Reading over Brad Wilcox's "His Grace is sufficient" talk I have a hard time conceiving of a more subversive, destruction alteration of our doctrine.
Earlier I was reading about Phinehas in Numbers 25. There is something akin in what I read there and Brad Wilcox's speech. What was it that made Baal-Peor such an interesting God to the Israelites. They have had Moses smite a rock and bring forth water. They have seen Aaron's branch grow and blosom miraculously. They have had one miracle after another.
So why do they turn to Baal-Peor? Because what Baal-Peor really offers them is immorality. That is why the worship of Baal-Peor is hardly distinguished in the text from committing adultery with the Midianitish women of Moab. They seem to be referred to interchangeably.
There is a reason other religions are called the whore of all the earth. They offer religion, but they offer religion without that pesky chastity requirement. Sure, it is included, but there is a difference between a requirement that is a sacred commitment with consequences for the temple, for covenants, for the sacrament, and *wink, wink* "requirements".
Each offers their own way around that one law. Some make it a commandment, but one which is forgiven with astonishing ease. I knew a man in one such religion that had a six month affair, for which he was required to spend 45 minutes in prayer to enjoy complete absolution. Another puts forth an ostentatious show of morality, but make all immorality the fault of the woman, leaving domineering men to do as they please effectively blameless for any moral misdeed whatsoever. These and countless variations satisfy man's innate desire to believe he is right with God, without having to subject his flesh to the commandments, and most particularly without needing to fully commit to being chaste. They find a way that he can just keep the commandment in part, but gain the full blessing.
Yes there are other commandments that are tough for people, such as tithing. But there is a reason the Lord calls other churches "the whore of all the earth" instead of "the robber of all the earth". The moral one is the crux. A moral people can gain the inspiration they need to start paying tithing. But immorality is both very serious and tempting. It puts those who yield to it under the devil's sway and it then proceeds to pull the other virtues apart. The only way out is real repentance.
So back to the original topic, Brad Wilcox's "His grace is sufficient." I know of no other popular piece of LDS doctrinal writing that attaches as much of a "wink, wink" attitude to the commandments of chastity. It transforms our religion into just another whore of all the earth type religion. It has part of the form, but without the requirements. Yes, all the usual LDS requirements are left in. But with a sense that you can get away with an awful lot of misbehavior along the way and that it should all be fairly easy to gain forgiveness because that is what the atonement is all about.
Don't get me wrong. Like all other religions, no one is really winking. Everything is presented straight faced like this is THE doctrine. That is common among the religions.
Spencer W Kimball, addressing a couple that had given way to immorality recounts:
“Yes,” I replied, “the Lord and his church can and will forgive, but not easily. The way of the transgressor is hard. It always has been and it always will be. The Lord said: ‘I tell thee, thou shalt not depart thence, till thou hast paid the very last mite’” (Luke 12:59). But I went on to tell them that in his goodness he provided for us a way to forgiveness. One may do as he pleases, but he cannot evade responsibility. He may break laws, but he cannot avoid penalties. One gets by with nothing. God is just. Paul said, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Gal. 6:7).
Spencer W Kimball's doctrine is not his own, but the doctrine of the true church. For serious sin, there remain serious consequences. It isn't just like hitting the wrong note on a piano. Immorality isn't something to treat with a slap on the wrist on the basis that everyone is just practicing being good. It has a serious effect. It cannot be treated lightly, or taught like it is a small matter, without destroying the souls of men.