The Battle of the Bulge

Tom Doran

Tissot onanisme1 206x300 The Battle of the BulgeMasturbation could well be the greatest single social good in the history of humanity.

I sense I need to sell you a bit more on this one, so let’s start at the beginning. The video embedded below has been making the online rounds this week in an atmosphere of frank disbelief. If you have four minutes to spare, I urge you to watch it and see why (safe for work, to an excruciating extent):

Now would be a good time to insert a caveat: the video could turn out to be a parody, in which case I’ll amend this post. But it appears to be the genuine work of well-intentioned Mormon proselytisers. For those of you unable to watch it, this film makes the sincere argument that failing to save one’s friend from the evils of masturbation and “porn addiction” is the equivalent of leaving him (and only him, because we know women never, ever masturbate) to die on the battlefield.

I’m not excising any nuance here, that is the argument. The narrator asks young believers to cast themselves as fighters in a “Great War” for spiritual purity. The putative self-manipulator – who actually looks more wholesome than an animate box of Shredded Wheat – is shown dead-eyed and bathed in the sinister glow of a laptop screen.

At the end, when his wounded body (soul) has been rescued from the spiritual battlefield (erection), the same young man is shown blanding it up with some other young Mormons in bright, healthy sunlight. Some of them are even girls! He shares one last comradely and achingly homoerotic smile with the friend who saved him from himself – quite literally – and everything’s alright. Everything’s all right. It’s OK. It’s fine.

I never know quite what to make of Mormonism. Some of their beliefs are indeed eye-catchingly bizarre, but hardly more so than, say, Noah’s Ark, the Resurrection, and other implausible doctrines; the only difference is that the tall tales of mainstream Christianity are too familiar to notice. The Church has a disconcerting habit of making it difficult to abandon the faith, but while distasteful, this behaviour doesn’t nearly rise to cult-like levels, which can’t be said for certain other highly-litigious, science-fiction-based religions.

Mormons do seem genuinely happy, though they often have a squeaky-clean, Stepford Wives quality that makes your neck itch. But without wishing to be crude – while still being crude – I can’t help but wonder how long this apparently-genuine sense of spiritual wellbeing would last if all Mormons actually followed their own advice and… laid down their arms.

In a highly competitive field, the Christian prohibition against masturbation could well be the least reasonable of all religious strictures. Devout believers are already tasked with a demanding moral and sexual feat – abstaining from sex until marriage – but God, as ever, isn’t satisfied. Having furnished each of us with opposable thumbs and arms just the right length, He denies us a vital escape valve: no orgasms until marriage, by any means. Even though the letter of the Bible merely forbids “spilling” one’s seed, which should let women off the hook, His representatives on Earth have rarely cared for this distinction.

In other words, God has set his followers up to fail; it’s Adam and Eve all over again. Most mainstream branches of Christianity have quietly de-emphasised this teaching as the secular world has come to view masturbation as normal, even healthy. This, arguably, is Christianity’s true strength: it continually adapts itself to the society around it without ever quite conceding that’s what’s going on.

This video can be seen as another example of Mormonism’s relative isolation leaving it behind the times, like the exclusion of black men from the priesthood that persisted until 1978. I very much doubt young Mormons will still be fed such propaganda in a decade or three. But until then, I reiterate my entirely serious claim that masturbation is a great blessing.

The sex drive is the most powerful and distracting of all human urges, and nature has given us an easy means of keeping it under control. It requires no equipment save that you were born with, unless your tastes run that way. It reduces blood pressure and stress, along with numerous other health benefits. It passes the time. It probably doesn’t contribute to world peace, but I wouldn’t discount the idea.

This is why I say, to any Mormons or members of other anti-Onanist sects reading this: is it possible the Lord has simply been misunderstood on this point? It’d hardly be the first time. The alternative explanation, frankly, is that he just doesn’t like you very much.

