Church OFFICIAL stance on masturbation?
By Created
8/13/2014 5:12:17 PM
I've gotten different answers from bishops about how long a young man must abstain from masturbation in order to serve a mission. Is this all oppinionated? Honestly, I have heard the term "masturbation" mentioned like once in all of my youth years. I've heard there isn't even a section in the bishops' and stake presidents' manual about this topic. I wish this was more clear.


what's your stance?    
"We pay too little attention to the value of meditation, a principle of devotion. In our worship there are two elements: One is spiritual communion arising from our own meditation; the other, instruction from others, particularly from those who have authority to guide and instruct us. Of the two, the more profitable introspectively is the meditation. Meditation is the language of the soul. It is defined as “a form of private devotion, or spiritual exercise, consisting in deep, continued reflection on some religious theme.” Meditation is a form of prayer. …

Meditation is one of the most secret, most sacred doors through which we pass into the presence of the Lord. Jesus set the example for us. As soon as he was baptized and received the Father’s approval, “This is my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased,” [Matthew 3:17] Jesus [went] to what is now known as the mount of temptation. I like to think of it as the mount of meditation where, during the forty days of fasting, he communed with himself and his Father, and contemplated upon the responsibility of his great mission. One result of this spiritual communion was such strength as enabled him to say to the tempter:

“… Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”

-David O

Christ searched and knew the scriptures... but he wasn't exactly going to Caiaphas - the high priest and chief religious official of Israelite religion who sat in the seat of Aaron even at the time of Jesus - for authority on any subject."
posted at 18:47:02 on August 13, 2014 by they_speak
Abstinence isn't repentance    
"I'm not aware of anywhere in the scriptures, writings of latter-day church leaders, or church handbooks where it ever states exactly how long it takes to repent. I think it really depends on the person and the situation. It might take me a full year to fully repent of a certain sin and to get my heart and actions in the right place, whereas it might only take you a few weeks to make the same progress.

Personally, I think "how long a young man must abstain from masturbation in order to serve a mission" is totally the wrong question to ask. The gospel is NOT about simply abstaining from sin, it's about literally changing hearts, improving our lives, and turning our lives over to the Savior so His atonement can save us. I think bishops (through the Spirit) will try to discern the level of repentance in the young man, which is NOT the same as the amount of time abstaining from sin. Individual bishops might want to see someone be free from sin for a period of time as evidence of repentance, but the ultimate goal is a change of heart, not simply abstinence. The actual amount of time will probably always be different from person to person.

Even if you only heard the word masturbation once as a youth, did you still somehow know or feel that it was wrong? Interestingly the For the Strength of Youth booklet doesn't use the word "masturbation", but rather says "Do not do anything else that arouses sexual feelings [outside of marriage]. Do not arouse those emotions in your own body. Pay attention to the promptings of the Spirit so that you can be clean and virtuous." I've heard lots of people say that they didn't know what the word masturbation meant, but somehow they still knew that what they were doing was wrong and caused them to feel guilty. Either way, that is why the Savior died... to help us change our hearts as we learn and grow, and so we can become clean in spite of our bad choices.

If you are asking this question because you want to serve a mission, awesome! I hope you choose to serve, and become an awesome missionary. If there are things you need to clean up first, definitely work with your bishop. Focus on allowing the Savior to change your heart, rather than just abstinence from your favorite sin. When you put the Savior first, your actions will naturally follow (including getting more help in case you've allowed your choices to become addictions)."
posted at 10:51:45 on August 14, 2014 by Anonymous
It's wrong    
"One example: masturbation is considered by many in the world to be the harmless expression of an instinctive sex drive. Teach your children that the prophets have condemned it as a sin throughout the ages and that they can choose not to do it. Throughout childhood, boys and girls have touched their own genitals frequently to wash and to dress. This is a behavior that usually has the same meaning as keeping one’s feet warm in the winter, enjoying a swim on a hot day, or scratching an itch. We ought to be friendly to our bodies and appreciate the body’s marvelous range of senses. This innocent touching is not the kind of behavior warned against by prophets through the ages. The sin of masturbation occurs when a person stimulates his or her own sex organs for the purpose of sexual arousal. It is a perversion of the body’s passions. When we pervert these passions and intentionally use them for selfish, immoral purposes, we become carnal."

