July 31, 2014 by FHElessons
The law of Chastity is one of God’s most important and most rewarding laws, yet it seems to be the one on which Satan is currently staging an all-out war. The enormous force that Satan has employed to tempt people today to break the law of Chastity necessitates equal and even stronger forces to fight for the side of right. We need our children to know why this law is so important and to internalize a testimony of it, to have the law written in their hearts. Today I would like to present a Family Home Evening lesson on the law of Chastity. Part of this lesson is based on Jeffrey R Holland’s talk, Of Souls, Symbols, and Sacraments, which, honestly, is one of the best talks he has ever given, and that is saying something!
I recommend this lesson for ages 8 and up. Satan is starting his attack on our children in all areas concerning chastity at younger and younger ages. Thus, we need to begin our instruction as young as possible.
If this lesson seems too long to hold your family’s attention, split it into a series of 2-3 lessons. If you are teaching adults or are sure your children already understand exactly what the law is, you can skip the first part that defines the law and go straight to the reasons for keeping it.
What is the Law of Chastity?
Begin by defining the law. This is important because sometimes we assume our children know what the law of chastity is when, actually, they just have a vague understanding of it. If you’re going to keep a law exactly, it’s best to know exactly what the law is!
Definition of the Law of Chastity: “Chastity is sexual purity. Those who are chaste are morally clean in their thoughts, words, and actions. Chastity means not having any sexual relations before marriage. It also means complete fidelity to husband or wife during marriage.” (from lds.org under “Chastity”) Be sure to clarify to your children that the term “sexual relations” means not only sexual intercourse but also touching or looking at the parts of another person’s body that can be sexually stimulated, such as breasts and genitals. We also do not stimulate our own bodies to produce sexual arousal.
Note: Be sure to make it clear to your family that sex within marriage is a very, very GOOD thing, and it is only sexual relations outside of marriage that are prevented by the law of chastity. Do not allow your children to think that sex is bad altogether! Make sure they know it is a positive thing and ordained of God but must be used in the right way.
Discussion: List some ways that we can be morally clean in each area or some ways that Satan tempts people in each area. Examples of things listed might include:
- Viewing pornography
- Daydreaming about sexual situations before marriage
- Fantasizing about sexual situations with someone other than your spouse
- Looking at someone of the opposite sex (with our without clothes) in a lustful way
- Fantasizing about having homosexual relations
- Sexting (with words or pictures)
- Telling dirty jokes
- Reading (or writing) inappropriate books
- Watching immoral movies or television shows
- Participating in conversations that arouse sexual feelings
- Flirting with someone other than our spouse
- Making out (passionate kissing)
- Petting (touching the private body parts of someone else or allowing your own private parts to be touched)
- Lying on top of one another
- Oral sex or sexual intercourse outside of marriage
- Homosexual sexual relations
- Masturbation (stimulating our own body parts to sexual arousal. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t touch our own body, just that we shouldn’t try to arouse ourselves sexually.)
Now that we are clear on exactly what the law is, let’s discuss some reasons why God might have given us this law.
10 Reasons to Be Morally Clean
Print the image below to use as a handout by right-clicking on it, then click to enlarge, then saving or printing at full-page size.
The world today would make you believe that the law of Chastity is outdated or even flat out wrong. But we know that God gives us commandments to help us find the way to be happy. His laws never change. He is all knowing, and He knows what is best for us. What are some reasons why He might have given us this law?
1. Living the Law of Chastity Brings Happiness. (If you haven’t done so already, I suggest giving my FHE lesson, How to Use Spiritual GPS, prior to this one. It teaches how every commandment God gives us is given to make us happy. Once this concept is internalized, your family should be able to easily think of reasons why living the law of chastity will bring happiness.)
Ask your family to list some evils/heartaches/trials that can be avoided by living the law of chastity. Your list might include:
- Avoid sexually transmitted diseases (Most people will not avoid fornication for fear of STD’s. They reasons that it won’t happen to them, that they can just use a condom, or that everybody does it. But, if you really want to scare educate your family, you can show some pictures of STD’s. Go HERE for graphic images and HERE for less graphic ones. You can also discuss how pretty much every person who is sexually active outside of marriage has been exposed to HPV (human papilloma virus), which causes cervical cancer, since HPV can be transmitted even when a condom is used. It is because of the promiscuousness of society that women are forced to go for PAP smears every year and that society is pushing the HPV vaccine. Without sexual promiscuousness, these things would not be needed, because the risk of cervical cancer would be so low as to be almost non-existent. You should also let your children know that some STD’s are curable but some are not, and some can cause infertility, others can cause cancer, and, of course, AIDS can cause a multitude of health problems, including death. Besides HPV, condoms are not effective at protecting against genital herpes, genital warts, syphilis, crabs, and scabies. Also, let your children know that many STD’s can be contracted without having actual intercourse. They are passed through sexual activity such as oral sex or touching private parts together.) The law of Chastity, given to us by God, can help us stay healthy!
