When I was fifteen years old, I began dealing with what the Mormon church calls “same sex attraction”. I began to question whether or not I would be happy marrying a returned missionary husband, staying home and having a bunch of babies.
I had talked to my Young Women’s leader about these feelings I was having, who then recommended that I schedule a meeting with the bishop, who also happened to be her husband. The day of my meeting with the bishop comes around, and I am petrified as he closes the door behind him as I walk into his office. I am now alone in a closed room with this fifty year old man.
I began talking to him about how I had recently been feeling attracted to women and that I thought I might be bisexual. I also talked about issues I was having with the church, like why could men be sealed to more than one woman if their spouse died and women could not. Or does it seem fair that gay parents who love their children can’t be with them forever in heaven.
His reply to me? “Do you masturbate?”
“Have you been watching pornography?”
Implying with these questions that masturbation could be the root of my same sex attraction. I didn’t know what to say. I began to cry. I felt violated. These were things I didn’t even talk about with my parents. I had never even kissed a boy and here an adult man was asking me intimate, embarrassing questions.
I will always be proud of myself for how I reacted though. I wiped away my tears, looked him in the eye and said, “I do not feel comfortable answering your questions.” I got up and walked out the door. I actually kept walking, out of the church, and I never went back. Not even once. It was a very hard decision for me to leave the church I loved, where I had a calling, where I had all of my friends, and where I thought I had found the love of God. But I could never go back to that church and listen to the man speak who I had come to for help, who instead violated my trust and respect for him by asking me prying sexual questions. After my talk with the bishop, I realized that the church I thought I knew and loved did not exist.