Paragraph 4Procreation and Sexual Intimacy
“The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.”
A CLOSER LOOK
Gen. 2:28 (Moses 2:28; Abr. 4:28)
God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.
Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living; for thus have I, the Lord God, called the first of all women, which are many.
Adam knew his wife, and she bare unto him sons and daughters, and they began to multiply and to replenish the earth. And from that time forth, the sons and daughters of Adam began to divide two and two in the land, … and they also begat sons and daughters.
Remember that the adversary sponsors a cunning plan of his own. It invariably attacks God’s first commandment for husband and wife to beget children. It tempts with tactics that include infidelity, unchastity, and other abuses of procreative power.
President Russell M. Nelson, “Constancy Amid Change,” General Conference, October 1993
“Many voices in the world today marginalize the importance of having children or suggest delaying or limiting children in a family. … Having young children is not easy. Many days are just difficult. … As the world increasingly asks, “Are these all yours?” we thank you for creating within the Church a sanctuary for families, where we honor and help mothers with children.”
Elder Neil A. Anderson, “Children,” General Conference, October 2011.
Perhaps we should define helpmeet. You must not misunderstand what the Lord meant when Adam was told he was to have a helpmeet. A helpmeet is a companion suited to or equal to us. We walk side by side with a helpmeet, not one before or behind the other. A helpmeet results in an absolute equal partnership between a husband and a wife. Eve was to be equal to Adam as a husband and wife are to be equal to each other.
Adam was still in the Garden of Eden when the Lord declared that he was to have a helpmeet. He had not yet partaken of the fruit of the tree that would result in expulsion from the Garden of Eden and eventual physical death. Accordingly, Adam received his helpmeet for eternity. This was not a casual relationship. This was a covenant relationship.
Elder Earl C. Tingey, “The Simple Truths from Heaven–The Lord’s Pattern,” BYU Devotional, January 2008.
In contrast to much of the popular discourse that typically emphasizes the stress and strain of motherhood, mothers reported strikingly high levels of satisfaction with their lives as mothers. This was true when we asked about overall satisfaction with life as a mother, with nearly 81% of respondents agreeing that they are “very” satisfied. … Although levels of satisfaction appear to increase with income and education—and to be higher for married mothers and those with high levels of religious involvement—satisfaction was generally high for mothers across the entire sample.
Erickson, M., & Aird, E., The Motherhood Study: Fresh Insights on Mothers’ Attitudes and Concerns (University of Minnesota, University of Connecticut, and the Institute for American Values), 2005
Research on fertility gaps indicates that if experiences are perceived as predominantly positive then people are more likely to … consider going beyond the first and second child. If people can have, or perceive that it is possible to have, better experiences of childbearing and early childrearing then this may help create societies in which parenting, and parenting larger families, are more widely seen as desirable and achievable.
Newman, L., “How Parenthood Experiences Influence Desire for More Children in Australia: A Qualitative Study,” Journal of Population Research (Canberra, ACT) 25:1 (2008), p. 1–27.
Parenthood is not the end to which conjugal communion is [merely] instrumental; conjugal communion is intrinsically good. But conjugal communion is designed to be, and normally is, an intrinsically good part of a larger, intrinsically good whole: the family.
Germain Grisez, The Way of the Lord Jesus, 3. vols.; vol. 2, Living a Christian Life [Chicago: Franciscan, 1993] 569.
God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.
They twain shall be one flesh, and all this that the earth might answer the end of its creation; and that it might be filled with the measure of man, according to his creation before the world was made.
As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them.
2 Ne. 2:19–23
Adam and Eve … brought forth children; yea, even the family of all the earth. … If Adam had not transgressed, … he would have remained in the garden of Eden. … And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy.
Our glorious Mother Eve, with many of her faithful daughters, … lived through the ages and worshiped the true and living God.
Eve, his wife, heard all these things and was glad, saying: Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient.
Thou shalt be blessed above all people: there shall not be male or female barren among you.
He maketh the barren woman … to be a joyful mother of children. Praise ye the LORD.
