Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Women of Virtue OR Gospel Principles Lesson 39: The Law of Chastity

I want to start this off by saying I'm not going to be talking about Chastity.......
Ok, let me give you a little background: An awesome lady in the ward came up to me almost 2 months ago and asked if I would teach this lesson even though it wasn't the one I would be teaching. I said yes (which just so happens to be my immediate reaction to most things, I should probably work on that) and she proceeded to tell me that I could have a lot of freedom with the actual lesson and teach on what I felt was good to teach. The first thing I did was go to the thesaurus and type in "chastity." I got some great words, but the one that really really stuck out to me was virtue.


So, my lesson went from focusing solely on chastity to being women of virtue. The following is my outline.

“Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies.” –Proverbs 31:10

"Virtue brings peace, strength of character, and happiness in this life." -Elaine S. Dalton 

Dictionary definition of virtue: moral excellence, goodness, righteousness. Chastity. Any of the cardinal values (prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance) or theological virtues (faith, hope, charity) Virtue “is a pattern of thought and behavior based on high moral standards” (Preach My Gospel [2004], 118).

Virtue is a word we don’t hear often in today’s society, but the Latin root word virtus means strength. Virtuous women and men possess a quiet dignity and inner strength. They are confident because they are worthy to receive and be guided by the Holy Ghost.” Elaine S. Dalton

Bishop David. H Burton gave a talk titled “Cultivate Virtuous Traits” where he spoke about personal traits that we call virtues. Some of the traits he listed were: humility, charity, spirituality, accountability, civility, fidelity. These are all personal traits of virtue. He continues on to say:
Bishop David H. Burton
“We need only look around us to see what is taking place in our communities to realize that personal traits of virtue are in a steep decline. Reflect on the behavior of drivers on crowded highways; road rage happens all too often. Civility is all but absent in our political discourse. As countries around the world face financial and economic challenges, fidelity and honesty seem to have been replaced with greed and graft. A visit to a high school will often subject you to crude language and immodest dress. Some athletes display poor sportsmanship and seldom show humility unless publicly exposed for legal or moral infidelities. A large segment of our population feel little personal responsibility for their own temporal well-being. Some in financial distress blame bankers and lenders for loaning sums to satisfy insatiable wants rather than affordable needs. On occasion our generosity in support of good causes wanes as our appetite to acquire more than we need prevails.”

 And another quote:

“Could it be that we have been slowly desensitized into thinking that high moral standards are old-fashioned and not relevant or important in today’s society? Lehonti in the Book of Mormon was well positioned on the top of a mountain. He and those he led were “fixed in their minds with a determined resolution” that they would not come down from the mount. It only took the deceitful Amalickiah four tries, each one more bold than the previous, to get Lehonti to “come down off from the mount.” 8 And then having embraced Amalickiah’s false promises, Lehonti was “poison[ed] by degrees” 9 until he died. Not just poisoned, but “by degrees.” Could it be that this may be happening today? Could it be that first we tolerate, then accept, and eventually embrace the vice that surrounds us? 10 Could it be that we have been deceived by false role models and persuasive media messages that cause us to forget our divine identity? Are we too being poisoned by degrees? What could be more deceptive than to entice the youth of this noble generation to do nothing or to be busy ever-texting but never coming to a knowledge of the truths contained in a book that was written for you and your day by prophets of God—the Book of Mormon? What could be more deceptive than to entice women, young and old, you and me, to be so involved in ourselves, our looks, our clothes, our body shape and size that we lose sight of our divine identity and our ability to change the world through our virtuous influence?”-Elaine S. Dalton

Because of this, we as Latter Day Saint women need to be examples of virtue. We need to stand in holy places, stand tall and firmly fixed.

Elaine S. Dalton said: “Virtue begins in the heart and in the mind. It is nurtured in the home. It is the accumulation of thousands of small decisions and actions.”
She goes on to say we must return to virtue. But how do we begin? The course is unique for each of us, but she derived her own plan.

“Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly.” (d&c 121:45)
“Cleave unto [your] covenants.” (d&c 25:13)
 “Stand … in holy places.”( d&c 45:32)
“Lay aside the things of [the] world.” (d&c 25:10)
“Believe that ye must repent.” (Mosiah 4:10)
“Always remember him and keep his commandments.” (d&c 20:77)
And “if there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, … seek after these things.” (13th article of faith)

Of course, there are promised blessings that will come to us if we are virtuous:

D&C 25:2 : “If thou art faithful and walk in the paths of virtue before me, I will preserve thy life, and thou shalt receive an inheritance in Zion.”

We already read this one: D&C 121:45 : “Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God.”

President James E. Faust: “The Prophet Joseph Smith … said, ‘If you live up to your privileges, the angels cannot be restrained from being your associates.’ … Hold your soul very still, and listen to the whisperings of the Holy Spirit. Follow the noble, intuitive feelings planted deep within your souls by Deity in the previous world” (Ensign, May 1998)
(after I read this one in class, I said "isn't that cool! Angels cannot be restrained from being your associates! We're like Angel Magnets!!!......it got some laughs, but I did feel like a 10 year old girl immediately after I said it.....)

Returning to Virtue isn’t going to happen in a day. It’s not going to be simple or easy, because nothing good ever is. To that, I’d like to share a quote from Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley:
President Gordon B. Hinckley
President Gordon B. Hinckley: “I feel to invite women everywhere to rise to the great potential within you. I do not ask that you reach beyond your capacity. I hope you will not nag yourselves with thoughts of failure. … I hope you will simply do what you can do in the best way you know. If you do so, you will witness miracles come to pass” (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley [1997], 696).

Margaret D. Nadauld
Margaret D. Nadauld, Young Women General President: “The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough popularity; we need more purity. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue.” (“The Joy of Womanhood,” Ensign, Nov. 2000, 15).
I love that last quote.

I challenge you all to try to return to virtue. To let virtue garnish your thoughts, to cleave to your covenants, to stand in holy places, to lay aside the things of the world. Remember, if there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things

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