What Prophets Teach about Chastity and Fidelity


The following statements from some of the Lord’s prophets, seers, and revelators reaffirm the Lord’s commandments concerning chastity and fidelity.

President Gordon B. Hinckley: “Challenging though it may be, there is a way to apply traditional moral principles in our day. For some unknown reason, there is constantly appearing the false rationalization that at one time in the long-ago, virtue was easy and that now it is difficult. I would like to remind any who feel that way that there has never been a time since the Creation when the same forces were not at work that are at work today. The proposal made by Potiphar’s wife to Joseph in Egypt is no different from that faced by many men and women and youth in our day.

“The influences today may be more apparent and more seductive, but they are no more compelling. One cannot be shielded entirely from these influences. They are all about us. Our culture is saturated with them. But the same kind of self-discipline exercised by Joseph will yield the same beneficial result. Notwithstanding the so-called ‘new morality,’ notwithstanding the much-discussed changes in moral standards, there is no adequate substitute for virtue. God’s standards may be challenged everywhere throughout the world, but God has not abrogated his commandments.

“The violation of his commandments in this, as in any other age, brings only regret, sorrow, loss of self-respect, and in many cases tragedy” (“‘With All Thy Getting Get Understanding,’” Ensign, August 1988, 4).

President Gordon B. Hinckley

President Gordon B. Hinckley

Pornography is the literature of the devil. Shun it. Stay away from it. Lift your sights and your minds to the higher and nobler things of life. … Remember, ‘wickedness never was happiness’ (Alma 41:10). Sin never brought happiness. Transgression never brought happiness. Disobedience never brought happiness” (“To a Man Who Has Done What This Church Expects of Each of Us,” in Brigham Young University 1995–96 Speeches [1996], 53).

President Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994): “The plaguing sin of this generation is sexual immorality. This, the Prophet Joseph said, would be the source of more temptations, more buffetings, and more difficulties for the elders of Israel than any other” (“Cleansing the Inner Vessel,” Ensign, May 1986, 4).

President Ezra Taft Benson

President Ezra Taft Benson

“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 break down. 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. …

“… Decide now to be chaste. The decision to be chaste and virtuous need only be made once. Make that decision now, and let it be so firm and with such deep commitment that it can never be shaken” (“The Law of Chastity,” Tambuli, October 1988, 37–38).

President James E. Faust: “The responsibilities involved in the divine life-giving process, and the functions of our body, are so sacrosanct that they are to be exercised only within the marriage relationship. Those who do not accept and meet those responsibilities, for any reason, as well as those who do, should never depart from the law of chastity if they wish to be truly happy. All members of this Church seeking eternal joy and peace are expected to and will wish to come to the marriage altar free from sexual transgressions—chaste and pure” (“The Sanctity of Life,” Ensign, May 1975, 27).

President James E. Faust

President James E. Faust

President Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985): “Sin is still sin and always will be. We stand for a life of cleanliness. From childhood through youth and to the grave, we proclaim the wickedness of sexual life of any kind before marriage, and we proclaim that every one in marriage should hold himself or herself to the covenants that were made.

“In other words, as we have frequently said, there should be total chastity of men and women before marriage and total fidelity in marriage” (“The Time to Labor Is Now,” Ensign, November 1975, 7).

President Spencer W. Kimball

President Spencer W. Kimball

“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” (in Conference Report, Sydney Australia Area Conference 1976, 54).

Elder Neal A. Maxwell: “The world seeks to control the diseases flowing from sexual immorality but without honoring the principles of fidelity and chastity. The world in its wisdom constantly seeks to accommodate the natural man, while gospel wisdom constantly urges us to put off the natural man. (See Mosiah 3:19.) This is a pivotal point, and it makes all the difference!” (“The Inexhaustible Gospel,” Ensign, April 1993, 71–72).

Elder Neal A. Maxwell

Elder Neal A. Maxwell

“Do not, my young friends, expect the world to esteem the seventh commandment—chastity before marriage and fidelity after. Some people in the world will fret genuinely over the consequences of its violation, such as staggering and unprecedented illegitimacy and marital breakdowns. However, sexual immorality per se will still not be condemned by the secular world as long as the violators have any commendable qualities at all or as long as they are, in some respect, politically correct. We will have to keep the seventh commandment because it is spiritually correct, not because we will get much support from society’s other institutions” (“The Pathway of Discipleship,” in Brigham Young University 1997–98 Speeches [1998], 109).

