2012 Pure Love Essay Contest Alumni Category 1st Prize 
 Mikako I. 
Age 17 , Grade 12

What are the benefits of keeping sexual purity before marriage?

          As one of roughly 6.7 billion people on Earth, what can a person claim exclusively as their own? A house? You can pay monthly bills and have it signed under your name, but it was not built for you specifically; the house has probably had numerous owners before, and just the same, it will have a plentiful number of owners after you. What about even your family? Your mom and dad are someone else’s daughter and son and they are someone else’s sister and brother. As selfish as you might want to be in claiming even your parent’s as yours solely, it is not completely true. So in this vast and ever-changing world, what exactly can humans claim as wholly their own without being disputed? It is purity. It is the freedom from sexual contaminants. It is the innocence that has only one owner. This virtue that each and every single of the 6.7 billion people on Earth is born with is truly one of the only things that every single human being can claim as their own, regardless of money, race, status, or any other societal miseries that we have created and thrust upon one another. Guarding this kind of powerful gift that is only endowed at birth is essential, especially in today’s world. The benefits of protecting one’s sexual purity until marriage are numerous and central to not only physical health, but more importantly, one’s mental and spiritual sanity.   
          By abstaining from sexual actions before marriage, an abundance of physical benefits exist. The fact is, having sex even once is enough to get an STD or AIDS. According to the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an average of 40,000 to 80,000 new cases of HIV are reported each year in the U.S. and it is estimated that half of all new infections are among people younger than 25. This means that for tens of thousands of Americans barely out of college and already facing the routine struggles of starting out their lives, an even heavier burden is placed on them through having to fight through sexually transmitted diseases that hinder and often times kill off their victims completely. Through holding off from sexual contact, you lessen the number of people that you would potentially be with, as well as the extent that you would go with your partner(s). By waiting until after marriage, you are able to prevent not only deadly diseases that would burden you for a lifetime, but even more significant is the possibility of having a child born out of wedlock. Kids are a gift from God. Really, truly, all children deserve to be loved. So when a baby is born in an environment where daddy does not always equal husband, and mommy does not always equal wife, how much love can he or she receive? Parental love is love from both parents and often times in homes where parents are not married, stories of abuse and neglect come about. Moms and dads are one entity to children. They do not think of their parents as a separate man and woman, but rather as one whole. We have all heard stories of parents fighting over child support and who gets the baby what weekend. I know that I have personally seen numerous girls carrying their babies to high school because they do not have anybody to baby-sit for them. Is high school a suitable environment for an innocent baby? Of course not. When I see situations like that, I am able to verify my truth that abstaining from sex until marriage is truly the smart thing to do. Not keeping sexual purity until after marriage is truly too cruel a thing to both yourself and a potential child.  
          Sex is often associated with love. This correlation could also be interpreted as the physical being associated with the emotional. This connecting line between humans is one that is often obscured. “If you love me, you will have sex with me.” That type of line is too often in society. “True Love Waits.” This saying that is inscribed onto my purity ring is one that I whole-heartedly agree with as a fact. True love in my heart is equivalent to love, trust, and commitment. By waiting until marriage to become sexually active, you are putting your trust and commitment level to the test. By knowing that your husband or wife is willing to wait for you, you are able to save your heart, body, and soul from disease and heartbreak. Sex is one of the most intimate actions that a human can do. The benefits of abstinence regarding more emotional issues are endless. Regardless of what gender, age, or type of person you are, you will always remember your first time being intimate with someone. That kind of encounter should be one that is cherished in mind and heart, not one that is connected to tears and future loneliness. When you finally do have sex, you want it to be with someone that you truly trust and love. Someone you know is willing to take the next big step by getting married to you and vowing in front of God Himself that he or she will always love and be with you for the rest of your lives. By having that kind of trust and commitment level through marriage, people beyond doubt are able to connect deeper with their partners through not just emotions, but through actions.  
Keeping one’s sexual purity is something that should be, but is unfortunately not always kept in our culture. Sex does not always come with the promise of eternal love, but rather a moment of ecstasy followed by years of regret. Rather than heartbreak, people should set themselves up to the possibility of happiness by abstaining from sexual situations. By keeping oneself sexually pure until marriage, the benefits are eternal for your body, heart and soul.

