There is a topic that has weighed heavily upon my mind and heart for the past few weeks. I have some dear friends whom I fear are playing with fire. The worst part is that they either don’t realize or won’t accept that they are. What am I talking about? I am talking about moral cleanliness which is threatened by the fire of unbridled passion.
I am, apparently, not the only one concerned about this. There are countless talks given by our Prophet and Apostles to the young adults of the church on this topic. In the October 1990 General Conference Elder M. Russell Ballard began his talk with,
“The leaders of the Church care so deeply about every one of you that I feel an urgent need to warn you once again of the consequences of moral misconduct… We are aware that the youth of the Church are growing up in a world that is plagued with teenage moral misconduct. We also know that sexual sin has increased tremendously during the past 20 years. Far too many young people have violated the law of chastity. Unfortunately, the youth of the Church are not immune…” (Purity Precedes Power, October 1990 General Conference, Elder M. Russell Ballard)
First, I want you to know that my friends are all good people. They were raised with good standards, and would never (I hope) consciously do something to jeopardize their eternal happiness. And yet, when I see them with their girlfriends/boyfriends, I am afraid of just that. It seems that each time I see them together they are engaging in behavior that they never would have deemed appropriate just weeks before. Yet, they don’t see anything wrong in what they are doing. When I tried to speak to them, they just responded by informing me that touch was his or her love language, and that, they haven’t crossed the line, so it is, okay. Then they finish by saying I’ll understand someday when I am finally in love.
I do understand, and that is why I am so concerned. Though most do not know this about me, touch is one of my main love languages, as well. However, it is because of this that touch evokes such powerful feelings in me, which I hold sacred and will not abuse by evoking inappropriately.
As for not crossing the line, we are given a line or standard, not so as to see how close we can get to it without crossing it, but so we can stay away from it. Commandments are for our protection. They keep us from pain if we will obey them and help us to have true and lasting happiness in this life. The closer we get to the line the more our perception and ability to think clearly are skewed. When this happens we lose self-control, and we become bound.
“Our youth seem confused about the definition of moral cleanliness. Some young men and women take a certain definition and then push it to its limits to see how far they can go without being immoral by that definition. … Because sexual intimacy is so sacred, the Lord requires self-control and purity before marriage, as well as, full fidelity after marriage. In dating, treat your date with respect, and expect your date to show that same respect to you. Never treat your date as an object to be used for your own lustful desires or ego. Improper physical contact can cause a loss of self-control. Always stay in control of yourself and your physical feelings” Away From the Blinding Dust, May New Era 1991, Elder M. Russell Ballard
Lastly, when I think about passion and love I think of the counsel given by the Prophet Alma to his son Shiblon,
“See that ye bridle all your passions, that ye may be filled with love.”Alma 38:12
He did not tell his son to suppress, ignore, or snuff out his passions. He did not say passion was wrong or evil. What he did say was that to be filled with love (and not lust which can only destroy) that we need to bridle (control or properly direct) our passions.
“Sometimes people try to convince themselves that sexual relations outside of marriage are acceptable if the participants love one another. This is not true. Breaking the law of chastity and encouraging someone else to do so is not an expression of love. People who love each other,will never endanger one another’s happiness and safety in exchange for temporary personal pleasure.
When people care for one another, enough to keep the law of chastity, their love, trust, and commitment increase, resulting in greater happiness and unity. In contrast, relationships built on sexual immorality sour quickly. Those who engage in sexual immorality often feel fear, guilt, and shame. Bitterness, jealousy, and hatred soon replace any positive feelings that once existed in their relationship.” Chastity, Gospel Library,
If any have gone too far (if you are not sure if your conduct has gone too far then talk to your bishop or branch president). Then there is still hope in the Atonement. The path to repentance and complete forgiveness in overcoming this sin is difficult, but doable. Go and talk to your Bishop or Branch President today, and he will help you to do so.