This is Sandy’s story. Obviously, not her real name.
After reading her words, I bawled my eyes out. Then vulgar words of anger welled up in my throat and I spit them out in rage.
Interviewing children behind closed doors is EVIL!!! Outrageously EVIL!!!
I am now at war with the Mormon Church, my church, to topple this horrendous practice. War? Yeah, I’ll call it war. Especially after hearing stories like you are about to read. A war to protect our children.
This is the first time this woman has had the fortitude to share her story. It happened when she was 7 years old. Behind closed doors. All alone. In the bishop’s office. At the mercy….of a pedophile. In her own words, here is what happened to an innocent child.
Trigger warning: this post contains descriptions of spiritual abuse/shaming, as well as sexual abuse.
When I was about to be baptized, at almost 8 years old, I had already been being molested for several years by another member of the congregation, who happened to be the bishop-at-the-time’s brother. In my baptismal interview, this bishop brought up the law of chastity, and asked if I knew what it meant. I didn’t, really. I mean, I was an intelligent kid, and so I could say that “relations between a man and a woman are reserved for marriage.” But I had zero idea what that actually meant. He asked me if I had ever let anyone touch me under my clothes where a bathing suit would cover. I don’t remember exactly what I said, I just remember the fear I felt in that moment when I realized that *that* is what the law of chastity was talking about. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to be baptized, and so I wouldn’t be able to be with my family after I died.
I remember feeling frozen, and being too afraid to talk anymore. He said it was okay if I didn’t want to say anything else, and he asked me to show him where, and how I had “let” someone touch me, by guiding his hands to do the same. I was too afraid, and ashamed, so instead, he had me sit on his lap, and he hugged me tight, and told me that Heavenly Father understood that “these things” felt good, but that even though it was normal for me to want them, that that was the “natural man” and that it was very, very wrong for me to let anyone do them to me. He told me that he needed to determine how *exactly* I had sinned, in order for him to ask God to forgive me, so he told me that he was “feeling prompted” to demonstrate a few things, and I only had to nod “yes” or “no” to let him know if I had done them before, and he told me he was also going to ask me if the things he was going to do felt good, so that he could determine how fervently he needed to pray for me to be forgiven. In that “interview” he sat me on his bishop’s desk in front of him, and had me lie back with my knees bent and legs open. He stimulated me with his fingers over, and then under my underwear, and then digitally penetrated me both vaginally and anally, all of which I had experienced before. He asked me if each of the things he was doing felt good, and I nodded, and he asked me if I knew what it meant to orgasm. I had experienced it, but I didn’t know at the time what the word meant, so I said no. He said he would show me, and he continued to molest me until my body climaxed, and then he asked if I had ever felt that before, which I had.
He had me sit on his lap again, hugged me tight, and told me that what I had done was shameful and wrong. That it would take a lot of work on his part for him to get Heavenly Father to forgive me, and that we needed to pray together. He said it might be painful for him, though hopefully not for me. I felt DEEP shame listening to him as we “prayed” and he held my arms to my abdomen so tightly that he left bruises. I understood later that what he was doing then was masturbating, with me on his lap, and the noises he made that I thought were pain, were his climax. He then told me that I would be allowed to be baptized, as planned, and that I shouldn’t tell anyone, as this was between himself, the Lord, and me.
This is the first time I am recounting this experience to anyone. There are obviously SO many problematic things about this, and not all bishops are child molesters. But if my parents had been in that room with me, none of this would have happened.
So damn sad. So..damn..sad. So….damn….sad.
10,000 of us are going to make this sadness stop!!! NOW!!!
If you haven’t signed…sign the petition.
If you have a story of inappropriate youth interviews, share them in the same place where Sandy shared hers.
Here’s what she messaged me after I cried my eyes out.
This is all I have to offer. My truth. It’s emotionally exhausting. To try and recount something like that, and stay coherent in writing, and honestly, functional, in the real world, afterward. But if sharing my experience has the potential to stop something like this from happening to another little girl (or boy) then I can do it.
Well, Sandy, then I can do my damnedest to fight on.
For me, this battle started last march. I was on the patio of a good friend. Just he and I talking about his son’s experience behind a bishop’s closed door.
The battle is going to culminate one year later with a march on the Church Office Building. ONE THOUSAND STRONG marching up State Street to deliver our TEN THOUSAND STRONG petition.
Sandy, I and my 10,000 friends are standing & speaking up for that little 7 year old girl you once were.
Our love and best healing wishes to you.