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ThatLDSKiD

Do I Confess To My Bishop

Do I Confess? Is it serious enough?  

25 members have voted

  1. 1. Do I Confess? Is it serious enough?

    • Yes
      17
    • No
      8


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I'm an Aaronic Priesthood holder and I feel very ashamed right now. Just recently I started masturbation for about...a month, but I desperately want to stop and I realize the consequences. I feel that if I really try hard enough my will power will overcome. I have already began praying about it, and a I am committed to never masturbate again.

Am i required to confess to my bishop regarding this sin or is masturbation not severe enough if I can handle it myself?

-If I confess will I not be allowed to pass the sacrament, home teach, partake of the sacrament, participate in youth activities, prepare the sacrament, etc?

-I know that the bishop is supposed to remain confidential about my confessions, but are my parents an exception? I feel that if he told my parents (because of our unique family situation) it would be harder on me than if I resolved my problem on my own or with the help of JUST the bishop (and Heavenly Father of course).

In essence, should I try my hardest to fully repent myself and seek forgiveness and never commit this sin again? Or is it required that masturbation is severe enough that I must confess with my bishop?

Please help, thank you.

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If you have to ask it usually means you think it could possibly be. Just talk to your Bishop. Either he can put you on the path to repentance with some good counsel or tell you not to worry about it.

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At the very least, the bishop will have some very helpful advice for you. I imagine you wouldn't be able to pass/partake of sacrament, but I don't think you would be kicked out of youth activities and home teaching!

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I had the same struggle when preparing for my mission and my bishop said, "Yes, you need to talk to me about that kind of stuff."

Think of it this way:

If there is a question in your mind there is not total peace - there remains questions and doubts.

"Confession" will clear your conscience and you will feel the peace promised by The Lord.

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I had the same struggle when preparing for my mission and my bishop said, "Yes, you need to talk to me about that kind of stuff."

Think of it this way:

If there is a question in your mind there is not total peace - there remains questions and doubts.

"Confession" will clear your conscience and you will feel the peace promised by The Lord.

^^^^^^^

Were you allowed to serve and partake of the sacrament, and still perform other priesthood duties? I desperately want to continue these.

Also, I'm considering going a month or two without committing this horrible, horrible sin and then explain to the Bishop what I have done but that I have it under control. I want to prove to myself that I can resist temptations. If I can control myself should I still go to the Bishop? Or should I only go if it continues? Or should I go immediately? I really want to wait a month and see how I do before going to the Bishop, but if this sin isn't serious enough then I don't want to bother the Bishop or have him think less of me.

Please answer both questions and thanks for your help.

Edited by ThatLDSKiD

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Were you allowed to serve and partake of the sacrament, and still perform other priesthood duties? I desperately want to continue these.

I think you probably already know the answer to this....if you are worried that you should confess..and you should, then YOU should not allow yourself to partake of the Sacrament or bless or pass.

And stop doing this before you go blind......

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Also, I'm considering going a month or two without committing this horrible, horrible sin and then explain to the Bishop what I have done but that I have it under control.

Only considering? Why not just do it?

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Only considering? Why not just do it?

I read the considering as pertaining to doing it (forgoing the sin) and then talking to the Bishop as opposed to stopping and going to the Bishop immediately (the latter is preferable in my mind). Particularly since it can be a difficult process with relapses along the way and one can fall into a pattern of going a period of time abstaining and then relapsing before the 2 month (or what ever) abstaining goal and so one ends up avoiding the Bishop.

Edited by Dravin

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Also, I'm considering going a month or two without committing this horrible, horrible sin and then explain to the Bishop what I have done but that I have it under control. I want to prove to myself that I can resist temptations. If I can control myself should I still go to the Bishop? Or should I only go if it continues? Or should I go immediately? I really want to wait a month and see how I do before going to the Bishop, but if this sin isn't serious enough then I don't want to bother the Bishop or have him think less of me.

Please answer both questions and thanks for your help.

The goal is to repent and stop this and get control of yourself. However, don't think of it as a goal to avoid seeing the bishop. The bishop's role here is to help you, and it will be a benefit to have someone on your side who knows what's going on and can keep you in check.

Part of me thinks you should go only if it continues... but the rest of me thinks that without further support, it will probably continue.

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Just tell the Bishop. Trust me. A LOT of people have that problem (especially young men). It will make you more accountable. It is not a serious enough offense to warrant a church court or anything... just one on one counsel with the Bishop.. that's it.

