Thursday, August 25, 2011

Lest you misunderstand

Here is an excellent exposition on our perspective on "natural affections"; a.k.a. human intimacy, by Parley P. Pratt, one of the early leaders of my church.

"Man [and woman], know thyself, -study thine own nature, -learn thy powers of body, -thy capacity of mind. Learn thine origin, thy purpose and thy destiny. Study the true source of thine every happiness, and the happiness of all beings with which thou art associated. Learn to act in unison with thy true character, nature and attributes; and thus improve and cultivate the resources within and around thee. This will render you truly happy, and be an acceptable service to your God. And being faithful over a few things, you may hope to be made ruler over many things. 

Some persons have supposed that our natural affections were the results of a fallen and corrupt nature, and that they are "carnal, sensual, and devilish," and therefore ought to be resisted, subdued, or overcome and so many evils which prevent our perfection, or progress in the spiritual life. In short, that they should be greatly subdued in this world, and in the world to come entirely done away. And even our intelligence also.

So far from this being the case, our natural affections are planted in us by the Spirit of God, for a wise purpose; and they are the very mainsprings of life and happiness- they are the cement of all virtuous and heavenly society-they are the essence of charity, or love; and therefore never fail, but endure forever...

What then is sinful? I answer, our unnatural passions and affections, or in other words the abuse, the perversion, the unlawful indulgence of that which is otherwise good. Sodom was not destroyed for their natural affections, but for the want of it. They had perverted all their affections, and had to give place to that which was unnatural, and contrary to nature. Thus they had lost those holy and pure principles of virtue and love which was calculated to preserve and exalt.

Know then, O man, (and woman) that aided and directed by the light of heaven the sources of thy happiness are within and around thee. Instead of seeking unto God for a mysterious change to be wrought, or for your affections and attributes to be taken away and subdued, seek unto him for aid and wisdom to govern, direct and cultivate them in a manner which will tend to your happiness and exaltation, both in this world and in that which is to come. Yeah, pray to him that every affection, attribute, power and energy of your body and mind may be cultivated, increased, enlarged, perfected and exercised for his glory and for the glory and happiness of yourself, and of all those whose good fortune it may be to be associated with you."

Amen!

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