A Guide to Self Control by Mark E. Petersen (Council of the 12 Apostles)
The attitude a person has toward his problem has an effect on how easily it is overcome. It is essential that a firm commitment be made to control the habit. As a person understands his reasons for the behavior, and is sensitive to the conditions or situations that may trigger a desire for the act, he develops the power to control it.
We are taught that our bodies are temples of God, and are to be clean so that the Holy Ghost may dwell within us. 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.
To help in planning an effective program to overcome the problem, a brief explanation is given of how the reproductive organs in a young man function.
The testes in your body are continuously producing hundreds of millions of reproductive cells called spermatozoa. These are moved up a tube called the vas deferens to a place called the ampulla where they are mixed with fluids from two membranous pouches called seminal vesicles and the prostate gland. The resultant fluid is called semen. When the seminal vesicles are full a signal is sent to the central nervous system indicating they are ready to be emptied. The rate at which this filling takes place varies greatly from one person to another, depending on such things as diet, exercise, state of health, etc. For some it may be several times a week, for others twice a month, and for others hardly ever.
It is normal for the vesicles to be emptied occasionally at night during sleep. This is called a "wet dream". The impulses that cause the emptying come from the central nervous system. Often an erotic dream is experienced at the same time, and is part of the normal process. If a young man has constantly masturbated instead of letting nature take its course, the reproductive system is operating at a more rapid pace, trying to keep up with the loss of semen. When he stops the habit, the body will continue to produce at this increased rate for an indefinite period of time, creating sexual tensions and pressure. These are not harmful and are to be endured until the normal central nervous system's pathway of release is once again established.
During this period of control several things can be done to make the process easier and more effective. As one meets with his priesthood leader, a program for overcoming masturbation can be implemented using some of the suggestions which follow. Remember it is essential that a regular report program be agreed on, so progress can be recognized and failures understood and eliminated.
Pray daily, ask for the gifts of the Spirit, that which will strengthen you against temptation. Pray fervently and out loud when the temptations are the strongest.
Follow a program of vigorous daily exercise. These exercises reduce emotional tensions and depression and are absolutely basic to the solution of this problem.
Double your physical activity when you feel stress increasing.
When the temptation to masturbate is strong, yell stop to those thoughts as loudly as you can in your mind and then recite a pre-chosen scripture or sing an inspirational hymn. It is important to turn your thoughts away from the selfish need to indulge.
Set goals of abstinence, begin with a day, then a week, month, year, and finally commit to never doing it again. Until you commit yourself to never again you will always be open to temptation.
Change in behavior and attitude is most easily achieved through a changed self-image. Spend time every day imagining yourself strong and in control, easily overcoming tempting situations.
Begin to work daily on a self-improvement program. Relate this plan to improving your church service, to improving your relationships with your family, God and others. Strive to enhance your strengths and talents.
Be outgoing and friendly. Force yourself to be with others and learn to enjoy working and talking with them. Use principles of developing friendships found in books such as How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.
Be aware of situations that depress you or that cause you to feel lonely, bored, frustrated, or discouraged. These emotional states can trigger the desire to masturbate as a way of escape. Plan in advance to counter these low periods through various activities, such as reading a book, visiting a friend, doing something athletic, etc.
Make a pocket calendar for a month on a small card. Carry it with you, but show it to no one. If you have a lapse of self-control color that day black. Your goal will be to have no black days. The calendar becomes a strong visual reminder of self-control and should be looked at when you are tempted to add another black day. Keep your calendar up until you have at least three clear months.
A careful study will indicate you have had the problem at certain times and under certain conditions. Try and recall, in detail, what your particular times and conditions were. Now that you understand how it happens, plan to break the pattern through counter-activities.
In the field of psychotherapy there is a very effective technique called aversion therapy. When we associate or think of something very distasteful with something which has been pleasurable, but undesirable, the distasteful thought and feeling will begin to cancel out that which was pleasurable. If you associate something very distasteful with your loss of self-control it will help you stop the act.
For example, if you are tempted to masturbate think of having to bathe in a tub of worms, and eat several of them as you do the act.
