When I was a member of the church at 12 years old, I was accused of masturbation by my parents and the bishop. I was only a deacon and had no idea what masturbation was at the time. I protested and insisted I was not guilty…but I was forced to undergo church discipline at only 12 years old. My priesthood privileges were taken from me. I could not hold any callings in my young men’s group and I could not take or pass the sacrament and I didn’t know why. I was shamed and embarrassed by those who watched me closely and whispered behind my Back.
I felt helpless, and alone. This punishment lasted for months before I was once again able to be included as a normal 12 year old boy in my young men’s group. Since then as a grown man who has left the church , I have reflected on what I went through. The church brought me loneliness , shame and pain. I am now a gay man and who has not been active for quite some time. I have been shunned by many members of the church I grew up with. But since then I have found love and new friends that love me for WHO I am TODAY.