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Mormon teenage boys and chastity
fydyan wrote in little_details
This involves Mormon teenage boys, in present day Utah. I've done a lot of reading about the law of chastity, but I have some questions that need a first hand perspective. I've learned what's *expected*, but not what actually happens in reality. I know there are a variety of experiences and attitudes, but I need to get a sense of what is common. Questions about sexuality are behind the cut,

These questions are in referernce to a character who takes the law of chastity seriously, and believes in its principles.

1- Would teenage boys talk to each other about struggling with chastity? If so, in what setting is this most likely to occur? Would it be a serious conversation, or more joking?

2- I know that masturbation is prohibited, but I have trouble believing that teenage boys adhere to that. How likely is it that a Mormon boy would reach the age of 18 without ever masturbating, or only doing so a few times?

3- Would jokes about jerking off ever happen, or is that extremely unlikely?

4- If a boy was struggling with same-sex attraction, would he be likely to speak about it to anyone? If so, would it tend to be friends/family, or a church figure?

5- If a friend (fellow Mormon) showed or offered him porn, what are some likely reactions? Are we talking surprise and refusal, or disgust and disdain?

If there's any other things you think I should know that I haven't asked about, please feel free to let me know.

I don't know if this is helpful, but I have family in Utah who are very Mormon, and people really, really don't date until they're sixteen. It's not just an idea; it's what really happens, and even if you want to, you can't, because there's just no one to date. This is in a fairly prosperous, homogenous community. And my young male cousins joke about jerking off... but they also know that I'm a scandalous Miami girl who won't tell on them.

Thanks. I'm trying to figure out how he would react to casual reference to jerking off (in a non-Mormon environment), so your info from your cousins is really helpful.

(Deleted comment)
'struggling' (ahem, sorry.)

Hey, I did my research, I know the lingo! Thanks for your insights. I will definitely let you know if I have more questions.

Everything really depends on the young boy's personality and his family. It's extremely unlikely that he'll last till 18 without masturbating, but it's possible he may because he's easily shocked into fearing whatever may happen. As sweet as Mormon boys can be, some can also be pretty vulgar. It's likely a boy will seriously talk about it with someone he really trusts.

If a boy is dealing with same-sex attraction, he is not going to tell his family or anyone related to the church. If he has any non-LDS friends, and they're close to him, they're more likely to know first and only. I know a lot of Mormon boys (in liberal Salt Lake City) who have been carted off to institutes just at the mention of 'gay'.

Again, a lot of this is really dependent on personality, but I think they'd be more surprised and refuse the porn. Most of them are too nice to be openly disgusted :P

You should check out the movie Latter Days. The boys are gay, but the principle applies.

Hi! I'm 30 years old, have lived in Utah all of my life, and am marrying an LDS man. I am 'ex-LDS' myself, so let me be a font of information for you.

1- Would teenage boys talk to each other about struggling with chastity? If so, in what setting is this most likely to occur? Would it be a serious conversation, or more joking?

Yes, definitely. Joking, certainly -- but yeah, there's gonna be frank discussion, especially if there is trust. On the other hand, some young men are going tobe like LA LA LA DON'T WANT TO TALK ABOUT SEX AT ALL, THAT IS THE ROAD OF TEMPTATION AND THE DEVIL!!!! So you're gonna get the really conservative and the really vulgar in one church. It happens. People are, after all,people no matter what faith they belong to.

2- I know that masturbation is prohibited, but I have trouble believing that teenage boys adhere to that. How likely is it that a Mormon boy would reach the age of 18 without ever masturbating, or only doing so a few times?

Ha ha ha ha. They beat off. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying. He might not make a habit of it out of guilt-- but he'll still beat off.

3- Would jokes about jerking off ever happen, or is that extremely unlikely?

It'll happen. Boys will be boys, even in a conservative church.

4- If a boy was struggling with same-sex attraction, would he be likely to speak about it to anyone? If so, would it tend to be friends/family, or a church figure?

