6: Staying Morally Clean

Preparing for an Eternal Marriage Teacher Manual, (2003), 22–25


Doctrinal Overview

When we obey the law of chastity, the Lord helps us grow in faith, self-confidence, peace of mind, and happiness in this life and in the world to come.

In the April 1942 general conference, President J. Reuben Clark Jr. presented a message from the First Presidency that included the following statement: “How glorious and near to the angels is youth that is clean” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1942, 89).

President Gordon B. Hinckley counseled the youth of the Church:

  • “Avoid evil talk. Do not take the name of the Lord in vain.”

  • “Choose your friends carefully.”

  • “Be clean. Don’t waste your time in destructive entertainment.”

  • Avoid pornography. “It is exciting, but it will destroy you.”

  • “Concerning illicit drugs, … stay entirely away from them.”

  • “The Church counsels against early dating.”

  • “Steady dating at an early age leads so often to tragedy.”

  • “Have a wonderful time, but stay away from familiarity. Keep your hands to yourself.”

(“A Prophet’s Counsel and Prayer for Youth,” Ensign, Jan. 2001, 7–8.)

Principle

Happiness and peace of mind come from keeping our lives pure.

Student Manual Readings

Statement in “Morality and Modesty,” President Gordon B. Hinckley (220)

“Consequences of Obedience or Disobedience” (in “Morality and Modesty,” 221)

“For the Strength of Youth” (52)

“Put on the Whole Armor of God,” President Harold B. Lee (223)

Suggestions for How to Teach

Discussion. Write on the board the headings Obedience and Disobedience. Have students read President Hinckley’s instruction to the youth of the Church (in “Morality and Modesty,” student manual, 220) and the subsection “Consequences of Obedience or Disobedience” (in “Morality and Modesty,” student manual, 221). Use these readings as a springboard to identify the blessings of obedience and the consequences of disobedience (including guilt, broken hearts and homes, sexually-transmitted diseases, and unwed fathers and mothers). List students’ answers on the board under the appropriate headings. Invite students to share examples from the scriptures of blessings that come from obedience to the law of chastity.

Suggestions for How to Teach

Discussion. Ask: What can we do to stay morally clean? Write students’ ideas on the board. Read the following scriptures and discuss how each helps us understand how to stay morally clean: Galatians 5:16–17, 19–21; James 1:13–15; 1 Nephi 15:23–24; Alma 13:28; 17:2–3; Helaman 5:12.

Student manual. Divide the class into groups of three or four and assign each group a section of “For the Strength of Youth” (student manual, 52). Have the groups read their assigned section looking for counsel from the First Presidency that helps us stay morally clean in dating and courtship. List students’ findings on the board. If they do not mention each of the following points, include them in the discussion:

  • “Choose friends who share your values so you can strengthen and encourage each other in living high standards” (student manual, 53).

  • “Treat everyone with kindness and respect” (53–54).

  • “Dress modestly” (54).

  • “Choose only entertainment and media that uplift you” (54).

  • Pornography in all its forms is … dangerous and addictive” (54).

  • “Have the courage to walk out of a movie or video party, turn off a computer or television, change a radio station, or put down a magazine if what is being presented does not meet Heavenly Father’s standards” (55).

  • “Don’t listen to music that drives away the Spirit, encourages immorality, glorifies violence, uses foul or offensive language, or promotes Satanism or other evil practices” (55).

  • “When dancing, avoid full body contact with your partner. Do not use positions or moves that are suggestive of sexual behavior” (55).

  • “Date only those who have high standards and in whose company you can maintain your standards” (55).

  • “When you begin dating, go in groups or on double dates” (56).

  • “Plan dating activities that are positive and inexpensive” (56).

  • “Do things that will help you and your companions maintain your self-respect and remain close to the Spirit of the Lord” (56).

  • “God has commanded that sexual intimacy be reserved for marriage” (56).

  • “Always treat your date with respect” (56).

  • “Stay in areas of safety where you can easily control your physical feelings. Do not participate in talk or activities that arouse sexual feelings” (56).

  • “Homosexual activity is a serious sin” (56).

  • “Be honest with yourself, others, and the Lord” (57).

  • When you keep the Word of Wisdom and follow other healthful practices, “you gain the blessings of a healthy body, an alert mind, and the guidance of the Holy Ghost” (58).

  • “Be true to the Lord and to His Church in all circumstances” (58).

  • “Right choices lead to happiness and eternal life” (52).

Discussion. Have students read “Put on the Whole Armor of God,” by President Harold B. Lee (student manual, 223). Ask:

  • Which four parts of the body does Paul caution us to protect from Satan’s attacks?

  • From what materials is our armor to be fashioned?

  • In what ways can truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, and salvation help preserve our virtue?

  • How can we use the shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit to overcome Satan’s efforts to take our virtue away from us?

  • Why are both the shield and the sword necessary?

Read Ephesians 6:14–15. Show New Testament Video presentation 18, “The Whole Armour of God” (14:43; item 53141), a modern-day illustration of Paul’s counsel in Ephesians 6:11.

Discussion. Discuss with students what we can do to make our conduct consistent with our knowledge of right and wrong. Ask what we can do to keep an eternal perspective in times of temptation or confusion. You may want to include some or all of the following in the discussion:

  • We should follow the counsel of Elder Harold B. Lee, who was then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, to “revere womanhood” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1954, 71).

  • We should read the scriptures daily. We must nourish our spirit so it can control our flesh.

  • We should ask ourselves: How will this conduct affect me? How will this conduct affect others—my date, my family, my date’s family, my future spouse and children? How will this conduct affect my relationship with Heavenly Father?

  • We need to remember that the sexual attraction to others that Heavenly Father has given us is part of the power of creation that He shares with us. Along with that power, He has given us the power to control those feelings. We must accept responsibility for controlling our thoughts, feelings, and conduct (see 1 Corinthians 10:13; 2 Peter 2:9; Doctrine and Covenants 62:1).

  • We should not be afraid to have a “boundary-setting” talk with a date, especially one who appears to want more intimacy than is appropriate. We can practice in advance what we might say.

  • We should not allow ourselves to become dulled by the moral pollution in our environment. Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles quoted the following poem by Alexander Pope:

“Vice is a monster of so frightful mien,

As, to be hated, needs but to be seen;

Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,

We first endure, then pity, then embrace”

  • We should live by the Lord’s standards in spite of pressures from others, even if it means being considered “old-fashioned” (see 1 Nephi 8:33–34). We should keep our sacramental covenant to always remember Jesus Christ (see D&C 20:77, 79) and respond to temptations as He did by paying them no heed (see D&C 20:22).

Conclusion

Ask students to always remember that temporal and spiritual rewards will come to us when we are morally clean. Discuss the First Presidency statement delivered in 1942 by President J. Reuben Clark (see the doctrinal overview section on page 22 above). Share your testimony of the importance of staying morally clean throughout our lives.