Regarding the Overcoming Masturbation
Given your involvement with Liberated Christians I thought you would be
interested to know that the Mormon Masturbation letter you included is
legitimate. I can vouch for it. I am a former Mormon who served a 2 year Mormon
Mission about 17 years ago.
This letter was included in our missionary binder (it's no longer included). It
was a great source of amusement to most of us but the church and our Mission
President took it very seriously.
To this day Mormon Missionary rules require missionaries to sleep in the same
room (though never the same bed) to help avoid temptation. The church still
views masturbation as a sin severe enough to require face-to-face confession
with their Bishop. There are few things as humiliating as looking a religious
authority figure in the eye and telling him you have engaged in
The normal punishment for this (as I learned several times) was not being able
to participate in or partake of the Church Sacrament (another form of public
humiliation since in Mormon congregations the Sacrament is brought to you and
you have to either shake your head no or pass it along without partaking).
I can laugh about it now but I certainly wasn't laughing then.
An excerpt from a Mormon missionary
guide, circa 1970:
STEPS IN OVERCOMING MASTURBATION
Mark E. Petersen
Council of the 12 Apostles
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 whish, 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
After you have made this decision, then observe the
following specific guidelines:
A Guide to Self-Control
- Never touch the intimate parts of your body except
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 are the subject of your thoughts, so to
- Never read pornographic material. Never read about your
problem. Keep it out of 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 Brethern [sic,
Cistern too?]. Make a daily habit of reading at least one chapter of
Scripture, preferably 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
- Pray. But when you pray, don't pray about this problem,
for that will tend to keep [it] in your mind more than ever. Pray for faith,
pray for understanding of the Scriptures, pray for the Missionaries, the
General Authorities, your friends, your families, BUT KEEP THE PROBLEM OUT OF
YOUR MIND BY NOT MENTIONING IT EVER -- NOT IN CONVERSATION WITH OTHERS, NOT IN
YOUR PRAYERS. KEEP IT _OUT_ of your mind!
The attitude of a person toward his problem has an affect
[sic] on how easy it is to 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 testimony becomes weak, and missionary work and other Church
callings become burdensome, offerings.
To help in planning an effective program to overcome the
problem a brieation is given of how the reproductive organs in a young man
The testes in your body are continually producing hundreds
of millions of reproductive cells call 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
calleeminal vesicles are full a signa to the central nervous
system indicating they are ready to benother, depending on such things as
exercise, state of health, etc. everal times a week, for others.
It is normal for the vesicles to be emptied occasionally
at night during the emptying of come from the cetral nervous system. Often an
erotic dream is experienced at the same time, and is a part of this normal
process. Instead ourse, 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 his increased rate, for an indefese are not
harmful and are to be endured until the normal central nervous system pathway of
rel [NOTE: The rest of the paragraph is missing.]
As one meets with his Priesthood Leader, a program for
overcoming masturbation can be implemented using some of the techniques
mentioned above. 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 not lout when the
temptations are the strongest.
- Follow a program of vigorous daily exercise. The
exercises reduce emotional tension and depression and are absolutely basic to
the solution of this problem. Double your physical activity when you feel
- When the temptation to masturbate is strong, yell
_STOP_ to those thoughts as loudly as you can in your mind and then recite a
prechosen 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 to 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 the 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 to 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 toileting and shower activities leave the
bathroom door or shower curtain partly open, to discourage being alone 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
- 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
- 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.
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