Guest Post by Anonymous. Anonymous loves reading, writing, and hiking and lives with her husband and kids.
Developed for the June 26, 2022 Come Follow Me YW lesson Why is Chastity Important in God’s Plan, but could be helpful for any lesson with chastity as the main topic.
Pens & paper
Printed copies of the quotes
Origami paper and lotus flower origami instructions (optional)
Introduction (5-10 min)
Section 1: Becoming educated about your body (10 min)
Section 2: What chastity isn’t (10 min)
Section 3: David & Bathsheba (10 min)
Section 4: Personal goals and boundaries (10 min)
Origami activity and close (5-10 min)
• Recite Young Women’s theme
• “Counsel together” question & discussion
Section 1: Becoming educated about your body
I did not tell the class that the topic was chastity at this point. I wanted them to have an open mind for the goals discussion at the beginning of the lesson.
Ask the young women:
- What are some of your goals?
- What do you want to accomplish and experience in your life?
- What are some things you want to do or experience eventually, but are too young to do right now? For example, going to college, studying abroad, getting married, starting a business,etc.
- How are you preparing for those kinds of goals? Share examples.
- Use one of the YW’s goals as an example, or use studying abroad as an example:
- If you want to study abroad someday, how are you preparing to do that? Do you never talk about it? Never learn about it? Get embarrassed by it? Or do you learn about the country, culture, and language?
- On the other hand, do you think about it constantly, or is it just one thing that you are learning about?
- They should say that you would learn about a goal you have but not obsess over it.
- The same thing is true about sex and the law of chastity.
We are taught that we should follow the law of chastity.
So, what is the law of chastity?
Read Quote #1
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a single, undeviating standard of sexual morality: intimate relations are proper only …in the marriage relationship prescribed in God’s plan. Such relations are not merely a curiosity to be explored, an appetite to be satisfied, or a type of recreation or entertainment … They are not a conquest to be achieved or simply an act to be performed. Rather, they are in mortality one of the ultimate expressions of our divine nature and potential and a way of strengthening emotional and spiritual bonds… We are agents blessed with moral agency.”- Elder Bednar, We Believe in Being Chaste
Discuss and recap Quote #1. Our church has a very clear standard for sexual morality that is part of the law of chastity.
Sometimes we feel like we should never learn or talk about sex or about our bodies, because we are not married yet, or because we feel shame and awkwardness talking about the law of chastity. We mix up sacredness with shame and fear.
Read Quote #2:
“Our physical bodies make possible a breadth, a depth, and an intensity of experience that simply could not be obtained in our premortal existence. Thus, our relationships with other people, our capacity to recognize and act in accordance with truth, and our ability to obey the principles and ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ are amplified through our physical bodies. In the school of mortality, we experience tenderness, love, kindness, happiness, sorrow, disappointment, pain, and even the challenges of physical limitations in ways that prepare us for eternity. Simply stated, there are lessons we must learn and experiences we must have, as the scriptures describe, ‘according to the flesh.’” – Elder Bednar, We Believe in Being Chaste
Discuss and recap Quote #2. Our bodies and the experiences we have with them are important. Our heavenly parents gave them to us on purpose.
Sexual intimacy is sacred, and it’s a good thing. It’s important to learn about it and prepare for it, the same way you can prepare for other goals and experiences that you want one day but might not be ready for yet. It’s important to not be ashamed of our bodies or desires, because they come from God.
- How can we learn about sex and our bodies now, in a way that allows us to follow the commandments and keep the law of chastity?
- What are some resources that can help you learn and also keep you safe?
- Discuss and share ideas.
- Parents, trusted adults, doctors; sometimes friends, resources
- What are things to look for in a trusted adult? Discuss.
- They do not make you feel uncomfortable.
- They do not make you feel hopeless or worthless if you make a mistake.
- They do not make you feel like an object.
- They do not get angry with you if you make a mistake.
- They do not ask you to keep secrets.
Main takeaway from this section: Find an adult you trust who you can talk to about uncomfortable topics.
Section #2: What chastity isn’t
The world gets some things wrong about the law of chastity. The world might tell you that your body is a prize or a gift to another person. Sometimes this belief might make you afraid of sex. It might make you feel like you need to save your body for someone in the future. On the other hand, it might encourage you to have sex before you are ready.
Sometimes this belief might tell you that your value is tied to your body.
Briefly explain who Elizabeth Smart is, if the YW do not know her story.
Read Quote #3:
Elizabeth Smart spoke at a Johns Hopkins human trafficking forum, saying she … recalled a school teacher who spoke once about abstinence and compared sex to chewing gum. “I thought, ‘Oh, my gosh, I’m that chewed up piece of gum, nobody re-chews a piece of gum, you throw it away.’ And that’s how easy it is to feel like you know longer have worth, you know longer have value,” Smart said.
- Your value is not tied to chastity. You always have value because you are a child of God.
- Your body is not a gift to another person.
- Your body is not a gift to a boyfriend or a girlfriend or a future spouse.
- Your body is a gift to you from your Heavenly Parents.
So, if chastity is not about your value, why do we have the law of chastity?
