My husband’s occupation relocates our family about every five years, we had only been in this new area for a few weeks when I was extended a calling to be the Young Women's President. I had just left this same exact position in another state and honestly was a little overwhelmed at the idea. One reason I was feeling overwhelmed is that my focus really needed to be on my marriage. After almost two decades of marriage, my intuition was telling me something was wrong. I reluctantly accepted the calling, though I expressed my concern with the Bishop and he assured me I would be fine.
As the months progressed, my health and marriage began to deteriorate. I went into my bishop and asked to be released; I did not give details of my home life because I was not ready and not sure what the problem even was. We just were not getting along. The bishop kindly gave me advice telling me to task out assignments, so I would not feel so “overwhelmed”. I tried to communicate that I was not overwhelmed; I just need to focus my energy on my family. He was adamant that I was the one for the calling. I didn’t push back and I just accepted his counsel and tried to be super-wife & mom. This landed me in the E.R., where I underwent emergency surgery.
After the surgery, my husband suggested we move about 10 minutes away we would still be in the same stake just a different ward! There were a lot of benefits to the move, so I agreed. The first thing I did was walk into our new bishop’s office. I discussed with him my concerns in my marriage, that I was not sure what was wrong. I discussed with him my spiritual needs, that I did not want a leadership position at this time, as my family needed to be first right now. I was being prompted by the spirit to just attend my classes. He listened, he thanked me and we did not speak again for a few weeks.
A few weeks later he called me into his office to extend me a calling into the Primary Presidency, I was a little dumbfounded as I just had a conversation with him about what was going on in my life. I declined, but was really pushed to accept the calling. I felt like I was talking to a salesman, he literally would not allow me to not take the calling. There was no way for me to set a healthy boundary and say no. So here was again in leadership role while my marriage needed my focus.
As Christmas rolls around, things in my home escalate rapidly! My husband of almost two decades, a “High Priest” in the church, pushed me down our hallway until I fell on the floor. This was devastating to me. It was at this point, I knew I had to set some boundaries.
The first thing I did was make my husband leave the home, I needed space and time.
The second thing I did was visit with my bishop’s in all my vulnerability, giving him accounts of what happened in my home. He told me how amazing his wife was and gave me suggestions of what I could do to possibly make things better. He testified to me that if I paid a full tithe, had family prayer, and read my scriptures I would be blessed.
A few hours after our meeting, the Bishop met with my husband separately. It was after this meeting the bishop CALLED me on the phone and accused me of being ABUSIVE.
I could barely breath, my heart sank! What was happening? I firmly disagreed with his statement and said nothing further. He was not a safe person for me.
My husband and I continued to live separate for a few weeks, when his therapist reached out to me to come in for a session. During this session, my husband admitted to me, he had an addiction to pornography, and that he had lied about me to the bishop to cover it up. He spent the next few months trying to make things right, which is a sign of true repentance. However I would NEVER step my foot back in that church again. It was traumatizing and still is for me.
In all of this I felt like my local leaders were trying to protect my husband, why?
I have a voice, why was it not valued.
And why, even after my husband admits his wrongs, can the Bishop not acknowledge he was wrong, and validate me and my pain?