As a child, I wish I had known about the grooming processes that sexual predators use. The way they gain a child’s trust, maybe even their parents’ trust, before attempting anything inappropriate. Instead, the church indoctrinated me to believe that men have the absolute authority and the power to act in God’s name. I was taught to trust men who disregard my personal boundaries. I remember older men shaking my hand and pulling me in for a hug that lasted too long and the bishop calling me and my sisters “trophy wives”. Too many forced handshakes, hugs and words. Unwanted attention from older men became normal and routine. Saying ‘no’ was an option I didn’t know I had. Kids, especially girls, are not encouraged to refuse or disobey an adult, especially a respected member of the church. I had a babysitter who would tickle me so roughly that he would leave my skin red and sore. He made me so uncomfortable, but so did the men at church that everyone trusted and even worshiped, so I suffered silently through it. That babysitter was later on sent to prison for child porn and attempted kidnapping. I believe the church made me unaware of what is socially acceptable and appropriate behavior between a child and adult.
Interviews with bishops have always been uncomfortable. At age 12 I was left alone in a room with a middle-aged man, who was not a therapist or psychologist, to talk about sex and masturbation. I didn’t even know what masturbation was, so hearing about this for the first time alone in a room from a man was very scary. I was pulled into an interview, with another untrained middle-aged man, when I was in college. I had a boyfriend at the time and the bishop, wanted to know every detail of my sex life. I gave him honest information and thought the interview would end there, as it should have. He began to interrogate me further: Were you on top or bottom while kissing? Where were your hands? Did he penetrate you with his fingers? Do you pleasure each other orally? Do you pleasure each other with objects? Do you pleasure each other until you orgasm? Have you tried anal sex? Even at the time, I found his questions disturbing and invasive. I had already divulged private information, but it wasn’t enough for him. He pushed me for explicit details.
Some members have told me that bishops are prompted by god to ask certain questions. So, did god prompt the bishop to ask a teenage girl about what she does with her anus?
Because of Mormonism’s systematic mental/sexual abuse and oppression, I removed my name from church records.