Women and Child Abuse in Mormonism
Subject: My Story - Used with permission
I have been wanting to write this for a long time, I just did not know where to start. I thought that it would be best to start at the beginning. I want to say that this is my experience with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ( the Mormon church).
My aunt and uncle were the ones that introduced me to the church. The first time was when I was about 10. I fell in love with a missionary. He told me I had to hold my breath for 5 minutes before I could be baptized. I remember going around holding my breath. My aunt and uncle did not join the church until about 3 years later.
My home life was not the best. I was looking for love and acceptance anywhere I could get it. I was sexually active at age 13. I had even tried to commit suicide, but it had failed so I turned to God to find relief from my life. My mom had me stay with my aunt and uncle for a couple of weeks because of the fighting at home. It was at this time that I started to think about joining the church.
I had gone from church to church looking for acceptance and love. If the church would come and pick me up I would go. My parents never attended church.
I started to take the missionary discussions. And again fell in love with a couple of missionaries. My mother signed the form that gave the church permission to baptize me. And I started my life with the Mormon church.
I remember praying about the church. Like Joseph Smith I went out in the woods, up on Mt. Rainier. I knelt and prayed. I got the warmest feeling I had ever felt. I knew the church was true!
All of a sudden the kids at school were being nice to me. I felt like one of them. I was accepted. Now in reading the things I have read, I find that churches and cults like this look for the people like me. We are an easy target because of our family life.
When I was baptized I was 14. And my family life just got worse. My mom and dad drank, and my mom ran around with other men. I could not accept them for who they were. I just wanted that perfect Mormon family that went to church together, prayed together, and were saved together.
My Dad kicked me out of the house, and I went to live with a family from the church for a couple of weeks. My mom came over and said if I did not go home she would report me as a runaway. So I went home, but things got worse.
The Mormon church had a foster home system. They also have a system that places babies into eternal families. They make the unwed mothers feel like they have to give the baby away for adoption so they can be sealed to a "worthy family". I will talk more about this later.
I asked the bishop for placement into a foster home because my home life was getting worse. He did not take me seriously. So I went to the school counselor about 2 months later and told him that he had 1 week to place me in either a church or state foster home or no one would ever hear from me again. I meant it. I was ready to run away from home because it was not the "perfect Mormon" family.
The counselor called the bishop and told him that I was serious and he needed to believe me. Within 5 days I was placed in a church foster home. This was good for me. I love my foster parents to this day. That is one reason why it is so hard for me to leave the church and to write this. I know when they find out that I have been verbal about the church they will have nothing more to do with me. This thought hurts.
I was 15 turning 16 when I went into their home. I was a fairly big child (OK, I was fat). Mom W & Dad W( my foster parents) loved me. She could not bear children so they had decided to be foster parents. Mom W helped me to find the self esteem that I needed. It was great.
Dad W was in the bishopric, and mom was Seminary president for the stake. All of a sudden I had the perfect Mormon family. I was happy. I sung in church and held callings.
Then one day my real father called. I had never met him before so I agreed to the idea that I could move to New Mexico with him and his wife. This was a mistake. My step mom and I fought like cats and dogs. So I came back home to my Mom. But with in a short time I was back in the foster home.
I was engaged to a young man that left on his mission about this time. He was the "perfect Mormon boy". I did everything I could to grow with him on his mission. I was helping and working with our missionaries here in this area.
One day I was called into the bishops office. I thought that I was getting another calling. I was horrified to find that someone had told him that I was having sex with a boy that I knew. I told bishop B that I had not had sex for a long time. I was a virtuous young lady. He said that because of my position in the church and my family, and because all the girls looked up to me for guidance I would have to be put on bishops probation.
How could this happen? The bishop is supposed to receive direct council from God. How could the church discipline a girl that had done nothing? I did not know what to do.
I was devastated when the Dear Jane letter came in the mail. He had said that because I was an only child I would never be a good mother. Because I moved around a lot I would not be able to settle down. I did not know how to quilt, sew, knit, or crochet. I did not know how to cook very well. And because my mother was a messy housekeeper I would be one also. And finally, because I was a convert to the church, and not born into it, I would not stay in it. For these reasons He broke up with me. I was devastated. I could not help but to wonder if someone from church had also wrote him and lied to him about my sexual activity? But I will never know.
