Sexual Desire

“Don’t Touch” — Addressing Sexual Taboos In The LDS Faith Part 5

Previous Chapter: 4. What Went Wrong?

A New Culture Is Born: “Doctrine And Addiction” And Returning To The 1700s

In my book, I explore in detail the historical development of how we’ve come to culturally believe masturbation is such a serious sin. Even in this brief summary you can see how the leadership appears to have overcorrected from the ‘40s and ’50s. Building on strong cautionary language given by President Clark, Elder McConkie and President Kimball (just to name a few) reinforced those cautions by ironically breaking from the medical field again. But this time, in a regressive way. They were teaching that participating in masturbation was a sin that led to emotional, spiritual and further sexual sins in addition to warning against “would-be authorities” who taught otherwise:

“Youth come into contact early with masturbation. Many would-be authorities declare that it is natural and acceptable, and frequently young men I interview cite these advocates to justify their practice of it. To this we must respond that the world's norms in many areas — drinking, smoking, and sex experience generally, to mention only a few — depart increasingly from God's law. The Church has a different, higher norm.

“Thus 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. Our modern prophet has indicated that no young man should be called on a mission who is not free from this practice.

“While we should not regard this weakness as the heinous sin which some other sexual practices are, it is of itself bad enough to require sincere repentance. What is more, it 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.”[1]

Allen Bergin, a retired psychologist from Brigham Young University and past president of the Association of Mormon Counselors and Psychotherapists (AMCAP), recognized the moral dilemma President Kimball’s “Miracle of Forgiveness” posed and felt the useful parts were "overshadowed by a host of negatives and also outdated policies that the church itself doesn't even endorse anymore." In his respect and admiration for the “Yoda-like Mormon prophet” he recognized the good it offered and said, "It is unfortunate that his reputation for goodwill is obscured by some extreme adjectives he used 45 years ago." President Kimball's grandson Jordan Kimball also said, "I would want him to be remembered ... for his love, compassion and encouragement." Recognizing that the book addressed the needs “of the 1940s, '50s and '60s, and, in its time, it didn't seem out of place," Jordan Kimball says, "but it was used beyond its due date. Even the church has moved on." Jordan Kimball wished the now-anachronistic book could have been "allowed to sunset."[2]

Years after publication, Kimball reportedly remarked that its tone may have been too strong. “Sometimes I think I might have been a little too strong about some of the things I wrote in that book.”[3] Elder Richard G. Scott's wise advice was to “read the last two chapters first to appreciate the full miracle of forgiveness before reading anything else.”[4] That comment probably came 30-some years too late.

Nonetheless, President Kimball’s bold clarity, echoing McConkie's “Mormon Doctrine” established itself as an unquestionable measurement of righteousness. If the “doctrine” that masturbatatory insanity wasn’t re-established by this time, it would become a concrete and irrefutable commandment in The Church culture over the next two decades. He gave members and professionals no other option than to agree, as mentioned earlier: “Many would-be authorities declare that it [masturbation] is natural and acceptable, and frequently young men I interview cite these advocates to justify the practice of it. To this we must respond that the world’s norms in many areas ... depart increasingly from God’s law. The Church has a different, higher norm.”[5]

Stop Calling It An Addiction

“In thirty-one years as a sex therapist, marriage counselor, and psychotherapist, I’ve never seen sex addiction. I’ve heard about virtually every sexual variation, obsession, fantasy, trauma, and involvement with sex workers, but I’ve never seen sex addiction.” —Marty Klein

To further complicate the issue, the “sex addiction” model was popularized during the ‘70s when a couple of individuals involved with Alcoholics Anonymous decided to organize a special group for those who routinely cheated on their spouses. There was absolutely no scientific evidence or support that sex addiction existed. Although we are discussing masturbation specifically, I am going to address it in the following comments under the idea of “sex addiction,” as that is often the reason given to avoid masturbation.

“After 40 years of the sex addiction model existing, there is not a single published randomized-controlled empirically-reviewed study that reveals that sex addiction treatment works.” —Dr. David Ley

Why is that? If this sex addiction existed and was so dangerous, why hasn’t there been a single study on its effectiveness? Try to find statistics on addiction recovery programs (ARP), other than the ARP missionaries bearing their testimonies that it saves lives. If ARP mirrors AA at all, then peer-reviewed studies peg the success rate of AA somewhere between five and 10 percent.

