A story from a friend.
It was the mid 80’s. I had already suffered 2 miscarriages. This was devastating to me. I wanted to be a mother more than anything in the world. I came from a large family. I was taught that this was my destiny as a woman in the church. It killed me a little bit when I would see a woman yelling at her kids in the grocery store.
I remember laying on the floor in the living room of our modest 2 bedroom apartment. We had painted the second room baby blue, in hopes of having a boy. I was having symptoms of another miscarriage, spotting and cramps. My husband brought in 2 male members of our ward. I was given a blessing of health and that “everything would turn out right.”
Later that night, I went into full labor and delivered a baby that fit into my husband’s hand. He said that it was deformed. That is something that I can thank him for, he did not allow me to see my baby. I would have had nightmares. He buried it in the flower garden outside of our apartment.
At our next temple recommend interviews, the bishop asked if I kept the law of Chastity. I answered yes, because I had only had sex with my husband within the bounds of marriage. My husband told me later that he had confessed to the bishop that we had tried oral sex. The bishop told my husband that we were evil and that the miscarriage was due to breaking the law of chastity.
After that, I descended into a deep depression. My feelings of worthlessness were overwhelming. My self esteem was zero. It was late summer, I remember canning corn. As I cut the corn off the cobs, I was thinking that, if I am not worthy and good enough to be a mother, I must not be worthy to eat. From that time forward, I just existed in what I called a “zombie” state. My world had so much pain that I felt nothing. I equated the feeling of being hungry with a positive state of being. At my thinnest, I was 105 pounds which was really thin for a tall female.
It has been years, since this time period in my life. Recently, a friend traveled to the city where this happened. Memories of the past came flooding back. I used google maps to find the my apartment. It was still there, but the flower garden wasn’t. I have different beliefs now, but it still pains me to know that the body of the baby I called Jonathan is under a parking lot now.
I still struggle with eating and food. Sometimes I horde food, sometimes I will only eat when I am with someone. When I am sick I fall back into the same physical feeling, I have to force myself to eat. I have been to see several therapists, but not one that understands the culture of guilt and shame that is perpetrated by the Mormon church. I hope and wish that all that have endured spiritual abuse by the hands of the church will find peace and healing.
“Guilt and shame that is perpetrated by the Mormon church“
There was a time that I viewed a lay clergy as an advantage. Today, I see it very differently. Having untrained clergy is an advantage only to the financial health of the LDS Corporation, saving it millions of dollars every year.
It is a huge disadvantage to members who need professional pastoral guidance and understanding. Instead, they are often subjected to uninformed, clumsy and dangerous counsel. In this case, it was devastating. Blaming a miscarriage on oral sex? Heinous on the bishop’s part and resulting in decades of depression and disorders.
Although the woman in the story was an adult, here is how she described her immature state of development way back when: “I was basically a child as far as education. I Knew nothing of normal sexual interaction.”
What the Mormon church so often does to both its children and adults is gut-wrenching and preventable. It’s time that either the church change its ways or the members stand up and protect themselves.
Please join us in our 2019 campaign to Protect Every Child. More information will be rolled out in the coming weeks.
On New Year’s Day, our very first banner will be unfurled high on a mountain top.