Wonderful material in the Teachings of the Presidents of the Church:... (the old Priesthood/Relief Society manuals). This material is in Joseph F. Smith, chapter 18, in Harold B. Lee 20, and for Spencer W. Kimball, chapters 17. These can all be found by going to the new “lds.org” then click on “Go to Classic LDS.org” (lower left corner), then click on “Gospel Library” then “Lessons” then “Melchizedek Priesthood and Relief Society.” The manuals are all found at the bottom of this page.
1 - - A Note to Parents
Using “lds.org” and typing in “teaching children chastity” (upper right corner) “Search all LDS.org” again gives great resources. Note that the first one if this lesson. Some of my favorites here that are a great help to parents are "Teaching Chastity to Youth" (Ensign, Feb. 1994, 19) and Terrance D. Olson, "Teaching Morality to Your Children" (Ensign, Mar. 1981, 10). We would also include a classic conference talk, “Why Stay Morally Clean,” by Elder Boyd K. Packer (Ensign, Jul 1972, 111).
The first paragraph of this section discusses teaching children about chastity. President Lee said:
Now the most effective teaching in the church is done in the family where the responsibility upon the father and the mother in the home is to teach their children while they’re yet small the basic principles of faith, repentance, belief in the Savior, those early principles of chastity, virtue, honor, and so on.
You mothers, stay close to your daughters. When they’re little children, don’t let someone else tell them about the so-called facts of life. As soon as your little children begin to ask you questions, little tots about little intimate things, sit down and talk to them about the things to the limit of their intelligence. They will then say, “All right, Mother, that’s fine.” And then a little later when they get in their teenage, they’ll come again a second time, this time a little more sophisticated. Then they begin to date, and where will they come for counsel? If you’ve done your job, they’ll come to ask Mother about her counsel on this and that, and on the night of her marriage, she’ll seek counsel from her mother, not from the women on the street.
And you fathers, be companionable with your boys. Never turn your boy aside when he wants to have your counsel about the things that he wants a father to talk to him about. Therein is the safety in the home. There’s the safety of your young people. Don’t deny them that safety, you fathers and you mothers.
The one who has the chief responsibility is the father of the boy. This doesn’t mean that the father should wake up some morning and call his boy to his bedside and in fifteen minutes tell him all the facts of life. That isn’t what the boy needs. He needs a father to answer when he wants to ask questions of a delicate nature. He is hungering to know; he is curious about things.
If his father will be frank and honest, and tell him up to the limit of his intelligence as he grows up, that father will be the one to whom the son will return for counsel in the years that follow.
That father will be an anchor to that boy’s soul, as the father takes from his book of experience lessons that he can give to his son to help condition him against the possibility of falling into that fatal trap in an unguarded moment (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee, 190, 192).
In the fourth paragraph of this section parents are counseled to “correct false ideas and vulgar language children learn from others” (p. 225). Interestingly the main two categories of all “swear words” are about God and sacred body parts for procreation. No coincidence, Satan’s campaign.
In the next to last paragraph of this section is an extremely important concept, “Children should understand that these powers are good and were given to us by the Lord” (p. 226). President Joseph F. Smith declared:
President Joseph F. Smith also declared:
The law of chastity is one of the most vital importance, both to children, and to men and to women. It is a vitally important principle to the children of God in all their lives, from the cradle to the grave.
The lawful association of the sexes is ordained of God, not only as the sole means of race perpetuation, but for the development of the higher faculties and nobler traits of human nature, which the love-inspired companionship of man and woman alone can insure. The word of Scripture is explicit as to the Divine intent and command with respect to the sexes. It is not good for man to be alone; and therefore hath it been ordained that “a man leave his father and his mother and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh” [See Genesis 2:18, 24.] (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith, 157, 158).
President Kimball counseled:
Your children will learn from you early in their lives that they must never involve themselves in immoral practices of any kind. This cannot be told to them just once. But before they are married they should be told hundreds of times, and they should know that not only their family and their parents expect this great service, but the Lord in heaven, Jesus Christ, expects them to keep clean and free from immorality (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball, 185).
President Kimball also stated:
Pure sex life in proper marriage is approved. There is a time and an appropriateness for all things that have value.
…sex can be an important and satisfactory part of married life (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball, 181, 183).
