Bishop’s interviews are so damaging to young people. And adults. The damage I suffered because of these interviews and the teaching that masturbation is a sin, has been severe and has carried into my adult life and into my marriage. I’ve been married for 8 years and because of the church’s teachings and bishops interviews I had major shame associated with any normal sexual feelings even after marriage. I believed my sexuality was evil, even though I consciously knew it wasn’t, and I had built up shame that was so strong that I felt compelled to visit the temple to feel better a lot of times. We are taught that the temple is a place to feel peace and find healing, and that’s what it did for me. I would often go multiple times a week in order to validate my worthiness. My wife and I had a normal and healthy intimate relationship and I had shame that I didn’t know how to deal with, that wasn’t even valid, because of the church and these interviews. We are free from this abusive cycle now that we realize where the negative feelings came from. Equating worthiness with a young man’s sexuality (masturbation) is wrong and abusive. Young men can figure out themselves what is right and wrong regarding masturbation. They don’t need grilling and shaming from a controlling church who claims to know what’s right when they are hiding the truth about Joseph Smith and his sexuality, and hiding the history of the church from its members. This is hypocrisy at it’s highest point.
Our Heavenly Parents created this world, and gave each person enough light of Christ to figure this out on their own, and discussing deeply personal matters with bishops is sexually assaulting.
A big thank you to LDS sex therapist Jennifer Finlayson Fife for helping us undo the damage the church caused. She has helped us very much.
I have determined that masturbation is not for me now that I’m married, but I don’t judge others that do it, especially unmarried people, and I don’t think God does either. If God doesn’t judge, Bishops and the LDS church definitely don’t have room to judge, let alone ask members about it. Nowhere in the scriptures does it say masturbation is a sin. The way these worthiness interviews are conducted currently is abusive, damaging, and it needs to stop. We are going to let our children decide for themselves (the same way our Heavenly Parents are allowing all of us the same), and educate them properly, following a lot of Jennifer Finlayson Fife’s advice. Because we know they are inherently good, and we will not allow a church to instill shame in them or teach them that they are bad.