- Why is the law of chastity so important?
With discussions about same-sex marriage and other topics that are in the media today, this question has physical and spiritual implications and Elder Bednar approaches the topic directly.
- Our physical bodies make possible a breadth, a depth, and an intensity of experience that simply could not be obtained in our premortal existence. Thus, our relationships with other people, our capacity to recognize and act in accordance with truth, and our ability to obey the principles and ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ are amplified through our physical bodies. Simply stated, there are lessons we must learn and experiences we must have, as the scriptures describe, “according to the flesh”.
All the things that make us male and female is part of God's plan of happiness.
- 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.
Spiritually, the law of chastity has implications. Misusing this power puts distance between us and God since God's plan is that we use this power in partnership with Him within the marriage covenant.
- The power of procreation is spiritually significant. Misuse of this power subverts the purposes of the Father’s plan and of our mortal existence. Our Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son are creators and have entrusted each of us with a portion of Their creative power. Specific guidelines for the proper use of the ability to create life are vital elements in the Father’s plan. How we feel about and use that supernal power will determine in large measure our happiness in mortality and our destiny in eternity.
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a single, undeviating standard of sexual morality: intimate relations are proper only between a man and a woman in the marriage relationship prescribed in God’s plan. Such relations are not merely a curiosity to be explored, an appetite to be satisfied, or a type of recreation or entertainment to be pursued selfishly. They are not a conquest to be achieved or simply an act to be performed. Rather, they are in mortality one of the ultimate expressions of our divine nature and potential and a way of strengthening emotional and spiritual bonds between husband and wife. We are agents blessed with moral agency and are defined by our divine heritage as children of God—and not by sexual behaviors, contemporary attitudes, or secular philosophies.
Ultimately, the question that is then asked of us is will we give into the natural man or will be live according to God's plan and keep these special pro-creative powers away from misuse? This is the ultimately test of mortality in God's plan of happiness.
- The precise nature of the test of mortality, then, can be summarized in the following question: Will I respond to the inclinations of the natural man, or will I yield to the enticings of the Holy Spirit and put off the natural man and become a saint through the Atonement of Christ the Lord? That is the test. Every appetite, desire, propensity, and impulse of the natural man may be overcome by and through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. We are here on the earth to develop godlike qualities and to bridle all of the passions of the flesh.
Satan doesn't want us to live according to God's laws. He wants us to find no happiness, to live according to our desires, and to use our bodies in ways that will spiritually damage our relationship with God.
- One of the ultimate ironies of eternity is that the adversary, who is miserable precisely because he has no physical body, entices us to share in his misery through the improper use of our bodies. The very tool he does not have is thus the primary target of his attempts to lure us to spiritual destruction.
Repentance for those that misuse this sacred power is necessary. Although it is better to never have sinned, God's plan of happiness has provided us a Savior that allows us to get back on the proper path when we have made mistakes. Elder Bednar points out how we do that and the role that guilt plays in bringing us to Christ.
- Guilt is to our spirit what pain is to our body—a warning of danger and a protection from additional damage. From the Atonement of the Savior flows the soothing salve that can heal our spiritual wounds and remove guilt. However, this salve can only be applied through the principles of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repentance, and consistent obedience. The results of sincere repentance are peace of conscience, comfort, and spiritual healing and renewal.
Repentance has to match our level of experience in life. Those that have not made sacred covenants with God have a different path to repentance than those that have made sacred covenants.
- The extent and intensity of your repentance must match the nature and severity of your sins—especially for Latter-day Saints who are under sacred covenant. Serious spiritual wounds require sustained treatment and time to heal completely and fully.
Elder Bednar concludes with making clear that God's laws do not change with the world's view of what is right or wrong.
- The Lord’s truth is not altered by fads, popularity, or public opinion polls. I promise that obedience to the law of chastity will increase our happiness in mortality and make possible our progress in eternity. Chastity and virtue are now, always have been, and always will be “most dear and precious above all things”.
Living the law of Chastity will bring happiness and joy to our lives. The plan of happiness that God has given us enables us to find peace, joy, and happiness, while we travel our mortal journey. Breaking this law leads us to shame, unhappiness, and spiritual separation from God. Luckily, God knew this would be a huge test of mortality and has made a way for forgiveness to be granted if we fail to live up to the expectations set upon us. How grateful I am to have a Savior that understands our weaknesses and has provided a path for us when we fall.