1 Ne. 17:1–2
Our women did bear children in the wilderness. And so great were the blessings of the Lord upon us.
She watched over the bed of her husband. … And as he arose, he stretched forth his hand unto the woman, and said: … Blessed art thou. For as sure as thou livest, behold, I have seen my Redeemer; and he shall come forth, and be born of a woman. … And the queen also sunk down, being overpowered by the Spirit.
“Physical intimacy is not only a symbolic union between a husband and a wife—the very uniting of their souls—but it is also symbolic of a shared relationship between them and their Father in Heaven. …
“… At such moments we not only acknowledge His divinity but we quite literally take something of that divinity to ourselves. One aspect of that divinity given to virtually all men and women is the use of His power to create … a child, your child—with eyes and ears and fingers and toes and a future of unspeakable grandeur. …
“… You and I have been given something of that godliness, but under the most serious and sacred of restrictions. The only control placed upon us is self-control—self-control born of respect for the divine sacramental power this gift represents.”
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “Personal Purity,” Ensign, Nov. 1998, 77.
“Sexual relations are ‘one of the ultimate expressions of our divine nature.’ Our proper expression of sexuality makes it possible for God’s plan to unfold on earth and in the eternities, qualifying us to become like our Heavenly Father. God promises eternal life for the faithful that includes eternal marriage, children, and all other blessings of an eternal family.”
Elder Dale G. Renlund and Ruth Lybbert Renlund, “The Divine Purposes of Sexual Intimacy,” Ensign, Aug. 2020, 16–17.
Birth Control; Contraception; Population Decline
Some years ago, one of our young married daughters and her husband asked Sister Rasband and me a very important, life-influencing question: “Is it still safe and wise to bring children into this seemingly wicked and frightening world we live in?”
Now, that was an important question for a mom and dad to consider with their dear married children. We could hear the fear in their voices and feel the fear in their hearts. Our answer to them was a firm “Yes, it’s more than OK,” as we shared fundamental gospel teachings and our own heartfelt impressions and life experiences. …
They seriously considered our conversation that night; they prayed and fasted and came to their own conclusions. Happily and joyfully for them and for us, the grandparents, they have now been blessed with seven beautiful children as they go forward in faith and love. …
Take heart, brothers and sisters. Yes, we live in perilous times, but as we stay on the covenant path, we need not fear. I bless you that as you do so, you will not be troubled by the times in which we live or the troubles that come your way. I bless you to choose to stand in holy places and be not moved. I bless you to believe in the promises of Jesus Christ, that He lives and that He is watching over us, caring for us and standing by us.
Elder Ronald A. Rasband, “Be Not Troubled,” General Conference, October 2018.
“The proclamation is direct: “We declare the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed. We affirm the sanctity of life and of its importance in God’s eternal plan.” Our Father’s plan encourages a husband and wife to bring children into the world and obligates us to speak in defense of the unborn.”
Elder Neil L. Anderson, “The Eye of Faith,” General Conference, April 2019.
“Heavenly Father would not command men and women to marry and to multiply and replenish the earth if the children they invited into mortality would deplete the earth. Since there is enough and to spare, the enemy of human happiness as well as the cause of poverty and starvation is not the birth of children. It is the failure of people to do with the earth what God could teach them to do if only they would ask and then obey.”
President Henry B. Eyring, “The Family,” Ensign, February 1998.
The things women can and should do very best are championed and taught without apology here. We believe in the formation of eternal families. That means we believe in getting married. We know that the commandment to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. That means we believe in having children. We have faith that with the Lord’s help we can be successful in rearing and teaching children. These are vital responsibilities in the plan of happiness, and when women embrace those roles with all their hearts, they are happy! Knowing and defending the truth about families is the privilege of every sister in this Church.
Julie B. Beck, “What Latter-day Saint Women Do Best: Stand Strong and Immovable,” General Conference October 2007.
“Young mothers and fathers, with all my heart I counsel you not to postpone having your children, being co-creators with our Father in heaven. … Blessed is the husband and wife who have a family of children. The deepest joys and blessings in life are associated with family, parenthood, and sacrifice. To have those sweet spirits come into the home is worth practically any sacrifice.”
