Episode #13: Law of Chastity (Tween Talk)
Welcome to Tween Talk for Latter-day Saints! This week episode 13 of Tween Talk is about the Law of Chastity.
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Tween Talk Episode #13
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The brain actually doesn’t develop at the same rate
Tween Talk 13 Transcript
Have you ever wondered how much kissing is TOO much? And why do I have to wait until I’m 16 to date?
Hey y’all, welcome back!
Okay, last week we talked about repentance, and I told you that some commandments require the bishop’s help when you break them. The Law of Chastity is one of those commandments, and we’re going to talk about it this week.
Now, this topic goes into some sensitive conversations. I know many of you are young, and I wish we didn’t have to be talking about this at your age. But the sad truth is that most of you have been faced with violations of the Law of Chastity already.
Make sure you’re listening to this podcast with your parents or a trusted adult. Or at least have them listen to it separately. This way, you can discuss anything we talk about here with them.
Like all other commandments, we’re going to break the Law of Chastity down into the three main parts: doctrine, principles, and applications.
First: the doctrine. WHY do we have the Law of Chastity?
When Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden, God created Eve to be Adam’s partner because, according to Moses 3:18, “it was “not good for man to be alone.”
Once Eve was created, they were given the direction that “therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh.”
This was before the Fall – so before they were able to have children.
This gives us the first purpose of sex: to bring a husband and wife closer together in unity as they begin their own family between the two of them.
We often think of a family as having to have children, but really, a new family is formed when a man and woman marry one another.
Then the second purpose is given later in the commandment for Adam and Eve to go forth and multiply and replenish the earth – in other words, to have children.
The common tie between these two reasons on why sex exists has everything to do with building families, which will last into the eternities.
Sex is NOT a bad thing! It is a actually a GOOD thing, but only when it’s done the way that God commanded.
Remember how we talked about the Word of Wisdom, and how God created our bodies so He is the one to best know how to take care of them and we should listen to what He tells His prophets?
The Law of Chastity is the same way.
God knows our spirits. He knows the plan. He knows families are eternal, and that sex is to bind a man and woman together both physically and emotionally.
But He also knew the danger that could come from that.
Just like we can harm our bodies by eating or drinking things that aren’t good for them, we can damage our potential for strong, eternal families when sex is used in inappropriate ways.
This brings us to the principle, which is what we call the Law of Chastity.
The Law of Chastity states that sexual relations are to only be between a man and a woman after they are legally and lawfully married to one another.
Now, some people might take that as “anything goes” up until that point, like maybe lots of making out.
But Jesus Himself spoke about this in Matthew 5:27-28.
“Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:
“But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.”
So clearly, the Law of Chastity is about more than just our actions and what we do with our physical bodies: it’s about what we do with our thoughts and emotions.
The Strength of Youth pamphlet says, “Before marriage, do not do anything to arouse the powerful emotions that must be expressed only in marriage.”
Now, it’s impossible to never or think or feel anything at all. As this podcast is for tweens, many of you are starting to learn this as your bodies change. If you haven’t already, you’ll soon be dealing with hormones that change not only your physical body, but your thoughts and feelings as well.
These emotions are powerful. They’re strong. And it’s impossible to stop them from coming until marriage.
But that’s part of God’s plan.
He wants to know if your spirit, your will, is stronger than your body. And it takes practice and time and effort to do that.
The Law of Chastity doesn’t say, “Never have a sexual thought or feeling.”
Instead, the Law of Chastity says, “Keep sexual thoughts and feelings for after marriage.”
If you have one — and trust me, you will — then what God wants to see is, what do you DO with that thought?
Do you hang onto it? Do you think more and more about it until feelings and desires keep getting stronger?
Or do you try to replace that thought with something else?
And THAT’S the key.
Think of sex like putting a cake in the oven. You set a timer, right? What happens if you try to take the cake out and eat it early? It’s all runny and gooey. Because the TIME isn’t right.
Now, as the cake bakes, you’re going to smell it, and you’ll want to open the oven and eat it.
My kids do this with brownies ALL the time – just because it smells good, doesn’t mean it’s ready.
Now, this analogy isn’t perfect, I get it – but I think you get the idea.
Again, sex isn’t bad. It’s a wonderful thing that is part of God’s plan.
But He also knows how powerful it is.
It’s powerful in how it unifies people, and it’s powerful in that it brings God’s spirit children here to earth and into a family.
This is why He has given really strict instructions about the proper time and ways to have sex.
Sex is meant to be between two people who have made a lifelong commitment to one another and to God.
It’s designed to bond you to that person on all levels – not just physically, but also emotionally and spiritually.
But sex isn’t just about the physical act of sex. All of the emotions and feelings and hormones that get involved in arousal WILL start that bond to be created.
This is why the Strength of Youth is so incredibly clear and specific about this.