By this time I was 18. There was a young adult dance after work one Friday night. So I decided to go. I met K.D there. We went out for a hot fudge sundae and then stayed up and talked until he had to go to work. He was military. I went to sing at a Seventh Day Adventist church on that Saturday morning. That night when I got home I got a call from K.D. We dated every night for the next week!
He was a good Mormon man that had a rough life. He had been excommunicated because of sexual activity in Korea while he was stationed there. Now he was trying to get his life together so he could take his future wife to the temple. This also was my goal, to go to the temple and become an eternal family.
On a Friday night he asked my mom and dad for permission to marry me. They said Yes. He took me down to meet his mom and dad. That night he asked me to marry him. I said yes. Now I wonder if I really loved him or if it was my way of proving my missionary wrong.
Off the subject a bit, little did I realize that he had a dark side that I would not see until it was too late. Many people in the Mormon church have a separate personality they keep hidden away from other church members, so that the bishops never know about what they do behind closed doors....
Within a month we were married and then I found out I was expecting our first child. Not too long after we got married we got orders to got to Germany. K.D. shipped out right away, I needed to wait until he got us a house.
Our baby was due in May. K.D. came home to find that I had been put in the hospital for complications. Our daughter was born May 17. K.D was there, I was so happy. When she was 4 months old I followed my husband to Germany. I loved it there.
While in Germany I served in many positions in the church. I was Primary first counselor, and Music leader, and Relief Society substitute teacher. My husband was re-baptized. I knew we would make it to the temple.
There was a theater group on post. I had just finished a play where I was the lead. The morning after our cast party I talked to my step dad. My mother had a brain tumor and they did not know if she would make it. I don't remember much until we were on the plane flying to WA.
When we landed my step dad met us at the airport. He said that mom had lived through the surgery but the tumor was cancer. We had lost a lot of family to cancer and I did not want to lose my mother.
We tried to get a compassionate reassignment to Ft.Lewis but the military said it was my mother and not his. One good thing did come of this. My mother and I finally became friends.
When I stepped on the plane I did not know it would be the last time I would see her alive. But like a good wife I climbed back on the plane with my husband to go back to our home in Germany. We had been gone from Nov. to Feb. And they had released me from my callings. I wanted to serve again so I started to bug the bishop. I got a calling as the branch librarian... ( we had not had a librarian for 5 years or so.) But I took the calling and ran with it. I think he gave it to me so I would get off his back.
The Frankfort Germany Temple was built and dedicated. We left our daughter with some friends and went to the dedication. It was great and we met a lot of people there.
If only we knew that my husband was having sex with my 16 year old baby-sitter. But I did not find out until it was too late. K.D. wanted to have and open relationship. I fought it until one night, when I was set up. I then had sex with another man while my husband was watching. I found out my husband was bisexual. For what I did I was excommunicated from the church. K.D. was only disfellowshipped. I would find out just how prejudiced the church was against women.
God was working in my life though. That night he saved us from a car accident that would have killed both of us.
Our daughter was showing signs of sexual abuse. She was acting out. There was an investigation but they said she had not been abused.
My mother died of cancer. I did not even get a chance to go back for the funeral.
We got orders to go to Kentucky. And we left fairly fast. We found out I was expecting our second child when I was in a car accident, shortly after we had arrived. Our son was born healthy in Jan. My Foster father drove to KY. to bless our son. During the blessing he said he saw me with 6 children. I knew that I was to have 6 children because Heavenly Father expected me to. I was rebaptized shortly thereafter. Once again on the road to the temple.
