The Law of Chastity THE BISMARCK On February 14, 1939, amid fervent speeches, cheering throngs, and the playing of the national anthem, the Germans unleashed a new battleship that threatened to give Hitler’s army an insurmountable advantage in the naval warfare of World War II. The Bismarck sailed down the River Elbe bristling with weapons of war. The battleship featured twenty-eight thousand miles of electrical circuits and thirty-five thousand tons of armor-plating. It had a 406millimeter, triple turret, radar-controlled gun that required more than fifty-seven thousand blueprints to build. The Bismarck was considered unsinkable. The Bismarck’s day of destiny dawned more than two years later, when on May 24, 1941, the two most powerful warships in the British navy, the Prince of Wales and the Hood, engaged the Bismarck and the German cruiser Prinz Eugen in battle. Within four minutes, the Bismarck had sunk the Hood sending all but 3 men of a crew of 1,419 to their deaths. The other British battleship, the Prince of Wales, suffered heavy damage and turned away. The British knew the Bismarck had to be sunk. They concentrated the strength of 21 destroyers, 11 cruisers, 8 battleships, two aircraft carriers, and a sizeable air force, in an effort to find and destroy the mighty warship. Three days later, the Bismarck was spotted and engaged again, by four British warships. The British fired shell after shell, but inflicted only superficial damage. It began to appear as thought the Bismarck really was unsinkable. But miraculously a pilot launched a torpedo from the air, scoring a lucky hit as the torpedo jammed the Bismarck’s rudder. The German crew scrambled to repair the damage. But their efforts proved fruitless. The Bismarck could only steer a slow and stately circle. Not too far away was the powerful German air force and the safety of home port. Neither could be reached. The British warships drew near. With guns blazing, the Germans could see there was no hope. Fearing that the British might capture the powerful vessel, the German crew scuttled and sank their own ship. The unsinkable warship had been destroyed (David–Irving, Hitler’s War, New York: The Viking Press, 1977). By putting on the “whole armor of God,” we are able to protect four main parts of our bodies: 1. The girdle of truth: (chastity) 2. The breastplate of righteousness: Our heart being set on the things of God (our conduct) 3. The helmet of salvation: Protection of our head (our thoughts) 4. Our feet: Shod with the preparation of the gospel. President Lee said that our feet represent our goals and objectives in life (the path we travel). Remember: There is no protection from the backside We need to face our problems and not run from them! Courtesy of Ciara Blackburn. This is her Ephesian wall back home! (2014) President Lee taught: “One who confidently looks forward to an eternal reward for his efforts in mortality is constantly sustained through his deepest trials; when his bank fails, he does not commit suicide; when his loved ones die, he does not despair; when war and destruction dissipate his fortune, he does not falter. He lives above his world and never loses sight of the goal of his salvation.” In other words “stick to the plan.” Saints Warned About Media Impact Elder M. Russell Ballard (October Conference, 2003) Elder Ballard spoke on the ridicule of traditional values and traditional families in today’s media. What we choose to watch on TV or movies may end up to be what we choose to do in our own lives. The time has come when members of the Church need to speak out.” Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles quoted the following poem by Alexander Pope: “Vice is a monster of so frightful mien, As, to be hated, needs but to be seen; Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face, We first endure, then pity, then embrace” (An essay on Man, epistle II, lines 217-20; Conference Report, Apr. 1993, 94). Elder Ballard concluded with “seven things” that every parent can do to minimize the negative effect media can have on our families.” 1. Hold family councils and decide on media standards. 2. Spend quality time with our children. 3. Make good media choices. 4. Limit the time our children watch TV, play video games, or use the Internet. 5. Use Internet filters and TV programming locks. 6. Have TVs and computers in a common room. 7. Watch appropriate media with our children. The Challenge to Live the Law of Chastity The Prophet Joseph Smith warned that: “Immorality will be the source of more temptations, more buffetings, and more difficulties for the Latter-day Saints than any other (JD 8:55). President Ezra Taft Benson said, “The plaguing sin of this generation is sexual immorality…The Book of Mormon places un-chastity next to murder in seriousness” (Ensign, May 1986, 4). Honolulu Star Bulletin One example of this is a November 2nd, 1983 article in the Honolulu Star Bulletin, entitled “She Teaches Women How to Cheat” It reports on the work of psychologist Cynthia Silverman, who conducts workshops “for married women who are having, or thinking of having extramarital affairs.” The following excerpt from the article reveals its teachings: “This is not advice on free love…Men and women both have affairs and the frequency of women having affairs is now almost as great as the men. The goal is to educate women to make a meaningful decision. Workshop participants are given practical advice such as remembering to cover absences with excuses a husband cannot check, and to resist the temptation to confess because “a white lie is better than a black truth.” The one hour and 45 minute workshop stresses enjoyment without guilt. “I was a basket case when I went in there,” says one wife… “I still feel a little bit guilty, but not to the same degree. “The workshop, she added, “helped me set my priorities differently. I always made sure that my family came first, especially my children, but now I realize I have a right to happiness also.” Top three sins: (Alma 39:5) 1. Denying the Holy Ghost 2. Murder 3. Sexual Sin President Spencer W. Kimball warned, “We need to constantly