. Do you believe that Eden was “like heaven,” or do you believe that heaven will be an improvement? I don’t mean just on this point, mind you, but in more general “better than” terms. I’m just seeing an application for your semi-heretical (wink) theosis doctrine to get you off the eternal pregnancy train.

  3. Yes, Eve could get pregnant before the fall. The fall brought about the curse of having a painful birth process, not the curse of pregnancy. Since the garden was free of sin and didn’t have thorns or thistles I have to believe that pregnancy wasn’t at all bad. No morning sickness, etc.

    The Garden was not Heaven though. Heaven will be different than that.

    The idea of heavenly procreation gets in Evangelical’s craw for two reasons. 1) Jesus said there will be no marriage in heaven. 2) We view the chief pleasure of heaven to be enjoying God forever. Sex seems base and pointless when you’ve got the object and creator of all joy there in your presence.

    If Jesus, or someone else in the Bible, had actually said “you’ll be married for eternity and making babies” I don’t think there’s anything about the idea itself that would turn Evangelicals away from Christianity. It’s not so much the doctrine as the source of the doctrine that we’ve got a problem with.

  4. I always felt like the Mormon apologetic explanation for Jesus’s teaching on no marriage in heaven was unconvincing at best, even when I was a true believer, it was one of several inconsistencies that bothered me. Of course, as a Mormon I could always just chalk it up to a poorly-translated, heavily-corrupted Biblical source text and breathe easy again until I accidentally thought something else.

  5. Tim,

    I am a little confused. If sex and procreation took place (or could have theoretically taken place) in the garden of Eden before the fall, yet this garden paradise was not exactly like heaven will be, and, additionally, the fall was a negative event which introduced death into the world, then does that mean God’s original intent in creation was for humans to live eternally in a state less transcendent than heaven? But only after the fall he made it possible to bring humans into his heavenly realm?

    Kullervo,

    It may or may not interest you that many well-respected scholars, such as Ben Witherington and Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza, don’t believe that Jesus’ controversy-dialogue with the Sadducees concerning resurrection and marriage necessitates that there will be no sex/sexuality in the next life, or that all notions/implications of marriage will be erased. I wrote a little about this from a feminist perspective a while ago here:

    http://www.faithpromotingrumor.com/2009/05/a-feminist-interpretation-of-jesus-sayings-concerning-no-marriage-in-heaven

    Best wishes,

    TYD

  6. Sorry, TYD, our spam filter loves you.

    (since you repeated your first comment when you tried to post your second one, I just went ahead and deleted the first one).

  7. “The idea of heavenly procreation gets in Evangelical’s craw for two reasons. 1) Jesus said there will be no marriage in heaven. 2) We view the chief pleasure of heaven to be enjoying God forever. Sex seems base and pointless when you’ve got the object and creator of all joy there in your presence.”

    OK Tim, even if you accept the common Evangelical notion that there will be no marriage in heaven, that does not rule out sex.

    Second, who says that sex can’t be PART of the perfect worship of God the Father?

    I think Lewis’s notions of us all being transexuals in heaven are one of those nice tidy academic ideas that sound better in a philosophy book than they do when really thought about for more than two seconds by entirely non-theoretical people.

  8. Hahaha Seth, no, he meant something entirely different when he wrote it, intending to coin the phrase and refer to a state of beyond sexuality that encompasses sexuality but is greater than and past it. But it’s just funny because “transsexual” has come to mean something entirely different since he wrote it.

  9. Okay, here’s my thoughts on this issue.

    (1) The Fall was inevitable. Even if Adam and Eve had resisted temptation and stayed in the Garden, what about their children? Wouldn’t the tree still be there? Wouldn’t they have each been given a chance? If that’s the case, eventually, someone would have chosen against God and been expelled from the Garden. If not Adam and Eve, then one of their descendants.

    (2) God knew this. God planned for this. Eden was never the best God had to offer. Adam was not everything God intended him to be in the garden. How could he be when the text of Genesis states that Adam was not “like God” until after the Fall (Gen. 3:22)? Eden was certainly awesome and wonderful, but Plan B was always intended to end up even better than Plan A.

    Sounds not totally unlike what Mormons believe, right? Keep reading.

    (3) This means that we’ve never actually seen what God intends for us to be. Or wait… yes we have, in the revelation of the person of Jesus Christ. Now traditional Christians don’t believe Jesus was married or had children. Even if He was, the fact that it’s been omitted from the Bible is significant to us since we view the Bible as containing all the knowledge we need for salvation. So whatever God’s plan is for our destinies, marriage, children and sex are not essential to it. As one blogger put it:

    If we take Christology as our starting point, recognizing that (unless Dan Brown turns out to be right) Jesus was unmarried, not sexually active, and produced no children, we come to some very different conclusions. If the One who, in his life, crucifixion, and resurrection defined and actualized for us the very definition of humanness, what does that say about humanness? Clearly it says that marriage, sexual activity, and bearing children do not have any central place in the definition thereof.

    Let us be absolutely clear on this point. If Christ is truly the fullness and definition of authentic humanity, we must say categorically that marriage, sex, and parenthood tell us nothing whatsoever of ultimate significance about humanness. If marriage, sex, and parenthood are somehow the fullness of humanity we are forced to say that Christ, far from being the true human as the Christian tradition proclaims, was in fact, sub-human. To grant sexuality any sort of ultimacy with respect to the definition of humanness is to deny that Jesus is the true human being.

    So in other words, I don’t think there will be marriage, sexuality and pregnancy in the next life because I think what we’ll have with God will be better. Adam certainly had it good and he dwelt in the presence of God, and he was immortal, but he wasn’t a god. Which is what we’re going to be. I think glorification is going to be way better than what Adam had.

    I hope male and female still exists, same as I hope different skin and hair colors exist because I think different sexes is part of what makes humanity beautiful, but I’m open to it not existing. I trust that God knows how to provide an afterlife that’s perfectly pleasing to us.

  10. I fervently believe that sexuality–along with those things like birth, love, and death that are inseparably intertwined with sexuality–is at the very core of what it means to be human.

  11. “If Christ is truly the fullness and definition of authentic humanity,”

    Why would he need to be? Are we to say that Christ can’t be the epitome of “authentic humanity” because he wasn’t a black dude? After all, how can you really claim to be the prototype model if that little slice is missing?

    Personally, I think Dan Brown was right… sort of…

    But seriously Jack, why hold onto some aspects of humanity “hair color, skin pigment, etc.” but reject others? What makes having red hair so much better than having nicely compatible sexual parts?

    And what’s so great about having different sexes if there’s no sex?

  12. Jack, if what you wrote is in fact the case, why are so many of the analogies of our relationship to Christ spoken of like a marriage relationship? If the fact that there isn’t mention of Jesus being married/having kids/etc is relevant, then it must also be relevant that that is the analogy used.

