rotten > Library > Sex > Masturbation > Mormons and Masturbation

A friend a mine who had been a Mormon missionary came across this
"guide," circa 1970, on tattered photocopy.  In fact, the pages
were stuck together.

Anyway, we were so amused by it (esp. "Suggestion 19"), I thought
it deserved a wider audience.

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                   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 you.

        After you have made this decision, then observe the following specific
guidelines:



                       A Guide to Self-Control:

    1.  Never touch the intimate parts of your body except during
        normal toilet processes.

    2.  Avoid being alone as much as possible.  Find good company
        and stay in this good company.

    3.  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.

    4.  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.

    5.  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.

    6.  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 speak.

    7.  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 mid.  When you
        accomplish that, you soon will be free of the act.

    8.  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 qualities.

    9.  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, offerins.

        To help in planning an effective program to overcome the problem a
brieation is given of how the reproductive organs in a young man function.

        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
thingsexercise, state of health, etc. everal times a week, for others
        It is normal for the vesicles to be emptied occasionally at night
durise the emptying come from the cetral nervous system. Often an erotic dream
is experienced at the same time, and is a part of this normal process. nstead
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 ahis increased rate, for an indefese are not harmful and
are to be endured until the normal central nervous system pathway of rel
        During this period of control several things can be done to make the pr
       As one meets with his Priesthood Leader, a program for overcoming
masturbation can be implemented using some of t Remember it is essential that a
regur report program be agreed on, so progress can be recognized and failures
understood and eliminated.


                             Suggestions:

    1.  Pray daily, ask for the gifts of the Spirit, that which will
        strengthen you against temptation.  Pray fervently and out
        lout when the temptations are the strongest.

    2.  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 stress increasing.

    3.  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.

    4.  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.

    5.  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.

    6.  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.

    7.  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.

    8.  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.

    9.  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.

   10.  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.

   11.  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.

   12.  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.

   13.  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.

   14.  Keep your bladder empty.  Refrain from drinking large
        amounts of fluids before retiring.

   15.  Reduce the amount of spices and condiments in your food.
        Eat as lightly as possible at night.

   16.  Wear pajamas that are difficult to open, yet loose and
        not binding.

   17.  Avoid people, situations, pictures or reading materials that
        might create sexual excitement.

   18.  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.

   19.  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.

   20.  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.

   21.  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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