I hesitate to relate this history, to talk explicitly about matters of a sexual nature, but am compelled to do so because church leaders did not hesitate to invade my young life with explicit words and judgments!
My story; Deacon, teacher, priest, elder, mission, 2 temple marriages that ended in divorce, single, approaching retirement..
First invasive interview at age 14, as an innocent juvenile who knew nothing about sex. Bishop listed all the slang words for masturbation, defined it, then told me sexual transgression was akin to murder in gravity. I didn’t know what he was talking about or why he was telling me this stuff..
With my first masturbation experience at age 16 (was a late bloomer!), I remembered in horror what he said and my young life changed at that point. I dreaded the subsequent and ongoing interviews with the “are you morally clean?”, or “do you live the law of chastity?” questions (code for masturbation), reinforced by church lessons, lectures by Mark E Peterson, and an absurd pamphlet “For Young men only”, by Boyd K. I believed everything I was taught, including self revulsion as I struggled to bury sexual feelings that had no legitimate outlet.
Indeed, in spite of what I now know, my life as young man (and as an adult) was affected by shame, guilt, and fear. I managed to fulfill a mission and church assignments in spite of feeling worthless, hopeful that my service would make up for my “immorality”. I never felt that Jesus accepted me, church was a place of great discomfort..
I think my poor level of self worth affected my choice of mates, and I spent considerable time single. I was in several bishoprics (ward clerk, singles ward), and remember struggling with being sexually pure, compelled to confess the sin of “self abuse” frequently. In each and every case the advice given was terrible, In every case I had to provide fair amount of detail, asked how many times, could I stop. The aha moment came when in my 40’s I got a call from my bishop, inquiring “how I was doing”.. It just hit me how absurd it was for 2 grown men to have this conversation!! I was never guilty of fornication or adultery, yet the dogma of “sin akin to murder” persists to this day!!
At age 62, I am still dealing with repercussions of these experiences. Over a long painful process, I have left the church. I have come to realize I was pretty normal, and a huge weight taken off. I’m not sure how to asses the injury I am surprised by the number of Mormon friends who have had similar experiences in their youth.
I am incredulous that these private interviews continue, uncontested, to this day. I am astounded that no legal action has occurred to stop this practice. I support your movement and glad to help or contribute..