August Young Women Lesson: Why is Chastity Important?
The Young Women lesson on the law of chastity can be found here.
What is the law of chastity?
From the manual:[box] “Chastity is sexual purity and involves being morally clean in thoughts, words, and actions. Sexual intimacy is ordained of God for the creation of children and for the expression of love between husband and wife. God has commanded that sexual intimacy be reserved for marriage. When we are sexually pure, we qualify for the companionship of the Holy Ghost, and we are protected from the emotional and spiritual damage of sexual sin.”[/box]
Other things that may come up in the discussion that you could address:
Modesty: This is a good opportunity to talk about how modesty is much less about how much skin you’re showing and how you need to cover up so that boys won’t have inappropriate thoughts about you, and much more about how comfortable you feel in your clothes and how you are radiating the beauty of your soul through your physical appearance.[box] “Your body is sacred. Respect it and do not defile it in any way. Through your dress and appearance, you can show that you know how precious your body is. You can show that you are a disciple of Jesus Christ and that you love Him.”(1) [/box]
Pornography: Yes, even girls view and become addicted to pornography. Talk about how pornography is demeaning to women and damages the viewer’s understanding of what a healthy, loving relationship looks like.
Abuse: It is never okay to take advantage of or try to control another person’s sexuality. It is never okay for someone else to do that to you. Talk about what the young women can do if they are ever in a situation in which someone is being abusive to them.[box] “If you are single and dating, always treat your date with respect. Never treat him or her as an object to be used for lustful desires.” (2)[/box]
Why did God give us a law of chastity?
…for our protection, to keep us safe from sin, because God loves us
This would be a good chance to open up a discussion on what sin is. You can talk about it in terms of sin being something that is hurtful to us. God gives us laws, not just for the sake of giving us laws, but to keep us safe from things that would hurt us and anyone else physically, emotionally, or spiritually.[box] “Our Heavenly Father has given us the law of chasity for our protection. Obedience to this law is essential to personal peace and strength of character and to happiness in the home.”(3)[/box]
You could also talk about some of the elements of the law of chastity mentioned above (pre-marital sex, modesty, taking advantage of others, pornography…) and discuss how these things can cause harm to ourselves or others.
How does the law of chastity strengthen us as individuals and our families?[box] “When you are sexually pure, you prepare yourself to make and keep sacred covenants in the temple. You prepare yourself to build a strong marriage and to bring children into the world as part of an eternal and loving family. You protect yourself from the spiritual and emotional damage that comes from sharing sexual intimacy outside of marriage. You also protect yourself from harmful diseases. Remaining sexually pure helps you to be confident and truly happy and improves your ability to make good decisions now and in the future.”(4)[/box]
Not only does the law of chastity help us to avoid some unnecessary painful experiences, but purity in body and mind can help us to become godlike, to be beings of light and truth. It is one of the aspects of virtue and charity that can help us to be confident before God.[box] “Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven.”(5)[/box]
Remembering this can help us to follow the law of chastity, not out of fear, but out of love for ourselves and God. It will help us to be gentle with ourselves when we make mistakes, because mistakes are part of our life experience. God gives us grace to overcome weakness and to repent and become whole again. Emphasize that God’s love is eternal and nothing we can do will take that love away from us.
A great resource to draw from is Elder Uchtdorf’s talk from the April 2015 Conference in which he said,[box] “I cannot even begin to estimate ‘the breadth, and length, and depth, and height…[of] the love of Christ.’ A powerful expression of that love is what the scriptures often call the grace of God—the divine assistance and endowment of strength by which we grow from the flawed and limited beings we are now into the exalted beings of ‘truth and light, until [we are] glorified in truth and [know] all things.”[/box] [box] “Therefore, our obedience to God’s commandments comes as a natural outgrowth of our endless love and gratitude for the goodness of God. This form of genuine love and gratitude will miraculously merge our works with God’s grace. Virtue will garnish our thoughts unceasingly, and our confidence will wax strong in the presence of God.”[/box]
Sex is sacred, beautiful, and pleasurable…It is a gift from God for greater enjoyment in life and to sustain life. It is one aspect of a powerful bond between humans. It is not evil or ugly. It is simply powerful. It is a power that we need to understand and learn to use in a way that will lead to happiness, not pain.[box] “Each individual is entitled to determine the ultimate destiny of his or her life. We can choose to use the powers within to have a happy life of continual growth and development that leads to eternal progression.”(6) [/box]
It is not our job to judge other people’s sexuality by the way they dress, their sexual orientation, or their sexual behavior. We need to be gentle with others and with ourselves. When the woman found in adultery was brought before Jesus, he didn’t condemn her. He didn’t tell her she was a useless piece of gum that would never be good for another man. In fact, he told everyone else to stop condemning her. Then he said simply to her, “Go and sin no more.” John 8:11
5. D&C 121:45
6. Barbara B. Smith, Relief Society President “The Powers Within Us.” Ensign, February 1983