Las Vegas-based transparency group MormonLeaks has released a 1981 leaders handbook that reveals the church taught that self-pleasuring could make you homosexual.
‘Early masturbation experiences introduce the individual to sexual thoughts which may become habit-forming and reinforceing to homosexual interests,’ the guidebook also claims, ‘Self-masturbation is almost universal among those who engage in homosexual behaviour, and is a very difficult habit for most to overcome.’
The guidebook suggests that homosexual behaviour is learned, pointing the finger at dysfunctional family relationships as well as self-masturbation as the cause. The guide gives advice that includes avoiding being alone, reading ‘good books, scriptures, Church books’, and a daily physical fitness regimen as well as prayer, fasting and strict abstention from pornography in order to maintain a masturbation-free lifestyle.
Homosexuality is still contentious for many Mormons, but the church has become more tolerant. In recent years, some Mormons have taken the position that homosexuality itself is not sinful but engaging in homosexual sex is.