President Lee added:
To the end that man and woman might be brought together in this sacred marriage relationship, whereby earthly bodies are prepared as tabernacles for heavenly spirits, the Lord has placed within the breast of every young man and every young woman a desire for association with each other. These are sacred and holy impulses but tremendously powerful. …To gain the highest bliss in holy wedlock, the fountains of life must be kept pure (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee, 186).
For some in the past who circulated a myth in Mormonism that sexual intercourse was exclusively for procreation, the following from President Kimball may also be important:
We know of no directive from the Lord that proper sexual experience between husbands and wives need be limited totally to the procreation of children… (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball, 183).
In his powerful conference talk, President Boyd K. Packer explained the two reasons for sexual relations in marriage:
When we obey, we can enjoy these powers in the covenant of marriage. From our fountains of life will spring our children, our family. Love between husband and wife can be constant and bring fulfillment and contentment all the days of our lives (Ensign, Nov. 2010, 74).
President Kimball gave wonderful advice for parents to help their children as they begin dating:
I suggest … the following standard. Any dating or pairing off in social contacts should be postponed until at least the age of 16 or older, and even then there should still be much judgment used in selections and in the seriousness. Young people should still limit the close contacts for several years, since the boy will be going on his mission when he is 19 years old.
Dating and especially steady dating in the early teens is most hazardous. It distorts the whole picture of life. It deprives you of worthwhile and rich experiences; it limits friendships; it reduces the acquaintances which can be so valuable in selecting a partner for time and eternity.
There is definitely a time for the dance, for travel, for associations, for the date, and even for the steady date that will culminate in the romance which will take young people to the holy temple for eternal marriage. But it is the timing that is so vital. It is wrong to do even the right things at the wrong time in the wrong place under the wrong circumstances (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball, 186-7).
A wonderful challenge for parents would be to prepare youth for the following interviews:
One of our stake conferences closed on an interesting note some while ago. … As the stake president got up to close the conference, he looked up to the balcony filled with youngsters and said, “There is something I want to say to you young people up in that balcony. Perhaps while I am your stake president, every one of you will come to me for an interview—advancement in the priesthood, or for some position to which you are to be called, or for temple recommends—and among other things I am going to ask you one soul-searching question. Are you morally clean? If you can answer honestly, ‘Yes, President, I am morally clean,’ you will be happy. If you have to answer, ‘No, I’m not,’ you will be sad; and if you lie to me, bitterness will fill your soul as long as you live.
One day [we] will have to meet our Maker and as Moroni put it—and this is pretty strong language—he said, “Do you think that you could be happy in the presence of the Holy One of Israel with a sense of guilt of your own uncleanness?” He said, “You would be happier to live with the damned souls in hell than in the presence of the Holy One of Israel with your uncleanness and your filthiness still upon you.” [See Mormon 9:3-4.]
When we break commandments, we hurt ourselves and others too. The error usually results in sadness, depression, hostility, or withdrawal, if we do not repent. We, in effect, diminish our self-esteem; we downgrade our roles as sons and daughters of God; we may even try to run away from the ultimate reality of who we really are! (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee, 187-8).
2 - - The Power of Procreation
Concerning the title of this section, last October in conference, President Boyd K. Packer declared:
To be entrusted with the power to create life carries with it the greatest of joys and dangerous temptations. The gift of mortal life and the capacity to kindle other lives is a supernal blessing. Through the righteous exercise of this power, as in nothing else, we may come close to our Father in Heaven and experience a fulness of joy. This power is not an incidental part of the plan of happiness. It is the key—the very key (Ensign, Nov. 2010, 74).
In this section the questions are asked, “Why should parents teach their children about procreation and chastity? How can they appropriately do this? (p. 226). When children reach puberty, or about the age of twelve, parents should have their own copy of the Church pamphlet Strength of Youth (available from the ward) or go online at “lds.org” then click on the “Menu” bar on top and then click on “Youth” under “Family.” The pamphlet is under “Youth Menu” at the right of the screen. Then click on “Explore Youth Standards” (at right of screen) then click on “Sexual Purity.” The information here is a must for terrific answers to these questions.
The last two sentences in this section are:
God has commanded us that only in marriage between a man and a woman are we to have sexual relations. This commandment is called the law of chastity (p. 226).
