A wonderful woman I know who, with her husband, joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints some years ago when their children were very young, told me recently how thankful she was to see her children enjoy “the peace of purity” in their lives. It was a peace she did not have when she was their age and was not a member of the church.
I belong to a church that courageously teaches high moral standards, particularly with regard to the God-given power to create life. While my church is dynamic and forward-looking, affirming that God reveals truths for our time to living prophets as he did in Biblical times, there has been no abandonment of moral standards for the sake of conforming to popular culture.
How many of the social ills that plague American society could be avoided by living God’s moral standards? STDs, teen pregnancies, out-of-wedlock births, abortions for social convenience, single-parent families, absentee fathers, welfare dependence — perpetual poverty in a generational cycle.
Decades of government programs — often cynically presuming that “they are going to do it anyway” — have, for the most part, resulted in ever more discouraging statistics, with painful real-life consequences.
Jesus Christ promises peace in this life and eternal life in the next to all who will accept Him and keep the commandments which He has given. That includes the law of chastity, which is that a man and a woman have no sexual relations outside of marriage and are true and faithful to each other and to God within the sacred marriage relationship.
The Lord honors and blesses the marriage relationship, where the procreative power is exercised to both bind and strengthen ties between spouses and to bring souls into the world.
We teach our youth to stand in holy places and avoid being in the wrong places. We teach them to choose friends who honor high moral standards of conduct. We ask them to be clean in their personal thoughts, their words, and their personal and public actions. We teach them first to love the Lord and obey His commandments.
You may recall Joseph in the Old Testament. He was sold by his brothers into Egypt and served in the house of Potiphar. When Potiphar’s wife came tempting him to sexual sin, he did not have to decide where he stood on the issue of adultery.
“How then can I do this great wickedness,” he said, “and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:9).
In the face of temptation Joseph “fled, and got him out,” as the record states.
We teach our youth correct principles so, when the temptations of a “hookup” world and its peer pressures come, they can get themselves out.
The difference between mere “abstinence” and the principle of chastity is found in Joseph’s recognition that the Lord has a moral code, and to violate that code would be disrespectful to God.
Our missionaries, currently some 82,000 worldwide, invite people to repent and come unto Christ and, in doing so, they teach the Lord’s joyful standard of morality.
They teach these truths in Los Angeles and New York and Chicago. They teach them in Tacoma and Gig Harbor and in Mexico, Brazil, Samoa and the Philippines; in Zimbabwe, in Mozambique and Ghana, and in all of the 165 countries where our missionaries are welcomed and our church is established.
We teach these principles to all of God’s children because they are true — they bless lives and families, regardless of race, culture, tradition or location.
One church authority, Elder Tad R. Callister, in a devotional address given at Brigham Young University-Idaho last year, declared that, “Contrary to much public sentiment, there is nothing negative or restraining about God’s moral standards. Rather, they are positive, uplifting and liberating. They build relationships of trust, they enhance self-esteem, they foster a clear conscience, and they invite the Spirit of the Lord to bless individual and married lives. They are the proven standards for happy marriages and stable communities.”
We seek after these things and, as my friend said, there is peace in purity.On Faith columnist Alfred Gunn, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at Gig Harbor, can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, visit www.mormon.org.