The following historical events regarding sex and marriage in the
church have been compiled from the extensive historical church
chronology from D. Michael Quinn's book "The Mormon Hierarchy :
Extensions of Power" For references, refer to the book.
Jan 14, 1848 - Brigham Young instructs Seventy's meeting: "For the
first act of adultery you may forgive a man, but if a man beds with a
woman and does it 10 times he is guilty."
11 Mar, 1848 - Benjamin Covey is excommunicated for having sexual
intercourse with two girls "less than Twelve years of age" who are his
foster daughters. He is re-baptized and serves as bishop of Salt Lake
City Twelfth Ward from 22 February 1849 until 1856.
1 Feb, 1849 - First counselor Heber C. Kimball tells Sunday meeting
that plural marriage "would end he said when the Church had gone to
the Devil or the Priesthood taken from this people - then God would
give it to another people."
3 Mar, 1849 - At council of Fifty meeting, Brigham Young speaks
concerning thieves, murderers, and sexually licentious: " I want their
cursed heads to be cut off that they may atone for their crimes." Next
day, the council agrees that man has "forfeited his Head," and decides
it would be best "to dispose of him privately." Instead, they allow
him to live.
29 April, 1849 - First Presidency and Quorum of Twelve make following
decisions concerning sex in marriage "not to unite with woman in view
of impregnation till 7 days after the cessation of the menstrual
discharge in order for the most healthy procreation. Also that after
childbirth if delivered a son she should continue 40 days in her
purification [without sexual intercourse with her husband]. If
daughter she [the new mother] should be 70 days separated as unclean
for a man. As to sexual connection during pregnancy, do just as they
please about that - suit themselves." This is the earliest known LDS
discussion of what is appropriate in sexual relations of married
couples. These rules are based on Book of Leviticus, rather than on
current medical writings.
15 Jan, 1851 - First of Brigham Young's' five formal divorces from
plural wives. He is only one formally divorced while serving as church
president. Joseph Smith informally ended several plural marriages, and
four LDS presidents are formally divorced as apostles (John Taylor,
Wilford Woodruff, Lorenzo Snow and Joseph F. Smith)
19 Jar, 1851 - Utah legislature enacts law against "Sodomy" by "any
man or boy," but removes sodomy from criminal code on 6 Mar. 1852,
without explanation. As governor Brigham Young signs both laws. Due to
absence of sodomy statue, Utah judge drops charges against soldier for
raping LDS boy in 1864. Young claims Utah's legislators never
criminalized sodomy and he declines to instruct them to do so for the
next twelve years. Utah legislators criminalize sodomy in 1876 only
because federally appointed governor asks them to adopt entire
criminal code of California which has five-year imprisonment for
sodomy. For next twenty years LDS judges give 3-6 months of
imprisonment to those convicted of homosexual rape, the same
sentencing given to young males and females convicted of consensual
fornication. Mormons of this era give no known explanations for any of
these legislative and juridical actions/inactions.
17 Mar, 1851 - Brigham Young speaks in favor of Madison D. Hambleton
who is being tried for shooting and killing man at LDS church
services, immediately after closing prayer. The man "seduced" wife of
Hambleton who is "acquitted by the Court and also by the Voice of the
people present." Hambleton later becomes sheriff in Utah.
18 Oct, 1851 - Trial of confessed murderer (and newly
returned-missionary) Howard Egan. His lawyer Apostle George A. Smith
popularizes phrase "mountain common law" and argues: "The man who
seduces his neighbor's wife must die, and her nearest relative must
kill him!" Fifteen minutes later jury finds Egan not guilty of murder.
Church authorities print Smith's closing argument in Deseret News, in
two church pamphlets, and later in Journal of Discourses 1:97. Egan is
one of Brigham Young's enforcers.
24 July, 1853 - Brigham Young preaches, "The Father came down in his
bodily tabernacle and begot Jesus."
19 Feb, 1854 - Seventy's president Jedediah M. Grant preaches: Did the
Prophet Joseph want every man's wife that he asked for? He did
16 July, 1854 - First counselor Heber C. Kimball recommends
decapitation for adulterers and preaches from the pulpit concerning
"unclean" women: "we wipe them out of existence."
