At the age of 9, I was introduced to a powerful man, by the Rev/ Billy Graham. This powerful, loving man was my Lord, Jesus Christ, and it instilled in me a change and a protection throughout my life.
However, four years later, my dad divorced his alcoholic second wife, and my brothers moved back home, also bringing home their Mormon religion. Having a simple faith, I wanted to belong to a church and be a part of the “happiness” they had. Being of young mind, I took the six discussions at face value. Joseph Smith, his First Vision, the Book of Mormon, all the basic teachings of the Church. Then, at my baptism interview this dirty old man sat an interview with me to check my worthiness. The standard questions which are not different to today, except for one – instead of the “Do you obey the Law of Chastity?” which is a less invasive probe which covers everything sexual, it was “Do you habitually masturbate?”
As a young mind I had NO IDEA what he was asking. “DO YOU PLAY WITH YOURSELF?” Without getting graphic…. of course I lied. And the legalistic environment of the Church made me feel unworthy, because I wouldn’t admit to my sin, and I sinned more by lying about it.
Prior to my involvement as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I was abused by a stepmother, a stepsister and was victim to a pedophile friend of the family for many years. I was ashamed of all of this even if not in my control, and I wanted to be that perfect young Mormon, but I always felt judged and held back by leaders, family and peers.
My dad remarried when I was 14, and as the now only child in the home, I felt trapped and alone. My brothers were away on their missions, and when I rebelled, against my stepmother’s strong hand, I was banned from church – and my seminary classes because I refused to be a good Mormon boy, and fall in to the ranks.
Following my mission, which in my eyes was a mixture of success and failure, I had fallen into inactivity as many returned missionaries do after living in a strict cult environment for two years. I sought counselling after my first marriage failed, starting off with a Priesthood holder in Bellevue Washington, who asked me very explicit questions about my sexual abuse I suffered as a child, which made me feel dirty and disgusted!
“Who was tighter? The mother or the daughter?” “What is anal sex like?” These are just two examples.
I never went back to him. Instead, I saw a therapist at the Presbyterian church office and she was very helpful, and never led me to shame.
As a Mormon, I was always forced to live with my demons quietly. Many of my family has always (and still do) judge me, as the black sheep, the idiot, sometimes the retard (pardon my political incorrectness).
Five years out of the Mormon religion now, I know that my worthiness is a direct gift from Jesus Christ, who died for my sins. I hope that this story will help others find their path out of this trap and into the truth, and find healing for yourselves.