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LDS sex therapist facing excommunication fears church has already made decision

Posted at 10:17 PM, Apr 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-17 16:47:02-04

SALT LAKE CITY — A sex therapist is at risk of excommunication by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints this weekend.

For nearly 10 years, Natasha Helfer has been vocal, publicly opposing church teachings on masturbation, pornography and same-sex marriage.

“For me, since I was 5 years old, when the missionaries came and knocked on my door and taught my family how to pray, that was the beginning of many spiritual experiences,” Helfer said.

Now, the AASECT-certified therapist feels the church is rejecting her for counseling that masturbation is not a transgression and pornography should not be treated as an addiction, and for publicly affirming the LGBTQ community.

Helfer is in Kansas ahead of a disciplinary hearing Sunday, where she lived there prior to moving to Utah in late 2019.

“If I’m supposed to be scared for my eternal salvation, when my ministry is about reaching out to the least among us, I have no qualms over every single thing I have said,” Helfer said.

Helfer’s frankness on sexual issues — including positions that are in line with current licensed mental health practices — has received wide attention from current and former church members.

While the a spokesperson for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints declined to comment, letters sent to Helfer by local leadership says the stake presidency will “consider [Helfer’s] repeated, clear and public opposition to the Church, its doctrine, its policies and its leaders” in the meeting.

“I am very fearful and very distressed that the decision, in some ways, has already been made,” said Helfer.

Helfer vows to continue her clinical practice to help Latter-day Saints and others with intimacy challenges should she be excommunicated.

Almost 500 professionals signed a document in support of Helfer that was sent to her local church leadership ahead of Sunday’s meeting.