Another month, another epistle I have written unto the masses. Yes, epistle is a word that exists in my vocabulary because I was raised in a religious sect. Specifically, I was raised Mormon.
There are a lot of misconceptions floating around regarding Mormonism. For example, my non-LDS Christian peers used to tell me that I am, “not Christian”. This was confusing, seeing as the full and formal name of the Mormon church is the “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints”. Not sure where they got that notion from, but if you were raised amongst religious folk (whether religious yourself or not) you understand the kind of pettiness that exists in these circles.
There are a lot of Mormon nuances I could explain using my experiences in the church, but today we are focusing on one: commandments. Some folks don’t know that Mormons believe in the Bible as well as the Book of Mormon. However, having spent much of my childhood reading or being read the Old and New Testaments, I, at one time, had the 10 commandments memorized.
Not that I chose commandments as the topic for this article because I originally misremembered that there were 12 of them to match perfectly with the 12 star signs; then, by the time I realized my fallacy already had gone too far in writing this month’s sexscopes. But, if that were the case, I have my genius to thank for saving the day—the last two lucky signs get to learn some Mormon-specific commandments.
I don’t feel like I should have to point this out, but it’s about to get a little sacrilegious up in here. In true sexscopes fashion, we’re going to look at how these commandments could potentially affect your romantic relationships.
That said, because I’m so inclusive, I’ve concluded each section with a choice for how to follow the commandment: the “God Honoring Way” , or the “Devil’s Advocate” path, that veers off course and embraces the antithesis of the commandment. This embrace of “all or nothing” is inspired by the “choices” I was provided by my religious experience. Plus, I had to include the Devil here. After all, he’s the one who has, “Kept the church in business all these years,” as Anton Levey would say!
Aries #1. You shall have no other Gods before me.
Who do you worship, Aries? I mean, you’re reading a column titled “Sexscopes” on a website that exalts Tarot and psychic readings—you are clearly already off the path of righteousness. While you’re here, why not reflect on what other distractions from God that exist in your life? Sex? Money? Social Media? Clothes? Baked goods? As this list goes on I realize this is me calling myself out.
What about your relationships with others? Are you possessive and jealous, or does your partner accuse you of ‘putting others before’ them? Do you feel your partner is often distracted and leaving you feeling neglected? These are the kinds of imbalances in relationships that can be addressed, and I’m honestly kind of surprised I’m already pulling relevant lessons out of these vague old messages written by dead dudes. This must be what preachers feel like. How exhilarating.
God Honoring: I hate to say it, but this whole ‘relationship’ thing is probably distracting you from the most important relationship in your life: you and God. Have you ever heard of a little thing called celibacy?
Devil’s Advocate: We’re all Gods and Goddesses, right? Were we not made in the image of God himself? So worshiping your body, the temple you were given by God, and the bodies of others is technically honoring God by the law of extrapolation. My mind is so powerful sometimes.
Taurus #2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven images.
What is more appropriate for Taurus than a commandment made to admonish those who had been worshiping a golden cow statue? Imagine being jealous of a statue of a cow…like, ok dude, maybe it’s time to go to therapy. If my kids made a huge ass statue out of gold I’d be like, “Damn, my kids are cool as hell. Maybe a little over the top, but the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree I guess.” He claims to be a “jealous God”, and while jealousy is usually a toxic trait in relationships, it’s A-okay when practiced by the creator of the universe. Which, as I write this, I am pondering..jealousy is comparable to coveting, right? And coveting is a sin, RIGHT? (See #10) God is proving to be a “do as I say, not as I do” typa guy. Got it.
ANYWAY. Enough of my gotcha journalism against God, back to you Taurus. Home is where your heart is, but you may be having to make a few changes when it comes to interior decor. Tear down those posters, cast out those porcelain figurines, really critically think about whether those family photos are really exalting God.
God Honoring: Get rid of whatever is distracting you from righteousness. In fact, stop reading this article right now. Get on your knees for your God, and your God ONLY. I don’t want to hear that the command to get on your knees mustered any worldly or lustful thoughts. That’s a sin, and that’s on YOU.
