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Two years ago, Elna Baker wrote an article for Glamour titled, "Yes, I'm a 27-Year-Old Virgin."

A few months ago, Baker wrote another article for Glamour. This one was called, "Guess What? I'm Not a Virgin Anymore!"

Because of her Mormon faith, Baker had planned to save sex for marriage, but it didn't work out that way. Less than a year after she became "a reluctant spokesperson for abstinence," she had sex.

What happened? By Baker's own account, there was a shift in her thinking.

My whole life I had done my best to uphold those rigid tenets—I believed obedience would get me what I thought I wanted: a temple marriage to another Mormon. I came close: I finally met a Mormon guy, and we connected so much I moved to Utah for him. But as soon as I got there and stood face-to-face with the life I'd dreamed of, I was miserable. I had stopped pursuing my career. I had left the city I loved. I felt like my life was about to end rather than begin. I told my boyfriend how I felt, and we broke up. I went back to New York City, wrote the Glamour piece and continued to date—albeit not very successfully.

Let's stop right there. I'm not an expert on Mormon theology, so I can't go too deeply into Baker's religious faith and what it did or didn't teach her. But I do see something in her account that's familiar to this evangelical Christian, an appealing but dangerous belief: Obedience will get you what you want.

Few realize just how dangerous, how wrong, and how widespread that belief is. But we Christian singles have reason to know it. It's been taught to us from the time we're teens or even preteens: "Practice abstinence, and someday the right partner will come along and you'll be so glad you waited!" The obvious implication is ...

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September 2011

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