Ugh, this is hard. I’m not really used to telling my story. But if I can help one child…
I was born into an extremely devout Mormon family. Extremely devout. We were never talked to about sex, nor about avoiding or reporting sexual abuse.
Unfortunately, my older brothers and sisters were the victims of sexual abuse from neighborhood babysitters. That abuse was repeated to younger siblings…including me. I was abused from the time I can remember, about 3ish, until I was 12, when my abuser went into the military.
After a year or so later, I finally had the courage to tell my parents what had happened to me for so many years.
I was immediately taken to the bishop so I could tell him what happened. If you are from a Mormon family, you know when you talk to the bishop, it’s because you have something to repent for.
My mom drove me to the church, but waited in the car. No maternal instincts to hold my hand, walk me in, and tell me it’s gonna be ok.
I was mortified. I had to tell this man, who was supposed to be Christ on earth, my deepest, darkest secret. A secret that I had only told my mom. I had barely (that same day) finally felt safe enough to tell. I cried so hard, having to tell that man, a complete stranger, my ugly, dreadful story.
His response was that I needed to pray for forgiveness for the part I had played in the situation. THE PART I HAD PLAYED.
I had played no part in it. I was a baby when this started happening to me. I was groomed by the church to always revere my “priesthood holders” and to listen to their council. Mine was telling me to stay silent, so I did.
My bishop did not report it. Never offered counseling. Never acknowledged my innocence.
These men need to have training if they are to deal with such enormous issues. Please, protect our children. Please report any such crimes. Do not stay silent for the sake of embarrassing your church. Please…
I know it’s a little off topic, not necessarily a worthiness meeting. But I am still scarred just the same.