Claim #5b: Boyd K. Packer’s “To Young Men Only” talk

I indicated that I found efforts to distance the Church from this talk (and its stance discouraging masturbation) unpersuasive. Rollo replies that: “Not surprisingly, Smith failed to mention that a search of Gen’l Conference talks at lds.org will NOT pull up this talk. It simply is not there.”

This is not surprising, since the talk was never printed in the Ensign for general Church membership. Its absence is not a change, but simply how Elder Packer has handled this particular talk—it was not printed in the Ensign, but has consistently been available in pamphlet form for bishops to distribute as needed. (It is in the official Conference Report, however.) Since Rollo is unaware of these facts, others may be too. I’ve thus expanded the footnote to prevent others from drawing the same mistaken conclusion.

Rollo also points out that masturbation is not something for which a disciplinary council is to be held. He’s quite right. He tries to suggest, however, that this means that it is something which the Church does not wish to teach against, or that their stance is softening.

Such a claim is, again, absurd. Other items about which disciplinary councils are not to be held include non-payment of tithing, Word of Wisdom violations (is the Church softening its stance on tobacco or crack cocaine?), or pornography use, which can hardly be something about which Church leaders are winking. I suspect that the latter two of these are included along with masturbation because they are better approached as compulsions, addictions, or bad habits.

The current For the Strength of Youth booklet is crystal clear, and does not support Rollo’s revisionism:

Do not do anything else that arouses sexual feelings. Do not arouse those emotions in your own body.[1]


[1] “Sexual purity,” For the Strength of Youth, https://www.lds.org/youth/for-the-strength-of-youth/sexual-purity.

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