23982_000_007Answers are intended for help and perspective, not as pronouncements of Church doctrine.
My friends have a hard time understanding why I live the law of chastity. What can I say that will help them understand the Lord’s teachings about this sensitive topic?
Not long ago, people in many cultures would not have questioned your decision to live a chaste life. But societal beliefs have changed so dramatically in recent years that chastity before marriage and fidelity after marriage might seem incomprehensible to some. Add to that the fact that chastity is a sacred, private matter, and you may feel you are facing a difficult discussion.
But don’t let societal pressure or fear prevent you from discussing this important topic with your friends. It is possible that your ideas might be just what they are looking for. Perhaps you can help them understand that to be chaste is the best choice because it is a commandment from God and—rather than being restrictive—it offers tremendous freedom, peace, and safety.
If you seek His guidance, the Lord will help you find a way to appropriately share your reasons for living the law of chastity. The exact words you say will depend on the type of relationship you have with your friends and the situation you are in. A short answer such as “A chaste life makes me happy; I know it’s the way God wants us to live” will probably suffice in some circumstances. But if you are talking with a good friend, you might want to share some insights on sexual purity found in the pamphlet For the Strength of Youth.
Following are some other key points you may want to discuss:
Chastity puts your focus where it should be. Friendship, respect, understanding, communication, trust, shared interests, and gospel values are the foundation for a solid relationship. Putting these things first allows you to get to know each other in an appropriate and comfortable way.
Living the law of chastity allows you greater confidence and self-respect. Being unchaste often opens the door to relationships in which your physical self is valued above all the other good qualities you possess. Chastity allows others to value your personality, abilities, kindness, and goodness.
Chastity keeps you safe. Not only are you certain to remain free from many physical diseases, but your spiritual health is protected as well.
Chastity is a commandment (see Gal. 5:16–17, 19–21). Obedience to the commandments brings happiness, peace, and many other benefits.
Living a chaste life shows your respect for Heavenly Father. The power to create life is something we should reverence. If you break the law of chastity, you are making a mockery of a very sacred gift.
You live this law because you want to; chastity is a blessing.
Chastity makes your future marriage stronger. When a couple is chaste, their relationship can be one of total trust.
“In the beginning there was one among us who rebelled at the plan of our Heavenly Father. He vowed to destroy and to disrupt the plan.
“He was prevented from having a mortal body and was cast out—limited forever from establishing a kingdom of his own. He became satanically jealous. He knows that this power of creation is not just an incident to the plan, but a key to it.
“He knows that if he can entice you to use this power prematurely, to use it too soon, or to misuse it in any way, you may well lose your opportunities for eternal progression.”—President Boyd K. Packer, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (“Why Stay Morally Clean,” Ensign, July 1972, 112)
One day some friends began to say chastity is a thing of the past, that today no one obeys this commandment. I quickly said that I obey it and I know plenty of people who obey it. My friends laughed and asked me what I would do when faced with a temptation. I told them about an experience when I said no to someone. When she refused to listen, I left her presence, running. Then I told them we are created in the image of God and our bodies are sacred. Some months later a friend who listened that day was baptized. Jean Fernando da Silva, 20, Planaltina Second Ward, Brasilia Brazil North Stake
When I wasn’t able to change my friends’ opinion with words, I tried to do so with my example. Many times I had to refrain from participating in their activities. Although I was left to myself, I knew I was doing the right thing.
Now some of my friends have had unpleasant experiences, and some of them are starting to live this important law. Linda López Fierro, 16, Isidro Ayora Ward, Guayaquil Ecuador East Stake
We can explain that to enjoy the blessings of God, we need the guidance and constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. Abstaining from premarital sex and remaining faithful to our spouse after marriage are essential to retaining this companionship. Emeka Ofoegbu, 23, Ugborikoko Branch, Warri Nigeria District
President David O. McKay (1873–1970) taught that “a woman should be queen of her own body” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1952, 86). If my spirit submits to bodily pleasures, I will lose self-respect. If I cannot respect myself, I cannot love Heavenly Father with all my heart, mind, and strength and my neighbor as myself. Only when my spirit governs my body to be morally clean can I be queen of my body. Anne Soininen, 20, Joensuu Branch, Kuopio Finland District
I try not to be judgmental but to make it clear to my friends that there is nothing I cherish more than to be a virtuous woman. Ama Dapaah, 23, Ola University Ward, Cape Coast Ghana Stake
If questions arise, I talk about the Ten Commandments. I explain also that sexual immorality is second only to murder in seriousness (see Alma 39:5). My friends are always surprised, but I explain that the Lord gives us commandments for our happiness and that the obedient receive blessings. Irina Kutsenko, 19, Voronezh Levoberezhny Branch, Russia Moscow South Mission
We can set an example by keeping our thoughts and actions clean, dressing modestly, and using appropriate speech. We can teach others that clean lives will allow us to stand blameless before God at the last day. Elder Tagiape‘a Magalo, 27, Samoa Apia Mission
Before my mission my friends had many conversations about how to break this law. There were almost never conversations about how to flee from sin. But I have learned that we can teach others that our thoughts have to be pure so our acts will be pure. The Lord will give us the words we need. Elder Otto E. Visoni O., 20, Honduras San Pedro Sula Mission
The Apostle Paul said: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? … The temple of God is holy, which temple ye are” (1 Cor. 3:16–17). Our bodies do not belong to us. We must take good care of them by living the law of chastity. Tahia Mou-Fa, 16, Uturoa Ward, Raromatai Tahiti Stake
I try to share positive thoughts on chastity. I share advice given by parents and Church leaders and also scriptures that teach about this law. Makeleta Fonua, 18, Matahau Second Ward, Nuku‘alofa Tonga Ha‘akame Stake