TW: rape, disciplinary council
Continue reading “Female Sexual Trauma and the Problem of Patriarchal Religion”
READER POST: She is 15. Braces in her mouth, knees bruised from play, barely a year past puberty. She still resembles a girl. He is 19. Jaded by struggle, lined by dysfunction. He resembles a man. He sweet talks in her ear, leaves flowers and secret poems; she sneaks out to see him. He drives down a dark road. She is not prepared. This isn’t what she’s seen in movies. No violence. No screams. “I want to go home,” she quietly repeats, staring out at the darkness. She is frozen, rooted as firmly as the trees outside the car window. In a moment, she is changed. Her innocence scarred by someone she put her trust in. But the details of the dark road are not this story. I know because her story is mine.
In Part II of this interview, SQ’s Pilar explains how local church leaders addressed the sexual and physical abuse within her marriage. Read Part I, which focuses on how historic polygamy affected the domestic violence.
SQ: Pilar, before we get any deeper, please tell us your present standing with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?
PILAR: I’m an active member, attend my meetings, and hold a calling. My first sealing was cancelled and I’m now sealed to my present husband. I decided to talk about these things because I love the Church and want it to do better.
SQ: Out of curiosity, how did you feel about the response to the first part of this interview?
PILAR: I appreciated the support. But some people expressed more concern over the mental state of my ex than they did for me, the abuse victim. That was disappointing. Demoralizing. Continue reading “How Local Leaders Responded to Marital Abuse: An Interview with Pilar, Part II”
DEBORAH: Sisters Quorum has been publicly quiet in the wake of the Joseph L. Bishop scandal, but behind the scenes, our writers have been in an emotional and spiritual tumult. If you’ve followed the blog, you’re aware that some SQ writers have deep, prolonged history with sexual and spiritual abuse. The reality is, as it turns out, many of our writers have been victimized sexually and abandoned, or not believed, by church authorities and often by family members. I’ve watched these amazing survivors grapple with the hard reality that the formal Church, through its authorities, looked the other way, expressing a level of forgiveness or compassion for a sexual predator that resulted in enabling his continued abuse. The level at which this is striking the souls of abuse survivors is deep and primal. The pain it renews, the rage and confusion it reignites, aren’t going away. Continue reading “The Wounded Women of Polygamy Culture”
READER POST: And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.
Two thousand years ago, our Savior made his victorious entry into Jerusalem. His people looked to him as a living prophet and Son of God, the messiah who would save them in victory and power. I try to imagine shouting “Hosanna!” and laying palm fronds before Him. What would it have been like to be so near my Savior, to give Him marks of His kingship?
But Christ’s kingdom was not of this world; it would not be founded in the powerful structures of men. His lack of military or financial power disappointed many followers. His social and spiritual might was taken as a threat to the powerful institutions of his day, especially the high priests and scribes, who laid plans for his painful and humiliating death. Continue reading “Lamb”
DEBORAH: One of my children suffered a birth injury that left her partially paralyzed in one arm. My doctor initially told me she’d recover in six months. When six months came and went without much recovery, I was bursting with concern and dread. Apparently, most babies with injuries at C5 and C6 do recover, but mine did not—not even after much faith, prayer, fasting, and priesthood blessings that promised a full recovery. By her ninth month milestone, I realized I’d have to accept that, for my sweet baby, a poor recovery was her “full” recovery. Continue reading “Faith, Priesthood Blessing, and the Unhealed Child”
MIRIAM: Since the man who had hurt us was there that Sunday, this was one of those Sabbaths when the constant presence of ushers in the hallways was absolutely necessary to me. If you have not been traumatized by violent crime, it might be hard to imagine how I felt. I will try to show you: Continue reading “Amen to His Priesthood”