When I was 16, I was dating my first real boyfriend. We would make out often and each time got more intense. When we began touching under our clothing my boyfriend decided we needed to go talk to our bishop (we were in the same ward).
We went together and our Bishop reacted surprisingly appropriate. He didn’t want any details and told us we were teenagers and it wasn’t a big deal and to just be careful. This encounter was confusing to me at the time, but I am grateful for it now.
A year or so later, I was dating a different boy and again, we were making out a lot. I decided to talk to my bishop. This time the bishop didn’t just brush it off. He asked for details and I was told I couldn’t take the sacrament or go to the temple and I had to meet with the bishop regularly. This began my spiral into deep depression. The relationship I was in was abusive. The shame I felt from the bishop meetings was immense. I started counseling from LDS services and was put on anti-depressants. I felt worthless and like a failure. I couldn’t control myself. What was wrong with me? At one point I contemplated suicide.
I went through the same thing with 2 more bishops in college wards. The last bishop I had to speak with about my sexual sins, required me to do the LDS church’s 12 step program for addiction recovery. He labeled me a sex addict and I had never even had actual sex. 3 months of inappropriate conversations detailing my sexual encounters all the way back to my first boyfriend. I felt so ashamed and so guilty and I was so glad when it was all over with.
All the shame and guilt I felt during those 5 or so years, meeting with different bishops, all reacting and counseling differently, it has made an impact on me to this day. My sexual relationship with my husband has been harmed. I still feel so much shame and guilt about sex and it is unfair to myself and my husband. I still have nightmares about my sexual “sins”.
Our children should not have to suffer as we did and as we do.
My children will be protected fiercely by me and my husband.