When I was 16 I went to a mission prep fireside where they stressed the importance of clearing all sins with your bishop so Satan wouldn’t have them to use against you as a missionary. I remember feeling so guilty for the handful of times I had masturbated and I was terrified at the thought of telling my bishop.
I loved my bishop and greatly admired him. I thought what I had done was something only boys did so as a girl it was even worse that I had done it. I was disgusted with myself. I didn’t feel comfortable talking about it with anyone but I wanted to make sure that there was no way around going to my bishop. I was desperate to find a way around confessing to my bishop.
After the fireside my brother and I were talking in his room (we are less than 2 years apart) and I asked him if he’d ever had to confess to a bishop. He said yeah and that it wasn’t as bad as you’d think. I asked him how he knew he needed to confess and he explained if you think you should, you probably should.
He could tell I felt guilty about something and so he asked me what I was worried about. I told him what I had done and asked if I really had to talk to bishop about it… he said yes that is something you should tell him. He was in the same system I was in so he didn’t know any better and I do not blame him for advising me to talk to bishop. He didn’t know any other way either.
I was so nervous I felt sick to my stomach for days. I finally got the guts to call and make an apt with the bishop while at another one of my brothers houses. I couldn’t even call in my own house I was so scared. I went and hid in a closet far away from anyone and made the call. I said “bishop can we meet I need to talk to you about something “ he said “yes.” And gave me a time to meet him at his house. I felt like he knew right there and then and that I had ruined the wonderful person he saw me as.
The day to meet came and I drove over to his home. He had an office in the front of the house and we met in there. It was night time and I remember the room being unusually dark. I was grateful because I was so embarrassed and bright lights would have made me feel exposed. In retrospect the dim lighting is nothing short of creepy. It took me a while to get it out but I finally said it.
He asked how long I’d been doing it and when it started. He asked how often and if I still had a problem with it. Then he asked “have you made yourself orgasm?” I was so confused and I didn’t understand, I felt completely violated by such a personal question. I didn’t know how to respond and I wasn’t entirely sure what one was or what it felt like so I said “I didn’t know” and I asked why that mattered. He told me he needed to understand the severity of the sin. I assured him how gross I thought it was and that I was very ashamed and never wanted to do it again.
I expressed my concern about this being an issue only boys struggled with and he said I’d be surprised how many young women have also come to him about this. He told me to wait three weeks to take the sacrament again and that was it. I didn’t have to go back for any follow up visits about it unless I did it again. For the following few weeks I still felt sick. I thought it would be better after the meeting but I only felt worse. I started to hate myself for what I had done and I would imagine how disgusted people would be if they knew.