I have a few stories so I’ll keep them brief. A bit of background, I’m a 21 year old woman from a multi generational Mormon family on my mom’s side and second generation on my dad’s side. I’ve watched the church erode our family and extended family. I left when I was 19 and have been continually pressured to go back by my parents and the ward members who can’t take a hint. I felt suffocated and finally feel like I’ve broken free.
First someone arranged for a local cop in another ward to give the young women a “personal safety” workshop. Basically it was horror stories, and explicit details, telling us what victims of sexual assault “could have done” such as famous cases like Elizabeth Smart, and in general was about a man telling us teenage girls that we’re basically destined to get raped if we weren’t smart. Thankfully an adult leader shared her story with us and addressed the bishop that the workshop was completely inappropriate, fear-mongering, and victim blaming, that she had been a victim as a teenager, groomed by a Mormon man and wasn’t taken seriously. Several parents said her speaking up was overreacting when she had many valid points and was only advocating for us. They didn’t think we should’ve been talking about those things to begin with.
Second I attempted suicide because I was outed to my mother as a lesbian on accident when she read my texts. Instead of talking to me, she dragged me to the bishops office for an interrogation. It was easily the worst conversation of my life and very humiliating. That’s the only time I personally was asked sexually explicit questions beyond “do you keep the law of chastity” and also my mom was fully OK with that. I couldn’t speak to her and I was so mad. When we went home I locked myself in my room and downed at least 3 or 4 bottles of various pills. I thought my life was actually over now that everyone knew I was gay. And I felt that intense shame from it being out there that I masturbated thinking about girls.
Third my parents relied on the bishop for counseling instead of actual professionals and were basically forced into staying married for longer than was healthy by a stake president who interrogated my uncles as preteens when my grandparents were getting divorced. They’ve told me multiple times how toxic the church was to them and that they’re glad they left. My sisters and I experienced the same frequent interviews about our parents and home life. It was very stressful and we couldn’t say no, our parents would also always ask what we told them to basically make sure we didn’t say anything that made them look bad. Both of my parents blindly follow church leaders. My uncles are the only adults in my life who have ever made me think critically of the church and especially the interviews and I’m grateful for that.
Fourth my little brother is 11 and just ordained to the priesthood because of new regulations. He told me multiple times how much he didn’t want all the pressure but knew our parents wouldn’t have it. He’s the only boy in the family and the baby He’s expected to be perfect and I know it’s messing him up to have to grow up and be a “good Mormon man” when he’s still a child. He shouldn’t be pushed to participate in something he’s not comfortable doing.