Families are strengthened when parents understand and live the law of chastity and then teach God's law of sexual morality appropriately to their children. All members of our families need to understand that our bodies are sacred and should be protected. We all need to understand that our bodies can become defiled just as easily and simply as a building can have graffiti written on it.
The Apostle Paul compared our bodies to temples when he said, "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" (See 1 Corinthians 3:16.) Paul also said, "What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own. For ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." (See 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.)
When Paul was warning the Saints of his day to avoid serious sins, he named several sexual sins: "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind." (See 1 Corinthians 6:9.)
In order for us to teach the law of chastity to our children, we need to know what immorality consists of. Sexual immorality is "Any sexual intimacy outside of the bonds of marriage - I mean any intentional contact with the sacred, private parts of another's body, with or without clothing - is a sin and is forbidden by God. It is also a transgression to intentionally stimulate these emotions within your own body" (Richard G. Scott, Ensign, Nov. 1994, 38).
Parents and children may not understand what specific parts of our bodies are sacred and private. We can be sure that any part of our bodies that would be covered by a modest swimsuit should be considered sacred and private. Parents should model and children should understand that dressing modestly helps us to protect our bodies in many ways.
Sexual sins are so serious because they affect our eternal salvation. We cannot enter the temples or into the kingdom of God if we are unclean. Immorality is also serious because sexual sins affect the very fountains of life. God ordained that sexual relations are to take place within a legal and lawful marriage between a man and a woman. When we follow the will of God, we take part in keeping the fountains of life clean and pure. "[Satan] knows that this power of creation is not just an incident to the plan, but the key to it. He knows that if he can entice you to use this power prematurely, to use it too soon, or to misuse it in any way, you may well lose your opportunities for eternal progression" (Boyd K. Packer, Ensign, July 1972, 112).
There is much deception in the world about immorality, and adults, teens, and children must be warned in order to avoid them. "One of the most pervasive deceptions in recent years is the notion that immorality is normal and acceptable and has no negative consequences. In truth, immorality is the underlying cause of much suffering and many other problems that are prevalent today, including rampant disease, abortion, broken families, families without fathers, and mothers who themselves are children" (Joseph B. Wirthlin, Ensign, Nov. 1994, 76).
Satan tempts us in many ways and uses numerous methods to convince us that there are exceptions to the law of chastity. "Satan tempts one to believe that there are allowable levels of physical contact between consenting individuals who seek the powerful stimulation of emotions they produce, and if kept within bounds, no harm will result. As a witness of Jesus Christ, I testify that is absolutely false…." (Richard G. Scott, Ensign, Nov. 1994, 38).
It is possible to withstand the temptations of Satan if we take the correct precautions. The Apostle Paul taught, "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it" (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Elder Scott explained one way that we can escape temptations: "Decide what you will and will not do. When temptation comes, do not change your standards."
There is hope for any who have already broken the law of chastity because Jesus Christ took our sins upon Himself through His atoning sacrifice if we are repentant. Several scriptures attest to the possibility of becoming clean through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.
"Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: 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).
"And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God" (1 Corinthians 6:11).
"Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord remember them no more.
"By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins - behold, he will confess them and forsake them" (Doctrine and Covenants 58:42-43).
Immorality is very destructive to individuals, marriages, and families. The earlier people recognize sin and start the repentance process, the stronger their families will be. Repentance from sexual sins is not easy, but it is possible and very worthwhile. A better situation would be to avoid sexual sins in the first place. Parents can strengthen their families by modeling and teaching obedience to the law of chastity.
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