Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Morally Clean Before Marriage: Happiness After by Josh Snyder



    


I’m not sure who first coined the phrase “Cleanliness is next to Godliness”, but it is one many of us have heard frequently throughout our lives. Most likely we heard it used as our mothers were reminding us to clean our rooms, to take a bath, or to try and give enlightened significance to our being crouched next to a dirty toilet with rubber gloves, cleanser and a scrub brush. Reading the phrase now may still bring a slight cringe at the memory of a dreaded task. (Mine was hand washing the dishes.)

Many years and cleaned toilets later, I began to take a different meaning from this phrase. It was when I was engaged and preparing to marry my wife Stephanie. It went from a phrase that triggered a slight cringe, to one that became a reminder of the things that matter most – seeking God’s greatest blessings for those I love.



 In every member of the human family God has placed an innate desire to be part of a family and He has done so to help us seek His greatest blessing of exaltation. Dating my wife, Stephanie and coming to know with certainty that we wanted to be together forever brought to me a deep feeling of wanting to be better, which could be described as becoming cleaner, of purging the things which would take my focus from her and our life together. It inspired me to want to be all that God knows I can be, and to do it not for myself, but for her. In time this deep feeling of selfless love would change “I” to “we” and our focus would then turn from “us” to “them” - our children. 



You’ll remember that the very first commandment God gave to Adam and Eve was to multiply and replenish (fill) the earth. God was offering to them the chance to take part in the sacred and amazing process which would allow them, and subsequently us, to join with Him in creating life. 


From the beginning God has said that life, and the means for creating it, are of the greatest sacredness and importance, because in them are the seeds of godliness. He has organized the family unit as the environment in which these sacred things should happen.

“The Family – A Proclamation to the World” is the Lord’s modern reminder to us that His first commandment is still in effect and will be indefinitely. With loving and direct counsel through His prophet and apostles, the Lord outlines the parameters in which we can accomplish this:

“The sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife. We declare the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed. We affirm the sanctity of life and of its importance in God’s eternal plan.”     

Sounds so simple doesn’t it? Even a tender child hearing this can understand these guidelines and feel Heavenly Father’s intentions, yet the views of the world cloud the issue with counterfeit versions of the Lord’s intended use of the power of procreation.
           
Satan, in his vile way, seeks to diminish this beautiful gift and to twist its use through the justification of our natural urges. He knows he cannot stop God’s Plan of Happiness from being fulfilled, but he will defile it in whatever way he can. 

He seeks to either break apart the family, to create a counterfeit version, or to keep it from being formed altogether. 

There are so many ways Satan tries to achieve this, but that’s for another discussion. 

Simply put-the momentary pleasure of merely satisfying urges brings physical, emotional and spiritual sorrows which can be long lasting and will jeopardize the power and beauty of the eternal relationship saved for the man or woman we want with all our hearts to be with forever. 


As hard as it may seem to suggest this to a world which is all about “What can it get, how quickly can I get it and how much of it can I get?” God’s counsel is for each and every one of us.  By keeping ourselves sexually pure before marriage we protect ourselves from "the emotional damage that always comes from sharing physical intimacies with someone outside of marriage." (see For the Strength of Youth)
We also prepare ourselves to build strong marriages and to bring children into the world as part of a loving family.

The feelings we have to bond intimately with the one we love are a wonderful and deliberate gift provided by our Heavenly Father to enhance our relationships which will lead us to the greatest happiness in family life.
           
I love talking about the eternal blessings of the family and have so many things I would like to share, but I’ll wrap up now with an invitation to all of you. 


Whether you are reading these posts with mild curiosity, or with a critical eye, or as a sincere seeker of knowledge for enhancing your own circumstances; I invite you to support and encourage happiness in family life by promoting virtue and moral cleanliness within the bounds of marriage. Let the effort start within your own heart and mind and then encourage it in the lives of those around you. 


For some it may require a paradigm shift or a change of heart, for others your heart is already there, but I promise you that as you do so, your relationships on every level will be blessed with greater fulfillment, deeper purpose and increased happiness because of the love of God for all of us, His family.    




