From Message of the First Presidency
President Heber J. Grant
Heber J. Grant, Conference Report, October 1942, pp. 7-17
Upon the heels of the demon drink, tread the demons of unchastity—harlotry, fornication, adultery, while murder itself lurks not far behind. From Adam until now, God has commanded that His children be sexually clean.
Here again we extend gratitude to our Heavenly Father for the great body of the Saints who have kept the moral law. To the Corinthians, Paul said:
Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy: for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are
What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
You who have observed the law of chastity have kept the temples of God undefiled. You can stand unabashed before the Lord. He loves you. He will bestow honor and reward upon you. Every overcoming of temptation brings strength and glory to the soul. May the Lord continue to bless and prosper you in all your works of righteousness.
But some of us have forgotten what the Lord has said about these sins. Some of us have failed to teach our children the need for sexual purity. Some teachers have tried to lay bare to our youth the mysteries of life, and so have robbed the creative act of all the sanctity with which from the beginning God has enshrouded it. These have given no restraining righteous principle in its place. So, with too many, modesty has become a derided virtue, and the sex desire has been degraded to the level of hunger and thirst. From Sodom and Gomorrah until now, sex immorality, with its attendant evils of drink and corruption, has brought low the mightiest of nations, has destroyed powerful peoples, has reduced erring man almost to the level of the beasts of the field.
That we may be reminded of the enormity of the sin of unchastity, it is well that we recall some of the things which the Lord and His prophets have said concerning it.
One of the ten basic principles of Christian society, and accepted by all worshipers of the true God, came to men at Sinai when God wrote with His own finger: "Thou shalt not commit adultery"
By the laws of Moses, adulterers were stoned to death. God said to Israel: "There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel" When God, through Jeremiah, chastened Israel for apostasy, He pictured her loathsomeness by calling her a harlot Paul declared to the Ephesians:
For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person . . . hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God
The Revelator declared that whoremongers "shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death" And when he wished to condemn the great false church and its iniquities that had led the world into apostasy and wickedness, the Revelator called her "Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth" Jacob, teaching the Nephites, declared:
Wo unto them who commit whoredoms, for they shall be thrust down to hell"
To us of this Church, the Lord has declared that adulterers should not be admitted to membership that adulterers in the Church, if unrepentant, should be cast out but if repentant should be permitted to remain and, He said, "By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins—behold, he will confess them and forsake them"
In the great revelation on the three heavenly glories, the Lord said, speaking of those who will inherit the lowest of these, or the telestial glory:
These are they who are liars, and sorcerers, and adulterers, and whoremongers, and whosoever loves and makes a lie
The doctrine of this Church is that sexual sin—the illicit sexual relations of men and women—stands, in its enormity, next to murder
The Lord has drawn no essential distinctions between fornication, adultery, and harlotry or prostitution. Each has fallen under His solemn and awful condemnation.
You youths of Zion, you cannot associate in non-marital, illicit sex relationships, which is fornication, and escape the punishments and the judgments which the Lord has declared against this sin. The day of reckoning will come just as certainly as night follows day. They who would palliate this crime and say that such indulgence is but a sinless gratification of a normal desire, like appeasing hunger and thirst, speak filthiness with their lips. Their counsel leads to destruction; their wisdom comes from the Father of Lies
You husbands and wives who have taken on solemn obligations of chastity in the holy temples of the Lord and who violate those sacred vows by illicit sexual relations with others, you not only commit the vile and loathsome sin of adultery, but you break the oath you yourselves made with the Lord Himself before you went to the altar for your sealing. You become subject to the penalties which the Lord has prescribed for those who breach their covenants with Him.
Of the harlots and those who visit them, God speaks in terms of divine contempt. They are they who have bargained away an eternity of bliss for the momentary pleasures of the flesh.
The Lord will have only a clean people. He has said, "I, the Lord, will contend with Zion, and plead with her strong ones, and chasten her until she overcomes and is clean before me"
But they who sin may repent, and, they repenting, God will forgive them, for the Lord has said, "Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more"
By virtue of the authority in us vested as the First Presidency of the Church, we warn our people who are offending, of the degradation, the wickedness, the punishment that attend upon unchastity; we urge you to remember the blessings which flow from the living of the clean life: we call upon you to keep, day in and day out, the way of strictest chastity, through which only can God's choice gifts come to you and His Spirit abide with you.
How glorious is he who lives the chaste life. He walks unfearful in the full glare of the noonday sun, for he is without moral infirmity. He can be reached by no shafts of base calumny, for his armor is without flaw. His virtue cannot be challenged by any just accuser, for he lives above reproach. His cheek is never blotched with shame, for he is without hidden sin. He is honored and respected by all mankind, for he is beyond their censure. He is loved by the Lord, for he stands without blemish. The exaltations of eternities await his coming.
Amongst His earliest commands to Adam and Eve, the Lord said: "Multiply and replenish the earth" He has repeated that command in our day. He has again revealed in this, the last dispensation, the principle of the eternity of the marriage covenant. He has restored to earth the authority for entering into that covenant, and has declared that it is the only due and proper way of joining husband and wife, and the only means by which the sacred family relationship may be carried beyond the grave and through eternity. He has declared that this eternal relationship may be created only by the ordinances which are administered in the holy temples of the Lord, and therefore that His people should marry only in His temple in accordance with such ordinances.
The Lord has told us that it is the duty of every husband and wife to obey the command given to Adam to multiply and replenish the earth, so that the legions of choice spirits waiting for their tabernacles of flesh may come here and move forward under God's great design to become perfect souls, for without these fleshly tabernacles they cannot progress to their God-planned destiny. Thus, every husband and wife should become a father and mother in Israel to children born under the holy, eternal covenant.
By bringing these choice spirits to earth, each father and each mother assume towards the tabernacled spirit and towards the Lord Himself by having taken advantage of the opportunity He offered, an obligation of the most sacred kind, because the fate of that spirit in the eternities to come, the blessings or punishments which shall await it in the hereafter, depend, in great part, upon the care, the teachings, the training which the parents shall give to that spirit.
No parent can escape that obligation and that responsibility, and for the proper meeting thereof, the Lord will hold us to a strict accountability. No loftier duty than this can be assumed by mortals.
Motherhood thus becomes a holy calling, a sacred dedication for carrying out the Lord's plans, a consecration of devotion to the uprearing and fostering, the nurturing in body, mind, and spirit, of those who kept their first estate and who come to this earth for their second estate "to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them" To lead them to keep their second estate is the work of motherhood and "they who keep their second estate shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever"
This divine service of motherhood can be rendered only by mothers. It may not be passed to others. Nurses cannot do it; public nurseries cannot do it; hired help cannot do it—only mother, aided as much as may be by the loving hands of father, brothers, and sisters, can give the full needed measure of watchful care.
The mother who entrusts her child to the care of others, that she may do non-motherly work, whether for gold, for fame, or for civic service, should remember that "a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame" In our day the Lord has said that unless parents teach their children the doctrines of the Church "the sin be upon the heads of the parents"
Motherhood is near to divinity. It is the highest, holiest service to be assumed by mankind. It places her who honors its holy calling and service next to the angels. To you mothers in Israel we say God bless and protect you, and give you the strength and courage, the faith and knowledge, the holy love and consecration to duty, that shall enable you to fill to the fullest measure the sacred calling which is yours. To you mothers and mothers-to-be we say: Be chaste, keep pure, live righteously, that your posterity to the last generation may call you blessed.