|photo credit: flickriver.com
Recently I have been concerned with the casualness with which some young adults approach the law of chastity. I won’t go into the details as to why it is bothering me and I have been thinking about it, but the Lord’s standards, given through His prophets, are clear.
The Lord and His prophets condemn sexual immorality.
All sexual relations outside of marriage violate the law of
chastity and are physically and spiritually dangerous for
those who engage in them.
The Ten Commandments include the command that we
not commit adultery, which is sexual intercourse between a
married man and someone other than his wife or between a
married woman and someone other than her husband (see
Exodus 20:14). The Apostle Paul said that it is “the will of
God” that we “abstain from fornication,” which is sexual
intercourse between an unmarried person and anyone else (1
Thessalonians 4:3). Latter-day prophets repeatedly speak out
against these sins and against the evil practice of sexual abuse.
Like other violations of the law of chastity, homosexual
activity is a serious sin. It is contrary to the purposes of
human sexuality (see Romans 1:24–32). It distorts loving
relationships and prevents people from receiving the bless-
ings that can be found in family life and the saving ordi-
nances of the gospel.
Merely refraining from sexual intercourse outside of mar-
riage is not sufficient in the Lord’s standard of personal puri-
ty. The Lord requires a high moral standard of His disciples,
including complete fidelity to one’s spouse in thought and
conduct. In the Sermon on the Mount, He said: “Ye have
heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not
commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh
on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with
her already in his heart” (Matthew 5:27–28). In the latter days
He has said, “Thou shalt not . . . commit adultery, . . . nor do
anything like unto it” (D&C 59:6). And He has reemphasized
the principle He taught in the Sermon on the Mount: “He that
looketh on a woman to lust after her, or if any shall commit
adultery in their hearts, they shall not have the Spirit, but
shall deny the faith and shall fear” (D&C 63:16). These warn-
ings apply to all people, whether they are married or single.
Question: They always tell us we shouldn’t become sexually involved, but they never tell us the limits.
What are they?
Answer: Any sexual intimacy outside of the bonds of marriage—I mean any intentional contact with the
sacred, private parts of another’s body, with or without clothing—is a sin and is forbidden by God. It is
also a transgression to intentionally stimulate these emotions within your own body. 10
Satan tempts one to believe that there are allowable levels of physical contact between consenting
individuals who seek the powerful stimulation of emotions they produce, and if kept within bounds,
no harm will result. As a witness of Jesus Christ, I testify that is absolutely false.
Satan particularly seeks to tempt one who has lived a pure, clean life to experiment through magazines,
videocassettes, or movies with powerful images. He wants to stimulate appetite to cause experimentation
that quickly results in intimacies and defilement. Powerful habits are formed which are difficult to break.
Mental and emotional scars result.
When you are mature enough to plan seriously for marriage, keep your expressions of feelings to those
that are comfortable in the presence of your parents. 11 To help you keep these sacred commandments,
make a covenant with the Lord that you will obey them. Decide what you will do and will not do. When
temptation comes, do not change your standards. Do not abandon them when circumstances seem to
justify an exception. That is Satan’s way to hurt you by making it seem that sometimes God’s law does
not apply. There are no exceptions.
Question: Before you are married, how far is too far to go if it is with someone you care for?
Answer: Before marriage there can be no sexual contact with a boyfriend, girlfriend, fiancée, or anyone
else, period. 12 While a commandment, that standard is for your happiness. That’s why the Church
counsels you to go in groups and not to date while you are young. Later, as you prepare for marriage,
remember that true love elevates, protects, respects, and enriches another. It motivates you to make
sacrifices for the girl or boy you love. Satan would promote counterfeit love, which is really lust. That
is driven by hunger to satisfy personal appetite. Protect the one you love by controlling your emotions
to the limits set by the Lord. You know how to be clean. We trust you to do it.
Those are powerful words and easily identified standards.
In 1986, (27 years ago!) President Ezra Taft Benson declared:
The plaguing sin of this generation is sexual immorality. This, the Prophet Joseph said, would be the source of more temptations, more buffetings, and more difficulties for the elders of Israel than any other. (See Journal of Discourses, 8:55.)
President Joseph F. Smith said that sexual impurity would be one of the three dangers that would threaten the Church within—and so it does. (See Gospel Doctrine, pp. 312–13.) It permeates our society.