He'll speak to nonmormon -- if he has any -- friends first. (And he may not have nonmormon friends; depends on the area and how concerned her is with staying away from 'worldly temptations' or how concerned he is about fellowshiping to nonmembers and bringing the message of Jesus and Joseph Smith to nonmembers by active attempts at conversion or simply being an example of what the Church can do for you by simply being a member.

If he doesn't have a lot of nonmember friends (which is entirely possible, especially in Utah), it's into the closet with him, unless his family is very liberal. (My boyfriend's basically waiting for his brother to come out -- they all suspect, and nobody's going to judge, but because of church he probably won't.)

All of my friends were raised Mormon except one. All but three of them have walked away from the church in their time; the other three are returned missionaries, but 'jack mormons'; lip service and some behavioral service, but none of them are active in the church or temple.

5- If a friend (fellow Mormon) showed or offered him porn, what are some likely reactions? Are we talking surprise and refusal, or disgust and disdain?

If he's prudish, he'll disavow all desire to see it, back off, and chastise his friend, possibly go to his bishop afterwards if there are residual guilt issues. If he's not, he'll probably still go, "Uh, porn is for me time, not us time." Not a lot of guys down here really like their sex -- or porn -- in a group setting.

Just ask any other questions you want to know about being a mormon in or out of the state of Utah. IF I can't answer them my boyfriend probably can.

Thank you, this is wonderful info. I really appreciate it.

dating 17 year old LDS boy


2009-03-29 12:43 pm (UTC)

My daughter (not LDS but Christian) is seeing a LDS boy. Unfortunately, his parents, even though he is 17, refuse to let him date. They say they don't want him to but won't stop him. Yet whenever they try to see each other they tell him no. He does not go against their wishes fearing he will lose his cell phone which is their main contact. Any ideas on how they can date. Since LDS are suppose to be so big on families I don't get why they don't understand that the more they keep them apart the stronger the kids desire to see other gets.

Re: dating 17 year old LDS boy


2009-03-29 06:35 pm (UTC)

She's a nonmember, thus ineligible for temple marriage -- they probably think they're protecting their son from something that will not be spiritually fulfilling. Or maybe they're just controlling for other reasons. Either way, some families are huge about ARGH YOU CAN'T DATE A NONMEMBER THEN YOU WILL N EVER KNOW ALL THE GIFTS OF GOD UNLESS SHE CONVERTS!!

Either way, I can't give any advice in this arena, unless she's ready to exchange her faith for his... which they may see as either an empowering thing (yay love for my son as brought her to the true religion) or shallow (she's just faking it to get in his pants).

They may not want him to date at all because he's mission-bound at 19; it's not required service to the church, but a lot of people expect it, and there's a lot of shame in not going. They might think that she'll make him 'unworthy', Ie, they'll sin sexually.

Can't really help you, I'm afraid. Maybe some of this will help you combat things or counsel your daughter.

Edited at 2009-03-29 06:36 pm (UTC)

Re: dating 17 year old LDS boy


2010-01-05 09:24 am (UTC)

My daughter is friends with an LDS boy. We were all supposed to go to dinner this weekend, but my husband and I were delayed. I told them to go ahead and eat and we would be home when they got home. Unfortunately, I didn't realize that this constituted a "unsupervised date" and her good friend got into trouble. His cell phone was taken away and he left home for the night because he felt reprimanded for a situation beyond his control. Should I call the family and apologize? Or would the fact that I know of the family fight embarrass them more? Part of me wants to say "Oh my heck.. get over it.. it was a public place.. what is she going to do? Rip his clothes off?" I feel terrible. Now they can't be friends for awhile. Is this normal?

I grew up in Utah, and have many Mormon guy friends. Unfortunately I'm not a guy, so I can't speak from experience so much, but I've got some idea. But as one person said, it would really depend on the individual and his friends. The people I knew were nerds, and therefore tended towards the chastity side of things anyway ;). My guy friends were pretty chaste (even more so than my girl Mormon friends ^_^).

