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.