There are few things I feel more compelled to talk about these days than virtue and integrity. We are living in a world that seems devoid of both.
I’m involved as a volunteer for an organization to help people with questions and life’s problems. I answer letters they write to a website. Some of these letters break my heart. People of all ages write for advice about anything and everything. Unfortunately, a lot of them write for advice on how to solve problems they created in their own lives—a lot of them because they did not live virtuous lives and/or lives of integrity.
In 2018, it goes against the grain of society to live the law of chastity. I find that not only sad, but frustrating. My grandchildren are growing up in a world that sees no harm in throwing caution to the wind, living life in a carefree manner, with no concern about who is hurt in the process. If they manage to walk the narrow path themselves, the chances are still great that they will be hurt by someone else who strays from the covenant path. I don’t know how to protect them from that.
I’m also involved with a group of fine Latter-day Saint people who have spouses or other family members who are no longer on the covenant path. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t hear a sad story about a family in turmoil, or a family breaking up because someone found it too hard to live as our Heavenly Father has asked us to live.
We are a covenant-keeping people, but some have forgotten that making covenants is not the same as keeping them. The lack of virtue and integrity in the world around us seems to pull some of us down the rabbit hole. It’s like there is a huge vacuum sucking us down the hole—and we seem to give up without a fight.
A couple of years ago, I wrote a column here about marriage. After writing about marriage for a full year, I didn’t think I would ever find anything else to write about marriage. I was wrong. I’m seeing more and more families struggling because one party or both parties don’t understand the importance of virtue and integrity.
Chastity and fidelity are paramount to a good marriage. One would think that would be obvious, but apparently, it needs to be spelled out. Secrecy and lying have no place in a marriage. Again, you would think that would be obvious. Some of those letters I read and respond to as a volunteer make me want to reach through my computer screen and shake the writer. If you spend several years cheating and lying to a spouse, you will eventually end up suffering the consequences of a broken marriage. The saddest part of this is that I’m seeing letters from young people who are cheating and lying in their relationships because they have had no role model for a good marriage.
Integrity is important. If you tell someone you love them and will stand with them forever, mean it. If you don’t mean it, don’t say it. If you don’t intend to live a life of fidelity, don’t get married and have children.
Now, we all make mistakes. When you make a mistake, there is a repentance process. Use the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ to make things right. Own up to your mistakes. Lying about them only compounds the problem. Be willing to accept the consequences for your actions. If you don’t, the consequences will just compound. It’s like the income tax that you decide not to pay—eventually, the late fees and interest will bankrupt you. Don’t be spiritually bankrupt and lose your marriage and your family because you refuse to own up to your mistakes.
I’ve written this article in very blunt language. In 2018, blunt language is the only way I can write about this topic. Our leaders have been equally forthright on the subject of chastity and fidelity for quite some time.
[A]dults and children need to know that public and private morality is not outmoded. We need to love our children enough to teach them that laws, policies, and public programs with a moral and ethical basis are necessary for the preservation of a peaceful, productive, compassionate, and happy society. Without the qualities and characteristics of integrity, honesty, commitment, loyalty, respect for others, fidelity, and virtue, a free and open society cannot endure.
. . . By the word of the Lord, all men and women are to practice chastity before marriage and fidelity after marriage. “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” said the Lord (Ex. 20:14), “nor do anything like unto it” (D&C 59:6). The Apostle Paul was more explicit in his epistle to the Corinthians (see 1 Cor. 6:9), as was Alma in the Book of Mormon (see Alma 39:1–13). (James E. Faust, “Will I Be Happy?”, Apr. 1987 General Conference).
May we each take stock of our lives and recommit ourselves to living with virtue and integrity. Let us be a covenant-keeping people.
Tudie Rose is a mother of four and grandmother of ten in Sacramento, California. You can find her on Twitter as @TudieRose. She blogs as Tudie Rose at http://potrackrose.wordpress.com. She has written articles for Familius. You will find a Tudie Rose essay in Lessons from My Parents, Michele Robbins, Familius 2013, at http://www.familius.com/lessons-from-my-parents#.UYPhA6K.