President Thomas S. Monson: “It is not difficult to withstand the mockings and unsavory remarks of foolish ones who would ridicule chastity, honesty, and obedience to God’s commands. The world has ever belittled adherence to principle. … When Noah was instructed to build an ark, the foolish populace looked at the cloudless sky, then scoffed and jeered—until the rain came” (in Conference Report, April 1967, 58).

President Thomas S. Monson

President Thomas S. Monson

Elder Russell M. Nelson: “When you marry, you and your eternal companion may then invoke the power of procreation, that you may have joy and rejoicing in your posterity. This divine endowment is guarded by your Creator’s law of chastity” (“Self-Mastery,” Ensign, November 1985, 31).

Elder Dallin H. Oaks: “The power to create mortal life is the most exalted power God has given his children. Its use was mandated in the first commandment, but another important commandment was given to forbid its misuse. The emphasis we place on the law of chastity is explained by our understanding of the purpose of our procreative powers in the accomplishment of God’s plan.

“The expression of our procreative powers is pleasing to God, but he has commanded that this be confined within the relationship of marriage. President Spencer W. Kimball taught that ‘in the context of lawful marriage, the intimacy of sexual relations is right and divinely approved. There is nothing unholy or degrading about sexuality in itself, for by that means men and women join in a process of creation and in an expression of love’ (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, ed. Edward L. Kimball, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1982, p. 311).

“Outside the bonds of marriage, all uses of the procreative power are to one degree or another a sinful degrading and perversion of the most divine attribute of men and women” (“‘The Great Plan of Happiness,’” Ensign, November 1993, 74).

President Boyd K. Packer: “The rapid, sweeping deterioration of values is characterized by a preoccupation—even an obsession—with the procreative act. Abstinence before marriage and fidelity within it are openly scoffed at—marriage and parenthood ridiculed as burdensome, unnecessary. Modesty, a virtue of a refined individual or society, is all but gone” (“Our Moral Environment,” Ensign, May 1992, 66).

President Boyd K. Packer

President Boyd K. Packer

Elder Richard G. Scott: “Within the enduring covenant of marriage, the Lord permits husband and wife the expression of the sacred procreative powers in all their loveliness and beauty within the bounds He has set. One purpose of this private, sacred, intimate experience is to provide the physical bodies for the spirits Father in Heaven wants to experience mortality. Another reason for these powerful and beautiful feelings of love is to bind husband and wife together in loyalty, fidelity, consideration of each other, and common purpose.

“However, those intimate acts are forbidden by the Lord outside the enduring commitment of marriage because they undermine His purposes. Within the sacred covenant of marriage, such relationships are according to His plan. When experienced any other way, they are against His will. They cause serious emotional and spiritual harm. Even though participants do not realize that is happening now, they will later. Sexual immorality creates a barrier to the influence of the Holy Spirit with all its uplifting, enlightening, and empowering capabilities. It causes powerful physical and emotional stimulation. In time that creates an unquenchable appetite that drives the offender to ever more serious sin. It engenders selfishness and can produce aggressive acts such as brutality, abortion, sexual abuse, and violent crime. Such stimulation can lead to acts of homosexuality, and they are evil and absolutely wrong” (“Making the Right Choices,” Ensign, November 1994, 38).

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin: “Live above the curse of immorality that is plaguing the earth. Rise above the squalor of pornography, obscenity, and filth. Be virtuous and chaste. Uphold your young sisters in the gospel by respecting their budding womanhood and protecting their virtue. Always conduct yourselves according to the commandments of God when you are with them. You want your girlfriends to remain clean and pure. Just as you surely would protect the chastity of your own sister in your family, likewise protect the virtue of your sisters in God’s family” (“Live in Obedience,” Ensign, May 1994, 40).

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin

“[A] distinctive characteristic of the gospel is the adherence to the Lord’s law of chastity. From ancient times to the present, the Lord has commanded his people to obey this law. Such strict morality may seem peculiar or outdated in our day when the media portrays pornography and immorality as being normal and fully acceptable. Remember, the Lord has never revoked the law of chastity” (“Fruits of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ,” Ensign, November 1991, 17).

[photo] Photograph by Steve Bunderson