I grew up as a member of the church of Jesus Christ of latter-day saints in the UK. I remember the Bishop’s interviews very intrusive and embarrassing and also I felt violated looking back now as an adult. I grew up in a ward that there were many leaders men who were very egotistical and narcissistic. Women and children were second-class citizens we never really had a voice.
The Bishop interviews were in the Bishop office where there was no window but just me and the Bishop. It actually felt scary, this big man and me a young teenager. The Bishop started off asking the normal questions about church things like the word of wisdom, etc, normal interview questions. Then it got to the law of chastity about masturbation but I was being sexually abused at home by my mum’s stepfather and a sense of shame overcome me and guilt.
This Bishop started holding my hands as I started to weep. But I did not say anything to him or discuss why I was crying. This Bishop started to caress my face and then my neck down to my breasts. He kept asking me what was wrong, but i was silent, scared, fearful of blurting out the truth. He then started to caress my legs and then his fingers went down to my knickers and fingered me.
He told me if I told anyone that I would go to hell and that I sinned against God. I never said anything. I just sat their letting him touch me. There was silence while tears dripped down my face.
This Bishop and others raped me over the years often in the morning when I went to church before high school for seminary. Often it was done next to the baptismal font they would take their clothes off and their garments and I was raped. Often quoting religious scriptures, I was told that nobody would ever believe me, that people would think i was crazy and end up locked in a psych ward.
I was also told if I told, they would follow me and hound me and hurt me. For a very long time, I wanted to die because of what these men did to me and hated myself for years. I didn’t think I was worthy to live, let alone have a relationship with God. I felt dirty, guilty and ashamed of who I was as a human being. I still at times when I’m hurting or feel sad and angry what they did to me that God hates me and I am going to hell.
For years the Bishop Interviews had an impact on me especially when I did end up in a path ward and the Bishop and another person said that I sinned and that is why you’ve been put in here. The guilt that others have put onto me, I then internalized into myself as self-hate, self-loathing and emotional pain that in the end it was difficult to feel. So I either cut of my emotions or get really angry at people who don’t deserve my anger. The church is a destructive force for children. These interviews help pedophile members in religious cults where they’re exonerated for rape and abuse and basically nothing is done about it accept cover up.
Christ talked about suffer the little children to come unto me as a child. Many times I cried out to God in my sadness and shame and guilt to take me away. It just never came just. Only my own self-hate and dissociation from all my feelings. With my ex, I couldn’t have a proper sexual relationship because of guilt, shame and the self hate of my body.
As a human being masturbation is a normal healthy exploration of ones own body and should not be made to feel dirty, guilty or ashamed. The shame and guilt should be owned by the predators who abused my will, body, mind and soul and violated me in every way possible. The guilt should but back onto their heads not mine as a survivor.
I now love me and accept all parts of me. I am damaged by my past; emotionally, psychologically and physically. Because of self hate and self loathing, I married a man who abused me physically, sexually psychologically and emotionally because of my low self-esteem, self confidence and self hate inside my head. I believed that I was worthless as a human being and didn’t deserve someone nice to be with or support me. At times, I still struggle with this today.
So for me protection of all children including LDS Children from further harm and abuse and adults is to stop these practices and protect the children from further harm in the long run.
God loves all his children. He didn’t want them to be harmed in anyway and especially from the leaders of the church. Please believe me. My life has been a struggle because of abuse, but also a blessing because I wouldn’t have learned so much about myself and others. I’m grateful to be alive and also grateful for my faith in Christ and that my saviour died for me on the cross.
Children our are next generation and our leaders. To destroy an adult is to abuse them as a child. Please as parents take the proactive choice. Do not let your child be shamed or blamed or made to feel guilty about their body or about themselves. Protection is better for them to have a wonderful childhood free from harm and abuse.