My story begins at 2 or 3 years old when I was molested multiple times by/with the permission of a woman in her home during “daycare”. My mother, instead of reporting the incident to police, chose to report it to her bishop. I was examined by a doctor and he found that my hymen had been broken. We have no idea what happened to this woman (it makes me sick to think she was still able to continue her daycare), but the bishops counseled my mom to just pretend it had never happened. They said I was too young to remember anyways, and trying to talk with a counselor or with my parents about it would cause more trauma to me. It still absolutely left scars. I was scared of social situations, I was so shy I’d rather hide under the table than order for myself at restaurants. I don’t ever remember *not* masturbating. I’d do it in my seat in the middle of elementary school classes, because I didn’t see what was wrong with it, but I knew my mom didn’t like it, just not why. I didn’t know what it was at the time, but through friends (they told me I was having sex with myself) and later bishops, I realized what it was. I’d “rub my bottom” every time I felt stressed, which was a lot because of my social anxiety, especially around women.
I remember being interviewed by my bishop and him asking if I masturbated. I didn’t know what that word meant. He explained it. I felt horrible. He was kind, but I felt like some sort of monster. At this time I couldn’t really remember much of my abuse, just a few “bad dreams”, and my parents didn’t tell me anything about it. I didn’t know I’d been abused, I just thought there was something wrong with me.
I was terrified of being baptized. I knew I wouldn’t be able to stop. I prayed and begged my Heavenly Father to kill me in some sort of accident, so that I could still go to heaven. When my plea wasn’t answered, I believed God didn’t want me with him in heaven. I wasn’t worthy.
Later, at another interview with a different bishop, I confessed to petting, and later having sex with my then boyfriend, now husband. It was really bad. Why had I allowed this behavior? How far did we go? Who touched who first? Where? Did he ejaculate? He made me tell my parents and read the Miracle of Forgiveness. I couldn’t take the sacrament, my husband couldn’t go on a mission. Oh the dirty looks I got! I’d corrupted a future missionary, it was all my fault. It’d be better if I was never born. I didn’t dare confess another fault of mine, hardly dared admit it to myself: I am a bisexual.
After we’d been married about 4 years, the guilt became too much, he deserved a better wife, someone who could help him be a better priesthood holder (he’s always been supportive and never abusive, these thoughts stemmed directly from the worthiness interviews). He ended up pulling a gun out of my hands one night. I didn’t want to end my pain, I deserved it. I just wanted to give everyone I loved a better chance at a good life by taking myself out of the picture. I wasn’t worthy of their goodness, I wasn’t worthy of heaven.
Once I had children of my own, and they were about the age I was when I was abused, all those memories came flooding back. It was terrifying. Things all started to make sense.
Since then I’ve been through counseling, anti-depression meds, anxiety meds etc… I’m happy to say that now I’m in a much better place and fully unmedicated with doctor approval. It’s been a really rough road, and I truly think the bishops were doing what they felt they needed to do and doing what tho church expected them to do. Unfortunately, these worthiness interviews cause far more harm than good. We should all be considered worthy for the gospel and God’s love, but these interviews don’t make it feel that way and cause horrible self-doubt and loathing.
Please, please end this practice. I beg you.