2011 PL Essay  Contestant  
17 years old
12th grade
Oliver B. 
1st Prize in HS(11-12) Category

            Turn on the TV, listen to the radio, surf the internet, walk down a high school hallway, watch a movie, no matter what you do or how hard you try it is nearly impossible to escape the many sexually oriented messages and images we are exposed to everyday. These messages and images glorify pre-marital sex and show it in a positive light. This leaves many people asking what are if any the benefits of keeping sexual purity before marriage?   
            There are many benefits of keeping sexual purity before marriage. One of the main benefits of keeping sexual purity before marriage is having a stronger relationship between you and your spouse when you are married. You will have a stronger foundation of trust between you and your partner and you will not have the burden of carrying memories of the sexual experiences that you had between you and previous people. You will also increase your chances of having a successful and permanent marriage. A study conducted by researchers at Brigham Young University found that couples who practiced abstinence before marriage experienced longer marriages.
            Another reason why one should remain sexually pure before marriage is because of the benefits it has on your physical, psychological, and social health. Abstaining from sex before marriage will greatly reduce your risks of getting a sexually transmitted disease (STD). It will also reduce the chances of you having an unplanned pregnancy. Students who abstain from sex prior to marriage are also believed to perform better academically. Sex outside marriage or before marriage can lead to relationship problems resulting in depression, guilt, loneliness, disappointment, emotional turmoil, family breakup, domestic abuse and social disruptions.
When one remains sexually pure before marriage they will also be helping to promote a better, healthier society. Abstaining from sex before marriage means fewer unwanted pregnancies, lesser homeless children and more college graduates which means more people with a higher income.
            When you remain sexually pure before marriage you will also have a stronger and more closer relationship between God and your family. Your family will trust you more when you choose to remain sexually pure before marriage and you will be closer to God because you will be following his teachings (“Run away from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. 1 Corinthians 6:18 - New Living Translation”). Having a strong relationship with God and your family is important because it will help you to stay away from other temptations and will be of benefit when you are going through hard times and need someone who you can talk to and have a strong healthy relationship with. 
            When you have pre-marital sex you are giving your love away and that which is most sacred to someone who does not truly love you and has no intention of spending the rest of their life with you. When you practice sex outside of marriage or before marriage you are giving away a part of your heart and soul that you will never be able to get back. You are giving away that which is most sacred, and is only intended to be shared between husband and wife. In doing this you will not be capable of loving your spouse to the extent that you would have been able to love them if they had been your first.  
            For me the benefits of keeping my sexual purity before marriage are many. When remaining abstinent and sexually pure I can spend more time on my academics, friends and family, and developing a stronger relationship with God. I personally know of many students who have not remained abstinent and have seen them suffer greatly because of it. They grew apart from long time friends, had more family problems and did poorly in school. Some people even turned to drugs or alcohol in order to cope with the void left in their lives when the person they loved or had sex with left them to be with someone else. I personally think that the benefits of remaining sexually pure before marriage greatly outweigh the perceived benefits of not. 
            As you can see there are many benefits of keeping sexually purity before marriage. These benefits include but are not limited to a stronger relationship between you and your spouse, better relationship between friends and family, healthier psychological, emotional and physical health, capability of loving your spouse with all your heart and most importantly a closer relationship between you and God.

2011 Pure Love Essay Contest 
2nd Prize HS Category
Age 17  Grade 11

 I was brought into this world by a women only 16 years of age at the time of my birth. As I grew older pressure begins to build around the topic of abstinence. Because of her own experiences at a young age I began to get parented cautiously. I wasn't brought up in the church, but I was always a believer of God just for the simple fact that my grandma made us pray before we eat. Growing up seeing images of God around the house made me think this is the right thing to believe in. As I became of age to understand things I was oblivious to at a young age I began to think. My mother and father were not married when I was conceived. This makes me assume that what they did was okay. Right? This never crossed my mind as being un-pure until my family grew in Gods word. Knowing that my mother and father had a child even though they weren't married was just okay in my eyes. Seeing her and my father well off as adults only leaves me to think that having a child before marriage is no big problem. I think some young teens can relate and think that its okay for them to do the same.

How can you maintain sexual purity before marriage when the culture bombards you with sexually oriented messages and images? This question is relevant everyday in life. As we wake up in the morning and turn on our t.v. what might we typically see? Maybe a likable women or man advertising a warn cup of coffee? No harm in this, but the way the culture presents this image isn't pure. They might have this women or man in an inappropriate and unnecessary outfit that has nothing tied to the coffee itself. This is an example of culture presenting something so innocent as coffee and turning it into something you might question. To me they aren't selling the coffee. In my eyes I see temptation presented on many levels. There are many ways to temp someone to think a certain something. For the commercial is just a way to spread that thought of temptation. Then again an individual could not acknowledge the temptation being presented in this commercial. Everyone has different views and levels of what temps them.