guard against immorality, pornography, and sexual permissiveness that would destroy the purity of family members, young and old… Perhaps I sound like an alarmist. If so, it is because I am alarmed…and so are my Brethren in the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles and other General Authorities” (Ensign, May 1979, 5). (Jacob 2:35) “Many rationalize that this attraction of two unmarried people is love, and they seek thereby to justify their intimate relations. This is one of the most false of all of Satan’s lies. It is lust, not love, which brings men and women to fornication and adultery. No person would injure one he truly loves, and sexual sin can only result in injury” (President Spencer W. Kimball, Miracle of Forgiveness, 65). Why Young Christians aren’t waiting anymore! By John Blake CNN (CNN) – True love doesn’t wait after all September 27th, 2011 That’s the implication in the upcoming October issue of an evangelical magazine that claims that young, unmarried Christians are having premarital sex almost as much as their non-Christian peers. The article in Relevant magazine, entitled “(Almost) Everyone’s Doing It,” cited several studies examining the sexual activity of single Christians. One of the biggest surprises was a December 2009 study, conducted by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, which included information on sexual activity. While the study’s primary report did not explore religion, some additional analysis focusing on sexual activity and religious identification yielded this result: 80 percent of unmarried evangelical young adults (18-29) said that they have had sex – slightly less than 88 percent of unmarried adults, according to the teen pregnancy prevention organization. The article highlights what challenges abstinence movements face. Movements such as “True Love Waits,” encourage teens to wear purity rings, sign virginity pledges and pledge chastity during public ceremonies. Yet many of these Christian youth eventually abandon their purity pledges, Relevant’s Tyler Charles concludes in the article. Tyler talked to people like “Maria,” an evangelical woman who said she wanted to wait until marriage to have sex. But she said she started having sex with her college boyfriend when she turned 20 because nearly everyone, even most of her Christian friends, were having sex. Maria: It seemed everyone in my life, older and younger, had “done it.” In fact, I waited longer than most people I knew and longer than both of my sisters, even though we were all Christians and came from a good home. Relevant theorizes about why it’s so hard for so many young Christians to wait, including the saturation of sex in popular culture, the prevalence of pornography and a popular “do what feels good philosophy.” Yet the article also asks a question that rarely comes up in discussions about abstinence movement. Relevant notes that in biblical times, people married earlier. The average age for marriage has been increasing in the U.S. for the last 40 years. Today, it’s not unusual to meet a Christian who is single at 30 – or 40 or 50, for that matter. So what do you tell them? Keep waiting? Scot McKnight, author of “The Jesus Creed,” and “One Faith: Jesus Calls, We Follow,” acknowledges that young, single Christians face temptations that their counterparts in the biblical age didn’t face. He tells Relevant: Sociologically speaking, the one big difference – and it’s monstrous – between the biblical teaching and our culture is the arranged marriages of very young people. If you get married when you’re 13, you don’t have 15 years of temptation. So what should a Christian parent of youth pastor do? How do they convince more young Christians to wait until marriage, or should they stop even trying? Not Tempted Above Our Ability? I Corinthians 10:12-13 is good, but Alma 13:28 contains the rest of the formula. Elder Richard G. Scott said, “Not all of our prayers will be answered as we wish. It is not always easy to know the will of the Lord, yet there are some things we can be certain of. He will never ask us to do anything that is not completely in harmony with His teachings. We cannot count on help if we are immoral or otherwise deliberately disobedient unless we sincerely repent. One who prays to know if another is to be the eternal companion while violating in any degree the law of chastity has little hope of receiving confirmation without sincere repentance” (Ensign, Nov. 1991 85). Controlling Bad Thoughts I don’t believe God holds us accountable for the unsolicited immoral thoughts that occasionally knock on the door of our minds, as long as we don’t invite them in and smorgasbord them. The First Presidency taught that immoral thoughts can be eliminated “through faith in God, sincere repentance, and persistent effort. The help of others may be needed” (Statement of the First Presidency, 14 Nov. 1991). Kissing President Kimball said, “Kissing has been prostituted…to express lust instead of affection, honor, and admiration. To kiss in casual dating is asking for trouble…What is miscalled the ‘soul kiss’ (or French kissing) is an abomination and stirs passion to the eventual loss of virtue…If (French kissing) with its passion were from dating there would be an immediate upswing in chastity and honor, with fewer forced marriages, and fewer unhappy people…” (Teachings of Presidents of Spencer W. Kimball, 281). Pornography The First Presidency has identified three consequences of pornography: 1. It desensitizes our spirits. 2. It erodes our conscience (I Nephi 17:45). 