There’s nothing quite like trying to be the best child of God you can be – praying fervently, loving scripture study, always lending a hand to fellow brothers and sisters in need – and being told behind a closed door with your bishop that masturbation will damn you and keep you separated from God.
Nothing but shame, self-doubt, self-loathing, and lack of confidence has ever come from my interviews with Bishops as a young man in the church. Friends committed suicide, others were ostracized from their families because of harmful policies of worthiness in the church.
I was told that I would be unable to have children, to win the love of a daughter of God, that I would be barred from the blessings of salvation if I didn’t stop masturbating. And so I did, with times of success and multiple failures. All this did was reinforce how fallen I truly was and that I was undeserving of God’s love. The Atonement meant nothing because even though I knew what I was doing was wrong, I continued to make Jesus suffer for it.