I wasn’t a child when this happened, but I was still an impressionable, self-conscious young woman of 20. Starting a new semester at BYU, I was required to get an ecclesiastical endorsement from my bishop. I LOVED this bishop. He was such a friendly, genuine guy and frequently gave me awesome references and job leads.
The worthiness interview started off normal, chatting about school, work, friends… then he asked me if I was keeping the law of chastity. This was the first time I had to confess to sexual sins so I was really reluctant. He asked me yes or no questions and gathered that I made out with a boy in the dark while he was on top of me and that there was “heavy petting” involved (a term that always made me feel dirty). Also, he was a boy in our ward. Bishop pressed me for awhile trying to get me to tell him who it was, telling me it was hurting this boy more because he wasn’t getting the help he needed, but I stood my ground and told him that his sins weren’t mine to confess. It’s still very upsetting to me that I stood up for that boy before I stood up for myself during this next part. He moved on to ask me if masturbation was also a problem. I started crying and nodded my head. As far as I knew, I was the only Mormon girl to ever struggle with masturbation and I was absolutely disgusted with myself.
The following are his exact questions (give or take a word… but he asked every single one of these): “Do you watch anything while you touch yourself?” “What are you thinking about when you touch yourself?” “Do you use anything besides your hands?” “Is it penetrative masturbation?” “Do you try to make yourself orgasm?” “How many times do you orgasm per session?” “Have you ever done it in front of a partner?” I kept my head down and answered all of these questions 100% honestly. I had no reason not to; he was the bishop and he was doing his job and if I was uncomfortable with it, that was my own fault for having to confess in the first place. I do remember feeling particularly uncomfortable when he asked about orgasms, and I asked why that was pertinent? He explained that he was trying to determine the degree of the sin. I got banned from taking the sacrament for two weeks, with all my friends around me noticing as I tried to discreetly wave the guy past me. I still remember my anxiety telling me that everyone knew exactly why I couldn’t take the sacrament. I am still appalled that I ever felt it was okay or normal for me to tell him everything that I did. There is no reason he needed to know those details, but I gave them to him anyway. I still hate myself for it.