When I was 8 years old, the Sunday School teacher told the class that the bishop was the best friend we had. We could take our problems to him, and he’d always listen, and help.
I took myself to visit him as soon as class dismissed. I told him what daddy had been doing to me for as long as I could remember. ( molestation, anal insertion of his fingers, and eventually his penis, forcing me to do oral on him. ), sexual abuse, beatings, emotional and verbal abuse, and how mommy liked to make me get naked and pick out the belt I wanted her to use on me, and sit and wait on her bed while she worked herself into a rage over minor issues, and sometimes things I hadn’t even done, but my older brother had blamed me for.
He listened quietly. Then he became VERY angry. But not with them. He was angry with me. He accused me of being a filthy spawn of Satan, and of lying against, and slandering my ‘wonderful and noble parents’, and sinning against him ( the bishop ) and God.
Because, you see, God had inspired him through divine revelation to select my dad as his second councilor in the bishopric, and mother as Primary President, and God wouldn’t select monsters.
He had my parents summoned, and told them everything I’d told him. He admonished them to take me straight home, and discipline the devil out of me, which they happily did. It was a spectacular torture session, as I recall, with both taking turns at me.
After mom left the room, dear daddy leaned in close and whispered…” You’re just a very little girl after all, and a stupid one. If you EVER tell anyone again what goes on in MY house, I’ll take you and your little dog for a ride out into the desert, and either leave you both for the coyotes to eat, or I’ll kill you myself and bury your bodies where they’ll never be found.
Nobody will miss you, nobody will care, and nobody will come looking for you. ”
Some years later, when I went for my ‘worthiness interview’, my parents both issued this warning. Answer every question truthfully, because God will know if you’re lying, and God and Jesus will be very angry, and the bishop will also know, through the power of discernment.
When he asked me about masturbation, I didn’t even know what the word meant. He explained to me in detail. Ashamed, I answered truthfully. Yes, I had masturbated. I didn’t tell him WHO had taught me how to do this, because I’d already learned what happens when you tell.
He asked these questions
1. How many times have you masturbated?
2. Did you do it under your undies, or over them?
3. Was it at night in bed?
4. Was it while you were bathing?
5. Was it always inside, or did you do it outside as well?
6. Were you alone, or was someone watching?
7. If someone was there, were they also masturbating, or did you touch each other and do mutual masturbation?
8. Did you masturbate or do mutual masturbation with your brothers?
9. Did you use the family dog to orally stimulate you?
I remember to this day the nausea I felt in that office while he was asking these questions.
He also violated confidentiality, called my parents and made suggestions as to how they could break me of the vile, filthy habit.
In a house with 3 brothers and a pedophile dad, I was to have no privacy. My bedroom door was never to be closed. My bathroom door was to be open while using the toilet, or bathing.
My parents took turns setting the alarm and sneaking down stairs to my room where they ripped the covers off of me, to see if I was ‘going at myself’.
As a result of this, I’ve suffered a life long problem with sleep paralysis and waking nightmares. I’d already had some difficulty with sleep paralysis, from my dad sneaking into my bedroom as a little girl, and carrying me into the den on the other side of the house to do his dirty work. But these new restrictions exacerbated the problem.
You see…I had a terror of the bedroom door being open at night, with dark hallways beyond. Closet doors too. They all had to be closed, and I had to check under the bed for the monster that might carry me off to another room and do dirty things.
Here I am, 62 years old, and still having the nightmares. In fact, all of my nightmares involve my parents, or things pertaining to church.
And my poor husband, hearing my strangled attempts to scream from the depths of the nightmare, can only reach over and stroke my back and talk softly until I emerge from the paralysis.
Therapy didn’t help. If something ever happens to my husband, I’m on my own in dealing with it.
From the sexual abuse, I felt self loathing for being female. Dad didn’t go after my brothers at all, and especially not his first and only born son, my oldest brother. I would pray that God would hear my prayers and give me a penis, so I’d get the preferential treatment my brothers got. I also remembered the bible stories, where God intervened to protect and preserve various Hebrew males, such as Daniel in the lions den, and the 3 youths cast into the fiery furnace by an angry ruler.
I would pray fervently in my head, while I was screaming during the torture sessions. God didn’t hear, or perhaps he simply didn’t care, as I wasn’t a Hebrew with a penis. I loathed my female body more and more over the years and decades. I became an avid tomboy, and interestingly, even though I was heterosexual, the Mormon parents in my ward came to the conclusion that I must be a ‘Dyke’, as I preferred male typical clothing to female typical, and only wore a dress or skirt to church because we had to.
They activated the ‘ward phone tree’ and I went from having a sizable group of girl friends to hang around with, to only two who would have anything to do with me. The mother of one of these friends was the one who told me about the rumor, and assured me that even if I was, they still loved me and considered me as a daughter to them, and a sister to their daughter.
As I said, I’m heterosexual, but got a heaping helping of the kind of abuse and shunning that Mormons have shown toward LGBTQ people.
These experiences are tip of the iceberg for me. I stopped attending church years back, when I learned that my 13 year old son ( with Asperger Syndrome ) was being bullied by his Sunday School teacher and classmates. But I resigned membership after I learned of the new policy which extended the double standard of requirements between heterosexual and LGBTQ Mormons, to the infants and children of LGBTQ Mormons. I could not remain affiliated in any sense.