Vital Parts


Excerpt from the 1973 Homosexuality: Welfare Services Packet 1, published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (Quote is attributed to Apostle Mark E. Petersen): 1

“Masturbation is a sin because it is basically an act of self-debasement and abuse, but it is not homosexuality when practiced alone. When a person masturbates another, it is a homosexual act. While self-masturbation is not in the category of homosexuality, it should be dealt with kindly but firmly so the person can put it behind him or her and build a clean, self-controlled life. There are specific steps that the person himself can take. The first, of course, is fasting and prayer to enlist the support of the Lord to put oneself in a teachable position. Elder Mark E. Petersen has listed some steps in private correspondence after many years of experience in helping those with this problem. While these are focused on the adolescent, they can also apply to adults.

1. Never touch the intimate parts of your body except during normal toilet processes.
2. Avoid being alone as much as possible. Find good company and stay in this good company.
3. If you are associated with other boys (or girls) having this same problem, you must break off their friendship. Never associate with other persons having the same weakness. Don’t suppose that two of you will quit together. You never will. You must get away from people of that kind. Just to be in their presence will keep your problem foremost in your mind. The problem must be taken out of your mind, for that is where it really exists. Your mind must be on other more wholesome things.
4. When you bathe, do not admire yourself in a mirror. Never stay in the bath more than five or six minutes — just long enough to bathe and dry and dress and then get out of the bathroom into a room where you will have some member of your family present.
5. When in bed, if that is where you have your problem for the most part, dress yourself for the night so securely that you cannot easily touch your vital parts, and so that it would be difficult and time consuming for you to remove those clothes. By the time you started to remove protective clothing you would have sufficiently controlled your thinking that the temptation would leave you.
6. If the temptation seems overpowering while you are in bed, get out of the bed and go into the kitchen and fix yourself a snack, even if it is in the middle of the night, even if you are not hungry, and despite your fears of gaining weight. The purpose behind this suggestion is that you get your mind on something else. You must change the subject of your thoughts, so to speak.
7. Never read pornographic material. Never read about your problem. Keep it out of mind. Remember — “First a thought, then an act.” “



1 Homosexuality: Welfare Services Packet 1 (pg. 16), 1973 –