Things to know

Regularly read by 50,000+ readers in over 140 countries around the world, "Dear Bro Jo" is published several times a month.

This is column is just one guy's opinion, and while he does his best to keep what he thinks, says and writes in-line with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, "Dear Bro Jo" is not an LDS Church website. (And Sister Jo thinks you should know that he's sometimes wrong, and often way too opinionated for his own good.)

Nothing here is meant to take the place of talking with parents, leaders, or Church authorities. Please, if you need serious help, talk to a trusted adult, leader, and / or professional counselor.

Please like our Facebook page, and check it often for Discussions, Notes, Events and just General Good Stuff!

Everything here is copyrighted. If you're going to quote any part of anything here, please get Bro Jo's written permission. You can reach him at

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Overcoming the Spiritual Void Left By Pornography and Mastubation

Dear Bro Jo,

I have done something wrong.

Starting when I was young (around 5 years old is the 1st time I remember) I . . . did things with myself.

Things that I am not proud of now at all.... I would masturbate.

This activity, along with looking at pornography started when I was so young I couldn't understand it was wrong and progressed until I knew better and couldn't stop.

My sin it felt like was always in the way of my relationship with God.

I could be doing my best at reading my scriptures and praying, but this thing along with other sins just felt like I was doing everything in vain and I would always fall back into my old ways.

Fortunately since that time in my life I have progressed.

Over the summer I had some good spiritual experiences and I made some major changes in my life.

I am now 16 and it has been since around my birthday in last year that I have done anything close to immoral with myself.

I honestly feel that I won't do it again :).

However, in some ways I still feel trapped. I am soooo ashamed at what I have done. If anyone found out about this evil thing I did I would be sooooo upset I can't even imagine!

For me being a girl it makes it worse.

I feel so alone.

This sin is usually found in guys who can't control themselves and that makes me feel weak and disgusting . . .

This is where I have become very indecisive.

How could I ever tell my sweet Bishop of this sin I committed for so long?

Do I even need to because I know I've stopped and it started before I was 8?

Also is this something I need to let people know? People I date?

Am I not worthy to enter the temple?

Finally, could I be excommunicated for something like this?

I'm sorry if I’m piling this on you and maybe this is not the usual question, but I really need some perspective.

Thank you so much,

- Ashamed

Dear Little Sister,

You need not be "Ashamed"; even though we make mistakes, through the Atonement of Christ we can become clean again.

And you're not alone.

Yours is not the only email on this topic I've ever received, from guys . . . or girls. It's natural to be curious about one's body, particularly when we're very young.  But, as you've discovered, masturbation and pornography become addictions that taint our view of sex, and mess with our hearts, minds and spirits.

Loneliness is one of Satan's most powerful weapons against us, but we're never alone. The Savior knows anything and everything we may ever have to endure.  He is the friend that never leaves us.

Any behavior that keeps us from feeling the Spirit is behavior that we need to cleanse from our lives.  It's wonderful that you've stopped, so now you need to do what you need to do to feel whole; so that you feel free instead of trapped.

Your Bishop cares about you, and will want to help you feel the love of the Savior. He's the one who can answer questions about your worthiness and will be able to help you feel like you can go to the Temple.

You certainly don't need to tell people you date (and shouldn't) about your transgression.

If there's nothing more to your story than what you've told me, then I highly doubt you'll be excommunicated. But that's between you, your Bishop, and the Lord.

Trust me: your Bishop has heard much worse.

Talk to him.

I promise you'll feel tons better.

Call your Bishop now and see him as soon as you can.

- Bro Jo


Christine said...

Masturbation and pornography viewing for girls is much, much more common than those in the church seem to realize. I myself am dealing with the same thing. Shame does terrible things to you. You may be angry if someone found out, but it in no way is part of who you are. It was a mistake, a sin, and it's in the past. You have no need to be ashamed of it once things are dealt with properly, shame devils can use it against you if you let it bring you down too much. Be careful who you share it with, but don't break down when someone you didn't want to know about it finds out. Stay on your guard, addictions are a life battle. Even after you overcome them.

Shirley said...

I agree with Christine. I also have dealt with this and still have troubles to this day felling as though I can move on from it, but I can tell you this your Bishop will be the most wonderful loving person. And he will want to help you. My Bishop helped me and I would never have gotten to where I am today without him. He is someone I would trust with my life. Bishops have such amazing Priesthood power with them and they know how to help you! He can help you feel whole again!

Anonymous said...

I want to add my witness. I served a mission and was the cleanest I had ever been in my life . But came home and meddled with things again. Im fast learning like christine said- this is a lifelong battle and the atonement is the only thing that can bring us consolation. The power of the priesthood is amazing :) .never give up.