I grew up in an LDS home where my parents taught me to honor and respect priesthood leaders. As a teenager, I never dated and felt a bit insecure but had many good friends and family members who loved me. One summer my bishop took special interest in me. He visited with me often told me I was beautiful. He called me into his office often and first developed a close friendship with me. After a few weeks, he told me that he was unhappily married and that God had told him he divorce his wife and marry me. I was seventeen, and I believed him. He told me that I was the love of his life and that my parents wanted us to get married. He told me to tell no one about our visits.
I obeyed him. I found myself falling in love with him and we had sex in the bishop’s office. I became pregnant and never told my parents who the father of the baby was. I gave up the baby for adoption but the experience has ruined my life. I have married twice–both times to abusive men. I have low self-esteem and have suffered shame and guilt for years.
I have learned that I wasn’t the only teen to have a baby fathered by this man. Because this former bishop is close friends with powerful general authorities, he had never received any church punishment and is a member in good standing to this day. I moved away from home after I had the baby and confessed to my new bishop what had happened to me. He excommunicated me for over two years.
I continue to attend church but my heart is broken. I mourn the loss of my baby and of my innocence. Anyone who says that bishops should visit with young women in private should remember that this is a perfect opportunity for a trusting young woman to be sexually groomed and molested.
I beg the Church leaders to stop allowing bishops to interview children and teens alone. I know too many other women like me who have paid such a heavy price for the Church’s practices. I have spent most of my life feeling worthless and guilty. No one should have to go through what I have endured. No one.