1. Our Conduct toward Our Own Bodies


Masturbation: stimulating oneself sexually.


“Masturbation … is not approved of the Lord nor of his church, regardless of what may be said by others whose ‘norms’ are lower” (President Kimball Speaks Out [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1981], p. 10)."
posted at 00:06:26 on August 15, 2014 by Anonymous
My Thoughts on this Rehashed Topic    
"Love Versus Lust, 1965
President Kimball Speaks Out, 1981
A Parent's Guide, 1985, quoting the 1981 and 1965 source
Aaronic Priesthood Manual, 1993, quoting the 1981 and 1965 source

So, only President Kimball (and President Packer, elsewhere) have said anything about masturbation in recent history, and the last time they said anything about it was 34 years ago. How many of us were alive then? That is a LONG time for the Brethren to ignore a topic, when they talk about pornography several times every conference. You'd think they could say the word "masturbation" at least once, if they were worried about it in the slightest.

And it's not that they have forgotten how to say the word. Even President Kim Clark at BYU-Idaho was able to say the word numerous times when he was defending a recent BYU-Idaho video against those who said it was about masturbation. He claimed the video was not about masturbation at all; it was about pornography. If the Church still condemns masturbation as they apparently did 34 years ago, why didn't President Clark just leave the whole fiasco alone and let people think it was about masturbation? What's it to him if the world is laughing at the Church for the Church's stance on masturbation? But apparently, it was important enough for him to stand up and say that the video isn't condemning masturbation; it's condemning pornography.

Here's my opinion again, rejected by many on this site. I believe masturbation is wrong. But I believe masturbation BY ITSELF is wrong in exactly the same way overeating is wrong.

Just as none of the Brethren are talking about gluttony and overeating any more, they aren't talking about masturbation. When you stuff yourself silly, you know it's wrong. You feel terrible. You know your actions at the dinner table were selfish and irresponsible. You resolve to do better. Hopefully, you actually do better next time. But you get over it and move on.

The ONLY difference between those feelings and masturbation is that masturbation is SHAMED, and overeating is ACCEPTED. Both of them produce equally troubling feelings. Both of them are selfish and inappropriate. But we culturally accept overeating. We shun masturbation. So, they produce slightly different feelings of guilt.

To paraphrase the President Kimball quote above, "The sin of overeating occurs when a person stimulates his or her own digestive system for the purpose of experiencing the pleasure that comes from eating. Overeating is a perversion of the body's passions. When we pervert these passions and intentionally use them for selfish, immoral purposes, we become carnal."

To paraphrase the other quote, "Overeating, a rather common indiscretion, is not approved of the Lord nor of his church, regardless of what may be said by others whose 'norms' are lower. Latter-day Saints are urged to avoid this practice."

If President Kimball had actually stated these two exact same quotes--the only quotes directly condemning masturbation in the past 34 years--about overeating, would we all be jumping all over everyone in the church who overeats?

Look, NOTHING I have said here justifies masturbation. Everything I have said condemns it as an inappropriate, carnal, selfish practice. Like President Kimball, I think it should be avoided.

BUT, frankly, I think overeating is just as unjustified, inappropriate, carnal, and selfish. It, too, should be avoided.

What's my point? If you have masturbated, you are not a terrible, wicked sinner. You should not shame yourself and think you are a bad person. You should not feel unworthy to serve God. You are not an adulterer. You probably did it for the same reason you occasionally (or even regularly) overeat: you are out of balance, and you need to take better care of yourself! Get yourself back in balance, and the desire to masturbate will be greatly diminished.

You SHOULD do everything you can to change your habits so that you have a more filling, productive live. Know that you are still a child of God with infinite worth. He loves you and accepts you. He is not condemning or shaming you for your masturbation. Get on with your life. Go take care of your body and do good things!

