Many who are in a spiritual drought and lack commitment have not necessarily been involved in major sins or transgressions, but they have made unwise choices. Some are casual in their observance of sacred covenants. Others spend most of their time giving first-class devotion to lesser causes. Some allow intense cultural or political views to weaken their allegiance to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Some have immersed themselves in Internet materials that magnify, exaggerate, and, in some cases, invent shortcomings of early Church leaders. Then they draw incorrect conclusions that can affect testimony. Any who have made these choices can repent and be spiritually renewed. . . he need for civility in society has never been more important. The foundation of kindness and civility begins in our homes. It is not surprising that our public discourse has declined in equal measure with the breakdown of the family. The family is the foundation for love and for maintaining spirituality. The family promotes an atmosphere where religious observance can flourish. There is indeed “beauty all around when there’s love at home.” Sexual immorality and impure thoughts violate the standard established by the Savior. We were warned at the beginning of this dispensation that sexual immorality would be perhaps the greatest challenge. Such conduct will, without repentance, cause a spiritual drought and loss of commitment. Movies, TV, and the Internet often convey degrading messages and images. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf and I were recently in an Amazon jungle village and observed satellite dishes even on some of the small, simply built huts. We rejoiced at the wonderful information available in this remote area. We also recognized there is virtually no place on earth that cannot be impacted by salacious, immoral, and titillating images. This is one reason why pornography has become such a plague in our day.
It is utterly without redeeming social value. We urge our families to protect their children in every way possible. We live in a permissive world, but we must make certain we do not become a part of that permissive world, that degenerate world. We are shocked at the depths to which many people of this world go to assert their freedom. We fear that the trends of permissiveness toward immorality are destroying the moral fabric of our generation. . . Now the lust of the heart and the lust of the eyes and the lust of the body bring us to the major sin. Let every man remain at home with his affections. Let every woman sustain her husband and keep her heart where it belongs—at home with her family. Let every youth keep himself from the compromising approaches and then with great control save himself from the degrading and life-damaging experience of sexual impurity. There must be an early and total and continuing repentance. . . We hope this is another trumpet call. President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., said: “Our very civilization itself is based upon chastity, the sanctity of marriage, and the holiness of the home. Destroy these and Christian man becomes a brute.”
Now the family is basic. We are children of our Heavenly Father, and as he loves us, so our souls are bound up in our posterity. All the morals are woven into the warp and woof of the gospel of Christ. The lighted way, then, brings us to normal, clean courting of young men and women, coming eventually to a virtuous union at an altar where a fully authorized servant of God seals the union for eternity. The Hebrew saints were properly taught, “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.”(Heb. 13:4.) And to those who might decry marriage or postpone it or forbid it Paul spoke, condemning them. It is generally selfishness, cold and self-centered, which leads people to shun marriage responsibility. There are many who talk and write against marriage. Even some of our own delay marriage and argue against it. To all who are deceived by these “doctrines of devils,”we urge the return to normalcy. We call upon all people to accept normal marriage as a basis for true happiness. The Lord did not give sex to man for a plaything. Basically marriage presupposes a family. . . The human body is the sacred home of the spirit child of God, and unwarranted tampering with or defilement of this sacred tabernacle can bring only remorse and regret. We urge: stay clean, uncontaminated, undefiled.
I am grateful this is a private priesthood meeting, for I have felt impressed to treat sensitive yet important matters. While they apply to all present, I particularly want to talk with you young men. I will speak as though you and I were alone in a private interview and no one else can hear us. My purpose is to help you learn how to make the right choices. That will help you develop strong feelings of self-worth. You will have confidence to do right and overcome strong negative peer pressure and bad influences. As a young boy, I felt that some things that I heard discussed by others at school about private parts of the body were wrong. Yet I wasn’t really sure how wrong or why they were wrong. You may have similar feelings. Since in tonight’s setting you cannot ask me anything, I will use some of the confidential questions most frequently asked by youth I have met across the world. I will answer them by what I have learned from the scriptures and the prophets. You then will have clear standards from which to make choices. I pray that as we talk the Holy Ghost will let you feel the truth of what is said. I know that as you listen and think of how our interview applies to you, there will come impressions regarding what to do about it in your own life.
And now just a word on the most common and most difficult of all problems for you young men and young women to handle. It is the relationship that you have one with another. You are dealing with the most powerful of human instincts. Only the will to live possibly exceeds it. The Lord has made us attractive one to another for a great purpose. But this very attraction becomes as a powder keg unless it is kept under control. It is beautiful when handled in the right way. It is deadly if it gets out of hand. It is for this reason that the Church counsels against early dating. This rule is not designed to hurt you in any way. It is designed to help you, and it will do so if you will observe it. Steady dating at an early age leads so often to tragedy. Studies have shown that the longer a boy and girl date one another, the more likely they are to get into trouble. It is better, my friends, to date a variety of companions until you are ready to marry. Have a wonderful time, but stay away from familiarity. Keep your hands to yourself. It may not be easy, but it is possible. You young men who plan to go on missions must recognize that sexual sin may keep you from that opportunity. You may think that you can hide it. Long experience has shown that you cannot. To serve an effective mission you must have the Spirit of the Lord, and truth withheld does not mix with that Spirit. Sooner or later you will feel compelled to confess your earlier transgressions. Well did Sir Galahad say, “My strength is as the strength of ten, because my heart is pure”. My dear young friends, in matters of sex you know what is right. You know when you are walking on dangerous ground, when it is so easy to stumble and slide into the pit of transgression. I plead with you to be careful, to stand safely back from the cliff of sin over which it is so easy to fall. Keep yourselves clean from the dark and disappointing evil of sexual transgression.
There are many single adults in the Church well beyond their early adult years. While finding their present life different than they had anticipated, they keep the law of chastity. It can be a trial of their faith. I express my deep respect and admiration for these disciples of Christ. “God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.” In the New Testament the Savior lifted the moral standard for His followers when He declared, “Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” He taught us not to condemn others, but He was unafraid to speak directly: “Go,” He said, “and sin no more.” Our family has a friend. You probably know someone like her, or perhaps you are like her. Always faithful, serves nobly in the Church, admired professionally, adored by her family, and while she anticipated marriage and children, she is single. “I made the decision,” she said, “to put my … trust in Jesus Christ. Going to the temple frequently helps me keep a more eternal focus. It reminds me I am never alone. I have faith … that no … blessing will be withheld … as I … remain faithful to my covenants, including the law of chastity.”