Pornography-Masturbation Split in the Church
By Created
6/25/2013 10:25:55 PM
For myself, I find masturbation a great degree more addictive than pornography. There are so many resources, talks, and documentation for pornography addiction; it's all the church ever talks about! Through my whole presence in the church, I have heard the word masturbation ONCE. I understand that there are a few talks on it but really, compared to porn, there's no measure. I can't assume anything except that it is a less-threatening sin to our salvation.


Good point...    
"Maybe the church avoids using the word masturbation because they want to avoid public controversy?

I think you're right on track with porn being worse than masturbation, but for a true addict, the masturbation will eventually lead to lust and porn. It also goes without saying that porn and masturbation are usually used together."
posted at 22:50:24 on June 25, 2013 by ETTE
"I have the greatest respect for your opinions, but I am a true MB addict (aren't I?) and I have never relied on porn. I'm 62 and have been masturbating since I was 5, on and off.

I have had six bishops and three stake presidents since my rebaptism 8+ years ago. My first bishop thought there was nothing wrong with MB, so here I am today. My next bishop -- in the same ward -- said it's definitely not o.k. My next bishop, in a different ward/stake/town said that I possibly had an addiction, and I immediately agreed, the thought never having crossed my mind before. So he sent me to a therapist, etc.

Whatever, I still haven't had my priesthood and blessings restored, because I have to go a year absolutely pure and clean with no slip ups, not even for ten seconds, or I start at day 1 again. But I have given two talks in Sacrament Meetings in different wards, I take the Sacrament at the instructions of the first bishop to say I had an addiction, I teach Elder's Quorum twice a month, I bear my testimony once a year, and I do my Home Teaching. More than all that, I have the most wonderful spiritual experiences and manifestations, and I can't even talk about them. Wish I had the Spirit this way on my mission, and I was pure then.

I share your frustration, CREATED. Addictions are like cancer, they're all the same, yet they're all different and I think they require different approaches. That's why I get a thousand times more benefit out of attending general addiction recovery meetings than I do from going to porn AR meetings.

I don't say that I have a masturbation addiction at those meetings as there are sometimes young ladies there, and I'm not trying to hide anything, I just don't want to be lurid or graphic, and I think the term "masturbation" brings graphic images to mind, whereas the term "porn" doesn't. Maybe I should admit it, though. Maybe I should say it out loud at the meeting, no matter who's present. Would it help me get better? I've heard several people say they have a porn addiction with young ladies present, and it doesn't seem lurid or off-color or in bad taste to me, but I'm afraid to use the term "masturbation".

Whatever, I asked a young lady with a porn and MB addiction (she's clean now for well over a year) why porn was considered more serious than MB, and she said, "With porn, the images stayed burned in your mind." That struck me like a right cross into my face. It really hit me. Maybe that's why the Church seems to take a much harder stand against porn than against MB itself. But that might change any day, too.

I consider MB to be a threat to my salvation, and I know that God can help me overcome it, and that the program (12 Step, meeting with the bishop, going to ARP meetings, having a sponsor, etc.) works. Just for some of us, it takes a little bit longer than for others. Just never give up."
posted at 11:53:26 on June 26, 2013 by dog
"Which one is more pregnant? Which cancer is worse? What disease do you prefer? Which one will kill you more slowly? Is sin better than sin? What are you trying to prove?

This is like poop telling vomit you stink more. Of course pornography is worse. But let us see if God will save us in our sins. Will you decide how far you will go, or does God already know? How much good, is good enough. Does rationalizing one sin over another make us feel better? Does switching one addiction over an other make any difference? Do we understand what an addiction does and what it is? No, I think Arsenic poison is worse than Cyanide. The church talks about avoiding poison and coming unto Christ, But the church doesn't talk about Cyanide, it most not be as important.

