Quotes on Morality

See also: D&C 121:45   

Ted Koppel, moderator of ABC’s “Nightline” program, is reported as saying the following to a group of students at Duke University concerning slogans that were proposed to reduce drugs and immorality: 

“We have actually convinced ourselves that slogans will save us. . . . But the answer is NO!  Not because it isn’t cool or smart or because you might end up in jail or dying in an AIDS ward, but NO because it is wrong, because we have spent 5,000 years as a race of rational human beings, trying to drag ourselves out of the primeval slime by searching for truth and moral absolutes.  In its purest form, truth is not a polite tap on the shoulder.  It is a howling reproach.  What Moses brought down from Mount Sinai were not The Ten Suggestions.”  (Address given at Duke University, May 10, 1987) — President Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, November 1991, p. 51

Live your life in such a way that you wouldn’t be ashamed to sell the family parrot to the town gossip. — Author unknown

Sex before marriage creates an alienation factor when married instead of a bonding factor.  Chastity is essential for a passionate relationship in marriage. — Lynn Scoresby, BYU Education Week, 1985

Imagine. . . . Veritable teenagers — and all of us for many decades thereafter – carrying daily, hourly, minute-to-minute, virtually every waking and sleeping moment of our lives, the power and the chemistry and the eternally transmitted seeds of life to grant someone else her second estate, someone else his next level of development in the divine plan of salvation.  I submit to you that no power, priesthood or otherwise, is given by God so universally to so many with virtually no control over its use except self-control.  And I submit to you that you will never be more like God at any other time in this life than when you are expressing that particular power.  Of all the titles he has chosen for himself, Father is the one he declares, and Creation is his watchword – especially human creation, creation in his image.  His glory isn’t a mountain, as stunning as mountains are.  It isn’t in sea or sky or snow or sunrise, as beautiful as they all are.  It isn’t in art or technology, be that a concerto or computer.  No, his glory – and his grief – is in his children.  You and I, we are his prized possessions, and we are the earthly evidence, however inadequate, of what he truly is.  Human life – that is the greatest of God’s powers, the most mysterious and magnificent chemistry of it all – and you and I have been given it, but under the most serious and sacred of restrictions.  You and I who can make neither mountain nor moonlight, not one raindrop nor a single rose – yet we have this greater gift in an absolutely unlimited way.  And the only control placed on us is self-control – self-control born of respect for the divine sacramental power it is. — Jeffrey R. Holland was president of Brigham Young University when this devotional address was delivered on 12 January 1988 in the Marriott Center. It was entitled: “Of Souls, Symbols, and Sacraments”

It has been declared in the solemn word of revelation, that the spirit and the body constitute the soul of man; and, therefore, we should look upon this body as something that shall endure in the resurrected state, beyond the grave, something to be kept pure and holy.  Be not afraid of soiling its hands; be not afraid of scars that  may come to it if won in earnest effort, or [won] in honest fight, but beware of scars that disfigure, that have come to you in places where you ought not have gone, that have befallen you in unworthy undertakings [pursued where you ought not have been]; beware of the wounds of battles in which you have been fighting on the wrong side.  (James E. Talmage, Conf. Report, p. 117) — Jeffrey R. Holland was president of Brigham Young University when this devotional address was delivered on 12 January 1988 in the Marriott Center. It was entitled: “Of Souls, Symbols, and Sacraments”

The Book of Mormon echoes the witness of the Prophet Ezra Taft Benson, “Great nations do not fall because of external aggression: they first erode and decay inwardly, so that, like rotten fruit, they fall of themselves.  The strength of a country is the sum total of the moral strength of the individuals in that country.” — K. Douglas Bassett, “Faces of Pride in the Book of Mormon,” The Church News, November 2, 1991

This summer I was invited to speak on the subject of the family to a gathering of United Nations diplomats.  I agonized over what to say to such a diverse group.  In the end I simply shared my personal experience.  I explained that my parents had taught me as a child that personal virtue was essential for a happy marriage and family and that in my youth I had made promises to God that I would live a chaste life.

I then acknowledged that I was about to turn 50 and that, though I had not yet married, I had kept my promise.  “It hasn’t always been easy to stay morally clean,” I admitted, “but it has been far easier than the alternative.  I have never spent one second worrying about an unwanted pregnancy or disease.  I have never had a moment’s anguish because a man used and then discarded me.  And when I do marry, I will do so without regret.  So you see,” I concluded, “I believe a moral life is actually an easier and a happier life.”

I worried about how this sophisticated audience would respond to a message about virtue and abstinence, but much to my surprise they leapt to their feet in applause – not because of me but because the Spirit had borne witness of the truth of that message. — Sheri Dew, “Born for Glory,” BYU Devotional, December 9, 2003; BYU Magazine, Spring 2004, pp. 36-37 (file)

We do not set the standards, but we are commanded to teach them and maintain them. The standard remains abstinence before marriage and total fidelity in marriage. However out of step we may seem, however much the standards are belittled, however much others yield, we will not yield, we cannot yield. . . .

If you, our youth, feel alone, remember there are millions of you in the Church now. . . . Wherever you are – in school, at work or play, in the military – you are never alone. — President Boyd K. Packer,“ The Standard of Truth Has Been Erected,” Ensign, November 2003, p. 15

The power to create mortal life is the most exalted power God has given to His children.  Its use was mandated by God’s first commandment to Adam and Eve (see Genesis 1:28), but other important commandments were given to forbid its misuse (see Exodus 20:14; 1 Thessalonians 4:3).  The emphasis we place on the law of chastity is explained by our understanding of the purpose of our procreative powers in the accomplishment of God’s plan.  Outside the bonds of marriage between a man and a woman, all uses of our procreative powers are to one degree or another sinful and contrary to God’s plan for the exaltation of His children. . . .

Our knowledge of God’s plan for His children (see Dallin H. Oaks, “The Great Plan of Happiness,” Ensign, Nov. 1993, 72-75) explains why we are distressed that more and more children are born outside of marriage – currently 41 percent of all births in the United States (see Martin, “Births: Final Data for 2011,” 4) – and that the number of couples living together without marriage has increased dramatically in the past half century.  Five decades ago, only a tiny percentage of first marriages were preceded by cohabitation.  Now cohabitation precedes 60 percent of marriages. (See The State of Our Unions: Marriage in America, 2012, 76.)  And this is increasingly accepted, especially among teenagers.  Recent survey data found about 50 percent of teenagers stating that out-of-wedlock childbearing was a “worthwhile lifestyle.”  (See The State of Our Unions, 101, 102.) — Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “No Other Gods,” General Conference, October 2013