A Sold Out Catalogue from deHartington and Weiss
For those who question the accuracy of these claims, William Acton uses the classic response in The Functions and Disorders of the Reproductive Organs... Says Acton, "That insanity is a consequence of this habit is now beyond a doubt." Therefore, the claims need no longer be challenged.
Many of the arguments skipped the pseudoscience and went straight to pseudotheology. Reverend Spencer Elliott in What Makes a Man: a Straight Talk to Boys (1917) explains, "God has decreed that the powers of sex must be rested entirely until manhood is reached. Otherwise manhood may never come at all." How he divined this is not clear.
Father Philip Salvatori provides a more "reasoned" yet frightening argument in Practical Instruction for New Confessors (1885). In a compelling bit of twisted logic, he first asks if you had to pay for this "shameful and brutal pleasure" by having to stick your hand in a fire for an hour, would that not cure you? Well then, "But holy faith! Have you not the assurance...that by indulging in any of those filthy pleasures, you deserve not merely to keep your hand in the fire, but to have your entire body plunged and buried in the midst of the flames of hell? And this not merely for a single hour...but for hundreds, for thousands, for millions of years... for all eternity... without the slightest hope of escape? Think of this, then, when the heat of your passions is luring you to sin." Well, as long as you put it that way...
Perhaps you believe somewhere between here and eternity God will forget your sin and let you out early. Don't count on it warns F. Arthur Sibley in Private Knowledge for Boys (1913). "Every sin, whether in thought or deed, is recorded in Nature's book, and will have to be paid for." Great. Now even if you resist but so much as think it you will be condemned. Take that, Jimmy Carter! Sibley cleverly accounts for the lack of any noticeable impact from the behavior by noting, "Not until the debts have long accumulated is payment sometimes demanded. Then the punishment is heavy and severe indeed."
While most of the authors of these works are not exactly household names, here is one you know: Dr. John Harvey Kellogg. Kellogg, in Man, the Masterpiece, or, Plain Truths Plainly Told, about Boyhood, Youth, and Manhood (1894) warns that such behavior shows on a person's face, and, "How few faces portray a character unstained by lust, unsoiled by moral filth!" Yes, this is the same Dr. James Kellogg who invented the cornflake.
We will finish with an appropriate concluding comment from the aforementioned Dr. Sibley in Youth and Sex: Dangers and Safeguards for Girls and Boys (1913). In a fit of melodrama, Dr. Sibley writes, "...when the hand that writes these lines has long been cold in death may the message which it speeds this day breathe peace and strength into many an eager heart." Sibley's hand has undoubtedly by now long since joined his brain in cold death, but his words live on, in this most unusual and interesting of catalogues.