I think putting gasoline on top of a forest fire is worse than the forest fire by itself too. Both of them if left untreated will destroy everything. So instead of looking at porn and masturbating, let's just masturbate and excuse ourselves because we obviously do not have the ability to resist the natural man and to act for ourselves because if we could, God would make us accountable.

No it's OK, God will justify in committing a little sin, you can't help yourself. Life is stressful, go ahead, you are young. Everybody else does it. It's completely natural and normal, just like the natural man. There is no God, there is no devil, all is well in Zion, yea ALL IS WELL. It is all the effect of a frenzied mind, eat drink and be merry. If only the church went easy on us we could just rationalize our way out of sin, and then the pain would go away. And thus all can come back to heaven because what we do doesn't matter, Jesus saved us right!? Only the serious stuff might stop us, but then God will beat us with a few strips, and then hooray God has saved us, what a happy thing such a heaven that is. God's heaven can be our heaven.

I'm sorry, I'm cynical, don't listen to my last words, I am the one with a problem. I have a sickness and it's killing me. Life is the leading cause of death. I will try to keep my mouth shut.

posted at 13:42:53 on June 26, 2013 by Deimos
"your name fits you well, and yes, you would embarrass yourself far less if you would keep your mouth shut. Everyone on this site would appreciate that. Thanks in advance."
posted at 14:37:35 on June 26, 2013 by dog
Dog, don't speak for everyone. Thanks.    
"Deimos, your words are thought provoking but you should've stopped just shy of the last paragraph. The sarcasm got mean and condescending.

Keep coming back!

We ALL have a problem."
posted at 19:07:25 on June 26, 2013 by Anonymous
and I end it by speaking for everyone. Oops.    
posted at 19:08:33 on June 26, 2013 by Anonymous
"You have told the truth and the truth cuts to the core!"
posted at 19:10:01 on June 26, 2013 by Anonymous
"I have never heard a story like yours. I had a friend at SA who claimed to have indulged in porn for fifteen years before finally masturbating. I cannot relate to that anymore than I can relate to you, but I believe both of you because you have no reason to lie.

We all have individual stories, and some of us have stories more similar than others. When I started the program, I was told to pick a sponsor who has a story that resonates with me. My sponsor had my story, but he also had 7 years of sobriety. Speaking of sponsors, I really need to call that guy again. It's been too long.

Thank you for being so honest with your story. I learn the most from people who are open and honest about where they have been and what works for them.

Regarding masturbation and porn addiction, I'm convinced that there is a difference between a masturbation/porn addict and a sex addict. The white book says that sexaholism is progressive. Starts with lust, moves to masturbation, porn, sex with women, sex with prostitutes, sex with men, etc...

Unfortunately, I'm not a porn/masturbation addict. I am a sex addict. I moved onto things worse than porn/masturbation many years ago. I would like to get back into the program, but I just get depressed every time I think about where I once was (8 months sobriety, temple recommend, active member) and where I am now."
posted at 19:57:11 on June 26, 2013 by ETTE
"We are a dysfunctional little family here and Deimos fits in just fine! LOL! I like what he had to say....

I think we need to be the change we want to see in the world. In this case, we need to be the change we want to see in the Church.

Created has two messages in the original post: One is that the church doesn't talk about masturbation. The other is that perhaps porn is worse than masturbation.

I do not think that there is a more consistently talked about (fought about) issue on this site than the questions of sin hierarchy. It is a pointless debate that we have circled around and around and made excellent points on over the years.... And never agreed about. I don't really feel like going there tonight. Maybe tomorrow.

But my comments are about the first point. If we want the Church to address masturbation then what are we doing about it? Personally, I talk to my kids openly about it. I haven't gone as far as bring it up in church lessons, but why shouldn't we it is age appropriate and the Spirit nudges us to comment? Are we asking the leaders to talk more about it? I've heard some very frank talks from Bishops and Stake Presidents about masturbation. But I appear to be in the minority here with that experience.

