Today’s message from the Book of Mormon (Jacob 2-4) is a clarion call for a “RETURN TO VIRTUE”. What a timely message for your day! Virtue means “strength”, and because our strength lies in the Lord Jesus Christ a return to virtue is really a “RETURN TO CHRIST!”
In traditional Mandarin Chinese writing, the characters that make up the word virtue mean: “moral steps”. For us to have moral steps, we must follow in the footsteps of the Savior. (For a great etymological breakdown and explanation of this character see http://zhongwen.com/d/188/x119.htm)
From riches (Jacob 2:12) to pride (vv. 13-21) to immorality (vv. 23-35), Jacob exposes the gamut of sin his people are running and leaves for us an inspired challenge to become “pure in heart” (Jacob 3:1-2) through the Atonement of Jesus Christ (Jacob 4). A few highlight verses for me that help to cope with these temptations in my life are the following:
- But before ye seek for riches, seek ye for the kingdom of God. (Jacob 2:18)
- For I, the Lord God, delight in the chastity of women, And whoredoms are an abomination before me: thus saith the Lord of Hosts. (Jacob 2:28)
- All ye that are pure in heart, lift up your heads and receive the pleasing word of God and feast upon his love; for ye may, if your minds are firm, forever. (Jacob 3:2)
President Harold B. Lee painted a vivid picture of the pain suffered through flirting with the forbidden, then succumbing to temptation: “I’ve seen beautiful young human butterflies playing with the tempting fires of sin. …Many of these beautiful human butterflies winged for heavenly flight have fallen with wings singed and badly seared because of their curiosity about the forbidden. The more I see of life, the more I am convinced that we must impress you young people with the awfulness of sin rather than to content ourselves with merely teaching the way of repentance. I wish that someone could warn you of the night of hell that follows the committing of a moral sin … , as one who has sinned has described it in these words: ‘No one knew anything about it. You told no one, and no one found out, no one condemned. But your face flushed, your heart beat against your ribs. Perspiration broke out upon your brow. You went to bed that night, you tied a bandage around the eyes of your soul, you built a little shelter in which to hide, you tried to sleep, but no sleep came. You said to yourself, “Other people do it,” or “I had to do it,” or “No one else can ever find it out.” But there were hands from the unseen world that came through the darkness and tore the bandage from the eyes of the soul, and smashed down the little shelter you had made for your cowering spirit.’” (Youth and the Church, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1970, pp. 87–88.) (Chastity: The Source of True Manhood)
Elaine S. Dalton, a leader of the Young Women organization, urges young people to develop the strength that comes from living a virtuous life.
Interfaith youth speak candidly on why they have chosen to be sexually pure.
Latter-day Saint teens are counseled to stay sexually pure, but what exactly are the limits? Using teachings of modern prophets, this presentation shows why that’s the wrong question to ask.