Parents: Teaching Chastity and Fidelity

Dinner Topics for Tuesday

Richard and Linda Eyre

Parenting Value for December: Chastity and Fidelity, Part 1

General Methods for teaching chastity and fidelity

momdaughterwillowMake your own example of fidelity as obvious and noticeable as possible. You can help your children see the importance that you place on this value as well as the happiness and security it gives you. Talk about commitment in personal terms. If you are a two-parent family, point out how the two of you belong to each other so that you don’t need any other man or woman. Try to let children see the basic physical signs of love and commitment, such as holding hands or a kiss as you leave for work.

Make sex and sexual maturity an open topic in your family. Maximize the number of opportunities you have to comment on the logic and benefits of chastity and fidelity and to permit concerns and problems to surface early rather than late. With children over eight (assuming that you have had your initial talk with them as suggested), do all you can to make sex an open and agreeable subject rather than something that is secret or off-limits or silly or embarrassing. It may seem difficult and unnatural at first, but these feelings are a sign that the subject needs opening up. Things you observe on television, movies, and music – or in article or books – or in styles of dress – all present potential opportunities to make comments about what you think is appropriate or not appropriate, what things are moral in the sense that they help and what things are immoral (or amoral) in the sense they may hurt someone physically, mentally, or emotionally.

Look for chances to discuss the behavior of young adolescents (your children’s acquaintances) and bring up the possible connections of that behavior to hormones and the effects of puberty.

Strive to convey the following two impressions whenever possible: (a) sex, the feelings and changes of puberty, and the attractions and feelings they cause us to feel are natural and good, even wonderful and miraculous; and (b) because sex is natural and good, and because its urges are powerful and have to do with the creation of life, its use should be connected to love and commitment – it is too beautiful to be made common or to squander.

Sample Method for Elementary Age:

Focusing on Age Eight

When our children have their eighth birthday, they undergo something of a rite of passage, going from a kid to a semi-grown-up, from a tutee to a tutor, from someone who knew almost nothing about sex and reproduction to someone who could probably teach a course on the subject.

We begin several weeks before the child’s eighth birthday, “priming” him by indicating that when he turns eight, he will be given some new privileges, some new responsibilities, and will learn about “the most beautiful and wonderful thing on earth.”

When the big day arrives, we take the new eight-year-old on a private daddy-mommy date to a nice restaurant, making every effort to treat him with a new maturity and respect. As mentioned earlier, we give him some added responsibility in areas such as choosing his own clothes and earning more money by doing family chores. We express our pride in him and our appreciation of him.

Then we go home for the much-anticipated highlight of the evening: our private talk about the “most wonderful and beautiful thing on earth.” In upbeat, positive terms we explain the facts of life using diagrams and pictures to explain reproduction. (We particularly like using the child’s book Where Did I Come From?) We encourage questions; we ask him often if he understands; and we watch his expressions to be sure he’s not only comprehending but appreciating what we are telling him.

Then we make a very strong point of how smart and how right it is to be careful how we use something as important and as miraculous as sex. We point out that something that special should be saved for one person – for the commitment of marriage, where it can be a wedding gift that has never been given before.

Children accept this idea very easily. It seems natural to them that something so private and so beautiful (and something so magic and powerful that it starts new babies) should be saved and used carefully rather than spent indiscriminately.

It is also natural to them to understand that after two people are married, sex is a bond and a special, private way of expression love between them that should not be used outside of marriage.

We also talk about AIDS and of the dangers of misusing sex. And we use the standard “values formula” by discussing how and who is helped by being careful about sex and how and who is hurt when people are not careful about sex.

– Richard

Eight may seem like a young age for some of the discussion represented above, but it is the right age for two very important reasons: (a) to wait longer runs the risk (if not the likely possibility) that your child will learn of reproduction and sex in the negative and silly perspective of the other children who will tell them about things before you do; (b) eight years old is a natural and curious age when children can understand in a sweet, uncynical way.

