When is it necessary to go talk to my bishop about “making out” or necking with my girlfriend. I don’t know the boundary line of going to far.
Blake, from Utah
Questions such as the one you pose I find to be very intriguing. Perhaps one should be able to check out from the ward library a dating kit. It could include a ruler to measure how far above the knee it would be permissible for the hand to go. Of course that would probably depend on the size of the person. So there might be an instruction book that would include a measurement from the knee to the hip. Then the acceptable maximum distance for the hand above the knee would be some fraction of the distance from the knee to the hip.
There could be another set of rules for acceptable kissing. This could include the number of dates before the first kissing attempt. That number of dates would vary depending on the ages of the participants. The type of acceptable kissing could also be delineated. Then there could be a list of acceptable rules for watching television when only the couple would be in the room–how close together a couple could sit, whether they could hold hands or put their arms around one another, and appropriate rules and measurements for those activities. Of course a movie rating guide should also be included. We could go on, and on, and on, and on……The sad fact is that whoever would start out on such a journey has already lost the game. True measurements are made of mental attitude rather than on the length of reach. Let me see if I can illustrate this concept with a little story—
Bill has just lost his job and is out of work. He has a wife and three small children at home; one of the children is at the point of malnutrition. As Bill walks home thinking of what he can do to provide his family with much needed food he passes by a house where the milkman has just left four quarts of milk on the porch. It’s early in the morning and no lights are on, also the streets are clear of pedestrians. Bill thinks, “That family has all the food they need. I’m sure if I were to knock on the door and ask for a bottle of milk they would give it to me, and my children are so hungry!” So he walks up to the porch, puts one of the bottles inside his jacket and continues homeward. That man is a thief!
A second man in exactly the same position comes along. His rationalization is the same, but he thinks, “What if one of the neighbors is looking through his window? He could see me and turn me in. Maybe I’d better not take anything.” He is prevented from the act of stealing only by the fear of getting caught. That man is also a thief!
A third man comes along in the same position as the other two. He rationalizes on how the milk could save his children from starving, but knowing that it is wrong to steal he resists the temptation and goes on home. That man is no thief. He suffers the temptation to steal but overcomes it.
A fourth man comes along in the same position as the other three. He sees the milk on the porch, the flowers along the walk, and the neatly trimmed lawn. But the thought of possibly absconding with a bottle of milk never enters his mind. That man is a pure righteous man, suffering what life brings to him and worthy of the blessings of God.
The idea of entertaining lecherous thoughts and wondering how far you can go and still be in some way acceptable puts you in the same category as the adulterer of which the Savior spoke in Matthew 5:27-28—
Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.