Faithful members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe in upholding the Law of Chastity, one of God's most important commandments. The Book of Mormon and modern prophets have taught us that sexual sins are second only to murder in their seriousness before God (Alma 39:3-5).
Masturbation is one such serious violation of the Law of Chastity. This sin in particular can have many serious consequences.
Apostle Mark E Peterson taught:
“Masturbation is a sinful habit that robs one of the Spirit and creates guilt and emotional stress. . . It is a habit that is totally self-centered, and secretive, and in no way expresses the proper use of the procreative power given to man to fulfill eternal purposes. It therefore separates a person from God, and defeats the gospel plan."
Personal Background and Experience
As a male member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons), I struggle daily to keep myself worthy before God. As an adult, I look back on my teenage years and remember the painful struggles I had living the Law of Chastity. Like most teenage boys, I had a masturbation habit, and I had great difficulty in overcoming this vice.
However, I developed some techniques to help me overcome my problem, and eventually I prevailed. I am proud to say that, at the time of this writing, it has been 17 years, 43 days and 16 hours since my last masturbatory event.
I would like to build an app for smartphones that will mesh my techniques with modern technology, and help anyone interested beat their habit.
How does it work?
The app itself is very simple. Let me walk you through the menu, and what will happen at each selection. Here is a mockup of what the app will look like. I am not a "computer wizard," so this is a very rough estimation. The final product will look much more polished and professional, I assure you.
For the first month, the user should only use the "Log Activity" button. Within this section, the user should log each instance of masturbatory activity, and any extenuating circumstances or triggers that led to the activity. They may also log times when they were tempted to indulge, but successfully withheld. After a month of logging, the app will formulate a plan for the user. Once this month is up, the user should continue to log his activity in order to track progress and identify risk factors.
After the first month, the user may then begin to use the other choices in the main menu. Now we will discuss the "Preventative Measures" menu, shown below.
The first choice is "Uplifted." If selected, this option will randomly link to one of the gospel topics pages on LDS.org, or other approved source, in order to help the user to continue to feel uplifted.
The second choice is "Tempted." Opening this section will lead the user to a variety of resources meant to reduce libido and shift the mindset from sexual to to spiritual.
For some users, passive means work best toward this end. For these users, this section will include links to church-approved resources such as uplifting music by the Tabernacle Choir, and links to conference talks on a variety of subjects.
For other users, a more active approach will be necessary to subdue their urges. For these users a variety of physical tasks will be given, such as push-ups or pull-ups. Situps will be avoided due to the potential friction which could be counterproductive to our cause.
Now, to the heart of the matter. I know you are anxious to know what happens when one hits the "Emergency" button, but in order to fully explain this, I need to introduce some additional background information, as well as two heros from the LDS church who have been at the forefront in the battle against masturbation.
It is of critical importance to understand why we have the urge to masturbate. Certainly there are some basic physiologic elements to it, like hormones, which is why teenagers are so susceptible. However, there are other factors to be considered as well.
Fortunately, God has provided us with living, breathing prophets to help understand the critical issues of our time, including masturbation. Two apostles in particular made it their life's work to combat this masturbation. These men are Apostles Mark E. Peterson and Boyd K. Packer. These men have spoken with God on the topic, and from their conversations with Him we can learn a great deal.
Elder Packer shared his insights on the subject in his seminal conference address titled "For Young Men Only." In it, he compares our genitals to "little factories" which "produce the lifegiving substance." He continues this analogy:
"This little factory will sometimes produce an oversupply of this substance. The Lord has provided a way for that to be released. It will happen without any help or without any resistance from you.
The factory and automatic release work on their own schedule. The Lord intended it to be that way. It is to regulate itself. This will not happen very often.
There is, however, something you should not do. Sometimes a young man does not understand. Perhaps he is encouraged by unwise or unworthy companions to tamper with that factory. He might fondle himself and open that release valve. This you shouldn't do, for if you do that, the little factory will speed up. You will then be tempted again and again to release it. You can quickly be subjected to a habit,"
Elder Packer thus described how our "little factories" work. Elder Peterson, for his part, has blessed us with a long checklist of ways to shut our factories down. For the sake of brevity I will only share the highlights of his list; the rest can be read here for anyone interested.
Ways to help one break the habit of masturbation:
- Break off friendships with anyone else who is struggling with masturbation. Being in their presence will exacerbate your problem.
- Pray, but not about your masturbation habit. Praying about masturbation will only make you want to masturbate.