During your toilet and shower activities leave the bathroom door or shower curtain partly open, to discourage being along in total privacy. Take cool brief showers.
Arise immediately in the mornings. Do not lie in bed awake, no matter what time of day it is. Get up and do something. Start each day with an enthusiastic activity.
Keep your bladder empty. Refrain from drinking large amounts of fluids before retiring.
Reduce the amount of spices and condiments in your food. Eat as lightly as possible at night.
Wear pajamas that are difficult to open, yet loose and not binding.
Avoid people, situations, pictures or reading materials that might create sexual excitement.
It is sometimes helpful to have a physical object to use in overcoming this problem. A Book of Mormon, firmly held in hand, even in bed at night has proven helpful in extreme cases.
In very severe cases it may be necessary to tie a hand to the bed frame with a tie in order that the habit of masturbating in a semi-sleep condition can be broken. This can also be accomplished by wearing several layers of clothing which would be difficult to remove while half-asleep.
Set up a reward system for your successes. It does not have to be a big reward. A quarter in a receptacle each time you overcome or reach a goal. Spend it on something which delights you and will be a continuing reminder of your progress.
Do not let yourself return to any past habit or attitude patterns which were part of your problem.
Satan never gives up. Be calmly and confidently on guard. Keep a positive mental attitude. You can win this fight! The joy and strength you will feel when you do will give your whole life a radiant and spiritual glow of satisfaction and fulfillment.
STEPS IN OVERCOMING MASTURBATION
Be assured that you can be cured of your difficulty. Many have been, both male and female, and you can be also if you determine that it must be so.
This determination is the first step. That is where we begin. You must decide that you will end this practice, and when you make that decision, the problem will be greatly reduced at once.
But it must be more than a hope or a wish, more than knowing that it is good for you. It must be actually a DECISION. If you truly make up your mind that you will be cured, then you will have the strength to resist any tendencies which you may have and any temptations which may come to you. After you have made this decision, then observe the following specific guidelines:
Never touch the intimate parts of your body expect during normal toilet processes.
Avoid being alone as much as possible. Find good company and stay in this good company.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
God, Mormons and Masturbation
by Doug Wallace
January 12, 2009
The first time I heard the “F' word was in an elementary school called Stella Magladry in Eugene, Oregon about 1939. Funny thing ,since I was about ten years old at the time and was fairly close to my father, anEnglish converted Mormon who found other forms of expletive such as, “Go Blind old Kate,”,etc, when ever he hit his finger with a hammer or was frustrated because some work he was doing didn't fit together.. I had never heard the “F” word from him.
What I had heard came from the younger brother of a school class mate. Playing the all presumptive “older” knowing role, I said, “WOW", not really knowing what he was talking about when he said, “Johnny Bench f.....d Mary Peeples!”** The kids were probably eight or nine at the time and unlikely to be involved in any sex beyond curiosity. However, the kids' school grapevine was buzzing with the story that day . (** names changed)
So, looking for some enlightenment, when I got home from school that afternoon, I blithely told my mother in the presence of two older sisters that “Johnny Bench F.....d' Mary Peoples!!!” With a kind of weird look on her face she asked me, “What did you just say?”. So I began to repeat the story, “Johnny Bench F..!!!!” I couldn't finish the statement because a hand went over my mouth with an admonition, “Quiet ;your father will talk to you about this this evening.”
Fearing I had entered into some forbidden territory (I'd been there before), I wasn't particularly interested in having my mouth washed with soap or a razor strap applied to my posterior, so it was with some apprehension whenafter dinner, dad asked me to go into the future living room with him ( He was was still finishing the house we lived in. )
Perhaps not knowing how to grasp the situation, he started up the table saw and cut a couple of boards.
Turning the saw off he looked at me with the statement, “ Your Mother.........” Then he asked me, “Do you know what the word ' F....k ' means? How could I? It was never a topic of discussion in this socially retarded Mormon home of six children. Socializing with non-Mormon “gentiles” was frowned on, as that group could lead good Mormon kids astray into the pit of damnation and darkness. So all of us from my oldest sister to my younger brother were “protected” and socially ignorant (with feelings of inferiority) for most of our younger lives.