Sexual immorality was the final straw that destroyed the family I grew up in. I was the oldest of six, at age 18. I had three brothers, 16, 14, and 13, and two sisters, 10 and 9, at the time. None of my siblings, because of our family situation and the fact that they had quit coming to church services, none of my siblings had significant enough contact with other adults in their lives to teach them these important standards for lasting happiness. Some of the children were in decision making stages and others approaching them, places where the moral decisions they made would determine the course of the rest of their lives and they had no significant adults there to help guide them. I had made my escape to college, so I wasn’t even there to help. (That will have to be a post for another day…..I could write an entire chapter….)
But did you know that sexual immorality also causes damage to those who are preparing for family life and lessens the experiences you can have in a marriage, even a covenant marriage and desecrates the Atonement of Christ? Listen to Elder Holland:
One of the “plain and precious” truths restored in this dispensation is that “the spirit and the body are the soul of man” (D&C 88:15) and that when the spirit and body are separated, men and women “cannot receive a fulness of joy” (D&C 93:34). That is why obtaining a body is so important in the first place, why sin of any kind is such a serious matter (namely because it is sin that ultimately brings both physical and spiritual death), and why the resurrection of the body is so central to the great triumph of Christ’s Atonement.
The body is an essential part of the soul. This distinctive and very important Latter-day Saint doctrine underscores why sexual sin is so serious. We declare that one who uses the God-given body of another without divine sanction abuses the very soul of that individual, abuses the central purpose and processes of life, “the very key” (Ensign, July 1972, 113) to life, as President Boyd K. Packer once called it. In exploiting the body of another—which means exploiting his or her soul—one desecrates the Atonement of Christ, which saved that soul and which makes possible the gift of eternal life. And when one mocks the Son of Righteousness, one steps into a realm of heat hotter and holier than the noonday sun. You cannot do so and not be burned.
Please, never say: “Who does it hurt? Why not a little freedom? I can transgress now and repent later.” Please don’t be so foolish and so cruel. Why? Well, for one reason because of the incalculable suffering in both body and spirit endured by the Savior of the world so that we could flee (see D&C 19:15–20). We owe Him something for that. Indeed, we owe Him everything for that. In sexual transgression the soul is at stake—the body and the spirit.
|I have long believed that inside some of the hardest doctrines, deep inside them, are some of the greatest truths and the most precious principles. But these are not to be discovered casually or irreverently. Obedience actually brings both blessings and additional knowledge as Peter promised; obeying correct principles accelerates knowing (see 2 Pet. 1:8). Such is the case with the seventh commandment.
For instance, Alma said that we must bridle all our passions so that we can “be filled with love” (Alma 38:12).
If such passions were actually true love, they would not need to be replaced with love. The Lord (in an 1839 revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith) linked “charity towards all men” with letting virtue garnish our thoughts unceasingly (D&C 121:45).
In the parable of the sower, Jesus spoke of how some of those who might change for the better fail to do so because the lusts of former things actually “choke the word” (Mark 4:19). This choking occurs because carnality is a profound contraction of the soul.
In pondering the seventh commandment, we come to see that we are also dealing with considerations of a transcendental or eternal character. In Proverbs we read, “Whoso commiteth adultery … lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul” (Prov. 6:32; emphasis added). There are some consequences of sexual immorality which we are simply not able to measure fully; but they are very real—though not seen. Paul wrote about the things that are not seen which are eternal (see 2 Cor. 4:18).
Quite frankly, brothers and sisters, we should be preparing now to live in a better world. This life is so vital, but it is such a small moment. And if we are too quick to adapt to the ways of this fleeting and flawed world, that very adjustment will maladjust us for our life in the next—a life that will last forever! No wonder those who break this commandment “lacketh understanding.”
Have you ever thought about it that way??!! I never have. Considering that sexual immorality is the plague of our day and that sexual morality is linked with “charity towards all men,” is it any wonder that our society today is struggling more and more with basic human decency one towards another, that our society is filled with violence toward children, and more and more children are affected by families experiencing divorce? How can we teach the next generation the importance and significance of obeying this commandment if we do not do it ourselves, or have not done it in establishing our own families? How can we testify to them that we understand the blessings and know of the promises granted to the obedient if we have not been the obedient? Can you see that one person’s immorality can affect generations and generations of people and more than one family?
Please read the linked articles from the prophets! They are amazing!! I would love to just quote them all in their entirety. Also, you should read Middle-aged Mormon Man’s blog about Mission Prep and Romance. Our issues really begin there. When we are willing to allow our children to violate the standards of the prophets and wink our approval whatever our justifications, we are helping them down the road to serious sin and problems in their lives.
Be true to the faith, today and always and help our young adults and youth to do the same!