It’s also a big reason why the violations of the Law of Chastity are such a serious sin. In Alma 39:5, Alma teaches his son that sexual sins are more serious than ANY other sin except for murder and denying the Holy Ghost.
A big part of that reason is because creating those bonds with people who aren’t your husband or wife can cause some big problems later on in life when you ARE ready to commit to one person.
Another reason is these feelings are HARD to control.
If you’ve already started the road to puberty, like menstruation for girls or erections for boys, then you are getting a glimpse of just how powerful hormones and emotions and feelings can be.
And when you start allowing them to get bigger and stronger, it’s like making a campfire and putting a bunch of wood onto it. Pretty soon, you’re going to have a fire that’s bigger than you can control.
Fire is a perfect analogy for this. The world often uses words like “burning” or “hot” when describing feelings of desire.
When I was about 10 years old, I was at a friend’s house with some other girls. The girl who’s house it was lit a candle, and we took turns waving toilet paper and tissues through the flame, seeing if we could get close enough without actually catching on fire.
It all seemed fine at first, and we were able to get through the flame quickly enough. But what we didn’t realize was that each time, the heat of the tissues increased just a tiny bit for that split second it was in the flame. Then, all of sudden, my friend’s tissue burst into flames.
She freaked out and dropped it on the floor, where it started to smolder on the carpet. One girl grabbed a glass of punch and dumped it on it, while I ran to the bathroom to fill my hands with water.
Her mom came down the stairs to find the carpet stained red from the punch around a burnt part of the carpet.
We talked about something similar to this in episode 8 of the podcast when we talked about tithing. Remember the different carriage drivers who were boasting about how close to the edge of the cliff that they could get?
The most responsible driver didn’t brag about how close to the edge he could get. He was the only one smart enough to realize he should just stay as far away as possible because there was too much to risk.
The same thing is happening here.
As tweens, and maybe some of you are teens, your brains and bodies are going to change a LOT over the next 10 years. But did you know the brain actually doesn’t develop at the same rate?
In humans, the part of your brain that helps you make good long-term decisions or that controls your impulses doesn’t fully develop until your late teens and even into your 20s!
So not only is your body changing and you’re getting strong hormones, your brain hasn’t finished changing, either!
Do you really think it’s a good time to start throwing in relationships and bonds that are meant to be between people who are committed to one another for LIFE, or even ETERNITY?
This is why the prophet and apostles in the Strength of Youth pamphlet say it’s GOOD to make friendships, but you really shouldn’t be dating or pairing off until 16.
At 16, your brain and your emotions are a lot more stable than they were at 12 or 14. You’re better able to make decisions that can affect you long-term.
Now, I know you’re thinking, “But I’m not thinking about marriage when I’m 16! I just want to have fun!”
And that’s exactly right! You CAN do that!
But you need to do it without the physical stuff. And here’s why.
Have you ever had a really, really bad day and all you want is a hug from your mom or dad?
A hug from a trusted adult is MUCH more comforting than a hug from some random person at church or school, right?
And why is that?
Because you are EMOTIONALLY bonded, the physical contact amplifies those emotions.
But what happens when you start to act physically and your emotions aren’t there yet?
Like, what if you kind of have a crush on someone, then you’re holding hands and kissing a lot even if it’s just a crush?
The PHYSICAL connections actually start CREATING emotional bonds that don’t have ANY support at all.
I had that with a guy I dated once.
We went on a few dates, then we started kissing, and pretty soon almost all our time together was just kissing or making out. He told me he loved me, and we even started talking about getting married.
Then I had a family member I was really close to die.
And you know what? I had zero desire to talk to my boyfriend about it. He offered to come to the funeral with me, and I didn’t really even want him there.
It was then that I realized that he and I had an emotional relationship that had been built on physical.
It was backwards.
Guys, the whole purpose of this life is to make it back to Heavenly Father with our families.
The purpose of sex is to strengthen your relationship with your spouse and ONLY your spouse.
But if at 12 and 13, or even 16, you’re in exclusive relationships or kissing or doing ANYTHING that causes arousal of sexual feelings – and so yes, that includes sexting or making inappropriate jokes or playing games like 7 Minutes in Heaven – you’re building up bonds that are supposed to be reserved for you and your spouse.
And you’re playing with fire.
And you’re going to get burned. Or even burn the house down.
I know this is really hard. It seems like SO many people are pairing off. And kids at school pressure you into relationships.
And the person you have a crush on might be offended that you’re not willing to date them or kiss them, and you’re afraid they’ll move on to someone else.
But guess what?
Every single relationship you will ever be in will either end in breakup or marriage.
So if you’re not going to marry them, you WILL break up.
And if you’re not ready to think about marrying that person, then you are not ready to be doing things that are meant to build lifelong commitment.
Satan knows this. And he is trying so hard to cloud the issue by saying that the way you feel is natural or that kissing isn’t “that bad.”
