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Top Questions

Get answers to questions about the standards of the Church. Choose a topic above to see more.

  • What’s the harm in trying drugs or alcohol just once to see what they’re like?

    Elder Dallin H. Oaks shared a story about trying a harmful substance just once: “Some years ago, one of our sons asked me why it wasn’t a good idea to try alcohol or tobacco to see what they were like. He knew about the Word of Wisdom, and he also knew the health effects of these substances, but he was questioning why he shouldn’t just try them out for himself. I replied that if he wanted to try something out, he ought to go to a barnyard and eat a little manure. He recoiled in horror. ‘Ooh, that’s gross,’ he reacted.

    “‘I’m glad you think so,’ I said, ‘but why don’t you just try it out so you will know for yourself? While you’re proposing to try one thing that you know is not good for you, why don’t you apply that principle to some others?’ That illustration of the silliness of ‘trying it out for yourself’ proved persuasive for one sixteen-year-old” (“Sin and Suffering,” Ensign, July 1992, 73–74).

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  • How can I break a habit of using bad language?

    “If you have developed the habit of using language that is not in keeping with these standards—such as swearing, mocking, gossiping, or speaking in anger to others—you can change. Pray for help. Ask your family and friends to support you in your desire to use good language” (For the Strength of Youth, 21).

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  • What’s so wrong about cheating in school?

    “Cheating in school is a form of self-deception. We go to school to learn. We cheat ourselves when we coast on the efforts and scholarship of someone else” (James E. Faust, “Climb High,” New Era, June 1997, 6).

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  • What exactly are the limits of appropriate physical affection?

    We have been taught a clear principle: “Never do anything outside of marriage to arouse the powerful emotions that must be expressed only in marriage. Do not arouse those emotions in another person’s body or in your own body” (True to the Faith, 32).

    In addition: “If you are single and dating, always treat your date with respect. Never treat him or her as an object to be used for lustful desires. . . . Do not participate in conversations or activities that arouse sexual feelings. Do not participate in passionate kissing, lie with or on top of another person, or touch the private, sacred parts of another person’s body, with or without clothing. Do not allow anyone to do such things with you” (True to the Faith, 32).

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  • What does it mean to break the law of chastity?

    “All sexual relations outside of marriage violate the law of chastity and are physically and spiritually dangerous for those who engage in them.

    “The Ten Commandments include the command that we not commit adultery, which is sexual intercourse between a married man and someone other than his wife or between a married woman and someone other than her husband (see Exodus 20:14). The Apostle Paul said that it is ‘the will of God’ that we ‘abstain from fornication,’ which is sexual intercourse between an unmarried person and anyone else (1 Thessalonians 4:3). Latter-day prophets repeatedly speak out against these sins and against the evil practice of sexual abuse.

    “Like other violations of the law of chastity, homosexual activity is a serious sin. It is contrary to the purposes of human sexuality (see Romans 1:24–32). It . . . prevents people from receiving the blessings that can be found in family life and the saving ordinances of the gospel.

    “Merely refraining from sexual intercourse outside of marriage is not sufficient in the Lord’s standard of personal purity. The Lord requires a high moral standard of His disciples, including complete fidelity to one’s spouse in thought and conduct. In the Sermon on the Mount, He said: ‘Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart’ (Matthew 5:27–28). In the latter days He has said, ‘Thou shalt not . . . commit adultery, . . . nor do anything like unto it’ (D&C 59:6). And He has reemphasized the principle He taught in the Sermon on the Mount: ‘He that looketh on a woman to lust after her, or if any shall commit adultery in their hearts, they shall not have the Spirit, but shall deny the faith and shall fear’ (D&C 63:16). These warnings apply to all people, whether they are married or single” (True to the Faith, 30–31).

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  • Why should I follow the standards in For the Strength of Youth?

    “The standards presented in this booklet are a guide to help you make correct choices. Review the standards often and ask yourself, ‘Am I living the way the Lord wants me to live?’ and ‘How have I been blessed by living these standards?’” (For the Strength of Youth [2011], 42).

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  • Is it OK to have a steady boyfriend or girlfriend in high school?

    For the Strength of Youth teaches, “Avoid going on frequent dates with the same person” (4). President Gordon B. Hinckley counseled: “When you are young, do not get involved in steady dating. When you reach an age where you think of marriage, then is the time to become so involved. But you boys who are in high school don’t need this, and neither do the girls” (“Some Thoughts on Temples, Retention of Converts, and Missionary Service,” October 1997 general conference).

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  • How do I get bad words and dirty jokes out of my head after I hear them at school?

    “The mind is like a stage,” said President Boyd K. Packer. “Except when we are asleep, the curtain is always up. . . . Always there is some act playing on the stage of the mind.

    “Have you noticed that, without any real intent on your part and almost in the midst of any performance, a shady little thought may creep in from the wings and endeavor to attract your attention? . . . If you permit them to go on, all other thoughts, of any virtue, will leave the stage. You will be left, because you consented to it, to the influence of unworthy thoughts” (That All May Be Edified, [1982], 38).

    “What do you do at a time like this, when the stage of your mind is commandeered by these imps of unclean thinking? . . . Let me suggest that you choose from among the sacred music of the Church one favorite hymn. I have reason for suggesting that it be a Latter-day Saint hymn, one with lyrics that are uplifting and the music reverent. Select one that, when it is properly rendered, makes you feel something akin to inspiration.

    “Now, go over it in your mind very thoughtfully a few times. Memorize the words and the music. . . . Anytime you find that these shady actors have slipped in from the sideline of your thinking onto the stage of your mind, think through this hymn. . . . It will change the whole mood on the stage of your mind. Because it is clean and uplifting and reverent, the baser thoughts will leave” (That All May Be Edified, 38–39).

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  • What sins should I confess to my bishop?

    “Serious transgressions, such as violations of the law of chastity, may jeopardize your membership in the Church. Therefore, you need to confess these sins to both the Lord and His representatives in the Church. This is done under the care of your bishop or branch president and possibly your stake or mission president, who serve as watchmen and judges in the Church. While only the Lord can forgive sins, these priesthood leaders play a critical role in the process of repentance. They will keep your confession confidential and help you throughout the process of repentance. Be completely honest with them. If you partially confess, mentioning only lesser mistakes, you will not be able to resolve a more serious, undisclosed transgression. The sooner you begin this process, the sooner you will find the peace and joy that come with the miracle of forgiveness” (True to the Faith, 134).

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