When I turned 12 I had my first interview with the bishop so I could become a deacon. He asked if I masturbated. I had never heard that word spoken before, certainly not in a question directed to me. I must have looked puzzled because he then asked if I knew what that was. I didn’t. He quickly moved on with great tact. I as got older, the question was asked to me again, “do you masturbate?”. Naturally I felt it was a bad thing. Yet as I grew, my hormones did what hormones do. I felt guilty. I felt unworthy. I felt like I was a liar. A sinner who’d be damned to hell. There was a brief period where I felt like I might be better off just physically cutting it off. Finally I confessed. The bishop did not ask any probing details, just how long ago it was since the last act. It was a while ago, so he simply told me my sins were forgiven, and that was that. In later years I’d feel guilty for having wet dreams. Luckily I was able to rationalize those and move on, yet twangs of guilt haunted me despite my efforts to ignore them.
The bishop when I was a young teenager was a good man. In fact I can’t think of anything bad to say of any of the ward leadership growing up. They were all good examples, people trying live a Christ-like life. I feel it important to mention that because they are victims of the bureaucracy as well. They are pressured, more or less, by the authoritarian structure of the church to ask those questions.
Chastity questions leave both parties undignified and feeling awkward. End it now. At least my son will not have to endure such needless strife.