My son went in for his interview with the bishop in order to obtain the office of a teacher. He was asked if he kept the law of chastiy, he answered yes. The bishop then looked at him and said “This means masturbation too.” My son said without shame, “ Oh, I’ve done that. I didn’t know it was bad.” The bishop corrected him saying it was evil and told him to skip the sacrament, because he wasn’t worthy.
This was the beginning of my son’s down ward spiral into self loathing. Nothing like public shaming to do the trick. This son is a straight A student with many talents, seeks perfection regularly, pushes himself to exhaustion. He watched a music video online of a girl In a bikini dancing in the surf and had so much guilt that he went to the bishop and confessed to watching porn. I later had to explain to both the bishop and him that that wasn’t porn. The bishop told him to stop thinking about females, to stop viewing them as sexual beings. Bishop informed our son that he was “playing with fire.”
My son was taught by us to respect females, but that it was okay to see them as beautiful and even “sexy”. We never taught masturbation was “evil” or “self harm”. Our son couldn’t stop thinking about how pretty girls were or what it might be like to be in a relationship with one someday. Due to his inability to forget about girls and his penis he hated himself to the point of hurting himself: Burning his hands with very hot water, stabbing his hands with pencils, wearing tight bands on his arms, trying to hang himself, writing a suicide note planing to slit his wrists.
One night our small dog saved him, this was the night it all came to a head. We started getting help immediately. I sat in doctor offices explaining to them that we were LDS and what had happened. The medical professionals kept informing us that masturbation was healthy and normal. Luckily we moved away from that bishop. I wish I could say this was that mans only hurtful act against our family but it was not. Our son would quote prophets damning himself with their words and the words of his bishop. We were unaware of some of his bishop meetings, no one asked our permission. Our son suffered in silence for years. The bishop never touched our son but with his prying explicit questions drove our son to attempted suicide. For four years, he believed he wasn’t good enough for the baby Jesus or for the risen Lord thus ruining holidays. I wish I could turn back time and protect my child.