“Your body is sacred,” For the Strength of Youth: A Guide for Making Choices (2022)
“Your body is sacred,” For the Strength of Youth
Your body is an amazing gift from your Heavenly Father. He gave it to you to help you become more like Him. Having a body gives you increased power to exercise your freedom to choose. The restored gospel of Jesus Christ can help you see your body from God’s perspective. And that makes a big difference in your choices about what to do with your body and how to care for it.
Your body is in the image of God—the most glorious, majestic Being in the universe. The scriptures compare our bodies to a holy temple, a place where the Spirit can dwell. Of course, your body is not perfect now. But the experiences you’re having with your body can help you prepare to receive one day a perfect, resurrected, glorified body.
Your soul is made up of your body and your spirit. For this reason, physical health and spiritual health are closely connected. The Savior revealed the Word of Wisdom to teach principles of caring for your body—and to promise physical and spiritual blessings.
Sexual feelings are an important part of God’s plan to create happy marriages and eternal families. These feelings are not sinful—they are sacred. Because sexual feelings are so sacred and so powerful, God has given you His law of chastity to prepare you to use these feelings as He intends. The law of chastity states that God approves of sexual activity only between a man and a woman who are married. Many in the world ignore or even mock God’s law, but the Lord invites us to be His disciples and live a standard higher than the world’s.
Treat your body—and others’ bodies—with respect. As you make decisions about your clothing, hairstyle, and appearance, ask yourself, “Am I honoring my body as a sacred gift from God?” Heavenly Father wants us to see each other for who we really are: not just physical bodies but His beloved children with a divine destiny. Avoid styles that emphasize or draw inappropriate attention to your physical body instead of who you are as a child of God with an eternal future. Let moral cleanliness and love for God guide your choices. Seek counsel from your parents.
Do things that will strengthen your body—nothing that will hurt or damage it. Enjoy with gratitude the many good things God has provided. But remember that alcohol, tobacco, coffee, tea, and other harmful drugs and substances are not for your body or your spirit. Even helpful substances, like prescription drugs, can be destructive if not used correctly.
Keep sex and sexual feelings sacred. They should not be the subject of jokes or entertainment. Outside of marriage between a man and a woman, it is wrong to touch the private, sacred parts of another person’s body even if clothed. In your choices about what you do, look at, read, listen to, think about, post, or text, avoid anything that purposely arouses lustful emotions in others or yourself. This includes pornography in any form. If you find that situations or activities make temptations stronger, avoid them. You know what those situations and activities are. And if you aren’t sure, the Spirit, your parents, and your leaders can help you know. Show your Father in Heaven that you honor and respect the sacred power to create life.
Your respect for yourself and others will increase as you honor your body through your behavior, appearance, and dress.
The Lord has promised great treasures of knowledge to those who keep the Word of Wisdom. A healthy body, free from addiction, also increases your ability to receive personal revelation, think clearly, and serve the Lord.
Living the law of chastity brings God’s approval and personal spiritual power. When you are married, this law will bring greater love, trust, and unity to your marriage. Obeying this law will make it possible for you to progress eternally and become more like your Heavenly Father. Your confidence will grow as you live as a disciple of Jesus Christ.
What is the Lord’s standard on dress, grooming, tattoos, and piercings? The Lord’s standard is for you to honor the sacredness of your body, even when that means being different from the world. Let this truth and the Spirit be your guide as you make decisions—especially decisions that have lasting effects on your body. Be wise and faithful, and seek counsel from your parents and leaders.
How can I overcome temptations and bad habits? Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have the power to help you. Fill your life with things that invite that power into your life, such as prayer, scripture study, and service to others. Turn to Jesus Christ and His gospel and you will find that weaknesses can become strengths. Seek help from parents, leaders, and professional counselors as needed. For those who suffer from addiction, the Church offers an addiction recovery program. These are blessings the Savior’s Church provides to help you regain control of your life. It will take time, so be patient, and never give up.
I am attracted to people of my same sex. How do these standards apply to me? Feeling same-sex attraction is not a sin. If you have these feelings and do not pursue or act on them, you are living Heavenly Father’s sacred law of chastity. You are a beloved child of God and a disciple of Jesus Christ. Remember that the Savior understands everything you experience. Through your covenant connection with Him, you will find strength to obey God’s commandments and receive the blessings He promises. Trust Him and His gospel.
I was abused, and I feel ashamed. Am I guilty of sin? Being a victim of any abuse or assault does not make you guilty of sin. Please do not feel guilt or shame. The Savior loves you. He wants to help you, heal you, and give you peace. Professional counselors, your family members, and your leaders can also help.
See Genesis 1:27 (we are created in God’s image); John 14:18 (the Savior promises comfort); Philippians 4:7 (the peace of God passes understanding); Doctrine and Covenants 88:15 (the spirit and the body are the soul); 89 (the Word of Wisdom); 121:45 (virtuous thoughts lead to increased confidence).
The Lord has said that all things are to be “done in cleanliness” before Him (Doctrine and Covenants 42:41). Do you strive for moral cleanliness in your thoughts and behavior? Do you obey the law of chastity?
Do you understand and obey the Word of Wisdom?