My worthiness interview story only scratches the surface of how the Mormon Church destroyed my life. The details of exactly how my life was destroyed I left out because the memory is too painful to revisit but basically, I lost my one and only true friend as a result of the first interview described here and I have never recovered from that loss which has affected my life negatively ever since. It is my hope that what I do share of my story will help put the church on the “path to repentance” so that eventually no one else will get hurt like I did.
I’ve had two bishop interviews that crossed the line of being inappropriate. The first, while not too bad because I was never asked to go into detail (probably because I lied and said I did obey the law of chastity) still contained the “do you masturbate question.” I was 16 or 17 at the time. I was also asked if I keep the law of chastity and I really didn’t know what that was except that it had something to do with sex. I also didn’t know that masturbation and what I did was the same thing. The bishops interview was the first time I heard that that was a “sin”. *enter, guilt, stage left*
My struggle with right and wrong after interview one caused a lot of self hate and depression which is something I struggled with ever since. I walked down the road of suicide five times during my senior year of high school because of the guilt caused depression. My plan was to walk to the little marina about a block away from my house, jump in and wait till hypothermia set in. It was the middle of winter and temperatures were in the negative double digits sometimes. I don’t know much about freezing to death so I have no idea if my plan would have worked, and besides that, every time I tried, something always stopped me whether it was my little sister wanting to walk with me or just not having the courage to follow through. I really don’t like pain and the fear of it hurting overpowered my desire to end it. One time, this really obnoxious lady talking on her cellphone showed up just as I was about to jump in the water and I waited forever, with my feet hanging over the side of the dock, for her to leave but she never did so I gave up and decided to come back another day, but I never did.
Fast forward about two ish years. I was then in a relationship with my ex fiancé who was sexually abusive. He would bully me into having sex with him whether I wanted it or not. I tried talking to my dad about it because even though I knew it wasn’t okay for him to treat me that way I still felt like I had to have a priesthood holder validate my feelings. The fact that every male in my life had authority over me from the day I was born made me think that I had no control over my own life. I thought that any decision I made had to be approved by a male first, including leaving an abusive relationship. My dad told me, concerning my abuse, that “sometimes you have to do stuff you don’t want to in a marriage”. So I stayed in that relationship for another two years. Two kids came out of it, the second being the result of rape. Thank my lucky stars we never actually tied the knot.
After leaving the abusive relationship I eventually married a great guy, my now husband. We got sealed in the temple which made me start thinking a lot about my premarital sex “sins”. I was worried that because I hadn’t confessed my premarital sex (abuse/rape) to the bishop it meant that I was unworthy and therefore my temple sealing might be void. I wanted an eternal family more than anything so I made an appointment with the bishop.
I asked if it would be okay if my husband came into the interview with me and the bishop said “no, these aren’t your husband’s sins”. I immediately started to have a panic attack. The interview started and bishop asked me what it was I felt I needed to repent for. I told him and he asked how many people I had sex with, how many times/ month, how many times total (really, who keeps track of that?) what positions we used, did I have sex with my husband before marriage he asked other questions but I can’t remember them because by that time I was in full blown panic mode. All I can remember is that I kept wondering why he needed to know these details, and I wanted out of there. I wanted to be back with my husband where I felt safe.
I was an adult (22) at the time of this second interview and I could have decided not to do it, but the fear of being cast into outer darkness and losing my family was so bad that I felt I had no choice. Because of the things I learned in church, I thought that being sexually abused was God’s way of punishing me for having sex before I was married in the first place and I had to repent so that god would forgive me and take away the trauma and make it possible for me to have an eternal family. Instead I was subjected to even more trauma. The mind control that the church inflicts on its members is very effective.
I hope that the church can see the hurt that’s a direct result of its teachings and culture and make the necessary changes to correct the issue.