Wow, where do I start? In 1985 when I was 22, I was raped and assaulted with a knife and almost killed in my apartment, by a stranger. I escaped my perpetrator before he could cut my throat. It was every bit what you would see on a lifetime movie. He was caught, tried and sentenced. At the time, I was living with my boyfriend of 3+ years. I worked with a girl who was Mormon. In my fragile state, it was the prime time for the missionaries to begin teaching me.
After about 6 months of lessons, only one thing stood in my way from being baptized. I had to break up with my boyfriend. Many heartfelt emotional sessions with the missionaries ensued. I was told, “why buy the cow, when you can get the milk for free?” I was told I would never have my storybook future family if I didn’t break up with him. I was promised a wonderful new life with a righteous return missionary. So I did just that.
The next 6 months were bad. After being baptized, I did many things I ended up in the bishops office for. I got really intoxicated and had sexual relations with another woman (the Mormon girl at work no less), I devirginized a few RM’S and ultimately got pregnant and chose to have an abortion. It was nostalgic of the movie “Finding Mr Goodbar”. I was partying and throwing myself around on Saturday and going to church on Sunday. No one knew. I was a mess. I clearly needed help with the trauma I had been through.
The guilt from the abortion is what finally landed me in the bishop and then stake presidents office. I was asked extremely detailed questions about my sexual encounter with my coworker, whose father was our Stake President. I tried to be vague, but he kept coming back around to the same questions… “How did it start?”, “Did you initiate it or did she?”, “Did you orgasm?” “Did she orgasm?” “Did you put your mouth on her vagina, or use your fingers?” They seemed more interested in this than the abortion. It was so humiliating.
I figured that humiliation was part of the humbling process. Over several meetings, I continued to ask my Bishop for real counseling. I was a college student with no insurance and didn’t know how to find help. The Bishop told me I only needed to meet with him and my testimony of the Gospel (and the Holy Ghost) would fix me. He told me I needed to lose myself in service and find a nice RM to marry ASAP. I was put on probation. I met my RM 1 month after the abortion and was proposed to within 2 months. We planned our temple wedding to fall almost one year from my baptism into the church.
I was told by my Bishop that I needed to confess the abortion to my fiance and EVERY new Bishop that I had, for the rest of my life. He said that this would forever affect the callings that I would be allowed to have. He told me I would be unable to ever serve a mission with my spouse. I spent the next 26 years trying to gain enough”eternal points” with God to make up for those 6 months. I served in the young women’s presidency for many of those years, ran girls camp and raised 4 kids in the church. My guilt and shame have never left me. My children have all experienced the same kind of shaming.
My daughter was kicked out of BYU-I for playfully kissing a girl at 19 at a party (she’s not gay). Her “honor code” violation looked like she was kicked out for cheating. She reapplied a year later and after many humiliating confessions and letters of recommendation was let back in.
My son was almost suicidal after being shamed for masturbation before his mission, and what ultimately caused me to walk away from everything, was when my daughter came out as transgender. Our Bishop never had a chance to get to her. I wouldn’t allow it. A few years ago, I divorced my righteous RM husband, found my darling first boyfriend and married him. Now, there are old scars, but all is how it should be.