David J. Ley, Ph.D., doesn’t mix his words when he expresses his concern with this fake diagnosis:

"Criticisms of the concept of sexual addiction are not just intellectual egocentrism. There are real dangers inherent in the sex addiction concept. I believe that for the field of health care, medicine, and mental health to endorse and reify a flawed concept creates a very dangerous slippery slope of moral relativism, where any socially unacceptable behavior is labeled a mental disorder subject to psychiatric treatment.

“The concept of sexual addiction is intimately connected to the conflicted sexual morality embedded in our culture at its deepest levels, where sexuality is seen as a dangerous evil temptation that must be constantly constrained and feared. It also reflects the influence of the media and the changing strategies of the 24-7 news and entertainment industry. The concept of sexual addiction is driven by the news and entertainment industry as well as the professional treatment providers, facilities, and industry that serve the needs of self-identified sex addicts.

“Lastly, the label of sex addiction affects our efforts to enforce expectations of responsibility, holding ourselves, and especially men, responsible for their choices and actions. If we accept the notion that sexual addiction is a disorder, what is the impact upon our understanding of sexual arousal itself, and upon our view of masculinity and personal responsibility for one’s sexual behaviors? A challenge to those of us who criticize the concept of sex addiction is that we are ignoring the very real suffering of clients who are desperate for help.

“People around the country are dealing with the effects of their sexual desires and behaviors, as they affect their lives and the lives of those around them. Men and women are struggling with answers to why they or their intimate partners are making unhealthy, destructive sexual decisions, decisions that destroy families, careers, and marriages. I don’t disagree with the idea that there are people who are desperate for help. I just frankly don’t think that giving them a label of sex addiction is ultimately going to be helpful to them, to society, or to the field of mental health. I’m troubled by the defensiveness and attacking response to criticism." —David Ley, Myth of Sexual Addiction

But what about all the research that “proves” sex addiction is real? There is none. For example, one popular study Fight the New Drug (FTND) and others love to reference to prove sex addiction is just as harmful as drugs, is the Voon study titled, “Neural Correlates of Sexual Cue Reactivity in Individuals with and without Compulsive Sexual Behaviours.” You’ll notice FTND “quote mining” these studies like a Jeremy Runnells googling Church History, concluding “pornography harms the brain almost exactly the same as drug addiction.

But not too fast — even the authors of the research say that’s a bad idea.

“Voon is quick to caution against using her studies to leap to conclusions about the addictiveness of sex or porn. ‘Much more research is required,’ she explains. Meanwhile, a study from Nicole Prause at the University of California, Los Angeles, used electroencephalography (EEG) to measure the brainwaves of people presented with sexual images and found something different. She observed that volunteers who believed they had a problem with porn reacted to the pictures with low levels of excitement in the brain, unlike other addicts faced with triggering cues. ‘These people may be having problems, but of some other type,’ says Prause. ‘Addiction is not a good way of understanding it.’” —Emily Borrow, “Can You Really Be Addicted to Sex?”, The Economist

In a movement I call “Compassionate Kelloggs,” FTND and other organizations like them, such as Sons of Helaman, may not use penis-sized iron maidens or suggest sewing your foreskin, but their emotional message is still damaging. They set themselves up as saving the public from the dangers of these behaviors but are using fear to accomplish their objectives.

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf summed up this concept brilliantly and precisely when he said,

“People who are fearful may say and do the right things, but they do not feel the right things. ... They often feel helpless and resentful, even angry. Over time these feelings lead to mistrust, defiance, even rebellion.” — President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Perfect Love Casteth Out Fear, April 2017 Conference

There are few things I’ve seen more clearly than this: when fear is used as a motivator, we cause people to feel and experience the wrong things. As a result, resentment, pain and rebellion often occur. This is by far the number one problem I see when individuals — regardless of age — visit with me regarding sexually-related issues. One of the discoveries is that those who used fear to avoid sexual stimulation, pursuits and desires now struggle as married individuals to function in healthy sexual relationships.

These compassionate Kelloggs are modeling the 1700s sexual messages: “If you engage in this behavior you will become addicted, you are ill. And we love you.” In the case of the Sons of Helaman, the creator Maurice W. Harker identifies in his trademark “The Chemical Spill,™” wherein he defines God’s gift of sexual desire as “Deviant Sex Chemicals.” The intellectual dishonesty of organizations like these is blatant, but few question their legitimacy. Why not? Because it’s “something.” It makes people feel good when they are doing “something,” rather than nothing.