Edited by prophetofdoom
grammar

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Keep in mind that your bishop is there to help you, not to judge you. It's a lot harder to quit if you keep it as your own dirty little secret. And you're definitely not the only person (not even the only person you know) who's had to overcome this problem.

Masturbation easily turns into a habit, which turns into an addiction, and it can really poison your mind -- especially your attitude towards women, which is going to have a huge impact on your marriage years down the road if you don't fight it now.

My advice -- in addition to talking to your bishop -- is to just find another hobby (and scripture study) to keep yourself too busy to think about that stuff any more.

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I read the considering as pertaining to doing it (forgoing the sin) and then talking to the Bishop as opposed to stopping and going to the Bishop immediately (the latter is preferable in my mind). Particularly since it can be a difficult process with relapses along the way and one can fall into a pattern of going a period of time abstaining and then relapsing before the 2 month (or what ever) abstaining goal and so one ends up avoiding the Bishop.

What I mean is: I'm going to do one of 3 things. A. Tell the Bishop right away. B. Abstain for a month and if I was succesful deal continue my repentance process personally. C. Abstain for a month and then tell my Bishop and explain that I am controlling myself now.

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Option A, always.

Option B gives you an out; If I'm successful, then repent; if not, don't. Option C is the same as B except substitute Bishop for repent.

If you are serious about getting over this and starting your repentance, go see your Bishop. No excuses, no formulas. Just GO! Otherwise, you're just spinning your wheels.

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Option A, always.

Option B gives you an out; If I'm successful, then repent; if not, don't. Option C is the same as B except substitute Bishop for repent.

^^^

I don't think you understand. Regardless I am still praying about it every night and studying my scriptures daily. I will still repent. The difference is whether I see the Bishop immediately, whether I keep it between me and Heavenly Father, or whether I abstain and then confess tothe Bishop that I have been repenting and have controlled myself.

I'm not trying to take shortcuts, I find it offensive that you would even suggest that I would put of repenting when that is what this entire thread is about. I want to know whether confessing to the Bishop is necessary in this situation to fully repent (in case you didn't read my initial post and needed clarification).

Sorry if I seemed like a jerk...but I wanted to make it clear and I was a little offended

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LDSkid, I think that confessing to the Bishop is not just for like, punishment, really. It's more like will you feel like it is completely done with if you don't talk to him....will you feel completely cleansed and no more thoughts about it?

The Bishop is there to help you get back in good standing with the Lord, to give you help and counseling on how to do better. Really, you should pray about it, and fast, and see how you feel, maybe at the next sacrament meeting. If it is a dark thing hanging over you, and weighing you down, you should talk to him. It can make you feel better, give you hope to have it behind you and on to new things.

You've got great work to do! Look ahead to the future where you are busy helping people and free from even thinking about this problem! :)

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Option A, always.

Option B gives you an out; If I'm successful, then repent; if not, don't. Option C is the same as B except substitute Bishop for repent.

^^^

I don't think you understand. Regardless I am still praying about it every night and studying my scriptures daily. I will still repent. The difference is whether I see the Bishop immediately, whether I keep it between me and Heavenly Father, or whether I abstain and then confess tothe Bishop that I have been repenting and have controlled myself.

I'm not trying to take shortcuts, I find it offensive that you would even suggest that I would put of repenting when that is what this entire thread is about. I want to know whether confessing to the Bishop is necessary in this situation to fully repent (in case you didn't read my initial post and needed clarification).

Sorry if I seemed like a jerk...but I wanted to make it clear and I was a little offended

Sorry if you're offended, but that's how it reads and yes, I do understand. More than you think. In any case, if you are questioning whether you need to talk to the Bishop now or later, you need to talk to him now. What you are doing is delaying the inevitable. Just GO! No more analysis. Go talk to him.

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Alright thanks everyone, I realized that Satan has just been feeding with fear and worry. I need to put off the natural man and strive to become pure. I'm sure the Lord will look out for me if I am steadfast. Thanks for all your help!

One other question though, haha. How do all of you make a "signature?" I mean the text you have at the end of every post.

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You should seek the council of your bishop. Your bishop is not there to beat you up if you are having issues.

I would talk to your bishop and use his advice wisely. I'm sure it is not the first he has heard of this issue and will have some good council for you.

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I realize that some may disagree with what I'm about to say but I just feel the need to offer an alternative point of view.

In my opinion, there's a little too much of the automatic idea that going to the Bishop is the only path. That smacks of the Confession system in Catholicism, where confessing to your priest is the *ONLY* way to be forgiven for a sin. I think sometimes people in our church get caught in the rut of thinking that's how it is with the Bishop. It's like somehow we can't ever recover from such mistakes unless the Bishop is informed and involved in some way.