The term “sexual relations” is also an important one in temple covenants. This phrase “sexual relations” is a continuum of ideas from accidental exposure to improper ideas through the eye or the ear or sudden thoughts coming into the mind all the way to sexual intercourse.
From True to the Faith comes the following terrific definition of this law:
To be chaste, you must be morally clean in your thoughts, words, and actions (p. 28).
In the third paragraph of the fourth section we learn, “The law of chastity requires that our thoughts as well as our actions be pure” (p. 228). President Joseph F. Smith declared:
Personal purity and proper thoughts … are the bases of all proper action (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith, 156).
President Lee gave helpful counsel:
Live the law of chastity more perfectly than you have ever done it before, by thinking pure thoughts. Remember what the Master stated, “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). Now, our thoughts must be pure. Overcome any habits that you may have that have a tendency to immoral acts, and forbid the immorality that otherwise would blight your lives (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee, 187).
It is most significant that the Savior taught that adultery begins in the heart.
President McKay gives some help concerning this:
A person who indulges his appetites, either secretly or otherwise, has a character that will not serve him when he is tempted to indulge his passions.
What a man continually thinks about determines his actions in times of opportunity and stress. A man’s reaction to his appetites and impulses when they are aroused gives the measure of that man’s character. In these reactions are revealed the man’s power to govern or his forced servility to yield.
Actions in harmony with divine law and the laws of nature will bring happiness, and those in opposition to divine truth, misery. Man is responsible not only for every deed, but also for every idle word and thought (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: David O. McKay, 87).
The bottom line is this: If a member of the Church accepts in his/her heart in “no sexual relations outside of marriage,” he/she will live the law of chastity. If not, he/she will not.
The Lord taught, “And verily I say unto you, as I have said before, 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).
3 - - The Law of Chastity
This section concerns prophets and the law of chastity. President Gordon B. Hinckley adds:
Prophets of God have repeatedly taught through the ages that practices of homosexual relations, fornication, and adultery are grievous sins. Sexual relations outside the bonds of marriage are forbidden by the Lord (Ensign, May 1987, 45).
Gordon B. Hinckley also shared a wonderful concept:
Members of the Mike Wallace team spoke with a few students like you when they were here. These were both young men and young women. The reporters told me that the students said that it was easy to turn down a cigarette. There was no problem in refusing beer. The lines were clearly drawn on these things. But sex was a different matter. It was harder to tell where to draw the line.
I replied, “Those students know where to draw the line. They do not have to have that defined in clinical detail. They know when they are on slippery ground.”
My dear young friends, it is all a matter of self-discipline. Of course you know what is right and what is wrong. You have been trained from your childhood in these matters. When you find yourselves slipping in the direction of that which you know is wrong, it may be difficult to stop and turn around. But it can be done. It has been done by hundreds of thousands, millions just like you who experience the same emotional appeals that you experience (Ensign, June 1996, 2).
If youth are taught and then internalize the information in the fourth paragraph of this section, they will “know” as President Hinckley explained above.
Note that in this paragraph, along with immoral acts with others, immoral acts performed alone, such as masturbation, are included in “sexual relations” outside of marriage.
Many in today’s world believe that chastity is now old fashioned and out of date and we no longer need this law. President Kimball proclaimed:
The Lord has only one standard of morality—total chastity for both men and women before marriage and complete fidelity afterward.
That the Church’s stand on morality may be understood, we declare firmly and unalterably it is not an outworn garment, faded, old-fashioned, and threadbare. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and his covenants and doctrines are immutable; and when the sun grows cold and the stars no longer shine, the law of chastity will still be basic in God’s world and in the Lord’s church. Old values are upheld by the Church not because they are old, but rather because they are right.
Total chastity before marriage and total fidelity after are still the standard from which there can be no deviation without sin, misery, and unhappiness (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball, 179-80).
The following scripture fits any principle of the Gospel, but is especially true for the law of chastity:
Proving to the world that the holy scriptures are true, and that God does inspire men and call them to his holy work in this age and generation, as well as in generations of old;
Thereby showing that he is the same God yesterday, today, and forever. Amen (D&C 20:11-12).
President Joseph F. Smith declared and warned:
We believe in one standard of morality for men and women. If purity of life is neglected, all other dangers set in upon us like the rivers of waters when the flood gates are opened (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith, 156).
