“God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife” (“The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2010, 129). For all of God’s children, living the law of chastity requires us to be virtuous in our actions as well as our thoughts. Intimacy between husband and wife is beautiful and sacred, and it is ordained of God for procreation and for expressing love.
Linda S. Reeves, “Protection from Pornography—a Christ-Focused Home,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2014, 15–17.
“Sexual Purity,” For the Strength of Youth (booklet, 2011), 35–37.
Write the following sentence on the board and ask students how they would complete it:
Display the following statement by President Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994), and ask a student to read it aloud:
“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” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Ezra Taft Benson , 220).
How does President Benson’s statement apply to our current society?
Display the following statement from For the Strength of Youth, and ask a student to read it aloud. As they listen, ask students to consider how they would state the Lord’s law of chastity in one sentence.
“The Lord’s standard regarding sexual purity is clear and unchanging. Do not have any sexual relations before marriage, and be completely faithful to your spouse after marriage. …
“… Before marriage, do not participate in passionate kissing, lie on top of another person, or touch the private, sacred parts of another person’s body, with or without clothing. Do not do anything else that arouses sexual feelings. Do not arouse those emotions in your own body” (For the Strength of Youth [booklet, 2011], 35–36).
How would you state the Lord’s law of chastity in one sentence? (As students respond, emphasize the following doctrine from the family proclamation: “God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife” [“The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2010, 129].)
How might the precautions outlined in the second paragraph of the quotation from For the Strength of Youth help prevent someone from committing more serious moral sins?
Copy the chart below on the board. Divide the class in half and invite one group to study the passages under the “consequences” heading and the other group to study those under the “blessings” heading. Encourage students to refer to the scripture footnotes as they study.
After sufficient time, discuss with the class what they learned. Ask questions such as the following:
How do the consequences of violating the law of chastity indicate the importance of keeping this commandment?
How have you experienced the blessings of obeying the law of chastity?
Display the following truth from the family proclamation:
“We declare the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed” (“The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2010, 129).
What does this statement mean to you?
Use the following statements by Elders Jeffrey R. Holland and David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to help deepen students’ understanding of this truth. Ask a student to read the statements aloud while the class listens for why the law of chastity is of eternal importance.
“The body is an essential part of the soul. This distinctive and very important Latter-day Saint doctrine underscores why sexual sin is so serious. We declare that one who uses the God-given body of another without divine sanction abuses the very soul of that individual, abuses the central purpose and processes of life, ‘the very key’ to life, as President Boyd K. Packer once called it. In exploiting the body of another—which means exploiting his or her soul—one desecrates the Atonement of Christ, which saved that soul and which makes possible the gift of eternal life” (Jeffrey R. Holland, “Personal Purity,” Ensign, Nov. 1998, 76).
“Marriage between a man and a woman is the authorized channel through which premortal spirits enter mortality. Complete sexual abstinence before marriage and total fidelity within marriage protect the sanctity of this sacred channel.
“The power of procreation is spiritually significant. Misuse of this power subverts the purposes of the Father’s plan and of our mortal existence. Our Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son are creators and have entrusted each of us with a portion of Their creative power. … How we feel about and use that supernal power will determine in large measure our happiness in mortality and our destiny in eternity” (David A. Bednar, “We Believe in Being Chaste,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2013, 42).
Why is the law of chastity of eternal importance?
How does our use of the power of procreation affect our happiness in mortality and in eternity?
Give students a moment to write down precautions they can take to help them obey the law of chastity.
Ask students to read the following verses: Matthew 5:27–28; Romans 8:6; and Doctrine and Covenants 63:16. Consider asking students to practice the scripture study skill of creating scripture chains by starting with the first passage, writing a cross-reference to the next, and so on to the last passage.
What behaviors do these passages forbid? (One behavior the students should identify is the use of pornography.)
What consequences of viewing or reading pornography do these scriptures identify?
Display the following statements by Elders Dallin H. Oaks and Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Sister Linda S. Reeves, second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency. Ask a student to read them aloud, and invite the class to look for additional consequences of pornography use.
“Pornography impairs one’s ability to enjoy a normal emotional, romantic, and spiritual relationship with a person of the opposite sex” (Dallin H. Oaks, “Pornography,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2005, 89).
“Satan has become a master at using the addictive power of pornography to limit individual capacity to be led by the Spirit. The onslaught of pornography in all of its vicious, corroding, destructive forms has caused great grief, suffering, heartache, and destroyed marriages” (Richard G. Scott, “To Acquire Spiritual Guidance,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2009, 8).
“[Children and youth] need to know the dangers of pornography and how it overtakes lives, causing loss of the Spirit, distorted feelings, deceit, damaged relationships, loss of self-control, and nearly total consumption of time, thought, and energy” (Linda S. Reeves, “Protection from Pornography—a Christ-Focused Home,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2014, 15).
Encourage students who are struggling with pornography use or other types of immorality to visit with their bishops or branch presidents. Assure them that they can find the way back to peace and happiness through repentance. Testify of the following truth: Avoiding pornography will lead to greater happiness in this life and in eternity. Consider listing the following Church websites on the board to help students who are involved in pornography use:
Note: Because of the sensitive nature of this portion of the lesson, rely on prophetic teachings and avoid teaching beyond what is found here, including sharing details about your relationship with your spouse.
Testify that physical intimacy is sacred, appropriate, and special when it occurs within the marriage relationship, the way the Lord has prescribed.
Ask a student to read Genesis 2:21–24 aloud.
Although it is not specifically mentioned, what do these verses imply is a purpose of physical intimacy between a husband and wife? (To become one with our spouse.)
Display the following statement by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland:
“Human intimacy is reserved for a married couple because it is the ultimate symbol of total union, a totality and a union ordained and defined by God. From the Garden of Eden onward, marriage was intended to mean the complete merger of a man and a woman—their hearts, hopes, lives, love, family, future, everything” (“Personal Purity,” Ensign, Nov. 1998, 76).
How does Elder Holland’s statement help you better understand the purposes of physical intimacy between a husband and wife? (Students should understand the following: Intimacy within marriage strengthens the spiritual and emotional bonds between husband and wife.)
Consider distributing the following statements in a handout. Provide a copy to each student, and ask students to underline the purposes of physical intimacy in marriage.
“The union of the sexes, husband and wife (and only husband and wife), was for the principal purpose of bringing children into the world. Sexual experiences were never intended by the Lord to be a mere plaything or merely to satisfy passions and lusts” (Spencer W. Kimball, “The Lord’s Plan for Men and Women,” Ensign, Oct. 1975, 4).
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a single, undeviating standard of sexual morality: intimate relations are proper only between a man and a woman in the marriage relationship prescribed in God’s plan. Such relations are not merely a curiosity to be explored, an appetite to be satisfied, or a type of recreation or entertainment to be pursued selfishly. … Rather, they are in mortality one of the ultimate expressions of our divine nature and potential and a way of strengthening emotional and spiritual bonds between husband and wife” (David A. Bednar, “We Believe in Being Chaste,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2013, 42).
Discuss what purposes the students underlined.
Invite students to ponder what they have learned about the law of chastity and then write answers to the following questions in their journals:
How does understanding the law of chastity strengthen your determination to live a morally clean life?
What are the reasons you live the law of chastity?
Conclude by sharing your testimony of the principles discussed in class.