I was touched in the Idaho Falls temple on my right testicle when receiving my endowments prior to my mission in 2003. I was in the mission field only 4 months. Every prayer after that temple trip consisted of me wanting to die. I told my parents I’d been touched in there as I was rightfully shocked (and triggered I now know), the response to me telling them that I had been touched was replied to with, “that could never happen in there…”, well, it did.
I’d blocked out everything prior to the 5th grade, as one of my abusers was very, very close to me. Another of my abusers is currently in a bishopric in Idaho. I have to be cautious in everything I share here as there is an on-going investigation by the Idaho State Police into what happened to not only me, but others in my age group in the Egin Bench Ward, as part of the Saint Anthony, Idaho Stake.I was raped multiple times, and also hazed inside the Egin Bench Church house near St. Anthony, Idaho among other places in the ward boundaries. I was hazed with an American flag attached to a splintered flag pole.
This abuse began as early as 3 years old and continued until the 8th grade. I have asked multiple people in that ward for help to piece this thing all back together, the only answer I have repeatedly got is: “Why can’t you just leave it alone?”
I was not the only one this happened to as many of the kids my age also show the same signs of this abuse: alcoholism, “dry drunks”, black out rages, in-ability to hold down a relationship or job, people who just “can’t get their shit together”.
Having come back from a mission early, I learned the word “forsaken” as I lost every relationship I had whether that was friend or family member. I even had an older brother try and “kick my ass” the day I came home. I couldn’t explain what was wrong with me. I had never had sex (that I remembered), smoked pot one time, and had drank one “fuzzy naval” before going on a mission. By all accounts I was “worthy” to go on a mission.
No one asked me or cared why I came home. They just cast me out. I drank for the first time 3 months later, and smoked meth for the first time within 6 months of being home. I fell in with the wrong crowd because I had nowhere else to go.
I stumbled through relationships and eventually quit alcohol and drugs to go through my 3rd disciplinary counsel 4 years after that. In 2007. I spent a year “repenting” in “disfellowshipped” status (for the second time), and finally earned my temple recommend back. I was engaged, and went back to the temple with my cousin for his mission endowments. Anyone who understands trauma knows this triggered me again. I broke off the engagement that night and was drunk by 8:30 am the next morning.
I fell back into alcoholism and drugs for the next 10 years. 2 DUI’s. Multiple failed relationships. The underlying nagging question of “what’s wrong with me?” persisted. I left the church after reading into the early history of it in 2009. ( After seeing Joseph Smiths immorality surrounding polygamy it’s easy to see how this type of abuse continues in the church today. A 39 year old man, Joseph Smith, marrying a 14 year old girl, Helen Mar Kimble. Perhaps this is where the church feels it’s ok to continue to interrogate children about their sexuality.)
Last year I was high at a concert in Colorado. It’s where I was “called to repentance” so to speak. I quit cold turkey the next day. I have remained sober since.
As part of dealing with the withdrawals from alcohol I ran, and ran, and ran. (700 miles since July 2nd, and down 45lbs).
In October I’d run out of places to look for my problems. I made an earnest prayer at a Christian church in Idaho Falls, Idaho for the answer to my questions. “What is wrong with me God?”, that was my honest and humble prayer.
I received the answer I already knew, I just had blocked out. All those things my not so imaginary friend had told me.
Once I opened the door to those memories I was flooded with some pretty terrible things. Some of which I won’t share yet as an ongoing investigation is in play.
I tried to take my own life twice in November rather than face what I know will be a lifetime of recovery. It is only by God’s providence that I’m still here. Many still question “are you sure you’re not just making this up”? Well, two professionals have told me I know exactly what I’m dealing with, and as any survivor of sexual assault knows, many like to begin by blaming the victim.
I’m estranged from most of my family now, and many “friends”. I’ve also left Idaho in concern that two of my abusers are in elected office. You understand the risks of pointing a finger like that I’m sure.
What you’re doing is God’s work.
You’re giving voice to people like me. You’re preventing some pretty terrible tragedies.
I trust in His time and work. Not LDS, Inc.’s. To “The Brethren” and those who continue to allow abuse like this to continue as it’s buried in Bishop’s offices, Stake President’s offices, you church offices, and LDS Family Services offices: may God have mercy on your souls.
At 3 years of age, I was sexually assaulted by an 18 year old man preparing to serve a mission while in a ward in Dixon, MO. At age 3, I had no knowledge of how serious what he had done was, I said something that triggered my parents to acknowledge that something very serious had occurred. After questioning me and getting enough information to get an idea of what had happened, my Dad drove to the offenders home and told him to get in his truck. The young man was hesitant, I'm sure he could tell by the look on Dad's face that he knew.
