On March 2, 1982 distraught and filled with self-hate over his inability to stop masturbating, Kip Eliason, age 16,committed suicide. Before asphyxiating himself, Kip left his father a note:
“Dear Dad, I love you more than what words can say. If it were possible, I would stay alive for only you, for I really only have you. But it isn’t possible. I must first love myself, and I do not. The strange feeling of darkness and self-hate overpowers all my defenses. I must unfortunately yield to it. This turbulent feeling is only for a few to truly understand. I feel that you do not comprehend the immense feeling of self-hatred I have. This is the only way I feel that I can relieve myself of these feelings now. Carry on with your life and be happy. I love you more than words can say.—Your son, Kip”
You can read the whole story HERE. (The information above is courtesy of Jonathan Streeter.)
Shaming Our Children to Death
This is the most devastating outcome of youth masturbation interviews. Kip’s story is a crushing tragedy.
Recently, a mother shared this short and shocking statement regarding masturbation interviews, “My stepson ended his life because of this!!”
Don’t let this happen to your child!!!
Suicide Attempt #1
A couple of months ago, a friend of mine accompanied a close friend to pick up her son at the airport. He had been sent home early from his full-time mission. Why? Multiple…suicide…attempts. The last one was nearly fatal.
Why was this young Elder so distraught? Masturbation. He was not able to eradicate it. Heaps of shame and guilt had brought him to the brink of death.
How tragic. How long will it take for this kid to overcome the shame that was totally unnecessary? This natural and normal practice was not the sin. The sin rests squarely on the hands of the shaming church.
Suicide Attempt #2
A new friend shared this experience.
“Eleven years ago next month, I was standing in the dark of Butterfield canyon, having hiked up a trail a ways at 2:00 am. I could no longer go on. I took a .40 Sig-Sauer with me intending to end it there. I got a phone call while standing there nerving up to pull the trigger. It saved my life. I came to a decision that day, that the church would no longer be part of my life. Why was I there? Because of 30 years of shame of Masturbation.
Suicide Attempt #3
This story is from the son of one of my best friends in the Mormon Church.
“My son tried to kill himself over a masturbation interview at age 16. The interview took place years earlier. It was at a young age and sent my child on a self loathing path, he felt worthlessness, graduated to depression and made attempts on his life. The bishop probably has no clue that his actions damaged a sweet soul who made a minor mistake and tried to kill himself. You can see the shame they put on my son as a young man that drove him from happy young man to ending his life, through the mercy of God he was saved. My youngest son found my middle son with a plastic bag over his head and rubber bands holding it in place. The Lord has blessed me and my posterity as the actions and shame forced on people is wrong.”
Suicide Attempt #4
Petition Comment: “It caused me lots of problems including trying to commit suicide at age 13. They shamed me and it was very uncomfortable and disturbing!”
Man: These traumatic experiences cast a shadow over my entire adolescence and marred my church experience. All of us young men knew that these “worthiness interviews” served one main purpose: to ascertain if we were looking at porn and/or masturbating. Being required to discuss my body so vulnerably every six months with an authoritative man induced fear and shame in me that I am still trying to shake off 20 years later. Even though my bishops were kind men, I feared them and would do anything to avoid them. The feelings of depression, suicidality, and self-loathing caused by these interviews are real. Minors are not matured enough to be able to give consent to be questioned about something so invasive and personal. IT IS PSYCHOLOGICAL, EMOTIONAL, AND SEXUAL ABUSE. Unfortunately when I was young, nobody protected me. But now as a recovering adult, I will do anything I can to help end this inappropriate abuse.
Man: This practice destroyed my self-esteem, caused me to experience nearly relentless anxiety from age 8 on and led me to take desperate actions to “fix” myself of normal adolescent behavior deemed to be amoral. This extreme and relentless psychological distress eventually royally messed up the trajectory of my life as I took desperate measures to avoid additional ecclesiastical punishment. This must be stopped before any other child goes through this simply because they are honest.
Woman: I was suicidal as a teen because of the over emphasis on masturbation as a wrong thing. I also made other poor decisions because I felt unworthy and that it didn’t matter what I did because I was already unworthy. There was a great deal of self loathing. I still can’t look at my face in the mirror without hating what I see because I used to look at myself after I masturbated and think how ugly I looked without the spirit and how I would have to tell my bishop that I had slipped up again. That should never have happened.
Man: I was asked about my masturbation habits by Mormon ecclesiastical leaders from age 12 until age 35 when I finally resigned my membership. This practice has to stop. Items 2-7, 9, 10 on the list of potential harm all apply to me. That includes attempting suicide.
