My mother went to the bishop when we were young and my fathers abuse escalated. She was threatened with excommunication for attacking the priesthood and warned not to continue in that attack on the church. Because the church was more interested in protecting the image of the priesthood they chose to silence my family by threatening my mothers with ‘eternal darkness’ for going against my father. She had a deep faith in the church so instead of going to the police when things got worse she went back to 2 other bishops who used the same threats to silence us.
In 1990 my Sister, brother and mother reported my father to yet another bishop for molesting my older sisters. They were scolded and warned not to “dare use the word abuse against a man I know to be a good faithful member and a priesthood holder.” My father admitted the sexual abuse but was still not reported and the threats against us for speaking remained. Instead he was given church counseling and forgiven within a few months.
Shortly after the church forgave him he began bragging opening to us about getting away with it. He bragged about how he can do whatever he wants because, “no one will believe it anyway” he found this amusing.
Within a few months he disappeared for 2 weeks and I was kidnapped and raped by a ‘stranger’ my fathers age who repeated many of the same sick ideas my father did. He knew many things about my family that I’d never told anyone which is why I believe it was something my father had part in and was not random. I was 13, a virgin at the time of my assault, and had already gone to the temple for baptism for the dead. I did end up in the ER, had a rape kit done, and spoke to the police.
There was evidence on my attacker as I had gouged out skin on his face and arm with my nails and I had marks around my throat and on my back. My family discouraged following up on the report as it would get my father in trouble for leaving me for 2 weeks living without a parent and so it would be an attack on a priesthood holder still.
I was not allowed in the temple again because I was unable to talk about the rape to the bishops who sided with our abusers before and knew from the teachings of the church my value as a person was lost anyway. My father read the president Kimball’s words to me about how it’s better to come home in a box than unclean and better to lose your life than be impure.
I believed in the church. I overdosed a year after my assault having no way out from under my fathers abuse and knowing I was supposed to be dead anyway. If the response to our abuse from bishops was different the 6 children in my family would still likely be active members.
If the bishop interviews that require child victims of rape to divulge the horrific details of their assault to old men in order to judge our worthiness did not exist I would still be a member. My father who spent 18 years severely abusing his children, molested two of his children and moved teenage girls into his apartment to groom was empowered by the churches response to abuse and is still a priesthood holding member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He is Mormon.