Devil’s Advocate: I’m thinking it’s time to erect a statue of your lover. What would be more romantic than immortalizing the figure of your love by hand? And, yes, I did use the word erect on purpose.
Gemini #3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
Being ruled by Mercury, communication and words are very important to you, Gem. I feel like being told what to say and what not to say will not be appreciated, as you take expression seriously! Well, I am the same way, which is why I’m going to point out that some scholars claim the commandment originally was an effort to spurge out hypocrisy, perjury, and misrepresentation of the church. Apparently not lying or using God’s word to manipulate people was too hard for churches to pull off so they watered it down to the policing of profanities instead. So, let’s say the phrases “Oh my God” or “Jesus Christ” are off the table. You’re a creative wordsmith, I trust you can get by without such obscenities…but can you imagine making raucous love to someone and NOT using intermittent profanities? “Oh gee, oh gosh, heck yeah”. Nah. Don’t even pretend that goofy shit would be acceptable. You might as well just copulate in utter silence like a serial killer. At that point, I think I’d just be considering celibacy.
God Honoring: Good, clean, God-honoring procreation (he is always watching 🙂 )
Devil’s Advocate: Good ol’ fashioned, fuckin. Cock. Shit. Bitch. Fuck.
Cancer #4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
There were a lot of rules and conditions written up back in the day regarding keeping the sabbath. To the point of counting how many steps you can take that day, if I recall correctly. I was raised to believe that Sundays were for going to church, not for frivolities such as shopping. Now, I’m all for carving out spaces in your life outside of the expectations of capitalism, but sometimes a bitch needs some milk from the supermarket. Or, in the case of my favorite Grandma who happened to have a Mr. Pibb addiction, you can use the vending machine loophole because you are not actually going to a store or making a cashier work.
God Honoring: It’s time to go dark. Only communicate with GOD HIMSELF on Sunday. This may be preferable if you are currently trying to let someone down gently. “I wasn’t responding to your texts for religious reasons.”
Devil’s Advocate: Make Sunday your date day. Breakfast in bed, strolls through the park, volunteering at an animal shelter. See? Sin can be sweet sometimes.
Leo #5. Honor your father and mother.
Moses obviously was a parent when writing this one. He must have been tired of just saying “because” over and over again when his kids were asking why they had to keep walking in the boring wilderness.
I’m all for respecting your elders, but in this day and age, I don’t think someone is owed something just because they brought you unto this mortal coil. Without your consent, I might add! (That actually depends on who you ask. Mormons believe we all existed in an earth prequel where we all planned on coming to this forsaken, floating rock. There’s even an 80’s musical about it.) My point still stands. I can’t tell you how many times people have tried to convince me to mend an abusive relationship using the, “But he’s your dad,” line. Cool. Would you like to walk me through my whole family tree while we’re at it? I’m sure it’s on FamilySearch.org. (Mormons are very into genealogy, for better or for worse. Gotta spiritually dig up the old relatives to baptize them by proxy! It’s a whole thing we don’t have time to discuss here.)
Sooo, maybe there is a parental relationship that needs mending in your life, Leo. Or not. Perhaps there is a hatchet here you need to bury with one of your in-laws. Or do they not count because they’re technically not your father and mother? That’s up to you, the scholars, and God to decide.
God Honoring: Find a partner you’d want to “bring home to mother”, as they say.
Devil’s Advocate: Use the terms “mommy” and “daddy” more during sex.
Virgo #6. Thou shalt not kill.
This should be easy enough, right? It’s even against the law, which should help you remember. I know when someone fucks something up you expressly told them not to, it makes you see red, but this is a reminder to stay above those urges. I get it. We all had those group project experiences in school, which may have been exactly where these murderous urges began for you.
