As a middle child of 5, my parents never took it upon themselves to actually teach us about sex and inappropriate behavior. They just always said “don’t do it” and expected the church’s same guilting technique to keep up safe.
When I turned 12 and was getting interviewed to go to the temple for my first time, my bishop asked me about sex, touching myself, or letting others touch me. He expressed to me that I had to be fully honest because Heavenly Father would tell him if I was lying or not telling the entire truth. I told him I didn’t know what masturbation was- he went into detail and asked me if I had done that. He asked me if I knew what it felt like to touch my own vagina. How confusing for a 12 year old girl who didn’t even know what masturbation was to be asked what it FEELS LIKE to touch herself. I proceeded to deny ever doing that, and felt guilted/compelled to tell him how my older brother had made me do nearly inappropriate sex related things 7 years earlier (“Doctor”) when I was a child and how scared I was to even say anything. He assured me that it was safe and that he needed to know what happened. So I told him of the few minor handful of barely inappropriate incidents and instead of comforting me or going to get my parents to tell them the situation, he explained to me that I was unclean and that I had sinned and ruined a healthy young man by allowing him to sexually abuse me 7 years ago. It was in an isolated incident. That it was MY FAULT that now my brother may have sexual issues, all because I was young and scared to tell an adult sooner.
Years later- I was a young adult going through a divorce. I had told my bishop that he wrongly gave my newly converted husband a temple recommend- and how after our temple trip I had learned that he was unfaithful and I should have never been sealed to him in the first place. The bishop then decided to berate me and ask me what I was or wasn’t doing in the bedroom at home that made my husband feel the need to cheat on me with another man. I was so shocked and offended, I got up and left the room and never returned to that ward.
It’s not just children that are being sexually exploited behind closed doors. They start grooming you as a child to make sure you are always in the guilt trap. They want you to feel unclean and unworthy so that you keep crawling back to that same bishop for approval and acceptance. To this day, I get severe anxiety and stress if I ever need to speak to a bishop. I don’t trust any of them anymore. I will never let my children enter into a bishops office alone.