8 Oct, 1854 - In what Apostle Wilford Woodruff describes as "the
greatest sermon that ever was delivered to the Latter Day Saints since
they have been a people," Brigham Young announces from the pulpit: "I
believe in Sisters marrying brothers, and brothers having their
sisters for Wives. Why? because we cannot do otherwise. There are none
others for me to and the opposite idea has resulted from the ignorant
and foolish traditions of the nations of the earth." Young's secretary
George D. Watt has already married his own half sister as a plural
wife. Her letter to Young shows that he was initially "unfavorable"
toward allowing them to marry, but this sermon reveals theological
basis for Young's authorizing Watt's brother-sister marriage and the
three children born of their union.
27 Apr, 1855 - Lieutenant in Colonel E. J. Steptoe's command in Salt
Lake City writes to friend about his romance and near seduction of one
of the wives of Brigham Young's son Joseph (who is on a mission):
"Mary [Ayers] Young and I had to give up. Brigham sent me word that if
I took her away he would have me killed before I could get out of the
Territory. He is a man of his word and little matters of this sort are
concluded, I had better not do it, although I went back to the city
purposely to get her. We wrote each other affectionate notes."
27 Mar, 1857 - Brigham Young permits woman to select faithful elders
to act as "proxy" to father children for her sexually impotent living
husband. Young performs polyandrous ceremony "for time," and the
relationship lasts for several years producing two sons, (1858, 1861).
Mother's legal husband raises boys with her, and later tells them he
loves them as much as if they were his natural sons. Both boys grow up
to become devoted Mormons and polygamists. This is last known case of
2 June, 1857 - Brigham Young says from the pulpit, "I feel to sustain
him," when informed that the bishop in Manti. Waren S. Snow, has
castrated twenty-four-year-old Welchman, Thomas Lewis, for undisclosed
sex crime. "Just let the matter drop, and say no more about it," Young
writes Snow in July about the castration, "and it will soon die away
among the people." Snow's counselor confides to his diary that this
poor young man "has now gone crazy."
14 June, 1857 - At a prayer circle of the First Presidency and
apostles, Brigham Young refuses to seal three young girls (ages 12 and
13) to "Father James Allred" (age 73) because they "would not be
equally yoked together" in marriage.
27 Jan, 1858 - Judge Hosea Stout describes with no disapproval how
Mormons "disguised as Indians" drag a man "out of bed with a whore and
castrated him by a square and close amputation."
5 Apr, 1858 - Bishop of Payson, his brother the Sheriff, and several
members of their LDS congregation join in shooting to death
twenty-two-year-old Henry Jones and is mother, Mrs. Hannah Jones
Hatch, for committing incest by which she has a daughter. The men also
kill infant and also castrate brother/father. Perpetrators are
indicted next year, but not brought to trial. When indicted again in
1889, Deseret News article criticizes trial of this "antiquated Payson
homicide" as anti-Mormon crusade against those who were justifiably
"disgusted and greatly incensed" against "the brutal mother and son."
Former sheriff is convicted of murder, former bishop is acquitted.
12 Sep, 1858 - Church historian's office notes discovery this morning
of severed head of Provo woman who has been at U.S. military camp for
a week. Six weeks earlier another woman's head is discovered. These
are earliest verified examples of someone taking literally the
repeated teachings of Mormon leaders that apostates and adulterers
should have their heads "cut off" as "blood atonement" for their sins.
2 Jan, 1859 - Brigham Young begins custom of having all Mormon
congregations sit with women on north side of center aisle, men on
south side, and children on front benches. This seating arrangement
lasts for decades, remains in temples to this day.
8 Oct, 1859 - Brigham Young from the pulpit tells bishops to give
Melchizedek priesthood to eighteen-year old boys, even if they "have
been sowing their wild oats for years."
8 July, 1860 - Brigham Young preaches from the pulpit, "Children are
now born who will live until every son of Adam will have the privilege
of receiving the principles of eternal life." He also preaches, "The
birth of our Savior was as natural as are the births of our children;
it was the result of natural action."
