“You know the church frowns on homosexuality.” My bishopric interview at 14 years old (1984) and why it shouldn’t have happened.
Life was okay at 14 years old in Bountiful, Utah. It was 1984, so a much different world. It was a world without internet and only 3 TV channels. If you wanted to learn something, you went to the bookshelf and had 26 volumes of Encyclopedia Britannica. It was of course dwarfed my the Mormon church (excuse me) Ziontology books. So knowledge was limited to a kid just hitting puberty.
I was in an interview with a bishopric member. Now I don’t know if they do this still, but I thought I recall that you had a yearly interview with a bishop and half year with a member of the bishopric. Either way, it was a member of the bishopric and me (alone). There was the customary ask about masturbating. I said no, and felt the flush of red in my face from lying. He then said to me “you know, the church frowns on homosexuality.” I hadn’t heard that word before but knew exactly what it meant — being attracted to men.
I left the interview and ran home (cutting across the back field). I ran into an empty house and went straight to the church books. Unfortunately, I opened “The miracle of forgiveness,” by Spencer W. Kimbell. I turned to the back to see if there were references and saw the word “homosexuality” or “homosexual” see pages xx, xx. I quickly turned to the pages and read “abomination” & “it’s a sin next to murder.”
On that date my life stopped. Thirty seconds later, it started again but would be lead with the thought that I would have until 7 years ago. You are an abomination. From 14-42 years of age, that is who I thought I was. I didn’t deserve life. I deserved the eternal darkness that awaited me. It lead to being an homeless meth addict. Yes, frankly I feel that the interview at 14, set in motion a life that would end up with me being a homeless meth addict. Because if you think you are an abomination, your life has no value. You want an escape from the pain of feeling God doesn’t love you.
But a higher power does love me. I worked my way out of my situation 11 years ago. More importantly, 7 years ago I ran across a youtube video and realized “oh my god, the church is a fraud.” It had never occurred to me to ever think the church wasn’t true. But I was suddenly going from internet link to internet link (basically finding most everything that was in the CES letter). 24 hours later, I realized I had been bamboozled! I sat there just crying and crying for a life that never should have been. I never should have had a “fraud church” tell me “I was an abomination.”
I feel free now, but still work with a therapist. There is a lot of damage a church can do to a kid who is gay. While at BYU I was also sent to reparative therapy (“pray away the gay”) so there is also that damage the therapist helped with.
Please don’t ever let your children be alone with a Bishop or Bishopric Member for a “worthiness” interview. In fact – stop these interviews!!