Masturbation


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“... it [masturbation] too often leads to grievous sin, even to that sin against nature, homosexuality. For, done in private, it evolves often into mutual masturbation – practiced with another person of the same sex – and thence into total homosexuality.”

- Prophet Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 78

"Prophets anciently and today condemn masturbation. It induces feelings of guilt and shame. It is detrimental to spirituality. It indicates slavery to the flesh, not that mastery of it and the growth toward godhood which is the object of our mortal life.... No young man should be called on a mission who is not free from this practice."

- Prophet Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 77

“Masturbation is a sinful habit that robs one of the Spirit and creates guilt and emotional stress. It is not physically harmful unless practiced in the extreme. It is a habit that is totally self-centered, and secretive, and in no way expresses the proper use of the procreative power given to man to fulfill eternal purposes. It therefore separates a person from God, and defeats the gospel plan.
“This self-gratifying activity will cause one to lose his self-respect and feel guilty and depressed, which can in the extreme lead to further sinning. As a person feels spiritually unclean, he loses interest in prayer, his testimony becomes weak, and missionary work and other Church callings become burdensome, offering no joy and limited success...”

- Apostle Mark E. Peterson, “Overcoming Masturbation: A Guide to Self Control,” distributed by the LDS Church

Apostle Mark E. Peterson then lists the steps in overcoming masturbation:

1. Never touch the intimate parts of your body expect during normal toilet processes.
2. Avoid being alone as much as possible. Find good company and stay in this good company.
3. If you are associated with other persons having this same problem, YOU MUST BREAK OFF THEIR FRIENDSHIP. Never associate with other people having the same weakness. Don't suppose that two of you will quit together, you never will. You must get away from people of that kind. Just to be in their presence will keep your problem foremost in your mind. The problem must be taken OUT OF YOUR MIND for that is where it really exists. Your mind must be on other and more wholesome things.
4. When you bathe, do not admire yourself in a mirror. Never stay in the bath more than five or six minutes--just long enough to bathe and dry and dress AND THEN GET OUT OF THE BATHROOM into a room where you will have some member of your family present.
5. When in bed, if that is where you have your problem for the most part, dress yourself for the night so securely that you cannot easily touch your vital parts, and so that it would be difficult and time consuming for you to remove those clothes. By the time you started to remove protective clothing, you would have sufficiently controlled your thinking that the temptation would leave you.
6. If the temptation seems overpowering while you are in bed, get out of bed and go into the kitchen and fix yourself a snack, even if it is in the middle of the night, and even if you are not hungry, and despite of your fears of gaining weight. The purpose behind this suggestion is that you GET YOUR MIND ON SOMETHING ELSE. You change the subject of your thoughts, so to speak.
7. Never read pornographic material. Never read about your problem. Keep it out of your mind. Remember--"first a thought, then an act." The thought pattern must be changed. You must not allow this problem to remain in your mind. When you accomplish that, you soon will be free of the act.
8. Put wholesome thoughts into your mind at all times. Read good books--Church books-scriptures--sermons of the brethren. Make a daily habit of reading at least one chapter of scripture, preferable from one of the four gospels in the New Testament, or the Book of Mormon. The four gospels--Matthew, Mark, Luke and John--above anything else in the Bible can be helpful because of their uplifting qualities.

- Apostle Mark E. Peterson, “Overcoming Masturbation: A Guide to Self Control”

“There is; however, something you should not do. Sometimes a young man does not understand. Perhaps he is encouraged by unwise or unworthy companions to tamper with that factory. He might fondle himself and open that release valve. This you shouldn't do, for if you do that, the little factory will speed up. You will then be tempted again and again to release it. You can quickly be subjected to a habit, one that is not worthy, one that will leave you feeling depressed and feeling guilty. Resist that temptation. Do not be guilty of tampering or playing with this sacred power of creation. Keep it in reserve for the time when it can be righteously employed.”

- Apostle Boyd K. Packer, 1976 General Conference, speech entitled “To Young Men Only”

“This is what I would teach you. Choose from among the sacred music of the Church a favorite hymn, one with words that are uplifting and music that is reverent, one that makes you feel something akin to inspiration. Go over it in your mind carefully. Memorize it. Even though you have had no musical training, you can think through a hymn.
“Now, use this hymn as the place for your thoughts to go. Make it your emergency channel. Whenever you find theses shady actors have slipped from the sidelines of your thinking onto the stage of your mind, put on this record, as it were. As the music begins and the words form in your thoughts, the unworthy ones will slip shamefully away from your mind. Because it is uplifting and clean, the baser thoughts will disappear. For while virtue, by choice, will not associate with filth, evil cannot tolerate the presence of light.
“In due time you will find yourself, on occasion, humming the music inwardly. As you retrace your thoughts, you discover some influence from the world about you encouraged an unworthy thought to move on stage in your mind, and the music almost automatically began.
“Once you learn to clear the stage of your mind of unworthy thoughts, keep it busy with learning worthwhile things. Change your environment so that you have things about you that will inspire good and uplifting thoughts. Keep busy with things that are righteous.
“Another thing will help both to prevent and to overcome such habits. At times of special temptation skip a meal or two. We call that fasting, you know. It has a powerful effect upon you physically. It diverts some of that physical energy to more ordinary needs. It tapers desire and reduces the temptation. Fasting will help you greatly. In the scriptures, fasting and prayer are generally mentioned together. Prayer is a powerful instrument to bless young men. If a missionary, for instance, indulges in these unworthy practices, the Spirit of the Lord will leave him. When he is prayerful and will fast, the Spirit of the Lord sustains him. He soon develops a manly restraint and worthiness.
“Resist those temptations. Do not tamper with your body. If you have already, cease to do it --now. Put it away and overcome it. The signal of worthy manhood is self-control.”

- Apostle Boyd K. Packer, 1976 General Conference, speech entitled “To Young Men Only”

“Though many outside the Church regard masturbation as normal, LDS leaders teach that the practice is wrong, one that feeds base appetites and may lead to other sinful conduct. Similarly, unmarried couples who engage in petting or fondling are breaking the law of chastity, and stimulating impulses that may lead to other sin.”

- Encyclopedia of Mormonism, v. 1, “Chastity, Law of,” by Bryce J. Christensen

“A Boise, Idaho, father sued the Church for $28 million in 1983, claiming the Church’s strict moral teachings against masturbation had so depressed his adolescent son that the boy tried three times, with eventual success, to commit suicide.”

- “Father’s Lawsuit Blames LDS for Son’s Suicide,” Salt Lake Tribune, March 4, 1983, p. C2