President Ezra Taft Benson, “To the Mothers in Zion,” Fireside for Parents, February 22, 1987.
We realize that some women, through no fault of their own, are not able to bear children. To these lovely sisters, every prophet of God has promised that they will be blessed with children in the eternities and that posterity will not be denied them.
Through pure faith, pleading prayers, fasting, and special priesthood blessings, many of these same lovely sisters, with their noble companions at their sides have had miracles take place in their lives and have been blessed with children. Others have prayerfully chosen to adopt children, and to these wonderful couples we salute you for the sacrifices and love you have given to those children you have chosen to be your own.
President Ezra Taft Benson, “To the Mothers in Zion,” Fireside for Parents, February 22, 1987.
“Let me here say a word to console the feelings and hearts of … all who belong to this church. Many of the sisters grieve because they are not blessed with offspring. … Be faithful, and if you are not blest with children in this time, you will be hereafter.”
President Brigham Young, “Remarks,” Deseret News, Nov. 28, 1860, 306.
Sexual Complementarity for Procreative Purposes
Marriage is a comprehensive union of two sexually complementary persons who seal (consummate or complete) their relationship by the generative act—by the kind of activity that is by its nature fulfilled by the conception of a child. So marriage itself is oriented to and fulfilled by the bearing, rearing, and education of children. The procreative-type act distinctively seals or completes a procreative-type union. …
Given the marital relationship’s natural orientation to children, it is not surprising that, according to the best available sociological evidence, children fare best on virtually every indicator of well-being when reared by their wedded biological parents. Studies that control for other relevant factors, including poverty and even genetics, suggest that children reared in intact homes fare best on the following indices.
George, R., Girgis, S., & Anderson, R. (2010, December 17). The Argument Against Gay Marriage: And Why it Doesn’t Fail. Retrieved from https://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2010/12/2217/
Birth Control; Contraception; Population Decline
Data shows that very low fertility rates are becoming increasingly normal across the globe. Current declines are probably not just cyclical, but likely reflect a “new normal” with most countries having birth rates between 1.4 and 1.9 children per woman.
Presenting 61 countries’ fertility rates in a single graph is not feasible. Instead, below shows the average annual change in each country’s birth rate from 2007 to the latest data (2017, 2018, or 2019) for a variety of countries, grouped by various regional or historic ties. The groups are arranged from left to right, with the highest fertility region as of 2007 (the Middle East and North Africa) at the left, and the lowest-fertility region as of 2007 (East Asia) at the right.
As the figure shows, fertility fell the most in the highest-fertility regions, and it rose somewhat in lower-fertility regions. Put in statistical terms, the amount of variation among these 61 countries declined by half between 2007 and 2019. This was not only because of fertility declines among very-high-fertility countries, what demographers call “demographic transition,” but also because of modest fertility increases in low-fertility countries, and declines in medium-fertility countries.
Stone, L., Dr. (2019, October 15). A ‘New’ Normal? An Updated Look at Fertility Trends Across the Globe. Retrieved from https://ifstudies.org/blog/a-new-normal-an-updated-look-at-fertility-trends-across-the-globe
The total fertility rate for the world as a whole fell from around 5 live births per woman in 1950-1955 to 2.5 births in 2010-2015. As a result of this global transition, an increasing share of the world’s population now lives in countries where total fertility has fallen below the replacement level of approximately 2.1 live births per woman over a lifetime; at this level of fertility, each generation of parents exactly replaces itself with an equivalent number of children who survive to adulthood, ensuring a long-term growth rate of zero.
The data used for this analysis are from United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2017), World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision, New York: United Nations. The publication is accessible online (see https://esa.un.org/unpd/wpp/Download/Standard/Fertility/).
