***Sam, thank you for your hard work, selfless service, dedication to protect our children. I don’t know if this counts but I believe my bishop could have stopped the sexual abuse I endured from a brother and two cousins. My abuse was the span of age 4-10. My baptism interview is where I thought I could have gotten the help I needed. At least one adult would hear me…or so I thought…a god could save me.***
My baptism interview and the first time I’d actually sat down with our bishop. He was a great guy, my parents & the rest of the ward always talked about how much love they had for a bishop ‘who could see straight into the soul and just know how to help so many…’
I was nervous, what questions would be asked to an 8 yr old? No one ever asked for my opinions or believed me anyways. He’d asked the other questions and then…
“Do you keep the law of chastity?”
‘The law of…what?’
His eyes looked annoyed while he motioned with his hands around in the air, not pointing in any particular place.
“Do you touch yourself, or someone else?”
My heart had hope, this maybe the one person that will believe me. God will help him!
‘Well, I don’t think my brother and cousins should be touching me there…’
His eyes shifted and you could see the weight of the world cave in, that even as an 8 yr old could only plead/pray that this ‘man that could see straight into my soul’ could see the abuse happening at home.
“Do you keep the law of chastity?” He repeated as he held his breath.
‘Yes’ I whispered and shook as my heart broke, another adult who didn’t want to hear ‘it.’
The Colgate smile once again surfaced and he continued to set the date and time of the baptism. My last attempt to bring to light the abuse that had been going on for 4 years before that interview and it continued for another 2 after that interview.
I thought for years that I wasn’t righteous enough for the bishop to hear that statement or hear my prayers to help me. I had years of self harm because I was obviously the problem that caused the abuse and the problem my prayers weren’t being answered.