Summary of the following story: I was groomed by my church leaders all growing up to be deceived by a pervert (another Bishop) and I thought all that happened to me was completely normal. I have decided to leave the church for any reason just pick one.
I do know that I am not the individual that was targeted by this bishop.
I was a TBM for the majority of my life, maybe 25 years, and most of my immediate family are very strong. I remember being asked sexually explicit questions from my bishop from an early age and found them very shaming. Not partaking of the sacrament in front of your family is hurtful and manipulative,
When I was 18 I started preparing to go on a mission. I expected to go, we talked about it continuously while I grew up so there really was no question. All of my friends were already gone because I was young for my year in school. While preparinging and meeting with the bishop I was dating a girl and fooling around (no sex) and masturbating. I had received my mission call to the Illinois Peoria mission. The guilt of not telling my bishop was too strong so I told him and my mission was delayed. If you know anything about the culture in the church, you assume that when a mission was delayed the individual has made a chastity mistake. I was so ashamed to go to church and sit in the back and not take the sacrament and go to classes and politely refuse to say the prayers when when asked to because I was not supposed to say public prayers. My bishop wanted to meet with me often (once a week and often 2-3 times a week including daily phone calls) to discuss my issues and to get me to my mission. During that time of preparing to go I had slipped up and masturbated again. I did not know anything about masturbation, I was extremely naive when it came to any details. I did know, however, that it could prevent me from going so I was afraid to tell my bishop.
This is where things start getting weird. My bishop started asking me if I had masturbated. I lied and said I had not. I must not have been a very convincing liar because he kept pressing the matter. I lied several times insisting that I had not masturbated. Finally I admitted that I had. I remember details about this next part very vividly because I have relived it in my head for the past 20 years and it is still embarrassing to talk about. I broke down crying knowing that this might delay my mission. I found this devastating because my parents had just gotten divorced, I was living in my aunt and uncle’s basement and I really wanted to get out. My bishop took a deep breath and began to tell me of his “expertise” in the matter. He started to shame me for what I had done and telling me that I probably would not be able to go on my mission. I was devastated. I can’t remember if I left for home this night but I know we had set up an appointment for the very next night to continue talking about it. I do know that I was contemplating suicide at this time. I was working construction and was visibly upset and some of my coworkers asked me if I was okay.
I made it to my appointment the next day and I was at an all time low because I was waiting for the bishop to tell me I couldn’t go on my mission. I was sitting in the interviewee chair with my head hanging and he asked me “have you ever thought about suicide?”.
I responded because it seemed as if he could read my mind. “I am thinking about it right now.” He began to bear testimony to my that we were inspired by the Lord to meet so that he could help me in this and as long as I did what he asked I would be able to go on my mission. I was eager to do anything. It is also the first time that I believe that I felt the “spirit”, though when I look back on the situation now I know that it was just excitement that I was feeling because now I would be able to go on my mission. I used this feeling of excitement as my “spiritual awakening to the truthfulness of the gospel”.
Then he continued to tell me of two stories from his past where he was helping other people with this problem. One was when he went on his mission he had a companion that was masturbating 15 times a day so they took the doors off the hinges of all the rooms they had led them to experience more success in his mission than they ever had before that time. One experience included him casting Satan (Satan’s spirit?) out of a car.
The other story involved my bishop shadowing a doctor that specializes in masturbation. The story relayed to me by my bishop was that he learned so much about it and had seen so many cases that he was able to see the damage that men had done to themselves masturbating including whether or not they could have children up to the heads of their penises falling off. I was skeptical of the last part but what did I know? I was not an expert. I even looked at my own penis to see if it showed any signs of falling off.
He sent me home that night to return again soon, I am not sure how soon. When I came back we prayed and read a couple scriptures to start and then he said that the spirit had manifested to him that in order to go on my mission I needed to masturbate into a film canister (the old black ones) so that he could take it to the masturbation expert so he could inspect it. I was obviously shocked by this “revelation” he had received because he quickly said that I should think on it overnight and return to him. Then he continued to impress upon me the importance of not telling anyone because they wouldn’t understand the situation. I didn’t tell anyone. The next night in his office started out the same as the others with a prayer and scripture reading. But then he brought out the film canister and and a bottle of lotion. I had agreed to provide a “sample” but I could not achieve an erection. He offered next time to bring in pornography to help me. I was starting to get really confused, but over the next visits I provided two samples for him without any pornography. To this day I don’t know what he did with the vials of ejaculate. I went on my mission. I wrote to this bishop often and then one day my best friend called me to tell me that my bishop had cancer (I think she got my number from my mission president I don’t remember how we got in touch). She knew that we were close. I took it hard because he was the reason I was out on my mission to begin with. I called him bawling and he was telling me all about his treatments in SLC and how he had no hair on his body (including his genitals). He also included a story of how he accidentally zipped his genitals up in his zipper and due to the cancer medication that he was taking he couldn’t stop the bleeding so he had to go to the hospital again.
When I got home from my mission I wanted to go see him so I called him. When he answered he was acting weird and gave me a story of why he was unavailable. I shrugged it off and my life became really busy. Still I thought nothing about how weird this was. All I know is I never told anybody. Fast forward a couple years and I was going to college in Oregon. I was still very active in the church and was masturbating occasionally but I was not having regular meetings with the bishop (a different bishop) I slipped up with a girl and we had sex. I then confessed and he convinced me that it was my masturbating habit that was the reason for our mistake. He convinced me that I needed counseling. I went to the LDS counseling services and in the first meeting he started to tell me about doing a 12 step program (similar to AA). One of the steps involves making a list of all of the people I have hurt in my addiction. In that list I listed Bishop Smith*. It was then that the counselor told me that I had been deceived. Bishop Smith had apparently lied to everyone. He did not have cancer. He never did have cancer. Apparently in the time I had been away to college he was excommunicated. I don’t know the exact reason why but I have some good guesses and have since discovered that I am not the only victim of a very sick person. I told this counselor all of what happened to me with the bishop but he directed me not to tell anyone since it would only hurt the church. I realize now that he was not a good counselor. I had been groomed from a young age by leaders in the church for a pervert. I was sick about this. I did the 12 step program thinking that I was an addict and have since decided that I am not and is probably offensive to real addicts. This has affected me for 20 years.