Finally, I would add that I DO believe that FANTASIES that almost always accompany masturbation are devastatingly destructive, inappropriate, and harmful. You are a child of God with God's power to create. Your mind is a powerful tool that creates your life. Your thoughts become things. What you think about, you eventually bring about. Therefore, fantasies should be avoided far more than masturbation, and if you cannot masturbate without fantasy, then that should be the greatest reason to avoid masturbation altogether. But there are other things that also lead to fantasy, which should also be avoided, including music, books, movies, and other media about sex. Anything that leads you to fantasize about things you don't actually want to happen will create dissonance and strong challenges in your life.

Still, although I believe that fantasy is destructive, no one needs to shame themselves for the fantasies they have had. We have all had inappropriate thoughts. We should learn to move on and channel our amazing minds in other directions. 100% free. You people know I'm a Tony Litster fan."
posted at 23:27:06 on August 20, 2014 by BeClean
"By the way...if it feels like my stance has changed from this post:

I don't feel I've changed very much. Back then, I think Mint was arguing that masturbation isn't wrong in the least. I think it is. I enumerated in that post the reasons I think it is wrong.

But I do NOT think it is wrong simply because some General Authority says it is wrong. That's called "Appeal to Authority," and it is a logical fallacy.

I've done a lot of thinking about this topic, as many of us have, and I refuse to simply say, "someone 34 years ago said it's wrong, they've never said it again, but that's enough for me."

I believe it's wrong for other reasons, listed in this post and in the post I've linked to.

AND, for the exact same reasons, I believe it is not as wrong as some people make it out to be.

Avoid it. It usually causes all kinds of problems. Why would you want to invite those problems?

But if you have done it, don't shame yourself. Move on!"
posted at 23:38:53 on August 20, 2014 by BeClean
Abstinence is not repentance    
"Abstinance is not repentance. Or perhaps better said, abstinence is not recovery. It's about a change of heart.

This point above is the #1 most important point made so far. Don't kid yourself.

I was "abstinent" for 4 months prior to my mission. I then masturbated the within the first couple weeks out. I should not have gone out. My heart was not changed."
posted at 00:07:45 on August 21, 2014 by Anonymous
Isn't it sad    
"We are supposed to uphold a standard, but the church is unclear. I guess you just trust that you have a Bish that is following the right spirit. Way to run god's one and only true church, huh?

Is it just me or does anyone else find it strange that there is no church material for youth or adults that even uses the word masturbation? Oh, but you must abstain from it? How do you abstain from something you are not taught is wrong. Silly.

There is no real standard for other things. Take the WOW. You could eat crap like a boss, drink energy drinks, and and still hold a recommend. But don't drink a cup of green tea. Oh wait, my Bishop is okay with that one, Is your's? My Bishop lives on Diet Coke, but he is worthy to go to the temple.

Don't worry about men think. Use your brain and ask yourself " is what I am doing good for me"?, "will this thing I am going to watch, eat, drink, or do be a good choice for my life and will it hurt those I love?" Ask those kind of questions rather than "will the Bishop be okay with this", or "what does the church say?" cuz that changes all of the time.

This church and it's men have way to much control over the lives of us members. Keep going to your meetings, get a sponsor(a sober one), and trust in your higher power. Holding on to men and their whims means a life of guilt and shame. What a shame!"
posted at 14:32:46 on August 21, 2014 by Anonymous
Over eating is wrong!    
"Over eating is wrong but it is not a sexual sin. Therefore although it is wrong, is it as bad as a sexual sin?

There are many scriptures that condemn masturbation and sexual sin. All you need to do is pray and search them out for yourself.

However I know that psychologist's / psychiatrist's and most of the world say that masturbating is a normal and natural event. They even go as far to say that those that say it is wrong are bad / evil themselves?

So when you tell people about Satan's influence in these matters they are so out raged and angry you sometimes just keep it to yourself and don't stand up for what is RIGHT to them."
posted at 22:58:54 on August 28, 2014 by Anonymous
"Dude! That was a fascinating post. So much to think about! I was going to say, "So much to digest" but then I thought that might be too puny! Get it? Ok, sorry.

