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Good morning brothers and sisters. I have been asked to speak today about some fundamental gospel principles that the Brethren mention from time to time, and that we feel in our daily lives, but that we don't really speak about very much. It is my prayer that if we learn about these principles, and learn to recognize how these principles operate in our gospel-based relationships, we may finally come to a true understanding of the teachings of the Lord's True Church (and our responses to those teachings), and the roles we play in it.
These fundamental gospel principles are Bondage and Discipline, Submission and Domination, and Sadism and Masochism - cleverly abbreviated as "BDSM". They are intrinsic to the Restored Gospel. They are the light we see by, and the air we breathe as Latter-day Saints, without even noticing. They govern our interactions with our Bishop, when he asks penetrating questions about our sexual behavior, and we know we must answer thoroughly in order to be forgiven by the Lord. They allow us to accept that a full and proper tithe is 10% of our gross income, even when we can't afford it. They reassure us when we question why the Brethren have vocally opposed race and sex-based civil rights, or why our ward budget allocates more money for boys' activities than girls. They protect and save us in an evil world spinning out of control.
We should not fear these principles. We could even take a lesson from those who try to understand these principles in a secular context, sometimes called "The Scene", but also known as the "BDSM community". Webster's Dictionary defines "BDSM" as follows: "Bondage and discipline consist of using physical or psychological restraints, domination and submission involve an exchange of power and control, and sadism and masochism refer to taking pleasure in others' or one's own pain or humiliation. Those who practice BDSM may identify with one or more, in any combination, of these components."
Bondage and Discipline
In the Gospel context, the principles of Bondage and Discipline relate to our spiritual safety and purity. Bondage is a set of strict limitations imposed by Satan, evil people, or even our own sinful behavior, on our freedom to do the right thing and avoid sin. Bondage manifests itself in a pattern of bad decision making, which can even lead to physical bondage (i.e., actual prison) if those bad decisions escalate to crime. The principle of Discipline is the opposite: a set of strict limitations and loving corrections, imposed by Church leaders, that protect us from sin and Bondage. It does not involve physical compulsion or restraint, but its psychological and spiritual effect is more powerful than actual shackles or collars. Discipline is the process through which the Brethren teach us about sin and modesty, what thoughts or behavior should make us feel guilty, how to repent, and, when our transgressions are serious, who stands between us and the Savior, ready to judge us and impose the earthly punishment we deserve before the Savior can remove the stain of our sins. When we avoid Discipline, we are in Bondage. It is either one or the other for Latter-day Saints.
Domination and Submission
The principle of Domination is fundamental to driving and steering the Gospel machine, which thrives only when the alpha male in the room is in control. The house of God is a house of order, and the great ape order is the correct order. Power, in the Lord's organization, both in heaven and on earth, is applied in only one direction - down, onto the lower classes below. The principle of Submission is the lubrication of the Gospel machine, the yin to Domination's yang, and the first principle in the entire Restored Gospel. Every Latter-day Saint on earth (especially women) must submit to the judgment and correction of other human beings, except, of course, for the President of the Church (currently Thomas Spencer Monson), who is the ultimate alpha male, not accountable to any person on this planet. The principle of Submission is the reason we spend Saturday mornings cleaning toilets at our local branch of the Church for free, rather than insisting that the obscenely wealthy Church pay fair money for proper janitorial services. It is why we allow our untrained local bishop to meet one-on-one with our spouse or child to discuss their masturbation habits. It is why we follow what the Brethren impose upon us as the "Word of Wisdom," regardless of its striking dissimilarity to the one found in our scriptures. It is why we teach and preach only what the Brethren provide us in official Church Sunday School manuals. It is why we defend and protect Church leaders who do harm. The principle of Submission is why we accept that the inspiration of the Brethren comes from God, and our own conflicting inspiration does not. Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, set the ultimate example of divine Submission as he accepted the flogging, the binding, the humiliation, and ultimately the cross, that our Father in Heaven required. If you want to learn more about how the principle of Submission relates to the Restored Gospel, be sure to read President Henry Bennion Eyring's face tattoo.
Sadism and Masochism
The final set of principles, Sadism (taking pleasure from giving pain) and Masochism (taking pleasure from receiving pain), embody an important Latter-day Saint value that many of us have yet to internalize. Like the principle of Bondage, the Latter-day Saint focus on pain is generally psychological, rather than physical (though it would be incorrect to claim that the Church has never strapped electrodes to male genitalia in order to punish arousal from the wrong kind of porn, or that the Church has not championed the bloodiest death penalties, or that Church members never saw it as their duty to murder innocent men, women, and children). A true Latter-day Saint life is so beset by hardship, persecution, sacrifice and guilt, that it becomes axiomatic that joy should be found in pain. Are all Latter-day Saints true, natural sadists or masochists? That is doubtful, but those who have been blessed with such a spiritual gift have an easier time living the Restored Gospel. Latter-day Saints certainly aspire to spiritually sadistic or masochistic tendencies. We smile, as real masochists do, when we receive correction from our dominant friends and leaders, and they smile, as real sadists do, when they deliver it. We seek to understand the utility and meaning behind the torture, humiliation, and execution of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We spend our ward budgets recreating pioneer handcart immigration disasters, trying to channel and understand their exquisite pain. We strive to welcome the Brethren's harsh judgment of our personal, consensual sexual behavior, and to be serene when the Church rejects our identity. We are expected to follow the example of the Savior by relishing the requirements and judgments imposed upon us by our Heavenly Father, no matter what they are.
Joseph Smith: The Lord's BDSM Exemplar
The Prophet Joseph Smith may have been a simple farm boy, but he certainly mastered these BDSM gospel principles to restore the Lord's True Church. He exhibited divine Domination by rising above the religious fray and proving his prophetic calling, and then harnessing the Lord's inspiration to test and confirm the ultimate Submission of his subordinates in the Church. By the end of his mortal mission, the Prophet Joseph was husband to eleven of his subordinates' wives, and several of his subordinates' daughters. He not only taught the Church how to properly submit to the Lord, he revealed the True Pattern of Discipline as he set out strict rules for the Church, and also established secret societies among his inner circle of followers, which imposed even more stringent rules and death-oaths. He disciplined rule-breaking and disloyal individuals, often purging prominent early church members from his fellowship and Mormon society, and accepting them back only on their knees, if at all.
Conclusion and Testimony
I testify to you that these same principles of Bondage, Discipline, Domination, Submission, Sadism, and Masochism have continued to be part of this Church, from the Prophet Joseph Smith's day to the present time. I know, with every trembling and weeping fiber of my being, that President Thomas S. Monson is the true alpha primate of the Lord, and therefore the Supreme True Dom on the earth at this time. I know that all of the general authorities of the Church are True Subs of President Monson and each of the other men superior to them in the Church hierarchy. I know that the general authorities of the Church are True Doms to every member of the Church below them in the Church hierarchy, and that the Bishops and other local leaders are True Doms to every member below them in their local congregations. I testify to you that if we can learn to truly Submit, with clean hands and a pure heart, to the control and loving Discipline of our own True Doms, we will find, at last, the divine Masochism, and the Sadism, that the Lord requires us to embody in order to enter into His kingdom.
In the name of Jesus, even the Alpha and Omega, the paradoxically supreme Dom and Sub, the prostrate, punctured, and triumphant Christ, amen.