`In matters of human intimacy, you must wait'

Is reserved for


Symbolizes total union

Has future consequences

Concerned for any youth or young adults who may be confused about the need for personal purity, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve spoke candidly about total chastity before marriage.

"Against what is happening in the world they see and hear, and hoping to fortify parents as they teach their children a higher standard, I wish to speak about moral cleanliness," he said in opening remarks Sunday afternoon.

"I wish to try to answer questions some of you may have been asking: `Why should we be morally clean? Does the Church have to be so strict about it? How could anything society exploits and glamorizes so openly be very sacred or serious?' "

After quoting Alma who warned his son that sexual transgression is "most abominable above all sins save it be the shedding of innocent blood or denying the Holy Ghost," Elder Holland said, "Clearly among His greatest concerns regarding mortality are how one gets into this world, and how one gets out of it.

"The body is an essential part of the soul," he said. "We declare that one who uses the God-given body of another without divine sanction abuses the very soul of that individual, abuses the central purpose and processes of life."

Elder Holland explained that in exploiting the body of another, "one desecrates the Atonement of Christ which saved that soul and which makes possible the gift of eternal life. And when one mocks the Son of Righteousness, one steps into a realm of heat hotter and holier than the noonday sun.

"We owe Him something for that," he said, referring to "incalculable suffering by the Savior. "Indeed, we owe Him everything for that."

Elder Holland stressed that human intimacy is reserved for a married couple because it is the ultimate symbol of total union.

"In matters of human intimacy you must wait. You must wait until you can give everything, and you cannot give everything until you are legally and lawfully married," he said.

"If you persist in pursuing physical satisfaction without the sanction of heaven, you run the terrible risk of such spiritual, psychic damage that you may undermine both your longing for physical intimacy and your ability to give wholehearted devotion to a later, truer love."

Elder Holland described "those special moments" in life when the physical intimacy of a husband and wife is "also symbolic of a shared relationship with their Father in Heaven."

Such moments include kneeling at a marriage altar in the house of the Lord, blessing a newborn baby or partaking of the emblems of the Lord's Supper, he said.

"These are moments . . . where communion through the veil becomes very real. We quite literally take something of that divinity to ourselves.

"Can you see why personal purity is such a serious matter?" he asked. "Don't be deceived and don't be destroyed. Unless such powers are controlled and commandments kept, your future may be burned; your world could go up in flames.

"Penalty may not come on the precise day of transgression, but it comes, surely and certainly enough.

"In such serious matters, the path of repentance is not easily begun nor painlessly traveled. But the Savior of the world will walk that essential journey with everyone willing to undertake it," he said.

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