To look on a woman to lust after her…or…commit adultery in their hearts (T&C 50:4; see also Matthew 3:21; T&C 26:8; 3 Nephi 5:27) means the actual scheming or mental planning to engage or seduce. It is not just a passing biological attraction that is subdued by one’s will to obey God, nor is it a whispered temptation from a mischievous spirit. Subduing and rejecting that temptation is part of living righteously.1 Divorce also leads to adultery. When forced away by the man she loves, a woman is then adulterated by the act of the man. He is accountable for the treachery involved in dissolving the marriage that the woman wanted and forcing her into the relation with either no one or with another man. In either case, it is adulterating the marriage which she had with him. He is accountable for that uncharitable, unkind, and unjustified treatment of the woman. On the other hand, when she has lost affection for him and the union has become hollow and without love, then the marriage is dead, and continuation of the relation is a farce. It is not a marriage. In fact, it is a pretense and an abomination unworthy of preservation. It will not endure.2 “We reject adultery by any name or description. It is morally wrong, even if you call it plural wives, polygamy, ‘celestial marriage,’ or any other misnomer. Adultery is prohibited in the Ten Commandments and remains an important prohibition for any moral society.”3 There is a reason why such a serious sin as adultery ought to be altogether avoided; even if it is only as a foolish temptation contemplating the possibility of a plural wife. All need greater light and knowledge. The only way it can be acquired is by heed and diligence to the commandments of God. Any other path is a diversion, intended to waylay a person and prevent him or her from developing as God intends. Those who think they can follow God and yet commit adultery are deceived and giving heed to a false spirit. It is impossible to be both on the path to greater light and also engaged in such a serious sin.4 In addition to referring to a physical act involving sexual union with another, the term adultery is often used with the connotation of unfaithfulness, as in Israel becoming unfaithful and playing the part of an adulteress, worshiping other gods (see Jeremiah 2:1).5
1 Email, Dec. 16, 2018.
2 “3 Nephi 12:31–32,” Oct. 14, 2010, blog post.
3 “The Restoration’s Shattered Promises and Great Hope,” address given at Sunstone Symposium, Sandy, UT, July 28, 2018, paper, 16.
4 “Adultery, Part 3,” Dec. 18, 2018, blog post.
5 “3 Nephi 12:31–32,” Oct. 14, 2010, blog post.