    And I don’t think that it can be as simple as saying that we should devote ourselves to God like unto a marriage relationship. That we have these intense, deep relationships, that we choose to align ourselves with one person–it seems to me like just dismissing that from the afterlife, solely on the basis of having no reason to believe it will be the case seems like a weak argument.

    Why not just say that we don’t know what the afterlife will be like, we don’t know how/if our earthly relationships will continue, but we believe that regardless of how it turns out, it will be better because we will be closer to God?

    Can you really categorically say that there won’t be marriage in heaven? That there won’t be sex?

    Note to self: If there is no intimacy in the afterlife, I must get as much in now as I can.

  13. That’s actually a good question Polly.

    From what I’ve seen of traditional Christian theology, I have no real assurance that our own supposed existence in heaven as individuals is anything more than metaphorical.

    Perhaps we are merely a dream that God dreamed, and now he’s about to wake up.

  14. Kullervo, I agree that sexuality is at the core of the human experience. And I think the essence of sexuality is attaining a level of connection to another person that is otherwise impossible. In other words, it’s not just about a pleasurable physical release, but it’s a deep expression of love, closeness, and bonding. The fact that it is such an essential human desire speaks to this idea that we need one another to be fulfilled.

    On this level, I think heaven IS about sexuality. I don’t mean this in a crass, base way–because I have no idea if sex as we know it now is present in heaven–but I expect that the essence of joy in heaven, as it is on earth, is expressed through a deep sense of bonding and closeness with God and our fellow human beings.

    Or something like that.

  15. Seth ~ And what’s so great about having different sexes if there’s no sex?

    I don’t know, Seth. Are people in the terrestrial and telestial kingdoms going to be male and female? If so, are they going to be able to have sex?

    That’s probably the answer to your question.

    (Whenever I think of this subject, I always think of one of those poorly programmed video games where you try to go somewhere or do something which it looks like you should be able to do, but you run into an invisible wall where the programmers were too lazy to put in a real barrier. It’s gonna be a lot like that.)

    I’ll get back to you guys in more detail later tonight.

  16. As a Mormon, I always thought that being surrounded by perfect bodies with sex organs but not being able to do anything about it would definitely be hell.

  17. Kullervo, I agree that sexuality is at the core of the human experience. And I think the essence of sexuality is attaining a level of connection to another person that is otherwise impossible. In other words, it’s not just about a pleasurable physical release, but it’s a deep expression of love, closeness, and bonding. The fact that it is such an essential human desire speaks to this idea that we need one another to be fulfilled.

    I think that sex creates closeness and bonding because it touches so closely to birth, death, community, and all of those things that make us truly human. In sex, we get close to being what we really are, and as such, it is intimate on an intense, metaphysical level (as well as, you know, the nakedness). Sharing that kind of experience naturally leads to closeness: you have come together to drink from the well at the center of the universe, to truly touch the face of god and the universe, and you don’t walk away from that kind of thing unchanged.

  18. Kullervo ~ So do you think the things which you say make us human—birth, death, and sexuality—continue in the next life? Or do we simply cease to be human in the next life?

    Seth ~ I would say that Christ is the ultimate revelation in what humanity is meant to be because the Bible says so. If His sexuality wasn’t important to who He was, I don’t see why His skin color would be.

    As for your second question, I tend to think that people still have sex, hair color, and skin color because of the biblical accounts of resurrected beings or dead people appearing as spirits: Christ, Moses, Elijah, and Samuel. They’re described as maintaining their genders and apparently they look close enough to their old selves that they’re recognizable.

    I could be wrong though. Maybe we all get turned into androgynous, albino types.

    KatyJane ~ I do think it’s relevant that the people of God are described as the bride and Christ/God as the bridegroom. The Bible is full of that imagery: “As the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.” (Isaiah 62:5b) That’s kind of the point though: I think the relationship between the church and God will replace and surpass the marriage relationship as we know it.

    Why not just say that we don’t know what the afterlife will be like, we don’t know how/if our earthly relationships will continue, but we believe that regardless of how it turns out, it will be better because we will be closer to God?

    We could, but where’s the fun in that?

    Poly Andree ~ I love you more than any of the other types of marriage, but alas, I don’t believe you will exist in heaven. Fare thee well, my love.

  19. Historically speaking, and Dan Brown notwithstanding, I think it strains credulity a bit to suppose that a wandering Jewish teacher, scribe enough in 30 C.E. or so to contend with scribes and rabbis, would not have been married at a much younger age than 30.

    Wouldn’t it sort of defy the first of Judaism’s hundreds of commandments? Weren’t they more or less arranged matches at the time? Unless there are counterexamples?

    As far as sex itself goes, I think we’ll transcend the mechanisms in use to make mortal babies; it’s messy and it hurts a lot, I’m told. Almost as bad as passing a kidney stone. That can’t be heavenly.

    So.. y’know… there you are.

  20. Shall we bring in the Gnostic “Gospel of Mary” at this point?

    It speaks of Mary as the “disciple whom Jesus loved” and whom he also “kissed frequently on the mouth.”

    So, at least one or two people who were close to the original action seemed to be of the opinion that Jesus was up to something.

  21. If Christ is truly the fullness and definition of authentic humanity, we must say categorically that marriage, sex, and parenthood tell us nothing whatsoever of ultimate significance about humanness.”

    This can’t be right. . . in fact it seems laughably ridiculous and takes enormous leaps in reasoning and massive assumptions to even get there.

    Human life is not about suffering and crucifixion. At least not to most sane people. If it was, God would have us all suffer on crosses for our own sins. . . then again maybe that is what Evangelicals (and some Mormons) kindof believe.

    I agree with Kullervo on this issue- If sex and birth and death were not part of the core of what being human is about, (from an Evangelical perspective) why did God make us sexual animals? just to mess with us? He makes the most powerful drives in our nature focus on survival, procreation and family and then tells us that those don’t matter as much as denying those things for Him?

    Jack – (and others)For a very interesting treatment of Christ and his relation to humanness, sex and family I suggest The Last Temptation of Christ by Nikos Kazantzakis. Where Christ becomes God specfically because he denies himself the comforts of humanness. His last temptation was that of a fulfilling family life. Well worth reading.

  22. So do you think the things which you say make us human—birth, death, and sexuality—continue in the next life? Or do we simply cease to be human in the next life?

    I would not claim to know much about the next life, if there is one. I think an over-focus on the next life is a religious mistake.

  23. Jack: I have to disagree with the logic of your position. But first, a thought question: Suppose Adam and Eve never ate the forbidden fruit, but one of their children or grandchildren did: who gets expelled from the Garden? all of humanity or just the sinning ones? It’d sure be an interesting world if we still had the Garden here and with a whole bunch of quasi-immortals tending it! On the other hand, maybe God would just expel everyone based on only one person’s sin—that’s sort of how Evangelicals view the Fall anyway, right? I can just picture grandpa Adam now, relaxing in an Eden-made hammock sipping iced tea, then glancing over to see little Timmy polishing the skin of a forbidden apple before taking his fateful bite. “No Timmy, you’ve ruined it for all of us. Nooooooo!”