Some may consider below replacement fertility and the ensuing population decline as a positive development because it may lead to a reduced need for, and to an actual lower consumption of, resources, such as food, fuels, and housing (Grossman, 2017). However, population decline is necessarily accompanied by profound changes in the age structure, and by a considerable increase in the share of old people that, too, has its costs. …
The social and economic costs of such an abrupt change in such a historically short time are difficult to evaluate: its impact on the pension and health system, family structures, labor productivity, etc., is enormous. Japan, [for example,] followed by many other countries, is heading towards a path never experienced in human history, and that appears to be full of unknowns.
The general world trend is for a continued fertility decline and for an increasing share of countries joining those with below replacement fertility. When this decline is fast, profound or prolonged, the consequences may be difficult to handle.
Frejka, T., “Half the world’s population reaching below replacement fertility,” N-IUSSP, 4 Dec 2017. Retrieved from https://www.niussp.org/article/half-the-worlds-population-reaching-below-replacement-fertility/.
Grant, D. (2019, October 13). Population decline in Central and Eastern Europe. Retrieved from https://globalriskinsights.com/2019/10/population-decline-in-central-and-eastern-europe/
Many studies have found that as older adults age, their social networks shrink due to less contact with co-workers and friends. … This means that they often rely heavily on family members for help with health problems, economic insecurity, and social interaction. Recent research on the characteristics of older adults in the United States with no living kin has found that they tend to be disadvantaged in terms of health and economic security. …
The demographic changes that have led to an increasing population of kinless older adults in the United States—low fertility, childlessness and increases in non-marriage and divorce—are also occurring elsewhere in the world. …
3.8% of the adults 50+ (43.6 million) in the countries we examined do not have a spouse or biological children. As global fertility decline continues, and childlessness and non-marriage continue to spread throughout many global regions, we will likely see more older adults lacking spouses and children. … The rise of older adults with no close family members presents challenges [for the future of civilization].
Margolis, R., & Verdery, A., “Demographic change and aging without family: A global perspective,” N-IUSSP, 9 Dec 2019. Retrieved from https://www.niussp.org/article/demographic-change-and-aging-without-family-a-global-perspective/
The number of births in the US dropped by 2 percent between 2017 and 2018, to 59 births per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44, continuing a general downturn that started with the Great Recession of 2008. It’s the lowest number of births in 32 years. The fertility rate in 2018 dropped to an all-time low of 1.72 (replacement fertility rate is 2.1).
Julia Belluz, The historically low birthrate, explained in 3 charts, Vox, 13 Jan 2020; citing National Vital Statistics Program, Natality.
The percentage of 25- to 34-year-olds with no children more than doubled since 1967.
Emily Schondelmyer, No Kids in the House: A Historical Look at Adults Living Without Children, United States Census Bureau, Census.gov, 20 Dec 2016.
The proportion of people of working age in the European Union-27 is shrinking while the relative number of those retired is expanding. The share of older persons in the total population will increase significantly in the coming decades. This will, in turn, lead to an increased burden on those of working age to provide for the social expenditure required by the ageing population for a range of related services.
Eurostat “Population Structure and Aging,” August 2020. Retrieved from https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Population_structure_and_ageing
My wife, Gennie, and I always wanted a lot of kids. Always. But after a year of trying, we met the medical definition for infertility.
At first, there was a lot of prayer. Every night we would hold hands and ask Heavenly Father to bless us with the child we had prepared for our whole lives. We fasted every month, sometimes more. Every month we weren’t pregnant was even harder. Not only was there no child for us to love, it seemed there was no answer to our prayers. It felt like God had heard us asking for what we had wanted our whole lives, and He had said no.
We began to question our worthiness. It was easy to believe He had kept His spirit children to be born into more faithful households.
Attending church became difficult. It was hard to hear about how others’ prayers had been answered, and how much Heavenly Father loved them.
Two things kept us going. First, we had made covenants to the Lord and to each other when we were sealed in the temple. We belonged with each other, and we were determined to be together both now and in the eternities.
The second was our ward family. We were blessed to have leaders who knew infertility personally. Gennie had a ministering sister who also had experienced infertility and talked openly about the difficulties of being childless at church. We were struggling, but we knew others in our Church community had fought the same struggle.
