My first memory of my father abusing me was when I was 3 years old. He molested me in the bathtub. I knew it wasn’t the first time it happened, and it didn’t feel good. He said things to me I’m not quite sure I understood but it was in a rhythmic tone, like a trance, almost a song. I know it happened frequently – service in the shower at age 5, more aggressive touching and dry rubs by age 8. I must have said something around the age of 5, something happened…that’s when the punishments began. Of course, being locked in a dry cellar under the house with no light and spiders were enough to stop the talking, but also whispers of killing my mom and my sisters and burning my brothers, shaking and twisting of my skin and my hair – something no one could see – kept me silent. I was also bribed with treats and special attention.
My father fell on hard financial time when I was 7. He had changed careers on the promise he would get rich being an insurance agent by one of the ward members. It never panned out. We were losing our house and on church welfare. I’m no sure what was said, but when I was taken to our ward house. I heard men murmuring behind the partition of the Relief Society room. A few minutes later, a group of five or six men came in and had there way with me. One was at my head, covering my mouth. I think I was baptized that same day. When my brothers and sisters asked if I now felt the holy spirit, I thought in my mind, “Are you crazy? All I feel is nothing.” I felt nothing for a very long time.
The abuse escalated to more ritualistic-like abuse for a few years. I really can’t go into the trauma during that time, but I can say it involved community members both male and female. The group participation stopped for me after my father had a heart attack, but when he recovered, the visits in the night didn’t stop until I fled when I was 21. I know my mother knew what was going on and she didn’t stop it. I remember her yelling at my dad when he would punish me for talking. She would tell me this life is about forgiveness, not perfection. She got those words from her best friend’s husband who was a BYU college professor and a bishop.
When I was 19, a return missionary was courting me. He took me camping where he wanted to have sex with me. I told him I couldn’t because my father was having sex with me. I was so disassociated from the trauma it didn’t mean anything to me. He freaked out and the next morning told me I should talk to my bishop to get me away from him. I made an appointment and met with the bishop and asked him for help. His response was that I needed to read the Book of Mormon more. He refused any help.
I am 49 years old. I am a successful business woman and I have gone through a lifetime of pain and trauma, PTSD and further abuse because of it. I hid what was going on until I was 19 when I told a guy what was happening. I’ve hid it and denied it and tried not to believe it. My family refuses to believe it even though my brothers abused my sisters. I left the Mormon church because of what happened to me and other facts and theological discrepancies. They wanted to excommunicate me for leaving, but I refused to attend their ridiculous court hearing. It took 15 years to get my name off their records. I lost all my childhood friends for not staying in the church and was harassed for years to return.
Moving out of state where there weren’t any Mormons and having a great therapist that believed me and let me tell my story has healed years of pent up pain. I recently moved back to Utah where the influence of the LDS church and the memories of my childhood are triggering, but I am excited to see how many people are finally realizing the lies, abuse and fraud the LDS church is committing. They scoff at the Catholic church, yet they are the same. I am so grateful a high school classmate has written about her abuse and how the LDS church revictimized her. She introduced me to Sam and a group of post Mormon people that broke free from the brainwashing. I weep that Sam and other’s go through excommunication and I am amazed that a man would stand so proud to speak the truth and protect LDS children. I stand with Sam.