3. It weakens our self-discipline. Masturbation President Kimball said: “Masturbation, a rather common indiscretion, is not approved of the Lord not of His church, regardless of what may have been said by others whose ‘norms’ are lower. Latter-day Saints are urged to avoid this practice. Anyone fettered by this weakness should abandon the habit before he goes on a mission or receives the holy priesthood or goes in the temple for his blessings” (Ensign, Nov. 1980, 97). The problem with pornography is that it presents immodesty and immorality as normal and acceptable. It can become every bit as much an addiction as alcohol, tobacco or drugs. And, like those substances, those who are addicted to pornography tend to seek out coarser and coarser material to satisfy their addiction. Pornography can destroy a marriage as quickly as almost anything I know of. Necking and Petting The First Presidency has advised, “The Lord specifically forbids certain behaviors, including all sexual relations before marriage, petting, sex perversion (such as homosexuality, rape and incest), masturbation, or preoccupation with sex in thought, speech, or action” (Sexual purity, For the Strength of the Youth). Oral Sex and Fornication Church leaders have placed oral sex in the same category as fornication (Both carry the same penalties). Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said, “Setting aside sins against the Holy Ghost for a moment as a special category unto themselves, it is LDS doctrine that sexual transgression is second only to murder in the Lord’s list of life’s most serious sins…It is my understanding that we park and pet and sleep over and sleep with at the peril of our very lives. Our penalty may not come on the precise day of our transgression, but it comes surely and certainly enough, and were it not for a merciful God and the treasured privilege of personal repentance, far too many would even now be feeling that hellish pain…” (“Of Souls, Symbols, and Sacraments”). Sadly, it is often true that those who are immoral before marriage are often the ones who are unfaithful to their spouses after marriage. President Kimball said, “Among the most common sexual sins our young people commit are necking and petting…They awaken lust and stir evil thoughts and sex desires. Too often, young people dismiss their petting with a shrug of their shoulders as a little indiscretion, while admitting that fornication is a base transgression. Too many of them are shocked, or (pretend) to be, when told what they have done in the name of petting, was in reality fornication. The dividing line is a thin, blurry one…The devil knows how to destroy our (youth). He may not be able to tempt a person to…to commit (fornication) immediately, but he knows that if he can get a boy and a girl to sit in the car late enough… or to park long enough…(even) the best (young man) and the best (young woman) will finally succumb and fall. He knows that all have a limit to their resistance” (Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, 280-81). Homosexuality and Lesbiansism The First Presidency stated, “Homosexual and lesbian activities are sinful and an abomination to the Lord. Unnatural affections including those toward persons of the same gender are counter to God’s eternal plan for his children. You are responsible to make right choices. Whether directed toward those of the same or opposite gender, lustful feelings and desires may lead to more serious sins. All Latter-day Saints must learn to control and discipline themselves” (Sexual Purity, For the Strength of Youth). Joseph Smith declared that Church councils or courts were to be conducted according to an ancient pattern which had been “shown to him by vision.” “Jerusalem was the seat of the Church Council in ancient days,” said the Prophet, “the apostle, Peter, was the president of the council and held the keys of the Kingdom of God on earth.” To clarify the matter of guilt, the Prophet added; It was not the order of heaven in ancient councils to pled for and against the guilty as in our judicial courts (so called) but that every counselor when he arose to speak, should speak precisely according to evidence and according to the teaching of the Spirit of the Lord, that no counselor should attempt to screen the guilty when his guilt was manifest (Kirtland Council Minute Book, 30). Doctrine and Covenants 102:2 “Why Church Discipline?” 1. To preserve the good name of the Church. 2. To help the sinner repent so that they can continue to progress. 3. To restore blessings (it is an act of love). Joseph Smith declared that Church councils or courts were to be conducted according to an ancient pattern which had been “shown to him by vision.” “Jerusalem was the seat of the Church Council in ancient days,” said the Prophet, “the apostle, Peter, was the president of the council and held the keys of the Kingdom of God on earth.” To clarify the matter of guilt, the Prophet added; It was not the order of heaven in ancient councils to pled for and against the guilty as in our judicial courts (so called) but that every counselor when he arose to speak, should speak precisely according to evidence and according to the teaching of the Spirit of the Lord, that no counselor should attempt to screen the guilty when his guilt was manifest (Kirtland Council Minute Book, 30). Grounds for Church Discipline: A. Deliberate disobedience to the rule of the Church. B. Moral transgressions 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. Murder Adultery Fornication Homosexuality Incest Child molestation Plural Marriage Embezzling of church funds Cruelty to spouse or children Not Grounds: 1. Inactivity 2. Membership in another Church. 3. Name removed from church records. 4. Breaking the Word of Wisdom Types of Courts 1. Bishops 2. High Council 3. First Presidency 4. Twelve Apostles Types of Decisions 1. No action 2. Formal probation 3. Dis-fellowship 4. Excommunication Prepare and Prevent Certainly our first goal should be to prevent violations of the law of chastity from ever occurring. President Kimball declared: “That man (or woman) who resists temptation and lives without sin is far better off than the man (or woman) who has fallen, no matter how repentant the latter may be” (Church News, Sept. 3, 1988, 16). President Benson suggested four things that can help us avoid violating the law of chastity: 1. Decide now to be chaste! 2. Control your thoughts! (Genesis 39:7-12) The first seeds of morality are always sown in the mind. 3. Pray for the power to resist temptation! (D&C 10:5) 4. Plan positive and constructive activities so that you are not left to yourselves with nothing to do but share physical affection.