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How do I guard my virtue?

Virtue is a pattern of thought and behavior based on high moral standards. It includes chastity. We live in a world in which virtue is belittled and attacked. We can guard our virtue by avoiding impure thoughts, language, and actions. Pornography is especially dangerous. As we “put on the whole armour of God” (see Ephesians 6:11–17) and rely on the strength of the Lord, we can protect ourselves against the adversary’s attacks on virtue and keep our thoughts and actions pure.

Prepare yourself spiritually

What scriptures and talks will help the young women keep their thoughts and actions pure?

Genesis 39:1–12; Romans 12:21; 2 Timothy 2:22; Moroni 10:30; D&C 27:15–18; 121:45–46 (We must immediately turn away from the temptation to lust and instead fill our minds with clean thoughts)

Isaiah 1:18; Helaman 12:23; D&C 58:42–43 (We can be forgiven if we repent)

Matthew 5:27–28; Romans 6:12; Alma 39:3–9; D&C 42:23 (Lusting is a sin with serious consequences)

1 Nephi 17:3; Mosiah 24:14; Alma 26:12 (God will strengthen us in our efforts to keep the commandments) 

Jeffrey R. Holland, “Place No More for the Enemy of My Soul,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2010, 44–46; see also the video “Watch Your Step”

Elder Quentin L. Cook, “Can Ye Feel So Now?Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2012, 6–9

Elaine S. Dalton, “Guardians of Virtue,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2011, 121–24; see also the video “Guardians of Virtue”

Linda S. Reeves, “Protection from Pornography—a Christ-Focused Home,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2014

Sexual Purity,” For the Strength of Youth (2011), 35–37

Chastity,” True to the Faith (2004), 29–33

Pornography,” True to the Faith (2004), 117–18

Video: “Chastity: What Are the Limits?”

Share experiences

At the beginning of each class, invite the young women to share, teach, and testify about the experiences they have had applying what they learned in the previous week’s lesson. This will encourage personal conversion and help the young women see the relevance of the gospel in their daily lives.

Introduce the doctrine

Choose from these ideas or think of your own to introduce this week’s lesson:

  • Write on the board, “We can guard our virtue by avoiding impure thoughts, language, and actions.” What advice would the young women give to help someone remain virtuous in a world of unwholesome influences?
  • Read together the story about young women giving advice to a new Beehive in Sister Ann M. Dibb’s talk “Be of a Good Courage.” Ask the young women what they do when they are surrounded by unwholesome influences.

Learn together

Each of the activities below will help the young women learn how to keep their thoughts and actions pure. Following the inspiration of the Spirit, select one or more that will work best for your class:

  • Divide the young women into small groups, and give each group one of the sets of scriptures suggested in this outline. Ask them to read their assigned scriptures and share with the rest of the class what they learn from these scriptures about remaining virtuous.
  • Invite the young women to watch the video “Guardians of Virtue” or read the talk of the same title. Beforehand, divide the young women into three groups. Instruct the first group to search for what it means to be a guardian of virtue, the second group to search for counsel Sister Dalton gives, and the third group to search for blessings that come to guardians of virtue. Invite one young woman from each group to write on the board what her group finds, and have the group share what it means to them. What do they learn from Sister Dalton’s message that will help them keep their thoughts and actions pure? What does it mean to be “modest not only in your dress, but in your speech, your actions, and your use of social media”?
  • Ask the young women why they think pornography is harmful to the soul. As a class, read the section about pornography in True to the Faith. At the end of each paragraph, take time to discuss the importance of what has been read. (For example, you could discuss with the young women the different places or situations in which they might encounter pornography. What could they do to safeguard against pornography? Invite them to plan what they will do when they come across it accidentally.) After the third paragraph, discuss the power of the Atonement and how the bishop or branch president participates in the repentance process. Invite the young women to see the bishop if they have become involved with pornography.
  • Give each of the young women a copy of Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s talk “Place No More for the Enemy of My Soul” or Sister Linda S. Reeves’s talk “Protection from Pornography—a Christ-Focused Home,” and have them imagine they are having a talk with their future 12-year-old daughter about why pornography is so destructive and how to avoid it. Have them look for information that will help them with this discussion. Invite them to form pairs and share the answers they find. Invite them to write down what they will do to avoid pornography for the rest of their lives.
  • Invite the young women to imagine they had the opportunity to tell a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles about the challenges youth today face regarding pornography. What might they say to him? Give each young woman a copy of the six paragraphs from Elder Quentin L. Cook’s talk “Can Ye Feel So Now?” beginning with the phrase “Sexual immorality and impure thoughts.” Ask half of the class to look for and share what Elder Cook learned from a 15-year-old young man, and ask the other half to look for and share the counsel Elder Cook gives. What can the young women do to help make their homes “places of refuge” from pornography?
  • Invite the young women to imagine that they have a friend who is struggling with pornography. What would they say to help him or her? Ask each young woman to read parts of the section titled “Finding Strength to Abandon Sin” from the booklet Let Virtue Garnish Thy Thoughts. What would the young women share from this section with their friend? What other scriptures could help someone struggling with pornography? (For examples, see the scriptures suggested in this outline.)

Ask the young women to share what they learned today. Do they understand how to keep their thoughts and actions pure? What feelings or impressions do they have? Do they have any additional questions? Would it be helpful to spend more time on this doctrine?

Live what we are learning

Invite the young women to consider how they will live by what they have learned today. For example, they could:

  • Complete Virtue value experiences 2 and 4 in Personal Progress.
  • Plan what they will do if they encounter anything that might lead to impure thoughts.