Why Didn’t the Mormon Church Protect This Child?

KendahlabusesurvivorThis is a picture of myself as a young child, smiling next to a piano at my Mormon grandparents’ house. At the time, I was living at home with my biological father who is a pedophile, and was visiting my grandparent’s house (on my mother’s side) where my biological grandfather lived, who was also a pedophile.

Why didn’t the Mormon church worry so much about my protection then? I was a young queer kid who was so closeted that I didn’t even know I was queer yet. And I was so injured by the abuse that I was unable to sleep at night for fear that I would be assaulted again. All I knew was that I was broken, and unsafe.

Fast forward a few years, when I told my bishop at BYU that I had been sexually abused by my father growing up, and he said “Don’t tell the police, they will just rip apart your family.”

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I’m not broken.


strength through the agesTrigger warning/content note: sexual abuse, coming out.

I recently revived my monthly contribution here at The Exponent as part of our Queer Mormon Women* series, and it has me thinking.  How did my Mormonism affect my queerness?  When did the messages first get mixed together?

(In fact, these questions have been swirling around in my brain for so many weeks now that I have decided to start writing regularly again here.)

Like most things, they are connected.  I don’t know that I can separate them, at least not completely.  It’s this idea that I have been pondering since my last post; the idea that I thought I was broken for so long.  I thought the sexual abuse I had endured was what broke me, and I thought that the way it broke me was with regard to my sexuality.

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Queer Mormon Women*: Unweaving the Past

K and C at CA Wedding

This is a post by Kendahl, aka kmillecam, and is a part of the Queer Mormon Women* series.  Click HERE to see all the posts to date.

A lot has happened since the last time I wrote a post for The Exponent.  Over the years I have written about ceremonies, healing, and bodily rights.  I have written about my journey in Mormonism and feminism, and found solace in the voices here, blogger and commenter alike.  This particular brand of feminism here at The Exponent is my cup of tea.  These women are thoughtful and accepting.  You can see my other previous posts here.

As I perused the body of the work I have done here, I see that I have left out a defining portion of my life.  I am a Queer Mormon Woman*.

I have been officially “out” for a little over a year.  On National Coming Out Day, October 11, in 2013, having come out to a few people in my life, I decided to finally write a post on Facebook about how I identify as a queer woman.  It was a spur of the moment decision, and really just served to make official what most people already knew about me.  I was in the process of my divorce, and I was dating women exclusively.

I will be 35 this year.  I don’t know why, but that detail is prominent to me.  I keep finding that I beat myself up for not “figuring out the gay thing” earlier in life.  After all, I was an LGBTQIA+ advocate for several years.  I even identified as bisexual for a few years before I finally realized that I am queer.  And my partner Corinne has known she was gay, in spite of also growing up in a Mormon family, since she was about 15.  Why has it taken me so long?  Why wasn’t it obvious to me?

My sister has expressed that she has known this about me for a number of years.  My late grandmother said the same when I came out to her about a year ago.

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New Series: Queer Mormon Women*

Queer Mormon Women*

This new series from The Exponent features Queer Mormon Women*.  Join us as we hear the experiences, voices, stories, and musings of Mormon people who identify in some way with being a woman, being Mormon, and being queer!  The series is written by several queer Mormon women*, which we all hope will provide greater visibility and reach for queer perspectives.

Click HERE to find all the published posts in the series, to date.

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First things first: what do all these terms even mean!?

Why do we use an asterisk after women?  Why do we use the term “queer”?  Why aren’t all LGBT women just called lesbians?  Why do we need all the letters in LGBTQIA+?  What does the plus sign stand for?  Let’s give you a brief overview, that covers these terms, but doesn’t necessarily represent all queer experiences.

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Lullabye Time: My Heavenly Mother Loves Me

Ever since my children started to be born over 8 years ago, I have gone through fits and starts of singing to them each night before they go to bed.  Lately, I haven’t been singing as much, and I made a conscious effort to start up again.

I remember when I first had my feminist awakening, and my now-8-year-old was only 3-years-old.  I chose some songs from the Children’s Songbook that I still agreed with and liked, and at the top of the list was always the song I remembered as being called “Whenever I Hear the Song of a Bird”.  

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