I am no longer a member, but was an active and faithful member for the first 21 years of my life. I was accustomed to the “worthiness” interviews from the age of 8 and never understood that I did not have to do them. I felt like my bishop had the power of God to be able to read my mind and know if I was lying. I was very naïve when it came to sexual terms and anything of a sexual nature. I was honestly never remotely interested in anything of a sexual nature until after I was questioned about sexual habits (that I had previously known nothing about) in one of my worthiness interviews. I was a naturally curious and intellectual child, and enjoyed spending my free time at the library. I remember looking at books about puberty, etc, and feeling like I was sinning because by simply even looking at pictures of the reproductive process in educational books.
I was fortunate enough to never experience direct sexual abuse in the church, but I have suffered from the psychologically harmful effects for my entire life. I often experienced shame and guilt whenever I even had thoughts of a sexual nature. I was sexually assaulted outside of the church as a young woman, and I felt like I was ruined. I was under the impression that what had happened to me was my fault. When I started taking birth control in college, I got a massive DVT (blood clot) that almost killed me. For several months after it happened, I was convinced that the clot was punishment for using birth control in case I decided to become sexually active.
I ended up marrying a non-member after my first year of college. I was determined to convert him and it became a huge source of contention between us. He hated the way the church made me feel and view things. My eyes were finally opened when I told him that I wanted our children to be baptized members, even if he never joined. I explained the process to him, including the interviews, and he finally made me see how backwards and wrong those interviews are. He said “I will never, ever, in my lifetime allow a grown man to take my little girl into a room all alone and ask her anything even remotely related to sex. And the fact that you would be okay with that scares the s*** out of me.” That’s when it clicked. How WRONG it is. How HARMFUL it is. How DANGEROUS it is. It is one of my biggest goals in life to encourage healthy attitudes about sex and sex education in my children so that they are not negatively influenced by shameful practices like these.