23 Feb 1862 - Brigham Young preaches from the pulpit that the concept
of Mother in Heaven is as essential as concept of Father in Heaven.
1 Aug 1862 - Brigham Young writes to a local bishop: "my advice is for
bro James T.S. Allred to marry the Indian girl in question. It is
written that 'not many generations shall pass away before they become
a white and delightsome people.'" Dozens of men marry Native Americans
as plural wives in pioneer Utah and Arizona.
12 Apr, 1866 - Deseret News reports murder of S. Newton Brassfield on
2 Apr. He legally marries plural wife of absent Mormon missionary, and
Deseret News editorializes that "the illegally married couple would
probably have been suffered to pursue their way to their own liking,"
except that she filed for custody of her children. Deseret News also
reports Brigham Young's sermon about the murdered Brassfield: "Were I
absent from my home on a mission, I would rejoice to know that I had
friends there to protect and guard the virtue of my household; and I
would thank God for such friends."
19 Aug, 1866 - Brigham Young preaches from the pulpit: "Mary, the wife
of Joseph, had another husband. On this account infidels have called
the Savior a bastard... he was begotten by God our Heavenly Father."
She was a polyandrist, like the women he authorized in 1857.
11 Dec, 1866 - Brigham Young, Jr. writes in his diary that "a nigger"
is found dead in Salt Lake City with this note pinned to the corpse:
"Let this be a warning to all niggers that they meddle not with white
10 Jan, 1868 - Deseret News Editorial: "In this Territory we jealously
close the door against adultery, seduction and whoredom. Public
opinion here pronounces the penalty of death as the fitting punishment
for such crimes."
4 Feb, 1868 - Deseret News editorializes that "it is a pity" LDS
father did not succeed in killing his daughter's lover when the father
"drew a revolver and shot him down in the court room."
5 Mar, 1868 - Deseret News article titled "Served Him Right" reports
that a Gentile is given "sound thrashing" when he visits LDS meeting
to see young woman.
15 Aug, 1869 - Apostle George Q. Canon preaches from the pulpit: "We
close the door on one side, and say that whoredoms, seductions and
adulteries must not be committed among us, and we say to those who are
determined to carry on such things: WE WILL KILL YOU..."
27 Oct, 1869 - Brigham Young preaches at Lehi, Utah that "by marriage
Lot's two daughters were sealed to him, and will be his to all
eternity." Young adds that it might one day become necessary to seals
a man's daughter to him as a wife, "but it is not likely ever again to
occur." There are verified instances of LDS leaders performing
polygamous marriages between men and their foster-daughters or
step-daughters, but not actual daughters.
18 June, 1870 - First counselor George A. Smith tells Salt Lake School
of the Prophets about "the evil of Masturbation" among Utah Mormons.
Apostle Lorenzo Snow says that "Plural Marriage would tend to diminish
this evil self-pollution," and he believes that "indulgence on the
part of men was less in Plural marriage than in Monogamy." Elder
George Reynolds (Secretary to Brigham Young) also tells the School
that "where Monogamy was the Law, it compelled a more frequent
(sexual) cohabitation than is right and proper." Mormon medical books
of the time advise sexual intercourse only once a month.
11 Sep, 1871 - Counselor Daniel H. Wells tells Grantsville School of
the Prophets that "a great many of our young men are abusing
themselves by the habit of self-pollution: or self abuse, or as the
Bible terms it, Onanism," which he regards as "one great cause why so
many of our young men were not married, and it was a great sin, and
would lead to insanity and a premature grave." Polygamy is likelier
cause for prevalence of bachelorhood in nineteenth-century Utah.
First, every national census lists more males than females in Mormon
population. Second, 10 to 40 percent of Mormon men marry polygamously
which demographically requires bachelorhood in Utah's majority
population of males.
16 Dec, 1871 - Seymor B. Young, son of senior Seventy's president,
writes: "Salt Lake City has for the first time in its history houses
of Ill fame almost on every corner."
