Superchastity and Same-Sex Attracted Latter-day Saints

I have been thinking a lot about the interview with LDS authorities Dallin H. Oaks and Lance B. Wickman on the topic of Homosexuality and the Church, which I recently posted about here. I wish that they had elaborated more about the issue of celibacy. Perhaps they would have if the interviewers had asked a question raising the issue.

In general, single members of the church are only required to refrain from specifically sexual behavior. They may appropriately express physical and emotional intimacy with members of the opposite sex through close physical proximity, dancing together, holding hands, dating, writing love letters or poetry to each other, and affectionately kissing and still be celibate and chaste.

However, members who struggle with homosexual temptation are expected to refrain from all physical and emotional intimacy with members of the same sex to whom they are attracted. This is a similar but even more restrictive degree of abstinence than is expected of full-time missionaries, who can at least write affectionate letters to their girl or boyfriend. And unlike missionaries, members with same-sex temptation are expected to maintain it for their entire life and not just the two years of missionary service.

Perhaps this degree of abstinence should be distinguished with a unique and laudatory expression such as “Superchastity” .

We might regard those members who abide by this law of superchastity because of same-sex attraction somewhat like the biblical lifelong Nazarites, who took upon themselves certain behavioral restrictions that were not required of the majority of the faithful, with the important distinction that a Nazarite life was voluntary, whereas a life of superchastity is a requirement of the unique, earthly challenge of same-sex attracted members.

I think that we ought to recognize this distinction between the chastity the Lord requires of single members in general and the superchastity He requires of members with same-sex attraction.

I have often thought that if, as the scriptures say, where much is given much is required, then the corollary is that where the Lord requires much, much will be given. I have no doubt that since the Lord requires superchastity of the same-sex attracted, he will also bless them an extra measure for their obedience, even if the full measure of that blessing is not meted until their exaltation in the next life.

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