The bible does not say anything about modern slang and AAVE terms like “slay” or “you’re killin’ it, bro.” It does have lots of violent wars and murders recounted throughout, though. So, like, where is the continuity here? Did all the dudes writing the bible not read each other’s chapters? Or did they have a discussion that was like, “Hey, so, we’re making a big deal about this not killing thing, but I already wrote some scenes with killing and I dunno…the plot won’t make sense without it.” I kind of get it though, maybe it’s along the lines of “sex sells” where they needed some stuff to keep people interested. I personally enjoy the story where a prophet commands a bear to maul a group of kids for calling him bald. Technically he wasn’t the one who killed them, he killed them with his bear’s hands. Get it? Like bare hands? Ok, I’m done.
God Honoring: Let’s be extra careful while driving through pedestrian areas.
Devil’s Advocate: Get a good lawyer. The good news is, when it comes to hybristophelia, sex appeal will be on your side. You know, the whole “bad boy”, danger thing.
Libra #7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
You should also not commit “adulting”. (That phrase is so 2012.)
If you grew up around Christian organizations, you may have noticed that a lot of the folks playing like they are Christ on earth at public events seemed to struggle with this one behind
closed doors. Inevitably, it didn’t always stay behind closed doors. But okay, my holier-than-thou ass will budge and admit church is to support those of us who are imperfect (aka all of us).
Not cheating on your partner is probably a good move, all things considered. Kindness and honesty are good to have in a relationship. Avoidance of potential infections is also a plus. If that was part of the decision behind this commandment, that makes sense. I imagine it was (or has been co-opted to be) more of a “one man, one woman nuclear family” type declaration. Ok, I just looked it up and yup, the “sanctity of marriage” tirades are clearing things up.
God Honoring: Get married, and have kids. (Good news: Commandment #5 is here to help out with this one!)
Devil’s Advocate: Consensual adult debauchery? Polyamory? Eternal bachelorhood? Adam and Steve? All good options, in my humble opinion.
Scorpio #8. Thou shalt not steal.
This is a great rule. All of us here work hard for what we earn and pay our taxes, right?…right churches? Haha, I can’t hear you religious organizations! They must be too busy filing their taxes. Oh wait. (You’re welcome for the reminder to file your taxes, btw. Happy April!)
This is another one that should be easy to remember because it also has the power of the law behind it. I wonder what the stance is on stealing hearts??? Cause you’d be guilty, Scorpio.
Is not returning a Blockbuster movie or a library book actively stealing, or negligence? You know what SHOULD be considered stealing? Not tipping waitstaff, especially if you have the nerve to waste their time with whatever paltry note or scripture you left instead. ANYWAY. I seem to be getting worked up here, so I guess if you want to be God-honoring and not steal, here you go:
God Honoring: Do not become a cop. Did you know police withhold billions of dollars worth of property from citizens, per year? You can look up “Civil Asset Forfeiture” and “policing for profit”. Save the handcuffs for sex.
Devil’s Advocate: I didn’t say anything, but self check out is a hell of a thing, ain’t it? Get your partner something nice next time you’re at ‘unnamed big box store’.
Sagittarius #9. Thou shall not bear false witness against your neighbor
This commandment was made to dissuade a series of societal bad habits, such as bribery, forgery, libel, slander, and backbiting. This tickles me, because “well-meaning” gossip is the most popular pastime between church meetings (aside from snacking and hiding in the bathroom for five minutes of sanity…which is incidentally where I heard a lot of this gossip). Overall, I like this one, I would go as far as to say don’t bear true witness about your neighbor either. No snitching in my house. You saw Scorpio lift a pack of gum at Target? No, you didn’t.
God Honoring: I know you have a lot of cool and wild stories about your travels and the people you’ve met, but be careful not to embellish too much.
Devil’s Advocate: So, we could commit to complete, unfettered honesty in our relationships…but sometimes we need a little bit of creativity to avoid those trap questions. So I say let’s just focus on bearing our body, not our souls. Keepin’ it superficial for summer.
Capricorn #10. You shall not covet.
