I started having a sexual relationship with my first serious boyfriend at the age of 16. He was also a member of the church. We decided as a couple that we wanted to repent so that we could be worthy for temple marriage.
I made an appointment with my bishop to start the repentance process. I was 17 at the time of the first interview. We were alone behind the closed door of his office. He asked me very specific and uncomfortable questions about my sexual experience. He wanted to know the time of day, location, positions, and frequency. I was sooooo caught off guard.
The emphasis seemed to be more on the sexual act than repentance. I felt like he was purposely trying to mortify me. It felt dirty. I came to him to be clean of my sins. I left feeling disturbed and violated. It was the first big crack in my testimony. I was not allowed to partake of the sacrament. It drew my parents attention and caused tension.
I continued in the faith for 4 more years. During this time my boyfriend and I had a slip up. We did not have birth control because we were “abstaining”. I became pregnant. I was trying to to the right thing and made 1 mistake (really a blessing in disguise). I was met with many reactions: petty shunning, embarrassment to my family, disappointment, and gossip. I did have a few kind loving responses, but they were not the majority.
I was removed from Young Women’s and put in Relief Society. I felt like they didn’t want me to be a bad example. My boyfriend and I decided to get married as I was approaching the age of 18. One year after our civil ceremony we were sealed as a family in the temple. I mention this because I think it’s important to note that I didn’t give up on the church after one bad experience. My mother told me that the people in the church don’t make the church. It’s the gospel.
I stayed hoping that in time and in the temple I would finally feel that undeniable testimony. That was not my experience. As a Mother now of a teenager, I would never condone or allow my child to be in such a vulnerable unsafe position. Many people think I left the church to sin. It is quite contrary. I did not feel safe. I did not feel closer to God. The God I believe in would not allow such a practice.