A leaked Mormon church document has revealed the church’s teaching that self-pleasuring can make you homosexual.
The handbook for church leaders, simply titled ‘Homosexuality’, was published in 1981 and leaked on Wednesday by the Las Vegas-based transparency group MormonLeaks.
‘Early masturbation experiences introduce the individual to sexual thoughts which may become habit forming and reinforcing to homosexual interests,’ the guidebook claims.
‘Self-masturbation is almost universal among those who engage in homosexual behavior, and is a very difficult habit for most to overcome,’ the handbook says.
A leaked Mormon church document revealed the church’s teaching that self-pleasuring can make you homosexual. Pictured: Neil Patrick Harris performs with the ‘Book of Mormon’ cast in New York in 2012
The guidebook maintains that homosexual behavior is learned, and suggests that dysfunctional family relationships and early exposure to homosexual experiences, as well as self-masturbation, can affect the development of same-sex feelings.
The document, published as a guide for local church leaders to use when working with homosexual church members, advises a rigorous nine-step approach to ‘overcome the problem of masturbation’.
The document claims ‘early masturbation experiences’ contribute to homosexuality
Its advice includes avoiding being alone, reading ‘good books, scriptures, Church books’, and a daily physical fitness regimen.
The guide also advises prayer, fasting and strict abstention from pornography in order to maintain a masturbation-free lifestyle.
Keeping in contact with a church bishop and seeking blessings from the bishop are other key steps, the guide advises.
A spokesman for MormonLeaks claimed that the Mormon church had never retracted the guidebook, although current church teaching on homosexuality is somewhat more tolerant.
Current church teaching on homosexuality holds that same-sex attraction is not a sin, but that physical homosexual acts are sinful.
‘Sexual purity is an essential part of God’s plan for our happiness,’ reads the LDS Church website. ‘Sexual relations are reserved for a man and woman who are married and promise complete loyalty to each other.’
A spokesman for the church did not immediately respond to request for comment on the leaked guidebook.
The guidebook offers nine ‘helping steps’ to ‘overcome a problem of masturbation’