As a young child I was sexually abused by two male family members several times. They were 8 to 10 years older than me. I never told anyone, thinking it must be my fault and I must be horrible.
I also had a father that was physically and mentally abusive. I really was very vulnerable and had little self esteem. When I was 12 years old, my Bishop asked me if I masturbated! I am 61 years old, so yes, this has been happening in the church for a very long time. I didn’t have a clue what it meant. I remember feeling embarrassed and left.
As a teenager, I had a long time boyfriend I became intimate with. Feelings of guilt lead me to confessing my sins to the Bishop. I was taught it was the only way to repent. He chose to meet with me several times, during which there were many questions asked. What position did you use, were all of your clothes off, where were you, did you orgasm, oral sex, did he finger you ………
My boyfriend at the time thought my Bishop was perverted. The only advice his Bishop gave him was to pull out so I wouldn’t get pregnant. I wasn’t allowed to take the sacrament and I felt like everyone knew. I was taught sexual sin was next to murder. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. I thought again and again how stupid must I be. I didn’t have any family support so I always felt alone and worthless.
I went on to attend BYU Provo. I slipped up again. I again did as I had been taught and went to see my bishop in Provo. After talking to him, he told me that he was holding a court on me because it had happened with more than one guy. The court was on a rainy cold night in Provo. I think I was 19 or 20 years old. I was asked a few probing questions and then asked to leave. When I came back in, I was informed that I had been excommunicated for my own good. The only thing I remember before leaving was one of the men asking me how I kept from getting pregnant since I hadn’t used birth control.
I had gone there alone and left that court alone. I didn’t have anyone to talk to about what had just happened to me. I felt I must be the worst of the worst. I walked down the middle of that cold dark street not caring if I lived or died. I went on to be re-baptized, married in the temple, and blessed with amazing kids.
The struggle has been real to feel my own self worth. It has taken years of struggling to know my own value. When I would look at my baptismal date, I often feared someone was going to ask me if I was a convert. If I would have to explain my past. My callings have always been with the young women and I loved it. My only regret is that I would send them to their worthiness interviews. I now feel guilt for that, knowing what trauma those interviews caused me. I left the church at 54. I love you Sam for bringing this into the light. You have helped in my personal healing knowing there is someone willing to stand up for us.