We still don’t have a lot of answers. We still don’t have children, even after working with medical professionals. We don’t know Heavenly Father’s reasons, but because we have our covenants, and because we have a ward family that accepted and supported us, we’ve had the time to develop more patience and faith (see Hebrews 12:12–13).
We look forward to being parents. And while we wait for that happy day, we have a place to belong here in the Church.
Ensign, September 2020
I joined the Church at age 16 and at 17, against all odds, left England for America to escape a life of poverty. I was completely alone and frightened, but I was determined. I had one plan: to become rich and famous. A few years before, I had seen a documentary about orphanages in Romania that deeply impacted my young, fierce heart. I was no stranger to childhood trauma, so I set a goal to get enough money to fund an orphanage and truly make a difference in the world.
I couldn’t have known then how different my life would turn out. I got married at age 25, and my husband soon joined the Church. By then I had managed to become quite successful, but I was still looking for true “success” (or at least what I thought was success at the time: fame and fortune). I longed to make a big difference. Strangely enough, I didn’t want to get pregnant, but I had a strong feeling that we shouldn’t do anything to prevent pregnancy. It turned out that my feeling was right because after about a year, nothing had happened.
Growing up, I always loved children, even though my plans didn’t include having more than one or two of my own in the far distant future. I didn’t think I’d be too disappointed if I couldn’t have children at all, but when suddenly faced with that very real possibility, I was devastated.
Over the next two years, I became angry, resentful, and desperate. Ironically, “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” came out around the time I got married, and that message increasingly affected me in a negative way because I felt like I couldn’t fulfill my duty to have children. When my husband and I visited doctors, they couldn’t find any reason for the infertility. It seemed so unfair. I wondered why God had done this to me. Little did I know, my heart was changing. I had always been hyper-focused on success, but now, for the first time in my life, my heart wanted a baby more than anything else.
Continue reading the story in the September 2020 Ensign.
Though a male and a female are complete individuals with respect to other functions … with respect to reproduction they are only potential parts of a mated pair, which is the complete organism capable of reproducing sexually. Even if the mated pair is sterile, intercourse, provided it is the reproductive behavior characteristic of the species, makes the copulating male and female one organism.
Germain Grisez, The Way of the Lord Jesus, 3. vols.; vol. 2, Living a Christian Life [Chicago: Franciscan, 1993] 569.
See also paragraph 7, sentence C [Children within matrimony].
Between Husband and Wife
Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
Gen. 4:1, 25
Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived. … And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son.
1 Pet. 3:1–2
If any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; while they behold your chaste conversation.
We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men.
First, … God created ‘male and female,’ and that this ‘binary creation is essential to the plan of salvation.’ Second, modern revelation teaches that eternal life, the greatest gift of God to His children, is only possible through the creative powers inherent in the combination of male and female joined in an eternal marriage (see Doctrine and Covenants 132:19). That is why the law of chastity is so important.
President Dallin H. Oaks, Church News, “General Conference Leadership Meetings Begin,” October 2, 2019.
“Heavenly Father intends that sexual relations in marriage be used to create children and to express love and strengthen the emotional, spiritual, and physical connections between husband and wife. … Obeying the law of chastity includes abstaining from all sexual relations before marriage and remaining completely faithful and loyal after marriage. Sexual relations are to be limited to marriage between a man and a woman. Heavenly Father intends that sexual relations in marriage be used to create children and to express love and strengthen the emotional, spiritual, and physical connections between husband and wife. In marriage, sexual intimacy should unite wife and husband together in trust, devotion, and consideration for each other.”
Elder Dale G. Renlund, “The Divine Purposes of Sexual Intimacy,” Ensign, August 2020.
Outside of Marriage
1 Thes. 4:3; 5:22
This is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication. … Abstain from all appearance of evil.
1 Jn. 2:16
All that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
Every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Do not err, my beloved brethren.