- Avoid pregnancy outside of marriage. Not only can pregnancy before marriage ruin your own life, but it can ruin the life of your unborn child, a person who you will love more than life itself.
- Keep your link to the Spirit strong. Do not sever your connection with the Spirit by committing such serious sin. You need the guidance of the Spirit to make the right choices in life, to keep you safe, and to make you happy.
- Feelings of self-worth are gained by being the master of your body, rather than letting your body be the master of you. It feels good to know that you are the one in control and are not a slave to your passions.
- Whenever we follow God’s commandments, He blesses us with a feeling of happiness, apart from the actual positive consequences provided by following the law.
2. Breaking the Law of Chastity is Not an Expression of Love. Alma tells us,
“See that ye bridle all your passions, that ye may be filled with love” (Alma 38:12)
If you are dating someone, and you care for that person, wouldn’t you want to do everything you can to make that person happy? In fact, the very definition of love is that if you love someone, all of your words and actions towards that person will be for the purpose of helping that person grow, become a better person, and achieve happiness. So, if you break the law of chastity with someone you care for, you are limiting his or her happiness in the same way you are limiting your own, as discussed above. Certainly you would not want to expose the one you love to danger or to limit his or her spirituality. You would not want the one you love to have to suffer from guilt or shame. You would never hurt him or her merely for your own (or even for his or her) physical pleasure. You would want him or her to be able to be happy and feel good about himself or herself, right? If you live the law of Chastity, you show your significant other love. Breaking the law of Chastity is selfish and short-sighted. Elder Bednar tells us,
Love increases through righteous restraint and decreases through impulsive indulgence. (David A Bednar, We Believe in Being Chaste, April 2013 General Conference)
3. Living the Law of Chastity Helps You Make the Right Decision in Choosing a Marriage Partner. When Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden, the Lord instructed them not to eat of the fruit of the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. He told them, “Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.” (Genesis 3:3) Why would God tell them they couldn’t even touch the fruit?
As it pertains to the law of Chastity, I used to think that the law was “no sexual intercourse” and that the reason we abstained from things like passionate kissing and touching each other’s private body parts was because doing those things creates sexual arousal, and the sexual arousal makes it very, very difficult to abstain from intercourse. But as I got older, I learned that the “making out” and “petting” were prohibited by the law of Chastity for many other reasons. One of those reasons is that any sexual act, any act that stimulates sexual arousal, God has given us for the purpose of binding us emotionally to our spouses. God created it so that engaging in acts which make us feel sexually aroused, also make us love our spouses more, they make us feel “in love” with our spouses.
Thus, if we engage in sexual acts before marriage, we will feel “in love” with the person with whom we engage in those acts. We will feel bound to that person and want to be with him or her, even if he or she is not the best marriage partner for us. Breaking the law of Chastity clouds our judgment. It makes it difficult to make a rational and spiritually motivated decision about whom we should marry, and we will be stuck with that person for eternity. So it’s best to choose well! After marriage, sexual acts will be good because they will make us feel “in love with” and bound to our spouse.
4. Keeping the Law of Chastity Builds Stronger Relationships. In addition to keeping your judgment clear, a relationship in which you both live the law of chastity will allow you to trust each other and feel secure in the knowledge that you are both committed to the happiness and purity of the other. Greater trust will give you a stronger relationship now and will also give you a better sexual relationship after marriage. Each of you show that you are committed to the other and are not merely swayed by the feelings created by arousal. You can trust that since your partner is committed to living the law of chastity, you don’t need to worry about him or her betraying you with someone else. Without trust, it is impossible to have a secure relationship. With it, your relationship will be strong and more fulfilling.
5. Sexual Purity Provides Protection. Maybe you never intend to engage in sexual intercourse before marriage, but you see nothing wrong with a little bit of making out. Or maybe you think the standards in the For The Strength of Youth pamphlet are ridiculous because nobody dates multiple people, everybody pairs up with a boyfriend or girlfriend. I am here to tell you that these standards will make life easier for you! If you don’t want to have sex before marriage, why would you want to stir up sexual feelings? Doing so is just absolute torture! To become sexually aroused is to desire to go further and further each time. To desire sex several years before you will actually have the opportunity to get married is just to expose yourself to several years of torture. Why would you want to do that?
