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I was raised a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and like most members of the faith the church inculcated in me very particular values as to what constitutes proper expressions of human sexuality. Within the faith, sexual education is mostly limited to a laundry list of "do nots." If one searches the church publications on the topic of sexuality, there is very little in terms of positive education. On the contrary, there are hundreds of articles and other media detailing the ills of masturbation, pornography, homosexuality and premarital sex.

Although explaining the benefits of abstinence can be an important part of sex education, I have come to learn that the shame-based approach that is used to bring about compliance with the church's standards has resulted in a sexually dysfunctional Mormon population.

The church's teachings on sexuality have evolved little since the post-World War II era. The pamphlet For the Strength of Youth, which is used throughout the church to teach its standards to youth and young adults, states that, "one should not do anything that arouses sexual feelings." The pamphlet goes on to remind young people that sex outside of marriage is the absolute worst sin a person could do, after murder. Indoctrinating children from the age of 12 with such a harsh and damaging approach to sexuality comes at a price.

Like water dammed in a reservoir that percolates out through unintended channels, forcefully constrained sexuality finds a way of expression. The unfortunate reality is that such sexual expression among Mormons presents itself in antisocial ways. Some shocking statistics over the past years demonstrate this dysfunctional sexual expression:

A 2009 industry survey showed that Utah had the highest per-capita rate of pornography subscriptions.

A 2014 Google Trends review showed that Utah ranked among one of the highest states in soft-core pornography searches.

Utah ranks first in the Google searches for "pornography addiction," dwarfing every other state by double digits.

The recent hack of the adultery website Ashley Madison showed that 0.66 percent of Utah adults had an Ashley Madison account; only seven other states had a higher rate.

The Utah Department of Health states, "Rape is the only violent crime in Utah that occurs at a higher rate than the rest of the nation." Utah's reported rape rate is 63.7 per 100,000 females compared to the U.S. rate of 57.4 per 100,000 females.

To further exacerbate the problem, Mormons are counseled on sexual health, violence and expression by lay clergy who are untrained in matters of psychology and sexuality. Many Mormon women have shared their stories of ecclesiastical abuses they had experienced as a result of such unprofessional counseling. Some of these stories include:

• A bishop counseling an 18-year-old girl to marry a divorced man 10 years older than her. She ended the marriage after years of abuse.

• A bishop asking a teenage girl if she had ever had an orgasm.

• A bishop asking a 60 year-old married woman if she masturbated.

• A bishop warning a young man to be careful with the young woman he was going to marry because she had masturbated.

• A bishop humiliating a rape victim by inferring that her behavior was the reason she was raped.

No one needs erroneous counseling from untrained ecclesiastical leaders. These interviews can be very damaging and quickly turn into sexual harassment, leaving the members confused and filled with anxiety.

Many experienced mental health professionals including members of the Mormon Mental Health Association (MMHA) such as licensed therapist Natasha Helfer Parker, Jennifer Finlayson Fife and John Dehlin have researched and written enlightening articles on sexuality trends among Mormons. The MMHA is committed to helping those affected by a religious institution that often fails to teach healthy principles of sexuality.

My concern is that through its shame-based sexual education the church continues to create a sexually dysfunctional population of youths, women who are susceptible to being victims, and sexually frustrated men who turn to the internet to fulfill their needs.

Julienna Viegas-Haws was born and raised in Belgium, served an LDS mission on Temple Square and graduated from Brigham Young University. She lives in Texas with her husband and three children.