1 Cor. 6:13–20
The body is not for fornication, but for the Lord. … Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. … Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, … and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
Matt. 18:6 (Mark 9:42; Luke 17:2)
Whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
Lev. 18:6–24 (also 1 Cor. 5)
None of you shall approach to any that is near of kin to him, to uncover their nakedness. … Thou shalt not lie carnally with thy neighbour’s wife, to defile thyself with her. … Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind. … Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith. … Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things.
The men of Sodom … called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them.
God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. … They did not like to retain God in their knowledge, … being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, … without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, … who knowing the judgment of God, … not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
1 Cor. 6:9
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind.
1 Tim. 1:9–10
The law is [made] for the lawless, … for whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind.
2 Tim. 3:1–6
In the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, … proud, … unholy, without natural affection, … incontinent, … lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
Rom. 6:12–16 (also Gal. 5:16–17)
Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, … and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. … To whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness.
1 Pet. 2:11
Abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.
Alma 39:3–5, 8–9
Thou didst do that which was grievous unto me; for thou didst [go] after the harlot Isabel. Yea, she did steal away the hearts of many; but this was no excuse for thee, my son. … Know ye not, my son, that these things are an abomination in the sight of the Lord; yea, most abominable above all sins save it be the shedding of innocent blood or denying the Holy Ghost? … Ye cannot hide your crimes from God. … Repent and forsake your sins, and go no more after the lusts of your eyes.
I [warned] them against fornication and lasciviousness, and every kind of sin, telling them the awful consequences of them.
This walk requires us to seek divine inspiration on what to support and what to oppose and how to love and listen respectfully and teach in the process. Our walk demands that we not compromise on commandments but show forth a full measure of understanding and love. Our walk must be considerate of children who are uncertain about their sexual orientation, but it discourages premature labeling because, in most children, such uncertainty decreases significantly over time. Our walk opposes recruitment away from the covenant path, and it denies support to any who lead people away from the Lord. In all of this we remember that God promises hope and ultimate joy and blessings for all who keep His commandments. … Mothers and fathers and all of us are responsible to teach both of the two great commandments.
President Dallin H. Oaks, “Two Great Commandments,” General Conference, October 2019.
I pray that wherever we are and whatever duties we have, … we will be united … and that we will encourage people we love to be cleansed from sin and to be happy with us in the kingdom of God.
President Henry B. Eyring, “We are One,” General Conference, April 2013.
Whether we like it or not, so many of the difficulties which beset the family today stem from the breaking of the seventh commandment (see Ex. 20:14). Total chastity before marriage and total fidelity after are still the standard from which there can be no deviation without sin, misery, and unhappiness. The breaking of the seventh commandment usually means the breaking of one or more homes.
President Spencer W. Kimball, “Families Can Be Eternal,” Ensign, November 1980.
There is a practice, now quite prevalent, for unmarried couples to live together, a counterfeit of marriage. They suppose that they shall have all that marriage can offer without the obligations connected with it. However much they hope to find in a relationship of that kind, they will lose more. Living together without marriage destroys something inside all who participate.
President Boyd K. Packer, “Marriage,” Ensign, May 1981.
No, we do not accept the fact that conditions [genetic influence] that prevent people from attaining their eternal destiny were born into them without any ability to control.
Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “Interview with Elder Dallin H. Oaks and Elder Lance B. Wickman: “Same-Gender Attraction,” LDS Newsroom.
See also paragraph 7, sentence C [Children within matrimony].
Between Husband and Wife
Apart from its procreative aspect, natural marriage is important for another reason: Men and women are different, not just in morphology (form) or physiognomy (appearance), but also neurologically and emotionally. They complement one another as persons, even as they complement one another as sexual partners … [it’s] born-out in hard science. …
Human biology and physiology also make it plain that men and women are created to mate and reproduce. Complementarity seems self-evidently biological; explanations of such things as heterosexual intercourse, conception, or birth only serve to vindicate and illustrate it.
