When I was 16 years old I moved to a new ward in Herriman, Utah. The first day at church right when we walked in the door we happened to meet the bishop. After my mom had talked to him for a few minutes and she had started talking to someone else, he then came over to me and said that he could tell that I had things I needed to confess to him. I really did have things that by Mormon standards I was supposed to confess to my priesthood leader. Because of this interaction, I felt like he could see through me and that I better confess.
A few weeks later I worked up the guts to call him to make an appointment. It was on a Saturday morning. He said that he had time and that I should come over to his house. When I got there we were all alone. His wife and children were not there. We went into his home office and he shut the door. I told him all the things I needed to tell him. He then started asking me deeply personal questions and wanting to know all the details of my sexual experience. He told me that I needed to tell him any sexual dreams I had had because I would also be accountable for those if I did not properly repent. He asked me about masturbation and told me that would lead to homosexuality and that if I ever did it in the future I would need to come back each time to repent. He asked about any sexual thoughts I had had because I would also be held accountable for those if I did not tell him. This meeting lasted 3 hours. I was so worried about not being clean or repenting properly that I tried in every way to remember every sexual or inappropriate thought I had ever had. It was so invasive and for years I had worried that I wasn’t clean or forgiven because what if I forgot to tell him something. He also told me that I should never tell my future husband about the things that I had done. There was no reason that anyone should know so I should never talk about it to anyone in the future. My mom never knew about this meeting.
When I got pregnant my doctor asked me if I had any other sexual relationships before my marriage because I would need to be tested for STD’s for the health of my baby if I had. I lied and said that I never had intercourse with anyone except my husband. I was trying to obey the counsel that my bishop had given me and I was so worried that my husband would have found out so I kept this a secret for years. Thankfully, I didn’t have any STD’s (later on I went in for tests) but it makes me so sick to think that I lied to my doctors and husband for so long. I ended up telling my husband about this whole experience with my bishop and also that I had had sex when I was a teenager. It felt so good to let go of the secrecy and shame that I had! My husband was so loving and the only thing he was upset about was the experience with my bishop. At 30 years old I didn’t know that that experience was inappropriate or not okay until my husband told me! I had trusted my bishop’s counsel because I full heartedly believed he was called of God and could not give me harmful counsel. I am grateful that I never had any health complications. I am also grateful that my children will never be put in this situation.