Being exposed to sexually oriented content is one thing, but how you respond is another. You might watch a music video and say "Man I want to live like that" or you can say to yourself "I am made in Gods image, and what he has planned for me is much greater than what Im presented with in a 3 minute music video". Living on this earth temptations will always be at a high. Weather you are strong in your faith of God or not a believer at all. Being equipped with what you need to stray away from temptation is vital. One might say "Dig into the word of God" or "Pray about it" but in my personal experience you got to want to be pure for yourself. You know yourself the most and you know what gets to you mentally and physically so why put yourself in a position you know your going to be vulnerable in? Saying no is very easy to say. Like everyone says "Actions speak louder than words". I also once heard God wants us to live not act,  so if your saying one thing and following up with total opposite, your not fooling anybody but yourself. God see's all.

Being a young christian man living in a world of sin is hard. I just think to myself "Gods got me, he got my back". Gods as present as you want him to be , you can try to block him out,  but your just getting in the way of what he's called you to do. Sexual messages and images are everywhere. Steps I learned to take consist of ; 1.Cutting off the things that are hindering me (Mark 9:43),  2. Be vigilant (1Peter 5:8),  3. Remember that you are a temple of the holy spirit. (1 Corinthians 6:18-19) Truly worshipping God is giving your body as a holy sacrifice that is acceptable in Gods eyes. God will forgive you for what you have already did. He expects you to repent and learn from the situation presented to you. With no trials of failure there is no knowledge gained. We christians strive to be what is acceptable in Gods eyes.

 

2011 Pure Love Essay Contest
1st Prize HS Cat. (grades 9 & 10)
Kotone N. 
Age 15 , Grade 10

1) What are the benefits of keeping sexual purity before marriage? 
Sexual purity is a controversial topic to discuss about. Religion, School, Family, and Experience, these are things that effect a person’s knowledge towards sex and their feelings. Is there really a straight answer to what is right or wrong?  Why do teens struggle so much when we discuss this topic, “sexual purity?” 
            There is no doubt to say that it's a hard thing to keep sexual purity in the environment that we all live in today. With tons of media around us, it is really hard to look away from the sexual activities happening in this world. Teenagers are being exposed to a lot of sexual situations and they are not getting the education that they need to make the correct choices. When we think of sexual purity there may be lots of negative things involved but when you sort them out there are positive benefits that come out of this as well. 
            One benefit of sexual purity before marriage is that it gives us more time to grow. When we are teenagers, we are learning new things and growing into different people. We are exploring the world and looking at things that we want to become in the future. We are striving to find who we are (identity). If we do have sex at a young age, before we know who we are, it is going to confuse us even more. I believe that sex is about sharing your love with someone you truly want to be with. At a young age, you are still unsure about the type of person you want to be with. If you are not ready and the other person is also not ready, nothing good will come out of this relationship. 
            Other benefits that should be considered are the physical issues including health. To keep a healthy body for the future, the best thing is to be abstinence. You do not have to worry about any HIVor STD’s that may damage your body in the long Run. Also, you do not need any birth control to protect you from getting pregnant. If you do not want to put yourself through these risks, staying pure is the perfect and best way for you. 
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            There are lots of positive relationships that come out of staying pure till you marry. The most important is the relationship between you and your partner. By discussing about your sex life and telling them about your purity, you will have a healthier relationship with them. You can prevent yourself from any pure pressure that is happening in a relationship. Your relationships will last longer. Family relationships may be stronger as well.  You will be able to feel more open towards your family member and they will trust you fully. Healthy relationships are a positive and supporting environment to be in. It is perfect for teenagers that are seeking for answers and identity. 
            Last but not least sexual purity before marriage is going to benefit you in the future. It is going to give your partner the respect that they deserve. When 2 mature people come together and truly love each other, they produce a perfect little baby. The end result is going to be that much more rewarding. I think that this is what makes a marriage successful. With a household that is stable and supportive, you can pass this to the next generation as well. 
If you have sex at a young age, you are risking yourself to having a baby that you cannot support and love. It is not beneficial to the child or yourself or your partner. It is going to create unnecessary conflict and emotions that will not happen if you decide to keep sexual purity. I think that over the years sex has become more of a “for pleasure” than it is “a beautiful natural” action that people take. It had been misunderstood in the wrong direction. 
Staying true to what you really want in your life is the key to everything. If you are unsure about sexual activity, I prefer you to wait and observe and sort out your life. What is really important to you, and what do you really prefer over the other? It is easy to say that you want to be keep your sexual purity till you marry, but it is another to act upon it. If you stump upon a decision, think over the benefits for you and your partner. Look for more information and if you decide to, you can do anything!

