I was 14 or 15 at the time and I remember my friends suddenly not attending church anymore. It all seemed to happen around the time that we were being asked if we masturbated by an adult male bishop. I remember some of the stories my friends were sharing about this and they certainly did not like what was happening. I thought this was a normal and okay thing to ask someone. I was taught that these men could help me. What I didn’t realize is how psychologically damaging these sexual questions were for me. I felt so much shame and guilt over my normal sexual development as a child. I thought I was such a bad person that I never developed a positive view of sex and myself due to this line of questioning. It was a horrific experience for me to say the least.
Even recently, last year, I had a Bishop ask me if I was having lots of sex with women. We weren’t even talking about women. I reacted with a jolt and look of shock on my face. Like, did I really just get asked that question? What type of person do you think I am! The answer was a direct NO. Not having sex with anyone! Why was he asking me this!? I am a grown adult male. What is wrong with this guy!? My next thought was, AM I going to do that? Is this a future thing for me? This is how stupid I was even as recently as last year. The sexual fear mongering doesn’t stop at your youth.
It was only a few years ago when a YSA Bishop gave me some readings that said that sex was only for pregnancy reasons. Again, unsolicited in my mind. This is really happening!
I also remember wanting to talk to another YSA Bishop about my life in general and get some counsel, which I did, and then he looked at me and told me he was not happy with me. I was perplexed and I asked what was he referring to. He explained that he didn’t like what happened when I went camping. Implying something of a sexual nature. I replied, uhhh, I didn’t go camping actually, I kind of knew the group that did, but yeah never went. He thought I was lying to him. I replied again, what are you talking about? I wasn’t there. Again, he thought I was lying. After a good back in forth where I was kind of laughing, like what the heck man, he let it go. Again, I thought, maybe I did something wrong. I was texting a woman that went camping on that trip. Was it that? I’m so stupid. Sexual drive is not something to be ashamed of.
The sexual grooming doesn’t stop when you are a child. It is constant constant nonsense. I know the message is about children and I respect that. I just wanted to put it out there, that it never really stops.
This Church has serious internal problems that they encourage.
I’ve wanted to leave the Church and believe that God isn’t real for many of these reasons. What I have concluded is that I won’t leave God. He is there somehow. Or I still believe he is. Maybe I’m just conditioned to feel and believe. And that makes me say, okay, maybe I don’t throw all of this away. But what I have determined is that I do not need this nonsense in my life. I go for social reasons when I want to and IGNORE the rest. My relationship with God is personal, end of story. F these crazy leaders. There is plenty of dogma in religion, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t challenge what you need to challenge. And that includes the leadership at the top. They deserve it. I’m so glad I never have to be a Bishop which probably means I would be a decent one. Maybe when I’m almost dead.