(I took the header picture of a Common Loon resting on a pond in Utah on its way north in June of 2015. It was in transition from winter to summer plumage.)

Translate - I dare you. Then make a comment on the funny errors the translator made.

Monday, March 12, 2007

The liberation of "morality"

I wish for the growth of a truer and wiser use of some phrases and concepts by Mormons.

For example, the word "morality". If you're LDS, you're likely to think of this or to hear it used as a euphemism for sexual purity. But since "sex" still sounds shocking to many church-going ears, "morality" has been taken as a substitute.

Of course, in the process, the word "morality" has been stripped - pun absolutely intended - of many of its meanings and therefore made not only poorer, but by being pressed into service to cover for the more troubling "sex", it has taken on some of the psycho-semantic mud that made "sex" so dirty, so that I have heard young people in the Church utter the word "immorality" with the same blushing timidity that one might expect from uttering that dread syllable "sex" in an atmosphere of churchiness.

Morality as a concept deserves better than this: there is plenty more to it than just scrupulous maintenance of one's pants. Our good God-given brains and spirits deserve better than to be shamed out of solid understandings of "knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come" (Doc&Cov 93:24). Making euphemisms eventually just leads to the euphemism becoming taboo itself. This is why I cheer inwardly whenever I hear someone unafraid to talk about sexual sin or purity over the pulpit without shrinking. Even Jacob the brother of Nephi, when aware of the shocking effect his words might have on his audience (and they probably were more shocking in the original language than in the abbreviated translation we have) went ahead and delivered them anyway, holding out to his faithful listeners the promise of comfort (Jacob 3:1-2).

1 comment:

Kim Siever said...

I think this is a very important point. Morality is a general term that is supposed to refer to the living according a knowledge of right and wrong.