When understood, the chastity definition, as it applies as a law of God, protects us from misery and safeguards the sacred power or procreation. Chastity is an expression of true love and trust.
Because our Heavenly Father loves us and wants to protect us, he gave us the Law of Chastity. Chastity safeguards the sacred power that sets apart God from all other beings: his power to create and to procreate. God extends his power to create life to his children, but only on the condition that sexual relations be enjoyed within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman.
This is the scriptural chastity definition in the language of a commandment:
“Thou shalt not…commit adultery, nor kill, nor do anything like unto it” (D&C 59:6).
Notice that the terms “adultery” and “kill” are listed sequentially in the chastity definition. This fact should prompt us to consider the seriousness of sexual sin in the eyes of God. No act could be more abhorrent to Heavenly Father than taking a life. Clearly, God is devoted to giving and saving life. Sexual sin approaches the seriousness of murder because it cheapens, trivializes and tampers with the God-given power of procreation—the power to give life. The prophet Alma explained the danger of breaking the Law of Chastity:
Know ye not, my son, that these things (sexual sins) are an abomination in the sight of the Lord; yea, most abominable above all sins save it be the shedding of innocent blood or denying the Holy Ghost? (Alma 39:5).
Any form of sexual sin is a violation of the Law of Chastity. Only committing murder–taking life–results in more misery. On the other hand, only giving life in the covenant relationship of marriage results in the most happiness. A husband and wife, who live the Law of Chastity, achieve the greatest joy by bringing children into their family through the proper use of the powers of procreation.
Understanding the Chastity Definition
Because God despises sexual sin and delights in chastity, he provides us the Law of Chastity. The prophets have defined the Law of Chastity as:
1. Strict abstinence from sexual relations before marriage.
2. Complete fidelity and loyalty to one’s spouse after marriage (FP).
The prophets have listed various violations of the Law of Chastity. Some of these are:
- Sexual intercourse before marriage.
- Sexual intercourse after marriage with a partner other than one’s spouse.
- Other sexual practices with or without a partner, and with or without clothing. Some might include:
- Actions that arouse sexual feelings in you or your partner, such as passionate kissing, petting, suggestive dancing, lying with or on top of each other, imitating intercourse, sexual speech, homosexual activity, and self-stimulation.
- Viewing soft or hard pornographic material.
- Lusting, visualizing or entertaining sexual thoughts.
Other sexual activities could be added to this list, but the point should be clear. Such practices are gross violations of the Law of Chastity and thus viewed by God as sexual sin. The fact that many sexual deviations do not result in intercourse does not excuse their practice. Clearly, no sexual deviation, despite how minor it may seem, is exempt from the Law of Chastity.
The Chastity Definition in the Scriptures
God has given us the chastity defintion through the words of prophets. Here are a few examples:
- When God gave Moses the Ten Commandments, he stipulated, “Thou shalt not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14).
- When Joseph of Egypt was tempted by Potiphar’s wife to break the Law of Chastity and commit fornication, he told her, “Thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:9).
- The Book of Mormon prophet Jacob taught that living the Law of Chastity is “pleasing unto God” (Jacob 2:7).
- The Apostle Paul taught that it is “the will of God” that we “abstain from fornication” (1 Thessalonians 4:3).
- Those who commit such sins and do not repent “shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9).
- The Apostle Paul also taught that homosexual practices violate the Law of Chastity and run contrary to God’s purpose of procreation in a covenant marriage between a man and a woman (Romans 1:24-32).
- Jesus taught that abstinence alone does not fulfill the Law of Chastity; we must control our thoughts: “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 these latter days, the Lord has repeated that commandment and added that people who commit sexual sin “deny the faith and shall fear” (D&C 63:16).
- Furthermore, if they do not repent, they “shall be cast out” (D&C 42:24).
Living and Breaking the Law of Chastity
The chastity definition endorses physical intimacy between a husband and wife. Such physical intimacy in the covenant relationship of marriage is beautiful and sacred; it offers a husband and wife immense happiness. Beyond its power to bind a couple together in love, physical intimacy is ordained of God for the purpose of creating physical bodies for his children.
Conversely, Satan tempts us to violate the Law of Chastity and degrade the godly power of procreation. Employing all manner of deception, Satan attempts to persuade us to dismiss the terms of the Law of Chastity by urging us to imagine that sexual intimacy, actions and thoughts outside of traditional marriage, are normal and therefore acceptable.
Satan even tries to pervert the definition of love by telling us that sexual thoughts and actions outside of marriage are permissible because they are a natural and valid expression of affection. Such notions are utterly false.
Violating the Law of Chastity or causing another to violate the Law of Chastity is not a demonstration of love; it is evidence of blatant selfishness and unbridled passion. True love is never expressed by taking advantage or endangering another person’s happiness or safety for momentary, personal pleasure.
On the other hand, a couple who respects each another enough to keep the Law of Chastity will demonstrate trust, which leads to a deeper commitment, greater joy, and unbreakable unity. Keeping the Law of Chastity is a profound expression of true love.
Breaking the Law of Chastity causes misery. Relationships that are founded on sexual immorality tend to quickly decay and collapse. Violating the Law of Chastity is always followed by a sense of loss, sadness, fear, guilt, shame, mistrust, jealousy, bitterness, and even hatred. To guard us from these consequences and bless us with long-term happiness, peace, and strength of character, God has given us the Law of Chastity.
The Chastity Definition–A Prophet’s Declaration
Concerning the chastity definition, President Spencer W. Kimball, said:
To be specific, let us postulate clearly and unmistakably that all sexual life outside of the proper marriage association–I said the proper marriage association–are evil and forbidden by God, and the unrepentant and those who indulge in these will be disillusioned. Easy it is to create excuses and escapes to cover our own weaknesses. The fornicator minimizes his sins. The robber justifies his thievery. The pervert says that God made him that way. The petter rationalizes his act into insignificance. Let it be understood without equivocation that the common indulgences are transgressions, for sin is the breaking of the divine law (Area Conference Report, Sydney Australia, 1976:56).
The Chastity Definition and Repentance
If a person breaks the Law of Chastity, he (or she) must sincerely repent, because “no unclean thing can inherit the kingdom of heaven” (Alma 11:37).
Repentance means more than feeling remorse; repentance means to change. The Lord commands us to cease procrastinating and rationalizing and repent so he can cleanse us from sin.
Repentance leads to forgiveness. A truly repentant person will draw close to and exercise faith in Jesus Christ, who is the only one who can heal and forgive us of sin. Additionally, a repentant person will feel sorrow for his sin, which will drive him to make recompense, as much as is in his power, and to change his thoughts and actions. Finally, a repentant person will abandon the sin and adopt a new way of life that embraces the Law of Chastity.
The outcome of repentance is the beautiful feelings of peace and freedom that comes from forgiveness. Jesus promised, “He that repents and does the commandments of the Lord shall be forgiven” (D&C 1:32).
The prophet Isaiah described the before and after of sin and repentance: “though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:18).
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