I'm 13 year old. I am writing this email today to ask a few questions about puberty and Christianity.
First off all I'd like to express a huge appreciation with your work and answering many various questions from people globally about puberty and Christianity. You have made a huge impact on many young people's lives and have given honest and true advice to them.
My first question is, How do I become a Christian? I have recently started to have a growing interest in God and Christianity through one of my friends. My interest has expanded to the point where I'd like to become a Christian. The problem is, I don't know how. Do I have to get baptized?
Secondly, I would like to know how to differentiate between different groups such as Christianity, Catholicism, Anglicans, Adventists and Presbyterians.
The following questions are about my problems with puberty:
I've recently stated to have nocturnal emissions since halting my masturbation habits a few months ago. I stopped masturbating because I thought it was deteriorating my mind and soul. I feel really embarrassed and ashamed when I 'leak' in my sleep. I told my closest friend and my youth counselor about my issue and they suggested telling my dad about my problem. At first I was scared and afraid to tell my dad, but I eventually built up the courage to do so. He told me it was normal for my age to experience nocturnal emissions and to take a shower afterward. Since then I've been wondering if my emissions have any biblical significance. That is my question for you.
Next, ever since I was a toddler, I was different to other children, especially boys. I was really shy socially and always longed for my mother at day care. I never was really into 'boyish' activities like woodwork, guns, and rough and tumble play. Instead I liked to draw, color, craft, bake and dress up as butterflies.
As I grew older most of my friends were girls and I followed what they did to fit in. I joined the same clubs and followed what the girls did to fit in.
When I was around 11, my friends started to tease me for being 'girly' and torment me. All of them left me, except for a few, and I began to feel upset with myself, thinking what I had done wrong.
The following year, I was perceived as 'gay' by many of the boys in my classes. I asked my friend for help (who is a girl) and told me to try find some friends that are boys. I tried but only managed to make one true guy friend. This year he left for high school, and I was back to square one.
I never fully understood what homosexuality was until this year. My friend told me that it was where there was love between two men. I felt strange that was possible.
I then started to better understand myself and who my true identity was. I started to get interested in fashion and color. I started to use my creativity that was bubbling inside me to benefit my English skills. I began to brush off my hate by listening to upbeat music, like Taylor Swift and Meghan Trainor.
Then a couple of months ago, my friend that had stayed loyal to me all this time 'came out' to me and told me she was attracted to girls. I was shocked, but accepted her for who she was as she had done to me.
Now I am unsure of my sexual orientation. Am I a homosexual for acting like this. I get attracted to both genders however I have more stronger feelings for males. I wish that I could have a stronger attraction to females because I have read that homosexuality is a sin and an abomination. Please help me.
During the past year I have noticed changes in my body. I have taken the Tanner Stage Test and scored 3.4. I've recently started to get really dirty thoughts in my mind, about both men and women. I know this is really offensive to God. How can I overcome this?
Finally, since I started puberty I have been developing quite bad acne on my face and back. I am not sure how to wash my face and cure my acne. Do you have any tips?
Thanks for taking the time to read about my issues. I am so thankful for your answering many young people's problems and queries and sharing your wisdom.
How to become a Christian
What are the differences between various denominations?
This can be a large question. The simple answer is that the Bible defines what Christianity is. It contains the blueprint for what is Christ's church (Matthew 16:18) and it defines only one church (Ephesians 4:4, "body" is another term for "church" see Ephesians 1:22-23). Denominations come about when men add to or take away from what the Bible defines as the church. See: If Christ Built Only One, Where Did They All Come From? and We Are Simply Christians Without Being Members of Any Denomination, You Can be Too!
Nocturnal emissions or wet dreams come about because you are producing semen and the glands involved can only hold so much before the older batches have to be released to make room for fresher batches. The only means God gave men to release semen is through ejaculation, which can take place from sex, wet dreams, or masturbation. Technically wet dreams are involuntary masturbation while you are sleeping, sort of like sleep walking. These are mentioned directly and indirectly in the Scriptures.
"If any man has an emission of semen, then he shall wash all his body in water, and be unclean until evening. And any garment and any leather on which there is semen, it shall be washed with water, and be unclean until evening. Also, when a woman lies with a man, and there is an emission of semen, they shall bathe in water, and be unclean until evening" (Leviticus 15:16-18).
