When I was 12 years old (F) I went to see my bishop for my first temple recommend interview. I was so excited! The bishop at the time was the father of one of my best friends. He was a nice man and I never felt uncomfortable around him. The interview was completely normal, up until he asked “do you obey the law of Chastity?” I replied “yes” and hoped that would be the end of it. I knew that chastity had to do with sex but I was 12 years old & raised in a very devout Mormon household – I knew nothing about sex.
He then asked me “please tell me how you’re living the law of chastity.” I panicked. What did that even mean? I didn’t know how to respond. I sat there for a moment with a blank stare on my face & he continued “sometimes we forget there is more to the law of chastity than waiting until marriage to have sex.”
I had never been more uncomfortable in my entire life. I just said “okay” and looked away. He wasn’t done though: “Do you masturbate?” Did I what?! I had no idea what that word meant. It didn’t sound good to me. I wanted to get out of there.
Upon seeing what I presumed was a very alarmed & clearly confused face, he proceeded to go into very graphic detail about how young women sometimes use their fingers & other objects to “pleasure themselves.” I wanted to leave but I didn’t know how to get up. I couldn’t force my legs to move. I wanted to so badly but I couldn’t. After the interview was over I walked home, went straight into my bedroom, and spent the rest of the night crying. I never told a single person what happened. I just assumed that’s how all interviews were & people would think i was dumb for how I reacted. Because of this incident, I stopped talking to my best friend & never went back to her house. I was scared to be in that house & could never bring myself to tell her the reason why. This incident, though minimal in comparison to those who have suffered much worse, has truly had a profound effect on my life. I never wanted to speak to a bishop again. I avoided male authority figures in the church completely. I lost a piece of my childhood innocence and that’s something I’ll never get back.