Why is that a bad thing?

Well for one thing it's a way of giving up our free agency. It's an automatic kneejerk reaction. "Uh-oh I masturbated, better make an appointment to call the Bishop!"

His appointment book would be filled for the next twenty years if everybody did that.

For another, the dread and fear of that meeting can cloud someone's judgment and put them through unnecessary stress. Have your sleep habits changed? Your eating habits? Have your grades suffered? How are your friendships and family relationships? Can he just make that all go away by just talking to the Bishop? I guess so, but it's really not that simple, is it?

There's a lot of pressure put on the young men (and women, for that matter) to uphold a certain standard (which in itself is a good thing) but more often than not we're taught what the standard is, but not how to cope when we don't meet it. Going to the Bishop essentially feels like not only have we stumbled but that on some level we're saying "I'm not the good person you thought I was." The result: People showing up to church wearing masks. Case in point: The young man who started this thread probably thinks he's the only one in his ward struggling with this issue.

That's wrong, guys. That's a problem. That's exactly the sort of excessive guilt and feelings of self-loathing that shake faith and lead some to fall away.

Masturbation is not a "dirty little secret." Don't start hating yourself for it and don't feel like you're the only guy in the world who has had to deal with it. I'm of the opinion that 99% of men have been there, with very few exceptions. Show me an adult male who claims never to have masturbated and my first reaction is to think he's probably lying. (No offense, guys. If you truly are an exception then kudos to you, but that makes you a member of a very, very small club.) I'm a man and the father of two teenage boys, so I know of what I speak.

Now, masturbation can be an addictive behavior and if that turned out to be the case, then yes, some kind of help is needed as it would be with ANY addictive behavior. Some understanding of teh cycle of addiction would be useful here. Also, since masturbation is often associated with pornography that can lead to bigger spiritual ramifications. At the end of the day though, in terms of sin, the only one who grants forgiveness is the Lord.

Don't let guilt and shame destroy you. We feel guilt and shame as a way for us to know when we've done wrong, but it isn't meant to eat us up to the point where we're stressed all the time and dreading going to church on Sunday. Those feelings are a tool, not a club.

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I realize that some may disagree with what I'm about to say but I just feel the need to offer an alternative point of view.

In my opinion, there's a little too much of the automatic idea that going to the Bishop is the only path. That smacks of the Confession system in Catholicism, where confessing to your priest is the *ONLY* way to be forgiven for a sin. I think sometimes people in our church get caught in the rut of thinking that's how it is with the Bishop. It's like somehow we can't ever recover from such mistakes unless the Bishop is informed and involved in some way.

Why is that a bad thing?

Well for one thing it's a way of giving up our free agency. It's an automatic kneejerk reaction. "Uh-oh I masturbated, better make an appointment to call the Bishop!"

His appointment book would be filled for the next twenty years if everybody did that.

For another, the dread and fear of that meeting can cloud someone's judgment and put them through unnecessary stress. Have your sleep habits changed? Your eating habits? Have your grades suffered? How are your friendships and family relationships? Can he just make that all go away by just talking to the Bishop? I guess so, but it's really not that simple, is it?

There's a lot of pressure put on the young men (and women, for that matter) to uphold a certain standard (which in itself is a good thing) but more often than not we're taught what the standard is, but not how to cope when we don't meet it. Going to the Bishop essentially feels like not only have we stumbled but that on some level we're saying "I'm not the good person you thought I was." The result: People showing up to church wearing masks. Case in point: The young man who started this thread probably thinks he's the only one in his ward struggling with this issue.

That's wrong, guys. That's a problem. That's exactly the sort of excessive guilt and feelings of self-loathing that shake faith and lead some to fall away.

Masturbation is not a "dirty little secret." Don't start hating yourself for it and don't feel like you're the only guy in the world who has had to deal with it. I'm of the opinion that 99% of men have been there, with very few exceptions. Show me an adult male who claims never to have masturbated and my first reaction is to think he's probably lying. (No offense, guys. If you truly are an exception then kudos to you, but that makes you a member of a very, very small club.) I'm a man and the father of two teenage boys, so I know of what I speak.

Now, masturbation can be an addictive behavior and if that turned out to be the case, then yes, some kind of help is needed as it would be with ANY addictive behavior. Some understanding of teh cycle of addiction would be useful here. Also, since masturbation is often associated with pornography that can lead to bigger spiritual ramifications. At the end of the day though, in terms of sin, the only one who grants forgiveness is the Lord.