President Smith decried the concept that men should not be held the same standard as women:
It is a deplorable fact that society persists in holding women to stricter account than men in the matter of sexual offense. What shadow of excuse, not to speak of justification, can be found for this outrageous and cowardly discrimination? (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith, 157).
President Kimball warned those who think chastity is out of date:
Those who seem to flout the institution of marriage, and who regard chastity before marriage with fidelity after as old-fashioned, seem determined to establish a new fashion on their own and impose it upon others. Can they not see the gross selfishness that will lead finally to deep loneliness? Can they not see that, pushed by pleasure, they will become more and more distant from joy? Can they not see that their kind of fulfillment will produce a hollowness and an emptiness from which no fleeting pleasure can finally rescue them? (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball, 179-80).
In the Garden, the Lord provided Adam and Eve with coats of skins to cover their nakedness. Elder Carlos E. Asay, a member of the First Quorum of Seventy, taught:
Prior to their expulsion from the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were clad in sacred clothing. We read: “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them” (Gen. 3:21).
They received this clothing in a context of instruction on the Atonement, sacrifice, repentance, and forgiveness (see Moses 5:5-8). The temple garment given to Latter-day Saints is provided in a similar context. It is given to remind wearers of the continuing need for repentance, the need to honor binding covenants made in the house of the Lord, and the need to cherish and share virtue in our daily living so that promised blessings may be claimed (Ensign, Aug. 1997, 19).
Paul commented on this holy temple garment:
Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked (Ephesians 6:16).
President Lee added to Paul’s powerful comments:
Clothe yourself with the armor of righteousness. Don’t give way in a moment of weakness. Safeguard that citadel of purity. Your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, if you will keep it clean and pure (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee, 187).
The last four paragraphs of this lesson concern the practice of homosexual behavior. President Kimball declared:
If one has [homosexual] desires and tendencies, he overcomes them the same as if he had the urge toward petting or fornication or adultery. The Lord condemns and forbids this practice with a vigor equal to his condemnation of adultery and other such sex acts. … Again, contrary to the belief and statement of many people, this [practice], like fornication, is overcomable and forgivable, but again, only upon a deep and abiding repentance, which means total abandonment and complete transformation of thought and act. …Christ’s church denounces it and condemns it. … This heinous homosexual sin is of the ages. Many cities and civilizations have gone out of existence because of it (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball, 181).
4 - - Satan Wants Us to Break the Law of Chastity
Satan’s greatest threat today is to destroy the family, and to make a mockery of the law of chastity and the sanctity of the marriage covenant (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee, 187).
One of Satan’s greatest tools: confusing love and lust. President Kimball described a young couple:
“The boy said, ‘Yes, we yielded to each other, but we do not think it wrong because we love one another.’ I thought I had misunderstood him. Since the world began, there have been countless immoralities, but to hear them justified by Latter-day Saint youth shocked me. He repeated,
‘No, it is not wrong, because we love one another.
“They had repeated this abominable heresy so often that they had convinced themselves, and a wall of resistance had been built, and behind this wall they stubbornly, almost defiantly, stood.
To their rationalization, President Kimball responded, “No, my beloved young people, you did not love one another. Rather, you lusted for one another. … If one really loves another, one would rather die for that person than injure him. At the hour of indulgence, pure love is pushed out one door while lust sneaks in the other (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball, 179).
President Kimball continued:
The young man who protects his sweetheart against all use or abuse, against insult and infamy from himself or others, could be expressing true love. But the young man who uses his companion as a biological toy to give himself temporary satisfaction—that is lust.
A young woman who conducts herself to be attractive spiritually, mentally, and physically but will not by word or dress or act stir or stimulate to physical reactions the companion beside her could be expressing true love. That young woman who must touch and stir and fondle and tempt and use exhibits lust and exploitation.
eware of the devil’s trick of making evil seem good by giving it a label that conceals its character. Just such a device is the rationalization that lust is love (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball, 182-3).
President Lee also declared:
I want to warn this great body of priesthood against that great sin of Sodom and Gomorrah, which has been labeled as a sin second only in seriousness to the sin of murder. I speak of the sin of adultery, which, as you know, was the name used by the Master as He referred to unlicensed sexual sins of fornication as well as adultery; and besides this, the equally grievous sin of homosexuality, which seems to be gaining momentum with social acceptance in the Babylon of the world, of which Church members must not be a part.