Best part IMO? Shamelessness. Spot on. Bravo! Guilt and shame are different emotions. Feeling guilt for a wrong doing leads us to change our behavior. It is an ownership of our choices and admittance of sin. It is mature and honest. Shame....oh, man that leads us to hide and wallow. Shame is Satan's tool. Live a shameless life even though you'll sin!

Here is my .02 on masturbation....all sexual thoughts, actions and feelings are a divine gift given to us to bond us lovingly to another person who we have promised to love forever. Anything that pulls us away from that original purpose is bad for us and others. The end."
posted at 08:50:29 on August 29, 2014 by maddy
He restoreth my soul    
"I recommend that you read the book "He restoreth my soul." It talks a lot about how pornography and masturbation alter the way your brain functions and that both are truly addictions. Very interesting and helpful read."
posted at 07:41:52 on September 3, 2014 by Anonymous
Yay I'm remembered    
"Lol this subject is fun but cannot be won. I've realized that these type of posts are the tip of the giant iceberg that represents the lack of sex education LDS parents give their youth. If it is difficult to talk about where babies come from Heaven forbid parents will talk about their own children touching themselves! Instead they will rationalize that their kids are different and would never do that gross thing. And yet, here we are at a time when every teenager has access to pornography with the same device they read their scriptures on. If we here on this site want to make a difference in the lives of lds youth, I would encourage you parents to at least talk to your kids about not only sex education but masturbation. Tell them whatever you believe, but AT LEAST talk to them about it. I would guess a good percentage of you have, so now encourage your friends and family to do the same. Sex is real; masturbation is real; pornography is a real danger. With the amount of access we have through our phones and tablets, we the younger generation certainly know what they are. Don't ignore us.

That's all I have to say. Hello BeClean!! You're my favorite."
posted at 16:50:01 on September 16, 2014 by mint
but but    
"I thought I was your favorite"
posted at 19:47:10 on September 16, 2014 by they_speak
Oh They_Speak    
"I admire you of course. You're super smart and write what you think...literally. Which is always interesting.

BeClean I think considers what I have to say and seems to have seen value in it. I hope you're doing good Speak!"
posted at 02:23:49 on September 18, 2014 by mint
"Where the heck did you go, dude? I thought you were on a mission or something."
posted at 13:26:34 on September 18, 2014 by Anonymous
"This subject has been covered many times. In the current For the Strength of Youth it counsels us to do the following:

"Before marriage, do not participate in passionate kissing, lie on top of another person, or touch the private, sacred parts of another person’s body, with or without clothing. Do not do anything else that arouses sexual feelings. Do not do anything else that arouses sexual feelings. Do not arouse those emotions in your own body. Pay attention to the promptings of the Spirit so that you can be clean and virtuous."

See the following website:

Arousing sexual feelings in our bodies would include masturbation. It is very important we keep our thoughts virtuous as unchaste thoughts lead us into temptation. The LORD will help us learn how to control our minds and bodies as we submit to Him."
posted at 00:23:55 on September 22, 2014 by Anonymous
Appeal to Authority    
"Yes. All true. Avoid masturbation.

In the current For the Strength of Youth, it also counsels us thusly:

"To care for your body, eat nutritious food, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep."

I recommend we
* follow ALL of the counsel in the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet, including
* avoid masturbation
* avoid overeating (or eating unhealthy foods)
* exercise regularly
* get sufficient sleep
* stop getting upset at ourselves when we mess up with ANY of the above counsel
* stop shaming others who mess up with ANY of the above counsel
* stop thinking that "arousing sexual feelings in our own body" is somehow worse than any other way we poorly treat our body. Our body is sacred. None of these things serve us. Still, we are all human, and we must be kind to ourselves as we learn to control ALL of our desires, appetites, and passions and keep them within the bounds the Lord has set."
posted at 12:59:19 on September 23, 2014 by BeClean

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"In a decaying environment, the mind is the last redoubt of righteousness, and it must be preserved even amid bombardment by evil stimuli. Christ is competent to see us through, “for in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted” As promised, He will make either “a way to escape” or a way “to bear it”."

— Neal A. Maxwell

General Conference May 1987