Letter: Control yourself


In response to “Enforce the code” (4/12), your husband and the other men at BYU need to realize several things.

First, it is normal and unavoidable that a woman or a man notice attractive people of the opposite sex. Sometimes this results in an involuntary physical reaction. This is perfectly natural. We were wired this way by God so we would perpetuate our species. Multiple general authorities have said as much. These reactions are not sinful. It is dwelling on them or acting on them unlawfully that presents a problem.

Second, the idea of agency is really big in the LDS religion. Nothing can “make” us do anything. Which means that we — and we only — are responsible for any unlawful actions we take. If I steal candy from a grocery store, I can’t blame the store owner for leaving the candy where I could see it and be tempted. Similarly, I do not go around telling the men at BYU that they need to wear long sleeves because buff arms turn me on. Using my agency, I’ve learned how to say, “Wow. Yes. That guy’s arms are all burly, and that’s making me feel a little flustered. This is a normal reaction. But lust is inappropriate, even more so since I’m married, so I don’t need to dwell on this. I will now move on with my day.” No harm done, everyone remains in full possession of their agency, and no one is left with the burden of trying to keep anyone else “pure” and being blamed for the sins of someone other than themselves.

Telling the women to cover up will not make the men stop thinking sexual thoughts. In fact, drawing attention to them by telling them to be so careful about covering up is likely to make things worse. The solution is for the men to take responsibility for themselves, for us all to accept that sexual thoughts are a normal part of being human and to stop judging others.



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