For a child of God, and particularly one bearing the priesthood and having been active in the Church, to consider his God-given gift of creative powers as a mere plaything or that his association with his sweetheart is primarily for the satisfying of his lustful appetite is to play the game of Satan, who knows that such conduct is the sure way to destroy in one the refinement necessary to receive the companionship of the Spirit of the Lord (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee, 189).
President Kimball had similar counsel:
…sexual encounters outside of legalized marriage render the individual a thing to be used, a thing to be exploited, and make him or her exchangeable, exploitable, expendable.
Illicit sex is a selfish act, a betrayal, and is dishonest. To be unwilling to accept responsibility is cowardly, disloyal. Marriage is for time and eternity. Fornication and all other deviations are for today, for the hour, for the “now.” Marriage gives life. Fornication leads to death (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball, 181).
In the second paragraph of this section, we read, “Satan attacks the standards of modesty” (p. 228). President Kimball gave wise counsel concerning modest:
Another of the many things that lead to unchastity is immodesty.
There is no reason why women need to wear a low-cut or otherwise revealing gown just because it is the worldly style. We can create a style of our own.
We cannot overemphasize immodesty as one of the pitfalls to be avoided if we would shun temptation and keep ourselves clean (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball, 186).
In this section, President Hinckley is quoted concerning the evil of pornography. He added:
We hope that our parents and leaders will not tolerate pornography. It is really garbage, but today is peddled as normal and satisfactory food. … There is a link between pornography and the low, sexual drives and perversions.
It is ridiculous to imply that pornography has no effect. There is a definite relationship to crime. Murder, robbery, rape, prostitution, and commercialized vice are fed on this immorality. Sex crime statistics seem to reflect a relationship between crime and pornography.
It is utterly without redeeming social value. We urge our families to protect their children in every way possible. We live in a permissive world, but we must make certain we do not become a part of that permissive world, that degenerate world.
Precious souls are at stake—souls that are near and dear to each of us (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball, 184).
President Kimball decried pornography in his day, but was prophetic in this statement:
…there are false teachers everywhere, using speech and pornographic literature, magazines, radio, TV, street talk—spreading damnable heresies which break down moral standards, and this to gratify the lust of the flesh.
We abhor pornography that seems to be flooding the land.
Legislation makes an effort to curb it, but the best way to stop it is to have men and women, with their families, build barriers against it (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball, 183).
With the internet coming into popularity on household computers about 1995, there was an
extreme escalation in pornography. By going online to ksl.com then typing in “Out in the Light” in the search bar on the top (it has a round blue dot with a magnifying glass on it) you can find lots of help with how to overcome pornography. An excerpt from there indicates the following current problem:
Every second, $3,075.64 is being spent on pornography
28,258 Internet viewers are viewing pornography
372 Internet users are typing adult search terms into search engines
Every 39 minutes, a new pornographic video is made in the U.S.
President Kimball concludes:
When we see the depravity of numerous people of our own society in their determination to force upon people vulgar presentations, filthy communications, unnatural practices, we wonder, has Satan reached forth with his wicked, evil hand to pull into his forces the people of this earth? Do we not have enough good people left to stamp out the evil which threatens our world? Why do we continue to compromise with evil and why do we continue to tolerate sin? (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball, 184).
In conclusion, President Hinckley also shared the following:
Years ago I had responsibility for our work in Asia. I visited Okinawa many times when there were American servicemen stationed there in large numbers. Some of them had cars, and I noted that most of those cars were badly rusted. There were holes in the fenders. There were holes in the side panels. Whatever paint was left was dull. All of this was the result of corrosive ocean salt which was carried by the wind and which ate through the metal.
That is the way pornography is. This sleazy filth is like corrosive salt. It will eat through your armor if you expose yourselves to it.
I cannot emphasize this too strongly. The makers and marketers of this slimy stuff grow wealthy while the character of their customers decays. Stay away from it. Stand above it. It becomes addictive. It will destroy those who become its slaves (Ensign, June 1996, 2).
5 - - Breaking the Law of Chastity Is Extremely Serious
Scriptures list only the three most serious sins. Chastity is number three.
