1976 was when I turned 12 years old. That year my bishop had a priesthood interview with me so I could become a deacon. My bishop was a kind man, but asked me if I had troubles with masturbation? I did not understand the word, but figured I needed to say yes. I was that type of kid, a people-pleaser; he laughed it off and said not to worry, he doubted I had that problem.
By November, that same year, a much older cousin’s husband decided he needed to take this shy unassuming boy and molest him. That was it–my life was over. The abuse was not from a member, but the abuse didn’t stop. Masturbation became a “problem” for me and I was constantly confessing and meeting with bishops, the rest of my teen years.
Depression set in and I gave up all hope on everything I loved. I went on a mission, never had any “masturbation problems” there. But coming home was a different story. The interviews never stopped and the sexual question of masturbation came up every time–even when I was “clean”. I hated the interviews! I finally left the church 3.5 years ago (thank you LDS Essays) and learned I was shamed and guilted for no reason. I was a normal young man. The sad thing is, is that I never trusted anyone so I didn’t have to tell them about my abuse. I finally told someone in 1990, but that just made it worse, for my brain. I have lived with the guilt and shame I had been taught by the likes of Spencer Kimball, Boyd Packer and all the rest of the suits in SLC. I was broken, I was damaged, I was better dead than alive. Some day I will win the battle in my brain, but for today, I have to avoid things that will harm me.