I went to my bishop when I was 13 to confess what I thought was sexual sin – when in reality, I’d been groomed and sexually abused by an adult man.

I went to my bishop when I was 13 to confess what I thought was sexual sin – when in reality, I’d been groomed and sexually abused by an adult man.

I’d already read The Miracle of Forgiveness because I was obsessed with becoming worthy again, and I was particularly fixated on the section where it says that a young woman should lose her life before losing her virtue.

The bishop put me on church discipline for several months. I became depressed. The man who had abused me began stalking me and I suffered trauma as a result of some terrifying experiences with his stalking. The bishop continued to meet with me and ask me if I was having sexual dreams and if my thoughts were pure. I wasn’t allowed to take the sacrament or participate. I was thirteen years old.

At my final interview I was mentally broken down. My dad (the previous bishop of the ward) had chased me out of my window in one of his fairly common violent rages and I had hidden in our family van for hours, praying to be forgiven. I’d felt a “burning in my bosom” and felt that God had forgiven me. This confirmed that I’d needed to be forgiven and I felt like a truly evil person who had been given a second chance. The bishop agreed that I was experiencing godly sorrow and told me that I didn’t need to worry – the man I was supposed to marry would love me despite the sexual sin I’d participated in.

My high school years were horrible. The abuser never faced any consequences and stalked me until I left home early to get away from him.

I went to BYUI and felt inadequate and isolated, believing that I was disgusting and evil, but SO lucky to be included because I’d been given a second chance. When I started seriously dating an abusive, controlling man, i decided to confide in him the truth about my evil nature. He said he still wanted to marry me. I thought it was prophesy coming true.

He sexually assaulted me twice on our wedding day and the sexual abuse was unbearable.

My then husband was the regional spokesperson for the addiction recovery program and the elders quorum President when I left him. The day I told him that the kids and I were leaving, he told me I’d need permission from the bishop and stake President to leave the house. Makes sense since in his experience, the men always band together to silence the women.

Read 40 survivor stories by victims of sexual abuse or shaming perpetrated by Mormon church members or leaders.

FLOODLIT.org has a free public database of hundreds of Mormon sex abuse cases.