Know ye not, my son, that these things [immorality] are an abomination in the sight of the Lord; yea, most abominable above all sins save it be the shedding of innocent blood or denying the Holy Ghost? (Alma 39:5)
And notwithstanding this great abomination of the Lamanites, it doth not exceed that of our people in Moriantum. For behold, many of the daughters of the Lamanites have they taken prisoners; and after depriving them of that which was most dear and precious above all things, which is chastity and virtue—
And after they had done this thing, they did murder them in a most cruel manner, torturing their bodies even unto death… (Moroni 9:9 - 10)
Prophets have always lifted their voices against immorality. President Joseph F. Smith exclaimed:
We are not here to practice immorality of any kind. Above all things, sexual immorality is most heinous in the sight of God. … Therefore, we raise our voices against sexual immorality, and against all manner of obscenity (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith, 158).
Concerning the title of this section, President Lee also declared:
I want to warn this great body of priesthood against that great sin of Sodom and Gomorrah, which has been labeled as a sin second only in seriousness to the sin of murder. I speak of the sin of adultery, which, as you know, was the name used by the Master as He referred to unlicensed sexual sins of fornication as well as adultery; and besides this, the equally grievous sin of homosexuality, which seems to be gaining momentum with social acceptance in the Babylon of the world, of which Church members must not be a part (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee, 189).
President Joseph F. Smith’s words also have found prophetic fulfillment in today’s world:
We desire with holy zeal to emphasize the enormity of sexual sins. Though often regarded as insignificant by those not knowing the will of God, they are, in his eyes an abomination, and if we are to remain his favored people they must be shunned as the gates of hell. The evil results of these sins…are destroying the world. …they weaken and enervate, they kill man spiritually, they make him unfit for the company of the righteous and the presence of God (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith, 156).
The second paragraph of this section discusses the sin of abortion. President Kimball delared:
Sins spawned by pornography unfortunately perpetuate other serious transgressions, including abortion (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball, 184).
This section alludes to the pain which affects others, not just those who break the law of chastity. The prophets specifically spoke of this. President Joseph F. Smith said:
Unchastity, furthermore, not only fixes its penalty on the one who transgresses, but reaches out unerring punishment to the third and fourth generation, making not only the transgressor a wreck, but mayhap involving scores of people in his direct line of relationship, disrupting family ties, breaking the hearts of parents, and causing a black stream of sorrow to overwhelm their lives (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith, 157).
President Lee also added:
The unchastity of parents can send forth a chain reaction that can span the generations, even though the resentment and rebellion of disappointed children may take a different form. The absence of love at home causes ripples of reaction that roll across all of us; mankind pays an awful price for this kind of failure. What could be more relevant to the needs of the human family than for us to be chaste, to develop love at home—in fact, to keep every commandment? (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee, 188).
The last idea presented in this section is, “Members of the Church who break this law or influence others to do so are subject to Church discipline” (p. 230).
President Smith also explained that there is a great difference in the spectrum of sexual sins:
Much as all these sins are to be denounced and deplored, we can ourselves see a difference both in intent and consequence between the offense of a young couple who, being betrothed, in an unguarded moment, without premeditation fall into sin, and that of the man, who having entered into holy places and made sacred covenants, plots to rob the wife of his neighbor of her virtue either by cunning or force and accomplish his vile intent.
Not only is there a difference in these wrongs, judging from the standpoint of intent, but also from that of the consequences (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith, 159-60).
Concerning church discipline comes the following from President Lee
He used a sorrowful letter from a man who had violated the law of chastity to illustrate the importance of this counsel: “When I was enjoying the Spirit of the Lord and was living the gospel, the pages of scripture would stand open to me with new understanding and the meaning of the pages of scripture would just leap into my soul. Now since the sentence of excommunication, I no longer read with understanding; I read with doubt the passages that before I thought I understood clearly. I formerly enjoyed performing the ordinances of the gospel for my children, to bless my babes, to baptize them, to confirm them, to administer to them when they were sick. Now I must stand by and witness some other man performing those ordinances. I used to enjoy going to the temple, but today the doors of the temple are closed against me. I used to complain a bit about the contributions the Church asks, paying tithing, paying fast offerings, contributing to this and contributing to that, and now as an excommunicant, I am not permitted to pay tithing; the heavens are closed to me now because I can’t pay tithing. I shall never in all my life complain again of the requests of the Church to make sacrifice of my means. My children are very kind to me, but I know that deep down in their souls, they are ashamed of the father whose name they bear” (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee, 185).