2011 Pure Love Essay Contest HS (9&10) 2nd Prize 
Breeon S.                                                                                                                                                            Page 1 of 2
Age 16. Grade 10

How Would Having Sex In Your Teens Affect Your Relationship With Your Parents, Siblings, Friends, And Peers? 
            Having sex while you’re a teenager can affect your relationship with your parents because you can lose their trust, hurt them, scare them, disappoint them and change their perspective of their little girl/boy. Most parents trust their kids from the beginning, but once you do something to lose their trust it takes a long time to gain it back. For example, I did something real bad in 2008 that disappointed my Dad to the fullest, and I didn’t gain his trust back till 2010. The feeling of not having a parent’s trust hurts and it can affect the rest of your teenage life. Your privileges decrease, you have to do a lot more to earn a lot more, you can’t create the memories that you would have with all your parents trust, and your parents actually have one good reason or more for why they shouldn’t trust you or let you do something. 
            Having sex as a teenager is one of the worse things you can do to hurt or scare your parents. Whether you’re their only child or not, they don’t want anything to happen to their babies, all they want to do is keep them safe, raise them right and point them in the right direction. I can only imagine how a parent feels when they find out that their little boy/girl isn’t a virgin anymore. If they can’t control what they’re already doing then they’ll try to teach them what decisions to make and how to handle certain situations. A parent finding out that their child is having sex as a teenager is scary, because of STD’s and no birth control. Their kids are their heart and world, the last thing they want to worry about is getting a fatal disease having sex, or having a child they can’t afford.
            In the Bible, having sex before marriage is an abomination. I am a Christian, and since I’m no longer a virgin.  I am celibate, because I want my parent’s trust, to be a good influence on my friends, a good role model for my little sister, gods favor, trust, love, a better, happier life, and life for eternity. I know that I’m old enough to understand what God is pleased with and the Word of God in church. I fear God and I know better. I know that having sex out of wed-lock is the worst thing you could do  
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even though all sins are sins, they’re equal (a sin is a sin). One of my desires is to find my soul mate and have a family of my own, and that’s one thing that keeps me from having sex. I am grateful for my parents and love them; they’ve pushed me in the right direction. Even though I’ve experienced having sex behind their backs, I know how it feels to break their hearts and be looked at as dirty and a liar by my loved ones, the ones who brought me into this world, who raised me from birth, and kept me safe. They probably haven’t and will never forget, but forgave me because they love me. 
            Having sex would affect my friends, because they would feel like they’re missing out on something or just wants to fit in, so they’ll do it too. If your peers hear that you’re having sex, they could start stories and/or look at you in a completely different way than they did before. Having sex and being a virgin comes with two different reputations most of the time. If you worry about what your peers are doing or what they think, that is not important.  The devil may try to make you think that it is okay for you to have sex, because everyone else is doing it too. WRONG! It is not okay, you shouldn’t want to be like everyone else. Everyone else might just look like they’re okay, but you don’t know what’s going on behind closed doors, you don’t want STD’s and diseases like some of them. It’s okay to be different, people, my elders have told me, it’s okay to be different. People feel like they want to fit in, get attention, or just be liked. But don’t pay attention to what everyone else is doing, pay attention to you. Everything that everyone else is doing in high school, like having sex, isn’t going to get them to be successful, graduate, make their parents proud of them, or make them feel good about themselves. They runoff at the mouth and tell you all the good things about having sex, but you don’t hear them telling you how having sex doesn’t benefit you or helps you in your future. There is always two sides to everything. I’ve learned that you don’t have to have sex to have fun or follow your friends/peers. Let them do them, while you do you, because you’re going to be the one that makes your future good for you. Your friends/peers are not worried about your future. But the ones who love you, your parents and your siblings care about your future and your life, and so should you.

