#hearLDSwomen: I Had to Redo a Disciplinary Council for a Sin I’d Repented for Years Ago Even Though I Told My Bishop I’d Already Repented and Had Held a Temple Recommend for Years
I was married to an (inactive) priesthood holder who was abusive on many levels. I went to one bishop for help was told “If it was really that bad, you would’ve already left.” I went to another bishop for help and he told me, “you need to stop being so selfish and think of your daughter.” I went to a 3rd bishop for help (over a span of years); he called the church abuse hotline and used ward funds to get me into counseling.
Let’s note that my husband the priesthood holder told me “I hold the priesthood and you don’t need counseling. If you get it you are going against the priesthood and therefore God!” Also note that he told me I didn’t need to buy groceries every week because he needed to pay tithing…… and that I didn’t need clothes that fit (basics) and could stay home in my pajamas since I was a stay at home mom….ugh
Bishops meed more training on responding to abuse!!!!
I got in trouble with boyfriends a lot as a teenager. I would always confess to my bishop and usually follow up multiple times. Over and over again I would be told about the law of chastity and how I was breaking it. I didn’t realize then, but what was happening with these boyfriends was that I didn’t know how to say no. So what my bishop saw as me sinning, was really teenage boys taking advantage of me. I felt SO GUILTY. I felt so deserving of not being worthy to partake of the sacrament for months at a time. Or go to the temple. But looking back, instead of a lecture, I could have really benefited from someone telling me how to say no and that I had every right to say no. I was raised as a people pleaser! I was taught to be quiet and little and pretty. I wasn’t taught that I had a voice that mattered. I’m so sad for my younger self who spent so much time beating myself up for sinning.
When I was 11, I was molested by my grandpa. My parents found out a few months later. Within a week they took me to see the bishop. I didn’t understand why they took me to see him but I remember feeling they thought I must have done something wrong or else I wouldn’t be there. I had already told my story in a room to a male detective. My grandpa was already in jail. In the windowless room of the bishop’s office, I again told my story to a man. I was alone. Although he was incredibly kind, he did tell me I was loved and my parents had done the right thing for bringing me in to confess it. In any of these interactions, including with my parents on this subject, I was never told it was not my fault. I was never told I hadn’t done anything wrong. Victims of abuse do not need to be interviewed by priesthood leaders to determine whether they were at fault, especially children.
My records were lost from 20 yrs ago and the church made me redo a disciplinary council for something I already repented for in a previous marriage. Despite my old bishop acknowledging it had been taken care of and despite my journal documentation. I was humiliated and horrified with my current husband. They said I was disfellowshipped RANDOMLY and would not be able to hold a calling. I explained how I’d held numerous callings and attended the temple for many years since then. It didn’t matter. It was despicable.
Pro Tip: Because the church teaches morality and rarely (if ever) mentions consent, there are a shocking amount of girls/women who aren’t aware that they’re allowed to say no and/or aren’t aware that they’ve been raped. Be aware of this issue and learn to recognize such cases.
If a person tells you s/he has been abused, believe them. Victims of abuse do not need the repentance process; they need to be told they are loved and not at fault.
“If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.” (Mark 4:23)