    Now, on to your argument:

    Where do you let this “Jesus as the ultimate example” end? For example, does God intend us all to be crucified? Are there any parts of Jesus’ life where you’ll say, “Nope, that was only a ‘Jesus thing,’ not something for all of us”? If there is, why not include celibacy on the list? (I know why you don’t want to include celibacy—it ruins your argument—but what I’m asking is what reason do you have for excluding celibacy.)

    Frankly, I think there are three reasons why people cling to the idea of a celibate Jesus:

    1) Sex is icky, base, animalistic, etc.
    2) Marriage means choosing a favorite person, and it’s not fair for Jesus to have favorites.
    3) If Jesus was already married to Mary (or anyone), then that kinda messes up the whole “Church is the bride of Christ” metaphor.

    Another gripe I have with the celibate Jesus: what’s the deal with letting everyone else put up with all the challenging parts of raising kids: staying up all night, wiping up barf, wringing diarrhea out of clothes, etc.? If Jesus refused to marry and have kids on “higher principle,” then he really is the Ultimate Man: he’s content to talk about how great kids are but let somebody else do the dirty work.

    And one little point on bad exegesis:

    Now traditional Christians don’t believe Jesus was married or had children. Even if He was, the fact that it’s been omitted from the Bible is significant to us since we view the Bible as containing all the knowledge we need for salvation. So whatever God’s plan is for our destinies, marriage, children and sex are not essential to it.

    Nope. At most it just means that Jesus’ marriage and sex were not essential to the stories told about him. Look, Matthew left out lots of details that Luke included (and so on) because those details weren’t important to Matthew’s thesis; couldn’t the same be said about Jesus’ marriage?

  24. Side note – Dan Brown just stole the idea and turned it into an exciting fictional story. The credit for the thesis should go to Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, and Henry Lincoln.

  25. I don’t know, Seth. Are people in the terrestrial and telestial kingdoms going to be male and female? If so, are they going to be able to have sex?

    I can’t believe you don’t know about the TK Smoothie.

  26. At most it just means that Jesus’ marriage and sex were not essential to the stories told about him.

    Alternately, they were merely not thought of as appropriate, relevant, or significant by the people who wrote the accounts–people who came from a specific time, place, and cultural context.

  27. They can’t really have been expected to predict which details people would think were important and argue about 2000 years later on an unknown continent in a totally alien culture that did not exist yet.

    The hyper-specific relevance of what does and does not get mentioned, what specific words were used, etc. only have weight if we believe the text was dictated by God like the Koran. But if we believe that, we are silly: the Bible itself makes no such claim, and it come to us in a form that is not at all like what we would expect such a text to take.

  28. “not thought of as appropriate…”

    Agreed.

    “…relevant or significant”

    That’s what I meant by “essential.”

  29. My point was that their reasons for excluding information might have been culture or context-specific, rather than narrative-specific. It might have been about what details ancient Jews thought were important to include in stories in general rather than about what the specific authors thought was essential to advance their specific theses.

    Omission related to general bias as opposed to omission related to specific relevance.

  30. Yellow: The fall was expected but not intended. But I think Jack got to that already

    Brian: I was going to be offended that Timmy ate the fruit in your story, but on second reflection, yes I would have/do.

    I think you leave out a fourth reason we don’t say Jesus was married with kids . . . no evidence.

  31. coventryrm, Dan Brown got the ideas from those guys, but they got their material from French folklore.

    Let me just say that I don’t really have strong feelings on whether or not Jesus was married (besides the obvious implications for my polygamist marriage), but I do think the idea raises serious questions about what happened to them while He was doing his preaching/miracles thing.

    Also, at the risk of sending off alarms about “liberal Christians” again, I don’t think that holding Christ up as the ultimate example of being human literally means that God expects us to get ourselves crucified. I think the Bible’s pretty clear that we are to “die” to our old way of life in order to follow Jesus. Simple as that.

    I don’t think that requires observing a life of celibacy in order to better focus on God, but I don’t see any reason that the way that Jesus lived means that marriage is part of the eternal Plan. Given that none of us are citing scripture that actually pins Jesus as married, it seems problematic to base our ideas about post-mortem relations on what Jesus did or did not do.

    (Seth, I’m leaving out the Gnostic quote because the little I understand of gnosticism has led me to believe that those scriptures were far less concerned with ongoing gender than aiming for a state of spiritual androgyny. Thus, while Mary + Jesus would provide a perfect symbiosis here on Earth, it seems like the ultimate point was to embrace both the masculine and feminine within one’s spiritual being rather than maintaining an eternal gender distinction.)

  32. The conclusions of the Gnostics are not of primary concern to me. The mere fact that such ideas existed in the general theological mix back then are what I find interesting.

    Evangelicals need to realize the aim of Mormon scholarship on gnostic sources.

    We aren’t going out there and proof-texting gnostic sources as authorities. Look – so-and-so said that men are to become like Gods! That must mean Mormonism is true.

    No, our aim in referencing gnostic sources is to show that Mormon ideas have a genuine claim to antiquity. This isn’t just something Joseph just pulled out of a hat in the 1800s. It taps into a very deep subterranean spring of religious thought. We would argue it is the ONE true religious pattern – only imperfectly copied by the gnostics, traditional Western Christianity, ancient Canaanite religion, and others.

    A Mormon scholar is willing to find the true religion just about anywhere. I see no reason why the Gnostics shouldn’t have just as much of a slice as the Roman Catholics.

  33. No, our aim in referencing gnostic sources is to show that Mormon ideas have a genuine claim to antiquity. This isn’t just something Joseph just pulled out of a hat in the 1800s.

    The fact that some Mormon doctrines are semi-consistent with a random assortment of beliefs held by some disconnected Christian groups at a time when Christian belief was fractured and highly variant is in no way consistent with the idea that Joseph Smith pulled them out of his hat in the 1800’s.

  34. and to Evangelicals, pointing to ancient heresy isn’t helping your case any.

    The Gospel of Mary can’t be placed near the life and death of Jesus.

  35. A Mormon scholar is willing to find the true religion just about anywhere.

    In other words, Mormons are willing to cherry-pick and distort pretty much anyone’s spiritual beliefs to support their massive confirmation bias.

  36. “The Gospel of Mary can’t be placed near the life and death of Jesus.”

    Neither can the other Gospel’s, depending on your definition of “near”

  37. “The Gospel of Mary can’t be placed near the life and death of Jesus.”

    Neither can any of the other Gospels Tim.

    “In other words, Mormons are willing to cherry-pick and distort pretty much anyone’s spiritual beliefs to support their massive confirmation bias.”