This lazy, fear-based message is so far reaching and pervasive that we’ve become experts at shaming with love. I hear it all the time from leaders. It usually goes something like this: “We are removing the shame around masturbation and reminding them it’s a sin.” Guess what? They never forgot it was a sin. Additionally, I would argue a youth learning and developing into their pubescent years is no more experiencing a sin masturbating then a diabetic learning how to control and regulate their blood sugar.

Even FairMormon posted some standard, run of the mill, lazy, fear-based masturbation material done in the tone of love. The material is intellectually dishonest and forced to fit a moral view that can’t be scientifically or doctrinally supported. This podcast is far below the standard of FairMormon.

“Any claims you have heard that you will be physically harmed unless you do masturbate are simply false, or greatly overblown. There is a study that shows that older men have a lower risk of prostate cancer if they ejaculate more frequently. However, this same finding was not replicated in the case of young men. In fact, higher rates of masturbation raise the risk of prostate cancer in young men. Interestingly, more frequent intercourse did NOT raise the risk, but masturbation did.”[6]

Yes, Steve Densley Jr., made a refute of “simply false” and used a “study” that contradicted its own findings to support his argument. Of course, it was a cancer study too, but I don’t blame him; there is NO research to support his claims. Yet, he doesn’t stop there. He goes on to quote from Spencer W. Kimball’s “Love Versus Lust” talk (Brigham Young University Speeches of the Year [Provo, 5 Jan. 1965], p. 22) and concludes, “if we are not willing to obey him in the ‘little’ things, when faced with a greater trial, we will not have developed either the strength or resolve to obey in the big things.” Densley Jr.’s usage of these sources and “studies” is an example of how pseudoscience of sexuality has, like in Tissot’s day, become a go-to phrase. He is an impressive and intelligent individual whom I admire, and I value what he has done with FairMormon. In this topic, however, he doesn’t appear to know what he is talking about.

Furthermore, Densley Jr. dismisses the valid question, “Can masturbation be done without lusting?” by stating the go-to “sacredness” and “powerful chemical reactions” argument, using these as if to say that personal arousal couldn’t be sacred and using the entirely untrue cop out of the powerful chemical argument.

Overall, it is clear from the data that the functional neuroanatomy of sex is very similar to that of other pleasures and that it is unlikely that there is anything special about the brain mechanisms and networks underlying sex.” —J.R. Geargiadis & M.L. Bringelbach, in “The human sexual response cycle: Brain imaging evidence linking sex to other pleasures”

Logically, these types of arguments are trite, lazy, and frankly downright confusing to kids. Are we really telling them that their wedding night is a gateway drug to addiction, cancer, and uncontrollable sex? If sex was so addictive, the majority of my couples work would be strategizing planned abstinence and recovery. Nope, the majority of my couples work is interventions in creating desire. That pesky addictive sex drive sure is never around when it counts. Culturally, we have taught — and especially women — how to reject sexual desire so well that the dysfunctions present in their marriage. But of course, they’ll “figure that out” with a spouse who also doesn’t know their own body.[1] [2] [3] [4]

This is the problem. It’s not working. The addiction model is failing and the aversion approach is creating a far bigger problem. It’s creating a bigger problem because the real issues are not being addressed. Why is diagnosing someone as a sex addict problematic?

"Anecdotal reports within sex addiction, and some research, suggests that personality disorder is extremely prevalent in sex addiction. Some estimates suggest that personality disorders and mood disorders are present in almost all cases of sex addiction. Multiple studies show that alleged sex addicts almost always have some other major mental illness. So, when such individuals present for sex addiction treatment, their hypersexual behaviors are most likely to be a symptom of the existing disorders. As one sex therapist and clinician described to me, 'The sex addiction diagnosis is a lazy diagnosis.' It ignores more relevant emotional and psychiatric issues to focus exclusively upon a person's sexual behavior.

“Because periods of sexual promiscuity are a frequent symptom for clients with bipolar disorder when they are in a manic phase, we would not normally diagnose hypersexuality and bipolar disorder, since bipolar disorder would subsume the symptom of periods of hypersexual behavior. According to the theories of sex addiction, the use of sex to manage negative emotions is identified as a core symptom of unhealthy sexuality and sex addiction. But if those negative emotions reflect the influence of depression or post-traumatic stress-disorder, it is more important to diagnose and treat the negative emotions. A diagnosis of sex addiction is superfluous at best and a dangerous distraction from the real treatment needed at worst." —David Ley, "The Myth of Sex Addiction"

The next time a research claims it’s a study of sexual addiction, review whether or not it has factored in preexisting mental health issues. Many studies like this one have found 80% or more actually are suffering from other behaviors; the sexual issues are usually a symptom of coping with the preexisting condition.

