Growing up LDS, sex and sexual topics were a taboo topic that we never talked about in our home. When I began to experience sexual feelings, I felt like I must be a pervert. I was a young girl and young girls weren’t supposed to have such thoughts and feelings. It was understandable for boys to have these feelings but NOT for girls. This wasn’t something we talked about in young women’s class because girls just aren’t sexual like boys are. Girls were clean and innocent.
I remember laying in bed at night, crying and praying with all my heart for God to take these perversions away from me so I could be like normal girls. I told God I couldn’t bare the shame of telling a bishop because it would be too embarrassing and uncomfortable to tell any adult, let alone a grown man and I imagined God was shaking his finger at me for harboring a sin next to murder.
When I considered telling a bishop, I was afraid he would judge me extra harshly for being a perverted girl or worse, he might sexualize me. It just didn’t feel safe to put myself in that situation. I was already starting to get unwanted attention from grown men. I didn’t want to wonder if the bishop was thinking about my sexual struggle every time he looked at me from the stand. So, every interview, I’d answer the question dishonestly. “Yes, I was living the law of chastity”. I’d feel relieved it was over for the time being, but then go home feeling like I was going to hell for sure. I would definitely be spending eternity with murderers. I felt like I was living a double life.
I had a rocky and unstable childhood and always wondered if that is what I deserved for being unclean. Surely, blessings were being withheld. Though I kept my virginity all through high school and beyond, I could never shake the feeling that I was unclean and would never be a suitable wife or mother in Zion.
I ended up leaving the church after sending my boyfriend on his mission. He wouldn’t want me anyway, once he found out who I REALLY was. Through my transition out of the church, I began to learn that my feelings throughout my adolescence were completely healthy and normal, yet I still struggle with shame and intimacy. I resented the church for destroying my childhood and key parts of my self worth. I still do. It makes me sick to think that other kids are going through the same emotional torture that I endured.