    Yeah. So what?

  38. “I think you leave out a fourth reason we don’t say Jesus was married with kids . . . no evidence.”

    Lack of evidence is a silly reason to cling to an idea. I was not listing reasons why people “don’t say Jesus was married”, I was listing reasons why people insist that he wasn’t. I have never said that Jesus was married.

  39. Jack,

    Even before I encountered Mormonism, I was under the general impression that there was no sex or procreation before the Fall. I’m not sure why. But I actually think the view that there was no procreation there makes a lot of sense.

    For one thing, Jesus said there would be no marriage in heaven, for “they shall be like the angels”. Underlying this statement seems to be the logic of the Book of Enoch that immortal beings do not need to procreate to propagate their species (because, after all, they’re immortal), thus it’s a sin for them. Presumably if sex is sinful for immortal beings in the resurrection, then it would also be sinful for immortal beings in Eden.

    Another indication that there might have been no procreation in Eden is that in the ancient world, trees were symbols of fertility, and “knowledge” was a euphemism for nookie. So it’s very possible that the commandment “Don’t eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” really meant “In the name of Me, put that thing away, Adam!”

    -Chris

  40. All of that seems to assume that sex is sinful if it’s not for procreation. I think that’s a major fallacy.

  41. >>All of that seems to assume that sex is sinful if it’s not for procreation. I think that’s a major fallacy.

    Actually, it assumes that sex and procreation are inseparable. (A natural assumption before the advent of modern contraception.)

  42. I could also assume that sex and urinary tract infections are inseparable. (A natural assumption before the advent of modern medical treatments.)

  43. Why thank you, Seth. Perfect illustration.

    Christopher, your assumption doesn’t make sense. Were Adam and Eve without genitalia? I mean, if they didn’t need to procreate, and sex was a sin absent procreative intent, wouldn’t they have to be sexless unless God was just playing a cruel joke on them?

  44. Seth ~ I believe you’re thinking of the Gospel of Philip, and this is what the text actually says:

    And the companion of the [missing, possibly “Lord was”] Mary Magdalene. [missing, possibly “Jesus loved”] her more than [missing, possibly “all”] the disciples [missing, possibly “and used to”] kiss her [missing, possibly “often”] on her [missing, possibly “mouth.”] The rest [missing, possibly “of the disciples were offended by this.”] They said to him “Why do you love her more than all of us?” The Savior answered and said to them, “Why do I not love you like her? When a blind man and one who sees are both together in the darkness, they are no different from one another. When the light comes, then he who sees will see the light, and he who is blind will remain in darkness.”

    Those brackets denote lacunae in the text. So what the text says is “And the companion of the [blank] Mary Magdalene. [blank] her more than [blank] the disciples [blank] kiss her [blank] on her [blank].” Real clear there.

    Jared ~ Human life is not about suffering and crucifixion. At least not to most sane people. If it was, God would have us all suffer on crosses for our own sins. . . then again maybe that is what Evangelicals (and some Mormons) kindof believe.

    On suffering, I beg to differ. Suffering is a constant in human life. I think you’re employing reductio ad absurdum by throwing crucifixion into the mix. I’m not saying every person has to literally do everything Jesus did, but we are called to die for our faith if necessary.

    And let me remind everyone: I’m not saying that birth and death aren’t part of what’s important about being human; remember, Christ was born of a human woman and He died. I’m saying procreation is optional to us now and isn’t going to be necessary to us in the next life.

    Brian ~ I don’t pretend to know what would have happened had Adam and Eve stayed in the Garden, if all of humanity would have been expelled once some of humanity fell or whatever. I imagine the Garden would not have been visible or accessible to fallen humanity. I don’t really understand why you felt the need to ridicule the idea.

    You may have noticed that the Bible doesn’t say Jesus was celibate; I think that He was, but I’m fine if He wasn’t. It doesn’t say He was married, either. That’s my point: sexuality isn’t important to what we’re meant to be. I don’t forbid marriage for that reason and because I’m not just basing this on the life of Christ, I’m basing it on the New Testament as a whole, and the New Testament makes it clear that both marriage and celibacy are viable options in this life. LDS writings tend to deny the celibacy option, but that’s not really my problem.

    The citation you labeled “bad exegesis” wasn’t exegesis at all, it was my hypothesis on this from a sola scriptura perspective which holds that everything we need to know for salvation is contained in the Bible. Since Mormons reject sola scriptura, I wouldn’t expect you guys to agree.

    I think it would do everyone well to remember that I’m not attacking Mormonism here; I’m explaining what I think on this issue from my paradigm.

    Chris ~ What do you think about the command to multiply and replenish the earth then? Are you in agreement with Mormonism that contradicting commandments were given? Or did you just never think about it much before Mormonism? (sorry, I haven’t had time to read your blog post yet, I gotta run till later this evening)

  45. As I tried to point out above, I’m not saying sex is a sin absent procreative intent. I don’t know where you’re getting that.

    What I’m saying is that according to the Book of Enoch (and implicitly the New Testament), sex and procreation are sinful for immortal beings. Assuming this is true, it doesn’t seem too great a logical leap to say they would have been a sin for Adam and Eve as well.

    (For those who don’t know, the Book of Enoch is a sort of expansion of Genesis 6:1-5, where the sons of God apparently sin by procreating with the daughters of men.)

    >>wouldn’t they have to be sexless unless God was just playing a cruel joke on them?

    Not if you’re a Calvinist, in which case the whole Fall was planned ahead of time.

    But actually, I’m not a Calvinist, nor do I believe in a literal Garden of Eden. More than anything, I’m just making a suggestion as to what the texts might have meant to some of their ancient Jewish and Christian interpreters. Make of it what you will.

  46. Jack,

    The command to multiply appears in Genesis 1, which appears originally to have comprised a separate narrative from Genesis 2-3. Genesis 1 does not discuss the Fall or the trees. So I’d caution against interpreting Genesis 2-3 through the lens of Genesis 1.

    On the other hand, the plan for marriage, children, and becoming “one flesh” is given in Genesis 2 before the Fall narrative. The curse on the woman also speaks of “increasing” the pain in childbearing. These verses imply that the author of Genesis 2 understood there to have been sex from the very beginning. (On the other other hand, humanity was evidently created mortal and thus only lived forever by eating from the tree. So there seems to be some recognition from the beginning that humans are not really designed to be immortal in their own right.)

    I didn’t really mean my initial comment to be taken too seriously. It was just an offhand observation laced with some innuendo for humor’s sake. It’s actually really hard to know what to think of the trees’ possible symbolic significance. Trees were not just symbols of fertility, but of the fertility goddess, Asherah. My mom (an OT scholar) believes that Gen. 2-3 is a polemic against worship of Asherah. In her view, the tree of knowledge represents Asherah, whereas the tree of life is Yahweh’s gift of immortality. The fruit of the two trees is apparently mutually exclusive. Make of that what you will.