Furthermore, what about that very dangerous and highly addictive reward chemical dopamine? Dopamine does not equal reward, or at least, it's not that simple; refer to the study “The Mysterious Motivational Functions of Mesolimbic Dopamine.”[7]

Dopamine has become the scapegoat neurological chemical. It's just not that simple. Yes, dopamine is involved in sexual experience. But no more than a mother breastfeeding, or the pleasure of seeing your kids after a long work trip. Additionally, the brain and biological response to sexual experience cannot be simplified down to one or two chemicals. You can explore this topic further here: The unsexy truth about dopamine. And here: No, Dopamine is Not Addictive.

Next Chapter: 6. Purity, Modesty, and Moral Ambiguity


Table of Contents:

0. Introduction

1. Background — It Happened Again

2. Context is Important: A Brief History Of Masturbation Beliefs Within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

3. Cultivating Versus Condemning

4. What Went Wrong?

5. A New Culture Is Born: “Doctrine And Addiction” And Returning To The 1700s

6. Purity, Modesty, And Moral Ambiguity

7. Solution: Real Self-Mastery Cultivating Sexuality

Additional Resources
Facebook Group "Improving Intimacy in Mormon Marriages"
Blog, "Mormon Marriages"


[1] Prophet Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, pp. 77-78

[2] Peggy Fletcher Stack (July 24, 2015). "LDS classic 'Miracle of Forgiveness' fading away, and some Mormons say it's time". Salt Lake Tribune. http://archive.sltrib.com/article.php?id=2762815&itype=CMSID

[3] Edward L. Kimball, Lengthen Your Stride: The Presidency of Spencer W. Kimball, SLC: Deseret Book, 2005, 80

[4] Richard G. Scott Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles “The Path to Peace and Joy” https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2000/10/the-path-to-peace-and-joy?lang=eng

[5] Prophet Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, pp. 77

[6] “Fair Questions 4: What’s Wrong with Masturbation?” Steve Densley Jr. https://www.fairmormon.org/blog/2013/01/02/fair-questions-4-whats-wrong-with-masturbation

[7] The Mysterious Motivational Functions of Mesolimbic Dopamine http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuron.2012.10.021







“Don’t Touch” — Addressing Sexual Taboos in the LDS Faith Part 1

Back to Introduction

Background — It Happened Again

It happened again. Within the same week, on two different occasions, a young man and then a young woman sat in my office and said the same thing, almost word for word. “I need help. I’ve seen the bishop and I am doing everything he says, but I can’t stop. I need something more.” This is a frequent occurrence. Fortunately, with these two individuals had the insight to recognize the dilemma to their struggle before assuming it has something to do with their faith. They both believed in the Lord Jesus Christ with all their heart and soul. They were taking all the right steps to conquering their undesired behavior but it wasn’t stopping the behavior.

Unfortunately, many youth (and adults) are so ashamed that they can’t stop engaging in pornography and masturbation that they quietly stop trying. Or they see their inability to stop as a reflection on their faith, or rather, their lack of faith. Lack of faith couldn’t be further from the truth. Let's take for example the case of Kathryn Kirk, a mid-singles woman who struggled with pornography and masturbation since she was in her late teens.

From early on, Kathryn did all the right things. She identified the problem, spoke with her bishop and embraced his counsel. She fasted, prayed, and was obedient to promptings given her by the Spirit and leadership. Her struggle would come and go with varying intensity, but like many others, she again found herself in the bishop's office working through the same struggle she had been experiencing for years. Nonetheless, with her bishop’s encouragement and authorization, she participated fully in church responsibilities and callings, including serving weekly in the temple. However, in spite of her profound faith, obedience and service, the struggle would repeat — sometimes worse than in previous occurrences.

Now, in her early thirties she is feeling the years of struggle weighing on her and wondering if her faith was ever real. She did everything right. She followed every piece of counsel, blessing and priesthood instruction, and now hope was wearing thin of ever overcoming this struggle. Before giving up she wanted to try one last time, as a final reassurance to herself that she did everything she could before calling it quits. She recognized doing more of the same wasn’t working and decided to include a therapist in her recovery process.

