Incentivize me to lie. Teach me to hate myself.
When in my teens, I was asked if and how often I would masturbate. As a young kid, I didn’t have the right understanding or language to answer accurately. I learned to hate a part of myself. I felt like I was living a double life for simply being attracted to women, or having a wet-dream or masturbating. There is a huge amount of cognitive and mental strain one has to go through on accepting I was a human when the bar is set so extremely high.
When preparing to serve a mission, I was very diligent and hard working. In the interview process, I remember feeling *threatened* that my MTC arrival date would be delayed if I messed up. That was just crushing for someone trying so hard and in reality doing very very well. What would I tell my family? Friends?
I also felt like these questions taught me how to lie. I consider myself to be an extremely honest person, yet when asked so specifically about number of times, when, where, why, I began to soften the story. I can see how these types of questions open people up to live a double life. If you realize you’re human with sexual desires but God expects you to remove that from your life and you cannot do both, what do you tell your Bishop? When I was young, I really didn’t know how to tell someone this, and as I got older, I just loathed myself more and more for 1) not being perfect and 2) not really knowing how to talk about it with the people expecting me to be perfect.
After my mission, I dated some wonderful girls who I really loved. We made some very small and common mistakes and it was so destructive on our relationship to be honestly affectionate yet being told we were horrible. My girlfriend at the time, felt so bad she went to talk to her bishop. He asked her to not take the sacrament for several weeks. She recommended I go talk to my bishop as well, which I did, and he basically didn’t care at all. He asked me to read a few scriptures. She took this very hard and it was really the seed to ruining the relationship.
For a long time, I lived in huge fear of being kicked out of BYU for some of these simple things that I chose not to talk about them with my bishop. How is that healthy?
Another one of my bishops at BYU asked very specific questions about acts I had done with a girl I was dating. It was awkward. It was weird. What we had done was so minor, yet by his questions, I also could deduce what ‘the line’ was for him on what was serious. Some of those things I had never considered doing, yet it opened those ideas to me that I could probably push my personal line much further and he probably wouldn’t care. Next girl I dated, went right up to the line of what questions he asked.
Was I living the law of chastity for the right reasons? No. I was living them out of fear.
Did I feel like I was living a double life? Absolutely and it tore me apart.
I absolutely believe the conversations leaders have with kids about the law of chastity need to be revamped.
I feel like leaders of the church exploited my human frailties to pressure me into unrealistic obedience. To loath myself. To want so bad to do what is right, I’d bend the truth to do so.
I spent years of my life feeling like I didn’t deserve to be loved or deserve to love. I’m almost 30 and not married and now really not looking to get married anymore. A big component of that has to be how I was taught about sexuality, standards of sexuality, and the way by bishops held me accountable to those standards.