I was raised in a family with half a dozen siblings. Very close, very conservative. My parents were very “morally driven” and extremely uncomfortable with anything adult oriented or things they deemed inappropriate. Easiest examples being the censorship they used for the family TV Many channels were blocked, we weren’t allowed to watch mainstream shows like The Simpsons, or if a commercial about tampons or pads came on parents would panic and change the channel. Same with scenes of any show or commercials that had swimsuits. I don’t know if this is common in other LDS houses in the nineties. But modesty and appropriate talk was all I ever knew. I was never rebellious, I was sweet, obedient and sensitive to my parents wants. Paralyzingly shy, I never spoke at in primary classes or church as part of the congregation. I also developed very early, and was really tall for my age. I remember I got questions in church from adult men I recognized but did not know, asking when i would be old enough for “young womens” and going to the temple.
All this backstory leads to the absolute downfall of me as a human being, as a woman, as a person who had faith or believed in something. Because of the weird sexual abuse from men in my childhood LDS church that I willingly believed, listened to and trusted. It destroyed me over those young years. It planted a seed of guilt and destructive depression.
The sexually explicit interviews really had an impact at the time, I actually had a panic attack afterwards because I was so upset about the line of questions. I didn’t know what he was saying to me was wrong, I trusted the men in the priesthood. I didn’t know what masturbation was, I had never masturbated or ever had a thought to touch myself sexually. So when the interviewer asked If I was worthy, I said yes. Then when he asked again, if I had “a problem with purity”, with masturbation. I didn’t have a clue what he was talking about. Then, a man I was told to trust like a father told me ALL about masturbation. He told me some girls did it by hand but that other girls used objects they could find around the house like their sibling’s toys or a hairbrush handle. He told me that it felt really good. I remember he asked again if I did this, I told the absolute truth and denied ever doing something like that. Afterwards I snuck out of the church had my first horrifying panic attack and cried behind the building hiding by the a.c. units.
Anytime they were doing interviews during weekly activities I tried to avoid them. I never told my mother or father or any other siblings about what was discussed in these interviews. I wanted to please my mother, I wanted to go to the Dallas temple and help people. But I had to interview. Sometimes I had meetings with men that I didn’t recognize at all. Men from other stakes, other states, always in charge and acting as if they are morally superior.
I felt tremendous shame anytime I was sexually stimulated in my life, even reading Romeo and Juliet in school made me feel guilty because romance led to sexual feelings. The tremendous guilt took over. I started self harming. I had no idea that was a common coping mechanism til years later. Lying on the floor crying and cutting myself to keep from masturbating so i could be worthy of god’s love. I withdrew from my family and fought with my siblings. I tried to get my sister’s to hate young womens so no one would say any of these things to them. In a temple interview years later I broke down, drowning in guilt because I had touched myself. The questions after my confession made me sick, he asked if I had touched anyone else. Any men or or guys my age? Or If I had done anything with my siblings?! I couldn’t believe what I was hearing! I was literally scared after that. After all, I felt the cause of my sexual deviancy was because they introduced the idea of masturbation to me at all. If i was just naive again i wouldn’t have to be terrified. Crying through the whole interview denying these disgusting thoughts in this man’s head. And it ending in him telling me not to cry, and that I have “Polly perfect syndrome “. I felt deflated and sickened. That was the last interview I can remember. The self harm, depression, anxiety and strained familial relationships has all developed into something completely debilitating. To this day I struggle with the effects of these abusive interviews. I had no one to protect me, I had no one to guide me. The LDS church ruined my life.