For those just joining us: I have been pondering the following two comments by Mary Baker Eddy:
To cure a bodily ailment, every broken moral law should be taken into account and the error be rebuked. (Science and Health 3921:4-5)
It is error to suffer for aught but your own sins. Christ, or Truth, will destroy all other supposed suffering, and real suffering for your own sins will cease in proportion as the sin ceases. (Science and Health 391:13)
Reading them led me to think: what might we think is okay today that would have been considered a sin 150 years ago, when these lines were first written. As part of this inquiry, I have been examining each of the Ten Commandments. Here is my examination of the Seventh Commandment: Thou shalt not commit adultery.
The Seventh Commandment:
“It doesn't, this marvelous Promiscuity, does not make you happy.”*
When I was young, I was taught that you should not have sex unless you loved the other person. I was also taught that it was a good idea to know someone very well for two years before getting married, and that it would be wise to live with them first, to check them out and make sure that you really know them.
Why was I taught this particular standard?
My mother is a moral person with a good heart, but she was trying to protect her daughter from the mistakes she had seen others make in her youth. She had several friends who married very young—Mom thought this was because they were eager for more physical intimacy—and some of those marriages had gone very badly.
So she figured it would be better to get the physical part of the relationship out of the way, than to make a stupid decision that might affect a person’s entire life.
Second, she had dated my father for two years, but she did not discover until after she married him that he had a terrible, explosive temper. This temper made life with this otherwise very fine man a difficult endeavor.
It was with the idea that I might be protected from such a last minute discovery that she advised that it would be wise to live together before marriage.
I grew up in a time of opening horizons for women. We were on the cutting edge female equality. The idea that science might solve all problems, that a new better way to live might be found, that living together first—checking each other out—all seemed entirely reasonable.
Maybe, we reasoned, it would lead to happier marriages.
The standard “you must love each other to have sex” is much less stringent than “you must be married first,” and yet, it was much more of a standard than was held by many women I grew up with. I hear things are even worse now. At least in my youth, most adults thought sleeping around was wrong and told us so. Now, many girls never even hear this idea.
Far from being told that they should be chaste and wise in their dealings with men, many young women are now often told quite the opposite: that sex without strings is the norm. That they are judgmental if they think otherwise. That they should be open to havinge sex with anyone: boys, girls, girls who take medicine to turn themselves into boys, etc.
Or even robots. Or animals. Robot brothels are a thing in Asia now, and brothels that cater to sex with animals have been opening in Germany.
For anyone who is an animal lover…there are no words.
Recently I read the blog of a girl who had declared herself asexual. She was 21 or 22. She said that she had tried all the types of sex that were expected. It wasn’t for her.
No one had told her even so simple an idea as: “Wait until you find someone you really like, much less: “Wait until you fall in love”, or, God forbid: “Wait until you meet someone so important that you want to share your whole life with him.”
Returning to the purpose of our inquiry: What were things like a hundred and fifty years ago?
Was all this unimaginable to them? Well, not exactly. The rights of women were under discussion, and the Free Love movement was all over the papers. Many of the things we see today polite society did not even talk about, but others they did talk about—particularly when they discussed what would happen if marriage did not recover from its “slippery footing.”
In fact, they warned that many of these very things would come to pass
A hundred years ago, marriage was still the social norm. This means that if you betrayed it, society would be against you, and if you were betrayed, you could count on your community to support you.
Not to long ago, a friend of mine was eagerly preparing to start having children. She was not pregnant yet, but they were getting ready to try. Eager to be a mom, she was taking prenatal vitamins and picking out items for her nursery.
My friend had married her childhood sweetheart. They had dated for seven years, and then they had been married for seven more. Now was the time to take the next step.
Then, suddenly he announced that he did no love her any more and would like a separation—to give him some time to think. She was devastated, but friends and family supported her in this time of need.
She found out about a month later that he was involved with one of her friends. She was, as any sane person would expect, triply devastated.
But not so society.
All those “supportive” friends and family members? They lost all sympathy.
“Hey, he’s moved on,” they said. “You should, too.”
14 years of her life, and because of our modern outlook—where no one supports and cherishes marriage—she is suppose to just smile and walk away.
My friend has not had a good year since then, but her experience is nothing compared to that of Mercedes Grabowski.
Mercedes Grabowski was a young Canadian woman who worked in the porn industry under the name August Ames. She appeared on film performing acts of sex with both men and women, so she had established that she was not adverse to gays. However, when asked to appear on film with a man who had performed in man on man porn, she said no—because he had not used protection, and there was a danger of illness.
When she tweeted about this, she was attacked. She received messages like this one:
On December 5th, 2017, she killed herself.
She was 23.
This young woman was hounded to death by the public—not for lack of chastity, not for breaking her marriage vows—but for not wanting to have sex on camera, for money, with a man who has sex with other men, on camera, for money.
Is chastity so terrible? Is self-restraint so abhorrent that we want our children to live like this? Or, in this case, to die like this?
We seem to have forgotten about the Seventh Commandment entirely. Maybe it is time to reexamine whether, just maybe, it still matters.
As to my own life—Just a few weeks ago, I was discussing this subject with my mother. She was explaining some of her thinking on how she had used her best wisdom at the time to advise me.
For the first time, I thought to ask her a question I had not asked all those years ago. “Mom, if you had known about Dad’s temper, would you have married him anyway?”
My mom looked utterly surprised at the question, “Of course! There was no one else like your father!”
* — with apologies to Molly Grue of The Last Unicorn.
Previous articles in the Morality and the Ten Commandments series in order: