General Conference: To the Women of the Church from the Prophet

Listening to a speaker at Conference yesterday reminded me of a talk President Hinckley once gave. While both men focused their words to single mothers, the Prophet directed his words specifically to those with emotional pain.

Everyone has felt pain. Pain is often a warning of something wrong and in this way can be a blessing. I have experienced both physical and emotional pain in my life. Once I had a pain in my side that finally got bad enough I went to see a Doctor. He detected and removed a very large cancerous kidney tumor. I had a similar situation a few years later when headaches led Doctors to find and remove a brain tumor. While this physical pain was not fun, its warning saved my life – twice. I could have chosen to ignore my pain, but I didn’t. If I had, I would have forfeited my life.

The same can often be said of emotional pain. When I was LDS I suffered the pain of failing to gain forgiveness through the process of repentance. I failed because I just couldn’t keep all of Heavenly Father’s commands all the time. When I repeated a sin, like gossiping or not forgiving someone, I lost what precious forgiveness I had already gained. The anguish from this pain was a warning which led me to seek help in finding the only cure — my Savior.

When I met the true Christ I learned that no one can gain forgiveness with their own works. John the Baptist declares that Christ’s works have already taken away the sin of the world (John 1:29). The forgiveness of sins comes only through the shed blood of a perfect sacrifice. And Jesus sacrificed His perfect life for us over 2,000 years ago. The Apostle Peter testifies that forgiveness is granted the moment a person believes in Jesus: “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” (Acts 10:43).

Are you a woman in pain who struggles with depression or anxiety? Were you sexually abused as a child and don’t know how to overcome the emotional trauma? Is your spouse addicted to pornography? Are your burdens heavy because you have been abandoned by your husband or have been widowed? Have you been left alone to raise your children? Do you often “cry in your closet” but wish you had someone to simply listen to you? Do you pretend you are fine but “put a smile on your face whenever you are in front of others“?

Put on a smile before others

Put on a smile before others

Some years ago in General Conference President Hinckley had a message for such hurting women: “Now I speak to you single mothers whose burdens are so heavy because you have been abandoned or have been widowed. Yours is a terrible load. Bear it well. Seek the blessings of the Lord. Be grateful for any assistance that may come out of the quorums of the priesthood to help you in your home or with other matters. Pray silently in your closet, and let the tears flow if they must come. But put a smile on your face whenever you are before your children or others.

Hiding your pain from family and friends is never the answer! If you had a daughter whose spouse died or who abandoned her, would you tell her to pray and cry in her closet but pretend to others that her burden was not heavy? How could anyone reach out to her if she hid her affliction from others? The most daunting aspect of these words is that according to LDS prophets they are not merely President Hinckley’s opinion, they are the words of Heavenly Father – His latest revelation.

My pain of failing to earn forgiveness led me to discover that Heavenly Father would never say these words! Instead He tells us to “bear one another’s burdens”; words which compel your Christian brothers and sisters to reach out to you in love (Galatians 6:2). God’s Words comfort, heal and speak of unconditional forgiveness. God showed His ultimate love for us by punishing His one and only Son to heal our disease of sin (John 3:16).

Are you in pain and tired of pretending? If so, I pray that pain drives you to seek the Savior who has borne your grief and carried your sorrows (Isaiah 53:4). May it drive you to a Christian Congregation of brothers and sisters who welcome the opportunity to share your burdens.

Or, you could choose to hide your pain, alone in your closet. But if you do you may well forfeit the joy of living with your Savior for life eternal.

Additional Testimony:
Visit the fatherless and widows in their afflictions:
– James 1:27
Give all your burdens to Heavenly Father & Jesus:
– Matthew 11:28
– 1 Peter 5:7
– Philippians 4:6-7
– Psalm 23:4
– Psalm 119:50
Additional LDS Words:

Found in TofPofC-Harold B. Lee, page 84:
“His prophet is upon the earth today, and if you want to know the last revelation that has come to this people, you get down the last conference report and read carefully especially what the First Presidency said… “You will have the best and the last word that has been given from our Heavenly Father.”

Found in D&C Gospel Doctrine Teachers Manual, page 244:
“Emphasize that the members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are latter-day prophets, seers, and revelators. They continue to receive revelation to guide the Church. “Their direction is “the will of the Lord, … the mind of the Lord, … the word of the Lord, … the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation”.

Link to President Hinckley’s Words:
General Conference, Ensign, November 2003, page 115
President Gordon B. Hinckley, To the Women of the Church

Making Covenants and Virginity Pledges for Someone Who Has Been Sexually Abused

I was reading the newly revised “For the Strength of Youth” at the lds youth website. It reminded me of an article I read a few years ago at Mormontimes.com about Virginity Pledges. Both articles stirred up some difficult memories for me which took me back to my childhood, because I was sexually abused as a child. I don’t remember exactly how old I was when it first started, but it lasted for most of my childhood. I have memories of things happening before I entered first grade and I lost my virginity about the time I was baptized at the age of eight.

Many things about my life of abuse are hard to explain with mere words. Inwardly, I spent years in a fog, simply struggling to survive. All my life I felt so much shame and guilt. I was unclean and impure. I was different than every person I knew. My heart’s desire was to be clean, pure and normal. Outwardly, no one would have suspected the emotional trauma I was going through. I hid my pain well by pretending to the world that I was a happy and normal Mormon girl.

At the age of twelve, I entered Mutual. My teacher was a very nice woman and made an effort to connect with the girls in her class. But one class stands out in my memory as very traumatic. Her Lesson focused on Chastity and how important it was for us to be morally clean. She told us that our most treasured possession was our virginity. She asked us to make a covenant to remain a virgin until we got married. She said that we should never do anything that compromised our most precious possession. For my ears, this was devastating. It was too late for me. I was already impure and had lost my virginity years before.

Then, she told us something that I will never forget. She said that our virginity was so precious that if someone tried to take it away from us by force, we should kill ourselves to protect it. She testified that our virginity was more important to us than our life. Hearing these words cut through my heart like a knife. The abuse continued for a few more years and every time, in addition to the shame, I now felt guilt for not having the courage to take my life. My pain was devastating and my heart’s desire was to be free from shame and guilt.

About fifteen years later this was still my heart’s desire. I had come no closer to finding any relief from my pain. There was nothing more important to me than gaining forgiveness. My desire was to be clean and pure like everyone else I knew. It was then that I turned to a book written by my Prophet Spencer W. Kimball called “The Miracle of Forgiveness“. Here, I just knew I would find the answer to my pain. Instead, I found more guilt and a reinforcement of what my Mutual teacher had told me. I read:

“Even in a forced contact such as rape or incest, the injured one is greatly outraged. If she has not cooperated and contributed to the foul deed, she is of course in a more favorable position. There is no condemnation where there is no voluntary participation. It is better to die in defending one’s virtue than to live having lost it without a struggle.

My pain was so intense I would have committed suicide had I not had two little daughters who needed me. And, it was these two little girls that helped me to realize the abuse hadn’t been my fault. As their mother I could see that these little girls had no interest in sex. I started reading about sexually abused children and I learned that children are victims, not willing participants. I myself had survived each ordeal by pretending I was asleep and trying to pretend it wasn’t happening to me.

Surprisingly, realizing it wasn’t my fault did not release me from my feelings of guilt and shame. Maybe it was because of my Prophets words that it would have been better that I had died in defending my virtue. I still felt morally unclean and impure. I was a defective and broken woman who did not know how to become whole and clean. A few years later I left the Mormon Church and about a year after that gave up on what I thought was Christianity in general. I pretended that my feelings of guilt and shame were gone, but they weren’t. I tried convincing myself that the God who created our world didn’t care about me or my pain. But I was wrong! And oh how thankful I am that I was wrong.

Jesus came and rescued me even though I had given up on Him. God sent a Christian into my life who told me that the God who created our world actually loved me! He didn’t care that I was broken and guilt ridden. This loving God led me to the truth and gave me the desire of my heart! He told me that through Jesus I was clean and pure! At thirty six years of age I learned that in God’s eyes, I was as pure and clean as a virgin! All because of Jesus! In fact, John the Beloved testified to me that everyone whose hope is in Jesus is as pure as Jesus himself! (1 John 3:3)

I have had lots of difficult things happen to me in my life but nothing has affected me more deeply than the sexual abuse. Today, even at fifty-three years of age I still struggle with emotional aftereffects from it. But, I praise the Lord that through Jesus’ blood I have been cleansed! My most treasured possession is the forgiveness of all my sins. I live my life devoted to my Savior who freely won it for me. And, I learned that my life is more precious to Him than my “virtue”.

Now, my heart’s desire is to share what I have been given with you. If you were sexually abused and have had to sit through a Mutual class like I did, my heart goes out to you. If you don’t know how to become whole, trust in the fact that your Savior has made you clean and pure with His blood.

“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:4-12)

The “God of all Comfort” Has Sent Me to Comfort You!

I’m sorry that it’s been so long since posting here to my blog. I’ve been struggling with some pretty difficult health issues—so much so that I haven’t been able to sit at my desk for more than an hour or so. For the past few years I have been living in constant pain all over my body. This pain has gotten progressively worse, and through an EMG study it was discovered that I have both a muscle and a nerve disease. I am scheduled to have a muscle biopsy in a few weeks which should help determine exactly what is wrong.

I sure never thought that I would have a life that was so full of pain—both emotional and physical. I don’t think there has ever really been a time in my life that was “ordinary”. In fact, if Hollywood made a movie out of my life it would have numerous dramas to focus on: my first husband was emotionally abusive and cheated on me for many years; my oldest daughter was a 2 ½ lb preemie and my second daughter died from SIDS. I truly don’t know if her death was more difficult to go through as a mother than when my daughter Jen was addicted to methamphetamine’s. At one point, I didn’t even know where she was for over a year and filed a missing persons report. In 1999 I was diagnosed with late stage kidney cancer and was told I had less than two years to live. In 2003 I developed a brain tumor and have undergone two major surgeries as well as radiation therapy. Because of that radiation, I suffer from chronic sinus infections, both fungal and bacterial.

These “highlights” don’t even begin to address the emotional trauma associated with growing up in a prominent LDS family and being sexually abused for most of my childhood. I grew up with President Kimball as my prophet—the author of The Miracle of Forgiveness, where he wrote the words that haunted me for most of my life: “It is better to die in defending one’s virtue than to live having lost it without a struggle.

My own sinfulness overwhelmed me and intensified my feelings of guilt of shame. Trying to obtain forgiveness for those sins through the LDS Process of Repentance consumed my life as I lived every day in complete and utter failure. You see, unlike many Mormons, I actually believed the words of my prophet when he declared in The Miracle of Forgiveness:

Trying is Not Sufficient. Nor is repentance complete when one merely tries to abandon sin… It is normal for children to try. They fall and get up numerous times before they can be certain of their footing. But adults, who have gone through these learning periods, must determine what they will do, then proceed to do it. To “try” is weak. To “do the best I can” is not strong…Those who feel that they can sin and be forgiven and then return to sin and be forgiven again and again must straighten out their thinking. Each previously forgiven sin is added to the new one and the whole gets to be a heavy load.… It depends upon you whether or not you are forgiven, and when. It could be weeks, it could be years, it could be centuries before that happy day when you have the positive assurance that the Lord has forgiven you. That depends on your humility, your sincerity, your works, your attitudes.

Of all the pain I have gone through in life, nothing has compared to the sure knowledge that I could not do the works which President Kimball told me were necessary to obtain my forgiveness. And in a way, I am thankful. This pain led me to find the true Savior of the world—the Savior whose work had already won the forgiveness for every sin I have or ever will commit. In fact, the sins of the entire world were covered by the life-shed blood of our Savior, when He died on the Cross and “taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

The Apostle Peter testified that forgiveness is obtained through faith, not works: “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” Did you notice Peter’s words: “all the prophets” bear witness that we receive forgiveness through belief? Peter’s words prove that LDS prophets are not prophets of God.

Many times I have wondered why my life has not been an easy one. But through it all, I know and trust that God has a purpose for everything. I also know that because my Lord and Savior has given me my hearts desire and cleansed me of my sins, I love Him more than life itself. I place my trust fully in the promise of God: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

I also love these words from the Apostle Paul, who helps explain why I have dedicated my life to witnessing the truth in love to Mormons: “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

I might live in daily physical pain because of my health issues, but the God of all comfort has blessed me with the peace that passeth all understanding. The desire of my heart is to share what I have found with you. God has shed His light in my heart and given me a passion to reach others who have gone through similar pains and trials. Yesterday my husband got me set up with his old laptop computer on a little table that slides over my bed. God willing, I pray that I will have the strength to share my faith with you more often than I have been able.

Your Savior Has Already Taken Away All Your Sins! Lay Aside Your Heavy Burden of Guilt!

One weekend I went hiking with my husband and some friends in the Ruby Mountains. My husband carried our back pack with the water jug and when he was thirsty I would unzip the pack and get it out for him. After we had drank our fill I would put the jug back into his pack and zip it up. But, what he didn’t know is that whenever I put the jug back, I also put in a fist-sized rock. All of our friends knew what I was doing and it was a great joke. He didn’t notice his pack was getting heavier because the rocks were being added one at a time. Towards the end of the hike his pack had become quite a burden. He thought it was because he was just getting tired, but when he opened it up and saw all the rocks he realized what I had done.

An article I read in the Ensign reminded me of this hike. The focus of the article was the process of Repentance. It gave an idea for Family Home Evening using rocks and a backpack: “Collect a sack and several large rocks. Read the story of President Marion G. Romney and the repentant young man. Have each family member write a common sin on a rock and then place it in the sack. Take turns carrying the sack and compare the physical weight to the burden of sin. Then remove each stone while you read the paragraph following “There was the answer.”

The paragraph mentioned tells you how to know if you can remove the burden of each sin you’ve committed. The answer is because you’ve done everything required through the process of repentance. This is how to know if your repentance has been accepted by the Lord. It claims “The miracle of forgiveness is available to all of those who turn from their evil doings and return no more, because the Lord has said in a revelation to us in our day: “Go your ways and sin no more; but unto that soul who sinneth [meaning again] shall the former sins return, saith the Lord your God” (D&C 82:7).”

But the Lord your God did not say this! Instead, He testified: “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.” The Holy Ghost inspired these words: “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” John the Beloved claimed that Jesus:

“loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood”. The reason Jesus came to this earth to rescue us is because we are filled with sin. The vast majority of sins cannot be abandoned. Most sins like unjustified anger, greed, gossiping, envy, lust, lying, etc. are committed over and over again throughout a person’s life time. Oh, there are a few specific commands that one can abandon. Man-made commands like the Word of Wisdom are easy to follow and create a false impression of righteousness; training a person to look at the few sins they don’t commit rather than seeing the great number they do commit. You might even be able to pay a full ten-percent tithe your entire life. But, if you don’t do it cheerfully, you are sinning. The most difficult command is to love God more than anything or anyone. We all break this command over and over again—every time we commit any sin.

Using the analogy that each sin is like a stone, every person who has ever lived would have so many stones piled on them they could not stand. They would literally be buried under a mountain. You could not “carry” this burden because it would be far too heavy to bear. Only a person who chooses not to acknowledge the extent to which they break God’s commands would ever claim that the “soul who sinneth [meaning again] shall the former sins return”! Only someone who does not know how often they sin could ever believe it possible to abandon most of the sin they commit. In their ignorance and their arrogance they believe their pack is almost empty when in reality it is so great Heavenly Father had to send His Son to remove it!

Looking back at the exercise for Home Evening, imagine taking several rocks and writing a sin on each rock. Start with the sin of being “Unforgiving”. In your life, how many times have you struggled to forgive someone? How about being “Covetous”? How many times have you coveted another persons looks, their home, their spouse, their car? How often are you “Contentious” or “Quarrelsome”? How are you doing at forsaking the sins of “Envy”, “Lying” or “Impatience”? Did you know that “Worrying” or being “Fearful” are sins?

How many times are you:
Bitter”, “Judgmental”, “Angry”, Discourteous” or “Unkind”? How often do you “Gossip” about others or “Slander” someone? Have you abandoned “Cursing” or the sin of “Lusting” after anyone you aren’t married to? I haven’t even mentioned the Sins of omission: Not seeking God’s kingdom first, Not blessing those who persecute you, Not feeding the hungry, Not clothing the stranger, Not visiting those in prison, Not praying continually, Not thanking God for everything, Not being content with what you have, Not trusting God to take care of you and Not giving God the glory for everything you do.

It is truly impossible to abandon many of these sins for even more than one day! But take heart! Jesus came to rescue you! Your filthiness was made clean—it was washed and cleansed with Christ’s blood. Once, your sins were as scarlet, but now they are as white as snow. You are without blame or blemish—no spot can be found. Your sins were taken and cast into the depths of the sea. All your sins, past present and future have been covered and blotted out—removed from you.

Please, do not reject what your Savior has already done for you. He loves you and longs for you to place your trust (faith) in Him. Don’t carry the burden of your sins any longer. Instead, leave them at the foot of the Cross and turn to Jesus in love and thanksgiving for all He has done for you.

Click here for additional LDS and Bible references

Find Peace and Healing through Faith in Jesus!

I have such a passion for sharing God’s truth with Mormons. My love for witnessing started soon after the Holy Spirit brought me to faith over fourteen years ago. I want the whole world to know what my Savior has done for me. His healing took away my life of shame and misery and gave me the peace that transcends all understanding.

My life is devoted to sharing the good news that the forgiveness of sins has already been earned through Christ’s work. Mormons need to hear this message because LDS prophets claim that forgiveness depends upon their own works! All who believe this false teaching deny that Christ’s Atonement was sufficient payment for the sins of the world.

This is why I volunteer with a Christian Ministry that reaches out to Mormons. Truth in Love Ministry (TILM) proclaims God’s truth with love and respect to Mormons and equips other Christians to do the same. I am so thankful that God led me to be involved with TILM. I absolutely love working directly with Mormons and ex-Mormons. The thrill of watching someone come to faith is exhilarating and addictive.

One of the more difficult things I do for TILM is speak at Christian Seminars about my life as a Mormon. While this isn’t my favorite thing to do, I have come to accept that it is what God wants of me. The contribution I bring to these Seminars is invaluable because I can give Christians a glimpse into the life of a Mormon woman. While my struggles do not portray the life of every Mormon, they do expose how Mormonisms false teachings affect those who are sincerely seeking forgiveness.

Mine was a life full of suffering and sin. The memory of the shame caused by sexual abuse is so painful that it is almost unbearable speaking of it in front of so many people. Even after ten years of doing so, it still isn’t easy. Just imagine bearing your testimony at Fast and Testimony meeting—but instead of sharing your faith, you confess that your life is one of misery and sin. In spite of how much I dislike bearing my soul at these Seminars, I do so willingly–for my Savior. And, I do it for you too!

There are many Mormons who spend every day working with all their might, trying to gain the forgiveness of sins—just as I did. There are many Mormons who live in shame and misery. I know this because I have spoken to and read about many others who were sexually abused—just as I was. There are many Mormons who struggle with homosexuality because they were abused as a child. And thousands of Mormons recognize they are unworthy and can’t do enough to get right with God.

I know this because I have been blessed to be involved with many ex-Mormons who have found the truth and I have listened to their stories of pain and suffering. I have also read the words of many Mormons and ex-Mormons who are still hurting—stories written online in numerous blogs, websites and newsgroups. A simple search online will demonstrate that what I say is true.

While we can read these stories on the internet, there are few Mormons who will share their unhappiness with family, friends or neighbors. Looking back at my life I am amazed at how well I kept my life of shame a secret. I used laughter and a smile to ensure that no one knew of my misery. Mormons are not encouraged to share their pains with others. It seems that the image of the Church is more important to its leaders than getting help for those who are hurting.

A few years ago I wrote a Post showing an example of this from what I read in a General Conference issue of the Ensign. Click here to read it:. President Hinckley told single mothers in the Church:

“Now I speak to you single mothers whose burdens are so heavy because you have been abandoned or have been widowed. Yours is a terrible load. Bear it well. Seek the blessings of the Lord. Be grateful for any assistance that may come out of the quorums of the priesthood to help you in your home or with other matters. Pray silently in your closet, and let the tears flow if they must come. But put a smile on your face whenever you are before your children or others.

Were you one of the women that Hinckley spoke to? Did you disobey him and reach out to someone who could help you? Or, did you follow the words of your Prophet and put a smile on your face in spite of how miserable you felt?

Another example of this was seen in a talk given last year by the Young Women’s President, Sister Dalton. She told the Young Women to be “one hundred percent in daily prayer, scripture study and what she says may be the most challenging, smiling”. Click here to read my Post:. One has to wonder why Sister Dalton believes that “smiling” may be the most challenging aspect for LDS Young Women.

In both these cases the leader is encouraging an expression to create a false impression that the person is happy in the Church. It’s no wonder that most Christians have no clue that many Mormons are silently suffering in pain and misery. It seems that Mormon leaders don’t want them to know.

I believe this is one reason why telling my life’s story to Christians is so valuable. They need to realize that Mormons who smile a lot might not really be that happy. They need to know that many Mormons are miserable and don’t know their Savior. And, they need to understand that Mormons don’t know that all their sins have been forgiven. It’s with this knowledge that Christians will be compelled to reach out in truth and love to their Mormon friends.

I spent so many miserable years pretending to be happy, but I wasn’t. Amazingly, the recognition that you are completely unworthy may be painful to the unbeliever. But that knowledge is how the Holy Spirit leads people to see their need for Jesus–the free forgiveness earned by their Savior.

What a joy it is not to have to pretend any more!! The desire of my heart is to share my Savior with you. I pray that you will find healing through Jesus, just as Isaiah prophesied of the coming Savior:

“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” (Is 53:4-5)

This good news has brought a genuine smile to all who believe it!

If you want to read some amazing stories of healing through Jesus, go to this website written especially for LDS women:

Healing from the Emotional Scars of Sexual Abuse

God has given me a strong desire to reach out to others who are struggling from the trauma of sexual abuse. I say “others” because although I am 51 years old, I still struggle with emotional scars from the abuse I went through as a child. Unlike physical scars, someone traumatized by sexual abuse doesn’t “look” like he or she is hurting. Those who have been abused are often left with emotional scars that transcend all areas of their lives. Most of us have learned how to hide our secrets, our struggles and even our feelings, so we end up being numb and silent. Unfortunately, this silence exacerbates many of the unhealthy consequences of abuse.

I was 28 years old before I spoke of the abuse to anyone. Doing so was the beginning of a healing process that is still ongoing. Since then I have learned many things about sexual abuse, not only from my own journey but from that of others I have met. For one, the person abused is not the only “victim” of the sexual abuse. Sexual intimacy in marriage is one of the most common issues encountered by someone who was sexually abused. Because of this, spouses of those who were abused may also become “victims” of the abuser. At 51 years old I still struggle from this emotional scar. I have been married for eleven years to a man I love and adore. But my brain still can’t convince my emotions to relax and not tense up every time my husband wishes to be intimate.

Being a member of the LDS Church made my years of sexual abuse much worse. President Kimball’s words in his book “The Miracle of Forgiveness” haunted me for years: “It is better to die in defending one’s virtue than to live having lost it without a struggle.” One of the most difficult consequences of my abuse was being overwhelmed by feelings of guilt and shame. Even though I was four or five when the abuse started, I still couldn’t convince my emotions I wasn’t at least partly at fault. For most of my life I was driven by my desire to be washed clean, forgiven, to somehow be restored to normal. But, deep down, I knew that I could never be normal. (To read how Jesus healed me from the shame of abuse, read the Post “God Doesn’t Lie–You Have Been Forgiven!!!” In the Topical Guide on the left, click on the Topic “Sexual Abuse”.)

I am very thankful that I no longer believe in the words of LDS prophets and apostles. But at the same time, my heart cries out for members of the Church who do. “The Miracle of Forgiveness” is still one of the more prominent books in Mormonism. As well, one of the Twelve Apostles gave a talk in General Conference that actually heaps more abuse on those who have been abused! Elder Richard G. Scott claims

“These are some of the principles of healing you will come to understand more fully: Recognize that you are a beloved child of your Heavenly Father. He loves you perfectly and can help you as no earthly parent, spouse, or devoted friend can. His Son gave his life so that by faith in him and obedience to his teachings you can be made whole.” (Link to talk:)

Telling someone who has been sexually abused that they can be “made whole” through obedience is just another form of abuse! Don’t you believe him! Not only do Elder Scott’s words expose the fact that he knows nothing about those who have been abused—it also shows that he doesn’t know the true mission of the Savior! Isaiah prophesied of our Savior’s mission—and it’s not through our obedience that we receive His healing:

“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:4-5)

There is a parallel between being healed from sexual abuse and being healed from sin. “With His stripes we are healed!” Elder Scott would hold this healing ransom—to gain your obedience, before being healed. But he has it backwards. Jesus already gained both my and your healing—through His obedience. Those who hope in the Lord and Savior living a life of thanksgiving, in part by being obedient.

The Savior of the world does not use obedience as a bargaining tool to heal the abused! When I found out I had been washed clean through Christ’s atonement, I gave my life to my Savior. It is because of my love for Him and gratitude for His forgiveness that I am obedient.

