I felt impressed to tell my own story although I was a couple years older than a legal minor. I grew up in the Church. I was blessed to have wonderful leaders that watched out for me. I met my wonderful husband through the church and will always be grateful for it; however, I cannot overlook the harmful consequences that these meetings have on a developing psyche.
I was taught that Bishops used the spirit during the one-on-one interviews and I instilled a lot of faith into the leaders. Once I moved away from my loved ones and the teachers that knew me so well, my world was rocked to the core. I went to Brigham Young University and waited for my missionary like a good girlfriend. I was made the “family home evening mother” where I met someone who continued to make a year and a half of my life utter hell. I was stalked, groomed, guilted, sexually harassed and assaulted. I am not one to be in tune with my own feelings and the situation overwhelmed me.
When I finally had enough, I made an appointment with my bishop to discuss the matter. I prayed so hard that I would have the spirit to guide me, to be able to talk about the things I had a difficult time making sense of. I prayed so hard that the bishop would have the spirit to know what I was trying to convey.
Unfortunately, I felt further blamed and there was a time I wasn’t deemed worthy to take the sacrament. I never sought help. I never made the police reports until eight years later. After my attacker was already a registered sex offender.
I was a legal “adult.” I cannot imagine the pain and isolation we are putting onto our children. I struggled throughout the years with suicide, wanting to escape the past and memories. It effected my husband and my relationship as I shut down when he touched me a certain way.
My bishop was not a bad guy. But he was a man. As all men, we are fallible. Bishops are untrained in assault cases. We are putting an unnecessary strain upon them as well. As I finally came forward, I began to hear stories from my friends and own family. At fourteen, my brother was asked detailed sexual questions during his bishop interview. One of these included topics of bestiality and anal penetration. There is no reason for a fully grown adult to ask questions of this nature to a minor. Mission presidents, bishops, people of leadership position, so many that we put our entire faith into. We should not put the responsibility back on the child to create a healthy and safe atmosphere. Stop passing the buck. It is time that we look after our innocent children. Men are fallible. Because of that, extra measures should be put into effect to help protect our children.