Examples of things one could covet, as listed in the bible, are: someone else’s house, wife, servant, or donkey. (The bible actually says ‘ass’ instead of ‘donkey’, which always was a hit amongst me and my siblings).
First of all, this was clearly written before designer brands were a thing. You can’t tell me you were coveting your neighbors’ busted-ass sandals when you have the same pair. Second, I’d say I have more ethical questions about having a “servant” than about feeling the emotion of envy. Last, I happen to know that Utah has some of the highest bankruptcy and cosmetic surgery rates in the country, if that gives you any idea of the “keeping up with the Joneses” mentality that occurs in highly concentrated religious spaces. So yeah, maybe God was onto something with this one.
I see Capricorns as folks with goals and vision, which is why I think you’d do well not to get distracted by whatever people are flexing on Instagram these days. Their ass’s hoof is probably busted anyways. I will say, not lusting after someone else’s wife is probably a good idea, unless that’s a prearranged thing like we discussed with Libra in #7. (Lusting after someone’s husband is totally fine though, go off.)
GH: Keep your eyes on your own paper. Be like one of those insufferable ‘rise and grind’ social media hustlers who ‘move in silence’ and ‘get the bag’, but like, actually do those things.
DA: Shoot off a “I’m coveting that ass right now” text to your next bootycall.
Aquarius – The Word of Wisdom
A revelation recorded by Joseph Smith has stood as a kind of code of ethics for the Mormon church, forbidding the consumption of alcohol, Tobacco and “hot drinks”. Church leaders have since clarified hot drinks as meaning coffee and tea, as well as expanding the rules to apply to any kind of drug and smoking fad that has become relevant over the years.
I’m all for the whole “your body is a temple” vibe. This is not a notion unique to Mormons, but I do think the lengths of their adherence are a bit extreme. Mormons still go back and forth amongst themselves over whether caffeinated sodas are permitted under the Word of Wisdom.
All I’ve gotta say is I love yerba mate and boba tea and you can tear them from my cold dead hands when my soul has departed to hell.
God Honoring: Keep it dry and sober, folks. Honestly, no shame in this. I do believe we as a society are lacking in a little thing called “moderation”, and personally know people where being sober helped save their lives. So, maybe give it a try? Could lead to a transcendent, meditative experience like that of fasting spiritualists. Or it would at least help you start remembering shit again.
Devil’s Advocate: If there are any Mormons still reading this, look away. This is the, “anti-Mormon,” pamphlet you have been warned about since the days of your childhood…but it turns out Joseph Smith wrote the “Word of Wisdom” because his (*cough* main *cough*) wife was tired of cleaning up the tobacco spit and alcohol from all the church dudes gathering at their house. What a nag, amiright fellas?? So anyway. Pick your poison. Uppers? Downers? Stimulants? Something numbing? Humans have spent generations putting shit into their bodies just to see what happens. Now you can benefit from that ancestral knowledge.
Pisces – Modesty
The concept of modesty, “an attitude of propriety and decency in dress, grooming, language, and behavior”, is another foundational modus operandi for Mormon communities. The best way I can summarize these dress and appearance expectations is “Disney-facing”. Disney loves to source interns straight from BYU because the students on the whole are already tattoo, piercing, and “extreme hairstyle” free—squeaky clean and business casual ready. I have a feeling part of the drive behind maintaining a “non-offensive” appearance is part of the whole “brand”, as the Mormon church is a business, and every potential convert a customer. While there is no scripture that says you will get kicked out of Brigham Young University for wearing a bikini, you can bet your fully covered bottom that it happens.
God Honoring: “Leave something to the imagination”, which is a phrase I was told several times by adults while growing up in the church. Which was confusing, because wasn’t I covering my shoulders in order to AVOID being sexualized? The male gaze is encouraged under the practices of Mormonism. Male gays, not so much.
Devil’s Advocate: Slut it up. Live your truth. There are few things I have enjoyed more since leaving Mormonism than having full autonomy over my body and expanding my wardrobe with things I never could have dreamed of rocking. Have fun.