Protect Our Children
Isn’t this enough?!! We are literally killing our children with shame and self-loathing.
If you are truly a follower of Christ, stand up and protect our children. Sign the Petition.
If you are a human being who gives a damn about our children…Sign the Petition.
45 thoughts on “Suicide by Masturbation”
These are all such tragic stories. I don’t believe these interviews are necessary until one is at the age to goo on a mission. Prior to that, a person is not mature enough to handle the topic. I also believe that there is parental responsibility prior to that age where the parent talks to the matter of chastity. Unlike many, I do not believe this is a normal, natural behavior. When it becomes a habit, it becomes a problem. It is an addiction that can ruin marriages and relationships. IMHO
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They are never necessary. They are tools of shame. They are built on foolish ideas imagined by people who believe in literal magic.
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I’m curious as to why you don’t believe masturbation is a normal, natural behavior. How old were you when you decided this? What is your definition of normal or natural? Since babies are often found with their hands on their genitalia, it is difficult to call it an unnatural behavior (IMHO), for they haven’t been taught it, so it can’t be learned except through natural means. If 90% of men admit to masturbating, that’s kind of the definition of normal. Habit does not equate to addiction any more than combing your hair every morning becomes a problem. In my experience (many serious relationships, 2 marriages), the only thing about masturbation that becomes a problem is when someone is ashamed of the act. My current husband is physically unable to have a wet dream and has been since a teenager, and is in so much pain after a few days of no ejaculation that it is difficult to walk comfortably. Can you call his masturbating an addiction or a habit? I also had a boyfriend who masturbated multiple time a day. After 3 years of dating, he told me he couldn’t get married until he stopped, according to his bishop, turning a behavior into an ‘addiction’ in his mind. The bishop ruined our relationship, not his masturbating. Most men are familiar with “blue balls” or “stonies” and would rather prevent than cure. If they are shamed over this, who is the real problem, the man or the shamer? So, I repeat, what has lead you to believe masturbation is unnatural, not normal, and ruinous?
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Nothing is ruinous if you so choose. Your husband could cheat on you and no harm if you or he choose that it’s not bad or unhealthy.
3X a day is not a meal plan but a “habit” that clearly is controlling and difficult to stop. By definition….that’s an addiction.
Blue ball, wet dreams, are designed to be the release….not the individual subverting that process by pleasuring him/herself whenever they want to the point that supercededs healthy sexual interaction with someone you have feelings for. The church’s goal isnt to shame (though bishops and youth leaders and parents mistakenly do just that at times) but to teach us about self control, the corresponding confidence and joy that brings and enjoying sexual intimacy and pleasure with a consensual, loving spouse.
This “suicide by masterbation” is Quixotic to an extreme.
“Unlike many, I do not believe this is a normal, natural behavior.”
I find this comment very troubling. Virtually every study done on the subject, peer reviewed and published in medical journals disagrees with you. Yet you insist that you are correct. There is an underlying assumption in this, that is in my opinion, quite dangerous. It is the fundamental conclusion that “you” in the expression of the rights of “belief” should have the right to visit shame and guilt on those who engage in a behavior that science declares as normal, but you and your religion does not.
The interesting thing about sex and sexual behavior is that there is more and more evidence that shame and guilt is more damaging than porn or masturbation. Even BYU has published a study which states this.
Mormonism chooses to shame sexual behavior far beyond that of even some of the most rabid fundamentalist religions, excepting perhaps Islam. Sexual sin is considered the sin “next to murder in its seriousness.” Using this perceived seriousness, the church rides this horse to its “worthiness interviews” determined to root out this eternally damning act. They use it as an excuse to question children as young as eight years old, and by policy start sexual questioning of youths by no later than age twelve. Girls are taught that their value is only that of their “purity.” Church lessons include those which vilify sex, likening people who’ve engaged in sex as licked cupcakes and chewed bubblegum…deliberately associating sex with images intended to create disgust. When children are deemed “guilty” they are publicly humiliated by forbidding participation in church activities.
The fact is, using guilt and shame have no value in preventing sexual activity. A recent Pew Report, showed that the demographics for “First sexual experience” occur at almost identical ages, cutting across all races and religions. The guilt factor though, was highest in…guess which group? Yep, Mormonism. These feelings of shame and guilt are driving sources behind suicidal impulses.
Our sexual identity literally lies at the core of our psyche, which makes using shame and guilt especially egregious. It is however, very effective as a tool of control. If you can convince anyone to surrender their sexual control into your hands then they become your abject slave. It is especially effective when indoctrinating children because they have no recourse, no understanding and no rational reasoned defense against it. Shame is so powerful that even adults can be controlled.
