Chapter 18: Virtue- a Cornerstone on Which to Build Our Lives

Unfortunately, Gordon B. Hinckley Chapter 18: Virtue-a Cornerstone on Which to Build Our Lives is a topic that is talked about more and more as the world shifts away from traditional virtue and tries to replace it with a counterfeit. This lesson will definitely be hard for a few people in your class, especially if they suffer from betrayal trauma because someone in their family is a pornography addict. So be aware and stay close to the Spirit. 


I love the beautiful promises that come as we live virtuous lives- peace, the companionship of the Holy Ghost, seeing God again, self-mastery, and much more. There is much to gain. I often think of the story of the woman who touch Christ's garment (Mark 5:30). Christ knew it because virtue went out of Him. There is so much power in virtue...probably much more than we realize.

Questions to Ponder

Some of these questions are from the manual, others are ones that I thought of- use them in your preparation, lesson, or to help you think of your own.

  • How would you respond to someone that argues that there is not a valid case for virtue?
  • Why is chastity "the way to happiness in living"?
  • How does chastity bring "peace to the heart and peace to the home"?
  • What can you do to rise above pornography?
  • How can you help others rise above it?
  • What do you think it means to stand tall against pornography?
  • What can you learn about controlling your thoughts in section 4?
  • What are some practical things that you can do to keep your thoughts clean?
  • How can you make virtue a cornerstone to build your life?
  • What are some of the blessings that come from living a virtuous life?
  • What can you do to protect yourself and your family from the storm of pornography?
  • What helps you have mental control? Do you have a trick that you use when needed?

Teacher Study

Here are some articles to study as you continue to prepare for your lesson. They should NOT replace the manual but rather help answer questions and strengthen your own testimony so that it is easy to teach with confidence and answer questions that arise during your lesson. 

"A Return to Virtue" by Sister Elaine S. Dalton

"How Near to the Angels" by President James E. Faust

"May You Have Courage" by President Thomas S. Monson

"A Virtuous Life- Step by Step" by Sister Mary N. Cook

"Teaching Chastity and Virtue" by Elder Matthew O. Richardson

"Let Virtue Garnish Your Thoughts" by Bishop H. David Burton

"Guardians of Virtue" by Sister Elaine S. Dalton

Deseret Bookshelf PLUS

Remember, as a Deseret Bookshelf PLUS member, you can access these eBooks or audio books anytime. Find out more about Deseret Bookshelf PLUS.

Sister Dalton talked a lot about virtue while she was General Young Women's President. Afterward, she gathered and expanded her thoughts in a book called, "A Return to Virtue."

Brad Wilcox also has a talk entitled, "Let Virtue Garnish Thy Thoughts."

Suggested Videos

Shun Immorality (about 1 minute)- Words from President Hinckley

Return to Virtue (about 2 1/2 minutes)- Words from Sister Elaine S. Dalton

Virtue: For Such a Time as This (about 6 minutes)- Young women of the Church call for a return to virtue

Guardians of Virtue (about 2 minutes)- Words from Sister Elaine S. Dalton

Scripture Study

These are the same scriptures mentioned at the end of the manual. I include them here because of the importance in reading our scriptures as we prepare.

Psalm 24:3-4

Matthew 5:27-28

Philippians 4:6-8

Jacob 3:2

D&C 46:31-33

D&C 59:6

Articles of Faith 1:13

Looking for Something to Help Your Family?

I'm a fan of these 30 Days of Sex Talks by Educate and Empower Kids. There are 3 different age groups to help tailor it to your family. Each day is a short discussion that you can have with your children to keep the lines of communication open when it comes to intimacy. They also have a great resource online as well as a book to guide you through talking to your children about pornography.

Teaching Thoughts

These are my ideas. My hope is that reading my thoughts will be a springboard to finding the right plans for your class. 

  • Tie in the first paragraph of section 1 with the scripture in Proverbs 31:10. Then define the word virtue with a definition that is clear and to the point so that the rest of your lesson is focused well.
  • In D&C 121:45 it says to "garnish" our thoughts unceasingly. Go old school and look up the definition of garnish then talk about what that means for our lives. How do we unceasingly garnish our thoughts?
  • Make a case for virtue like as you would in court. Split your class in half- one part for virtue and the other part for thinking of why people may rationalize it away. You can make a list of the main points on the board while talking about appropriate responses for the rationalizations.
  • It's too easy to get used to things that are common in the world. Discuss what your class does to continually put safeguards up and not get used to the "filth and immorality." Do you discuss it in family council? Do you perform a self evaluation every so often? Do you have a checklist you go through before watching a TV show? How do you help your family desire to reach higher? Be careful not to name specific shows, etc. so no one has hurt feelings when class is over. Generally speaking, how do you keep virtue in and the filth out?
  • You can further demonstrate the above point by passing around a clean, ultra white sheet of paper making sure everyone in the room has a chance to touch it. By the time it makes it back to you it should be a little bit dirty and bent. That's what happens to us everyday. What could you do to protect the paper? (Sheet protector, laminate it, etc.) How can you get it clean again?
  • Use my free scripture posters to dive further into the scriptures that talk about virtue. You can put one up at a time to discuss or break into 4 groups and give each one a scripture to discuss with a specific question. When you come back together, ask people what impressed them about virtue instead of doing a simple report. Remember to print a few extra of the smaller sized posters to give to those that can't attend your class.
  • The last line of section 1 talks about virtue being the cornerstone you build your life. I like the definitions for cornerstone. Bring blocks to demonstrate the first and second definitions. How can we build our lives on this virtue cornerstone? 
  • Be sure you know when your Pornography Addiction groups are being held and make that information available- both for those that struggle with the addiction and for the family members of those that struggle. You might also want to point out the LDS site, Overcoming Pornography for additional resources and support.
  • If your class is mainly parents with children at home, you may want to discuss how you talk about pornography with your children. There is a great video on called "What Should I Do When I See Pornography?" that you can watch then discuss.
  • Use President Hinckley's storm example for talking about pornography (see section 3). Yes it is all around but we can dress ourselves up and find shelter to protect ourselves. You can bring in some objects to represent different ways we do that or give the objects to people in your class to come up with their own ideas.
  • Section 4 goes right along with one of the reasons we fast- it helps us put our spiritual selves above the physical appetites. How else can we rise above and strengthen our own self-control? 
  • Use the above handout with Pure gum, hand sanitizer, or white gumballs plus get other great lesson handouts (from My Computer Is My Canvas).
  • Definitely be sure to go over section 5 as it provides much hope. One public example of a couple that is rising above the past is Ashlynn and Coby. You'd have to get permission, but you could show their story and talk about the road back.
  • I'm still in the hospital so no video- sorry.


See the hymns listed under the topic of "Chastity."