One evening and one discussion, of course, is not enough. An evening such as we have suggested can establish the basics and open wide the door of trust that permits the subject to be one of ongoing openness and discussion.

Certainly the underlying philosophy involved in teaching children the value of fidelity and chastity is that sex is too beautiful and too good to be given or used or thought of loosely or without commitment. The opposite view of sex as a dirty or evil thing should be avoided and countered at every opportunity.

Sample Method for Adolescent Age:

The Mortar Metaphor

This comparison can help adolescents understand the importance of fidelity in marriage. Look for a quiet private time (perhaps while traveling in a car or during a peaceful moment at bedtime) and relate the following comparison:

It takes many elements to build a house – the bricks, the boards, the shingles, the windows, the doors, and so on. One key element is the mortar, which holds the walls together and keeps everything in place. Similarly it takes many qualities to build a happy, unified family. It takes caring and helping and patience along with financial and emotional support. In a way the thing that “sticks” a family together and gives security and confidence to the parents and the children is the sexual fidelity of the mother and father. If either parent “cheats” on the other, it causes tremendous emotional strain. One parents feels guilty and secretive. The other feels disgraced and discarded. Even if the parents don’t separate or divorce, much of the feeling and commitment is gone, and the family, like a house without mortar, can begin to break apart.

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US Constitution Series 2: Quotations from Founding Fathers on Virtue

Dinner Topics for Thursday

5000leapThe Founders’ Basic Principles: 28 Great Ideas that changed the world

From The 5,000 Year Leap—A Miracle that Changed the World

By W. Cleon Skousen

key“Virtue is not hereditary.” ~Thomas Jefferson

 

 US Constitution Series 2: Quotations from Founding Fathers on Virtue

Principle # 2

A free people cannot survive under a republican Constitution unless they remain virtuous and morally strong.

Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters. (Smyth, Writings of Benjamin Franklin, 9:569)

What is “Public Virtue”?

Morality is identified with the Ten Commandments and obedience to the Creator’s mandate for “right conduct,” but the early Americans identified “public virtue” as a very special quality of human maturity in character and service akin to the Golden Rule. (Skousen, 5,000 Year Leap, p.50)

Summary: Americans of that time had doubts about their ability to be good enough to govern themselves. That’s how important they considered public virtue to be. This prevailing attitude caused a widespread movement of reform and revival of moral virtue.

The Moral Reform Accelerated the Revolution

Many Americans became so impressed the improvement in the quality of life as a result of the reform movement that they were afraid they might lose it If they did not hurriedly separate from the corrupting influence of British manners. They attributed this corruption to the monarchial aristocracy of England. (Ibid, p.52)

James Madison:

Is there no virtue among us? If there be not, we are in a wretched situation. No theoretical checks, no form of government, can render us secure. To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people, is a chimerical idea.

ThomasJefferson“Virtue is not hereditary.” ~Thomas Jefferson

Virtue has to be earned and it has to be learned. Neither is virtue a permanent quality in human nature. It has to be cultivated continually and exercised from hour to hour and from day to day. The Founders looked to the home, the school, and the churches to fuel the fires of virtue from generation to generation. (Ibid, p.54)

George WashingtonGeorge Washington:

And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education …reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

225px-BenFranklin2Benjamin Franklin:

I think also, that general virtue is more probably to be expected and obtained from the education of youth, than from the exhortations of adult persons; bad habits and vices of the mind being, like diseases of the body, more easily prevented [in youth] than cured [in adults].

Warning from the Founders

Richard Henry Lee:

I thank God that I have lived to see my country independent and free. She may long enjoy her independence and freedom if she will. It depends on her virtue.

John Adams:

Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.

Samuel Adams:

The sum of all is, if we would most truly enjoy the gift of Heaven, let us become a virtuous people; then shall we both deserve and enjoy it. While, on the other hand, if we are universally vicious and debauched in our manners, though the form of our Constitution carries the face of the most exalted freedom, we shall in reality be the most abject slaves.

 Principle #3: What is the Key to Preserving a Virtuous Nation?

