When I was about 15 years old, the Bishop of my Ward questioned me about generic immoral activity. When I said “no” to being engaged in such activity, he paused and asked, “Are you sure?” He said, “Let me be more specific, “Do you masturbate?” The question caught me off guard, so I lied. I said no. He turned in his chair, leaned back, and re-positioned in his chair. He said, “Are you sure? Lots of young men in the ward do.”
He then went through a list of about 4 or 5 of my male friends my same age and recounted what they confessed to him about masturbation. One-by-one. As a closeted gay teenager, this was horribly titillating and uncomfortable. I was scared to hear about the sexual activities of my friends, some of whom I had had crushes on. As he sat in his chair, he continually squirmed, and touched himself. I couldn’t see his crotch from where I was sitting, but I do believe, now, looking back, that he was touching himself as he recounted these stories.
I continued to deny ever engaging in masturbation, but I imagine the shock, discomfort and unease on my face let him know there was a secret I wasn’t sharing (being gay, that I masturbated, that I had crushes on the guys he described). He literally told me about the masturbation activities of four or five other teenage boys between ages 14-16. A few weeks later, in the church after our young mens’ group had finished playing basketball, the Bishop patted me on the rear end. It was deliberate, it was direct, and it was intentional, and I knew it. So, I reported this in a meeting with the Stake President. He laughed at me and said I was making a big deal out of nothing. So, when Elder Jeffrey R. Holland spoke at a Morningside devotional for our seminary, he said that we should know we could reach out to our leaders whenever we needed.
That night after school, I took him up on his invitation and called his office. He called me back and I told him what was going on and that I felt the Stake President had laughed it off. He was kind, but asked that I speak with Elder Richard B. Wirthlin instead. Elder Wirthlin called, I told him the story, and he summoned me to a meeting with the Stake President, the Bishop and my parents, where I was accused of being, “on the brink of apostasy,” and told that if I refused to recant my story and accept the Bishop’s apology, that they would have to convene a disciplinary council. The Bishop used his position and interviews to engage in perverted activities, and I was told by a member of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles to be quiet about it or face consequences. The only solution offered to me is that one of the Bishop’s counselors would be present in all future meetings with me and that Bishop. That was the extent of the resolution. The Bishop remained as Bishop for a few more years.