27 Feb, 1872 - LDS publication Millenial Star editorial titled,
"Motherhood of God," repeats a child's question: "Why don't you tell
me about the Heavenly Mother? Don't she give us anything?" Editorial
speaks of those who "yearn to adore her" and expresses approval of
praying to "Father and Mother God." Editorial conclusion: "When we
draw nearer the Divine Man, lo! we shall find a Divine Woman smiling
upon us...In the Father's many mansions, we shall find her and be
7 Mar, 1875 - Apostle Joseph F. Smith's wife writes to him that "you
know how brother (Apostle) [Albert] Carrington thinks a deal of
women." In Dec. 1882 Apostle John Henry Smith writes President John
Taylor that maid at British Mission headquarters "found Bro.
Carrington lying upon the lounge and Sarah Kirkman lying upon top
him." Upon Brigham Young's inquiry about other women in 1873 and John
Taylor's inquiry about Sarah Kirkham in 1883, Carrington denies
serious wrongdoing. he is not excommunicated until 1885 when protests
from Sarah's husband become too insistent to ignore.
24 June, 1876 - Brigham Young confides that it is "a curiosity to him
that men could commit adultery and still retain the spirit of the Lord
as he had witnessed on one occasion. The man is now dead."
26 Sep, 1877 - Grand Jury describes Salt Lake County probate court as
a "divorce mill" which granted 300 divorces in previous twelve-month
period, primarily on "grounds of incompatibility of temperament,
different aims and objectives in life." Eighty percent of divorced
couples come to Utah for divorces from such places as San Francisco,
New York City, Chicago, Terre Haute, and St. Louis. Report finds that
13 percent of divorces are granted same day of complaint, total of 25
percent within week of application, and total of 85 percent are
granted within a month of application. Report continues, "And your
committee have good reason to believe that other country probate
courts of the territory are likewise engaged in this class of divorce
business, to an equal if not greater extent." Two months later U.S.
senator Dawes introduces bill to remove divorce from jurisdiction of
Mormon probate courts and limit divorce cases to federally-appointed
13 June, 1878 - LDS political newspaper Salt Lake Herald's editorial
on "Unhappy Marriages" begins: "We cannot say how many divorces the
(Mormon) Utah probate courts have granted during the last few years,
but the number is enormous, amounting to perhaps thousands."
8 Oct, 1881 - First Counselor George Q. Cannon tells general
conference: "We hear now of men having got married to cover up certain
things; of children born wonderfully soon after marriage in some of
our settlements, and perhaps in this city no less than in our rural
31 Mar, 1883 - Apostle Brigham Young Jr. tells stake priesthood
meeting: "There are many girls in Utah who have never had an offer of
marriage from a man of the Church... Girls who marry outsiders are not
worthy of the Sacrament."
9 Oct, 1883 - In several hours of meeting with stake presidents, First
Presidency and apostles give instructions about
"Masturbation...self-pollution of both sexes and excessive sexual
indulgence in the married relation." This is the first-known Mormon
reference to female masturbation.
7 Nov, 1885 - Quorum of Twelve excommunicates Apostle Albert
Carrington "for crimes of lewd and lascivious conduct and adultery"
with several women dating back to 1871. This is the first time since
1842 that a general authority is excommunicated for sexual misconduct,
and its publication on 10 Nov. stuns the community.
27 Mar, 1886 - Polygamist husband confides in his personal diary: "How
delicate is the position of a man in plural marriage who loves his
wives and who in turn is loved by them. Every move he makes, in his
relation or intercourse with them, is an arrow that pierces deep into
the heart of one or other of them... A thousand thoughts and plans may
come into his mind, but there is only one true solution. He must
please God. In doing this, it may be hoped that by and by, he may also
somehow please them."
15 July, 1886 - Apostle Lorenzo prophecies from the pulpit that in the
future "brothers and sisters would marry each other in this church.
All our horror at such a union was due entirely to prejudice, and the
offspring of such unions would be as healthy and pure as any other.
These were the decided views of President Young, when alive, for
Bother Snow talked to him freely on this matter."