2. I don't know how it came up, but one of my guy friends pointed me to a link of a speech by a church leader concerning masturbation (comparing the penis to a factory; it was very amusing, even though my friend didn't send it to me for that reason *lol*). But the idea I got at the time was that my friend would consider masturbation completely wrong and wouldn't do it. He was 18 at the time. Granted, he never came out and said he'd never masturbated, but that was the implication.

3. I don't know what would happen between guys alone, but as a mixed group there were the occasional jokes. They were definitely more subtle in high school, most likely accidental double entendres that got a couple giggles.

4. Another Mormon guy friend of mine "struggled" with same-sex attraction in high school. He spoke to his bishop about it, and then was promptly told it was wrong and there were discussions of how he had to fight the urges and there was much hand-wringing amongst his family. I think there might have been talks of sending him to one of those conversion camps. There was much self-loathing there, unfortunately, but he came to accept his sexuality. Unfortunately, his family did not. He's now in college and tries to put himself in their lives, but they are all very stiff around him.

5. Embarrassment would be the first emotion, I think, at least with the guys I know. But definitely refusal if he takes the law seriously. Whether he felt disgust or disdain would depend on the guy.

Thank you, this is exactly the kind of thing I was looking for. Thanks for taking the time to answer.

I am an ex-Mormon and it was precisely this subject that ended my faith. When I was 16, I was read the riot act by the Young Women's leader b.c I was dating a non-member. She told me that if I acted with lust or slept with him or had any sort of sexual encounter out of marriage, that I would be denied access to the Celestial Kingdom and would be doomed to be separate from my family for all eternity. Family is a big thing in the LDS, so it's about the biggest threat they can make. Even though I hadn't actually done anything with my boyfriend except a few kisses and hand-holding, they would NOT believe me and every Sunday was talks about chastity, Sunday School lessons about chastity and so on. It put the fear of god into my agegroup - literally - but for me, it ended my faith completely.

There's two talks which have been recorded and transcribed which are, as I understand it, handed out to young men nowadays. They devote a lot of time to emphasising the sin and again putting the fear of god in them. Depending on the person as to how much they put stock in it. But it might give you some insight into how the leaders of the church want the youth to behave and what they're supposed to do in terms of their own sexuality and learning about it.

Steps in overcoming masturbation by Mark E. Petersen. This is distributed quite widely around BYU and LDS churches.
To Young Men Only by Boyd K. Packer An address given at the priesthood session of General
Conference October 2, 1976.
And for general info you might find useful, complete with stories from LDS GBLT:

Thank you. I was familiar with two of these, but had not yet run across "To Young Men Only." I will definitely give it a read.

2- My step-brother is a teenage Mormon and, I don't know all the gory details exactly, but he actually got in trouble/felt convicted of/got caught/felt impure/somehow mentioned that he was struggling with masturbation about a year and a half ago, and it got turned into a, by my standards at least, big deal. Basically, he (and his mom, I think) met with the bishop and the bishop told him that he was unworthy to take communion/sacrament until he got this taken care of. (Note: take communion/sacrament, not serve communion/sacrament, take communion/sacrament.) Now, a year and a half later, his bishop has told him that he can start taking communion again "whenever he feels worthy."

5-It really depends on the guy. The "right" thing to do is to be disgusted or say, "No, I'm not into that." However, this same step-brother was into porn until he got caught and was a "good Mormon boy." We all have sins, it's just some are more obvious than others. *shrugs*

As a Protestant Christian that's big into chasity myself, I've noticed that a lot of churches (Mormon and otherwise) are big on basically pretending that sex doesn't exist. (Or that it only exists between a man and a woman on their wedding night, but that's for you to find out when you're married.) There's a movement nowadays (at least in the non-Mormon Christian corners of the world where I hang out) to kinda of combat that mentality (See Sex God by Rob Bell) and try and take the stigma/pressure/bad juju that comes from mentioning the word sex in church. The reasoning being a sin is a sin is a sin, and God created sex, therefore sex is not bad, however, it is special, etc, etc, etc.

