My first experience of sexual abuse was from a member of my bishopric when I was ten. He practiced ritualistic abuse using scriptures, twisted covenants, and his leadership position to sexually abuse and torture me for 9 months, including at least one instance in our church building. He convinced me that we do not share “sacred” things and that my mother not only knew, but was happy I had been “chosen”.
After we moved I was abused by eight others over the course of three and a half years, at least three who were considered faithful members. The abuse was severe enough I developed dissociative amnesia which was not uncovered for thirty years. The abuse caused self harming behaviors including suicidal ideation, marrying an abusive man, and seeking solace occasionally in alcohol or inappropriate sexual behavior.
When I came back to church after my divorce, my bishop was untrained, shamed me, and believed I had not been forgiven. He blocked my temple marriage to my current husband until my husband went to talk with him at which point he suddenly changed his mind and allowed us to be married, 3 months after our original wedding date.
Over the years I have been appalled at what bishops have said to me about abuse. I have been shamed, my children have been shamed, and we had no follow up from bishops or our stake president. There has been no reporting by any of my leaders who I have talked to about my abuse. They have not even asked the names of any of my abusers to report to either police or internally to my perpetrators bishops. I have no idea what the policies even are. My son has been shamed by sexual questions to the point he feels he is not worthy- which is completely untrue- and is no longer comfortable at church despite his strong testimony before these questions started. This was from a good and kind bishop trying to do his job who doesn’t understand why my children no longer attend church. I believe in God, I believe the gospel as outlined in the LDS church, but things need to change.