I have been a member for just over 23 years. I have never shared this story with anyone besides my counselor. I have always feared backlash from family or friends and even from the church. I share it here now because it is time. I want to heal and to move on. Sharing my story which I felt no one would believe is now something I know I can do safely and without backlash or repercussions thanks to people like Sam Young and Makenna Denson.
I joined the church at the age of 18. I first took the discussions at the age of 15. During that first round of lessons taught at our local ward building by male missionaries that were just slightly older than my age but still adults as I was not yet, I was asked mortifying questions about sex and my sexuality. In the relief society room, alone with two young men and a bishop “standing gaurd for privacy”, I was asked if I had ever masturbated or had or given oral sex, or had sex. I was asked if I had ever participated gay or lesbian intercourse or in any type of group sex.
What followed was horrifying. I was raped by first one, then the other, then most horrifyingly by both. As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, I felt so violated and newly assaulted that I cancelled my baptism immediately. But my mind and my LDS friends who thought I’d cancelled because I wasn’t sure, kept saying that the church was true, it was just that some people who were bad (I’d had years of being made to feel like an outsider in a predominately LDS community). Three years later, I was taught again. This time by sister missionaries. The day of my baptism I wept as I was again asked similar questions while in the relief society room of another building. This time though, I was not raped. In fact, my sister missionaries stood gaurd.
Shortly after my baptism I married my husband. We had four beautiful children and I stood gaurd as “the lords chosen anointed” asked these same disgusting questions of my children. I am so ashamed for having not protected them from the assaults to their psyches. Thankfully they were never raped but the damage has been done anyhow.
As man after man behind closed door asked these and similar questions, my children’s testimonies of a safe and loving God crumbled to bits and our family nearly crumbled as well. Our 21 year old daughter will never return to any church. The shame and guilt she was made to feel, even as a virgin, living a chaste life and dressing modestly, has irreparably damaged her emotionally and psychologically for the rest of her life as well as led to self harm, religious OCD and wishing she could die.
Finally, it has led to a complete crisis of faith within our family nearly leading to divorce and eventually leading each of the six members of our family to have either removed their name from the records of the church or to be completely inactive.
These terrible interviews have got to end and they have to end NOW. Stop harming our children. Stop ruining marriages and families. Stop protecting, advancing, and allowing known sexual predators within our midst. You, the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints are the wolves in sheep’s clothing and I, and the rest of those who’s sacred stories have been told before mine are here to expose you to the world. Thanks be to God for men like Sam Young for giving us both the courage and the ability to speak up and say no more. Not now, or ever, ever again.