I, personally, have never heard guys talk about struggling with chastity (granted, I being not a guy, am probably not who they want to discuss this with) and up until college, the guy attitude I kept encountering (even in Christian circles) was "Why, yes, I have done it all, haven't you?" However, in the social circle I run around with now, (again, Protestant, active in the church, Christian), I keep meeting these guys who are extremely attractive, outgoing, have plenty of female friends, and are very calmly, like, "Yeah, I'm waiting until marriage, aren't you?" I even have one guy friend, that is incredibly handsome, 21, frequently accompanies girls as their date to various functions, and has admitted to never even being kissed before. Trust me, it's not because he hasn't had the opportunity, either.

Anyways, to sum up. The church pretends like sex doesn't exist (not sure if the Mormon church is "rethinking" sex or not), and if you're struggling with that, you'd probably hide it and pretend like you aren't, or you'd go talk to the bishop and it would get icky.

I'm pretty sure I got off topic somewhere in there, but I hope this helps and if you have any more questions, I would be glad to answer them. :)

Thank you. Your answer to #2 is exactly the kind of thing I was looking for. I appreciate the info on the openness you're encountering re: chastity. It's so different from what I grew up around that it's still difficult for me to think of it as the norm for some groups.

1. Boys are boys. As someone who was once a part of the LDS church (they refer to themselves as LDS, not Mormon) the boys talk about sex just as much as any other boys. Perhaps not in front of the bishops, parents, or church leaders (or anyone else they think of as "Jack Mormon" aka, someone who follows the rules to a T. Girls like this are "Molly Mormons"). Okay, I take that back; they're taught from a young age to repress that side so don't bring it up much, but there's a lot of innuendo, then the playing of innocence when they're called on it.

2. Pretty darned likely. Most LDS boys are consumed with guilt afterwards though, sometimes to the extent of going to their ward's bishop and asking his advice on how to atone for it. Not always, but it is definitely known to occur (one of my old best friends, a guy, had oral sex with his gf then felt so guiltridden he went to the bishop, who told him he couldn't take communion for a specified amount of time. He never said what the rest of the "punishment" was and I didn't press for details)

3. They might happen, especially if the repressed teenager is rebelling, but more often than not it'll be innuendo.

4. If he feels suitably guilty about it and just can't accept it about himself he may tell a bishop. Homosexual feelings are taken very seriously by the church; there will be councelling up the yin-yang, Biblical passages to read (often from the BOM), he'll need to practice dating girls, etc. It depends on the bishopric and stake presidency how they want to deal with it (yes, it can go that high) and how dedicated the boy (or girl) is in leaving their homosexual tendencies behind them. They may even rush to get married, just to prove to themselves they aren't really gay.

5. Again, that depends on the depth of the friendship. Boys are boys, no matter their religion. If one boy's a Jack Mormon then they'll likely show disgust and disdain, perhaps even turning him in to the bishopric. If he's a good friend but a stout Mormon, then he'll likely be uncomfortable about seeing it, or seeing a good friend with it. Something that LDS believe is to distance themselves from temptation; if someone is excommunicated from the church, has gone inactive, or is doing something that is very against the teachings of the BOM/Bible, they may ostrasize them until the sinner comes to his or her senses. Generally in these situations then, the bishopric or other church leaders (or sometimes Home Teachers if they're devout and able).

Just curious-- I thought a Jack Mormon was someone who had lapsed and gone somewhat inactive?

(I have a friend who calls himself a Jack Anarchist...)

Yeah, I'm pretty sure Eclectic's terminology is off, I've always heard Jack Mormon being used for people who are only very nominally Mormon, but don't bother with the actual, you know, *rules*, or going to [religious establishment--temple, right? Or is it referred to as church? Not sure] much except on Major Holidays, or any of that.

and Wikipedia confirms


2008-10-12 10:09 am (UTC)

The term Jack Mormon is a slang term that originated in the nineteenth century. It was originally used to describe somebody who was not a baptized member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (or LDS Church), but who was friendly to Church members and Mormonism, sympathized with them, and/or took an active interest in their belief system. Sometime in the early to mid twentieth century, the term changed culturally to refer to someone deemed by LDS adherents to be an inactive or lapsed member of the LDS Church who maintained good relations with and positive feelings toward the LDS church.