Sunday, 16 December 2012

Alcohol: men, women and Mormons


One obvious and uncontroversial fact about Mormons is that they are one of very few groups in the modern world who have, by and large, wholesome and sustainable aspirations relating to marriage and family.

And a high proportion of Mormons live by these aspirations.

How does this work, how do they manage it?

Here are some speculations (and they are speculations).


The root of it seems to be religious - and relating to the distinctive religious doctrines and emphases of Mormonism.

But many mainstream Christians have similar aspirations to Mormons, yet utterly fail to live by them - and most Christian denominations have long since given-up trying to resist the sexual revolution.

My guess is that Mormonism has certain interlinked features which enable it, uniquely among Christian (or near-Christian) denominations to achieve what they believe.


For young men the fact that Mormonism is a Patriarchal religion is a guarantee of significant status for all men: this is enhanced by the fact that a married man is normally expected to be the priest for his wife and family - a divinely-ordained and honoured position.


Why would a man, qua man - and not specifically as a Mormon - want to remain chaste and marry early and stay faithful to a Mormon woman.

(Bearing in mind that a high status Mormon man would usually be surrounded by non-Mormon opportunities for extra-marital sex, and for marriage.)

Perhaps because - assuming he does indeed want to marry, and stay married, and raise a family; then Mormon women are more likely than average to be chaste and faithful and orientated to motherhood (in so far as upbringing can influence a person's behaviour).

Mormon women are also expecting to marry while young, while non-Mormon women often delay marriage.


But what of Mormon women?

As a rule, Women control the sexual marketplace: they are the gate-keepers.

So, it is the behaviour of Mormon women that underpins the success of the Mormon system of marriage and family.


The difficulty most religions (or cultures) have is retaining young, attractive women within the faith, when they are in demand with men of any and every faith.

For example, an exceptionally attractive woman from almost any background or group can (unless there are enforced social prohibitions) often marry almost any man, no matter high status. So a beautiful slave, chorus girl or gypsy can (and did) sometimes marry a Lord, King or Emperor. 

What stops the most beautiful Mormon women marrying high status men outside the faith (and undermining the whole system)?


Usually, this problem is dealt with by extreme coercive and perhaps violent sanctions against those women who look outside the faith for partners or husbands: but this is emphatically not the case among Latter Day Saints.

So, if there are not strong sanctions against marrying-out; then there must (it seems) be strong incentives for the most beautiful Mormon women to marry -in - to marry only other Mormons, and indeed the most devout of Mormons 

So why do Mormon women choose to remain chaste until marriage, and then marry a Mormon man, and stick with him, and (usually) have a large family?


Part of the answer involves the Mormon prohibition on alcohol; because alcohol is a thing which (even in moderation, but especially in excess which is ever more common) enables female promiscuity.

This is my tentative explanation.

Most women are naturally chaste. In modern Western society, this has been continually attacked for many decades by unprecedented levels of propaganda from the mass media; but one neglected factor in the increased promiscuity of non-Mormon women is alcohol.

Alcohol removes inhibition; indeed alcohol is strategically used - by seducing men, but more recently especially by women themselves - to remove inhibitions. Without alcohol, most women find it very difficult (psychologically difficult) to be promiscuous - even when they consciously 'want' to be


Therefore, I think a necessary (not sufficient) factor in the chastity of Mormon women, is the prohibition on alcohol; and therefore prohibition is a necessary factor in the success of the Mormon system of marriage and family (but specifically for women). 

It is the absolute prohibition on alcohol - in the context of the Mormon religion, and the social system - that enables most Mormon women to live-up to the high Christian ideals of their society.