Mormon Beliefs: Chastity

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The Law of Chastity is an important commandment from God that never changes. It demands abstinence from sexual activity outside of marriage (which is defined as the legal union of a man and a woman) and complete fidelity within marriage. The Law of Chastity is a central tenet in the Mormon belief system and doctrines of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes mistakenly called the Mormon Church), which is centered on the eternal happiness of families.

How Living the Law of Chastity Brings Blessings

Mormon belief chastity

Studies have shown that sexual behaviors outside of marriage dull our ability to love fully and our ability to commit fully in a loving, long-term relationship.

Recent findings uphold the doctrines of The Church of Jesus Christ. One is that intimate affection brings about a chemical, biological, and emotional bonding between participants, that is painful to break. Many teens go to counselors, unable to separate themselves emotionally from prior relationships where intimacy, even brief intimacy, was shared.

"Psychologist Jess Lair of Montana State University describes the psychological significance of sexual experiences in this way: "Sexual bonding includes powerful emotional, psychological, physical, and spiritual links that are so strong that the two people become one, at least for a moment. Sexual intercourse is an intense, though brief physical bonding that leaves indelible marks on the participants. . . . To believe one can walk away from a sexual experience untouched is dangerously naive." [1]

Once sexuality becomes frequent without deep, shared affection, people subconsciously disassociate themselves from the partner as an emotional protection. This is called "objectification" — the other person becomes an object of sexual adventure, rather than a person worthy of unselfish, committed love. Objectifying kills love, and indeed, once an entire society descends into promiscuity, love dies all around. The apostle Paul said of the promiscuous (referring also to those participating in homosexual encounters),

"...Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful..." (Romans 1:29-31).

Objectification is the result also of indulgence in pornography. The addicted person objectifies the spouse and even the children in a family, thus ending the loving relationships that once existed, leading to divorce and estrangement.

This result is even seen in co-habiting relationships wherein people live together, even intending to get married someday. When they do eventually wed, the relationship is fragile, the divorce rate higher, not lower, even though the live-in relationship was intended to deepen familiarity and lead to a better marriage.

"Couples who remain chaste before marriage report greater satisfaction in their marriages than those who were sexually active before marriage. Their marriages are more stable and more fulfilling. Researchers have even found that couples who did not have sex before marriage report greater sexual fulfillment after marriage than those who had premarital sex." [2]

These findings uphold Mormon belief that living the Law of Chastity leads to happiness and love, rather than the opposite, as assumed by the world. The world's view is that the Law of Chastity is restrictive and impossible to live. But millions of Mormons are living the Law of Chastity and are grateful for the blessings they receive because of it.

Safety, Both Physical and Spiritual

Living the law of chastity brings many blessings. Obvious is the protection from sexually-transmitted diseases, the possibility of unplanned pregnancy (which sometimes leads to abortion), and the risk of emotional damage and damage to reputation. Less obvious is the protection from spiritual damage. The loss of virtue makes us unsuitable vessels for the Holy Ghost.

The Holy Ghost is the third member of the Godhead, a personage of spirit, who can dwell within us, not only filling us with light, but also enabling communication between us and God. With the Holy Ghost as our companion, we can receive personal revelation from Deity. Personal revelation can testify of truth, warn us in case of danger, enlighten our minds with new, novel ideas, comfort us in times of trouble, help us find new solutions for our problems and challenges, and help us understand our own divine nature. Without the Holy Ghost, we are left to ourselves to get through life as best we can. Those who have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost can testify that they receive constant help with their decisions. They can't imagine going through life without it.

Getting to the Temple

A Mormon who is chaste can go to a Mormon temple to partake of higher covenants that increase the divine spark within that person and put him or her on the narrow path toward the highest kingdom of heaven. Part of temple worship and worthiness is the opportunity to be eternally sealed to one's spouse and children. Mormons who marry in the temple have about a 7% divorce rate, the lowest of any group in the United States. The divorce rate for religious people of all religions in the U.S. is about 25%, and for the general population, as high as 50%.

The LDS Church produces a pamphlet called "For the Strength of Youth" to guide youth toward behavior that conforms with the laws of God. It says,

"“The sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife” (“The Family: A Proclamation to the World”).
"Physical intimacy between husband and wife is beautiful and sacred. It 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 you obey God’s commandment to be 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 a loving family. You protect yourself from the emotional damage that always comes from sharing physical intimacies with someone outside of marriage.
"Do not have any sexual relations before marriage, and be completely faithful to your spouse after marriage. Satan may tempt you to rationalize that sexual intimacy before marriage is acceptable when two people are in love. That is not true. In God’s sight, sexual sins are extremely serious because they defile the power God has given us to create life. The prophet Alma taught that sexual sins are more serious than any other sins except murder or denying the Holy Ghost (see Alma 39:5).
"Before marriage, do not do anything to arouse the powerful emotions that must be expressed only in marriage. Do not participate in passionate kissing, lie on top of another person, or touch the private, sacred parts of another person’s body, with or without clothing. Do not allow anyone to do that with you. Do not arouse those emotions in your own body.
"In cultures where dating or courting is acceptable, always treat your date with respect, never as an object to be used for your lustful desires. Stay in areas of safety where you can easily control your physical feelings. Do not participate in talk or activities that arouse sexual feelings." (Read more...

Additional Resources