When Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles was in college, the Church’s standards and the world’s standards were not far apart. But since then, the gap has grown wider and wider as the world has strayed from eternal truths.
“I could not have imagined how far and how fast the world would move away from God,” said Elder Hales during the April 2013 general conference. “And yet the standards of Christ and His Church have not moved. … When we understand and accept this, we are prepared to face the social pressure, ridicule, and even discrimination that will come from the world and some who call themselves friends.”1
The gap between the Church’s standards and the world’s standards is especially large when it comes to the use of the sacred powers of procreation. But thanks to revelation, Latter-day Saints understand that marriage and the law of chastity remain eternally important.
The Lord has revealed that our bodies are central to the plan of salvation, including our eternal happiness. That is why Satan “seeks to frustrate our progression by tempting us to use our bodies improperly,”2 said Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
When it comes to intimate relations and the divinely appointed means by which mortal life is created, God’s law remains constant despite Satan’s efforts to undermine that law.
“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,”3 Elder Bednar taught.
“The power of procreation is spiritually significant. Misuse of this power subverts the purposes of the Father’s plan and of our mortal existence.”4
Elder Bednar added that marriage between a man and a woman is essential to the plan of salvation.
“The unique combination of spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional capacities of both males and females was needed to enact the plan of happiness. … The man and the woman are intended to learn from, strengthen, bless, and complete each other.”5
Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught that for children of God to substitute their own rules for His laws regarding marriage and the use of procreative powers “is the height of presumption and the depth of sin.” He said that loss of respect for the sanctity of marriage is weakening the family and “causing widespread damage to society.”6
President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, added, “The family, the fundamental organization in time and eternity, is under attack from forces seen and unseen. … If [Satan] can weaken and destroy the family, he will have succeeded.”7
President Packer said one of the ways Satan is seeking to destroy the family is through widespread tolerance for immorality. “The permissiveness afforded by the weakening of the laws of the land to tolerate legalized acts of immorality does not reduce the spiritual consequence that is the result of the violation of God’s law of chastity,”8 he said.
Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles counseled, “Don’t rationalize away future happiness by taking shortcuts instead of applying sound gospel principles. … Your great potential and ability could be limited or destroyed if you yield to the devil-inspired contamination around you.”9
If we stand “obedient and strong on the doctrine of our God,” Elder Hales taught, “we stand in holy places, for His doctrine is sacred and will not change in the social and political winds of our day.”10
Those who stand strong and obey the law of chastity will be blessed—that is the gift of obedience.
As President Thomas S. Monson said, “The Lord has provided guidelines and commandments to help ensure our spiritual safety so that we might successfully navigate this often-treacherous mortal existence and return eventually to our Heavenly Father.”11 Honoring the law of chastity and the doctrines of marriage and family are two things that keep us safe and also allow us to live worthy of and receive the blessings of the temple.