Principle #1: Natural Law

 

Quotations: Holy Spirit, Virtue, and Vice

Dinner Topics for Monday

Month-Defining Moment

Quotes by Alexander Pope

key“Vice is a monster of so frightful mien
As to be hated needs but to be seen;
Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,
We first endure, then pity, then embrace.”

“To err is human, to forgive, divine.”

“What Reason weaves, by Passion is undone.”

“Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.”

“Words are like Leaves; and where they most abound,
Much Fruit of Sense beneath is rarely found.”

Defining Moment

lineofdemarcationThere is a Line of Demarcation, well defined, between the Lord’s territory and the devil’s. If you stay on the Lord’s side of the line, you will have no desire to do wrong, but if you cross to the devil’s side of the line one inch, you are in the tempter’s power, and if he is successful, you will not be able to think or even reason properly, because you will have lost the Spirit of the Lord. ~George Albert Smith

Bible Story: Jesus, Chastity, and Virtue

Dinner Topics for Thursday

Month-Defining Moment

Virtue

The Webster 1828 American Dictionary gives 10 definitions for Virtue. Here are the ones which are most important in our society today.

keyold Jesus was so clean, so pure, that from His very purity flowed the divine power of healing. ~C.D.

Virtue—1. Moral goodness; the practice of moral duties and the abstaining from vice, or a conformity of life and conversation to the moral law. In this sense, virtue may be, and in many instances must be, distinguished from religion. The Practice of moral duties merely from motives of convenience, or from compulsion, or from regard to reputation, is virtue, as distinct from religion. The practice of moral duties from sincere love to God and his laws is virtue and religion.

  1. A particular moral excellence; as the virtue of temperance, of chastity, of charity.
  2. Acting power; something efficacious.

Jesus, knowing that virtue had gone out of him, turned—Mark 5:25-34

Bible Story

Jesus-hem-lge25 And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years,

26 And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse,

27 When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment.

28 For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.

29 And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.

30 And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes?

31 And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?

32 And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing.

33 But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth.

34 And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.

 

purityThe Collegiate Dictionary connects virtue to chastity, especially in women.

A virtuous woman …her price is far above rubies.

The opposite of virtue is vice.

Chastity

The Webster 1828 American Dictionary gives 4 definitions for Chastity, all of which are good to remember in our society today.

templemarriageChastity—purity of the body; freedom from all unlawful commerce of sexes. Before marriage, purity from all commerce of sexes; after marriage, fidelity to the marriage bed.

  1. Freedom from obscenity, as in language or conversation.
  2. Freedom from bad mixture; purity in words and phrases.
  3. Purity; unadulterated state; as the chastity of the gospel.

Christian Education: Women and Moral Character

Christian Education: Women and Moral Character

The Moral Force of Women

 D. Todd Christofferson

key “The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue. We have enough popularity; we need more purity.”10 ~Margaret D. Nadauld

Shiphrah, the rescuer, by Elspeth Young

Shiphrah, the rescuer, by Elspeth Young

I wish to express gratitude for the influence of good women, identify some of the philosophies and trends that threaten women’s strength and standing, and voice a plea to women to cultivate the innate moral power within them.

Women bring with them into the world a certain virtue, a divine gift that makes them adept at instilling such qualities as faith, courage, empathy, and refinement in relationships and in cultures. When praising the “unfeigned faith” he found in Timothy, Paul noted that this faith “dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice.”1

A woman’s moral influence is nowhere more powerfully felt or more beneficially employed than in the home. There is no better setting for rearing the rising generation than the traditional family, where a father and a mother work in harmony to provide for, teach, and nurture their children. Where this ideal does not exist, people strive to duplicate its benefits as best they can in their particular circumstances.