Read Quote #4:
“One of the great blessings we receive in this life…is a body….When we choose to follow our Heavenly Father, he tells us that our body is sacred. It can be like a temple, and there is a way it is to be used…. There are so many blessings that we receive when we live the law of chastity.…The promise of having the Holy Ghost with you is one of the blessings of living a chaste life. The other thing is you can have a great deal of self respect if you know who you are…a daughter or son of our Heavenly Father. You know who you need to be and how you need to conduct your life. It gives you direction and…self respect to say, I know who I am, this is how I should treat my body. You build trust in a relationship when you are married. You’ll build love.…So our hf wants us to be happy. He’s told us how.” – Sister Renlund, Face to Face with Elder and Sister Renlund
Recap and discuss Quote #3.
Chastity isn’t about making yourself an object for someone else. Not keeping yourself pure for a future husband, and also not needing to please someone who is pressuring you to do something you aren’t ready for.
The law of chastity is instructions from Heavenly Father on how to take care of your body and your emotional health. Chastity is how to take care of the gift of your body and the power it gives you.
- How can you practice taking care of and valuing your body now? Discuss.
Section 3: David and Bathsheba
The scripture story for today is the story of David and Bathsheba.
Read: 2 Samuel 11:2-5, 15-17, 26-27
- What happens in this story?
- What are David’s sins in this story?
- What does he do wrong besides having sex outside of marriage?
- How do you think Bathsheba feels throughout this story? Do we know if she loves or even likes David? Do we know how she feels about becoming his wife? Do we know how she feels about her husband?
David broke the law of chastity because he was not married to Bathsheba. But he also took advantage of his power to force a woman to be an object for him. He viewed Bathsheba as an object to be used and stolen.
We are told that the Lord is not happy with David. I think that is because of the basic laws of chastity he broke, and also because of how he treated another person–as if she had no dignity or respect or agency.
The scriptures do not say that the Lord is angry with Bathsheba. If you are ever in a similar situation, where someone has treated you like an object or used their power to coerce you into something you do not want to do, you are not at fault.
- What lessons can you learn from David’s mistake in this story? What can you learn from Bathsheba’s position in this story? Discuss.
- Don’t treat others like objects; if someone treats you like an object or does not respect you as a full person, they are in the wrong.
Section 4: Personal goals and boundaries
What happens if you break the law of chastity? What happens if you feel like you made a mistake?
Read Quote #5:
“Chastity is not a kind of perfection. You may have arrived in this world innocent, but chastity is something more than innocence. Chastity is not something you are born with and then break or lose, it is something that is made. Chastity is a habit built over time by way of good choices. It is a power that gathers strength from consistently practicing care and discipline. It is something that must, with years of patient and compassionate effort, be cultivated and grown and gathered and sealed.” Adam Miller, Letters to a Young Mormon
This is a useful way to think about chastity. Chastity is not a thing you can lose or break. There are ways to repent and to continue to be chaste and build a chaste life, even if you make a mistake.
If you feel like you need to talk to a church leader about repentance, you are always welcome to have a parent or a youth leader with you. Many young women might feel awkward discussing sexual things with a bishop or with an older man. You are always allowed to have a parent or a Young Women’s leader with you in a meeting with a bishop or other church leader. We are a resource for you.
One thing we can do to help us live a chaste life is practice setting boundaries in other ways, and with other people in our lives.
- What are some boundaries you can set with friends or peers, not romantic ones but just learning not to bow to pressure? Discuss.
Another thing that can help us with chastity, and with other goals, is to write down what we want and intend.
- Take a minute to write down your goals and intentions. Maybe those are specific, or maybe they are about things like what age you feel comfortable dating in groups, or dating more seriously. Maybe you don’t want to date seriously until you are finished with high school, or until you serve a mission. Maybe you want to practice going on dates in groups before you graduate. What do you feel comfortable with? What will you do in different situations, so that you don’t feel pressured? This is another thing to talk about with your trusted adult. We will not be sharing these.
Our Heavenly Parents love us, and they want us to be happy. Our bodies and our desires are important, and it’s important to prepare for experiences we hope to have some day. You are not objects for other people: Heavenly Father has given you choices and agency.
Optional: Close with some quiet time/decompression time after a difficult topic by folding the origami lotus flower. I liked the origami object lesson because the paper can represent experience being a beautiful thing instead of a destructive thing.
Darn good lesson. Would hate to see it rushed through in 40 minutes.
Course, being me, I’d add a slightly inappropriate joke like, “Your body is a temple, wouldn’t it be a good idea to learn how the light switch works?”
(PLEASE delete if too inappropriate)
Thank you for this. It is important for girls – and for everyone, frankly – to understand that Bathsheba was not on the roof and that what happened between her and David was non-consensual. I appreciate you making that clear. I also appreciate you adding a section for boundaries explaining what chastity IS versus what it ISN’T, and making sure girls understand their bodies better. The church needs more lessons like this.
What a wonderful template for teaching young people about chastity!
Thank you so much for sharing your lesson plan!
I’m saving this for the future. Thank you!