2011 Pure Love Essay Contest
2nd Prize Middle School Category
Latrice J.
Age 14    Grade 8   

                               “Sexually Active at Age Thirteen”
 “It’s my body I can do what I want!” Have you heard this before? Or, “Everyone else is doing it?” These are statements among teens that are heard frequently. When teens say this, do they really understand what they are saying? I’m guessing they do not. What they are saying is, “I will suffer the consequences, not any one else, and it makes it okay because everyone is doing it.” Well believe it or not, these are false allegations. God says in John 15:19, “The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you.” 
When I read this scripture, I began to accept the fact that what every one else is doing doesn’t have to be what I’m doing. After all, everyone else is apart of the world and I am not. This is saying regardless of what the world displays, we should not be a part of it. You may have heard the saying “You are what you hang around”.  This is sad, but true. If you start to hang around people who do drugs and have multiple sex partners, you will start to have these traits too. 
There’s a 13-year-old girl in the eighth grade that is a dear friend of mine. She used to come to church, get great grades in school, and was a great athlete. Then spring break came. She began to go to parties, drink and smoke, and no longer attend church. When I noticed her behavior, I asked her why was she doing these things. She responded, “It’s my life and I’ll do what I want with it. Plus everyone’s doing it.” When she said this to me I couldn’t believe my ears. I told her she wasn’t thinking straight and that I would give her some time to think about what she had said. I called her two months later and she informed me she was pregnant and living with her boyfriend. I told her I had to call her back. When I hung up the phone, I realized that in a matter of two  months she was destroying her life. Then I began to strategize how to get her out of this situation. 
I thought of counseling, Child Protective Services, and even thought about having her move in with me. But when all my ideas failed, I finally thought God. He says in John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life." My friend and I read this verse together and then that’s when we knew she would be make it through.
           After the baby was born, my friend asked me “How have you kept your virginity for so long?” I responded by telling her that I never put myself in a situation where I feel tempted. I have had friends who told me to, “just try it”, and, “it feels really good”, but feeling good isn’t worth letting someone invade God’s temple. This is the same as saying, “Here! Take my new car!”, to someone who lives in Canada. I highly doubt you would see that car again. This is the same for your virginity. Once you lose it, you can never get it back.

Pure Love Essay Contest 2010
Washington State


Excerpts:

Middle School Grades


"How can choosing sexual purity and abstinence from drugs and alcohol impact your present and future life"

1st Place - Cameron M.

"Keeping sexual purity and abstaining from drugs and alcohol affect your family and peers in many different ways. The choice to use drugs and alcohol or becoming sexually active almost always has destructive consequences. Unconstructive behavior towards your peers and siblings can develop as a byproduct of the influence of drugs or alcohol. Younger siblings always look up to an older brother or sister and set an example for their behavior. For better or worse, parents are inevitably affected by the choices of their children. When you avoid drugs, alcohol, and premature sexual activity, you have a better chance of healthy development both emotionally and physically. Choosing to become involved in any one of these elements has a high likelihood of leading to other harmful options."

2nd Place - Alvin B.

"Drugs, alcohol, and sex can greatly affect our health in the future; we can get STD's from sex, damage to vital organs from alcohol, and a multitude of harmful effects from drugs. If we don't use drugs, consume alcohol, and have sex before marriage, none of this is likely to happen we will be able to have a strong relationship with God, our parents, our family, and our future children. We will also be able to live longer and be healthier. In the future we will also be able to get a higher education resulting in being able to get a better job and support our future children and spouse. Using drugs, alcohol and having sex before marriage doesn't only affect our future it also effects our present day lives. If we use drugs and alcohol presently we won't be able to participate in school sports we that we would like to play. We will also loose the trust and respect of our parents which would greatly effect what we are allowed to do. If we have sex before marriage we could get somebody pregnant and have to take care of the child which would also massively effect what we are able to do, how much our parents trust and respect us, and we won't be able to enjoy the rest of our childhood. If we choose to not use alcohol, drugs, and not have sex before marriage we will be able to play in the sports we like, enjoy our childhood, and have relationships with our parents and God."

High School Grades 9-10

"How does keeping sexual purity and abstaining from drugs and alcohol affect your relationship with your parents, siblings and peers?"

1st Place - Mikako I.

"The things that make life so amazing are not only the experiences you go through, but the bonds you create along the way. To not only experience something positive, but to also get to share it with the ones you love. The relationships that I build with others are something that I cherish beyond anything physical, including the drugs, alcohol, and sex that are so prominent in life. If by abstaining from these things, I can share an honest and comfortable relationship with my parents and siblings, and a supportive brother/sister relationship with friends around me, than honestly, what more could I ask for? I am not only doing my body a favor, I am able to connect to and support those in my life without causing them unnecessary distress. So how does keeping sexual purity and abstaining from drugs and alcohol affect my life? It makes life good."

2nd Place, Hudson S.

