Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Proclamations - Chastity

You're invited to join me in examining and deepening your convictions about the Family this month.

We ... declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife. We declare the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed. We affirm the sanctity of life and of its importance in God's eternal plan.

I knew this would have to be addressed if I were to be thorough, and I was dreading it a bit. It has become so politically incorrect to tell people to exercise self-control of any form, but this form especially.

Luckily my friend Neil gave the perfect talk in church recently and was able to direct me to this article by Jeffrey R. Holland that boldly states exactly what I feel.

(and I quote, copiously)

"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 fullness 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” 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.


From the Garden of Eden onward, marriage was intended to mean the complete merger of a man and a woman—their hearts, hopes, lives, love, family, future, everything.

This is a union of such completeness that we use the word seal to convey its eternal promise. But such a total union between a man and a woman can only come with the permanence afforded in a marriage covenant, with solemn promises and the pledge of all they possess—their very hearts and minds, all their days and all their dreams.

Can you see the moral schizophrenia that comes from pretending you are one, pretending you have made solemn promises before God, sharing the physical symbols and the physical intimacy of your counterfeit union but then fleeing all other aspects of what was meant to be a total obligation?

In matters of human intimacy, you must wait! You must wait until you can give everything, and you cannot give everything until you are legally and lawfully married. If you persist in pursuing physical satisfaction without the sanction of heaven, you run the terrible risk of such spiritual, psychic damage that you may undermine both your longing for physical intimacy and your ability to give wholehearted devotion to a later, truer love. You may discover to your horror that what you should have saved you have spent, and that only God’s grace can recover the virtue you so casually gave away.


One aspect of that divinity given to men and women is the use of His power to create a human body, that wonder of all wonders, a genetically and spiritually unique being never before seen in the history of the world and never to be duplicated again in all the ages of eternity. A child, your child—with eyes and ears and fingers and toes and a future of unspeakable grandeur.

Of all the titles God has chosen for Himself, Father is the one He favors most, and creation is His watchword—especially human creation, creation in His image. You and I have been given something of that godliness, but under the most serious and sacred of restrictions. The only control placed on us is self-control—self-control born of respect for the divine power this gift represents.

I apologize if the boldness startles of offends, but as I read this, I can feel the almost parental love and concern behind it, can you? I am in the unfortunate position of being able to personally testify not only of the blessings and very realistic possibility of obeying these commandments, but of the reality that one cannot choose to disobey them without rendering very real damage to their soul. (and that's all I'm going to say about that).

But with my convictions thus set, I have to refuse to accept philosophies or influences that would teach my children that following their every sexual whim to it's end is an acceptable way to live. There are consequences to every sexual act, and the consequences of extramarital sexual acts are never good. So much energy is spent in the world today trying to ignore, explain away, or refute those consequences, but they persist in existing as a law of the universe.

I cannot change choices made in the past, but I can teach and implore with diligence that my children can know that I knew how important this is.


aLi said...

Wow, that stirred my soul. Em, you are doing awesome work here. Thank you for the uplifting and inspiring words.

hairyshoefairy said...

I considered diving into this a bit on my part about our physical bodies but after several attempts I went in a different direction.

I believe one of the many reasons we were given bodies is so we can learn to let our spirits control them as opposed to letting our bodies control our spirits. Our bodies can be so strong in some ways with emotions and desires we didn't have as spirits and it can be hard to get control, especially as we get older if we haven't practiced restraint and self control as children. I've had friends ask me why not just do what feels "natural" - meaning having premarital sex - and it always makes me think of Mosiah 3:19 where we're taught to "put off the natural man."

I'd also like to point out that it isn't about physical intimacy being bad or wrong. I'm afraid too many people believe that and it is incorrect to believe sex, in and of itself, is dirty or sinful. I am even so bold to say our procreative power is the attribute that makes us most like our Heavenly Parents. It is a godly gift and a beautiful, powerful thing. As such it should be something we strongly protect and it should be saved for the right time with the right person (after marriage and with one's spouse).

Thanks for sharing bits from Elder Holland. No candy coating there - as it should be.

Tracy M said...

This is lovely Em. I am touched by your testimony, and could add my own as well.

I love that talk by Elder Holland. He has a way of throwing down the gauntlet, but doing it with such love that it doesn't feel like a smack-down.

Amber said...

There are so many things I could say. So many thoughts, prayers, and tears for myself, for those I love for those of mine that I worry for.... All I can say is thank you for being brave enough! The young men and woman in your ward could benefit from this posting - I wish that people would be more frank and less political when it came to these topics.

Cam said...

I love, and have made frequent reference over the years to, Elder Holland's "Of Souls, Symbols, and Sacraments" talk and associated video. It is THE best talk I have ever heard on the subject of chastity.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...