Rethinking the age of consent

William Saleton, over at Slate, proposes changing sex consent laws.

First comes the age at which your brain wants sex and your body signals to others that you’re ready for it. Then comes the age of cognitive competence. Then comes the age of emotional competence. Each of these thresholds should affect our expectations, and the expectations should apply to the older party in a relationship as well as to the younger one. The older you get, the higher the standard to which you should be held responsible.

Can sex laws ever follow a formula that sticks to these milestones? Isn’t just easier to call the age of consent 14, and leave it at that?

Corianton’s Sin

In Alma 39:5, Alma the Younger chides his son Corianton by saying that his actions were so bad that only denying the ghost and murdering would be worse.

Know ye not, my son, that these things are an abomination in the sight of the Lord; yea, most abominable above all sins save it be the shedding of innocent blood or denying the Holy Ghost?

So what does he mean by “these things”? Well, modern Mormon interpretation of this means sexual sins; often in a general sense. But is that what it really means?

Specifically, Alma said, “Now this is what I have against thee; thou didst go on unto boasting in thy strength and thy wisdom. . . . thou didst forsake the ministry, and did go over into the land of Siron among the borders of the Lamanites, after the harlot Isabel” (vv. 2?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú3).

So it seems that the actions Alma was reproving were three fold: boasting of his own strength and wisdom, forsaking his ministry, and going after a harlot. I’m not sure why common interpretation leaves out the first two, but it is easy to see how one could make a connection between sexual sin and going after a harlot.

But does “going after a harlot” strictly refer to sexual sin? Did Corianton actually do anything sinful (read ?¢‚ǨÀúsexual?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢) with Isabel? Or did the sin lie in the fact that he left his mission to go after her. In other words, his personal desires were more important than the Lord’s; doing what he wanted was more important than doing what the Lord wanted.

On the surface, it even seems that the question remains unanswered because Alma didn’t go into any further detail regarding Corianton?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s sins. Yet, on the other hand, if Corianton?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s sin was simply going after Isabel (not really that simple)?¢‚Ǩ‚Äùand didn’t include any actual sexual activity?¢‚Ǩ‚Äùthen Alma went into all the detail necessary, and the account is accurate.

Somehow the list that Alma gave in verses 2 and 3, however, has evolved into including everything under the sexual sun so to speak. Odd.

Sex Education

This appeared on

A sexually-explicit guide written in a way that condemns traditional North American values and promotes homosexuality and abortion to young girls learning about sex is being considered for use in public schools, and leaders at a family-values think tank are horrified.

“We have to find a way to stop this from happening,” Joseph Ben-Ami, the executive director of the Institute for Canadian Values, told WND. “People don’t know this is happening.”

The project is called, “The Little Black Book ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú A Book on Healthy Sexuality Written by Grrrls (sic) for Grrrls” and was assembled by a group including the St. Stephen’s House community service organization.

The Toronto project, now online after earlier published versions, is, according to Ben-Ami, “a thinly veiled propaganda piece that undermines healthy parent-child relationships, substitutes voodoo myths for actual science, and provides advice that, if followed, will certainly result in real and serious harm to those who follow it.”

For example, the guide states that “only 10% of the population is heterosexual ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú the rest being ‘mixed’ or bi-sexual,” but mentions no evidence. It also promotes homosexuality and labels parents “homophobes.”

The publishers give this summary of the book.

“A super-important guide for girls?¢‚Ǩ‚Äùwritten by teens for teens. Check it out: not just a book about sex, but a look at girl culture by teenagers. No stuffy school textbook. No nosy adults. Just a diverse group of teen girls from a community youth project who had questions about sexuality. To find answers, they collected stories, poetry and artwork from other youth. They also interviewed frontline health experts to get solid facts about the personalities and pressures that young women have to deal with. It’s a great mix of real-life examples and life-saving info. Topics include: – Relationships – Periods – Sex – Birth control – Pregnancy – Sexually transmitted infections/AIDS – Sexual assault All the content has been vetted by doctors, and the book is endorsed by health professionals — so girls know they’re getting good info. There’s also a section at the back with places to contact to find out more. It’s all stuff that youth need to know, and it’s all decked out in a compact, easy-to-browse zine style. The Little Black Book for Girlz is an important, take-anywhere empowerment guide. Girls shouldn’t leave their teen years without it.”


This is some of their comment regarding this book:

“The Little Black Book” is being promoted across Canada as a guide to healthy sexuality for teenage girls. In reality, it is a dangerous, unscientific and offensive piece ideological propaganda.

Among the books more egregious assertions:

  • “A lot of parents are homophobic, and so are their children – until they get minds of their own.”
  • “If you need a figure to represent God The Holiness then for me she?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s a fat, black dyke.”
  • Only 10% of the population are heterosexual while 10% are homosexual, the remaining 80% are bi-sexual.

It gets worse.

What are your thoughts on this? Does this reflect a further intrusion on the sanctity of the family by those who only wanted ?¢‚ǨÀúequal rights?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢ in marriage? When they say that this book has been vetted by health professionals and doctors, who are they, and what is their agenda?


When Jesus visited the Nephites, one of the things he said was the following:

Whosoever looketh on a woman, to lust after her, hath committed adultery already in his heart. (3 Ne 12:28)

Obviously this means more than simply looking at a woman, but what specifically does it mean? Is there more to this scripture than simply saying that adultery goes beyond simply as a married person having sex with someone other than his spouse? If so, what constitutes looking at a woman lustfully? Does looking at a woman and thinking she has nice legs constitute lust? Can a man look at a woman’s body on purpose without the thought of having sex with her and still be lusting after her?