What better tool than to teach something which is a normal human need, and turning it into sin? Even your very beliefs are turned against you. It is an act of psychological warfare and promulgated by the leaders of “God’s one true church.”
Great insight. Could you provide links to the BYU study and the Pew research that you cited?
Sam, Here are the links
Technical difficulties on the previous post. Here is the BYU study published in Psychology Today.
Still looking for the Pew Study.
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The article is misleading. Read the actual study. The article does not accurately summarize the findings of the research paper. The model that they use does not show that religion is the problem. What they show is that people who perceive that they are addicted to porn have relationship anxiety. They show that religion is related to the perception that one is addicted, and separately that using porn a lot directly relates to this perception of addiction. They do not show that religion is somehow making people who use porn a lot feel worse about their porn use.
Also if dopamine is being released into the brain and your porn viewing or masterbation is something you have a hard time stopping then guess what??? Addiction!!!
Also, feeing guilt can be good and helps us change. Instead too many advocate that bad is good so there shouldn’t be any need to feel guilt.
The church no doubt can assist in changing the perception of you “are” bad vs you “did” a bad thing.
Also, correlating suicide and masterbation is silly and extremely overreaching.
Suicide amongst teens shows that bullying and drug use are the main drivers and that religious connectivity reduces suicide ideation. https://www.ksl.com/?sid=46208204
You assert that guilt “can be a good thing.” I strongly disagree. Guilt is useful when you are seeking to exert control over another person, but to use it you have to convince the other person to accept your position of the “wrongness” of a given action. Once they accept your aasertion, then they are helpless against the guilt which you imposed on them.
It doesn’t make the action wrong, however. Guilt is psychological warfare. You are confusing guilt with “remorse” which is something entirely different. Remorse is the natural feeling one has when harming another based on the normal empathy inherent in most humans. Those without empathy do exist and we refer to them as psychopaths or sociopaths. The majority of people do have empathy and it is an important component of our maintaining societies.
Sex and the dopamine which results from it occurs regardless of whether it is masturbation, sex, or a wet dream. So, we we’re addicted to sex in the same way we are addicted to food and water as dopamine is released in the brain when engaging in those acts too. As a matter of fact, the American Psychiatric Association makes it clear that “sex addiction” doesn’t actually exist, but is rather a symptom of other psychological issues.
Suicide by masturbation? If these stories are true, I feel awful for all those affected. I want to interject a point of scripture. In Leviticus 15, we read that if a man has an emission of fluid from his body, he is unclean for a week and must offer a sacrifice to atone for his emission. However, the next section specifically distinguishes semen as a separate kind of discharge. It says that the man must wash his clothes and bathe, and he is unclean until sunset. It then goes on to say that if a woman gets semen on her, she too is unclean. What we see here is quite interesting because it shows that God took semen less seriously than other discharges, and did not necessarily expect that a woman would be there when it came out! The idea of bathing and washing one’s clothes after sex or masturbation is common sense, not a sign that it is a sin.
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This shame is not restricted to Mormonism. I am a Catholic, and my church considers me to be intrinsicly disordered through the masturbation habit that has been brought on by the effects of testosterone medication. It has tortured me so much that I regularly consider suicide as a way out. I research methods of hanging, but because the only option open to me is the prolonged short drop method, I keep putting it off. To be fair though, I think the problem isn’t just religion, it is Christ himself. He is a paragon of virtue that no human can ever hope to match up to, and as a result we are literally killing ourselves with shame and guilt. There might be hope it one is able to leave one’s church, but once they have you it is extremely difficult to leave without causing shame to one’s family. Religion is a nice thing until you fall foul of the rules and find yourself on the wrong side of the fence. Then you realise just how much it derives its raison d’etre from fear and shame.
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I literally had a psychologist at the BYU counseling center tell me it was normal and the church put too much emphasis on it. Also that Leviticus verse is from the OT. If you’re gonna follow that you also can’t Shave, wear cotton poly blends, or eat pork, and women have to spend time in quarantine after their periods. Pretty sure we’ve left some of those behind. Do what works for you but don’t cherry pick from scripture to justify it
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Reading these stories are heartbreaking. Thank you Sam for giving these stories a public voice. I honestly had no idea about these experiences. What a horrible way to treat young developing minds. As if God created natural and normal development just to punish and devalue His own children. The worst part of this is the idea that the leaders speak for God. The leaders need to be held accountable, not the youth. So glad I am raising my children safely away from the church.
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I have been to many different church’s over the years and masturbation is never a subject, I think you people blame the church and say they guilt trip you when really its a inner feeling i(innate) . God endowed you with hat feeling for a reason. To seek a loving partner. Stop blaming the Church and look within
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