I was 15. I had just moved across the country and had been struggling to adjust. I turned to the gospel with faith for support during this challenging time. I was doing my best to be a righteous daughter of god. My new bishop scheduled an interview with me, I assumed to get to know me since I was new. I came to the man I had been taught to view as my connection to god, expecting to leave feeling uplifted and happy. He asked about chastity and masturbation. I confessed that I had “gone a little farther than I should have” but that I felt God understood my heart and that I was still progressing spiritually. I was ready to move on with the interview but he insisted on details. “Start at the beginning. Walk me through everything that happened that night…how many fingers? …did you enjoy it? Did you orgasm?” My face was burning, my heart pounded in my ears. I was ready to cry. I felt violated and vulnerable.
“Why do we have to go over so many details?” I asked. “Heavenly father knows what happened”
“It’s important for the repentance process that we thoroughly discuss all of the details.”
He told me to stop taking the sacrament and that I would need to meet with him every week. I was ready to cry. He told me he would end the interview by giving me a blessing. He walked around his desk but instead of standing behind me, stood by my side with his pelvis too close to my face. The blessing probably lasted 3 minutes but it felt like hours as I sensed him inch closer to my face and shift his weight side to side. Tears rolled down my face. I prayed for it to end. I left feeling heavy and dirty and vulnerable. I walked home crying, filled with sadness and dread at the thought of repeating this process next week. I love the church but I was violated by a man through his position of power in it. Proper checks and balances and safety measures need to be in place to avoid these situations. When I saw Sam Young’s story I felt overwhelmed by the power of his message. I would do anything to help another child avoid some of the situations I was subjected to because I faithfully believed that not only did a man have the authority to question me in this manner, but that it was necessary for God to forgive and accept me again. These are our children, God’s children. This practice needs to be modified.