Lesson 41: Sexual Purity

Aaronic Priesthood Manual 1, (2002), 147–49


Each young man will understand the importance of keeping himself sexually pure as a member of the priesthood.


  1. 1.

    Materials needed: scriptures for each young man.

  2. 2.

    Invite the young men’s fathers to attend this meeting so they will be aware of what material has been presented. This lesson may be a catalyst for a discussion between fathers and their sons.

  3. 3.

    Invite one of the fathers to testify about the blessings of being worthy to be sealed to his family in the temple.

  4. 4.

    Review the counsel about sexual purity on pages 26–28 of For the Strength of Youth.

Suggested Lesson Development

The Lord’s Power of Creation

Adviser presentation

Explain that when Jesus was twelve years old, he accompanied his parents on a journey to attend a feast. When his parents journeyed home, they couldn’t find Jesus. They returned to Jerusalem after searching and found him talking with the scholars in the temple. Explain that this is one of the first references in the scriptures that indicate that Jesus was maturing and entering manhood. (See Luke 2:41–42.)

  • Does becoming a man happen at one specific time or age? (No, young men develop at different times.)

Explain that many physical changes begin to take place in a young man during his twelfth and thirteenth years. He begins a long-awaited change into manhood; his voice changes, his strength increases, and he grows taller and larger. His body is beginning to mature. His interest in his physical development and in young women is increasing.

  • Who placed male and female on the earth? (God.)

Have a young man read Genesis 1:27–28 while the others follow in their scriptures.

  • What commandment did God give Adam and Eve? (To multiply and replenish the earth.)

  • What does it mean to multiply and replenish the earth? (To have children.)

Help the young men realize that this is the way the Lord planned for his spirit children to come to the earth and receive mortal bodies.

Suggest the young men mark this scripture.

Quotations and discussion

Explain that Elder Boyd K. Packer made the following analogy about the power of creation:

“There was provided in our bodies—and this is sacred—a power of creation, a light, so to speak, that has the power to kindle other lights. This gift was to be used only within the sacred bonds of marriage. Through the exercise of this power of creation, a mortal body may be conceived, a spirit enter into it, and a new soul born into this life” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1972, p. 136; or Ensign, July 1972, p. 111).

  • Why do you think that it is important for us to have the power of creation?

Explain that through this power we are able to create families. Through the creation of families, we become co-creators with Heavenly Father.

Explain that as the young men grow older, they will find that this power creates physical desire. Young ladies will become attractive in a new and different way. Ultimately this power will become quite strong.

Read the following statement from President Ezra Taft Benson:

“The natural desire for men and women to be together is from God. But such an association is bounded by His laws. Those things properly reserved for marriage, when taken within the bonds of marriage, are right and pleasing before God and fulfill the commandment to multiply and replenish the earth. But those same things when taken outside the bonds of marriage are a curse” (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988], p. 279).

  • According to President Benson, who has given us the desire for sexual intimacy in marriage? (Heavenly Father has given us this desire so that we might have the power of creating life.)

  • Is this power of creation a good power? (Yes, it is a sacred power. It is a gift from God.)

Have a young man read the following statement from President Spencer W. Kimball:

Sex is for procreation and expression of love. It is the destiny of men and women to join together to make eternal family units. 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 [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1982], p. 311).

  • What has the Lord commanded us concerning the use of this power of creation? (It is to be used only within the bonds of marriage.)

Quotation and discussion

Read the following statement by President Spencer W. Kimball:

“We strongly warn all our people from childhood to old age to beware of the chains of bondage, suffering, and remorse which come from improper use of the body.

“The human body is the sacred home of the spirit child of God, and unwarranted tampering with or defilement of this sacred tabernacle can bring only remorse and regret. …

“… No fondling of bodies, one’s own or that of others, and no sex between persons except in proper marriage relationships. This is positively prohibited by our Creator in all places, at all times, and we reaffirm it” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1974, pp. 8–9; or Ensign, May 1974, p. 7).

  • Why do you think God feels so strongly that we not misuse this power of creation?

Help the young men understand that Heavenly Father wants his spirit children to be born into strong families with a prepared mother and father. Explain that we have been told of the remorse and unhappiness that result from the misuse of the power of creation, but there are also eternal blessings that result from the righteous use of this power. Let the young men discuss these blessings.


Read the following statement by Elder Mark E. Petersen:

“Sex is so sacred, so divine, that when it is used in its proper way, those who participate become joint creators with God. They become partners with the Almighty in the great undertaking and enterprise of bringing forth life” (Our Moral Challenge [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1965], p. 13).


The Lord has said, “Be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord” (Isaiah 52:11).

  • What does this statement mean?

Allow the young men time to discuss the statement. Help them realize that it refers to each of us as we carry out our priesthood responsibilities. To keep ourselves clean, we must abstain from sexual sin.

You may want to explain what constitutes a sexual sin by reviewing pages 26–28 of For the Strength of Youth. Emphasize that people who sincerely repent of sexual sins can be forgiven, but often the process of repentance is long and difficult. Young men who have committed sexual sins should seek the help of their bishop.

  • What sexual sins does the Lord forbid? (All sexual relations before marriage, and any sexual relations with anyone except your spouse after marriage. For additional information, see pages 26–28 of For the Strength of Youth.)

  • As priesthood bearers, why is it so important to us to be morally clean? (We cannot have the Spirit of the Lord if we are not living a clean life.)

  • How can breaking the Lord’s law of chastity hold back our progression on earth?

Explain that blessings and opportunities come only to those who are worthy. The unworthy person may have to postpone or give up opportunities such as missionary service or temple marriage.

  • Can those who have broken the law of chastity gain forgiveness?

Emphasize that God will forgive the sincerely repentant, but that it is not an easy task to become clean from such sins. It is much better to stay clean and avoid breaking the commandment in the first place.

Chalkboard and discussion

  • How can we best stay sexually pure?

As the young men discuss this question, list their responses on the chalkboard. Their answers might include following the prophet’s counsel regarding dating, reading only good and uplifting books, keeping clean thoughts, reading the scriptures, and avoiding movies and television programs that stimulate unclean thoughts.

Emphasize to the young men that now is the time when they must decide to be sexually pure so that when they are tempted, they will have already decided how to react.

Bible story

Tell the story of Joseph in the house of Potiphar and how he responded to temptation (see Genesis 39:7–12). Point out that Joseph already knew how he wanted to live; he did not have to decide whether to compromise his standards.


Read the following challenge and counsel from President Spencer W. Kimball.

“Let every youth keep himself from the compromising approaches and then with great control save himself from the degrading and life-damaging experience of sexual impurity. There must be an early and total and continuing repentance. …

“The earth cannot justify nor continue its life without marriage and the family. Sex without marriage, for all people, young or older, is an abomination to the Lord, and it is most unfortunate that many people have blinded their eyes to these great truths” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1974, pp. 8–9; or Ensign, Nov. 1974, pp. 7–8).



Challenge the young men to always remember the blessings they will receive by keeping themselves sexually pure. Have them think about what it will be like someday to kneel at the altar in the temple to be sealed for time and all eternity to their wives.


Have one of the fathers (previously assigned) bear his testimony of the joy that comes in having a loving marriage relationship and being sealed for eternity with his family.