King Benjamin told his people, possibly in exasperation:
And finally, I cannot tell you all the things whereby ye may commit sin; for there are divers ways and means, even so many that I cannot number them (Mosiah 4:29).
President Joseph F. Smith also exclaimed:
There are said to be more shades of green than of any other color, so also we are of the opinion there are more grades or degrees of sin associated with the improper relationship of the sexes than of any other wrongdoing of which we have knowledge (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith, 159).
6 - - Those Who Break the Law of Chastity Can Be Forgiven
Concerning this, President Joseph F. Smith said:
…we say to you, if you will observe the laws of God, and cease to do evil, cease to be obscene, cease to be immoral, sexually or otherwise, cease to be profane, cease to be infidel, and have faith in God, believe in the truth and receive it, and be honest before God and man, that you will be set up on high, and God will put you at the head, just as sure as you observe these commandments (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith, 160-1).
President Lee encouraged:
Brethren, we must ourselves resolve anew that we are going to keep the law of chastity: and if we have made mistakes, let’s begin now to rectify these mistakes. Let’s walk towards the light… (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee, 189).
False ideas were spawned long ago in the church by an object lesson where a nail was driven into a board, then removed. The moral was, even though the nail is gone, there will always be a hole. Jeffrey R. Holland (before he was an apostle) relates the following:
We learn that when repentance is complete we are born again and leave behind forever the self we once were. To me, none of the many approaches to teaching repentance falls more short than the well-intentioned suggestion that “although a nail may be removed from a wooden post, there will forever be a hole in that post.”
We know that repentance (the removal of that nail, if you will) can be a very long and painful and difficult task. Unfortunately, some will never have the incentive to undertake it. We even know that there are a very few sins for which no repentance is possible.
But where repentance is possible and its requirements are faithfully pursued and completed, there is no “hole left in the post” for the bold reason that it is no longer the same post. It is a new post. We can start again, utterly clean, with a new will and a new way of life (Ensign, Mar. 1977, 79).
With sincere repentance and forgiveness, every one can have the kind of marriage President Kimball witnessed:
President Kimball also testified that joy and peace come from obeying the law of chastity. He saw these blessings in the lives of faithful members, as in this experience he had in the temple:
“Here were peace and harmony and eager anticipation. A well-groomed young man and an exquisitely gowned young woman, lovely beyond description, knelt [at] the altar. Authoritatively, I pronounced the heavenly ceremony which married and sealed them for eternity on earth and in the celestial worlds. The pure in heart were there. Heaven was there” (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball, 179).
7 - - Those Who Keep the Law of Chastity Are Greatly Blessed
Finally, President Kimball stated:
Keep your life clean and free from all unholy and impure thoughts and actions. Avoid all associations which degrade and lower the high, righteous standards set up for us. Then your life will sail smoothly and peace and joy will surround you (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball, 187).
President Lee added:
If you want to have the blessings of the Spirit of the Lord to be with you, you must keep your body, the temple of God, clean and pure.
That man or that woman who has his eye ever fixed upon that eternal goal of eternal life, is rich indeed, because his whole soul is charged with a fire that comes to him who has kept his life worthy (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee, 185. 186).
In “Additional Scriptures” under D&C 121:45 is found a wonderful blessing for keeping the law of chastity. After quoting this scripture, plus the next verse, President Lee explained:
But never in the world will we have that dominion, that power, that companionship of the Holy Ghost unless we have learned to be virtuous in thought, in habit, and in our actions (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee, 187).
The converse of this quote, then, is that we will have this blessing by being virtuous.
In conclusion, President Hinckley warned and promised:
The Lord has said, “Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly” (D&C 121:45).
That is a commandment. He has repeated it in numerous ways. We cannot violate that commandment without paying a price, sometimes a terrible price. Likewise if we exercise self-discipline, calling into play the mighty power of individual will, accompanied by an invitation of the Spirit of the Lord, happiness will be the result (Ensign, June 1996, 2).