What Is the Law of Chastity?

“What Is the Law of Chastity?” New Era, August 2019

What Is the Law of Chastity?

Let’s get specific about this very sacred commandment.

Chile: Antofagasta Institute of Religion

When you hear the phrase “the law of chastity,” do you know what it means? You probably get a lot of mixed messages about it. All kinds of media, and sometimes even friends and family, have different opinions about it. And the world actively teaches things contrary to what the Lord teaches.

So what exactly does the law of chastity mean?

The law of chastity is the Lord’s term for His commandment to live a life of sexual purity and virtue.

Still not totally clear? Well, let’s get a little more specific with the help of For the Strength of Youth.

Chastity Is Sexual Purity

In its simplest terms, living the law of chastity means you “do not have any sexual relations before marriage, and [you are] completely faithful to your spouse after marriage.”1

But being virtuous and chaste is about more than just sex. “Treat others with respect, not as objects used to satisfy lustful and selfish desires. Before 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 do anything else that arouses sexual feelings. Do not arouse those emotions in your own body.”2

Note that the Lord’s standards don’t change just because two people really like each other and both agree to the behavior. When you respect other people, the Lord, and yourself, you’ll keep the commandments—and that means no sexual relationships or arousing sexual feelings outside of marriage, period.

The Lord really is serious about this. “The prophet Alma taught that sexual sins are more serious than any other sins except murder and denying the Holy Ghost (see Alma 39:3–5).”3

If you’re still wondering what “passionate kissing” means, or what it means to “arouse sexual feelings,” talk to your parents, bishop, or another trusted adult. Conversations with them can help you understand proper and improper behavior and help you live a life of sexual purity.

When it comes to making decisions, seek the Spirit. Pray regularly to Heavenly Father. If you’re spiritually in tune, it’ll be a lot easier to make the right choices.

If you’ve committed any sexual transgression, seek help from your bishop and your parents, who will help you gain strength and peace as you repent. It may not be an easy process, but it is definitely worth it!

Feeling Attraction Is OK

You might wonder if it’s wrong to think somebody is attractive. Don’t get too anxious about it. That’s normal. Seriously!

But you do have to be careful with your thoughts. The Savior warned us, “Whosoever looketh on a woman [or man] to lust after her [or him] hath committed adultery … already in his [or her] heart” (Matthew 5:28). That means you need to control your thoughts and feelings and not let desires get carried away.

Here’s a key to help you: strive not to act selfishly. Don’t lust after someone, think about them inappropriately, or do things that arouse sexual feelings in yourself or others.4

That’s also why it’s so important not to engage in pornography or other degrading media. Those things are always selfish, always drive away the Spirit, and always tempt you into things you shouldn’t do.

But it doesn’t mean that having feelings toward someone or feeling attracted to someone makes you a bad person. In fact, feeling attraction is part of God’s plan and is a part of marriage. Husbands and wives who have healthy relationships feel strong attraction to each other and desire to serve and bless each other.

“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.”5

Physical Intimacy—at the Right Place and Time

Physical intimacy is something to look forward to within your future marriage. It’s sacred and beautiful.

As you strive to live a pure and virtuous life, you will feel closer to the influence of the Holy Ghost, you will feel better about yourself, and you will be prepared for wonderful blessings in the future.