First, may I say how privileged I feel to be in association with the young men and young women of our church? My husband and I, within one month of marriage, were given charge of the 12-year-old Sunday School class in our new ward. The expressions of condolence and worry from ward members were puzzling as we walked from the chapel, apparently the children had gone through a number of teachers in the previous year. Alvin and I fell in love with those children and have continued to do the same with every class we’ve taught since that day. We admire then, respect them and love them all.
That being said, I had a startling conversation with four young women. I say startling because of the things they were saying: “I’m sleeping with my boyfriend, but I’ve been with him for four years so it’s okay.” “I had sex just to get my virginity out of the way.” (That one was repeated by all four.) “Sex is just a means to an end.” I was completely flabbergasted and needless to say, it’s been on my mind ever since the conversation occurred. My heart was so saddened by the choices these young women had made. One, who now is interested in coming back to church, is married to an anti-Mormon and finding it difficult, if not impossible, to attend church because of his constant attacks. Another lives with her boyfriend during the week, because it is closer to work. Another is a single mother and it goes on. The consequences of their actions have been devastating and far reaching.
So why is chastity so important to the eternal salvation of our souls? Intimacy is a beautiful and cherished thing when exercised within the bounds of marriage. It is reserved for marriage because this brings into play the partnership men and women have with God in bringing forth life. Procreative power is not one to be lightly indulged in, nor abused. The entire purpose of this world is not to attend football games, parties, plays, concerts, and so on, as fun and beneficial as they may or may not be. The purpose of our mortality is to prove to our Father we are worthy to return and live with Him. We passed our first estate and are well on our way with our second. So why is chastity so important to our Father in Heaven?
I think President Benson says it the clearest:
“Do not be misled by Satan’s lies. There is no lasting happiness in immorality. There is no joy to be found in breaking the law of chastity. Just the opposite is true. There may be momentary pleasure. For a time it may seem like everything is wonderful. But quickly the relationship will sour. Guilt and shame set in. We become fearful that our sins will be discovered. We must sneak and hide, lie and cheat. Love begins to die. Bitterness, jealousy, anger, and even hate begin to grow. All of these are the natural results of sin and transgression.
“On the other hand, when we obey the law of chastity and keep ourselves morally clean, we will experience the blessings of increased love and peace, greater trust and respect for our marital partners, deeper commitment to each other, and, therefore, a deep and significant sense of joy and happiness” (“The Law of Chastity,” (BYU 1987–88 Devotional and Fireside Speeches , 51).
No truer words were ever spoken regarding chastity. The world has much to offer if you are looking at only temporary joy. For indulging in immorality behavior brings consequences, grief, sorrow, guilt and pain for everyone involved. The Lord has so much more to offer you. When chastity is upheld, meaning that intimacy is reserved for the man or woman you commit your eternities to, there can be much joy, peace and the rewards are limitless if we only reach out for them. There is great peace and joy in following the Lord, for His rewards are eternal while the world’s are temporary at best.
If a man or woman is willing to have sexual relations with you, but is unwilling to marry because “he or she is not ready”, then you have fallen prey to the type of individual who will never consider your needs above his or her own. If there is not enough love, respect and admiration for true commitment and covenants, then you have been sorely robbed of that which is most precious.
I will close with President Spencer W. Kimball’s thoughts: “My beloved youth, he is not your friend who would rob you of your virtue. She does not love you if she tempts you or yields to you. Such is your enemy. To require the yielding to passion, and gratification, yet to profess love, is to lie; for we never exploit one whom we love” (Conference Report, Sydney Australia Area Conference, 1976, 54).