What is it about being virtuous that the world doesn’t like? The word virtuous means “being of good moral quality.” A virtue is a character trait valued as being good. If we can see how virtue can be valued as something good, then we can see that the character trait of a good moral quality (being virtuous) in a person has a great importance in our culture. How is it that we have plummeted to the very depths of immorality in our society? How is it that we can watch immoral acts on “pay for TV” stations, buy magazines of nude people or easily rent pornographic videos without thinking about the consequences? How is that?
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often mistakenly called the Mormon Church, encourages its youth and all of its members to keep themselves clean and pure until they are legally married, and then to be pure and faithful after marriage. From a very memorable talk given to the youth of the Church, Boyd K. Packer says this:
Do not tamper with the life-giving powers in your body alone or with members of either gender. That is the standard of the Church, and it will not change. As you mature, there is a temptation to experiment or explore immoral activities. Do not do that!
For those who are old enough to remember, the 60’s were the decade of what was called the “sexual revolution.” This opened the door for what came in the next forty years. Pornography runs rampant in video stores and on the internet. Television shows, movies, magazines and books all show sexual acts as a part of the normal function of society for unmarried youth. The messages we remember from this media give permission to participate regardless of what the outcome, and the outcome is teen pregnancy, abortion, broken homes, adultery and family instability. The fruits of this bad behavior are apparent in society, but they never appear in the media, sucking in youth who are misled by the lack of negative consequences. All this trash we see is encouraging us as a people to think its okay to sleep with someone else without the bonds of matrimony.
It doesn’t matter whether we are married to someone else. It doesn’t matter whether we love that person. It doesn’t even matter if we are in a steady relationship with that person. Whatever feels good, do it, and everything will be all right. How could this have happened? All this because we let our physical passions control us and get in the way of keeping ourselves morally clean. All this because we make fun of those who think it is important to keep our sexual relationships within the bonds of marriage. Words of encouragement continue on from LDS Church leaders for adults to stay clean after they are married.
We need to remember the sacredness of procreation and think about a world that refuses to show sexual activity in all entertainment including books, magazines, television shows and movies. In remembering to teach and be virtuous ourselves we can promote virtue and make it important to our youth. We might not see high moral character as being a good thing for our society but it is. In the United States, one of every ten births involves a teen mother. According to a September 2006 report by the Guttmacher Institute, three-quarters of a million teens between 15 and 19 become pregnant each year in the United States. This is an epidemic, and as parents, we need to help our youth understand the importance of being virtuous while being virtuous ourselves.
Suffice it to say that being virtuous is a great thing. Keeping yourself morally clean is the way to a world that is not out of control. Being the odd ball virgin is not a bad thing. It is a good thing and as parents and teachers, we need to encourage all to become as virtuous as possible. It’s the only way to a life of moral strength and happiness. It is the only way we can have a stable world. The virtue of being virtuous. Let’s hope we never lose it.
This article was written by Valerie Steimle, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Despite being born and raised a Yankee, Valerie Steimle moved to southern Alabama with her husband and nine children and have found herself partial to the south. She has always been passionate about strengthening families and despite being busy with her own, felt compelled to write about it. Starting with a column in the local newspaper, she has since published several books regarding family issues. During that time her husband passed away suddenly and she was left to raise her five youngest children alone. She has moved forward with faith however, and has found happiness in her God, her family and her writing.