I grew up in a Mormon household. We were considered religious by my family friends outside of Utah, but moving back when I was 12 changed everything. My relationship with my bishops before we moved to Utah were very respectful and considerate of social boundaries. However, when I was 8 and before I was baptized, I had to interview with my bishop. He asked me questions about my worthiness to be baptized like if I believed in the Gospel, etc. We moved on and he asked me about following the law of chastity. I didn’t understand what he meant and asked him to explain. He read this phrase off a piece of paper that NPR talked about a few weeks ago. It was word for word the exact same. This same thing happened again when interviewed for doing baptisms for the dead. It happened again when I was the Beehive and Mia Maid President. It was uncomfortable, but I knew my parents trusted the bishop, so I didn’t say anything. When I resigned from the church, the bishop from my home ward began quizzing me about my sexual history with my boyfriend. All of my bishops were privy to my meetings with my therapist from the free BYU therapy center, even though it was supposed to be confidential. My seminary teacher in high school divulged to the class that my parents had divorced and I should be kept in their prayers. Then they played “Families Can Be Together Forever”. He found that out from two different people: my best friend’s mom and my bishop.
I have many more stories about how the LDS church exacerbated my mental health problems and encouraged my suicidal thoughts even as a young child. I could talk about how they protected my father instead of my mother when he was abusing her and us. I could talk about the times we went hungry during the Recession because my father and my mom were working 3 jobs, and the church required us to clean the chapel, pay tithing and encouraged me to work as a 14 year old so we could get food assistance from the bishop. I could talk about how I was shamed in high school and didn’t have any friends after someone said that I had sex with my boyfriend. I could talk about how we were never invited to ward activities because I have an autistic brother and we were poor. The amount of shame that I still feel about living my own life as a 22 year old is horrible. I still don’t feel perfect enough.