My story is difficult for many to believe, but I have spent many years healing and finding evidence to validate to myself that it is true and many of my family member have started speaking about abuse they remembered years after I held onto the hope that my experiences were to crazy to be true.
My story starts before I was born. When my father was 6 years old his parents were divorced, both of my grandparents were put in mental institutions for several months, and their six children were removed from the home. I was told my whole life that they just both had nervous breakdowns. I found out after his death that the reason why, was because my grandfather would hire deacon age boys to babysit, and when he took them home would sexually abuse the boys.
Instead of going to prison the church and the justice system covered it up and put him in a mental hospital for a few months. My grandfather moved to Utah, continued to serve as an active member of the church, served as a Boy Scout leader, and later served two missions. He never stopped sexually abusing kids, and the story get much darker.
I believe my abuse probably started a week after my birth. He started training me to perform sexual acts on men from as early as I can remember, and probably earlier than I could remember. It turned out that my grandfather was training me because he worked with an organized group of men who were trafficking children for sex, and producing child pornography including snuff films, which I was a part of.
My grandfather had a lot of control over my father when my father worked for him and eventually took over his business. My grandfather had a lot of influence into where we lived, and made sure we lived in wards and stakes in which members of his trafficking ring could have access to and control the children in the families of the adult perpetrators. In the ward I lived in from the ages of 2-7, the stake president and the bishop of my ward were involved in my abuse. There was a neighbor two doors down, who would take me into his basement, give me drugs and either sell me to men to perform sexual acts on or produce pornography using me as a subject. This may be difficult for people to believe but there are other survivors who have validated my story and some of the details including the leaders who were involved in my abuse.
There were many times I would come home from that neighbors house, have difficulty staying awake at the table and go into respiratory distress and pass out. I had likely been given opiates and other drugs to produce different effects to add to the drama of whatever sick media they were producing with me. I will spare you the details because they are truly awful and beyond what most people could conceive. The prostitution and selling of my body on a frequent basis started by the time I was 5 years old. Prior to that time I was being prepared and trained to do whatever they told me to.
The only way a child can survive such horror, is too split or dissociate from the experience. For those of us with complex trauma of this kind, we survive by compartmentalizing this abuse so that we can survive, and for many years may have only fragments or complete amnesia until we become older and are safe enough to heal. Most of my childhood memories were not existent or fragmented in my conscious awareness for many years, but the pain and flashbacks that were confusing lead to self-destructive behavior when I was older.
This kind of abuse happened through my whole childhood and included group rapes, group ritualistic torture and making of snuff films, and included at least on child being killed, in which I was forced to participate and then partake in forms of cannabalism that were are for the purpose of producing these films and selling them on a dark black market.
But every Sunday my bishop stood up and preached the word of God. When I turned 11 years old, my parents moved us again to a different city, under the influence of my grandfather choosing the house for us. It happened to be next door to two polygamist families who were involved in this ring, and a bishop who was called to be the Stake President and was involved in my abuse. They rely on the torture and use of drug and the extreme of the abuse splitting a mind and intentionally push a victim to the point of Dissociation, and also administer drugs that induce forgetfulness after the abuse episode. This sick bishop would bring me into his office as a youth and ask me if I had ever done certain things, by describing the acts to test my memory and see what I could remember in my conscious state and if I was at risk for telling on him. I didn’t realize that is what he was doing when I was a teenager, I just felt very awkward and dirty by the time I left his office.
When I was 15 I did start having a lot of flashbacks that made me feel crazy, I attempted suicide a few times, and developed a severe eating disorder. Because I started talking I was shut up by being taken to a therapist who was a part of this group, and for 16 months he drugged me, hypnotized me, raped me, and trafficked me by prostituting me from his office and producing pornography, three days per week, for 4-6 hours at a time, and used various methods of mind control to mess up my sense of reality and what was real. By the end, at the age of 17, he convinced me to leave my home to go live with his daughter in an appartment in a small, isolated college town away from anyone I knew. It ended up being a set up, and I was used the whole time, drugged, and raped by multiple men for a period of 4 months. Oh, and yes, there was a bishopric member of the local singles ward who was trafficking me.
When I finally barely escaped with my life, I was very fragmented, and at that time could not access many of my memories and lost awareness of much of any of that time period until several years later. I tried to go to a bishop and only told him that my grandfather had abused me. He cautioned me that they might be false memories, and so I should probably not tell anyone in case I was wrong, and made me feel like a horrible person because if I couldn’t be believed maybe I couldn’t trust myself and I was just evil for remembering such horrible things.
I shoved it away for a long time, got married in the temple, but had serious mental health breakdowns when I had children and flashbacks were triggered, it lead to a severe relapse with an eating disorder that nearly killed me before I really finally started to heal.
Healing has been a process of years of very intensive therapy and rebuilding my life. When I have gone to my own priesthood leaders and have shared even a light edited version of my story and struggles they are often traumatized, have disbelief, and from there on out avoid me, instead of helping me to feel like a normal human being worth being a part of God’s kingdom. At some point I lost trust in the ability for my leaders to be safe in supporting me or knowing me at all.
I have found healing and support through friends and people who show me kindness and genuine love, not through my leaders. I have become a therapist and now help others who have suffered these horrors of abuse and trafficking.
Sam is the first bishop I have felt heard me and appreciated me, and wasn’t afraid of me knowing any part of my history. Honestly I felt the saviors love through Sam more than I have any of my leaders. Sam walks in the light of the Savior and if you excommunicate him for following the commission of the Savior, the fallout will be on your heads.