Josh Snyder is a private equity manager and early-morning seminary teacher who lives in California with his wife beautiful wife Stephanie and their three sons.  He served a full-time mission in the Colorado Denver South Mission and graduated from BYU-Idaho.  He enjoys drawing, sculpting, eating a great meal with his family and studying the gospel of Jesus Christ.  (Josh and I were in Primary together back in the day, but I'll spare him-and you-the fabulous roadshow pics!)  Thanks, Josh!


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"Teach your children to love the hymns. Sing them on the Sabbath, in home evening, during scripture study, at prayer time. Sing as you work, as you play, and as you travel together. Sing hymns as lullabies to build faith and testimony in your young ones." (First Presidency Preface, Hymns, 1985, x)

The Purple Cow Bookstore is sponsoring today’s prize of a Hardbound LDS Hymnbook engraved with your family name and one of Cocoa’s favorite songbooks from childhood, Let’s Sing Together.

The Purple Cow Bookstore an independent children's bookstore located west of the Oquirrh Mountains in Tooele, Utah.  They help you bring children and books together!



29 comments:

  1. Josh..you are as ever... wonderful. It was so nice to see you as a guest blogger and your words are wonderful! Bet your parents are glad they made you handwash the dishes...

    But come on....let's share those pix of the roadshow. It was probably the only one that I actually enjoyed.

    Great words...great man, husband, father...oh and son

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  2. What a wonderful and uplifting post!

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  3. Woooo a husband blogger!! great read, Josh, very fun and uplifting.

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  4. Thank you for this lovely post.

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  5. I remember when I worked in Boston talking to people about our beliefs about the premarital relations. They didn't understand until I shared with them the clarity in perspective it gave me in judging whether the person I was dating was right ... there wasn't a physical relationship that kept me in a relationship that was otherwise not marriage bound. Then they understood -- they didn't agree, but they understood :)

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  6. good to hear the man's view of this important topic and such a righteous example for his sons...thanks!

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  7. It is such a timely and welcome message in a day such as this. Thank you so much for sharing it.

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  8. Thanks for the great message.
    And those books, loved the "Let's Sing Together" while growing up.

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  9. What a wonderful testimony. It's striking how easy immorality can seep into someone's life if they are not proactively seeking to be pure. Thank you for sharing!

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  10. Awesome post, Josh. Thank you so much!

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  11. Josh, that was an outstanding post. I loved reading this and I like that it is from a male; which is a change. I liked your viewpoints and feel that the subject was well taught.
    Blessings to you for sharing your thoughts. The pictures were awesome too.

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  12. This was really inspiring male perspective. Fantastic!

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  13. It can be a hard message to get some to grasp but definitely a worthy one. Thank you!

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  14. How great to hear the mans perspective! I really enjoyed this!

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  15. What a great post. And I loved hearing from the male point of view for a change!

    =)

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  16. I love hearing a man's perspective! Thank you for sharing!!!

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  17. I am finally getting caught up on all your great posts from the last week. Just like last year, I am finding inspiration in every single post. I can't wait to read the rest! :)

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  18. Great post, thanks! I love how simple and clear the doctrines are. I also liked this new twist on 'cleanliness is next to Godliness.'

    What a way to have honored your sweetheart as well. In a world where people are often trying to get what they can get, selfishly, out of a relationship, it's wonderful to hear people talk about wanting to be better people to enhance the relationship, the 'we.'

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  19. Thank you for the refreshing and inspiring post. It is so nice to hear in the times we live in.

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  20. Nice to have a man's perspective.

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  21. I don't think I have ever thought of the "cleanliness next to Godliness" as moral cleanliness. It makes so much sense, though. Thanks for your insight.

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  22. thank you! this has me thinking how I can help my brother come back to the understanding he knows...a fantastic post!

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  23. I love how this is put. Being a leader of the youth I cannot stress these truths enough. Thanks.

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  24. So glad there are men like you out there! :) Thank you, Josh, for your example and for this post!

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  26. I've been offline for a bit, so sorry for my late thanks. Thank you for all of your kind remarks. It was a great experience writing this postand I hope to do it again some time. Strengthening the family and working toward true happiness is so vital.
    I look forward to catching up on the other posts and comments. I love reading about so many other experiences and insights.

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