- Consider wearing many layers of clothing to bed, to make it difficult to access your genitals.
- If layering does not suffice, consider more extreme measures like binding your hands to the bedposts.
- It is sometimes helpful to have a physical object to use in overcoming this problem. A Book of Mormon, firmly held in hand, even in bed at night has proven helpful in extreme cases.
- Aversion therapy: If you associate something very distasteful with your loss of self-control it will help you to stop the act. For example, if you are tempted to masturbate, think of having to bathe in a tub of worms, and eating several of them as you do the act.
Elder Packer and Elder Peterson have laid the framework upon which I will build this app. Outlined below is the sequence of events that will be triggered when a user hits the "emergency" button.
1) A series of annoying beeps and boops will play. This is the aversion therapy portion. The hope is that these sounds will annoy the user enough to reduce libido and temptation. It will take time for this to take effect. Initially it will not be effective, but with enough exposure the sounds alone may be be sufficient to arrest a masturbatory episode.
2) The app will ask the user if there is anyone present who is pressuring him to masturbate. The apostles quoted above have pointed out the fact that masturbation often happens due to unworthy friends or aquaintainces who encourage us to participate. The Prophet Spencer W Kimball taught this as well.
This was not the case in my own personal experience, but I cannot doubt God's mouthpieces when they tell us that there is a certain subset of the population who go around encouraging others to masturbate. I call these people the Lubricatti.
Those striving to break the habit should be wary of anyone who approaches and asks them to "go rub one out," or who invites them to a "pole greasing party," or a "knob polishing gala." These events are but a few of the tools the Lubricatti use to lead us down the proverbial and possibly literal slippery slope.
Getting back to the app, if the user responds that there is someone present who is trying to convince them to masturbate, then it will walk them through a script of what to say to that person, such as "no."
3) Once the user is out of reach from the Lubricatti, he may progress to the next activity, which I call "Holding to the rod." The Book of Mormon teaches us to "hold to the rod" as a sure means of reaching our spiritual goals, in reference to the iron rod described by the prophet Nephi. Elder Peterson, as quoted above, also advocates firmly grasping a physical object as a means of combatting the urge to masturbate.
The app will display a graphic representing the iron rod. When the user touches the rod, a hand will be displayed firmly grasping the rod. The user may slide the hand back and forth over the rod, but if his fingers break contact with the screen, the hand will let go. Maintaining a grip on the rod thus ensures that both hands remain occupied (one holding the phone, the other "holding" the rod), and therefore the users' hands will be unable to engage in other activity. See below for screenshot:
As the user slides the virtual hand back and forth across the virtual rod, virtual friction is created. Sliding faster creates more friction. With increased friction, the rod will eventually begin to heat up and glow. The end goal is to make the rod white-hot. The user should feel free to engage in this activity with righteous vigor. When the goal is finally achieved, the rod will melt away in an explosion of fireworks, and the app will play soothing gurgling/splashing sounds to help the user relax and bask in the glow of a job well-done.
4) If holding to the rod has not extinguished the desire for masturbation, the user will then be led through a series of activities that will hopefully accomplish this. These are outlined below:
- a) The user will be given a link to Elder Packer's recent conference talk which discusses the importance of procreation and using this power responsibly. Elder Packer's soothing voice should help de-escalate any desire to masturbate.
- b) The user will be asked to perform a series of demanding physical tasks including pushups, pullups and running in place.
- c) If the physical activities are still not enough, the app will recommend that the user engage in some activity that will provide an actual physical "release." For some users, smashing old burned-out lightbulbs can give a sense of satisfaction. For others, discharging a full can of pressurized whipped-cream onto a fully-consenting friend or hired helper can provide some relief.
- d) As the app is more fully developed, more activities will be added to the list.
("Stretch" goals being inappropriate for this subject matter)
$250,000: We will work to give the app the functionality to send progress reports to your Bishop or anyone you choose. If you slip up, the app will notify your designee via text, email, and Facebook post.
$1,000,000: we will look into the possibility of giving the app the functionality to sense the presence of lubricant on your hands. If lube is detected, but no activity is logged, the app will bide its time, and at some random interval of time later, it will announce loudly, "Masturbation alert!! Would you like to log your activity from earlier?" Hopefully this announcement will come at a socially awkward moment. The memory of these awkward moments can be used as a deterrent from further activity.
Risks and challenges
This will be the first app built by Kinderhook Games, so there will inevitably be glitches and challenges along the way. We plan to work hard to iron out these glitches and do our best to bring a fine product to market.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (28 days)