To be entrusted with the power to create life carries with it the greatest joys — and most dangerous temptations, said President Boyd K. Packer, president of the Quorum of the Twelve.

"The gift of mortal life and the capacity to kindle other lives is a supernal blessing," he said Sunday morning. "Through the righteous exercise of this power, as in nothing else, we may come close to our Father in Heaven and experience a fullness of joy. This power is not an incidental part of the plan of happiness. It is the key — the very key."

Whether this power is used as the eternal laws require will forever determine who one will become. It is liberating when an individual determines his or her own free will to be obedient to the Father. "When we obey, we can enjoy these powers in the covenant of marriage. From our fountains of life will spring our children, our family. Love between husband and wife can be constant and bring fulfillment and contentment all the days of our lives."

The Church leader added if one is denied such blessings in mortality, the promise is that they will be provided for in the world to come.

Pure love presupposes that only after a pledge of eternal fidelity — a legal and lawful ceremony — and ideally after the sealing ordinance of the temple, are those life-giving powers released for the full expression of love.

"It is to be shared only and solely between man and woman, husband and wife, with that one who is our companion forever. On this the gospel is very plain," he said.

President Packer compared the "dreadful influence" of pornography to a plague sweeping across the world, infecting one here and one there and relentlessly trying to invade every home. The effects can be spiritually fatal.

"Pornography will always repel the Spirit of Christ and will interrupt the communications between our Heavenly Father and His children and disrupt the tender relationship between husband and wife."

The priesthood, he assured, can protect one from the plague of pornography. "If one is obedient, the priesthood can show how to break a habit and even erase an addiction. Holders of the priesthood have that authority and should employ it to cast out evil influences."

The gospel teaches a standard of moral conduct that will offer protection from Satan's many substitutes or counterfeits for marriage. Understand that any persuasion to enter into any relationship that is not in harmony with the principles of the gospel must be wrong. "Some suppose that they were pre-set and cannot overcome what they feel are inborn tendencies toward the impure and unnatural. Not so! Why would our Heavenly Father do that to anyone? Remember, He is our Father."

President Packer said there are those today who not only tolerate, but advocate voting to change laws that would legalize immorality, as if a vote would somehow alter the designs of God's laws and nature. A law against nature, he said, would be impossible to enforce.

"History demonstrates over and over again that moral standards cannot be changed by battle and cannot be changed by ballot. To legalize that which is basically wrong or evil will not prevent the pain and penalties that will follow as surely as night follows day."

Regardless of the opposition, the faithful are determined to stay the course. "We will hold to the principles and laws and ordinances of the gospel. If they are misunderstood either innocently or willfully, so be it. We cannot change; we will not change our moral standards. We quickly lose our way when we disobey the laws of God. If we do not protect and foster the family, civilization and our liberties must needs perish."

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For those confined in a "prison of sin, guilt or perversion," there is a way back: repentance.

"Repentance is like unto a detergent," said President Packer. "Even ground in stains of sin will come out."

He concluded by saying the simplest and most powerful prevention and cure for pornography or any unclean act is to ignore and avoid it. "Delete from the mind any unworthy thought that tries to take root. Once you have decided to remain clean, you are asserting your God-given agency."

— Jason Swensen