Don't let guilt and shame destroy you. We feel guilt and shame as a way for us to know when we've done wrong, but it isn't meant to eat us up to the point where we're stressed all the time and dreading going to church on Sunday. Those feelings are a tool, not a club.

Dissenting opinion? Why would anyone want to give an opinion that only serves to assuage and cover up and not deal with the issue head on? The Bishop does not give absolution. He gives guidance to find peace and forgiveness with God and to help the sinner understand that they are not alone and that all sins are able to be forgiven and overcome. Not to swing a bat around and beat every sinner that comes through his door.

The advice, "if you feel you need to talk to the Bishop, then you should" is sound advice. There could be something bigger going on that the OP is not telling us, nor should he in a public forum like this. Additionally, this may just very well be the Spirit prompting him to go so he can find peace. And if by masturbation he's saying he does this multiple times a day, then yes, there is an issue that needs spiritual as well as emotional guidance, advice and support.

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Dissenting opinion? Why would anyone want to give an opinion that only serves to assuage and cover up and not deal with the issue head on?

I'm not sure what you mean by this.

The Bishop does not give absolution. He gives guidance to find peace and forgiveness with God and to help the sinner understand that they are not alone and that all sins are able to be forgiven and overcome. Not to swing a bat around and beat every sinner that comes through his door.

That's right, he doesn't, but the problem is that too many people feel like somehow their sins won't truly be forgiven unless the Bishop has gotten involved and "signed off" on it.

The advice, "if you feel you need to talk to the Bishop, then you should" is sound advice. There could be something bigger going on that the OP is not telling us, nor should he in a public forum like this. Additionally, this may just very well be the Spirit prompting him to go so he can find peace. And if by masturbation he's saying he does this multiple times a day, then yes, there is an issue that needs spiritual as well as emotional guidance, advice and support.

True, there could be other factors, which is why I tried to make my comments as general as possible, since it's a broader issue than this single example.

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I'm not sure what you mean by this.

I'll have to re-read and re-think as I may have misunderstood you.

That's right, he doesn't, but the problem is that too many people feel like somehow their sins won't truly be forgiven unless the Bishop has gotten involved and "signed off" on it.

I would like to comment on this, but I want to give supporting scripture/documentation to support my point, if not to possibly and probably learn something new. Right now I've run out of time since work is starting to come in. I'll do my best to return to this later today.

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I was curious about this topic of confessing to the Bishop because, as the poster pointed out, what is the threshold to going to the Bishop?

So this is what I learned.

In the 1999 Ensign, an article by Dennis B. Neuenschwander of the Seventy is a nice, concise expose as to why we need to confess.

He explains the why of cofession:

  • Confession involves recognizing God's power
  • Confession involved conquering pride
  • Confession involves learning from God

He points out these reasons on why confession is important:

  • Confession helps us take responsibility
  • Confession helps us to be healed
  • Confession eliminated adversarial feelings
  • Confession opens the way to forgiveness and compassion

This quote from the article gives a nice summary:

A true, honest, and willing confession brings us closer to God. President Stephen L Richards (1879–1959), a counselor in the First Presidency, taught: “Why is confession essential? First, because the Lord commanded it, and secondly, because the offender cannot live and participate in the Kingdom of God, to receive the blessings therefrom with a lie in his heart” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1954, 12).

So then the question becomes where is the line between confessing to only God and to God and the Bishop?

In True to the Faith, under the chapter "Repentance" it tells us this:

Serious transgressions, such as violations of the law of chastity, may jeopardize your membership in the Church. Therefore, you need to confess these sins to both the Lord and His representatives in the Church. This is done under the care of your bishop or branch president and possibly your stake or mission president, who serve as watchmen and judges in the Church. While only the Lord can forgive sins, these priesthood leaders play a critical role in the process of repentance. They will keep your confession confidential and help you throughout the process of repentance. Be completely honest with them. If you partially confess, mentioning only lesser mistakes, you will not be able to resolve a more serious, undisclosed transgression. The sooner you begin this process, the sooner you will find the peace and joy that come with the miracle of forgiveness.

So it seems that serious transgressions as well as those involving the Law of Chastity should be brought before the Bishop. And everywhere I've looked and read in my searches on LDS.org, masturbation falls under that law. So It would not be a stretch, but the word from the Leaders of the Church, especially Spencer W. Kimball who was not shy about spelling out what specifically is contained within the Law of Chastity.

So as far as what I've been able to find, masturbation is something that should be brought before the Bishop because we've been told that's what is expected of us to do if we wish to live according to the laws of God.

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