When I turned 14, I was like any normal child. We had moved to a new town, and I was finding my footing. I went to a youth dance for LDS children and I met some friends. I asked my mom if I could stay over at my new friends house, and she said that was fine. When I got to her house, I met her brother who was a return missionary living at home as he re-integrated. He played basketball at the church, and was super kind to me. He invited me to basketball games and I went. He quickly became what seemed like a friend.
Not long after, he began grabbing me inappropriately and asking me to have sex. He told me that the church supported him because he was a return missionary, and that he wears garments and knows what is right. I cried a lot and asked him to stop but he never did. I quickly realized that I likely could be pregnant. I went to LDS family services and they didn’t turn him in even though he was right there. Instead they told the bishop who called me in and lectured me about my thoughts towards abortion. I cried as I said I don’t want to be forced to carry this mans child nor do I want to marry him (which was a suggestion the bishop gave to rectify the situation).
I asked my parents to send me to California to be with family for a month while I thought, and I got the abortion there. Upon returning I had to beg those around me to keep him away from me, and I was threatened by him. I told a teacher who turned him in and I had to go in for questioning. I lied because the bishop made me feel as though this was my fault, that I shouldn’t have done anything that I did and I would be asked to not return to church. I was so scared and so I kept telling my 14 year old self that this was normal and this was ok. He was over 22 years old by this point.
I didn’t learn a lot about love or compassion during these years. In fact I learned that sex is something that is expected, and that love really isn’t too incredibly important. I learned that sex is an unhealthy thing, and that no does not mean no. I spiraled into consistent patterns of substance abuse following this. The guilt nearly killed me. My view of sex going forward was that it wasn’t important; that I wasn’t valuable. I ended up married later on, and I have three children now. I still struggle with maintaining a healthy marriage/sex life. I struggle with my sexual identity, as my mind wanders between resenting men for what the bishop and this man did, and then back to reality where I think not all men are the same. I hate the church with just a whole different level of fury. I won’t let missionaries past my front door, because truly I am scared of them.
The truth is, the church is very quiet about sexual misconduct. It is something I think that brings shame, and they suppress it even in the victims by saying you know just be quiet- lets not let the neighborhood know what happened and lets move on. The man who did this is still in the church, in fact he has a temple marriage and children. I would like to think that I am the only one with a story like this, but I know that is not the case. Predators shroud themselves in the doctrine of the church every day and I am sure of that.
I am not sure if my story can help you, but I hope it does. This is my first time really sharing it outwardly. I really hope that you do not become excommunicated, but if you do I am thankful for the work you are doing. Even if one child is helped by your courage it will be worth it.
Best of Luck