As I prepared to speak in a sacrament meeting in the Linstead Branch, Kingston Jamaica District, I turned to Gospel Principles, one of the books that helped me understand the law of chastity many years ago. As I searched for the topic “chastity,” I saw something I had never noticed before. In the table of contents, the law of chastity is listed under the heading “family salvation.” A realization hit me like a burst of light! This law was designed specifically to protect, not just individuals, but also the most basic and important unit of heaven and earth—the family. I realized that, if kept, this law will do more than any other commandment in protecting and strengthening the family. What a blessing! What a glorious blessing!
When individuals and families obey this law, spouses completely trust each other; parents trust their children; children are born in homes where marriage covenants are honored; children grow up with a knowledge of their divine worth; and children and adults look and feel beautiful, clean, and wholesome. Can we even begin to appreciate the strength of such families?
Seven months before that experience, our second child and first daughter was born. At the time of Brianna’s birth, my mother sent a beautiful white satin dress. This important dress was for mother’s first granddaughter. Since it had to travel all the way from the United States to Jamaica, Mom had packed it in a plastic covering and placed it in a sizable box for further protection. When the dress arrived, my husband and I couldn’t have been more pleased. It was clean, white, and beautiful—just perfect to put on our little girl.
But imagine that when I took this dress out of its box and plastic covering, I unintentionally spilled a little ink on it. Then imagine that because I wanted to experiment with color fastness and stain removal, I tried putting a couple of other colors on it—maybe purple, green, and red. Most of you would be shocked; you’d probably beg me not to ruin the dress. You’d probably cite some good reasons, too—its beauty, its cost, and so on. If we would go to all sorts of lengths to protect something as valuable as a dress, how much more should we do to protect our own souls?
Like that dress, each of us has a journey to travel on earth, and this journey puts us in contact with many things that can taint or even destroy us. But we can take advantage of a protective covering to keep us clean and beautiful, so that when we arrive at our destination we will be ready and worthy for the occasion. The Lord’s commandments—including the law of chastity—are that protection.
The passions and desires God has placed in us are good and wholesome and bring the greatest joy when used in their proper way, at the proper time. However, when misused, they bring sorrow and a lifetime of regret. The law of chastity protects us and liberates us by keeping us clean and beautiful—and by allowing us to be happy.
I pray we will never discard the protection of the Lord’s laws. May we live those laws that protect us and our families so that we can return to our Heavenly Father’s presence clean and pure and worthy—just as my mother’s gift arrived clean and ready to be placed on my beautiful baby daughter.