I grew up in Arvada, Colorado. I started being sexually abused by my oldest brother when I was 4, and he was 17. the abuse only stopped because he was found worthy to go on a mission.
A year into his mission, my older sister went to our bishop for help because our home life was highly abusive too. She did not feel safe at home and felt that the bishop was a safe person to seek help from.
The bishop got her in to see a church-approved unlicensed counselor. In counseling, it came out that she, too, had been sexually abused by my older brother.
The counselor arranged a sit down with my sister and the bishop to talk about the abuse, and the bishop decided that they were all going to keep all of the abuse a secret from my parents and the authorities because the bishop felt like it would be far too embarrassing to bring a Mormon missionary home early for sexual abuse charges.
When my brother returned from his mission a year later, the bishop found him worthy to wed in the temple and never told his wife of the abusive behavior.
Keeping this all secret led to me and my siblings experiencing nearly a decade more abuse from my parents and sexual abuse among my siblings.
If the bishop had reported this abuse to the authorities, it is possible that he could have completely prevented the sexual abuse between me and my two young siblings. The bishop’s failure to report this also led to about a decade of abuse to my brother’s wife.
I finally reported the abuse to my parents when I was about 12, only because, at the time, my nephews were about the age when i started being abused. I was worried my brother was harming them. Then it all came out that my sister had gone to the bishop for help, and he had decided to keep it all quiet. When I stepped forward, it quickly unfolded that the abuse was running rampant in my house for years because it was never reported. The church agreed that they had mishandled the situation, so they started paying for mental health treatment and facilities for some of my siblings.
My parents estimate that the church paid nearly a million dollars in mental health care. When the bills got too high, the church decided it was enough and attempted to cut my parents off. My parents then went after the church for breach of fiduciary responsibility. They settled out of court with the church for $150,000.
I am currently trying to sue the church for the damage done to me. Currently, laws in Colorado are preventing justice. I will return to Colorado Spring of 2024 to testify on behalf of new legislation that hopefully gains victims justice.
I have cptsd, struggled with drug addiction and homelessness, had severe attachment and abandonment issues, and poor emotional regulation. I also have many health issues that started at the age of 8. I have dysautonomia, autoimmune issues, chronic pain, neuropathy, and mental health issues, which can all be triggered by prolonged childhood trauma and abuse.
My Sister has similar issues but was also diagnosed with MS at 18, which is extremely young for an MS diagnosis, and MS is also known to be triggered by childhood trauma.
The damage to my family has been immense, my middle brother’s life spiraled out of control in his early teenage years, and he has never had a normal adult functioning life. His life has been completely devastated by this abuse.
Most of my family no longer talks to each other, and most have also left the Mormon church.