In July of 2014, she found me in a listing of Latter-day Saint counselors and reached out. I remember getting the call on a Saturday afternoon and hearing her bravely explain her situation in raw honesty. She was much like the two youth I previously mentioned. She was out of options — and other than doing more of the same, she didn’t know what else to do. Not only that, but her leadership didn’t know what else to offer her other than to pray, study and have “more faith.” But she was doing all of those things with no success in stopping the undesired behavior. Kathryn was and continues to be a brave, insightful and full-of-faith daughter of God. After introducing a more effective approach, her hope was rekindled, and it wasn’t more than a couple months later that there was significant progress and a glow about her, a change in her entire countenance. Now, over three years later, she has not returned to the previous struggle she battled with for so many years.

There is hope! There is more that can be done. More that leadership and parents can offer. But it will require a huge paradigm shift. Although there are more effective approaches to mastering this behavior, the biggest hindrance is the shame and taboo around the subject of sexuality, desire and passions. Our current approach is fear-based and in general misinformed as a result of that same fear. As such, before we can proceed to the effective tools, a change in thinking has to occur. You see, Kathryn, like every other individual that comes into my office usually doesn’t have a problem with faith. It’s that their faith is informed by and motivated out of fear.

A young man quietly sat across from me in the therapeutic office. As he searched for the right words to express his shame and embarrassment, he eventually found the courage to vulnerably express his frustration. My bishop recommended I come and see you. I need help, more than just “stop doing it.”

He was the first to articulate the limitations of parents and leaders alike in teaching and training our youth in regards to sexual desire and impulses.

He elaborated that his bishop had been absolutely loving and supportive, but that praying more, reading the scriptures more, and trying harder didn’t work when addressing sexual impulses. Another young man reported his attempts of “praying his erections and desires away.” This began with 5-minute prayers, but rapidly turned into 90-minutes of pleading in tears to God to “remove his temptations and desires.” His natural biological experience of growing into adolescence through his pubescent years and experiencing sexual desire had quickly become a source of pain and rejection of himself. When prayer wasn’t working to eliminate these feelings, his faith began to wane and he began to struggle. Doubting himself and then God, he began to wonder if he had faith and if God even existed.

In all the above cases, the solution was simple, effective, and most importantly, sustainable. No addiction recovery program (ARP), 12-Step programs, or required routine bishop visits. While I say the solution was simple, I do not dismiss the emotional struggle that had accompanied their challenges; sometimes the emotional healing will take a little longer. It’s the physical interventions that are so simple — successful even after just a few visits. Interestingly, even in the simplicity and effectiveness of the solution, some become frustrated that they didn’t know or weren't taught the concepts years ago. Just recently, I found myself in the office of a bishop of a large YSA Ward. After sharing the solution with him, he was brought to tears as he shared how it finally felt like he had something tangible to give to his many struggling members. He then continued by expressing a mixture of joy and frustration as to how obvious the solution was, but the current cultural paradigm had prevented him from even thinking of the solution.

I don’t want to tease you with the solution, but every time I’ve begun with the solution I’ve had to address the context anyway. If you want to see the solution first, be my guest. Skip down and read it. The following is not intended to be an exhaustive history, as I will provide greater detail in my upcoming book. It is just a sampling of the few individuals and events that are significant to the purpose of this post.

Next Chapter:

 2. Context Is Important: A Brief History Of Masturbation Beliefs Within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Table of Contents:

0. Introduction

1. Background — It Happened Again

2. Context Is Important: A Brief History Of Masturbation Beliefs Within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

3. Cultivating Versus Condemning

4. What Went Wrong?

5. A New Culture Is Born: “Doctrine And Addiction” And Returning To The 1700s

6. Purity, Modesty, And Moral Ambiguity

7. Solution: Real Self-Mastery Cultivating Sexuality

Additional Resources

Facebook Group "Improving Intimacy in Mormon Marriages

Blog, "Mormon Marriages"

Sex And Illness

Anonymous Question Series:

Q: "What would you do if you had a sick spouse you loved but was unable to perform sex due to illness?"

A:

The quick answer: find a way. Consult with medical professionals and spouse (if they are capable of discussing) and explore options. If your spouse is physically or mentally incapable (or both) ... between you and the Lord, you may consider self-stimulation.