27 Dec, 1886 - Sarah M. Granger Kimball, counselor in Relief Society
General Presidency teaches from the pulpit that "her brother Lafayette
Granger and the late Bishop George Miller in conversation once with
the prophet Joseph smith were told by him that when Mary the mother of
Jesus was on her way to the hill country she was met by God the Father
and the Angel Gabriel and the latter performed the marriage between
Father (God) and Mary."
21 July, 1887 - Apostle Franklin D. Richards: "God the Father came
down in his tabernacle of flesh and bone and had (sexual) association
with Mary, and made her pregnant with Jesus."
27 Feb, 1889 - LDS political newspaper Salt Lake Herald's article
titled, "FAILED MARRIAGES," regarding "the report of the Labor
Commissioner Wright, presented last week, on the statistics of
marriage and divorce in the United States from 1867 to 1886
inclusive," with following: In 1870 Utah had highest rate of divorce
out of all states and territories. In 1870 Utah's rate was one divorce
per 185 marriages. National averages was 1:664. States with lowest
divorce rates are South Carolina at 1:4,938, Delaware at 1:123,672,
New Mexico at 1:16,077, North Carolina at 1:4,938, and Louisiana at
1:4,579. In 1880 Utah had tenth highest rate of divorce out of all
states and territories. In 1880 Utah's rate was one divorce per 219
marriages, which was more than twice the national average of 1:479. In
twentieth century, divorce rates for LDS temple marriages starts out
three times higher than this "divorce mill" rate for early Utah civil
13 Mar, 1890 - Plural wife writes to her husband: "We are more like
lovers than husband and wife for we are as far removed from each other
- there is always the embarrassment of lovers and yet we have been
married more than 37 years."
8 Sep, 1890 - Apostle John Henry Smith preaches from the pulpit that
"married people who indulge their passions for any other purpose than
to beget children, really committed adultery."
1 Oct, 1890 - An apostle asks "how the Son of God was begotten," and
Lorenzo Snow tells apostles, "that he was begotten just the same as
you and I were or as our sons today are."
2 Dec, 1890 - Apostle Lorenzo Snow tells the Quorum of Twelve that "he
expects to see the day when a man's blood is shed again for the crime
24 Mar, 1891 - Utah's chief justice Zane writes: "Polygamy has
demoralized the people of Utah. I presume there are more sexual crimes
here in proportion to the population than anywhere else."
6 Mar, 1892 - Stake president "condemns the practice that existed
among the Saints to some extent of taking means to restrict the number
of their children to only two or three."
20 Sep, 1896 - Seventy's president J. Golden Kimball preaches: "There
are 500 girls who are public prostitutes in Salt Lake City. Some of
these are daughters of Latter-Day Saints."
5 Nov, 1896 - Apostle Lorenzo R. Snow's youngest plural wife bears his
last child in Canada. At age 82 he is the oldest general authority to
father a child.
15 Jan, 1897 - Apostle Brigham Young Jr. temporarily resigns as
vice-president of Brigham Young Trust Co. because first counselor
George Q. Cannon allows its property to become "a first class" brothel
on Commercial Street (now Regent Street), Salt Lake City. Apostle
Heber J. Grant is invited to its opening reception and is stunned to
discover himself inside "a regular whore-house." This situation begins
in 1891 and for fifty years church-owned and controlled real estate
companies lease houses of prostitution.
7 Oct, 1898 - At general conference Apostle John W. Taylor reports
that in one rural area in Utah, 80 percent of LDS marriages involve
14 June, 1900 - First Presidency and apostles agree to give $3,600 to
Brigham Y. Hampton for his prior "detective work" in which he paid
prostitute to allow him and nearly thirty LDS "Home Missionaries" and
policemen to spy on anti-Mormons engaging in sex acts in Salt Lake
City brothels in 1885. Although first counselor denies it at this
meeting, in private meetings of First Presidency George Q. Cannon
refers to Hampton's brothel work as "services rendered the Church" and
"work in behalf of the Church." Hampton has been set apart as a Salt
Lake temple worker since 1893, and another coordinator of brothel
spying is the temple doorkeeper (1893-1910).