But let’s think about this example. Let’s say there’s someone you really like a lot. You’re friends, you spend time together, and you have a crush on them.
Then all of a sudden one day, they decide not to talk to you anymore at all.
Would it feel worse if you had kissed them the night before?
And if so, why?
If kissing isn’t all that bad, then why would the fact that you did it make a difference in how you felt about that person?
It’s because kissing, and even holding hands, starts to build a bond between you.
Now, please don’t get me wrong – I’m NOT saying you shouldn’t hold hands or kiss until after you’re married.
It IS natural that as you build a close emotional relationship with someone, you’ll also want to get closer physically.
God designed it that way!
He made it so that a man and woman have desire for each other, and that desire isn’t bad!
But it’s about the TIMING.
And that is why the Law of Chastity is so important.
That’s why the prophet and apostles have counseled you to not date until you’re 16, and even then to not pair off but do double and group dates.
Because you’re not ready to be making those kinds of commitments.
And Satan is there, doing all he can to throw gasoline onto the fire.
He wants to mess up your relationship with your future spouse, and he wants to destabilize families.
You know how with the Word of Wisdom and addiction, people say things like, “If you don’t even have the first cigarette or beer, you never have to worry about being addicted.”
Well, if you set some hard ground rules for yourself about dating, then you never have to worry about committing a sexual sin.
And that’s where the application comes into play.
The Strength of Youth has a lot of really good things in here to help you figure out applications. These are COUNSEL from the prophet. Remember how we talked about following the prophet in episode 6?
Here are some of the guidelines from the “Sexual Purity” and “Dating” topics:
Before marriage, do not participate in passionate kissing, lie on top of another person, or touch the private, sacred parts of another person’s body, with or without clothing.
Do not do anything else that arouses sexual feelings.
Do not arouse those emotions in your own body (that’s masturbation).
Avoid situations that invite increased temptation, such as late-night or overnight activities away from home or activities where there is a lack of adult supervision.
Do not participate in discussions or any media that arouse sexual feelings.
Do not participate in any type of pornography.
You should not date until you are at least 16 years old.
When you begin dating, go with one or more additional couples. Avoid going on frequent dates with the same person.
Choose to date only those who have high moral standards and in whose company you can maintain your standards.
So sit down with your parents or another trusted adult to talk about this. Decide NOW what rules you want to set for yourself. Then when you’re in that situation, you don’t have to worry about it.
For example, when I turned 16, I only went on double or group dates. And I never went on a date with the same person twice in a row.
Then when I was in college and ready to start dating more seriously, I said I wouldn’t hold hands unless I was in an exclusive relationship, and I wouldn’t become exclusive until I had gone on at least 10 dates with that person.
I told you earlier about the time I DIDN’T keep to that, and it ended up causing a LOT of heartbreak for both myself and that young man.
You don’t have to follow the rules I set for myself – that’s my right to figure out the applications for me, and you can receive guidance and direction from Heavenly Father for yourself.
But I strongly recommend you start setting these guidelines NOW. It makes it so much easier to not give in to peer pressure later on.
One of those guidelines talked about something called masturbation. This is when you use you stimulate your own body for the purpose of arousal.
Males and females both can fall victim to the lie that masturbation isn’t against the Law of Chastity because you’re not having sex with someone else.
The world tries to say that it’s natural, or even healthy, or physically necessary, but those are all lies.
Now, it IS natural that as your hormones are changing and you go through puberty, your subconscious will carry over and have a physical effect on your body.
You may become easily become aroused or have dreams that are sexual in nature.
That isn’t a sin.
I repeat, that isn’t a sin.
You had no control, right?
But what you do when those thoughts come, or when your body reacts in a sexual way with arousal, THAT is where you are either valiant, or you commit sin.
And the more times you sin, the easier it gets, and the more likely you’re going to do it again.
Now, I want to end by saying this: sexual abuse should not be confused with sexual sin.
The Strength of Youth says, “Victims of sexual abuse are not guilty of sin and do not need to repent. If you have been a victim of abuse, know that you are innocent and that God loves you.”
If you are in or have been in a situation where you were an unwilling participant in sexual acts, it is NOT your fault. You have NOT sinned. And you are NOT unworthy.
If you haven’t already, I beg of you to reach out to help from a trusted adult in your life. They can help you find ways to be safe, to heal, and to recover.
Sexual abuse is one of the worst kinds of abuse, because it takes something that God instituted to bond people together and it perverts it.
Sex is meant to a beautiful thing that binds a husband and wife in a way separate from any other relationship.
That is why God instituted the Law of Chastity – so we can build those bonds in HIS way and in HIS time.
We’re going to talk more about concepts in the Law of Chastity over the next few weeks, including modesty, homosexuality, gender identity, pornography and more.
I’ll see y’all then.