Schwarzwalder, R. (2013). Complementarity in Marriage: What it is and Why it Matters. [Issue analysis]. The Family Research Council, retrieved from https://downloads.frc.org/EF/EF13J39.pdf
Outside of Marriage
Many young people are attracted to cohabitation prior to marriage because they believe that it acts as a “test drive.” It is supposedly a way to lessen the risk and chance of divorce. In fact, many of our best and brightest minds in the social sciences back in the 1980s were claiming that we would see a huge reduction in the divorce rate because of the increase in cohabitation. They believed cohabitation would act as a sort of Darwinian “survival of the fittest” mechanism that would weed out the weak relationships and only the strongest would survive into marriage—and divorce rates would thereby decline. This line of thinking is widely believed to be logical. On the surface, the test-drive idea sounds quite logical—you wouldn’t buy a car without test-driving it, right?
But that principle doesn’t apply to marriage, and it doesn’t fit the Lord’s pattern. … As a second witness of this truth, over 30 years of studies have shown that the opposite of what researchers had anticipated is true: cohabitation before marriage has historically been associated with greater odds of divorce. And while some of the newer studies show that there may be a weakening of this association, no study to date has ever shown cohabitation to act as a buffer against divorce.
Jason S. Carroll, “Delaying Marriages: The Trends and the Consequences,” Ensign March 2017.
I have often heard many say that the young adult stage of life is the time to experiment sexually … The claim is that such an approach is supposed to help people be ready eventually to “settle down” in marriage.
But a growing body of evidence shows us that quite the opposite is happening. What we see is that such patterns do not get promiscuity “out of your system,” but rather they get unchaste attitudes and behaviors into one’s system—which doesn’t help anyone want to settle down. Dozens of studies have shown that those with higher patterns of sexual promiscuity and more sexual partners actually have a higher likelihood of divorce, not lower, when they marry. Again, a paradox—the apparent logic doesn’t fit and doesn’t work.
The “sexual chemistry” paradox is an extension of this distorted way of thinking. This is the belief that one needs to test sexual chemistry within a relationship—that the couple shouldn’t move to later stages of commitment until they’ve tested and made sure that the chemistry is a strong and compatible part of their relationship.
Again the research shows that a pattern of sexual restraint—keeping sexual relations within the full commitment of marriage—creates patterns where we see higher-quality marriages and less risk of these relationships dissolving.
Jason S. Carroll, “Delaying Marriages: The Trends and the Consequences,” Ensign March 2017. See Dean M. Busby, Brian J. Willoughby, and Jason S. Carroll, “Sowing Wild Oats: Valuable Experience or a Field Full of Weeds?” Personal Relationships, vol. 20, no. 4 (Dec. 2013): 706–18; and Dean M. Busby, Jason S. Carroll, and Brian J. Willoughby, “Compatibility or Restraint? The Effects of Sexual Timing on Marriage Relationships,” Journal of Family Psychology, vol. 24, no. 6 (Dec. 2010), 766–74; Sharon Sassler, Fenaba R. Addo, and Daniel T. Lichter, “The Tempo of Sexual Activity and Later Relationship Quality,” Journal of Marriage and Family, vol. 74, no. 4 (Aug. 2012), 708–25.
“The data show (see chart below) that central to sexuality is an ethos of chastity, necessary for marital unity and stability and out of which flow myriad benefits. … We have to be able to make the argument for teaching chastity as a way of life, not as a “risk reduction strategy”. Chaste family life is easy to defend in the public debate because it is far superior to all other ways, by any measure of human thriving. Teenagers (who have yet to experience life and learn its hard lessons by experience) need to understand that there are lifelong consequences for “sowing wide oats”, as the most important chart in all the social sciences makes clear:
[Youth] need to be very familiar with the data (with the lessons of life experience) that the totally monogamous couple (only sexual partner ever: their spouse) is the least likely to divorce – by far. And that one third of women who have had only one other sexual partner (normally before marriage) are likely to divorce within five years, and that those who had two such sexual partners (other than their husband – again most likely before marriage) have a fifty percent chance of divorce within five years — and that half of their children will be raised without their father present.
Chastity may be difficult but it is central to a family-centered life. And it is also central to justice for children.”
Fagan, P. (23 Jun, 2017). “Chastity and Freedom,” The Marriage and Religion Research Institute.