    Cheers,

    -Chris

  47. Chris,

    Sorry if I misread you…my reading/logic went something like this:

    Angels are immortal.
    Sex is sinful for angels because they are immortal and don’t need to procreate.
    Sex is sinful for immortals.
    Adam and Eve were immortal.
    Sex was sinful for Adam and Eve pre-Fall.

    Ergo, sex is sinful if there’s no need to procreate. If we assume, as you said, that sex is inseparable from procreation, then sex minus procreation (or the intent thereof) is without its redeeming purpose and thus sinful. If it wasn’t, then why would it be wrong for angels?

    I would submit that humans are treated differently than angels in many ways, with sex being one of them. So whether we read the story literally or not, it doesn’t seem to me that sex has to be viewed as separating humanity from God (e.g., The Fall).

    Which of course leads us back to Jack’s OP, and I just don’t know.

    I guess I just don’t buy into the idea that The Fall was caused by the act of sex.

    I know that’s a popular concept among certain religions, but given the heated debates on the subject, I didn’t think it was necessarily the interpretation that “the ancients” used.

    The Hebrew-knowers around here can probably clarify that.

  48. Sex and procreation are not inseparable, even without medication. The natural family planning method is as effective as other methods of birth control, if used properly.

  49. I’m almost a sure thing.

    But then, would it be sinning? After all, we are hopeful for no procreation at the moment.

  50. Jack: I’m sorry that I wrote a comment that came across as ridiculing. That wasn’t my intent. It was, however, meant to be light-hearted. I don’t have time to respond more than that right now, but wanted to make that clear.

  51. I confess that i have not read every single post in this thread- so please forgive me if someone here has already mentioned this.

    Regarding sex in the next life….

    It is clear that the resurrected Christ had a fully functioning physical body just like ours- though in a perfected state. Just as with his mortal body Christs perfected resurrected body contained fully functioning sexual organs.

    Are we really expected to believe that Christ will have those fully functioning sexual organs for all eternity but they were only intended for use during his brief 33 years in mortality?

    I dont think so. Yes there will be sex in the next life.

  52. OK, inhimdependent. And you know the status of the Lord’s resurrected body as it pertains to his “fully functioning sexual organs”…HOW?

    I’m not saying it’s impossible, but I ain’t never read a scripture that talks about that.

  53. Katie,

    Well from everything else we know about the resurrected Christ how could we assume some unique anomaly in regard to that detail of his physical being?

    I will counter your comment “I ain’t never read a scripture that talks about that” with a comment of my own- Care to demonstrate a scripture that would indicate that while Jesus had fully functioning sexual organs in mortality he then somehow jettisoned them in his resurrection?

    Surely the most reasonable, obvious, apparent and coherent conclusion to make is that Jesus physical body was completely intact in his resurrected state just as it was before.

    If you will recall the resurrected Jesus even made it a point to eat with his disciples to demonstrate to them the realness of his physicality and to show that he is like them though now in a perfected state.

    It just seems rather incoherent and quite a strain to approach some sort of conclusion that Jesus lost his sexual organs upon resurrection.

    Such an idea just sounds rather nutty to me.

  54. Alrighty, I have a very silly question for the LDS folk.

    If Jesus was married here on Earth, is it assumed that He was married for time and eternity?

    If He wasn’t, would He need to be sealed to someone after His death? If so, who gets to make the impossible call regarding who the wifey is going to be? And if not, why not?

    Thank you in advance for answering what I assume is a Mormonism 101 question.

  55. inhimdependent_lds ~ Are we really expected to believe that Christ will have those fully functioning sexual organs for all eternity but they were only intended for use during his brief 33 years in mortality?

    What proof do we have that Jesus used said functioning sexual organs during his 33ish years of mortality? And if He didn’t, why is it such a stretch to assume that we won’t have cause to use them in eternity?

    I can’t really see the logic behind “if something exists, it must have a useful function.” The human body as we know it today is full of bits and pieces of dubious usefulness: wisdom teeth, appendices, gall bladders, foreskins and hymens, to name a few. Are those going to exist and have a function in the next life? I only see three options (a) they’ll exist and a useful function will be restored, (b) they’ll exist in the same state as they do now: they’re there but they don’t really do much, or (c) they won’t be part of our bodies in the next life.

    The same logic applies to genitalia: (a) they’ll exist and have a useful function (which is what Mormons seem to believe about the CK), (b) they’ll exist but they won’t really be needed (my hypothesis on it), (c) it’s TK smoothies for all. Mormons seem to believe in some form of option (b) or (c) for the fate of those in the lower kingdoms anyway, so I don’t see what all the fuss is about.

  56. Inhim, I hear ya. I’m not necessarily disagreeing with you, but I just wouldn’t throw around phrases like “it is clear” Jesus has functioning sexual organs. It is possible, maybe even plausible, but far from clear.

    Whitney, I’d say that yes, it is assumed that if Jesus was married on earth it was for time and all eternity.

    As to who gets to make the call if not…well, I guess that would be Jesus. He is God after all, and I figure that whatever God wants…God gets.

  57. As someone who bid goodbye to her POS appendix last December and has actually been healthier than when she had it, I would be awfully disappointed to find that useless organ back in my side after going to so much trouble to get it out.

    Is it worth it to try to distinguish what constitutes “Heaven on Earth” and what actually constitutes Heaven? It seems like that could help explain why Eden was paradise without actually being exactly the same as Heaven.

  58. Bridget,

    With all do respect who do you know that would consider their sexual organs to be of “dubious usefulness” on par with wisdom teeth? Good grief.

    Jesus mortal body had a penis and Jesus resurrected body had a penis. What is the big deal??

    The most sacred, loving, intimate and wonderful union possible between 2 human beings is facilitated through being “One” with each other in the Lord. Sexual intimacy is a HUGE part of that within the marriage covenant.

    If husband and wife are to be “One” with each other in the Lord here is this life how much more “One” will we be with Him and each other in heaven?

    As i understand ALL resurrected beings will have complete and fully functioning perfected bodies- and i am sure their sexual organs will play a role in whatever kingdom they are in.

  59. inhimdependent_lds ~ With all do respect who do you know that would consider their sexual organs to be of “dubious usefulness” on par with wisdom teeth? Good grief.

    I’m not saying sexual organs aren’t useful in this life; I’m saying I could easily envision them not being used in the next just as wisdom teeth, etc. aren’t used here now. Good grief indeed.

    Jesus mortal body had a penis and Jesus resurrected body had a penis. What is the big deal??

    Okay. So do resurrected women have uteri? Are they going to play the same function in the next life that they do in this life? If so, congratulations: you believe in that eternal pregnancy doctrine the anti-Mormons are always harping about. If not, then why is it such a stretch to imagine that other sexual organs either won’t be needed or won’t have the same function that they do here?

