The law of chastity provides divine protection to “the means by which mortal life is created” by restricting sexual relations to a man and a woman who are legally married. The proclamation further states that “the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife…. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity” (The Family – A Proclamation to the World).
With this understanding of the law of chastity, I found a recent article about Elizabeth Smart and the law of chastity to be very interesting. As my readers may recall, Elizabeth was only 14 years old when she was kidnapped by a man and his wife. The man considered Elizabeth to be his second wife and raped her on a daily basis for nine months until she was rescued. Elizabeth, similar to most abuse and rape victims, felt “worthless … filthy … dirty” even while knowing that she is a beloved spirit daughter of heavenly parents with divine worth.
In the article Elizabeth suggested that parents and teachers emphasize the divine worth of each soul while also teaching the importance of abstinence and self-control. She said that our emphasis should be on Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice because He can “make us pure, make us whole, and heal our broken hearts.”
I believe that when discussing chastity there should always be a distinction made for victims of abuse, sexual violence, and rape. Rape and abuse victims have not broken the law of chastity. They have been sinned against, and we must never inflict more wounds upon them. One of the basic principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ is that we are each responsible for our own sins. If someone sins against us, we have no need to take responsibility for their sin.
Sexual relations between a man and a woman united in a lawful marriage can be beautiful. In addition to children, they bring happiness to the couple and strength and unity to the marriage. Happy marriages and successful families are most often founded upon a man and a woman living the law of chastity as well as other gospel principles. There are many blessings that come from living this law, and we should always teach the law of chastity from the blessing point of view.