My first recollection of being asked morality questions was for my 8th birthday baptismal interview-I didn’t even know what masturbation was and when the bishop probed me with more questions to be sure I wasn’t lying about my answer I became withdrawn, flushed and embarrassed with the more explicit way in which he asked me- “Do you touch your private parts?” “Do you ever want to?” “Do you let others touch them that aren’t your Mom, Dad or Dr?”
Fast forward to 12 years of age and a different Bishop. “Do you keep the Law of Chastity?” “Yes.” Do you masturbate?” “No.” “Has anyone touched you that’s not your Mom, Dad or Dr?” No I don’t think so. “What sort of touching would be inappropriate?” “Can you show me where you shouldn’t be touched so I know you understand?” “Show me exactly where.”
Future interviews were much the same but I shut it down pretty fast as I knew it was wrong of him (my bishop) to be asking such detailed questions-although in my own ignorance only because I wasn’t “guilty” or “sinning” did I feel justified in not being asked these questions.
Fast forward to dating years-I found myself going to the Bishop for “French Kissing and necking” because we had it grilled into us as the temple trip was approaching to clear our conscience and start on the path of repentance that we should meet with our Bishop to right any wrongs by disclosing our sins. “Did French kissing and necking give him an erection?” “Did he ejaculate?” “Did you have an orgasm?” “Were you wet?” (I really didn’t know what an orgasm was or what was meant by being wet until after I was married).
Other explicit questions were asked despite me being very clear on where things started and ended. I was warned that any further incidences and he would tell my parents and my boyfriend’s parents. My boyfriend was also pulled into his office after my interview. We were both stripped of participating in any prayers, sharing within a lesson, testimony sharing, and participating in sacrament. We were Laurel and Priest class presidents in the same ward.
So our indiscretions pretty well became public knowledge when we had these things taken away. Shame and embarrassment were the catalyst for immediate repentance. With my boyfriend’s mission looming and us running into hot water with towing the chastity line (no necking) I made the decision to move away to Utah to become a nanny. I nannied for a YSA Bishop and his high school teacher wife.
Unbeknownst to me, he groomed me from the minute I made contact with the family ahead of moving out there. He sexually assaulted me the third week into my time there and this continued a few more times until I finally found a way out and back home (a four hr flight).
Back at home it wasn’t long before I found myself back with my boyfriend and “Crossing all kinds of boundaries” with my own sense of disgust, vulnerability and trying to right things with the young man I planned to marry. All I knew is I felt safe again in his embrace and I felt that by being intimate with him, somehow would erase the horrible memories of my sexual predator/employer.
Not long after, I went to my Bishop having come pretty close to having sex with my boyfriend. I decided I would tell the “back story” (sexual assault) to why I felt so vulnerable and confused in making decisions to break the law of chastity with my boyfriend. My Bishop asked every explicit question and details of my assault, wanting to know if what happened to me turned me on, or gave me an orgasm, if the same happened to my abuser. He blamed me for participating and not leaving the situation sooner that caused my abuser to repeat his offences.
He spared no time in allowing me to discuss my concerns for rectifying my indiscretions with my boyfriend and focused more on my indiscretions with my abuser, repeatedly telling me I was a participant. Disfellowshipping me was threatened if I was to do anything more to entice my boyfriend like I did my accuser and I was told that I was to break up with him.
I moved away a few months later this time to Alberta. I married my boyfriend (and childhood sweetheart) and intimacy issues cropped up right away. It took several more months before I would go to my Bishop there and disclose again everything that had happened to me while a nanny. This Bishop contacted authorities immediately and my accuser was excommunicated after “church court”. It was also found out that I was one of a list of nannies he had done the same thing to. I never pressed charges, others did. I just wanted to get on with my life. I did just that and was able to work through mountains of the trauma I had experienced. I did however still contend from time to time with flashbacks during intimacy and feelings of inadequacy that haunted me for years.
Fast forward to 25 yrs old-a widow (my husband died of cancer) with two children and dealing with grief, I found myself lonely, confused and in a rebound relationship. Being a grown woman having experienced sexual intimacy and missing it, I “crossed lines” and found myself back in my Bishop’s office disclosing my indiscretions-as a grown adult no less I still felt the guilt and shame to disclose all of this to another grown man alone with me in a room.
Still no change to their process. The most humiliating of which was to admit to my own personal indiscretions as I simply missed experiencing feeling that way so took care of things myself-kinda natural if you ask me. At any rate, having to share explicit details with a man I considered my friend was sickening to say the least.
I remarried a few years later and again my fiancé and I were in the Bishop’s (a very close friend of ours who set us up) again was forced to ask us all the nitty gritty questions. That was in 2002.
We collectively as a family left the church in 2008. The straw was having to teach my own two teenage daughters in a YW’s lesson that there was shame in being gay and that gay marriage is a sin-the lesson “Eternal Marriage”. I left in the middle of that lesson, cried in the bathroom, composed myself, returned and completed my lesson by reinforcing that we are simply to love one another, just simply that. I never returned after that day. Best decision I ever made.