No apology need be made for the teaching and practice of premarital sexual abstinence and total sexual fidelity in marriage, an LDS Church official told Weber State Institute of Religion students and faculty Tuesday.

"It is the most viable and sound approach to the current teen sex scourge, out-of-wedlock pregnancies and the growing AIDS epidemic affecting our nation," said Richard P. Lindsay, managing director of public communications for the church.In his talk, Lindsay cited what he called social indicators of deteriorating moral conditions in America.

"In many American cities, including our nation's capital, abortions outnumber live births. More than 1 million unmarried young women in the United States had babies last year. According to recent surveys, nearly 60 percent of high school students in mainstream America have lost their virginity, as have 80 percent of college students."

He said mountains of additional data could be cited to "document the precipitous moral slide our country has experienced in recent years.

"The teachings of scripture and of prophet leaders concerning the need of personal moral discipline offer the greatest hope in confronting these overwhelming problems of moral decay which each year undermine millions of lives. To attack the root of the problem we need to understand and teach that young people can control their desires of premarital physical intimacy."

Quoting former LDS Church President David O. McKay, Lindsay said a "necessary ingredient of spirituality is a `consciousness of victory over self.' "

Lindsay said, "The letter of the law of chastity is to have sexual experiences only with one's spouse, the man or woman with whom legal marriage covenants have been made. But the spirit of this law encompasses far more. It requires that we keep sacred and appropriate all of our sexual desires - and all related behaviors."

He also quoted former church President Spencer W. Kimball, who said sexual relationships in marriage are inherently good.

"Sex can be a wonderful servant but a terrible master. Within the bonds of marriage it can be a creative force more powerful than any other in the fostering of love, companionship and happiness."

Lindsay said the church's stand on chastity is not an "outworn garment, faded, old fashioned and threadbare. God is the same yesterday, today and forever, and his covenants and doctrines are immutable . . . .

"Old values are upheld by the church, not because they are old, but rather because through the ages they have proved right. It will always be the rule."