    The most sacred, loving, intimate and wonderful union possible between 2 human beings is facilitated through being “One” with each other in the Lord.

    And yet, we have zero proof that Jesus ever experienced this most sacred, loving, intimate union in His mortal body. Furthermore, not all humans get to experience it or want to experience it.

    I think sexuality is nice, but I don’t think it’s essential to who we are, either here or in the eternities.

    If husband and wife are to be “One” with each other in the Lord here is this life how much more “One” will we be with Him and each other in heaven?

    You know, I really like Jesus, but I sort of hope I’m never going to be “one” with Him in that way. 😛

    As i understand ALL resurrected beings will have complete and fully functioning perfected bodies- and i am sure their sexual organs will play a role in whatever kingdom they are in.

    Joseph Fielding Smith would have disagreed with you, and the church clearly teaches that celestial marriage is necessary for “eternal increase,” so I’m not sure what you think the function of sex organs will be in the lower kingdoms. If TKers will be able to have sex with whoever they want free from marriage covenants and without having to worry about that pesky eternal pregnancy/”eternal increase” stuff, then it’s beginning to sound like the TKs are going to be a lot more awesome than the CK.

  60. What about Jesus’ legs, does he walk around a lot in eternity?

    How about His sweat glands? It seems that they will probably be a bit ineffective unless they are juiced up quite a bit.

    His eyelids and blink reflex probably don’t come into play a lot, since his eyes are always upon us?

    Does he really need a beard?

    Does he really use his pinky-toe a lot in the hereafter.

    Nose hair and mucus membranes, does he really need to filter the air he breathes?

    All things considered, His sex organs seem to be the most useful thing he has got going for Him in the eternities.

  61. The LDS prophets have consistently taught that there was no death before the fall and that the process of partaking of the fruit somehow transformed their perfect immortal bodies to mortal ones, there does seem to be a consensus that at this time “blood” entered there bodies and gave them substance rather than being ”quickened by the spirit”

    Going out on a limb but I am thinking without blood that would pretty much mean bodily fluids as well. It seems that most discussions I was involved with while an active Mormon was that the consensus was that we would procreate but it would be a spiritual creation of spiritual children and not a sexual act. I suppose that we may have to use our sex organs to transfer this quickening spirit but even that would seem unnecessary as we will be creating spirits without bodies, isn’t that we come to earth for?

    I am thinking that in the CK

    A: You won’t have a body that has blood or sperm.

    B: You are not procreating bodies anyway just spirit children

    C: The sex organs are most likely just a function for creating “Bodies” on Earth.

    D: No sex in heaven just spiritual creation. Sorry

  62. For all the reductio ad absurdum I’m seeing on this thread, I don’t see anyone actually taking a shot at my honest, not-meant-to-be-absurd questions when we apply the same reasoning to female sex organs in the resurrection.

    I can guess why.

  63. Your question:

    “But doesn’t that mean that heaven involved marriage, sex, and pregnancy? And if that’s the case, why do we think Mormons are wrong for believing they’ll be returning to those things in the next life?”

    My Answer, if you are grouping all of those things together, marriage, sex, and pregnancy, in my opinion the only one of the three that is doctrine or universal LDS belief is the marriage part. I don’t think it is necessarily Mormon belief that there will be sex, pregnancy in the CK, only that they will create spirits and to my knowledge there is no official doctrine on how that will be done. It was always explained to me as I said in my previous post that the procreating of spirits will be a spiritual act not a sexual one.

    In regards to female sex organs what I said regarding the Male organs apply to either.

  64. Bridget,

    The reason it is easy to envision wisdom teeth as less useful in heaven is because they are less useful here in mortality and play no part in our relationship with God or in our most primary relation with that of a spouse.

    However, our sexual organs are very useful here in mortality and play a very huge role in our most primary relationship to our spouse and ultimately to our relationship with God. One cannot simply dismiss their significance in the way one might do with wisdom teeth. I don’t know why this even needs to be explained.

    I would remind you of the fact that Adam and Eve were “married” in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 2:25, 3:8, 3:17) – and that ordinance of marriage took place before the fall. So, even within an evangelical perspective it should be clear to you that God at least “intended” for their marriage union to last forever and extend into the eternities. If God intended Adam and Eve to be husband and wife even before the fall and before the entrance of sin into the world why would we not expect the same to persist in the eternities when through the Atonement of Jesus Christ all things are restored?

    Is is clear that Jesus desired the fathers will to be done on earth even as it is in heaven. If the marriage union was so central to the relationship of Adam and Eve and so central here in mortality why are we to not think it will be important in heaven?

    As others here have already stated our sexual organs play a huge role in our being even if they are not being used for sex. Surely you can see the more fuller dimension of that reality.

    We can spend all day spinning goofy speculations about wisdom teeth and uteri and whatever else one can concoct but the bottom line is that is all that it is- goofy speculations.

    Even if we adhere to Biblical content alone one must admit that the most sound, rational, coherent and obvious conclusion one can can come to is that Jesus resurrected physical body was in its most essential ways the same as his mortal body though in a glorified state.

    Joseph Fielding Smith does not disagree with me in the link you have posted. While such a claim might make a nice sounding bullet point in a blog post it comes comes across to me more as an attempt to fling data around that is beyond the flingers capacity to really grasp or grapple with effectively just for the sake of winning an argument.

    I am not here to win an argument.

  65. By the way, arguing about whether there is sex in heaven or which organs we will and will not have in the resurrection is exactly the kind of thing I find the most ridiculous about theology.

    Big picture, people. Big picture.

  66. I suppose the real question is why ANY of the body would be considered essential.

    I mean, the ultimate logic of Jack’s train of thought here is that none of the body is really necessary, and therefore, why expect to have any of it in the hereafter?

    Which brings us face to face with scriptures about resurrection.

    Why would God do something like that? Why resurrect at all?

  67. Why do we have to be resurrected to create spirit children, it does seem that being a spirit would be all that was necessary. Good question.

  68. As others here have already stated our sexual organs play a huge role in our being even if they are not being used for sex.

    Okay, but you’re not trying to make the point that the sexual organs are there for identity reasons or out of physiological necessity. You’re saying they’re there so we can all go on blissfully procreating throughout eternity.

    Which is fine.

    Except Jack makes an excellent point about how no one is extending the same logic to female sex organs. Why is this? Because for men, procreation is a 15-minute, pleasurable experience. Your sexual organs bring you nothing but a jolly good time, so why wouldn’t you expect it to be present in heaven?

    It’s not so easy when you apply this same standard to women. Our sexual organs represent a tremendous deal of pain and trauma. So forgive me if I’m not leaping up and down for joy at the prospect of an eternity spent barefoot and pregnant in some Celestial kitchen.

    And yes, I’m being overly dramatic. But Inhim revealed his bias when he said: We can spend all day spinning goofy speculations about wisdom teeth and uteri and whatever else one can concoct but the bottom line is that is all that it is- goofy speculations.