Parents have a tremendous amount of influence over the sexual choices their child will make. According to social science research:
• Children are less likely to become sexually active at an early age if their parents maintain a relationship of attachment, involvement, and communication with them.
• The more education parents have the more likely they will discourage early initiation of sexual activity for their adolescent children.
• A father’s involvement with his children discourages adolescent sexual activity for boys and a mother’s involvement lowers it for girls.
• The higher the level of parents’ education, the less likely are their children to become teenage parents.
See Patrick F. Fagan and D. Paul Sullins, “Females Who Had Sexual Intercourse before Turning 18” Available at http://www.frc.org/mappingamerica/mapping-america-96-females-under-the-ageof-18-at-first-sexual-intercourse-3-charts; and Bruce J. Ellis et al., “Does Father Absence Place Daughters at Special Risk for Early Sexual Activity and Teenage Pregnancy?” Child Development 74 (2003): 801-821.
In a historic review of 200 peer reviewed articles, the former chief of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, along with psychiatrists and geneticists at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and School of Medicine, and the Mayo Clinic challenge the leading narratives that the media has pushed regarding sexual orientation and gender identity. Co-authored by two of the nation’s leading scholars on mental health and sexuality, the 143-page report discusses over 200 peer-reviewed studies in the biological, psychological, and social sciences, painstakingly documenting what scientific research shows and does not show about sexuality and gender. The major takeaway, as the editor of the journal explains, is that “some of the most frequently heard claims about sexuality and gender are not supported by scientific evidence.”
The report concluded the following:
- The belief that sexual orientation is an innate, biologically fixed human property—that people are ‘born that way’—is not supported by scientific evidence.
- The report notes that scientific evidence does not support the claim that people are “born that way” with respect to sexual orientation. The narrative pushed by Lady Gaga and others is not supported by the science. A combination of biological, environmental, and experiential factors likely account for an individual’s sexual attractions, desires, and identity, and “there are no compelling causal biological explanations for human sexual orientation.”
- The scientific research shows that sexual orientation is more fluid than the media suggests. The report notes that “Longitudinal studies of adolescents suggest that sexual orientation may be quite fluid over the life course for some people, with one study estimating that as many as 80 percent of male adolescents who report same-sex attractions no longer do so as adults.”
Mayer, L. and McHugh, P., executive summary,”Sexuality and Gender: Findings from the Biological, Psychological, and Social Sciences,” The New Atlantis, n. 50 (Fall 2016), p. 7–9.
According to the APA Handbook, “[W]e are far from identifying potential genes that may explain not just male homosexuality but also female homosexuality” (Rosario & Scrimshaw 2014, v. 1, p. 579). The inconvenient reality … is that social behaviors are always jointly determined by nature, nurture, and opportunity.”
Kleinplatz & Diamond, APA Handbook, v. 1 (2014), p. 256–257.
God designed sex for the male and female, and the beauty of the plan is displayed more profoundly when the failures of not following it are staggeringly obvious. Christians must live as God designed so that we can demonstrate the goodness and beauty of sexuality. We can witness what God has told us about sexuality as He’s designed it.
Penner, M. (2017, November 17). “The Pragmatic Benefits of God-Given Sexual Boundaries.”
Sex is a river of fire that must be banked and cooled by a hundred restraints if it is not to consume in chaos both the individual and the group.
Will and Ariel Durant, The Lessons of History (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1968).
Acts that fulfill the behavioral conditions of procreation are acts of the reproductive kind even where the nonbehavioral conditions of procreation do not obtain. Insofar as the point of sexual intercourse is marital union, the partners achieve the desired unity (become “two-in-one-flesh”) precisely insofar as they mate or, if you will, perform the type of act on which the gift of a child may supervene what traditional law and philosophy have always referred to interchangeably as “the act of generation” and “the conjugal act.
Robert P. George, “What Marriage is and What it Isn’t.” Retrieved from https://www.firstthings.com/article/2009/08/what-marriage-is-and-what-it-isnt