The West Loses the Plot


In the news today I discovered Cambridge, Massachusetts has legalized polyamory, and there's to be a new UK reality show in which people who want to co-parent but not have a marital or even sexual relationship are matched and decide whether to have a baby together through IVF.

It's just hard not to see these things as a loss for all concerned, and a sign that Western civilization is on its last legs. In the Massachusetts case, this new move will put women at a disadvantage; you can be sure that the vast majority of polyamory situations are one man and more than one woman. The potential for abuse in polygyny is extremely high. And children of polygynous relationships fare worse than children in monogamous circumstances. The evidence on this is very clear; the book The Evils of Polygyny is a good place to start engaging the literature.

As for the new UK reality show, a child is not a consumer good. A child is meant to be the fruit of love--real love, complete with fidelity, commitment, and self-sacrifice, between the child's parents. What will it do to the child to realize that his or her parents "purchased" them through a relationship based on contract without love, or even sex?

The original plot, set down by Heaven, is for men and women to love each other, commit to one another, and bear chldren as a natural offshoot of that loving, faithful relationship. Through thick and thin, sickness and health, plenty and poverty, the commitment would not waver. These families would be sealed together for eternity, and the loving ties would be lived forever. A happy family is indeed an "early heaven," as the saying goes.

Well, the West appears to have lost the plot entirely. Surely part of the reason is the ubiquity and ubiquitous use of degrading pornography. Neither men nor women can now conceive of the sex act as an act of love. It is an act of contempt now. And sex has become so casual, almost like having a fast food meal. It holds no meaning for either party any more, except as a performative act signalling something entirely different from love or commitment. All are losers here, though the men do not see themselves as such. Women are children are the most disadvantaged temporally, but men may be the most disadvantaged spiritually. At least that's what Jacob in the Book of Mormon expressed when he confronted the Nephite men over their sexual sins.

I am so grateful for the Proclamation on the Family, which reminds us of what the plot was meant to be, and that that plot is completely obtainable if it is our heart's desire. Consider some of its elements:

"God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife. Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. We warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets."

Amen, amen, amen.