I've made a lot of friends here in Cambridge, and I have been happy to share their company. It has been intellectually stimulating to return to an environment that is not predominantly LDS, and to discuss various topics - including morality, faith, the role of women and men in society, intimacy, and relationships - with people from backgrounds very different than my own.
Today, I was struck by the truth of Pres. Monson's words from the last General Conference:
"We have come to the earth in troubled times. The moral compass of the masses has gradually shifted to an “almost anything goes” position. ... Where once the standards of the Church and the standards of society were mostly compatible, now there is a wide chasm between us, and it’s growing ever wider."- Priesthood session
Indeed, I am somewhat amazed by how very different we are. This was impressed to me the other evening at a formal hall; some friends and I began to discuss the role of sexuality in relationships. Many of my friends here - wonderful people with whom I enjoy spending time - don't seem to value abstinence or virginity very highly; rather, sexual experience and skill are held as more important than sexual purity.
I can understand where my friends are coming from, of course; I have passed puberty myself. Still, I am grateful for the law of chastity. I do not wish to imagine the sorrow I would feel were I to engage in the frequent sexual activity that seems, from conversations here, to be completely socially acceptable.
I look forward to sharing sexual intimacy with one woman, with whom I will also share my entire life. I look forward to consummating, physically, an already-developed emotional union of hearts and a previously ratified social union of lives.
Some have said I can achieve this outside of marriage -- I disagree; I believe that I can only fully give myself to someone when we are both committed to each other completely: socially (marriage), spiritually (marriage in the temple), emotionally (best friends), financially, and physically.
I think that premarital sexual activity blunts my ability to connect emotionally and physically with the person I want to spend forever with; uncommitted sexual experience makes sex more of a skill than an act of union. I don't want to practice that - I want to practice becoming one with my spouse, and that requires a lot of premarital, NON-sexual work - getting to know each other, establishing a relationship, and deciding to commit to that person for ever (in Mormon doctrine, marriage is not till death, but even after) - and, perhaps most importantly, discovering that those feelings and efforts are mutual and equally strong.
How wonderful, then, to have the law of chastity! How grateful I am that I was taught to abstain from sex before marriage!
Forward, then: though I walk through paths I do not know, I shall fear no evil - for God is with me. - Psalm 23:4
"Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils - for wherein is he to be accounted of?" - Isa. 2:22; 2 Ne. 12:22
"Therefore, hold on thy way, and the priesthood shall remain with thee; for their bounds are set, they cannot pass. Thy days are known, and thy years shall not be numbered less; therefore, fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever." - Doctrine and Covenants 122:9