10 July 1901 - Apostle Anthon H. Lund reports to apostles that during
six-month period, 58 percent of LDS marriages in rural ward were
7 Nov, 1901 - First Presidency decides and announces that there is "no
rule in the church forbidding cousins to intermarry" and that first
cousins can have temple marriages if they present civil license.
General authorities such as Brigham Young, Williard Richards, Joseph
F. Smith and Abraham H. Cannon married their first cousins as legal
and plural wives.
23 Nov, 1902 - Apostle John W. Taylor tells stake priesthood meeting
that "those who have sexual intercourse with their wives or touch any
dead body are unclean until the evening, and therefore during that day
should not enter the temple or officiate in any ordinances of the
26 Mar 1903 - Joseph F. Smith tells apostles "there would be no
daughters of perdition" in final judgment. General authorities
authorize rebaptism without church discipline for young man who
confesses "secret crime he committed in having to do with animals."
7 July, 1903 - Apostle Rudger Clawson tells other apostles "that the
practice of self-abuse existed to an alarming extent among the boys in
our community who attended the district schools, and also, he doubted
not, the church schools. He felt that the boys and girls should be
properly instructed in regard to this evil."
25 Oct, 1905 - Public criticism of Joseph F. Smith's remarks that
Father Damien of Hawaiian leper colony was immoral before his death.
LDS church president is convinced that leprosy is contracted through
9 May, 1913 - First Presidency learns that James Dwyer, co-founder of
Salt Lake City's LDS University (now LDS Business College), has been
"teaching young men that sodomy and kindred vices are not sins..."
Dwyer's daughter, actress Ada Dwyer Russell, is already in long-term
relationship with lesbian poet Amy Lowell. Dwyer's bishop and stake
president want to excommunicate him, but First Presidency allows
Dwyer, now in his eighties, to voluntarily "withdraw his name" from
LDS church membership.
29 Sep, 1914 - Quorum of Twelve learns that mission president has
"discovered that 15% of the missionary Elders in the Netherlands
during the past two years, have been guilty of immoral practices, and
that a much greater percentage of Elders have been exposed to these
8 June, 1941 - First Councilor J. Reuben Clark tells annual general
conference of youth and their leaders: "When I was a boy it was
preached from the stand, and my father and my mother repeated the
principle to me time and time again. They said, 'Reuben, we had rather
bury you than have you become unchaste.' And that is the law of this
26 Jan, 1942 - First Councilor J. Reuben Clark tells reporter for Look
Magazine: "Our divorces are piling up." Church Historian's Office in
1968 compiles divorce statistics since 1910 for temple marriages,
"church civil" marriages, and "other civil" marriages. Although temple
marriages have lowest divorce rate of the three categories, in 1910
there was one "temple divorce" for every 66 temple marriages performed
that year., 1:41 in 1915, 1:34 in 1920, 1:27 in 1925, 1:30 in 1930,
1:23 in 1935, 1:27 in 1939, 1:17 in 1945, 1:31 in 1950, 1:30 in 1955,
1:19 in 1960 and 1965. Last rate for temple divorce is almost ten
times higher than Utah's civil divorce rate century earlier.
2 Oct, 1952 - Second Counselor J. Reuben Clark warns women of Relief
Society general conference against "self-pollution," prostitution, and
"homosexuality, which it is tragic to say, is found among both sexes."
He cautions LDS women against allowing homosexual-oriented males to
use them as male-substitutes in dating or marriage: "I wonder if you
girls have ever reflected on the thought that was in the mind of the
man who first began to praise you for your boyish figures." Clark also
tells the ladies, "I forebear to more than mention that abomination
and filth and loathsomeness of the ancients - carnal knowledge with
beasts." Church Relief Society magazine publishes this talk in full.
21 May, 1959 - Executive committee of Church Board of Education
discusses "the growing problem in our society of homosexuality."