We made alot of friends there. There was one friend that I had I will call her S.A. She told me of how when she was a teen she had gotten pregnant and the church welfare system took her, her parents, her boyfriend, and his parents into a conference. They asked the boyfriend if he would marry her to right the wrong. He said yes. They then asked her parents if they would let her marry him. They said yes. The counselor looked at her and said "Well then looks like you two will be married. Problem solved." S.A. could not believe this. She was beat, and forced to have sex in the first place. But now if she wanted to keep her membership she would have to marry this man. She did and a couple of months later she had an affair. She divorced her husband and married the man that she had the affair with. She was excommunicated (of course). She was happy that she was free from Utah but she was still active in the church.
I got great satisfaction out of knowing that I had proven my missionary wrong. I could do all the things he said I could not do. I was also holding callings whenever asked. I was taught you never turn down a calling, because it was from God.
We went back to see family in WA. And while we were there the Portland temple was being dedicated. We were able to go to that... and still thinking that we would be sealed together one of these days (boy was I wrong).
Around Cot 89 my life fell apart once again. My husband was accused of sexually abusing our daughter. I left him and came back to WA. where all my family was, and where I felt safe. The military released him in lieu of court martial. He told me that this meant that he was innocent So I allowed him back into the family because I was expected to by the church. I then was pregnant with our third child.
The guilt was too strong and I told my husband and the bishop that I had an affair with another man during our separation. I thought I would marry this man. Because my husband forgave me no action would be taken. And this is where our 3rd child came from.
K.D. tried to make me lose the baby. I was in the hospital for pre-term labor 3 times. After I would come home from the hospital he would say something like how he had sex with our 16 year old baby-sitter, while we were in Germany. I went back into the hospital, and came home again. A friend came over to help me with the kids, and he went out in the middle of the night and stalked her while he was naked. She pretended to be asleep while he did this. He then went over to the couch and masturbated while watching her sleep. She left and again I went into the hospital. This time when I cam home another friend came over to help. This time he went out in the middle of the night and attacked her. He tried to rape her. She left the next day. Then he bragged about how he had chased her away. I went in again for pre term labor. I then called the state and asked for help with the child care.
When my baby was 2 days old the state came into my home and told me that I was married to a child molester. I told them there was not enough evidence to prove that he was a molester so all charges were dropped. They then showed me the paperwork that showed just what he was. I proceeded to get a restraining order and a divorce.
You do know that a divorce is like signing your death warrant with the church. No one would talk to me. I had lost all but 2 friends in the church. But K.D. kept all his friends. He told them I was doing this so I could marry another man. I could not believe that our church could be so against women.
I started to attend single adults again. I did not date anyone until my divorce was final. But this was some new friends that knew nothing of my husband or the problems we had. They just knew that I was getting a divorce.
This is how I met my husband now. He was a blind date. He was not a member of the church. But being a good missionary I brought him into the church. Then I agreed to marry him.
Our life together was good. After we were married for a year and he was a member for a year we were sealed in the temple.
Our Temple sealing was after they had changed the words in the ceremony. I could not see anything wrong with what we did. But my husband would not go back to the temple. I was so mad... I could not believe that he did not have the same knowledge that I had about the church. I realized that he might not make it to the Celestial Kingdom. So I knew that I had to win him back to the church. We had our son during this time.
I allowed my older 2 children to go to a four square church just down the road from where we lived, they were having a summer bible study. They loved it. I went to their women's bible study. Then one day the pastors wife came up to me and said "You poor thing, trying to break away from Mormonism." I could not believe what I had just heard...I WAS NOT TRYING TO BREAK AWAY!!!!! I was just trying to read the bible and I wanted to do it with other people. I immediately stopped going to that church and I would not allow my children to go! I was not going to allow my family to be led away from the "True Church". I started to drag my husband to temple sealings. He did not want to go, he liked the Four Square church. But I was not going to lose my family!!!!!
During this time period I found out that my ex-husband has been granted his membership in good standing. He is a child molester but they allowed him into the church. I was told not to cause waves by stopping this process after all his bishop was a State Patrolman and he got council from God. K.D. must be innocent. I gave the bishop the papers that showed K.D.'s guilt. And they still allowed him in the church. As members of the church we think that just because someone holds the priesthood he is good, and trust worthy. I try to warn people that they should be more careful about people in the church. After all just look at my ex-husband. He is remarried and has children in his home. He also has access to children through the church.