(This is a great question and will be a little difficult to answer concisely. This has been a topic of GREAT interest and equal concern for me, so much so that I have taken up the opportunity to write about it. I am over 100 pages into a book I hope to complete by the end of this year that addresses this issue and other related topics and their solutions.)

This is such a valid topic with so many misconceptions and harsh taboos around it. These harsh taboos, unfortunately, block truth and clarity. "Men (and women) are, that they might have joy." You are married and now incapable of having intercourse with your spouse. What doctrine, principle or concept confines you to experiencing the God-given desire and blessings of arousal that are associated with the powers of creation? Because of a biological or medical issue your spouse is experiencing, you are NO longer allowed to experience the JOY and fulfillment of marriage, sexually? I have studied in-depth everything written on the subject within The Church since its restoration in 1830. I'll share my findings in my forthcoming book. There is not one scriptural, solid doctrine that says you cannot experience sexual fulfillment in your marriage, even when your spouse cannot.

As I said, I have read everything written and spoken of on the topic within The Church. I am not exaggerating nor taking my comment lightly. I am fully aware of the harsh and bold declarations President Kimball and Elder McConkie and others have made regarding masturbation. (I will get into far greater detail on this topic in my upcoming book.) In short, their ideas are NOT based on doctrine and more importantly are rooted in BAD medical science. The reason they spoke so harshly against it was because they believed it caused homosexuality and other "diseases."

In fact, and quite interestingly, The Church was very progressive in sexual understanding at its restoration and up through the 1930s. At that time, the world believed having an orgasm literally shortened your life span and caused severe illness. Our leaders were teaching the beauty of desire and sexuality:

Elder Orson Pratt once said,

“God is the Author of sexual or conjugal love, the same as He is of all other kinds of pure … God has ordained that pure and virtuous love should be incorporated with sexual love; that, by the combination of the two, permanent unions in the marriage covenant may be formed, and the species be multiplied in righteousness.”1

In another instance Elder Parley P. Pratt expressed,

"Some persons have supposed that our natural affections were the results of a fallen and corrupt nature, and that they are 'carnal, sensual, and devilish,' and therefore out to be resisted, subdued, or overcome as so many evils which prevent our perfection, or progress in the spiritual life … Such persons have mistaken the source and fountain of happiness altogether."2

Lester E Bush explained the transition:

“The late 1920s and most of the 1930s saw a more explicit “sex education” in church lessons, to a degree not matched before or since. As one invited speaker explained to a general conference of the Relief Society, adults needed to realize that “you and I have been brought up in a generation where we just could not talk about sex. Not so our youngsters. They are talking and thinking about sex as frankly as anything else, and so far as I can discover, as wholesomely. Official church manuals endorsed secular books about sexuality and suggested that sexual interests be guided rather than inhibited. During this time masturbation did not always carry the same onus that it does in the popular Mormon literature of today. Rather than focusing on abstinence supervision as is practiced today with current church youth interviewing policies, lessons instead warned parents that they could create emotional problems in their adolescents by an “unintelligent” over-response to their masturbation (Bush, 1993).”3

Yet, over the last 20 to 30 years, The Church has removed, almost entirely, any mention of masturbation. Additionally President Kimball's book, "Miracle of Forgiveness" has been discontinued, recognizing that many of the opinions in it were neither scientifically accurate nor accurate to Church doctrine. Furthermore, the Brethren have counseled leaders NOT to inquire about the behavior and if brought up, to remind the member asking about it that it's a discussion between the individual/couple and the Lord. Leaders are NOT sex therapists and should not be consulting in such personal matters.

Again, this is such an important topic, which has so many false concepts around it. I am doing all I can to complete my detailed response to this topic in book format. Until that time, four resources I highly recommend:

1) The Lord, seriously. Take it up with the Lord, openly and honestly. Put off all your preconceived notions, ideas, and taboos, and seek the Lord in this regard first and foremost.

2) Reach out to me (Daniel Burgess) for a specific follow up at daniel.burgess@gmail.com

3) Read "And They Were Not Ashamed"

4) Read "Art of Desire" by Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife, also posted at: Sacred Sexuality

1. The Seer 1:155 (1853)

2. Essential Parley P. Pratt Ch 10, p.124

3. Health and Medicine among the Latter-day Saints: Science, Sense, and Scripture by Lester E. Bush, Jr pg. 144