At 7/8 years old I was introduced to the sexual side of myself. I won’t tell that story, but as a young child, I only knew that what I was experiencing felt good. I wanted to recreate that feeling, so I started masturbating.
I was taught in church, by leaders, that masturbating was a sin and I’d need to confess to my bishop in order to get Gods forgiveness and start the process of repentance. The process included stopping the “sin,” but I couldn’t seem to do that.
I dreaded these interviews! I went in with a men I hardly knew, heck, I didn’t know them at all and had to tell them that I masturbated. It was humiliating! I’d then go home feeling like I could change and no longer be a horrible sinner, just to repeat my “sin” and feel so ashamed! Why wasn’t I strong enough to stop? I remember writing in my journal and making tally marks of the number of days I went between my sin and each time it happened again, I was once again a failure, sinner and ashamed of myself. This, of course, turned into no self worth and a girl who hates herself.
The weight of this “shameful sin” followed me through my child and teen years. I had an “addiction” that no matter how hard I prayed or tried to stop, I failed. I was a failure.
In my young and teen years, I let boys and friends touch me because it felt good. That deepened my feelings of hate and worthlessness I had for myself. I was a sinner who didn’t deserve happiness because I couldn’t stop my sinning. So then came more interviews…confessions to men I didn’t know. Shame and guilt were the only emotions I came out of those interviews with. After so many years of leaving feeling hopeful for change, I would then leave feeling like a failure because I knew I’d mess up again.
I met my (now) husband at 17.5 years old and remember feeling so much shame and I knew I had to tell him about my addiction. This shame carried through into our (later) marriage and I was broken. I was now married to a boy I loved, but couldn’t stop this sin?! What was wrong with me?! I had been to bishops, repented, prayed, tried, cried, felt worthless and dirty for over 15 years!
Shortly into our marriage my husband opened up to me about his questioning of the LDS church from a young age and together we both left the church behind. The weight lifted, I was free!
Truth be told, to this day (I’m now 37 yrs old), I struggle in so many aspects of life because I have the belief that I can’t follow though on anything…work, kids, being a good wife, Happiness, friendship…
Years of “failure” to stop my addiction, my sin, have programmed my mind believe I’m not good enough. And while I no longer feel shame and guilt when I do something so natural to my OWN body, masturbate, years and years of those shameful and worthless feelings play a huge role in who I am today.
With all that said, I want to send a virtual hug to anyone who has shared the same shame, self hate and pain that many of us did and still do! You are not alone and you (and me) get to take our power back and be amazing in this lifetime!! Time to take our self worth back! Time to know we are good people who where told lies! Time to speak up and get help for these young kids who are still trapped in this religion and let them know they are not alone!