"The bond between a parent and a child is very important. It should never be broken or tinkered with. Trust and love is the most important thing in a relationship. Love is a given with you parents, But trust isn't. You should always work on building up your trust for one-another. Try as hard as you can to stop each other from making bad decision. Just one incident can falter a relationship, make sure you do the right thing and maintain sexual purity. Drugs and alcohol may seem like something you want to try, but don't give into the pressure. Always think about how it could affect your relationship with your friends and family."

High School grades 11-12th

"How can you maintain sexual purity before marriage when the culture bombards you with sexually oriented messages and images"

1st Place - Masaaki I.

"The things that make life so amazing are not only the experiences you go through, but the bonds you create along the way. To not only experience something positive, but to also get to share it with the ones you love. The relationships that I build with others are something that I cherish beyond anything physical, including the drugs, alcohol, and sex that are so prominent in life. If by abstaining from these things, I can share an honest and comfortable relationship with my parents and siblings, and a supportive brother/sister relationship with friends around me, than honestly, what more could I ask for? I am not only doing my body a favor, I am able to connect to and support those in my life without causing them unnecessary distress. So how does keeping sexual purity and abstaining from drugs and alcohol affect my life? It makes life good."

"There is no way, other than to have strong self-control to maintain sexually pure. In a society that relentlessly bombards you with sexually oriented messages and images, there is no way to shelter yourself from them, so the only way to "avoid" them is personal self-control and discipline. You cannot rely on others to maintain your sexual purity, the decisions that you make personally are the only ways to remain pure. With my firm roots in the Christian faith, and the knowledge of knowing that God's purpose and design for sex can only be achieved within marriage; and the physical and relational consequences of sex outside of marriage are devastatingly real, is what keeps me sexually pure before marriage."

2nd Place - Oliver B.

"In order to maintain sexual purity before marriage it is essential for that person to understand why it is so important to remain pure and maintain sexual purity before marriage. If one truly understands the consequences of not maintaining sexual purity before marriage it will be so much easier for them to remain pure because they will want to remain pure and they realize that it is so much better for them to do so." 
"A great way in maintaining sexual purity before marriage is knowing the benefits of maintaining sexual purity. It strengthens character. It builds self-control. It protects body, mind, and spirit. It is an expression of love for God, others, and self. When a person is properly educated and knows all the benefits of maintaining sexual purity before marriage they will be less likely to have pre-marital sex." 
Not only will God trust you, your partner will also be able to trust and respect you as well. Abstinence allows you and your partner to connect more emotionally than physically. Being connected on a more emotional level first gives you a good foundation to be with that person forever because you connect on a deeper level. The emotional connection you have can never be broken. Both of you can feel joy from making God happy about the decision to not eat from the fruit. Your conscience can be free from despair and unhappiness when being on God's side. Not only are you closer to your partner's mind and heart, you ultimately become happier. The thought of you and your partner sharing the same views on sex brings you closer to each other."

College Age 

"How would you explain the importance of abstinence as a good preparation for faithful marriage to someone who is or was involved in premarital sexual relations?"

1st Place - Shawn Tai C.

"I now understand that once you give your body to another you give them a part of you that belongs to God. 1 Corinthians 3:16 states, "Ye are Gods' temple and the Spirit of God lives in you."  "You become one (1) with any person you lay with." 1 Corinthians 6:16."
"I remember looking myself in the mirror no longer recognizing the person I saw."
"No longer was I the quiet, sensitive, giving, willing, and friendly person that I once was. I had grown bitter from being mistreated, lied to, used and scarred both physically and emotionally. I was terrified because I noticed for every man I'd lain with I saw a little of them in me- whether it be in my walk, my talk, the way I think, the way I behave. I didn't understand until it was explained to me that I became one with all those individuals. They gave me what I did not need. Spirits went in because they were invited (when you agree to be sexually involved). God cannot be where evil is present and if your body is the temple of God and there are evil spirits living in the body: God is not present, which brings about negative change such as: depression,  acting mean,  being disrespectful,  being deceitful, being selfish, being angry, being careless and such like will dwell within."
"Imagine having been with multiple partners then later finding your wife or your husband, how difficult it would be to spiritually divorce all the others until you are free of them. How exhausting you would be from all the time and effort you spend on individuals God did not intend for you."
"Having been in this predicament myself, I asked God if I'd ever be able to show my husband the love and affection he deserves. I asked him if I'd ever be the wife his word declares me to be when that time comes. I asked him if I'll ever be able to give to my husband the one part of me that should have been sacred and kept for him that was wrongfully given to others. I wonder if He could ever forgive me and help me to be that virtuous woman as his word declares."
"Once a sin is committed, it's done. The good news for me is God holds nothing against me and once I repent whole-heartedly and believe, He forgives me: IT IS DONE."

