I sat across the desk sideways from a friendly man, my Bishop. He was giving me the standard worthiness interview before going on a Temple trip. I was an innocent fourteen-year-old and when the question came up “are you obeying the law of chastity” I had to ask as I had done before (and continued to ask for the next couple years at other interviews because the concept and definition just didn’t stick with me.)
Neither one of us should have been in that awkward and inappropriate situation. As a grown man with children my age and older explaining as best he could what chastity was and what disobeying the law was. He didn’t say anything that stands out in my mind today as shocking. In fact, I believe he tried to keep the discussion as simple and age appropriate as he could, even though there was nothing appropriate about this conversation.
Once he explained the law of chastity to me I hesitantly said I was good, but maybe not… I had been molested up until the point my family had moved to this ward leaving my abusers behind in another state. I wasn’t sure if my abuse made me a chastity lawbreaker, as the concept had just been explained to me.
I shared my abuse with my bishop, he reassured me that I didn’t break the law. What he didn’t do with that information was pry for more details, which is GOOD. But he also failed to do anything with that.
Looking back on those interviews, I see how inappropriate they were and how unprepared the bishop was to handle a case of abuse, a definite missed opportunity for me to get the help I needed to begin my recovery journey much earlier in my life. This Bishop was definitely one of the good ones, and if he were still around today I like to think he’d be a voice of support for protecting LDS children. He was as much a victim of the church’s practices as I was.