I refuse to be afraid of talking about the 'm' word anymore! I like whoever compared it to saying Voldemort. LOL"
posted at 22:16:21 on June 26, 2013 by maddy
That is so true Maddy    
"I brought up the statistics on porn problems within the church in relief society. They were shocked to find out that one in three referrals for counselling was for problems with porn.

It is estimated that 90% of male church members have looked at porn and 50% have a porn problem / addiction. It is also estimated that 30% of female members also have a problem / addiction to porn.

If someone thinks that there is no clear cut leadership advice in regards to masturbation / self gratification (same thing) being an addiction or not bring it up in church or write to the First Presidency or the General Authorities and then ask them if they think that masturbating everyday or every other day for x amount of days/ months/ years is an addiction or not.

I suppose the real answer is how long can you go with out masturbating to whether it is a problem / addiction?"
posted at 23:56:31 on June 26, 2013 by Anonymous
Judge and thou shalt feel better about thyself    
"I feel like some people here are screaming at the corner telling people they're all going to hell. It's kind of funny."
posted at 00:20:34 on June 27, 2013 by mint
Condemn and Thou Shalt Feel Even Better    
"It's common to feel that way when we are stuck in addiction. Misery loves company, Hell's progression is digression for everybody else."
posted at 15:22:09 on June 27, 2013 by Anonymous
Please look at Deimos' other post (his blog)    
"He was very sarcastic in that, insincere, trolling. He's mocking us. The name "Deimos" means "panic", and that's part of his mockery. Trying to make us look like chickens with our heads cut off. That's why I said what I said. We've had trolls here before, and I guess we always will, but I wish they'd stick to YouTube. -- "woof" ???? "I am [have] a Calvinist Heavenly Father."???? "Life is the leading cause of death." --- That's all sarcasm. Probably a Dog Brother (for whom I have great respect, being a fighter myself, their fighting is banned from the UFC for being too violent to be a spectator sport, LOL) who's being a jerk. Dog Brothers often sign off their posts with "woof". Google the "Five Points of Calvinism" if you want to understand what he's saying.

If you want sarcastic trolls who mock our struggles to post here, then I apologize for including anyone else in my comments, but I won't back down for making them myself. Which is to say, I'm sincerely sorry for misrepresenting anyone, but I think it'd be best for you to understand what Deimos is actually implying and saying before reacting.

Kick It, I agree that porn and MB are both bad, but the original poster was asking "Why doesn't the Church say more against it?" If you don't believe there are bishops who think it's not a big deal, please do a search on C2 and read her blogs. I had the same experience with a different bishop, but he wasn't a bishop for very long. I think the Church doesn't see MB as being as bad as porn. In fact, why not read the pamphlet -- the whole thing, every word of it, at least the original one -- "For Young Men Only" by Elder Boyd K. Packer. In fact, why wait, I'll put the quote right here:

"First, I want you to know this. If you are struggling with this temptation [masturbation] and perhaps you have not quite been able to resist, the Lord still loves you. It is not anything so wicked nor is it a transgression so great that the Lord would reject you because of it, but it can quickly lead to that kind of transgression. It is not pleasing to the Lord, nor is it pleasing to you. It does not make you feel worthy or clean. " -from "For Young Men Only", by Elder Boyd K. Packer.

PLEASE, if you don't believe it, google it and read it for yourself. It's well into the talk, but it's a talk worth reading. Done very lovingly and kindly, though the world and some Church members snicker at it and try to denigrate it. Key phrase there: "It is not pleasing to the Lord."

Ette -- wow, I would love to talk to you, because you believe me. You're not one of those who cherishes his assumptions. That's a rare quality. I would put up my email address (which I've done in the past but deleted after 2-3 weeks each time), but with recent troll activity here, I don't want to take the risk. Wish we could PM each other on this site. I've really benefited from some of the things you've said, and you would quickly learn that there's no difference between an MB addict (like me), a porn/mb addict, and someone who has affairs/uses prostitutes because of an addiction, whatever.