"So, be careful of hardening your heart to the word of God in relation to premarital sex."

2nd Place - Tae Mc.

" Flipping through the channels on TV, I came across a show 16 and Pregnant. It's about a girl who accidentally got pregnant at 16 with her lover. What's more interesting than a girl at 16 getting pregnant and watching all that drama? Not only is this show on MTV, a popular channel for teenagers, but also it is running during prime time, meaning it is the focus for millions of young teenagers watching it along with me. I realize that this show is the result of thousands of teens who don't think of the consequences of having sex. Not only did the sixteen year old mom's life get more complicated with High School and work, her relationship with her so-called 'lover' worsened with all the stress from having a child. Every single relationship ends up broken. The only prevention from this happening again is abstinence. 
When I'm bumpin' to good beats on the 'number one hit music station' in Seattle I hear many songs about love. The majority of songs on the radio are usually about love, sex, and your "special someone" these days. I was driving with my windows rolled down and the warm sun shining down on my face when a new song started playing. My friends and I got pretty into it until we realized the lyrics kept repeating, "I wish I could f*** every girl in the world". I couldn't take it and switched stations. What struck me the most was that this song is a popular song in America and young teens most likely didn't switch there radio station when it comes on. That song was basically assuring its listeners that you can have sex with anyone: there is no "one" person. This portrayal of sex and love in the media spreads like a wildfire in a teenager's mind and secures them down the path to a dreadful, hateful and insecure marriage. They need to be taught the value of sex, love and abstinence. 
The media shows how love and sex can be viewed and this image repels me. This is why I choose to be abstinent. Abstinence is the key to a successful and loving relationship with my future partner. It won't get me pregnant, it won't cause me stress and it will allow me to see sex as meaningful and not wasteful. Abstinence also teaches me the value of my own precious body. Me, God's creation is meant for one person and that makes my body all the more special." 

Annual Founder's " Glass Heart" Award

College Age Essay - Joshua Kiefer

"God did not create us so we can 'love recklessly' and for the moment but so we can live in harmony as a family under Him. I personally view true love as something like a beautiful hand-blown glass sculpture, shaped as a heart. My reasoning for this metaphor is because each heart is unique, delicate and created with much love. When one enters a relationship, they exchange their beautiful glass heart of love to the other. When people love recklessly and for themselves, the glass hearts are snatched from each other as soon as they are held out. This selfish exchange of hearts causes them to be dropped, effectively damaging or breaking these beautiful hearts of love. While one can try to repair their broken hearts, they will never be the same. The more one goes through relationships recklessly and for the sake of themselves, the more their heart will be broken and the harder it will be later to give their broken heart. If people continue to be reckless with their hearts, then there will be nothing left of it except a pile of shards. When people decide to instead abstain, they choose to condition themselves and polish their hearts. Their hearts remain intact and pristine. Even if people do not engage in sexual relationships, the worst that can happen to their glass hearts of love is that they collect dust from not being exchanged. Dust is easily cleaned off and beneath it all still dwells this pristine and well polished heart of true love."

Alumni Pure Love Essay Award

College Age Essay - James Burgess

"Why do you think that all major religions teach about sexual purity before marriage and fidelity within marriage?"

"Humans have many questions about their existence. We seek for deeper meaning in our lives, we ponder about our purpose of being alive, we look for a creator or higher power, and we wonder about the possibility of an afterlife. One key aspect of religions is a way to answer these questions. So where does purity fit into all of this? In addition to answering our questions, religions exist to teach us moral values and ethics. They tell us how we should live our lives and important virtues we should practice and live by. They bring us closer to that higher power and deeper meaning in life. Ultimately, religions should bring their followers to lasting peace, happiness, and spiritual fulfillment. Since we observe that religions teach purity, we can deduce that some element of this practice connects to the purpose of religion. Purity helps people go deeper in their lives and relationships, especially in marriage. In a study by the Nation Health and Social Health Survey, men and women who remained abstinent before marriage are much less likely to divorce.  Instead, they are able to find peace, happiness, and fulfillment in their marriages. Therefore, we can see purity helps people to realize the purpose of their religions through the family. 
Since religions share a similar purpose, it turns out that most of them hold many teachings in common. We can see the same virtues taught in almost every religion. Patience, mercy, selflessness, love, sincerity, dedication, faith, service, righteousness are just a few of these. In order for followers to consistently practice these, many religions also teach a high moral standard through self discipline. This eventually leads to greater fulfillment. These practices all put one's mind above the body's desires. On the other hand, sex outside of marriage puts the body's desire before the well being of the other. It shows no trace of self discipline. It sacrifices other's future family relationships for instant pleasure. When the couple breaks up, their ability to love and trust a new person is lessened and their hearts are damaged. It creates sadness and resentment that brings baggage into future relationships. If someone truly loves another person, they should be able to commit to that love for the rest of their lives. True love is for the sake of the other person and is unchanging. This is what marriage represents, commitment and devotion to one's partner. Sex outside of this commitment is immoral because it comes from a selfish motivation. Religions teach of sacrificing oneself for a higher purpose and against selfishness. This world needs people who will help others and not just care about their own needs. Practicing pure love is an excellent way to give this to the world."  