    Ummmmmm. What is a uterus if not a sexual/reproductive organ? You’re quick to lump my sexual organs into a “goofy” category with wisdom teeth, but don’t take yours away, oh no no no.

    There may well be sex in heaven. Who knows? I’ve never been there. But it is far from clear, and depending on your perspective, far from ideal.

    Finally, on the matter of Adam and Eve. I do not believe they had sex in the Garden of Eden. My speculation is that it wasn’t until they had taken the fruit that they even realized it was a possibility. Just a thought.

  69. inhimdependent_lds ~ My question about uteri wasn’t “goofy” at all, and you still haven’t answered it. Frankly, I think this “eternal sexxorz” doctrine was thought up by a bunch of LDS men who decided male sexuality as we know it would be a sweet deal if it continued in the next life. Point out that female sexuality existing eternally as we know it doesn’t sound like such a great deal for women and suddenly we get a bunch of hemming and hawing about how God hasn’t revealed the process, we don’t know exactly how things will work, etc. It’s apparently okay for Mormons to gut procreation as we know it from gender, but if traditional Christians want to take sexuality out of gender, it’s “Nooooo, why would we have those organs if there is no sex?” Right.

    (I’m seeing now that Katie has pretty much said the same thing. Good for you, Katie.)

    If God intended Adam and Eve to be husband and wife even before the fall and before the entrance of sin into the world why would we not expect the same to persist in the eternities when through the Atonement of Jesus Christ all things are restored?

    I’ve already answered this question.

    Is is clear that Jesus desired the fathers will to be done on earth even as it is in heaven. If the marriage union was so central to the relationship of Adam and Eve and so central here in mortality why are we to not think it will be important in heaven?

    Jesus also very clearly taught that marriage wasn’t for everyone (Matthew 19:3-12). Strange thing for Him to do if marriage is as central as Mormons say it is.

    Joseph Fielding Smith does not disagree with me in the link you have posted.

    This is the JFS quote:

    In both of these kingdoms [i.e., the terrestrial and telestial] there will be changes in the bodies and limitations. They will not have the power of increase, neither the power or nature to live as husbands and wives, for this will be denied them and they cannot increase. Those who receive the exaltation in the celestial kingdom will have the “continuation of the seeds forever.” They will live in the family relationship. In the terrestrial and in the telestial kingdoms there will be no marriage. Those who enter there will remain “separately and singly” forever. Some of the functions in the celestial body will not appear in the terrestrial body, neither in the telestial body, and the power of procreation will be removed. I take it that men and women will, in these kingdoms, be just what the so-called Christian world expects us all to be – neither man nor woman, merely immortal beings having received the resurrection. (Doctrines of Salvation. vol. 2, pg. 287-288.)

    What you said was, “As i understand ALL resurrected beings will have complete and fully functioning perfected bodies- and i am sure their sexual organs will play a role in whatever kingdom they are in.” So yeah, you are at odds with JFS. There’s not necessarily anything wrong with you disagreeing with JFS, but Mormons have definitely taught that people in the TKs will either be asexual beings or will have gender but not sexuality. If evangelicals are absurd for believing in it, so are Mormons.

    I am not here to win an argument.

    No one’s asking you to win an argument. All I’ve been asking is for people to consider my (and the evangelical) position on this and in what ways it’s similar and different to the LDS position. My post even started out with a fairly positive, even-handed assessment of the LDS position and how I can see the logic behind it. Judging by the hostile, derisive reactions I’ve gotten on this thread, apparently it’s too damn much to ask Mormons to do the same.

    Kullervo ~ The big picture is that I don’t think sexuality is essential to every person in this life and I believe it will be replaced by something better in the next life.

    Seth ~ You ask great questions, but I think they would deserve their own post. However I’m about to start a guest-blogging stint for someone else. Maybe in a few weeks.

    coventrym ~ Incidentally, no, there are no ancient traditions concerning the appearance of resurrected females or even female angels for that matter, not in Mormonism or ancient Christianity. Zechariah 5:9 speaks of a vision involving two winged women, but that’s it.

    Katie ~ Ummmmmm. What is a uterus if not a sexual/reproductive organ? You’re quick to lump my sexual organs into a “goofy” category with wisdom teeth, but don’t take yours away, oh no no no.

    This is why I love you.

    Anyway, I have other blogging commitments to get to, so I’m not sure I’ll be able to participate much more in this thread, but feel free to respond.

  70. as an aside, I read (from a non-religious source) that our sexual organs are an expression of how incomplete we are. Women have a “wound” longing to be filled and men have a “tumor” waiting for acceptance.

    Part of the reason heterosexual marriage is so important is that we need to be intimate with the opposite gender so that we can have a complete perspective on the human experience.

    I don’t think it’s unreasonable to say that Jesus’ resurrected body and ours will be complete and therefore genderless. Women are every bit made in the image of God as men.

  71. Katie,

    You are putting words into my mouth.

    You might be reminded of the fact that the “pain and trauma” you refer to regarding the female sex and reproductive organs are a direct result of the fall. (Gen 3:16) Obviously that is not the way it would be in an ideal state.

    Regarding “uteri”…. (sigh) i am not saying that uteri or anything about the female gender is “goofy”- and i am not gender bias. Good grief people. It is the supplanting of the broad and obvious implications of what we do know from scripture with purely speculative and contrived assumptions that is goofy.

    Forget i said uteri and use wisdom teeth or something else if it sits better with the estrogen- the point i am making is still the same and should still be just as clear.

  72. Alright, first of all, if someone could explain to me how birth can happen absent pain and trauma when you are essentially squeezing a watermelon out a hole the size of a lemon, I’m all ears. Maybe that’s a mystery, but if we’re talking about eternal anatomy, it’s worth considering.

    Also, Tim, I take issue with that analogy (knowing that it’s from another source). I think it’s extremely unhealthy to view reproductive organs as either a wound or tumor. My stomach longs to be filled with food. A lot. I don’t think that has a bearing on the health of my inner psyche.* In fact, if we take that source’s logic far enough, doesn’t that suggest that non-egg laying animals have the same issues?

    *Please note that those with eating disorders are exceptions to that thought.

  73. Whitney–the C-section. It’s amazing. 🙂

    Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that you do keep your functioning parts in heaven. Why does that necessarily mean that you will be pregnant all the time? I’m not pregnant all the time now, nor all the time that I could be.

    I’m coming from a different perspective though. I loved being pregnant; I loved sharing myself with my children. I loved the bond it created. I loved that it was a science experiment that I was trying on myself. I loved pretty much all of it, and if heaven is perfect and takes out things like back pain and the inability to roll over without waking up at night, then I’m all for pregnancy in heaven.

    Jack, as your sister wife, I will take on the pregnancy responsibility for you. We can share the babies, but I’ll do the pregnancy thing. Sound like a deal? … maybe THAT’S why there’s polygamy in heaven?