In all events, a mother can exert an influence unequaled by any other person in any other relationship. By the power of her example and teaching, her sons learn to respect womanhood and to incorporate discipline and high moral standards in their own lives. Her daughters learn to cultivate their own virtue and to stand up for what is right, again and again, however unpopular. A mother’s love and high expectations lead her children to act responsibly without excuses, to be serious about education and personal development, and to make ongoing contributions to the well-being of all around them. Elder Neal A. Maxwell once asked: “When the real history of mankind is fully disclosed, will it feature the echoes of gunfire or the shaping sound of lullabies? The great armistices made by military men or the peacemaking of women in homes and in neighborhoods? Will what happened in cradles and kitchens prove to be more controlling than what happened in congresses?”3

Most sacred is a woman’s role in the creation of life. We know that our physical bodies have a divine origin4 and that we must experience both a physical birth and a spiritual rebirth to reach the highest realms in God’s celestial kingdom.5 Thus, women play an integral part (sometimes at the risk of their own lives) in God’s work and glory “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.”6 As grandmothers, mothers, and role models, women have been the guardians of the wellspring of life, teaching each generation the importance of sexual purity—of chastity before marriage and fidelity within marriage. In this way, they have been a civilizing influence in society; they have brought out the best in men; they have perpetuated wholesome environments in which to raise secure and healthy children.

What I mean to say is that whether you are single or married, whether you have borne children or not, whether you are old, young, or in between, your moral authority is vital, and perhaps we have begun to take it and you for granted. Certainly there are trends and forces at work that would weaken and even eliminate your influence, to the great detriment of individuals, families, and society at large. Let me mention three as a caution and a warning.

1)A pernicious philosophy that undermines women’s moral influence is the devaluation of marriage and of motherhood and homemaking as a career.

Esther<–For Such a Time as This, By Elspeth Young

Some view homemaking with outright contempt, arguing it demeans women and that the relentless demands of raising children are a form of exploitation.8 They ridicule what they call “the mommy track” as a career. This is not fair or right. We do not diminish the value of what women or men achieve in any worthy endeavor or career—we all benefit from those achievements—but we still recognize there is not a higher good than motherhood and fatherhood in marriage. There is no superior career, and no amount of money, authority, or public acclaim can exceed the ultimate rewards of family. Whatever else a woman may accomplish, her moral influence is no more optimally employed than here.

2)Attitudes toward human sexuality threaten the moral authority of women on several fronts. Abortion for personal or social convenience strikes at the heart of a woman’s most sacred powers and destroys her moral authority. The same is true of sexual immorality and of revealing dress that not only debases women but reinforces the lie that a woman’s sexuality is what defines her worth.

There has long been a cultural double standard that expected women to be sexually circumspect while excusing male immorality. The unfairness of such a double standard is obvious, and it has been justifiably criticized and rejected. In that rejection, one would have hoped that men would rise to the higher, single standard, but just the opposite has occurred—women and girls are now encouraged to be as promiscuous as the double standard expected men to be. Where once women’s higher standards demanded commitment and responsibility from men, we now have sexual relations without conscience, fatherless families, and growing poverty. Equal-opportunity promiscuity simply robs women of their moral influence and degrades all of society.9 In this hollow bargain, it is men who are “liberated” and women and children who suffer most.

3) A third area of concern comes from those who, in the name of equality, want to erase all differences between the masculine and the feminine. Often this takes the form of pushing women to adopt more masculine traits—be more aggressive, tough, and confrontational. It is now common in movies and video games to see women in terribly violent roles, leaving dead bodies and mayhem in their wake. It is soul-numbing to see men in such roles and certainly no less so when women are the ones perpetrating and suffering the violence.

Former Young Women general president Margaret D. Nadauld taught: “The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue. We have enough popularity; we need more purity.10 In blurring feminine and masculine differences, we lose the distinct, complementary gifts of women and men that together produce a greater whole.

My plea to women and girls today is to protect and cultivate the moral force that is within you. Preserve that innate virtue and the unique gifts you bring with you into the world. Your intuition is to do good and to be good, and as you follow the Holy Spirit, your moral authority and influence will grow. To the young women I say, don’t lose that moral force even before you have it in full measure. Take particular care that your language is clean, not coarse; that your dress reflects modesty, not vanity; and that your conduct manifests purity, not promiscuity. You cannot lift others to virtue on the one hand if you are entertaining vice on the other.

