When I was around 12 years old I was introduced to masturbation by a friend. At first I didn’t know it was wrong in the church’s eyes and continued to do it. After I read online the church’s stance on masturbation, I felt horrible. What I did was “second to murder”! I felt so much shame that I couldn’t tell anyone. I repented so much in my personal prayers begging that my prayers would be enough for me to be forgiven. I knew sexual sins were very serious to the church and I wished I had never been born.
For four years I struggled with self hatred and paralyzing guilt and shame. I went to EFY and while everyone was having a spiritual experience, I just felt like I was going to Hell. I felt like I couldn’t be forgiven unless I confessed and I dreaded it. I felt so sick to my stomach. Finally, at 16 I talked to my bishop about it. He didn’t dig into the subject which I was grateful for, but I feel like the amount of shame the church puts on natural things like masturbation needs to change. I felt like I was less than a person because of something that many other kids my age were probably experimenting with as well. At 22, I’m still struggling to overcome the feelings of worthlessness that I acquired through this experience.