Date: July 01, 2012 02:51PM
One of the more damaging teachings of the church is its unofficial stances on masturbation. (I say unofficial, because these days they won't even say the term publicly, it's not in the handbook or temple interview questions, you can only find a few things about it on lds.org, it's never spoken of in General Conference, and yet a large portion of local leaders focus on it.) I personally went through years of depression, guilt, and self-hate because I couldn't stop masturbating a few times a week. Realizing one day that there really wasn't anything wrong with the act is one of the big things that led me out of the church.
As a easily influenced teenager I was subject to dozens and dozens of interviews with bishops about my masturbation "problem". I was promised time and time again that I could stop doing it if only I had the faith, prayed harder, fasted more, read more scriptures, etc, etc. I could go weeks or even a few months but then there would always be that one day where the sexual desire would just be overwhelming and I would masturbate. Thus spiralling back down into misery and self-hate. As a young kid I was denied the sacrament for literally months on end because of my "problem". This was public shaming, plain and simple, and very damaging for a kid to go through.
After discovering various post and ex-Mormon communities I've discovered how many other people have gone through the exact same thing that I have. I thought I was almost alone in my struggle, and felt ashamed at how weak and wicked of a person I must be. Only to be surprised that it was completely normal, and that most people (even members of the church) masturbate. And that many other members of the church have also gone through the self-loathing as a result of the church's teachings.
I wish I would have known years ago that masturbation is not wrong, and that I wasn't a bad person for doing it. As such, I'm starting a project that will hopefully help bring some peace or understanding to both current members, members currently undergoing disaffection of some sort, or post/ex members that feel guilt and shame because of masturbation. At the very least, I want the resources out there for somebody struggling, and the understanding that they are not alone. (As I felt alone as a kid struggling with this.)
I registered the following domain, and have put up a holding page for now, as I work on this project:http://mormonmasturbation.org/
I'm interested in hearing what people think about the project. Any suggestions, criticisms, etc, are welcome. Also, I want there to eventually be a section of the site that has the stories of various people that have struggled with this. I'll eventually post more of my story on the site, and am looking for others willing to share their story of how the church's teachings of masturbation have affected them.
I made a contact page that you can fill out if you want to share your story that way:http://mormonmasturbation.org/?page_id=8
Also, feel free to post it here as well. If you do, please let me know whether or not I am welcome to share it on the site, and whether I can use your name/screenname, or if I should just attribute it to Anonymouse.
Thank you, and let me know what you all think!