Spencer W. Kimball reports that David O. McKay has said "that in his
view homosexuality was worse than heterosexual immorality; that it is
a filthy and unnatural habit."
12 Feb, 1964 - First Presidency letter that all prospective
missionaries "found guilty of fornication, of sex perversion, of heavy
petting, or of comparable transgressions should not be recommended
until the case has been discussed with the bishop and stake president
and the visiting General Authority."
7 Jan, 1969 - First Presidency secretary Joseph Anderson answers
letter about "the Church's stand pertaining to birth control," with
the concluding statement: "After all, however, the brethren recognize
that this is a personal matter involving the individuals concerned,
and concerning which they must make their own decision."
14 April, 1969 - First Presidency makes official statement on birth
control which omits any reference to their own feelings about birth
control as "a personal matter," and states: "We believe that those who
practice birth control will reap disappointment by and by," and
repeated earlier letter's emphasis on "self control as a dominant
factor" in marriage.
9 June, 1978 - First Presidency letter instructs that interviews of
married persons "should scrupulously avoid indelicate inquiries," yet
also emphasizes: "Married persons should understand that if in their
marital relations they are guilty of unnatural, impure or unholy
practices, they should not enter the temple unless and until they
repent and discontinue any such practices." This reverses position of
First Presidency prior to Spencer W. Kimball's ascendancy.
17 June, 1978 - Church News headline "Interracial Marriage
Discouraged" in same issue which announces authorization of priesthood
for those of black African descent. Sources at church headquarters
indicate that Apostle Mark E. Petersen requires this emphasis.
Sep 1981 - Branch presidents at the Missionary Training Center in
Provo receive 21-point handout to help "both male and female"
missionaries avoid masturbation. Point 19: "In very severe cases it
may be necessary to tie a hand to the bed frame with a tie in order
that the habit of masturbating in a semi-sleep condition can be
broken." In May 1995 article about masturbation, national magazine
"Details" publishes seventeen of the recommendations and identifies
Apostle Mark E. Petersen as author of "Steps in Overcoming
Masturbation: A Guide to Self-Control." In 1996, spokesman at LDS
headquarters denies that Elder Petersen authored this document and
denies that it was ever distributed.
5 Jan, 1982 - First Presidency repeats its 1978 instructions for
"interviewing married persons," but adds: "The First Presidency has
interpreted oral sex as constituting an unnatural, impure or unholy
15 Oct 1982 - First Presidency instruction to all stake and mission
leaders that many letters from church members "indicate clearly that
some local leaders have been delving into private, sensitive matters
beyond the scope of what is appropriate.... Also, you should never
inquire into personal, intimate matters involving marital relations
between a man and his wife." Letter continues that even if a church
member volunteers such intimate information, "you should not peruse
the matter but should merely suggest that if the member has enough
anxiety about the propriety of the conduct to ask about it, the best
course would be to discontinue it." In response to widespread
complaints from married couples being asked if they have oral sex,
this returns First Presidency stance to what it was prior to
presidency of Spencer W. Kimball, now incapacitated.
4 Mar, 1983 - Salt Lake Tribune reports lawsuit filed in February
against LDS church for $28 million. A father blames LDS bishop for
contributing to his sixteen-year-old son's suicide for counseling his
son "that masturbation is a terrible sin.. and being a normal
adolescent in the puberty state, KIP ELIASON became increasingly less
able to reconcile his sexual desires with the strict doctrines of the
said LDS Church. He became filled with self-hate."
15 Apr, 1983 - "University Post: The Unofficial Newspaper of Brigham
Young University" reports interview with director of Standards
Department. He acknowledges that students suspected of cheating,
illegal drug use, stealing, or homosexuality are expelled from BYU if
they refuse to take polygraph examination. BYU Security has licensed
4 Apr, 1987 - First Counselor Gordon B. Hinckley tells priesthood
session of general conference that "marriage should not be viewed as a
therapeutic step to solve problems such as homosexual inclinations or
practices..." This reverses decades-long church policy formulated by
Spencer W. Kimball.
9 Aug 1991 - Salt Lake Tribune article, "Of LDS Women, 58% Admit