On many more than one occasion, I was subjected to inappropriate interviewing that effected me even into my adulthood. From around the age of 12 to about age 19, I tried to correct what I was told were my immoral actions. First was masturbation. At the age of 12, I clued my current bishop at the time, from the Vernal, UT area, to my “problems” with masturbation. I was asked various questions on how I would touch myself, or what kinds of thoughts were going through my mind at the time I was masturbating.
I looked up to these men as leaders and because of the way I was brought up, taught to not question motives or actions of church leadership. As I grew older, I added into the masturbation mix, the added pleasure for the church of me being gay. Then the questions started to include how another boy (was under the age of 16 at the time) would suck on my penis. What would lead up to that happening. How would he play with my balls? How would he deep throat me? Stuff that I didn’t even fully understand myself at the time. I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t simply say that I was experiencing gay thoughts and was responding in kind to those thoughts. B
ut my leaders wanted to know more. They wanted the nitty-gritty of the encounters that I was experiencing. The question is…why? I was an adolescent youth growing up and experiencing very normal things that I was asked in details, like when he stuck his tongue in your mouth, did you enjoy it? Did you reciprocate with your tongue? Did you just keep it in your mouth, or did you also suck on his lips? Did you nibble on his ear? Did you like that? Questions that seemed endless and just painfully ongoing. I still recall those moments when, one on one, I would sit with the leadership. At the time I thought it was my immoral actions that were creating the angst in my life at the time, but I now understand that I was simply growing, in a very healthy way, that I needed guidance rather than shame and guilt. I dealt with that angst and guilt for more that 7 years within the church, and countless years after. I am now 36, going on 37, and those experience still shake me to my core. Fill me with grief and sadness for what I was subjected to as a youth…under the guise of help.