Abstinence

Latrice Johnson

 

                To start off, I believe every person on earth should wait until they are married to have sex. There are multiple reasons why I strongly believe this. First of all, God would like me to be abstinent. Secondly, I am less likely to get diseases. Lastly, my virginity is important to me.

                Have you ever wondered why God wants you to save yourself until marriage? Well, he wants you to because in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, he says, “I am your body, therefore honor God with your body.” This tells you when you sexually sin against your body, you are also sinning against God. Also, you should respect God and all he wants. God made sex for a husband and wife to enjoy, not for others to play with it.

                Secondly, when you have sex with a man (not your husband), you may catch a disease. When you are married, you know if your husband has a disease. But when you are not, you don’t know. Even though you use a condom, a condom protects only 99% of diseases. Once you get a disease you have to tell every guy/ man you are ever going to be with. Who would want to marry someone with a disease?

                Thirdly, virginity should be prided. When you lose your virginity, you are losing something special. You don’t know if you have met the right person until you know them. Your husband should be your first and last. Also, the only person you are intimate with should be your husband. My virginity is sacred to me and only my husband should be able to have it.

                In conclusion, now that you know why you should save yourself, start now. You don’t have to do what everyone else is doing to be cool. In a few years, the people who had sex unmarried will be pregnant, have diseases, and may be living a life unpleasing to God. Hopefully this essay takes effect on you and you will now wait until you are married.

Essay by Akalia Woods /age 13, grade 8th/ Middle School Topic#1. How can choosing abstinence impact your present and future life? Wow…that’s a pretty big question. How to start? To begin with, nearly every person who practiced abstinence that I know has (or has had) a very happy marriage. Most of the people out there who are getting divorced did not choose abstinence, and are reaping the sad benefits of their early decision. So, how can abstinence impact my future life? Well, for one thing, it’ll certainly help my marriage in many ways. Then how will abstinence impact my present life? Will it make it difficult to keep friends at school? Will it prevent me from watching TV? What about a book that has inappropriate material in it? Will abstinence keep me from that as well? I believe that any true friends that you have won’t care about whether or not you practice this ideal, and won’t pressure you either. If a friend dumps you because you don’t want to hear about the last date she went on, or the hottest movie star, then she wasn’t really a friend. If a friend just says “Okay, sure, whatever,” then you know that she will never really care too much about any of it. And if a friend says “Gee, that sounds kind of smart, actually…I think you should go ahead.” then you know that she will always be your avid supporter. So choosing abstinence will probably get rid of any “weird” friends that you have. As for TV, there is a lot of junk out there that is inappropriate, no matter what. But the first thing before you watch that R rated adult swim show, check why you are watching it. If it’s for all of the gross humor, you probably should go back to Spongebob. If it’s because you think you can ignore all of that and try to glean whatever value you might gain from it, go ahead. It means that you are looking for the silver lining in that very ugly little rain cloud. So choosing abstinence will also help you to stop and review your current lifestyle. The same should be said for books, really. If you are reading for the bad parts, don’t read it. If you just want to see the good guys prevail and get married, then you should be fine. In other words, abstinence doesn’t just mean not going on dates and stuff before marriage. It also means living in a pure, aware sort of way, so that you aren’t caught off guard and fall into the general cesspool of modern times by accident. I know that that has happened to a lot of people. So choosing abstinence will keep you away from bad influences, including television, books, music, and certain parts of the internet. So, to return to the main point, abstinence will not only affect your future by improving your marriage, it will also change your lifestyle. It’s not always easy, and it might be annoying sometimes, but in the end, it’s definitely worth it. At least you shouldn’t reap any bad influences in your later life from it.