Another personal story for you and Sam Young as he Hunger Strikes to Protect LDS Children. This one is the hardest for me because I was complicit and bare the shame of this. This is about my child and I am using my favorite, colorful language in this post (you have been warned).
When I watched that beautiful mother come forward on Sam’s LIVE video last night and she apologized to her children for not protecting them from those questions, I really related; you see, I’ve already apologized to my son.
I was not married to an active member and was also inactive myself, so we didn’t raise his son or our son in the church. I had always been upset at the culture of abuse, especially sexual abuse. I experienced a lot of sexual abuse, so much; in fact, that I warn people to not trust their children around Mormon men. Yes, a blanket statement is easier for me then to list all of the perverts that I know personally. After Sam, I can no longer use that blanket statement.
When my son was 10, his friends that he had been friends with most of his life – yes, the neighborhood children and friends at school started to shun him. Their reason? He wasn’t baptized in the Mormon church. When he asked about it, I told him that he is allowed to if he wanted to. I didn’t see the harm. He was always very popular and it was strange to him to loose friends over something like that.
So, I made the arrangements and even took him to church for several weeks. When the bishop thought we had been put through our paces, he set up an interview. This interview was so much like my own at age 8 that I didn’t even blink. It was in our home, both me and his dad were there with him. The bishop asked him if he was morally clean, if he followed the law of chastity and then if he masturbated. His head shot up and he looked at me with his WTF? look and I gave him a look of reassurance. I fucking normalized that question. I okay’d it!
My sweet son was so offended by it. He knew that it wasn’t okay. I assured him that it was a normal question for the church leaders to ask. It never did sit with him well and he’s always made a point to point out how absurd, indecent, immoral and abusive it is.
Here I am, a mother who is over-protective. My nick name is and has always been Momma Jo because I grew up with 8 younger siblings that I “mothered” and have always been a nurturer. I have always spoken out against abuse – even when called a liar. Even when it cost me. HOW did that question seem okay to me? I will never understand that.
My son has forgiven me and I am humbled by his loving generosity. I will never be able to quantify the damage that I did that day. You ask why Sam’s cause matters? Because too many of us quit being shocked by those 29 disgusting questions.