In addition to protecting yourself from giving in to the temptation to “go all the way” and all the dangers that might entail (as discussed above), sexual purity provides spiritual protection. I don’t know about you, but I absolutely rely on the direction of the Spirit in my life to help me with all small and large decisions. I rely on it to protect me physically everyday as well as to protect me spiritually. Keep yourself morally clean and keep your connection to the Spirit strong so that you will be warned of danger and will be kept safe! Keep yourself worthy to attend the temple so that you can glean spiritual power from within its walls.
6. The Power to Create Life is a God’s Power, which He entrusts to Us. The law of Chastity involves the sacred powers of giving life. And the powers of giving life are just as important and serious as the power of taking life. Our Heavenly Father created us and gave us life in the first place. And He has given us the power to create life as well. He has told us that misusing this power is second in seriousness only to murder. Elder Holland compares the way society handles these two powers:
“As for the taking of life, we are generally quite responsible. Most people, it seems to me, readily sense the sanctity of life and as a rule do not run up to friends, put a loaded revolver to their heads, and cavalierly pull the trigger. Furthermore, when there is a click of the hammer rather than an explosion of lead, and a possible tragedy seems to have been averted, no one in such a circumstance would be so stupid as to sigh, ‘Oh, good. I didn’t go all the way.’” (Jeffrey R Holland, “Of Souls, Symbols, and Sacraments)
He says that if someone went running around campus, pointing a loaded gun at fellow students, that person would be apprehended or possibly even killed to protect the other students, and then everyone else would sit quaking in their boots the rest of the day, thinking about the tragedy that was averted.
We ought to understand the danger to breaking the law of Chastity the same way. Anyone who cavalierly plays with the powers of procreation, anyone who endangers the spiritual life of someone else or who toys with the power to bring life into the world, ought to be feared, ought to be treated with horror, ought to cause the feeling that justice needs to be demanded.
When God trusts us with the ability to create life, with the power of a God, we ought to reverence that power, to treat it carefully and respectfully, and to hold it sacred.
7. Our Body is a Precious Gift. We have something that Satan does not – a body – and he is so jealous of our bodies that he wants us to misuse ours, so that we can be as miserable as he is. The spirits that follow Satan covet our bodies so much that they would rather possess the body of a swine that have no body at all (see Mark 5:1-13). To have a body is a sign of our royal birthright. It is a blessing that shows that we kept our first estate. Our bodies have been referred to as temples because they allow the Spirit to dwell within our souls.
What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. (1 Corinthians 16:19-20)
As with any gift that we have been given, as with anything that is not ours, that is on loan to us from someone else, we want to take good care of that gift. We show we value the gift by honoring it, cherishing it, keeping it in mint condition. When we break the law of Chastity, we trivialize the gift of our bodies. If we value our body, we will keep it pure and clean and holy. By honoring our own body in this way, we show our gratitude to God for His gift to us.
8. Sex is a Symbol of Total Union. Sex Outside of the Union of Marriage Fragments Us. When a man and a woman are married, they are told to leave father and mother and “become one” (Matthew 19:5). In the temple, we use the word, “seal” to describe the union. Joseph Smith suggested the word “weld” because the union should be a total “oneness” that cannot be broken. Elder Holland says,
“But such a total, virtually unbreakable union, such an unyielding commitment between a man and a woman, can only come with the proximity and permanence afforded in a marriage covenant, with the union of all that they possess–their very hearts and minds, all their days and all their dreams. They work together, they cry together, they enjoy Brahms and Beethoven and breakfast together, they sacrifice and save and live together for all the abundance that such a totally intimate life provides such a couple. And the external symbol of that union, the physical manifestation of what is a far deeper spiritual and metaphysical bonding, is the physical blending that is part of–indeed, a most beautiful and gratifying expression of–that larger, more complete union of eternal purpose and promise.” (Jeffrey R Holland, “Of Souls, Symbols, and Sacraments)
He suggests that to have the physical union of sex without joining your lives together, without paying bills and taking out the trash and waking up in the night to care for sick children, without worrying together and working together and completely joining your lives, is hypocrisy. In fact, he calls it “moral schizophrenia”. He says,
“That commandment [becoming one] cannot be fulfilled, and that symbolism of “one flesh” cannot be preserved, if we hastily and guiltily and surreptitiously share intimacy in a darkened corner of a darkened hour, then just as hastily and guiltily and surreptitiously retreat to our separate worlds–not to eat or live or cry or laugh together, not to do the laundry and the dishes and the homework, not to manage a budget and pay the bills and tend the children and plan together for the future. No, we cannot do that until we are truly one–united, bound, linked, tied, welded, sealed, married.” (Jeffrey R Holland, “Of Souls, Symbols, and Sacraments)
Sex outside of marriage is “moral schizophrenia” because the “oneness” was not meant to be purely physical. It was meant to encompass our total lives. When we join together as one physically, it symbolizes our oneness in every aspect of our lives, a oneness that cannot be undone, a oneness that will endure for eternity.