My father, doing the only thing he had been taught to do with this serious of situations, called the bishop. They drove to the building and the bishop met with them. The boy denied and denied until finally he was broken down to admitting. Instead of calling police the bishop promised to handle the situation secretly and my parents obeyed as they always have as obedient, devoted members. They told no one. The bishop did not report this knowledge of child sexual abuse. They moved almost immediately since it was too much for them to bare to see him at church on Sundays and they knew his family well also.
My parents tried to block it out of my memory and hoped I was young enough that the assault would not affect me long term. It seemed to be going well for me until at 13 or 14 years of age I began having flashbacks of the assault and it lead to me having nightmares and ultimately flat out asking my parents what had happened after months of traumatizing memories remained. They talked to me about it tearfully and said they did what they thought was best at the time which was talking to the bishop but that they had been extremely disappointed to learn that a few short months after the abuse that the offender had his priesthood restored and ended up serving a mission for the church.
I had a really rough few teenage years, with anger and rebellion and I hated the church. I was married at age 18, to someone who was not a member, but he joined for my parents peace of mind. I am still married today and love him dearly. In 2015, I began really struggling with the abuse again. It had reared up its ugliness several times in my life but this time it felt different, It wouldn't go away until I dealt with it fully. I had a 3 year old and I feel that was part of the timing of what felt so triggering...to see how little and innocent he was and to fully acknowledge what type of a monster could hurt a child like that cut deep into my soul.
I called my father. I let him know I wanted to press charges against my abuser and the church and I had to do this, my gut feeling was and still is that there were and are many other victims of ______ ___. So my parents sat down with me and agreed to help in any way they could to support me through this. Dad (who was in now the bishopric) was able to track down the bishop that handled the situation in Missouri, and he was now living in Idaho. He proceeded to tell my Dad that they chose informal disciplinary action, which meant that the abusers file was never permanently marked to warn others.
I was heartbroken....how could they be so negligent in their job to protect other ward members or be aware going forward of the threat that man could be to others? So next, I hired a private investigator to track down my abusers' whereabouts. After doing a background check on him and contacting a family that was in his ward with my parents back in Missouri, we found he had died 2 years prior to my search, shortly after moving in with a woman and her 2 young girls he died instantly and unexpectedly of a massive aneurysm at a young age too. My efforts stopped there.
I have since pursued counseling, and I am finding so many others with similar stories to mine as far as the abuse and churches negligence in dealing with it. This has provided me which the ability to begin to heal. I find healing has also come through advocating and helping others who have experienced abuse. My husband and I left the church in November after being told that I needed to forgive and let go when a registered sex offender moved in to the ward who was recently released from prison and had raped his own 4 year old daughter. The bishop felt I was being unreasonable to feel angered that he was allowed to attend with his wife and children (the victims).
My husband and I resigned immediately to our callings with the youth and notified others in the ward of the threat that is lingering in the ward. Many thanked me for my courage to talk openly and share his record with them. Some have said I am being un-Christlike to not forgive him. I know I am doing what I have to do to remain healthy mentally and to protect the children that mean more to me than life. I will continue to fight this fight, I do it because a child's innocence is so sacred. Just one child saved from the lifelong affects of abuse is a success in my mind.
I have been stripped of the blessings of the temple for breastfeeding my child at church.
Here is the full story:
My bishop told me some members have complained and he wants to protect the young men and porn addicts in the church from seeing my breast while nursing. (I don't cover or hide and most of my breast is exposed while nursing). I then told him only God himself could get me to back down. We ended it at that. This was 3 weeks ago.
Then, a few days ago, I received a request to meet with the Stake President and also get my Temple Recommend renewed.
At this meeting, the Stake President told me that in guidelines for the youth booklet, called The Strength of Youth, it talks about modesty and this means I need to cover or hide while nursing. I fought it and asked if it talked about breastfeeding in this specific booklet (which it doesn't). He again reverted to modesty. He said it is my fault and my problem if the men see me breastfeeding and think bad thoughts.
The whole meeting was very contentious and was not derived from the spirit but of the devil. He then said that since I am not heeding to his counsel as a Priesthood Leader, he was not going to renew my Temple recommend. He also said if I breastfeed without covering again in church that they would kick me out of the building.
He also turned to my husband and said "You choose. It's your wife or your religion."
He chose me. I left angry and upset with him, with my bishop and with my ward members.
Since then I have done quite a bit of research. I have also contacted an Elder from the Quorum of the 70 and he basically agreed with the Stake President and deferred the matter back to my local leaders. He is telling me to support him anyway, despite this obvious exercising of spiritual abuse and unrighteous dominion.
I have contacted an attorney who is pro-breastfeeding and knows the law. She seemed very interested in helping me, as these actions of these church leaders are unethical, immoral and inhumane.