We're all the same. And if we struggle to the end of our days and make just a little progress, that process will continue forever. And only those who are, or who will be, exalted progress forever. That's what I'm saying. Just keep trying no matter what your problem, SA/MB, porn, SSA, adultery, whatever, just keep trying 'til the end of your days to repent. Really try."
posted at 13:17:18 on June 28, 2013 by dog
man, i am saddend by some comments here    
"I'm no expert. I'm not an example. i miight be a warning. only christ is the example . we need to look to him and live.

people we are saved by grace......GRACE. learn what grace is and it will save your ass....

ya ya ya mormons go...saved after all we can why you running so hard? why you trying to "save yourself"? its grace....grace grace grace

christ is the author of salvation and our grace.......imo spend more time in grace then in trying to save yourself.

its hard to describe what I have come to that talk by brad wilcox "his grace is sufficent"...that helps alot

ya I get it...we should do what we can to overcome but we need to rely on him....his merits + his mercy.....his grace.....

if murder is forgiven then masturbation is people....alma 24:10

going to church isn't going to save u, reading for hours aday isn't going to save u. praying til ur.needs are numb isn't going to save you....doing doing doing isn't going to save you!!!!!!! its his GRACE that saves us.......

please please remember that....."
posted at 22:58:18 on July 5, 2013 by skyteamst90
"Faith without works is dead"
posted at 15:48:17 on July 6, 2013 by Created
"I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

Nothing. Nothing... Nothing.

One does not work for Grace. Grace works for him. I believe it is important both psychologically and spiritually not to get the cart before the horse."
posted at 20:04:00 on July 6, 2013 by they_speak
Mission at stake    
"I'm 19 and have had a porn/masturbation addiction for 9 years and the longest I went without porn recently was 4 months and during that time I kept masturbating without it. I'm not really addicted to the porn, I'm addicted to the pleasure. The most I can go without grabbing myself and masturbating is about a week. My bishop said I can't go on a mission until I'm 6 months clean and every week I masturbate and tell myself that was the last time and I won't do it again for 6 months but I always do and I screw it up and that clock has to reset. I'm not getting any younger and soon people are really gonna wonder when I'm gonna go on a mission. I can't get my life started because of this. At this rate ill never get married, recieve the melchezidk priesthood or go to the temple worthily. Help me."
posted at 18:18:21 on January 7, 2015 by Anonymous
"This post is for the 19 year old trying to become mission worthy. Know that the LORD still loves you. Start focusing more on what you want to become rather than focusing on sin.

I have struggled with masturbation for over fifteen years. I managed to go six years once before I had a relapse. But I have learned that when I focus on good and righteous desires rather than focusing on not sinning is when I really began to be successful. Don't obsess over this sin. Begin to meditate and focus on good uplifting goals. Pray and ask for the LORD's help on your journey."
posted at 23:58:09 on January 8, 2015 by Anonymous
You are worthy    
"The LDS church's latest official standpoint I know of on the level of seriousness of masturbation is:

"If you are struggling with this temptation and perhaps you have not quite been able to resist, the Lord still loves you. It is not anything so wicked nor is it a transgression so great that the Lord would reject you because of it, but it can quickly lead to that kind of transgression."

(To Young Men Only, pamphlet, Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1994)

If the lord would not reject you because of this sin, then why would your bishop reject you because of it? Bishops are just regular people like you and I. They have their own sins and misconceptions. In my opinion, your bishop is not following the Church's latest published guidance on this matter, but rather is following earlier teachings or perhaps his own misconceptions. In my opinion, there are different kinds of sins. Some are sins because they damage other people. This is not one of those sins. Masturbation is a sin because, as it is explained "it can quickly lead to that kind of transgression. It is not pleasing to the Lord, nor is it pleasing to you. It does not make you feel worthy or clean."