Being sexually abused as a child is the most traumatic thing that has happened in my life. But, amazingly, God used what happened to me as a child to draw me to the Savior whose blood covered not only my shame, but most importantly, my sin!

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My niece Kristina designed and created this beautiful stained glass panel to help raise money at a local shelter for abused women. The colors symbolize the various emotions that victims of abuse go though—from pain, rage and eventually to peace. Unfortunately, this healing process is something that she is also dealing with personally.

Virginity Pledges for someone who has been sexually abused

I read an article last Saturday at Mormontimes.com about Virginity Pledges. It stirred up some difficult memories for me which took me back to my childhood. I was sexually abused as a child. I don’t remember exactly how old I was when it first started, but it lasted for most of my childhood. I have memories of things happening before I entered first grade and I lost my virginity about the time I was baptized at the age of eight. Many things about my life of abuse are hard to explain with mere words. Inwardly, I spent years in a fog, simply struggling to survive. All my life I felt so much shame and guilt. I was unclean and impure. I was different than every person I knew. My heart’s desire was to be clean, pure and normal. Outwardly, no one would have suspected the emotional trauma I was going through. I hid my pain well by pretending to the world that I was a happy and normal Mormon girl.

At the age of twelve, I entered Mutual. My teacher was a very nice woman and made an effort to connect with the girls in her class. But one class stands out in my memory as very traumatic. Her Lesson focused on Chastity and how important it was for us to be morally clean. She told us that our most treasured possession was our virginity. She asked us to make a Pledge of Virginity and said that we should never do anything that compromised our most precious possession. For my ears, this was devastating. It was too late for me. I was already impure and had lost my virginity years before. Then, she told us something that I will never forget. She said that our virginity was so precious that if someone tried to take it away from us by force, we should kill ourselves to protect it. She said our virginity was more important to us than our life. These words cut through my heart like a knife. The abuse continued for a few more years and every time, in addition to the shame, I now felt guilt for not having the courage to take my life. My pain was devastating and my heart’s desire was to be free from guilt and shame.

About fifteen years later this was still my heart’s desire. I had come no closer to finding any relief from my pain. There was nothing more important to me than gaining forgiveness. My desire was to be clean and pure like everyone else I knew. It was then that I turned to a book written by my Prophet Spencer Kimball called “The Miracle of Forgiveness“. Here, I just knew I would find the answer to my pain. Instead, I found more guilt and a reinforcement of what my Mutual teacher had told me. I read: “Even in a forced contact such as rape or incest, the injured one is greatly outraged. If she has not cooperated and contributed to the foul deed, she is of course in a more favorable position. There is no condemnation where there is no voluntary participation. It is better to die in defending one’s virtue than to live having lost it without a struggle.

My pain was so intense I would have committed suicide had I not had two little daughters who needed me. And, it was these two little girls that helped me to realize the abuse hadn’t been my fault. As their mother I could see that these little girls had no interest in sex. I started reading about sexually abused children and I learned that children are victims, not willing participants. I myself had survived each ordeal by trying to pretend it wasn’t happening to me. Surprisingly, realizing it wasn’t my fault did not release me from my feelings of guilt and shame. Maybe it was because of my Prophets words that it would have been better that I had died in defending my virtue. I still felt morally unclean and impure. I was a defective and broken woman who did not know how to become whole and clean.

A few years later I left the Mormon Church and about a year after that gave up on what I thought was Christianity in general. I pretended that my feelings of guilt and shame were gone, but they weren’t. I tried convincing myself that the God who created our world didn’t care about me or my pain. But I was wrong! And, I am so thankful that I was wrong. Jesus came and rescued me even though I had given up on Him. God sent a Christian into my life who told me that the God who created our world actually loved me! He didn’t care that I was broken and guilt ridden. This loving God led me to the truth and gave me the desire of my heart! He told me that through Jesus I was clean and pure! At thirty six years of age I learned that in God’s eyes, I was as pure and clean as a virgin! All because of Jesus! In fact, John the Beloved testified to me that everyone whose hope is in Jesus is as pure as Jesus himself! (1 John 3:3)