To give our sexuality to someone to whom we have not committed our entire lives and eternity, is to fragment ourselves and to fragment that other person as well. And when we fragment ourselves, we damage ourselves as well as damaging the union that we someday hope to have in marriage.
9. Sex is a Sacrament Uniting Us with God. A sacrament is an ordinance that unites man with God. Here is what Elder Holland has to say about this:
“From time to time–indeed, as often as is possible and appropriate–we find ways and go to places and create circumstances where we can unite symbolically with him, and in so doing gain access to his power. Those special moments of union with God are sacramental moments–such as kneeling at a marriage altar, or blessing a newborn baby, or partaking of the emblems of the Lord’s supper. This latter ordinance is the one we in the Church have come to associate most traditionally with the word sacrament, though it is technically only one of many such moments when we formally take the hand of God and feel his divine power.
These are moments when we quite literally unite our will with God’s will, our spirit with his spirit, where communion through the veil becomes very real. At such moments we not only acknowledge his divinity, but we quite literally take something of that divinity to ourselves. Such are the holy sacraments.” (Jeffrey R Holland, “Of Souls, Symbols, and Sacraments)
When we, as husband and wife, come together physically, when we join our bodies together to make them “one flesh”, during this act we unite ourselves with God. This is true, whether actual sexual intercourse occurs, or whether we experience physical intimacy by merely pleasuring each other’s private body parts or even passionately kissing to stimulate sexual arousal. If you do those things with someone to whom you are not married, you are taking a sacramental ordinance, one that joins the participants to God, and using it in a way that God did not intend. It is kind of like running up to the sacrament table during the sacrament service on Sunday, ripping the cloth off of the trays, and parading around with it like a cape.
If we understand that God is present in our sexual acts because they are sacramental in nature, we will not want to undertake those acts in a manner or place where we would be embarrassed to bring God. We will keep those acts sacred. We will treat them as we would treat God Himself.
10. We Are Not Our Own. Christ Has Paid for Our Souls. Remember the scripture mentioned above, “Ye are bought with a price?” Jesus Christ paid that price when he suffered to atone for our sins and died for us on the cross. We are not our own. Elder Holland says,
“The purchase price for our fullness of joy–body and spirit eternally united–is the pure and innocent blood of the Savior of this world. We cannot then say in ignorance or defiance, ‘Well, it’s my life,’ or worse yet, ‘It’s my body.’ It is not. ‘Ye are not your own,’ Paul said. ‘Ye are bought with a price.’” (Jeffrey R Holland, “Of Souls, Symbols, and Sacraments)
When we trivialize the law of Chastity and trivialize the sacredness of our bodies, we also trivialize the Atonement. We “crucify Christ afresh”. As Elder Holland puts it,
“When one toys with the Son of Righteousness, the Day Star himself, one toys with white heat and a flame hotter and holier than the noonday sun. You cannot do so and not be burned. You cannot with impunity “crucify Christ afresh” (see Hebrews 6:6). Exploitation of the body (please include the word soul there) is, in the last analysis, an exploitation of him who is the Light and the Life of the world.” (Jeffrey R Holland, “Of Souls, Symbols, and Sacraments)
If we respect and honor our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, we will respect and honor his gift to us – our souls, which are our bodies and spirits united. Today we have talked about some ways that breaking the law of Chastity harms both our bodies and our spirits, thus harming our souls. Those souls do not belong to us, but to Christ, who bought them with the price of his pain and suffering.
If we have, in the past, broken this sacred law of Chastity, there is a way back. Christ has offered to cleanse us with His blood, if we offer Him a broken heart and contrite spirit. He can make whole what once was broken. He can make pure what once was soiled. Though our sins be as scarlet, they can be white as snow if we repent and accept the gift of Christ’s Atonement.
Close the lesson with your testimony that Jesus Christ lives, that He atoned for our sins and makes it possible for us to return to live with Him again. Bear your testimony that living the Law of Chastity brings happiness and that doing so pleases God as well. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
The above image is a free printable for you to use as a handout. To print, right click on the image and then click to enlarge. From there, you can select to save or print. Or, go here for the printables from this article: 10 Reasons to Be Morally Clean and Ye Are Bought With a Price
Here is the link for Elder Holland’s talk: Of Souls, Symbols, and Sacraments