  74. Tim ~ as an aside, I read (from a non-religious source) that our sexual organs are an expression of how incomplete we are. Women have a “wound” longing to be filled and men have a “tumor” waiting for acceptance.

    So… maybe Adam and Eve had TK smoothies prior to the Fall? (I’m not disagreeing with you, I’m just musing on this)

    KatyJane ~ Jack, as your sister wife, I will take on the pregnancy responsibility for you. We can share the babies, but I’ll do the pregnancy thing. Sound like a deal? … maybe THAT’S why there’s polygamy in heaven?

    But doesn’t that mean you get all the sex? I see what you’re trying to pull, missy.

    I can’t decide if this is my favorite thread ever or the biggest trainwreck of a thread ever. I think it’s some of both.

  75. Just want to chime in to say this has been a very interesting discussion and I’m enjoying it.

    The point a previous poster made about celestial bodies being without blood was an excellent one. If we are without blood, will be still have a heart and a vascular system? And if there is no blood to distribute oxygen, will we still have lungs? If there is no blood to engorge the corpora cavernosa, how will resurrected males get an erection? Is there some sort of celestial Viagra for that? It seems clear to me that a resurrected body without blood would need to be a very different kind of body indeed; perhaps even a “spiritual body” as Paul asserted.

    Another thing that no one has mentioned is that Jesus spoke of becoming a “eunuch for the kingdom of heaven,” a teaching that he said is not for everyone but “those that can accept it should accept it.” Since I think we can assume Jesus was able to accept it, this passage raises interesting possibilities about his sexuality or lack thereof in the afterlife.

    Just sayin’.

    -Chris

  76. Inhim, FYI, I’m just giving you a hard time here and am only about 62% serious in anything I say. So take what follows with that in mind.

    But when I said you revealed your bias by putting uteri in the same category as wisdom teeth, I didn’t mean I think you hate women or anything like that.

    The bias I spoke of was simply that your desire to affirm celestial sexuality requires you to minimize or downplay what it might mean for women. So when you took the uterus–which is THE life-giving sexual organ–and didn’t even recognize it as a sexual organ (calling it “goofy,” in fact!)…well, it revealed to me that you might not have thought it all the way through.

    And BTW, I’m certain that if there is pregnancy and childbirth in heaven, it won’t be painful. That’s really beside the point for me. My point is that a woman’s sexuality is deeply complex and carries long-lasting effects that I’m not sure a man can fully understand. So while eternal sex for a man might seem like a no-brainer, for a woman, it is a complicated issue and not nearly such a slam-dunk.

  77. Katie,

    Experience has shown that anytime a woman says something like “I’m not sure a man can fully understand” it is a good indicator that it would be wise to just leave the issue alone. And that is exactly what i am going to do.

    Also, i promise not to take 38% of what you say seriously from now on.

  78. Bridget,

    Regarding what is “goofy” see my post to Katie.

    I have not seen anything here that i would consider “hostile and derisive” toward you Bridget. Maybe you see something i dont but if my using the word “goofy” comes across as some how hostile or derisive i take it back- if for no other reason than to keep the peace. I am starting to sense that these are the sort of issues that a male, despite his best intentions, can never tip-toe around well enough.

    From an LDS perspective it is not a strange thing for Jesus to teach marriage is not for everyone unless one does not fully understand the LDS view on this very varied and nuanced issue.

    With all due respect Bridget… No, i am not at odds with JFS- and i can feel your conviction that you think i am. We are talking here on a blog in very simplified language about very intricate and complex ideas. If you and i were to meet and sit down and really talk about these things over time i would wager that you could come to see (if you wanted to) how i see it and be able to synthesize these things more cohesively.

    I will be the first to admit that i am not the greatest blogger in the world- it is just not my cup of tea. But i have never found blogging to be a great channel to spiritual or gospel truth- which is something i think we would all do well to remember here.

  79. Seth: “I suppose the real question is why ANY of the body would be considered essential.” I answered this question at a grilling class I taught last night: we need bodies so that we can feast eternally on grilled lamb. It’s why fire was created.

    coventryrm: “Why do we have to be resurrected to create spirit children…” I do not believe that spirits are ever created. Yes, I am LDS. Yes, I agree with Joseph Smith on this point.

  80. Experience has shown that anytime a woman says something like “I’m not sure a man can fully understand” it is a good indicator that it would be wise to just leave the issue alone. And that is exactly what i am going to do.

    Also, i promise not to take 38% of what you say seriously from now on.

    Inhim, both of your points show great wisdom. 🙂

  81. Jack: I’ve missed some of the discussion, but wanted to respond to you some more.

    All I’ve been asking is for people to consider my (and the evangelical) position on this and in what ways it’s similar and different to the LDS position. My post even started out with a fairly positive, even-handed assessment of the LDS position and how I can see the logic behind it. Judging by the hostile, derisive reactions I’ve gotten on this thread, apparently it’s too damn much to ask Mormons to do the same.

    Okay. “Consider your position” is what I was trying to do. That’s what I’ll try to do again here.

    “You may have noticed that the Bible doesn’t say Jesus was celibate; I think that He was, but I’m fine if He wasn’t.” Agreed, except that I have no thoughts on whether he was or was not celibate. The text is silent on that point—and is silent about why it is silent—so I am silent too.

    “It doesn’t say He was married, either. That’s my point: sexuality isn’t important to what we’re meant to be.” This is where I—again, approaching from an Evangelical or outside perspective—don’t follow your logic. I think you’re trying to conclude too much from a negative: “Jesus wasn’t married” could mean “marriage was not important to his mission” or “Jesus didn’t need marriage in the same way he didn’t need repentance: marriage does something for us that Jesus, as God, already had.”

    “…the New Testament makes it clear that both marriage and celibacy are viable options in this life. LDS writings tend to deny the celibacy option, but that’s not really my problem.” Agreed.

    “…from a sola scriptura perspective which holds that everything we need to know for salvation is contained in the Bible. Since Mormons reject sola scriptura, I wouldn’t expect you guys to agree.” I was trying to approach your argument from your (sola scriptura) perspective. If you had said that the Bible doesn’t say we need marriage for salvation and therefore we don’t need it, then I’d say that was sound (as far as a sola scriptura perspective goes), but that wasn’t your argument.

    “I think it would do everyone well to remember that I’m not attacking Mormonism here.” Of course you’re not. You’re attacking ninjas, and I still say that ninjas are better than pirates any day.

  82. We need bodies so that we can feast eternally on grilled lamb. It’s why fire was created.

    I know, with every fibre of my being, that this is true.

  83. I would have loved to have been pregnant “pre-fall”… I had awful awful pregancies…. sick sick.. 9 mos of vomitting and ended up with c-sections….. so yeah, it would have been grand. 🙂

    gloria

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