The best that my dad could do was to ask me the question if I remembered seeing one dog humping on the rear end of another dog? “Well that is 'F.......G' he told me and that is how they make babies”.I then had a quick vision of Mary Peeples on all fours being humped on her rear side by Johnny Bench. The picture didn't explain a lot,;in fact more questions were raised than answered. However I was counseled to stay away from kids or groups who talked about or did such things and to remain pure and clean to please God. When I would be older and the time right andappropriate, I would understand .
Afterwards my next older sister, asked me about the interview with dad as she had been in the kitchen when Mother slapped her hand over my mouth. I told her that “F......G” was when one dog was on top of another humping to make babies. “OH?” she answered! The display of innocent ignorance ( real or feigned) on the faces of the family offspring had a lot to do with Mormon concepts about sexuality.
Oh yes, I had attended some birthday parties where the game of Post Office was played and I recall the arousal that happened in my pants but for sure God was watching and I better not let on so when my turn came I picked the cutest girl and departed with her to the post office room to deliver the stamps. I wanted to do something more than just plant a kiss but didn't know what. One time I remember a girl screaming as I held to kissher. Returning to the group present, I am sure some serious questions were on the minds of other kids. Also about this time just sitting behind a pretty girl in the class room caused that same swelling in my pants.
Then a few years later I discovered the most pleasant feeling when I shimmied up a tree. Shimmying up trees became one of my most secret past times. I probably wore the bark off a dozen or so of them! (Just kidding!) But I couldn't talk to anybody about it because God would be angry with me and I might go blind or something. I learned from that addicting experience that from time to time those same feelings could be induced without shimmying trees! But oh God that was a sin according to church teachings because it was for carnal pleasure! My Sins were stacking up on me!
I remember one day in High school 10th year biology class when the teacher, Mr. Ott, had two stacks of books setting on a table. One was for girls to read and the other was for boys. We were given one to take home and read and turn back in the next day. My book of course discussed the anatomy of a girl's body and I am sure the opposite for the girl's book. It was interesting but it didn't discuss humping! And there was total silence from the teacher after we'd turned the books back in. That was our sex education class!
As I grew older and took a girl on a date, I remember how painful it was to neck and not be able to do something else that seemed to be needed to be done. You'd drive home and get the relief you needed in the bath room. God, please forgive me! If you were lucky, sometimes it just happened like a wet dream in your pants while holding her. Did your girlfriend know that it happened and what would she think?
“Sining” was the only thing you could do since God forbade doing what came naturally and that was reserved for a time in the future when you'd get married and then it would be okay just a long as you were sure it was for making babies!
Do you masturbate? That was the question that came out of the mouth of one of the Mormon Apostles who interviewed me for a church mission just shortly after my 20th birthday. Knowing the attitude of the church about “self abuse”, as it is called, I took the fifth. Besides, the word was not in the vocabulary of a good Mormon boy. This was the first (not last) time I learned that the Apostles were not too well connected with the Lord !
Later, in the UK mission field, a bunch of Elders (as we were called) were together B-S'ing about things and the issue of masturbation came up. An Elder Ashworth as I recall, got the whole group into laughter when he said his response to the question was, “Doesn't everybody?” Still no one confessed as it was/is a deeply closeted sin and embarrassment would prevent confessing it in the absence of others also confessing. That they would do so was far too risky so the group was in denial for valid reasons. Most people addicted to something evil or sinful are in constant denial!
Regular lessons are given to church youth (girls and boys) on the subject of mastrbation by girl's counselors and elders who liken masturbating to the animal conduct of a monkey in a zoo cage observed playing with itself . So the drive/need for sexual self fulfillment goes into the closet where it becomes the innermost secret that only God knows if he sees in secret.
Yet despite this attitude, and knowing full well that there is hypocrisy among the priesthood leaders who are saying do as I say (for their doing the opposite is their own closet secret) and knowing full well the age of 20 to 22 is an age of high sexual drive, the young men are sent on missions with admonition of not only being celibate but also no masturbation.
