Law of Chastity in Mormonism
Mormons believe the human body is a gift from God and should be treated with respect and reverence. According to Mormonism, the physical body is an essential part of God's plan for His children--living on earth, creating families, and returning to live in His presence according to their faithfulness. In addition to allowing His children to have the precious gift of a body, the Lord entrusted each man and woman with the powers of creating life. Mormons believe this power is a sacred power, a power that should be used only between a man and a woman who are lawfully married. Within marriage, the powers of procreation are beautiful and accepted by the Lord.
The ability to procreate and give life is a power that comes from the Lord. Families are the most basic and essential unit of life on Earth, and the ability to create them is equally important. God blesses His children and wants them to use this power correctly. Mormons believe the power to procreate is sacred and should only be used in marriage. In other words, men and women should not have sexual relations before they are married, or with anyone other than their husband or wife after they are married. This is what is known as the law of chastity.
From a young age, members of the Mormon Church are taught to respect their bodies. Mormons believe each man and woman on earth is created in the image of God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. This means that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have bodies of flesh and bone, just as each person has on earth. The modern-day revelation found in the Doctrine and Covenants of the Mormon Church records, "The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man's; the Son also" (Doctrine and Covenants 130:22). To learn to be more like the Lord, Mormons know they must control the carnal nature of man, or in other words, "put off the natural man":
For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father. (Mosiah 3:19)
Mormons believe that it is necessary to obey the Lord's commandments in all things. Obeying the commandment to respect the physical body and follow the rules governing the powers of procreation is necessary to be happy.
Mormons believe Satan knows how important the sacred powers of creating life are, and he tries to destroy the happiness of the children of God by convincing them that their bodies are theirs alone and they can be treated however they wish. This is destructive to the plan of happiness the Father has laid out for His children. When one misuses the powers of procreation, he or she has committed a sin before the Lord, a sin that can cause pain and heartache to that person and to others.
Because the Savior Jesus Christ suffered and died for the sins of all mankind, it is possible to repent and be forgiven of sins against the law of chastity. The Lord knows that His children are not perfect, but the best way to avoid the pain that comes from misusing the powers of procreation is to avoid breaking the commandment altogether. Mormons understand that the Lord cares about His children and wants them to be happy. Mormons believe the Lord has given commandments to keep His children on the correct path that will lead to salvation.
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