#hearLDSwomen: Priesthood Leaders Sided with My Abusive Ex During My Divorce
When I was divorcing an abusive spouse, my church leaders sulked and comforted him, but I was left out in the cold. They didn’t know what to do with me. It was incredibly lonely. My bishop did connect me with a women’s group at the time, I will give him that, but ecclesiastical support was very minimal. It’s why I’m nervous to go through with a sealing cancellation after all these years.
After getting divorced, I was denied multiple times for my request to cancel my temple sealing. MY sealing. But multiple men decided I couldn’t do that. Then, when I was seeking to get remarried in the temple, I was granted a temple divorce and had to write a letter explaining why I got divorced. I kept the letter short, direct, and to the point. Literally, I could have written a novel detailing all of the abuse. After submitting the letter, I got a call from my ex’s stake president thanking me for my words, and then asking me to take it all back. Because I needed to put myself in my ex’s shoes and think about how badly he must feel. He said it was time to stop being selfish and only thinking of myself. My letter could have repercussions on his callings, and I wouldn’t want that, right?!
My abusive ex was protected and I was left feeling completely disregarded. (I did not take back my letter.)
At the end of my marriage, I had gone to my bishop. My husband was laid off from his job and would not give us any of his funds to help with the bills. I was struggling to pay them and knew my husband was very motivated by priesthood authority. I went and humiliated myself and asked for help, and the bishop said that this was a “family thing” and that he was not comfortable getting involved with a priesthood leader in his home. I went home and felt so low, and then a few weeks later without a word to me, they offered my husband the opportunity to be a high priest. I was shocked. My husband came to me and said, “if God had a problem with me keeping my money, do you think He would make me a high priest? The bishop told me he thought it would boost my husband’s confidence.
I felt invisible and that I was not important or valued, but he was.
– Sherry Andersen
Pro Tip: Believe women when they say they’ve been abused. Give support and resources when a woman is leaving an abusive spouse.
“If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.” (Mark 4:23)