Chastity has so many definitions. How far can I go before it’s called “sinning”?
It always amazes me when people ask these types of questions. It’s as if they are asking how close can they go to the edge of the cliff without actually falling off of it.
The power to give life is strictly safeguarded by clear commandment: Thou shalt not…commit adultery, nor kill, nor do anything like unto it. That “kill” and “adultery” should be listed simultaneously in this commandment should signal their near seriousness and importance to God. As stated above, nothing could be further from the Lord’s way of life than taking life; he is wholly devoted to giving and saving life. Sexual sin is tampering with the God-given powers of procreation—the power to give life, therefore, sexual sin approaches murder in gravity. Consequently, only the sin of murder–taking life–results in more misery than sexual transgression. And conversely, only giving life results in more joy than the proper use of the powers of procreation—a husband and wife experience greater happiness by having children.
Heavenly Father delights in chastity and hates sexual sin. Chastity includes strict abstinence from sexual relations before marriage and complete fidelity and loyalty to one’s spouse after marriage. As stated above, any sexual sin, with or without a partner, with or without clothing, by thought or by action, is a violation of the Law of Chastity. Passionate kissing, petting, fornication, homosexual activity, self-stimulation, viewing soft or hard pornographic material all fall within the category of sexual sin—meaning anything like unto it. No sexual activity, despite how minor it may seem, is exempt from the commandment to remain chaste.
Physical intimacy between husband and wife is beautiful and sacred and brings the couple incredible joy. Physical intimacy is ordained of God for the creation of children and for the expression of love within marriage. However, Satan has deceived many people to believe that sexual intimacy, including acts or thoughts that sexually stimulate, is acceptable and normal. Satan even tries to cause us to rationalize: if the unmarried participants love one another, sexual relations are permissible. This is completely false. Breaking the Law of Chastity or causing someone else to break it is not an expression of love; it is an expression of selfishness and undisciplined passion. People who love each other never would endanger one another’s happiness and safety in exchange for temporary personal pleasure.
If a man and a woman truly love one another enough to keep the Law of Chastity, they will experience trust, a deepening commitment, greater happiness and unbreakable unity. On the other hand, relationships built on sexual immorality quickly disintegrate, because sin always results in feelings of misery, fear, guilt, shame, mistrust, jealousy, bitterness, and eventually hatred. Therefore, Heavenly Father has given us the Law of Chastity to protect us from these negative results and to bless us with long-term happiness, peace, and strength of character.
A prophet, Spencer W. Kimball, said,
“To be specific, let us postulate clearly and unmistakably that all sexual life outside of the proper marriage association–I said the proper marriage association–are evil and forbidden by God, and the unrepentant and those who indulge in these will be disillusioned. Easy it is to create excuses and escapes to cover our own weaknesses. The fornicator minimizes his sins. The robber justifies his thievery. The pervert says that God made him that way. The petter rationalizes his act into insignificance. Let it be understood without equivocation that the common indulgences are transgressions, for sin is the breaking of the divine law.”
Sexual purity is absolutely essential to receive baptism and later enter into the temples of God. Repentance must include complete confession of the sin to your bishop or branch president. These men represent the Lord and hold priesthood keys to walk you through the steps of repentance. The result is sweet peace of forgiveness replacing the despair of sin. …though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.