I have had lots of difficult things happen to me in my life but nothing has affected me more deeply than the sexual abuse. Today, even at fifty years of age I still struggle with emotional aftereffects from it. But, I praise the Lord that through Jesus’ blood I have been cleansed! My most treasured possession is the forgiveness of all my sins. I live my life devoted to my Savior who freely won it for me. And, I learned that my life is more precious to Him than my “virtue”. Now, my heart’s desire is to share what I have been given with you. If you were sexually abused and have had to sit through a Mutual class like I did, my heart goes out to you. If you don’t know how to become whole, trust in the fact that you’re Savior has made you clean and pure with His blood. “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

General Conference: To the Women of the Church from the Prophet

The Blessing of Pain

Everyone has felt pain. Pain is often a warning of something wrong and in this way can be a blessing. I have experienced both physical and emotional pain in my life. Once I had a pain in my side that finally got bad enough I went to see a Doctor. He detected and removed a cancerous kidney tumor. I had a similar situation a few years later when headaches led Doctors to find and remove a brain tumor. While this physical pain was not fun, its warning saved my life – twice. I could have chosen to ignore my pain, but I didn’t. If I had, I would have forfeited my life.

The same can often be said of emotional pain. As a Mormon I suffered the pain of failing to gain forgiveness through the process of repentance. I failed because I just couldn’t keep all of Heavenly Father’s commands all the time. When I repeated a sin, like gossiping or not forgiving someone, I lost what precious forgiveness I had already earned. The anguish from this pain was a warning which led me to seek help in finding a cure.

Are you a woman in pain who struggles with depression or anxiety? Were you sexually abused as a child and don’t know how to overcome the emotional trauma? Is your spouse addicted to pornography? Are your burdens heavy because you have been abandoned by your husband or have been widowed? Have you been left alone to raise your children? Do you often cry in your closet but wish you had someone to simply listen to you? Do you pretend you are fine but put a smile on your face whenever you are in front of others?

Put on a smile before others

Put on a smile before others

A few years ago in General Conference President Hinckley had a message for such hurting women: Now I speak to you single mothers whose burdens are so heavy because you have been abandoned or have been widowed. Yours is a terrible load. Bear it well. Seek the blessings of the Lord. Be grateful for any assistance that may come out of the quorums of the priesthood to help you in your home or with other matters. Pray silently in your closet, and let the tears flow if they must come. But put a smile on your face whenever you are before your children or others.

Hiding your pain is never the answer. If you had a daughter whose spouse died or who abandoned her, would you tell her to pray and cry in her closet but pretend to others that her burden was not heavy? How could anyone reach out to her if she hid her affliction from others? The most daunting aspect of these words is that according to Mormonism they are not merely President Hinckley’s opinion, they are the words of Heavenly Father – His latest revelation.

My pain of failing to earn forgiveness led me to discover Heavenly Father would never say these words! Instead He tells us to “bear one another’s burdens”; words which compels your Christian brothers and sisters to reach out to you in love (Galatians 6:2). God’s Words comfort, heal and speak of unconditional forgiveness. God showed His ultimate love for us by punishing His one and only Son to heal our disease of sin (John 3:16).

Are you in pain and tired of pretending? If so, I pray that pain drives you to seek the Savior who has borne your grief and carried your sorrows (Isaiah 53:4). May it drive you to a Christian Congregation of brothers and sisters who welcome the opportunity to share your burdens. Or, you could choose to hide your pain, alone in your closet. But if you do you may well forfeit your eternal life.

Additional Testimony:
Visit the fatherless and widows in their afflictions:
– James 1:27
Give all your burdens to Heavenly Father & Jesus:
– Matthew 11:28
– 1 Peter 5:7
– Philippians 4:6-7
– Psalm 23:4
– Psalm 119:50
Additional LDS Words:

Found in TofPofC-Harold B. Lee, page 84:
“His prophet is upon the earth today, and if you want to know the last revelation that has come to this people, you get down the last conference report and read carefully especially what the First Presidency said. … You will have the best and the last word that has been given from our Heavenly Father.

Found in D&C Gospel Doctrine Teachers Manual, page 244:
“Emphasize that the members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are latter-day prophets, seers, and revelators. They continue to receive revelation to guide the Church. Their direction is “the will of the Lord, … the mind of the Lord, … the word of the Lord, … the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation”.

Link to President Hinckley’s Words:
General Conference, Ensign, November 2003, page 115
President Gordon B. Hinckley, To the Women of the Church