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I asked the Deacon’s Quorum I teach if they knew what the law of chastity was. One intrepid young man raised his hand, “Don’t have sex until you’re 18.” I gulped. Not Quite, I explained.
A second young man raised his hand to swoop in with the right answer. “It’s don’t have sex until you’re 16!”
Needless to say, the youth in our wards and branches do need to be taught the law of chastity. And while we’ve heard countless tales of mangled object lessons with wooden boards, glazed donuts, and sticks of gum, these lessons keep returning because object lessons work.
So what object lessons can we use instead to teach the principle of chastity responsibly and accurately?
1. Growing a Tree
Horticulture is a rich source for object lessons in the scriptures, and there can be many valuable lessons we can continue to draw from them.
Show the class a potted plant. Ask them to list some ways you would care for the plant if you wanted it to grow and flower.
Explain that the plant can be compared to our own sexuality. Ask the class some of the things we do to help our individual sexuality grow and develop. Answers could include dating, attending dances, or preparing for the temple among others.
If available, bring an unripe fruit. Ask the class if you should have harvested the fruit already. Explain that the fruit is delicious but only if we wait until the appropriate time to harvest the fruit. But explain that even if you do take the fruit off too early, the tree will continue to produce fruit, and we can wait for the next fruits.
Cautions: You may want to explain that sometimes people can steal the fruit from our trees. But that this isn’t our fault.
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