It's dangerous. It doesn't make you FEEL worthy. It's "not pleasing". Does "not pleasing" sound very serious to you? It sounds like very mild language to me. Cussing is not pleasing, but it won't keep you out of the temple. Breaking the word of wisdom by not exercising or not eating right is not pleasing, but it won't keep you out of the temple. Passionate kissing is dangerous, but it won't keep you out of the temple. Dirty thoughts make you feel unworthy, but they don't keep you out of the temple.

There once was a saying that was "sins that are between you and the lord and don't involve others should be confessed between you and the lord and not to others," or something like that. That's probably not actual church doctrine but it was told to me by someone above me in the priesthood hierarchy and it makes sense to me.

It seems pretty clear to me, from the wide spectrum of different standpoints that your bishops have taken on this topic, that many of the church leaders are just kind of making things up as they go along. And why wouldn't they? They are spiritually frail human beings just like the rest of us, with their own weaknesses just like anyone else. We are taught to learn from the scriptures, that they are written for our day. And what do we learn about the church from the scriptures? We learn that many of the church leaders are corrupt. They are human beings, completely fallible and vulnerable to all the same sins as anyone else. They generally lead us on the right path and we would do good to follow them. However, we need to remember that they aren't perfect. The church leadership is made up 100% of sinners, just like the congregation is.

If I was your bishop I would congratulate you and let you know that I feel that the lord would be very pleased with all of your valiant efforts to keep your life as clean as you have. I would recommend you for all the blessings of the priesthood and the temple. That's just me, but I believe you are worthy."
posted at 14:09:46 on January 13, 2015 by Anonymous
I look at it this way    
"If I had a way to reset my password. I would not post this as extra anonymously. What is worse shooting a gun to kill people, or some other way of killing people? Masturbation is a means to a end. The root cause is lust and pride. Pride really encompassing many deadly sins."
posted at 05:32:24 on January 24, 2015 by Anonymous
Truth bomb    
"This talk very much says masturbation. I'm sure it came out of use because of political correctness, it is still harmful."
posted at 02:11:25 on March 23, 2015 by Anonymous
Try and    
"Tony Litster teaches you WHY you crave masturbation, and helps you change your life so that you won't crave it any more. And his program is completely free, even though it looks like he might charge you money; he won't!

Get help, stick to his program. Bring the problem to light. Talk about it openly. Be very honest. This is the only way to make it go away.

Also, stop feeling like you are bad for desiring sex and/or masturbation. There is absolutely NOTHING wrong or bad about you because you crave those things. That's completely normal and natural. Still, you CAN learn to overcome the craving.

@the last anonymous: that talk says absolutely nothing about masturbation except that you will feel great and be incredibly unique if you avoid it."
posted at 20:27:37 on March 27, 2015 by BeClean
The Verdict    
"Name a talk where masturbation or any sin is talked about in detail? They did talk about masturbation. Wanting sex and have a sex drive is normal. I don't have a masturbation addiction, but I have had it accompany pornography. I totally disagree that masturbation is "normal"; this is wrong and off base!"
posted at 03:11:59 on March 29, 2015 by Anonymous
exclamation mark!    
"!.. Except that it is normal. And you're perspective is part of the problem. Not the solution. At least that's my perspective!"
posted at 17:52:11 on March 31, 2015 by they_speak
"If it is perfectly "normal". They why would want to stop doing it? I'm not saying your a bad person. Bad knowing how behavior should be is the first step in changing said behavior."
posted at 04:19:28 on April 2, 2015 by Anonymous
No issue    
"Recognizing something is normal isn't condoning it. I recognize when my son throws a fit that's it's normal for toddlers to do that. That by no means suggests I condone it. It just means I don't live in a box and there are healthy ways to help him grow beyond fit throwing and unhealthy ways to "help" him. But he is certainly normal and in my eyes perfect in every way. Even if his behavior doesn't ultimately help him be happy."
posted at 21:54:52 on April 2, 2015 by they_speak
It is what it is    
"There are healthy coping mechaninsm and unhealthy ones."
posted at 13:45:03 on April 3, 2015 by Anonymous
"I think presenting it that way really helps us in overcoming it. I think it's especially helpful in making children unafraid to talk about it, avoid self loathing and mature into healthy well adjusted adults. Wait.. No. No I don't."
posted at 21:55:27 on April 5, 2015 by they_speak
The irony    
"No one here is a masturbation apologist. I mean.. aren't we all here to stop lusting? We all know there are higher laws and greater degrees of light and glory. We've all read the same damn scriptures haven't we? It's the spirit of the presentation that leaves much to be desired in my opinion. I think it's easy to smash people over the head with the letter of the law. It's a lazy mans charity. It requires no long suffering. No wisdom. No understanding. No dialogue or edification. Black and white end of discussion. It is what it is. Which has clearly served us all sooo well. Given that most of us were taught these things since childhood.