Shortly after this I shattered my leg. My husband had to come home and help take care of me and the children. I wondered why the church did not fulfill their calling to help the members in need. I had 4 children and needed help with them and myself as I was not able to walk or move. We had to go to the bishop and ask for help with our rent. He refused to help us because my husband had taken a job that the bishop had counseled us against taking. We became one of the homeless families you read about.
We were lucky we had good friends that allowed us to move in with them. They are Mormon. We got back on our feet and got our own place. We kept going to the church. I thought that the experience that we had was a once in a life time thing. I kept my belief in the church.
Just over a year later, I got pregnant. I felt that I had to have at least 6 children. But this pregnancy did not go right. I was out with my husband one day in Nov., it felt like I had peed my pants so I went to the bathroom. There was blood everywhere! I panicked.. I was losing my baby! This had never happened before, What would I do? I went to the DR. We had an ultra sound and it showed that the baby was OK. They sent me to the hospital to find out were the bleeding was coming from. The hospital did an extensive ultra sound and they found a second amniotic sack. This meant that I had lost one baby and the other was still living. I had all sort of complications. The bleeding never stopped. I had an Amniocentesis that showed we were having a girl. Then one day my water broke! It was not time I was only 17 weeks pregnant. I knew the baby would die if I had to deliver. I had to go in every week to make sure the fluid level was not too low. On one of those visits they said my daughters heart beat was in a dying rhythm. That night I called people over for a priest hood blessing. As a woman in the church I don't have the right to ask God for help or healing with out a priesthood holder doing it for me.
The next day I went into the Dr. for another ultra sound. It showed that the baby was dead. She had died over night. I had to give birth to her. I hurt all over, a mother should never have to say good bye to her child. But one thing this did do. I knew that I was not going to make it to the celestial kingdom with my husband. And I wanted to hold my daughter again, so I started to pray like I had not prayed before.
I asked God to show me the true church so I can serve him and hold my daughter again! I prayed, prayed, and prayed.... then one night I had a dream.
I was walking with a man. We were in a church and I was asked to help with the worship service. I said yes, but the man took me across the street to another church of another denomination and we went in. There I was asked to help with the children's music. I was confused. I looked at the man and asked him which one was true? He said " It does not matter what church you go to just so long as you serve God!" I woke up and I knew that I was free. For the first time in my life I was free.
I went to a friend and asked her to pray with me that I might accept God into my heart. We prayed that prayer!!!
I know that I am saved by the blood of the lamb! That Jesus is my savior and lord! And that I will hold my daughter in heaven again!!! It has been hard to leave the church. We have a group in WA called Saints Alive. They gave me a pamphlet called " Mass Exodus" It tell you how to write a letter so you can leave the church without excommunication. We have submitted our letter for release from the church records.
I have had 2 friends join me in leaving the church, but I have many more in the church. I know that when I start talking about my experiences in the church that I will lose some of them. I pray for them and all the members of the church that they may be released from bondage.
I hope that this was not too long. I just thought that you needed all the information to know why I am where I am. I am attending a church that is spirit filled. I really love it there. My life still has ups and down. We have since lost another baby. But I know that God is with me and my family. That I will hold my children again in Heaven. I was lucky because when I told my husband that I wanted to leave the church he jumped for joy! Not all people are this lucky.
If you would like to have more information I would love to talk with you. My internet address is firstname.lastname@example.org. I also am going to start going to churches and talk about my experience, and how good God has been to me. Thank you for reading this and I hope that it can help you in some way.
There are alot of books that you can read. And I have read them, but I think what you should keep in mind is that the people in the church are scared of what happens when you leave the church. And they think they are over reacting, or that Satan is trying to get to them. Just keep in mind that there are good people in the LDS church and that they need love and compassion and our prayers to see the light. Forcing them to leave the church, and giving them information that shocks them out works with some but not most. Just be faithful with prayers and show them God's love. You can know these facts but don't force feed them.
And remember that through God all is possible. Just look at me!!!:)