Sunday, October 21, 2007

Law of Chastity

Today I covered the always controversial Law of Chastity. Its a touchy subject and the one thing that tends to scare off investigators the most. It was the one commandment that I struggled with the most when I was contemplating becoming a member, and the one I struggled with just after my baptism. I didn't really have the grasp of the law and its purpose that I have now, and I broke it not long after my baptism. I had struggle after struggle enter my life at that time, and I swear that as soon as the act was done, I literally felt the Holy Spirit leave me. I was in tears after and I knew that I had done something that I was going to have to work very hard to recover from. I know now that I had set my own spiritual growth back several years and cheated myself out of the countless blessings that Heavenly Father had in place for me.
I was stuck in the mindset that most young women are living under. If i didn't have sex, then my boyfriend who I loved wouldn't stay...or so I thought. I was afraid to trust in the Lord that it would be okay, that I would be okay. So I gave in, and paid dearly for it. Fast forward many years full of struggle, adversity and heartache later, and I finally decided to live the principals that I promised I would at my baptism. I cut off all sexual relations from my boyfriend (same one), and started going back to Sacrament Meetings. I prayed and decided that I wanted to ready myself for the temple. After 6 month of regular attendance of sacrament meetings, prayer, repenting and living the covenants that I had made, I went to my Bishop to council with him. I confessed my wrong doings, and he advised me as to the Lord's will for me. I moved forward, knowing that I had been forgiven and from that time forward, I did my best to live the law of chastity. I dressed modestly, and made sure not to put myself in positions that could tempt me beyond my ability to resist. When my boyfriend and I started to talk again after our breakup, (just about the time that I went back to the Gospel) I decided that I would show more respect for myself by telling him that I would only date him again if he was willing to date within the law of chastity that I was bound to, and only if he planned on marrying me. If not, I wasn't interested. To my surprise, he agreed, and we were married 3 months later. He loved me, and it was my own fear that kept me from following that commandment earlier. It might have been different if I'd had that courage before. Before I chose a man over God, and lost both. When I finally chose God first over all else, he gave me the man too.
It's tough to cover this lesson with a group of strangers. It's even tougher when some of the more active members have issue with the weight of this sin in the eyes of Heavenly Father. Its considered the worst sin one can commit, second only to murder. When I was asked about this, (and I'm in no way the expert) I gave the example from my own life and how I found myself a mother before I was ready for that type of responsibility. I told about the adversity that I had to face, and how I was too busy trying to provide physically for my son to have the time to see to his emotional and spiritual need. I said that I believe that God organized families as the way for his children to be brought into this world to learn and grow, and how much of a disadvantage they are at compared to their brothers and sisters who are privileged to be born into the family structure. I talked about how this sin leads to other, greater sins. It seems to me that this one touches so many areas of our growth and development that if we break it, we throw off so much. So much to fix. And that is why it carries so much weight. One of the Elders said that its one of the things that you take, but can't give back. Murder takes a life and you can't give it back or fix it no matter how much you say your sorry. Breaking the law of chastity involves you and the other party who you have helped to commit a great sin, and you can't take that sin back from them or fix the damage that you have done to them or yourself.
I didn't get to cover all of the important points as there were children in class for some reason, but I did my best. I pressed on the point that there is forgiveness for those of us who have broken this law, but that it's not easy. I said that I was an example of this forgiveness, having finally made it to the temple this March. I begged the class to read this at home to get what I didn't have time for, or couldn't cover for the sake of children in the room.
This is the first time I've ever told anyone about that part of my life. I felt compelled by the spirit to share it because I wanted my new members and investigators to know that no matter what state they might currently be in, it can be fixed. They, too, can make it to the temple and start fresh, and have all the blessings that our Father has in store for us.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I just really wanted to thank you for this post. I recently underwent the process of repentance for breaking the law of chastity and it was the hardest experience of my life. 7 months after beginning the process, and one month after finally being worthy to take the sacrament, I made the same mistake. I knew immediately that I couldn't have the Holy Ghost with me, and I burst into tears. I felt worthless, and hurt, and couldn't believe that I succumbed so easily to temptation. It really does help to know that there are other people out there that have gone through this (although in most cases they only have to go through it once). I didn't understand at first how it could happen, because I was going to institute, FHE, and sunday meetings. I was reading my scriptures regularly and praying for the Lord's help as I faced those temptations. I then realized that one small wrong choice can lead to one big mistake, and that instead of placing myself in tempting situations, I should just avoid the situations all together. I live in a part of the US where there aren't very many members, and it's incredibly hard for me to find LDS guys to date, but I know that I'm not strong enough not to date someone with high standards.
Sorry for the novel, but once again, I just wanted to express my heartfelt appreciation for this post.

Cambria said...

Thank you so much, my dear Anonymous. I had forgotten all about this post, and I read over it only to be surprised by how clear and strong my message was. I really must have been moved by the Spirit to share that...I'm not normally so eloquent. I appreciate your comments, and I'm glad that my experience could help someone else. The lesson I've learned is not to be too ashamed to share our weaknesses and failures, because someone somewhere can help or be helped by them and in the end we are all better for it. God bless :)

Anonymous said...

