Of Chastity and the Holy Spirit…

“That which the Lord has built, or by authorization has been built in His name, is cleansed and pure, outwardly and inwardly, so long as it is treated sacredly. As such, the vessels, bodies which house His spirit children, should be treated sacredly, kept pure of sin or blemish, that the Holy Ghost may dwell therein also, and provide light unto wisdom and sanctification.”

Daniel Joseph Malcolm, 26 August 2023

Have you gazed upon a temple of God and pondered its beauty? I have visited dozens of dedicated Houses of the Lord, observed their exteriors and walked their rooms and corridors, and have recognized the commonality that they are all places of divine beauty, order, cleanliness and spiritual upliftment. You take these elements away and they cease to be a representation of God’s kingdom here on Earth. These are sacred and holy places where the Lord’s Spirit can be felt and His works can be done. Should our bodies be no less?

Spires from Oakland California Temple.

The Apostle Paul declared, “…your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God,…” (1 Corinthians 6:20).

The law of chastity seems at sometimes to be taught more to youth than all others, as if these rules for the cleanliness and virtue of our bodies is somehow more applicable to youth than adults. While so much is written for the specific benefit of our youth, the truths contained in the teachings of the Lord through His servants on chastity are relevant and binding on all of God’s children, not solely Christians and followers of Christ. We would all do well by adhering strictly to this law and teachings that encourage and assist in this holy endeavor.

Under the caption, “Sexual Purity” in a pamphlet published for youth, yet applicable to children of God in every season of life, we receive understanding and counsel regarding the Law of Chastity, its unchanging tenets, and the standards we must live by if we are going to be obedient to this sacred law and enjoy the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. “The sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife…. The Lord’s standard regarding sexual purity is clear and unchanging. Do not have any sexual relations before marriage, and be completely faithful to your spouse after marriage. Do not allow the media, your peers, or others to persuade you that sexual intimacy before marriage is acceptable. It is not. In God’s sight, sexual sins are extremely serious. They defile the sacred power God has given us to create life” (For the Strength of Youth).

Good and helpful counsel follows on how we maintain our sexual purity and therefore the temple of our bodies. “Never do anything that could lead to sexual transgression. Treat others with respect, not as objects used to satisfy lustful and selfish desires. Before marriage, do not participate in passionate kissing, lie on top of another person, or touch the private, sacred parts of another person’s body, with or without clothing. Do not do anything else that arouses sexual feelings. Do not arouse those emotions in your own body. Pay attention to the promptings of the Spirit so that you can be clean and virtuous. The Spirit of the Lord will withdraw from one who is in sexual transgression” (For the Strength of Youth).

Celestial Room of the Salt Lake City Utah Temple.

In order for our bodies to be the Lord’s temples we must have place in them for the Spirit of God. Even as Paul wrote, “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” (1 Corinthians 3:16-17). If we do not maintain sexual purity we are destructive of the Lord’s house, and the Spirit of God cannot dwell with us. We ourselves drive it away, as the Lord’s Spirit cannot dwell in unholy places.

To look upon pornography in any form, in pictures, films, on the internet or social media, on television or to look upon anyone with lust, is to drive the Spirit away. When we listen to music, dress, use language, listen to or tell jokes, or dance in a way that causes arousal in ourselves or in anyone else, we drive the Spirit away. When the Spirit is not with us, and this is a key, we are left alone, desolate, in dealing with temptations and worldly wisdom, and less able to hear and understand the voice and will of the Lord.

If you have been in violation of the law of chastity, repent. Do not allow shame to drive you away from God’s kingdom or the comfort of His Spirit. Respond to your feelings of guilt with Godly sorrow and turn to Christ and His atonement for forgiveness. Do not fall into the trap of believing that you have sinned so grievously that you are beyond the redeeming reach of the Lord Jesus Christ. You are not beyond His reach. Turn to the Lord, turn to His authorized servants, and the path you will take will lead you to renewal, cleanliness and forgiveness. The Holy Spirit will once again dwell with you, will always be with you, as the Lord has promised to those who make and keep sacred covenants.

Jesus Christ paying the price of our sin in Gethsemane.

The Lord paid the ultimate price that we might have forgiveness and joy in the present and exaltation and elation in the eternities. We are His. As Paul said, “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1 Corinthians 6:20) May we all be who we were born to be. May we all rise with Christ, both in the body and in the Spirit. May our bodies be the temple of the Holy Ghost, and may we always follow His counsels, is my prayer. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Flowers in front of the Laie Hawaii Temple.

Daniel Malcolm is an entrepreneur, journalist, photographer, husband to Monica and father of twelve. He is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and is a witness of the gospel of Jesus Christ and His Atonement.