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.