When I was a child about 9 or 10, I briefly viewed pornography out of curiosity before I knew it was a sin. When I had learned it was a sin in sacrament meeting sometime after, I was overcome with guilt and shame, as well as a terrifying fear of not making it to the celestial kingdom.
As I grew older as a young man, ages 12-17, I was terrified of bishop interviews because I knew they would ask me if I had viewed pornography. I was always shaking during these interviews, and would lie to them every time they asked about me about viewing pornography because I was so afraid of the consequences. This would then cause more fear and guilt of not making it into the celestial kingdom, and detrimentally affected my teenage years with a sense of almost no self-worth. Instead, I had self-doubt, hatred, and loathing.
The time came to start preparing to go on a mission around age 18. I thought in terms of my salvation, this was now or never to me. I confessed to my stake president about viewing pornography, as well as masturbation, and being sexually involved with women my age. He berated me in his office, and told me how my future wife would “abhor me” for these things. I felt no love or understanding during this process. We set up a plan of repentance, and I publicly could not take the sacrament or go on my mission for a number of months (I can’t remember the full length of time. I think I blocked it out of my mind).
During this waiting period, I developed insomnia to to a mounting anxiety that was building all throughout my teen years. I did everything the stake president asked, including abstaining from sexual relations, pornography, or masturbation.
When the time came to go back to my bishop for a second round of worthiness interviews for my mission, I had a full on panic attack for the first time in my life. Because of this, I started seeing a psychiatrist who diagnosed me with depression, anxiety, insomnia, and adult A.D.D. that was previously untreated. I eventually could not serve a full-time mission due to these mental disorders. There is no doubt that the church’s chastity policies and these interviews were the biggest contributing factor to these mental disorders.
I still feel the shock waves of this now in my late 20’s. I’m still taking anti-anxiety medication and have had counselling. This negatively affected all relationships I’ve had with women, from my teens to now. The anxiety negatively affected my ability to work and get secondary education. Without question, I believe changing how the church’s policy on chastity is handled may have prevented my current situation and I would have become a much more well adjusted member of society.