Remember that Jesus’s power came through His single-minded devotion to the will of the Father. He never varied from that which pleased His Father.11 Strive to be that kind of disciple of the Father and the Son, and your influence will never fade.

And do not be afraid to apply that influence without fear or apology. “Be ready always to give an answer to every [man, woman, and child] that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you.”12 “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.”13 “Bring up your children in light and truth.”14 “Teach [them] to pray, and to walk uprightly before the Lord.”15

In these exhortations to women, let no one willfully misunderstand. By praising and encouraging the moral force in women, I am not saying that men and boys are somehow excused from their own duty to stand for truth and righteousness, that their responsibility to serve, sacrifice, and minister is somehow less than that of women or can be left to women. Brethren, let us stand with women, share their burdens, and cultivate our own companion moral authority.

Christian Teaching: Chastity and Holy Spirit

Dinner Topics for Tuesday

Boyd K. Packer

birdnnestThe back windows of our home overlook a small flower garden and the woods which border a small stream. One wall of the house borders on the garden and is thickly covered with English ivy. Most years this ivy has been the nesting place for house finches. The nests in the vines are safe from foxes and raccoons and cats that are about.

One day there was a great commotion in the ivy. Desperate cries of distress came as 8 or 10 finches from the surrounding woods came to join in this cry of alarm. I soon saw the source of the commotion. A snake had slid partway down out of the ivy and hung in front of the window just long enough for me to pull it out. The middle part of the snake’s body had two bulges—clear evidence convicting it of taking two fledglings from the nest. Not in the 50 years we had lived in our home had we seen anything like that. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience—or so we thought.

A few days later there was another commotion, this time in the vines covering our dog run. We heard the same cries of alarm, the gathering of the neighborhood finches. We knew what the predator was. A grandson climbed onto the run and pulled out another snake that was still holding on tightly to the mother bird it had caught in the nest and killed.

I said to myself, “What is going on? Is the Garden of Eden being invaded again?”

There came into my mind the warnings spoken by the prophets. We will not always be safe from the adversary’s influence, even within our own homes. We need to protect our nestlings.

rattlesnakeWe live in a very dangerous world that threatens those things that are most spiritual. The family, the fundamental organization in time and eternity, is under attack from forces seen and unseen. The adversary is about. His objective is to cause injury. If he can weaken and destroy the family, he will have succeeded.

Isaiah said, “The work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.”2

That peace is also promised in the revelations in which the Lord declares, “If ye are prepared ye shall not fear.”3

Teach yourself and teach your families about the gift of the Holy Ghost and the Atonement of Jesus Christ. You will do no greater eternal work than within the walls of your own home.

 

Agency is defined in the scriptures as “moral agency,” which means that we can choose between good and evil. The adversary seeks to tempt us to misuse our moral agency. We are free to choose what we will and to pick and choose our acts, but we are not free to choose the consequences. They come as they will come.

Alma taught that “the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance.”6 In order to understand this, we must separate the sin from the sinner.

For example, when they brought before the Savior a woman taken in adultery, obviously guilty, He dismissed the case with five words: “Go, and sin no more.”7 That is the spirit of His ministry.

Tolerance is a virtue, but like all virtues, when exaggerated, it transforms itself into a vice. We need to be careful of the “tolerance trap” so that we are not swallowed up in it. The permissiveness afforded by the weakening of the laws of the land to tolerate legalized acts of immorality does not reduce the serious spiritual consequence that is the result of the violation of God’s law of chastity.

All are born with the Light of Christ, a guiding influence which permits each person to recognize right from wrong. What we do with that light and how we respond to those promptings to live righteously is part of the test of mortality.

“For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.”8

Each of us must stay in condition to respond to inspiration and the promptings of the Holy Spirit. The Lord has a way of pouring pure intelligence into our minds to prompt us, to guide us, to teach us, and to warn us. Each son or daughter of God can know the things they need to know instantly. Learn to receive and act on inspiration and revelation.