Thursday, July 29, 2004



Mark E. Petersen
Council of the 12 Apostles

Be assured that you can be cured of your difficulty. Many have been, both
male and female, and you can be also if you determine that it must be so.

This determination is the first step. That is where we begin. You must
decide that you will end this practice, and when you make that decision, the
problem will be greatly reduced at once.

But it must be more than a hope or a whish, more than knowing that it is
good for you. It must be actually a DECISION. If you truly make up your mind
that you will be cured, then you will have the strength to resist any
tendencies which you may have and any temptations which may come to you.

After you have made this decision, then observe the following specific

A Guide to Self-Control:

1. Never touch the intimate parts of your body except during normal toilet

2. Avoid being alone as much as possible. Find good company and stay in this
good company.

3. If you are associated with other persons having this same problem, YOU
MUST BREAK OFF THEIR FRIENDSHIP. Never associate with other people 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 and 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 BED
middle of the night, and 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 are 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." The thought pattern
must be changed. You must not allow this problem to remain in your mid. When
you accomplish that, you soon will be free of the act.

8. Put wholesome thoughts into your mind at all times. Read good books --
Church books -- Scriptures -- Sermons of the Brethren [sic, Cistern too?].
Make a daily habit of reading at least one chapter of Scripture, preferably
from one of the four Gospels in the New Testament, or the Book of Mormon.
The four Gospels -- Matthew, Mark, Luke and John - above anything else in
the Bible can be helpful because of their uplifting qualities.

9. Pray. But when you pray, don't pray about this problem, for that will
tend to keep [it] in your mind more than ever. Pray for faith, pray for
understanding of the Scriptures, pray for the Missionaries, the General
Authorities, your friends, your families, BUT KEEP THE PROBLEM OUT OF YOUR
YOUR PRAYERS. KEEP IT "OUT" of your mind!

The attitude of a person toward his problem has an affect [sic] on how easy
it is to overcome. It is essential that a firm commitment be made to control
the habit. As a person understands his reasons for the behavior, and is
sensitive to the conditions or situations that may trigger a desire for the
act, he develops the power to control it.

We are taught that our bodies are temples of God, and are to be clean so
that the Holy Ghost may dwell within us. Masturbation is a sinful habit that
robs one of the spirit and creates guilt and emotional stress. It is not
physically harmful unless practiced in the extreme. It is a habit that is
totally self-centered, and secretive, and in no way expresses the proper use
of the procreative power given to man to fulfil eternal purposes. It
therefore separates a person from God and defeats the gospel plan.

This self-gratifying activity will cause one to lose his self-respect
testimony becomes weak, and missionary work and other Church callings become
burdensome, offerings.

To help in planning an effective program to overcome the problem a brieation
is given of how the reproductive organs in a young man function.

The testes in your body are continually producing hundreds of millions of
reproductive cells call "spermatozoa". These are moved up a tube called the
"vas deferens" to a place called the "ampulla" where they are mixed with
fluids from two membranous pouches called "seminal vesicles" and the
"prostate gland". The resultant fluid is calleeminal vesicles are full a
signa to the "central nervous system" indicating they are ready to benother,
depending on such things exercise, state of health, etc. several times a
week, for others It is normal for the vesicles to be emptied occasionally at
night durise the emptying come from the central nervous system. Often an
erotic dream is experienced at the same time, and is a part of this normal
process. Instead of course, the reproductive system is operating at a more
rapid pace, trying to keep up with the loss of semen. When he stops the
habit, the body will continue to produce at this increased rate, for an
indefese are not harmful and are to be endured until the normal central
nervous system pathway of release.

During this period of control several things can be done to make the pr as
one meets with his Priesthood Leader, a program for overcoming masturbation
can be implemented using some of t Remember it is essential that a regur
report program be agreed on, so progress can be recognized and failures
understood and eliminated.


1. Pray daily, ask for the gifts of the Spirit, that which will strengthen
you against temptation. Pray fervently and out lout when the temptations are
the strongest.

2. Follow a program of vigorous daily exercise. The exercises reduce
emotional tension and depression and are absolutely basic to the solution of
this problem. Double your physical activity when you feel stress increasing.

3. When the temptation to masturbate is strong, yell "STOP" to those
thoughts as loudly as you can in your mind and then recite a prechosen
Scripture or sing an inspirational hymn. It is important to turn your
thoughts away from the selfish need to indulge.

4. Set goals of abstinence, begin with a day, then a week, month, year and
finally commit to never doing it again. Until you commit yourself to "never
again" you will always be open to temptation.

5. Change in behavior and attitude is most easily achieved through a changed
self-image. Spend time every day imagining yourself strong and in control,
easily overcoming tempting situations.

6. Begin to work daily on a self-improvement program. Relate this plan to
improving your Church service, to improving your relationships with your
family, God and others. Strive to enhance your strengths and talents.

7. Be outgoing and friendly. Force yourself to be with others and learn to
enjoy working and talking to them. Use principles of developing friendships
found in books such as "How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale

8. Be aware of situations that depress you or that cause you to feel lonely,
bored, frustrated or discouraged. These emotional states can trigger the
desire to masturbate as a way of escape. Plan in advance to counter these
low periods through various activities, such as reading a book, visiting a
friend, doing something athletic, etc.

9. Make a pocket calendar for a month on a small card. Carry it with you,
but show it to no one. If you have a lapse of self control, color the day
black. Your goal will be to have "no black days". The calendar becomes a
strong visual reminder of self control and should be looked at when you
are tempted to add another black day. Keep your calendar up until you have
at least three clear months.

10. A careful study will indicate you have had the problem at certain times
and under certain conditions. Try and recall, in detail, what your
particular times and conditions were. Now that you understand how it
happens, plan to break the pattern through counter activities.

11. In the field of psychotherapy there is a very effective technique called
"aversion therapy". When we associate or think of something very distasteful
with something which has been pleasurable, but undesirable, the distasteful
thought and feeling will begin to can cel out that which was pleasurable. If
you associate something very distasteful with your loss of self-control it
will help you to stop the act. For example, if you are tempted to
masturbate, think of having to bathe in a tub of worms, and eat several of
them as you do the act.

12. During your toileting and shower activities leave the bathroom door or
shower curtain partly open, to discourage being alone in total privacy. Take
cool brief showers.

13. Arise immediately in the mornings. Do not lie in bed awake, no matter
what time of day it is. Get up and do something. Start each day with an
enthusiastic activity.

14. Keep your bladder empty. Refrain from drinking large amounts of fluids
before retiring.

15. Reduce the amount of spices and condiments in your food. Eat as lightly
as possible at night.

16. Wear pajamas that are difficult to open, yet loose and not binding.

17. Avoid people, situations, pictures or reading materials that might
create sexual excitement.

18. It is sometimes helpful to have a physical object to use in overcoming
this problem. A Book of Mormon, firmly held in hand, even in bed at night
has proven helpful in extreme cases.

19. In very severe cases it may be necessary to tie a hand to the bed frame
with a tie in order that the habit of masturbating in a semi-sleep condition
can be broken. This can also be accomplished by wearing several layers of
clothing which would be difficult to remove while half asleep.

20. Set up a reward system for your successes. It does not have to be a big
reward. A quarter in a receptacle each time you overcome or reach a goal.
Spend it on something which delights you and will be a continuing reminder
of your progress.

21. Do not let yourself return to any past habit or attitude patterns which
were part of your problem. "Satan Never Gives Up". Be calmly and confidently
on guard. Keep a positive mental attitude. You can win this fight! The joy
and strength you will feel when you do will give your whole life a radiant
and spiritual glow of satisfaction and fulfilment.


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