#hearLDSwomen: After My Third Miscarriage, My Bishop Told Me I Was Lucky to Have Babies in Heaven and to Quit My Job to Prepare to Be a Mother
I was 14 or 15 when I was in my Bishop’s office for a temple recommend interview for baptisms for the dead. During this interview, my Bishop told me that I could not participate in any temple baptisms if I were on my period because I was considered “unclean” and “no unclean thing” could enter the holy water of baptism.
After my third miscarriage in a row, during a time of my life when I was really struggling to manage my grief, a very challenging new job and some other things, a counselor in the bishopric came to my home and asked me to be the primary chorister. I immediately wept and said this was not a good time for me because of my struggles and work/travel schedule. He then tried to manipulate me into saying yes -basically pulled a missionary commitment pattern on me, reading me a scripture and telling me the story of how he was called to be the zone leader two weeks into his mission and was overwhelmed but read this scripture and knew the Lord had his back. My husband was livid and almost threw him out of our home. I told him I would take a week to pray on it and meet with the bishop to discuss.
When I went to the bishop my answer was still no. He then also tried to manipulate me into saying yes, stating that he had prayed and been told this was absolutely the calling for me. Luckily I am not easily manipulated and emphatically told him no, that my prayers had resulted in a completely different answer and I had to follow my inspiration.
He moved on to other tactics trying to tell me I was lucky to have babies in heaven and then told me I needed to quit my job to prepare to be a mother. I told him we were done and we literally never spoke again for the six years he was bishop.
I’m grateful this was the first time in my life I felt unheard by my priesthood leaders, but this experience was the beginning of my struggle and stepping back from my 100% “in” attitude.
My bishop pulled me aside to give me an assignment to make my husband come to church every Sunday.
My husband, being an adult who makes his own choices, didn’t.
The bishop and his counselors cornered me in the hallway after sacrament meeting. He was upset that my husband wasn’t there.
“Didn’t I give you an assignment?”
I hadn’t accepted the assignment, but I gather that that didn’t matter. I was a woman to do what I was told.
I was told that I had no place attending a planned disciplinary council for my husband, even though it was about a neighbor conflict where I knew more about it than anyone else. And then when that council got downgraded to a warm and compassionate interview, I was still expected to wait in the hall for an hour. The stake president was at least generous enough to listen to me for 10 minutes then. At the time, I was grateful, but now the thought of it irks me. No policy was stopping him from including me in the actual meeting.
– Rebecca Dalmas
Was told by my stake president that my lack of trust in church leaders and new, unorthodox beliefs were the result of “being overwhelmed by the demands of being a wife and mother” (ie hysteria). Same stake president said he would excommunicate me because he couldn’t have other members thinking that I was a member in good standing while voicing concerns about church doctrine, policy, and leadership. He also refused to identify any errors in my arguments and writing.
In my twenties my boyfriend of two months felt guilty about taking off one too many items of clothing one night and confessed to his bishop the next day. His bishop then called mine to report me. My bishop called me in to confess my crimes- very curious for descriptive details 🤢. I was so hurt that my boyfriend didn’t tell me he was feeling bad, nor did he give me the heads up that he’d given his bishop my ward number knowing his bishop intended to reach out to me. I also felt extremely invaded knowing three men were discussing my body and perceived transgressions amongst themselves. As if it was in their power to save my soul, to control my body. For them to feel ownership of my story. For them to take action on behalf of me, without my consent. It made me sick. It also makes me sick in a laugh-out-loud way to remember how hot it felt to make out in just our garments. The whole memory is so gross.
About 6-7 years ago my bishop came into into the Young Women room and quoted Spencer Kimball at the girls. He told them that if they survived a rape, it wasn’t really rape because clearly, they hadn’t fought hard enough to protect their virtue. None of the females leaders corrected him. He was the bishop and his word outranked ours.
– Amy H.
Pro Tip: Listen to women and do not coerce them to take on assignments. Keep advice within your fields of expertise and do not preach personal opinions as doctrine or teach from outdated and harmful sources.
“If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.” (Mark 4:23)