Famous Latter-day Saints

Lessons From Elizabeth Smart: How to Avoid Dangerous Pitfalls When Teaching Your Kids About Sex


Caution: The following article provides quotes and accounts from Elizabeth Smart's life that some readers may find disturbing. 

"I’ll never forget how I felt lying there on the ground. I felt like my soul had been crushed. I felt like I wasn’t even human anymore. How could anyone ever love me or care for me after this? I felt like life had no more meaning to it."

These were the thoughts of Elizabeth Smart after she was kidnapped and raped at just 14 years old. While Smart's faith and reliance on the atonement ultimately helped her overcome the trauma of that experience, she also provides insights into how her early ideas about sex, influenced much by Mormon culture, caused her to create negative and damaging views about herself and sexual intimacy.

For more insights from Elizabeth Smart, check out her autobiography, My Story: Elizabeth Smart.

You'll also like: Elizabeth Smart: Becoming a Mom Has Been the Best Thing Ever

In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, when it comes to teaching our children about sex, we tend to always focus on abstinence as the primary goal for kids. This teaching will be no different in my household as my children grow up. We will talk about the law of chastity in a similar manner to what is taught in Sunday School and in our scriptures.

You'll also like: Healthy Sexuality and Chastity: 5 Ways to Teach Your Kids (Without Making It Awkward)

That being said, one thing that I feel is really important as we teach our three children about abstinence is not to use shame in an attempt to scare or intimidate our children into complying with our own moral code. The problem I see within our Church [culture] and for most Christian churches (yes, we are a Christian church) is this tendency to rely heavily on rhetoric that focuses too much on shaming our children in order to motivate them into being compliant with particular commandments.

We focus so much on the negative consequences of being unrepentant that we secondarily and often times unintentionally teach them that they are “dirty” or “unclean” if they happen to slip up.

You'll also like: Why Elder Holland Called Sexual Intimacy a Sacrament

A three in one marriage book, sex book, and parenting book that tackles the topic of physical intimacy and marital oneness in a comprehensive, in-depth and frank, yet respectfully reverent way while shining a light into the mysteries of the female heart and mind. And They Were Not Ashamed: Strengthening Marriage through Sexual Fulfillment is the ultimate how-to handbook — power-packed with hope and help for creating a mutually fulfilling intimate relationship.


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