At our recent General Conference Elder Cook used the term non consensual sin. I’m very confused by this. What is non consensual sin. If it’s non consensual like abuse or rape surely that is not a sin on the victim. Did he just get a bit confused in his choice of words? It doesn’t come across very favourably for the Church.
Elder Cook’s term was “nonconsensual immorality.” In context, it was obvious that he was talking about someone who abuses or defiles another without permission. This is a grave sin indeed, and pretty much everyone acknowledges that it’s sinful and evil. Of course, the sin and evil lie with the perpetrator, not the victim.
Elder Cook then went on to point out that performing a sinful act, even if both parties consent to it, is still immoral. This lesson seems to be lost on many of our generation. For example, fornication is wrong and sinful, even if both parties consent to the act.
As for the Church’s favorable look, don’t worry about that. Gordon B. Hinckley once observed that today is the age of the gifted pickle-sucker. Many are only too happy to criticize the Church for any perceived defect. Joseph Smith said that calumny may defame, but the work of God will go forward. The Church looks just fine to all sincere and honest seekers after truth. Christ’s sheep hear his voice. Those who would condemn the Church over Elder Cook’s word choice are people whose opinions do not matter in the eternities, people looking to criticize that which they hate and don’t understand. The Church has always been in this position, and will always be. Being a member of God’s kingdom means being rejected by the worldly sophisticates. So do as Nephi said he and others did when, in his vision, they were mocked by those who stood in the great and spacious building: Heed them not.