I’m deeply saddened reading these stories. Although mine isn’t on the severity scale as some of those on here, I think the church needs to know that this happens everywhere. They are not one in a million. This shame happens to EVERY child in EVERY congregation in our church. In some degree. Just putting a child in a closed room with a man (great or not) is scary for children, and makes us question why this is ok. And eventually we have to “accept it” and that messes us up even more. Don’t read these stories and think, “oh that can’t happen very often, most of our bishops are great people”. THAT LITERALLY DOESN’T MATTER. Even if bishops aren’t molesting these kids, just being in a room with private conversations happening between them is so incredibly inappropriate I could scream. CHURCH LEADERS…do NOT let this go. Take action. I am an active member, but this will never happen to my children (toddler and baby right now). They will never be in these interviews. Do something. Don’t let any more children have a story to share. It is literally in your hands.
In 5th grade, a boy and I liked each other (we had since 2nd.) I was convinced I loved him. We are taught in church never to date before 16. We were sinning if we did. We had never so much as hugged, but he asked me to be his girlfriend on a piece of paper during class. I was overcome with shame. Something so innocent! I told him no, and he was so embarrassed, our friendship was never mended completely.
7th grade comes and a different boy asked me to be his girlfriend. Once again I said no, but i liked him, and didn’t want a repeat of last time, but wanting to be in good standing with our church…so I said “no, but we can be friends with benefits!” I had no idea what that phrase meant, but it sounded better than having a boyfriend, since that was such a bad thing. This boy and I “dated” a couple months, then my friend convinced me to let her write a text to him from my phone, breaking us up. We got back together a year later, and dated 2 years. We ended up doing minor things. All of these things led me to so much guilt, that I would figure I’m a sinner already, why go back now. I was less afraid of disobeying God’s commandments, and petrified of confessing to the bishop. That right there is THE PROBLEM. It was scarier to me to go confess, than to live in sin with God being disappointed in me. This shame happens to EVERY kid. Just remember that.
I didn’t confess of those things until I was 18 years old. My boyfriend was on a mission and I felt so unworthy and shameful of being this disgusting person. It consumed me for years. When I finally confessed I assumed this huge weight would be lifted from me. It was not. This made me so mad, I wanted to be free! I only just realized this year, that it was the years of brainwashing that made me shameful, and that couldn’t be undone in one confession. This bishop had 6 girls, and in every interview i ever had with him as a kid, he bragged that all of his girls had “Virgin lips” until they graduated high school. Ya bishop…now let me confess of my sins after hearing how perfect your children are. (Eye roll)
When I was first married, the “good girl syndrome” was in full force. How could sex be totally fine now? I was basically so vanilla during sex, it hurt my marriage for years. It was a miracle if I orgasmed once a year. I never told that to my Husband. I could never get in the right mindset. I was never passionate or adventurous. I wanted to be, but you can’t undo a lifetime of being told it’s a sin, and now it’s just fine. Marriage or not, you feel like the same person the day before you got married right? It doesn’t magically change you. Now, I’m caught in the middle of believing the church is true, but not wanting my children growing up in the culture of it. It’s so damaging.
So for now until the church changes things, I cannot willingly subject my children to a culture that ruins lives. We are not being dramatic. It actually does ruin lives. Please change things.