First Presidency Message

The Glory of Cleanliness


The Glory of Cleanliness

“How glorious is he who lives the chaste life. He walks unfearful in the glare of the noon-day sun, for he is without moral infirmity. He can be reached by no shafts of base calumny, for his armor is without flaw, his virtue cannot be challenged by any just accuser, for he lives above reproach. His cheek is never blotched with shame, for he is without sin. He is honored and respected by all mankind, for he is beyond their censure. He is loved by the Lord, for he stands without blemish. The exaltations of eternities await his coming.” (Message of the First Presidency, October 2, 1942.)

“How glorious and near to the angels is youth that is clean; this youth has joy unspeakable here and eternal happiness hereafter.” (First Presidency, April 6, 1942.)

If I were to ask you what you wanted out of life, or what your eventual goal was, I feel sure your answer would be that you want to be happy, to be loved, to be respected, and to earn your salvation and exaltation in the kingdom of heaven. These are noble aims and should be sought by every one of us. But seeking is not enough, for we can only attain any of the worthwhile things of life by paying the price which they demand.

The value of moral cleanliness is beyond compare. It cannot be bought by silver or gold, but the price we pay in personal righteousness is of inestimable worth, and will do more to bring about that eternal happiness for which we seek than almost anything else. Let us heed Paul’s counsel to the Galatians when he said:

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

“For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” (Gal. 6:7–8.)

Moral cleanliness, or virtue, is not just something religionists have dreamed up. It is a standard of decency that should be observed by all thinking people who want good homes, strong communities, and great countries. A while ago I read the following in the newspaper:

“An interfaith meeting of clergymen, civic leaders, professionals and businessmen took place in Manhattan recently to discuss what can be done about the assault on decent community standards in our American society. The meeting was not a blue-nosed, prohibitionist affair. It was an intelligent conference of educated, cultivated, broadminded and tolerant men and women deeply troubled over the systematic attempt by certain minority groups in our nation to undermine community behavior, destroy morality, pervert truth, violate every canon of good taste, and corrupt the young.”

One of the speakers at that conference made this statement: “There is a deep but unsatisfied longing in Americans’ hearts, minds, and souls for a better moral climate in our nation.” I am sure this would be true of good people in any nation.

Let us consider some of the benefits of being morally clean. First, we might remind ourselves that there are no disadvantages, but numerous advantages to being modest, clean, and pure. We will never have to be ashamed of our conduct. We will never bring heartache or pain to our loved ones. We will be free from the social diseases that are so prevalent, and that are increasing at an alarming rate. Most important, we will have been obedient to the commandments of our Father in heaven that he has given for our benefit and blessing.

What a beautiful and glorious thing it is for a young couple to be able to face each other over the altar in the temple of God, knowing they have kept themselves clean and pure, that they are building their own home on a foundation of mutual trust and respect. They will bring into that home spirit children of God whose heritage will be “the fulness of the earth” (D&C 59:16) as they serve God and keep his commandments.

Channing Pollock once remarked: “A world in which everyone believed in the purity of women and the nobility of men, and acted accordingly, would be a very different world, but a grand place to live in.” (Reader’s Digest, June 1960, p. 76.)

Make up your minds now that this is the kind of world you will help build and in which you will enjoy living. Now is the time for you to make your decision that you will not succumb to the pressures and temptations that are so prevalent. You have everything to gain or everything to lose by the choice you make in this important matter.

A young girl wrote the following to a newspaper columnist:

“I am a high school senior who decided at age 12 that I would never buy a cheap package of kicks. I’ve heard plenty of sales pitches. Some were smoother than others, but they all added up to a shoddy proposition. I’m sure it was my parents, especially my father (who is an obstetrician), who gave me my basic ideas about sex.

“To my way of thinking, holding out has never meant the difference between being a good girl or a bad girl. It has meant the choice between being sensible and disciplined or foolish and weak. While I am pleased with my choice, it is my parents who deserve the credit.”

She signed her letter “One of Many” and I am satisfied that this is so. We have so many choice young people who are determined to live as they should, who want the unmatched promise given by the voice of modern revelation:

“… Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God. …

“The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, … and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever.” (D&C 121:45–46.)

Out of their concern for the members of the Church, the First Presidency issued a message during World War II that warned against the offenses of uncleanness, and then gave the following conclusion:

“We urge you to remember the blessings which flow from the living of the clean life; we call upon you to keep, day in and day out, the way of the strictest chastity through which only can God’s choice gifts come to you and his Spirit abide with you.

“How glorious is he who lives the chaste life. He walks unfearful in the glare of the noon-day sun, for he is without moral infirmity. He can be reached by no shafts of base calumny, for his armor is without flaw, his virtue cannot be challenged by any just accuser, for he lives above reproach. His cheek is never blotched with shame, for he is without sin. He is honored and respected by all mankind, for he is beyond their censure. He is loved by the Lord, for he stands without blemish. The exaltations of eternities await his coming.” (Message of the First Presidency, October 2, 1942.)