In the August 2020 Ensign, Elder and Sister Renlund wrote a landmark article about the why’s behind some of the most talked about (and potentially confusing) subjects: human sexuality and sexual intimacy. Here are a few main takeaways from the Renlunds on why these things are such a big deal–and why they play such a big role in paragraphs 7 and 8 of “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.”
- As with other commandments, the law is given by Heavenly Father to bless and help His children achieve their divine potential. 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.
- We may wonder, though, “Why should I obey the law of chastity? Why does God care about my moral behavior?” To answer these questions, God has revealed doctrine that, if correctly understood, will motivate us to keep the law of chastity and choose to express our sexuality within the boundaries He has set. As with all of God’s commandments, the law of chastity is best understood within the context of Heavenly Father’s plan of salvation and exaltation (see Alma 12:32). Obedience to the law of chastity will bring extraordinary blessings.
- All human beings are beloved spirit sons or daughters of heavenly parents with a divine nature and eternal destiny. The reason we have bodies is to build on that divine nature so we can ultimately realize our eternal destiny.
- We were created by loving heavenly parents to grow up to become like them. Male and female spirits were created to complement each other. That is why gender is not fluid in the eternities—because it provides the basis for the ultimate gift Heavenly Father can give, His kind of life.
- For us to realize this blessing, Heavenly Father commanded that sexual intimacy is to be reserved for marriage between a man and a woman. Marriage was intended by God “to mean the complete merger of a man and a woman—their hearts, hopes, lives, love, family, future, everything … to be ‘one flesh’ in their life together.” We cannot achieve the kind of life our Heavenly Father enjoys by ourselves or without a complete commitment to fidelity within a marriage to our husband or wife according to God’s plan.
- God’s laws are not negotiable. He allows us to disregard them, but we are not free to create our own rules for the eternities any more than a person is free to create his or her personalized laws for physics. God wants us to be a qualified heir in His kingdom. To expect His heavenly inheritance while following a different course than He has outlined is naïve.
- Obeying the law of chastity is one way we demonstrate that we are willing to do whatever it takes to receive all the extraordinary blessings associated with eternal families.
- Not all Heavenly Father’s children have the opportunity in this life to experience sexual intimacy in married relationships according to God’s law. Some will not have the opportunity to marry. Others are convinced that their unique circumstances make living the law of chastity so challenging and unfair that they can choose to ignore it. Fairness, however, must be judged from an eternal perspective, from that of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
- Ultimately, nothing compares to the infinite unfairness the Savior endured. Yet, if we are faithful, He will compensate us for any unfairness we experience, and we will achieve a state of never-ending happiness. As we choose to keep the commandments of God, including the law of chastity, we will experience joy and “peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come” (Doctrine and Covenants 59:23) because we will be part of an eternal family, with ancestors and posterity. As husband and wife are eternally sealed together by priesthood authority, they will be exalted and have a fulness of glory and eternal progeny.
- God’s laws are designed for our ultimate happiness. He wants us to use our bodies and sexuality in ways He has ordained so that we can become like Him. We have been blessed in our marriage with mutual trust as we live the law of chastity. Our confidence in each other and in our Heavenly Father has grown as we have kept this commandment. God’s plan is the only path that enables the fullest measure of joy. We promise that you too can know that God loves you and that you will be eternally blessed as you live His commandments.
Don’t forget to check out our latest podcast on how everyone fits into “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.” The interview is with a young adult who remembers what it was like to be a 30 year-old, unmarried “menace to society” and shares what NOT to say to those in the dating phase in the latest episode of the “Raising Family” podcast.