Leviticus 15:18 is clearly talking about sexual intercourse. Under the law of Moses, whenever a man ejaculated he and whatever his semen contacted became unclean for one day. That included when a husband had sex with his wife. But if verse 18 is talking about sex, verse 16 must be talking about other times when a man ejaculates, which would cover both wet dreams and masturbation.
"If there is among you any man who is unclean because of a nocturnal emission, then he must go outside the camp; he may not reenter the camp. But it shall be when evening approaches, he shall bathe himself with water, and at sundown he may reenter the camp" (Deuteronomy 23:10-11).
Here Moses spoke of wet dreams directly and gives the same rules he mentioned in Leviticus. Unclean does not mean the man sinned. Husbands are supposed to have sex with their wives, so doing so is not a sin; yet, in following this command they become unclean. Women became unclean when they have their monthly blood flow. Again the blood flow is not a sin, it is just unclean and had to be handled by special rules so the person can become clean again.
Under the New Testament, Christians don't have the rules of physical uncleanness like they had in the Old Testament. Uncleanness in the New Testament focuses on the spiritual uncleanness of sin.
Thus, the Bible is not silent about wet dreams and ejaculations. There are passages that mention these facts of life. Your dad is correct. When you find that you ejaculated in your sleep, simply put in the wash whatever your semen got on and take a shower to clean yourself up.
On being different
Young teens enjoy teasing people. The more different they think something is, the more merciless the taunts. It is not unusual for young men to be called "gay" simply because a bunch of boys decided that some action or behavior is different from their own. Truth has nothing to do with the taunting -- they are only interested in making another person feel bad about themselves. Sadly, some people decide the taunting is true. A guy called "ugly," "fat," "weak," or "gay" sometimes falsely decides the taunts must be true and starts describing himself by those taunts.
Just what type of actions are considered girlish? Too many define it as anything different from the way they believe boys ought to behave. I know some really manly guys (sports jocks) who enjoy doing things like crocheting or knitting. They like creating things with their hands and there is nothing wrong with that. Yet, because it isn't popular among men, some label it as being girlish. The truth is that people's definition of what constitutes manly is too narrow.
Now, there are there are some homosexuals who purposely act like girls to announce to others their sexual preferences. They walk like girls, and use mannerisms associated with girls. Homosexuality doesn't require girlish behavior and there are many homosexuals who don't act in a girlish manner. But the situation does lead to a problem, you don't want people assuming you want to have sex with other boys because of your behavior. Just as a boy is not to wear things pertaining to girls (Deuteronomy 22:5), you should not put on behaviors that pertain to the other gender either.
But there are plenty of men who have a good sense of color and fashion. There are multitudes of men who are gifted in English and writing. None these skills made the men homosexuals.
What is homosexual?
Your friend's definition of homosexuality is wrong. If homosexuality is the love between two people of the same gender, then your love for your dad would be a sin, since homosexuality is a sin (I Corinthians 6:9-10). Homosexuality is defined in the word homo (same) and sexuality. It is two people of the same gender engaging in the act of sex. "For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due" (Romans 1:26-27). The male body is designed to have sex with a female, but some leave the natural use of the body to try and force the body to engage in sexual acts with people of the same gender.
You are a male. You are not a homosexual because you have not been having sex with other males. Perhaps you've been tempted by the idea, but a temptation is not the same as the sin. Attraction is actually something that a person can train their body. For instance, if you grew up never drinking coffee, you might not find your first taste of it appealing; after all, it is quite bitter. But many people learn to develop a taste for it. It is no different when it comes sexual attraction. Being a male, you are used to the male body and find it attractive. But this doesn't mean you won't learn to find the female body as attractive or more so as you get older.
When your stomach gets empty, you start getting feelings of hunger. That hunger is the desire of your body to put food into your body so it can operate. Now that you have past puberty, you have a new desire to contend with, which is the desire for sex. At first your body and your brain doesn't know what to do with these urges. Just about anything and everything triggers the idea of sex or sexual related issues. Someone asked a similar question so see How do I stop sexual thoughts?