Being a godless heathen, I naturally think the “no sex before marriage” rule is also unnecessary. But if you’re truly determined to be a virgin on your wedding night without losing your mind in the process, it’s time to take matters into your own hands.

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  • Duwayne_Anderson

    Ben wrote: “My mistake earlier was trying to present an objective standard that was somehow likely to be tested,”

    That’s actually a good thing — only superstitious, illogical, irrational people would think of that as a “mistake.”

  • Duwayne_Anderson

    Ben wrote: “I’ll likewise be thoroughly convinced that the Mormon church is a fraud when God appears on C-Span..”

    How would you know if the character on C-Span is god?

  • ben_meek

    My last post on the topic. Go back and reread your post about how you would “test” God. You asked for God to appear in NYC to “make a statement” to the world while remotely fixing your lawn equipment. You seem to think that this is a rational standard, while the ludicrous scenario I outlined, which MIRRORS YOURS EXACTLY, is just one more evidence of my credulity and shallowness.

    You have derailed. You may as well have said the same thing I did many posts back. There is no “verifiable and objective evidence” that could be produced to satisfy your demands, short of this nonsensical blather about God making a statement to the world while repairing your tools.

    It’s been fun chatting with you. You are an obviously smart fellow who’s been at this kind of antagonism for a long time, and you hit your marks like a pro. And one of your underlying points is quite correct–religious faith, answers to metaphysical questions, and philosophy are not, strictly speaking, rational. But then, none of us, not even the most committed atheistic materialist, is completely rational. I don’t trust my own brain to reach conclusions about these questions logically, and neither should you trust yours. We’re both a mass of internal biases, contradictions, surmises, and half-truths, along with everyone else.

    The surer path is to look to an external source of knowledge. I’ve put some of these questions to God, and found my efforts amply rewarded, and I’m still learning.

    I’ve got to run and troubleshoot some fiber optic networks, so I’ll let you go. Best of luck to you.

  • Duwayne_Anderson

    Ben wrote: “…mirrors yours exactly…”

    Your lying, Ben.

    But let’s run with your argument. I can easily find a guy wearing aviators who will happily declare to the world, “It ain’t the Mormons.”

    Will you leave the Mormon Church?

    Of course not. You were lying when you said that was the test you’d use.

    So you’ve dodged the question like every other Mormon. Facts are irrelevant to you. Your faith is irrational. You believe in Mormonism for the same sorts of reasons that people believe in Big Foot or the Easter Bunny.

  • Duwayne_Anderson

    Ben wrote: “You may as well have said the same thing I did many posts back. There is no “verifiable and objective evidence” that could be produced to satisfy your demands…”

    Your lying, Ben.

    Recall the Book of Mormon. I gave the eminently reasonable request for citations from the scientific literature that document the finding of cities in ancient America that are mentioned in the Book of Mormon — by name, with the same types of inhabitants, technologies, tools, origins, plants and animals.

    That’s *exactly* the sort of evidence we should find if the Book of Mormon is true. That’s *exactly* the sort of evidence that rational people should/would look for.

    But you can’t do it. All you did was post a link to a Mormon propaganda site.

    So, once more, you’ve demonstrated that your faith is completely irrational. Facts and evidence are irrelevant to you. Your mind is made up — you are fundamentally incapable of changing your mind, no matter what facts/evidence exist.

  • Duwayne_Anderson

    Ben wrote: “The surer path is to look to an external source of knowledge. I’ve put some of these questions to God…”

    Name one bit of objectively/verifiably new/correct information that you’ve gotten from god.

    Name one bit of objectively/verifiably new/correct information that you’ve gotten through “revelation” from any Mormon prophet.

    I’ll bet you can’t name even one.

    Given the *compete* and *utter* failure of Mormonism to produce *any* objectively/verifiably new/correct information, it’s simply absurd for Mormons to pontificate in self righteousness about “a surer path” that is nothing more than self delusions.

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