Christ described what He expected of His disciples: “Be therefore wise servants and as harmless as doves.” NC Matt. 5:3. How do we become “harmless” as His followers?

While Christians are worried about “being saved”, and Mormons aspire to “be exalted” once they leave this world, and Muslims consider conquest and subjugation of others a duty, and Buddhists seek enlightenment, there is a very different goal in mind for some of us; the establishment of a place of peace, where residents are harmless and constitute no threat to one another. But that place is unique in one very significant respect: The peace comes from within the people. There will be no external force to compel it.

The societies that are “safe” and “peaceful” as the world experiences it, accomplish that end by using police, courts, laws and lawyers internally, and armies, navies and air forces externally. At every turn there is some mechanism that imposes limits, enforces those limits, and ultimately either imprisons or executes offenders.

The place of peace some of us seek cannot do that. All of the controls must be internal to the residents. Each must determine to abide alongside others without being a threat to their family, children, property or space. From comments I’ve received, it is apparent that many of those who want to live in a place of peace are unfit to do so. Wishing something to be available to you does not mean that when you get there your internal lack of self-government will not destroy the place. People who lack internal self-control to leave others peacefully to enjoy their family, property and privacy are not harmless as a dove. They are menacing.

Let me break it down into some specifics, starting with chastity:

Harmless: Chastity

I’ve told someone (and it has been repeated) that ‘the law of chastity is not what you think it is.’ If I were writing it for emphasis and understanding I’d write it this way: The law of chastity is NOT what YOU think it is. Meaning that the person I was talking to had a limited, misunderstood idea of the law. And, make no mistake about words, it is a law, given by God.

Chastity begins with the first commandment given to the first couple who were made in the image of God. That command is to “multiply and replenish the earth.” OC Gen. 2:9. That is part of chastity: The obligation to employ the sexual ability and power to produce offspring.

Chastity includes the command, “You shall not commit adultery.” OC Exo. 12:10. But if all you manage to do is to refrain from adultery, you are still a threat to your neighbor if you do not obey this accompanying command, “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.” Id. at 13. This, too, is part of chastity.

The Lord explained further that chastity requires control over inappropriate sexual thoughts and fantasies, “I say unto you that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery already in his heart. Behold, I give unto you a commandment that ye suffer none of these things to enter into your heart, for it is better that ye should deny yourselves of these things, wherein ye will take up your cross, than that ye should be cast into hell.” NC 3 Ne. 5:27. Therefore, chastity requires you to have a firm mind in this form of godliness if you want to obey the law.

The law goes on to describe the kind of relationship intended by the law of chastity. “You shall love your wife with all your heart, and shall cleave unto her and none else, and he that looks upon a woman to lust after her shall deny the faith, and shall not have the spirit, and if he repent not he shall be cast out.” T&C 26:6. It is impossible to be harmless and live in peace through self-government if this part of the law is disobeyed.

Then we also have this commandment, “Teach your children to honor me.” T&C 158:11 (part of the covenant with God). That is elaborated upon in the Lord’s command, “And again, inasmuch as parents have children in Zion that teach them not to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ, the Son of the living God, and of baptism, and the gift of the holy spirit by the laying on of the hands, when eight years old, the sin be upon the head of the parents. For this shall be a law unto the inhabitants of Zion, and their children shall be baptized for the remission of their sins when eight years old, and receive the laying on of the hands. And they also shall teach their children to pray and to walk uprightly before the Lord.” T&C 55:5.

You are not just obligated to “multiply” and bring offspring into the world, but part of the law of chastity requires those children to be instructed, warned and guided to the point they honor God. The best way to honor God is to obey His commandments.

The law of chastity is intended to inform how you live your life, how you use the power of procreation, how as a husband you love your wife and cleave only to her, and as a wife you love your husband and cleave only to him.

And, of course, chastity prohibits polygamy, “Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none; For I, the Lord God, delight in the chastity of women. And whoredoms are an abomination before me; thus saith the Lord of Hosts.” NC Jacob 2:7. That should go without saying, as should most of this. If you studied your scriptures nothing in this would be misunderstood by you.

All of the elements of chastity are designed to circumscribe conduct within the bounds set by God to allow you to live in peace with others. It protects your family and protects your neighbor’s. But it requires a firm mind in every form of godliness to become such a harmless soul.

There are many people who talk about a place of peace but who are utterly unfit to live peacefully with their fellow man. Sexual promiscuity destroys. It weakens the soul and leaves them unfit for self-government.

If you cannot obey the law of chastity you should live where your failure is accepted, perhaps even welcome. The world embraces an increasingly diverse and ungoverned sexuality and you will be welcomed there. But do not think that you can live peacefully without having the iron will to follow God’s direction voluntarily and internally. No one will be governing you in the Lord’s city of peace. You must bring that peace with you.