Mine is not a horrible story with graphic details. It is simply a story of what these questions do to a very normal young man. From the age of 12, my bishops asked me about masturbation. My bishops told me how I should fight Satan when confronted with the urge of self gratification. Each bishop from 12 until my bishop at BYU and in the MTC asked these questions.
But I was a normal boy. I wasn’t looking at porn with any frequency, which is to say, only on the very rare occasion someone found a Playboy somewhere. But I did what the overwhelming majority of most young boys do. I thought about girls and I beat off. I’m not sure when I started but it was probably in the 7th grade right at about the 12 year old mark. But I was overwhelmed at church with the grievous sin I was committing. Bishops and Young Men leaders went on and on about this despicable sin.
So does that cause damage? YES! And here’s how. As I said, I was a boy, therefore I beat off. But after I was done, I would cry myself to sleep. My grandfather died and I would beg for his forgiveness in case he saw me doing that. I would cry repentance, pleading with God that I’d never do it again. I would pray with tears streaming down my face. I felt so bad about myself. I called myself weak and hid that I was a very bad person from everyone. What a hypocrite I was, I told myself. It weakened me. It beat me down. But it also made me feel ashamed.
So…when I had a girlfriend and did things with her, I would likewise beg for forgiveness and fear the wrath of some 40-50 something man who interviewed me. I felt an overwhelming sense of shame and embarrassment, even more so than with masturbation. I was ruining these girls for all eternity. Then, when I met the woman who was to be my wife, and she was more sexually advanced than me, we did things that I never thought I could do with another LDS girl. But we did. I felt the worse shame I had ever felt in my life. I made her an evil sinner and I was worse because I had the priesthood. I felt that I must do something to make it all right. I could not just have sex with that girl and leave. So my guilt and shame convinced me that the only way to make it right was to marry her. It didn’t matter that we barely knew each other, I had to make it right. I couldn’t do this to that girl and just send her down the road to be used by someone else. I was too ashamed to tell anyone about it. If they made me feel that bad for masturbating, imagine what they’d do to me for this. We were married in the temple and life has been sad for me since then. All because I felt so evil, and so bad that to do something like this my only solution was to make it right by marriage. That’s on me. That is due to my lack of strength. But to feel like you are an evil sinner for masturbating gave me my benchmark for how these bishop interviews would go. It carries with me to this day.
But the lesson I have learned about these interviews is this: I stopped telling my bishop. So I still got to do all the things that these interviews are designed to protect against. I still went on my mission, I still got married in the temple. I just got to the point where I was too ashamed and didn’t confess. I felt bad enough already, why let this other guy know. So why ask these questions at all? Those of us who did those things still went to the temple and served missions. I was still an effective missionary. So what is there to gain by telling some man who you barely know about very intimate moments? None. End them now!