I am a temple holder and I am 32 and single. I don't know what happened and I had oral sex with my boyfriend. I have not had a chance to speak to my bishop yet because I came home from my trip and ended up going to the hospital because I had herpes. I am scared of the consequences of my actions. I know they were wrong. I feel like I am being punished and I work for the church, which means I will most likely lose my job and everyone will find out what happened.
Each bishop of is different and I have never done anything like this before and wish I had not. I don't know what to do. My boyfriends bishop just told him not to do it again, but I can't live with that. I made the worst mistake and I need to be punished. I have never lost my recommend before. I will lose my calling and not partake of the sacrament. I served a mission. I knew better. I don't know what happened and I feel all alone and completely guilty and tormented by my actions.

Cambria said...

Dear Anonymous,

Know this, Heavenly Father is not punishing you for your mistake. You are punishing you. You're going to have to do some repenting, and there will be consequences, and they will be tough but they're short lived and you can make it back from them. If I were you (and I was you...) I would pray on it, repent, stop beating yourself up and just go sit with your Bishop. He loves you and is there to help you get the burden off your shoulders and get back on the path to our Father's house. Things will not be as bad as you think, and you will feel better in the end. I know this to be true. After all, Jesus atoned for this already, so don't let his sacrifice be for nothing. Take him up on it! That requires you to take the necessary steps and I assure you that you'll feel peace and happiness again if you do. And even though you are unknown to me, I'm here for you and you have my support. Good luck, and God bless.

Anonymous said...

Hi Cambria,

Just came across your blog and was pleased to see there are people going through this. Thanks for your post.

I've been through this situation - only a few days ago. Been going strong and staying clean for nearly 8 months, and recently fell. The feeling of falling so hard and from such a great height of abstinence/purity is immense. Especially after doing so well to avoid it, falling twice before that and before that once after around 5 months.
After reading around refreshing my memory of idea of the Law of Chastity I realised how grave a sin I committed - and even though the feelings arent strong, I have contemplated suicide simply because of how disappointed I am.

In terms of repentance, I've prayed to Heavenly Father and I've confessed it all down to him - now my next steps is to see my Bishop. In your opinion how soon is best to see my Bishop, or shall I repent as much as I can (how is the question here) before seeing him? I fear I'll probably lose my temple recommend for this.

Thanks again for your post.
Anonymous, UK

Cambria said...

Dear Anonymous,

Honestly, I would see your Bishop ASAP because he can help you get on the correct path to repentance. He's there to support you. He can provide encouragement and he can offer suggestions about the things in your life that you can change so that you don't have to experience these feelings again.

Please know that suicide is never an answer, and I'm so glad that you realized that. Heavenly Father is exactly that...a father. He loves us! Really. And he want's us to pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off when we make mistakes. And he totally understands that we will make mistakes. All he asks is that we learn from them so that we don't repeat the same mistakes over and over. Even if we make all new mistakes :)

If writing this post about a bad time in my life has been helpful to someone else, then it was totally worth going through. Don't be afraid to speak to your Bishop, because he loves you too and only wants to offer his help. He won't judge, but he'll pray and let you know what Heavenly Father wants you to work on. Listen to him. Don't take anything he says personally, and remember that it comes from God. You'll be just fine, and you have the support of every one of us who have made the same mistake (and that's a lot of people). We're all just human.

Take care!

Anonymous said...

I really appreciate this post. I have been facing a similar situation. The man put his male part in my female part and I started crying and made him stop. I didn't want it but the guy was my bf. After I cried, he stopped.
But, I was wondering, how did you tell your bishop? Did you tell him exactly HOW you broke the Law of Chastity? I feel really embarrassed and bad for what I did because I didn't even want it to happen. I want to confess to my bishop but I want to know what to expect him to say/ask. I know that what happened was terribly wrong and I am so sorry that it happened.

Cambria said...

Dear Anonymous,
I have to say that I just went up to the Bishop and told him that I needed to talk to him. I told him that I wanted to go to the temple, but I needed to address an issue. From that point it is a little bit of a blur, but he asked me some questions about exactly what I did and I answered them. I don't mean explicit questions, but enough for him to get a clear picture of what I needed to repent for. He also needed to know if the boy in question was a member and if so, where his ward was...he's bound to discuss it with the boy's Bishop just so that they know. It's my understanding that there is no 'outing' of the other party, but they hope that he will go to his own Bishop and address his part of the act. Anyway, just go in, sit down, and get it all out. It's therapy really and you'll feel better once it's off your chest. What happens from there is up to the Lord, and you. Just know that you'll be fine and you'll feel a million times better when you're not carrying this baggage around every where you go.

Ryan Lopez said...

Thank you Cambria, one week before getting my mission call, i"ve met RM who break the law of chastity and im trying my best to show that Heavenly Father still loves Him and ive read to your testimony that:
"No matter what state you might currently be in, it can be fixed. You can make it to the temple and start fresh, and have all the blessings that our Father has in store for us"..Thank you for this words...It helps a lot..