Selected Teachings on
Masturbation

The First Presidency (Thomas S. Monson, Henry B. Eyring, Dieter F. Uchtdorf)

Never do anything that could lead to sexual transgression. Treat others with respect, not as objects used to satisfy lustful and selfish desires. Before marriage, do not participate in passionate kissing, lie on top of another person, or touch the private, sacred parts of another person’s body, with or without clothing. Do not do anything else that arouses sexual feelings. Do not arouse those emotions in your own body. Pay attention to the promptings of the Spirit so that you can be clean and virtuous. (For the Strength of Youth (2011), p.36)

Spencer W. Kimball (President)

Masturbation, a rather common indiscretion, is not approved of the Lord nor of his church, regardless of what may have been said by others whose "norms" are lower. Latter-day Saints are urged to avoid this practice. Anyone fettered by this weakness should abandon the habit before he goes on a mission or receives the holy priesthood or goes in the temple for his blessings.

Thus prophets anciently and today condemn masturbation. It induces feelings of guilt and shame. It is detrimental to spirituality. It indicates slavery to the flesh, not that mastery of it and the growth toward godhood which is the object of our mortal life....    

While we should not regard this weakness as the heinous sin which some other sexual practices are, it is of itself bad enough to require sincere repentance. (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.282)


Prophets anciently and today condemn masturbation. It induces feelings of guilt and shame. It is detrimental to spirituality. It indicates slavery to the flesh, not that mastery of it and the growth toward godhood which is the object of our mortal life.... No young man should be called on a mission who is not free from this practice. (The Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 77)

Boyd K. Packer (Quorum of the Twelve)

Touch not the functions and powers of life within your body, and do not tamper with or explore these powers with any living soul. To seek some satisfaction by yourself is but to experience guilt, morbidity, and degradation. This exploration was never meant to be. I know there are those who say that things like this are to be excused. Some even say they are necessary. This is a lie. Such indulgence is neither necessary nor desirable. (Eternal Love, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1973)


There is ... something you should not do. Sometimes a young man does not understand. Perhaps he is encouraged by unwise or unworthy companions to tamper with [his reproductive] factory. He might fondle himself and open that release valve. This you shouldn't do, for if you do that, the little factory will speed up. You will then be tempted again and again to release it. You can quickly be subjected to a habit, one that is not worthy, one that will leave you feeling depressed and feeling guilty. Resist that temptation. Do not be guilty of tampering or playing with this sacred power of creation. Keep it in reserve for the time when it can be righteously employed.

One of you, perhaps, has not fully understood until now. Perhaps your father did not talk to you. You may already have been guilty of tampering with these powers. You may even have developed a habit. What do you do then?

First, I want you to know this. If you are struggling with this temptation and perhaps you have not quite been able to resist, the Lord still loves you. It is not anything so wicked nor is it a transgression so great that the Lord would reject you because of it, but it can quickly lead to that kind of transgression. It is not pleasing to the Lord, nor is it pleasing to you. It does not make you feel worthy or clean.

There are ways to conquer such a habit. First of all, you must leave that factory alone long enough for it to slow down. Resisting is not easy. It will take weeks, even months. But you can get the little factory slowed back to where it should be.

I have other suggestions. The power to prevent such habits or to break them rests in your mind, not in your body. Don't let that physical part of you take charge. Stay in control. Condition your body to do the will of your mind. To do this you must keep your mind on worthy thoughts. Divert your thoughts from things that lead you into mischief. Vigorous physical exercise helps young men in many ways. You are most vulnerable when you are idle or when you are discouraged. This is the time to be on guard....

Resist those temptations. Do not tamper with your body. If you have already, cease to do it—now. Put it away and overcome it. The signal of worthy manhood is self-control.

This power is ordained for the begetting of life and as a binding tie in the marriage covenant. It is not to be misused. It is not to be use prematurely. It is to be known between husband and wife and in no other way. If you misuse it, you will be sorry. ("To Young Men Only," General Conference Priesthood Session, October 2, 1976)

A Parent’s Guide

The sin of masturbation occurs when a person stimulates his or her own sex organs for the purpose of sexual arousal. It is a perversion of the body's passions. When we pervert these passions and intentionally use them for selfish, immoral purposes, we become carnal. Masturbation is not physically necessary. (A Parent's Guide [Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1985], p. 37)

C.S. Lewis (Christian Scholar)

For me the real evil of masturbation would be that it takes an appetite which, in lawful use, leads the individual out of himself to complete (and correct) his own personality in that of another (and finally in children and even grandchildren) and turns it back: sends the man back into the prison of himself, there to keep a harem of imaginary brides. And this harem, once admitted, works against his ever getting out and really uniting with a real woman. For the harem is always accessible, always subservient, calls for no sacrifices or adjustments, and can be endowed with erotic and psychological attractions which no real woman can rival. Among those shadowy brides he is always adored, always the perfect love: no demand is made on his unselfishness, no mortification ever imposed on his vanity. In the end, they become merely the medium through which he increasingly adores himself….

Masturbation involves this abuse of imagination in erotic matters (which I think bad in itself) and thereby encourages a similar abuse of it in all spheres. After all, almost the main work of life is to come out of our selves, out of the little, dark prison we are all born in. Masturbation is to be avoided as all things are to be avoided which retard this process. The danger is that of coming to love the prison. (Letter to Keith Masson (3 June 1956); cited in Yours, Jack: Spiritual Direction from C.S. Lewis (HarperOne, 2008), 292-293)