"Want more truth? Can you handle it? If you keep reading, you’ll never be the same! You’ve been warned. Here is some more truth:"

If having more so called truth makes me act/talk like this dude... I guess I can't handle it. But I did keep reading. And I'm still the same. So, that part was untrue."
posted at 22:27:51 on April 5, 2015 by they_speak
"Neither They Speak nor I have EVER condoned masturbation. Anonymous is trying to convince us that masturbation is wrong. That is a waste of time, because we know it's wrong. We never said it wasn't.

But here is the trick:

It is not as wrong as some self-righteous, judgmental Mormons make it out to be when they try to argue that it's somehow on the same level as adultery.

Masturbation is not adultery (i.e. "sex with self, violation of temple covenants").
Porn is not adultery.

If they were, the Church would excommunicate every endowed member who masturbates or views pornography. However, Bishops have been specifically instructed NOT to excommunicate such people.

Lust is not adultery.

If it were, every endowed member of the Church would be excommunicated. (See )

Calling masturbation a heinous sin on the level of adultery serves no one. It makes almost everyone, including my innocent 3-year-old daughter (who has masturbated multiple times) and most likely your Stake President (who has probably done it at some point in his life), into an adulterer.

It's wrong. It's not a good way to cope with life. It should be avoided for several reasons. But if you have done it, realize you are still a beloved child of God who simply needs to learn better ways of coping with stress.

And if you know someone who has done it or who does it, try to be a little more understanding, and worry about the beam. (Matthew 7:5 )

When you aim an accusing, shame-filled finger at your masturbating friend, you are only encouraging the action. Love, acceptance, and nonjudgmental understanding might actually help him or her to stop.

That goes for almost all addictive behaviors."
posted at 19:02:44 on April 11, 2015 by BeClean
Re: Masturbation    
"If you go to, and search for "masturbation," there is actually a fairly good coverage of the subject in church manuals, if not in Conference talks and devotionals."
posted at 16:48:43 on May 24, 2015 by Harryhausen1
What's the difference?    
"Both will keep you out of the Celestial Kingdom."
posted at 11:02:33 on June 23, 2015 by Anonymous
Good point    
"Both murder and being an ignoramus will keep you out of the celestial kingdom. What's the difference?"
posted at 18:24:04 on June 23, 2015 by they_speak
"No difference."
posted at 02:56:02 on June 27, 2015 by Anonymous

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"If, through our unrighteous choices, we have lost our footing on that path, we must remember the agency we were given, agency we may choose to exercise again. I speak especially to those overcome by the thick darkness of addiction. If you have fallen into destructive, addictive behaviors, you may feel that you are spiritually in a black hole. As with the real black holes in space, it may seem all but impossible for light to penetrate to where you are. How do you escape? I testify the only way is through the very agency you exercised so valiantly in your premortal life, the agency that the adversary cannot take away without your yielding it to him. "

— Robert D. Hales

General Conference, April 2006