I remember British Mission President Selvoy J. Boyer in December 1949 at the mission orientation at London church headquarters known as “Ravenslea', talking to our group of about 15 new elders. His comment was that the English girls look pretty plain Jane at first but after awhile they will look much better and that no matter how warm it got we were to keep our pants zipped up! Of course there is always a small percentage who can't keep the code and generally are sent home in disgrace and excommunicated. (Unless the elder happens to be the son of a prominent Mormon family!)
This attitude and basic ignorance of church leaders in seeking to curtail not only improper sexual activity but also improper sexual thought, produces young bridegrooms who lack experienced understanding to properly make love with a Mormon bride. Just getting it on wham-bam to make babies leaves the poor bride empty, lonely and unfulfilled. This situation has been well described in Deborrah Laake's book, Secret Ceremonies (Amazon Books) . In her book she tells of parking her car alone, locking it and after getting in the back seat engaging in masturbation to find fulfillment of her own sexuality that is not experienced making “love” with her temple married returned missionary husband. She was even found by her in-laws in her car parked on a street in the process of self fulfillment-- not self abuse!
The wham bam approach is ignorant male selfishness at its extreme but fulfills the justification of making babies as perceived by the church elders as the only justification for sexual thought or activity. Most returned missionaries ( the author included at that age) fall into the category of being sexual retards. Being a virgin at 23 can be achieved but at what cost?
This is where the conflict arises in the apparent war by the church against Gays and Lesbians. Mormon Church leadership believes it has the authority of God to regulate human sexuality as to who may engage in it, how they may engage in it, where they may engage in it and when. Yet every now and again the secret sexual conduct of the leaders leaks out to the world. When that happens theres is denial and the leak is plugged to keep the fear of God mill going against the young singles of the church. The most recent was the expose' of late church president Gordon B. Hinckley after he was first ordained an apostle. The lies used to cover and deny it included those endorsed by current church president Thomas S. Monson who was a counselor in the First Presidency of the church at the time.
Since human sexuality in the minds of Mormon leaders is God restricted to procreation as its only justification, the terror that arises in their brainwashed minds that gay marriage will destroy the holy concept of marriage motivates their energy in stopping it at any cost. This presumed authority extends to the whole community not just Mormons. Hence the coupling with the Catholic Church to promote Proposition 8 in California.
Joining with the Catholic church is in itself a dilemma. On the one hand you have a married all male priesthood ostensibly monogamous but hoping for the day when they can again be polygamous (not really for making babies but to justify the joy of daily sex without regard to pregnancies, menopause or resorting to self abuse!) On the other hand you have a celibate all male priesthood who have no God approved personal experience of married/sexual life making them unqualified to even understand sexual activity except perhaps as homosexual pedophiles.
Yet both churches are doing their very best to overpopulate the earth by insisting that only pro creative sex is holy and justified, placing recreational sex, including masturbation, in the devil's sinbin . In doing this they are driving members and parishioners deeper into their closets,
This focus on sexual conduct ignores love for LOVE IS FOR NO OTHER REASON. Love attracts couples without regard to sexual orientation and is a phenomenon not understood by 'God's duly appointed' making them unqualified to judge. They would do well to re-read St. Paul's discourse on charity.
Mental health experts have been trying for years to teach the notion that masturbation is a normal healthy activity for humans, male and female. That sexual experiences aide the person in adjusting to a normal fulfilling life.
Society is benefited from the fact that normalized life brings peace and tranquility to the community.
The church on the other hand assumes control over the sexual activities of its members citing a duty to control it for God. Truth is that while God created sexuality as one of the greatest personal experiences of life, the regulation and control of it belongs to society not to churches using fear while pretending to act for God.
Social mores, absent fear, will be more effective in urging self control of one's sexual urges recognizing the individual is not “sinning” when those urges are properly accommodated within in a society which recognizes, and openly accepts sexuality as a basic human attribute while teaching respect and restraint for the benefit of all. Laws circumscribing sexual conduct to protect those who need protection and punishment /treatment to those who abuse their sexual freedom are and will always be appropriate. That is the way primeval tribes coped with sexuality with in their groups and that is how they survived for millenniums until subjected to God's fear by “Christianization”.
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