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Question

 

Gramps,

I am preparing to serve a mission and have concerns about the interview questions. As a child I was molested by someone really close in age. Because I didn’t know any better i did the same to others. However, this behavior was mentally damaging and my behavior of abuse continued past the age of eight, but not by much. I struggle with being able to remember exact details, because I’ve pushed it so far into my subconscious. Is this something that will make me unworthy, or  I will have to confess?

Alexandra

 

Answer

 

Dear Alexandra,

I’m very sorry to hear that you have been hurt in this way.   Unfortunately, due to pornography this type of abuse is happening more and more.  A child is introduced to pornography in some way, and then they act out what they have experienced with another child, perhaps a younger sibling.  And so forth, parents need to be aware that this is a growing problem in our society and be vigilant.

As you experienced, some children who are abused act out what they have learned on another child.  As you know, eight years old is the age of accountability, before that a child is not held responsible for sin because they are too young to be accountable.  It seems your are concerned about what happened after you turned eight.  Though it stopped shortly after that.   It sounds like as you become more accountable, in other words you became old enough to understand, then they stopped.  You made the right choice.  I hope you are giving yourself credit for that.  Others don’t stop, and there are treatment facilities for sex offenders as young as 12.

You should talk to your Bishop about this, mostly because I think he can put your mind at ease regarding the matter.  Remember the Bishop’s role is not that of an Old School Principal with a paddle on his wall waiting to give you a swat for bad behavior.  Rather he is a loving guide to help you along your journey back to Father in Heaven.  If you are concerned that he won’t understand that what you did is fairly common behavior for young children who are molested, an option would be to see a therapist through LDS Social Services, if you have one in your area.  Those therapist often work with clients and their Bishops, with your permission, she (or he) could talk to the Bishop about your situation.

The Holy Ghost will also be willing to help you and your Bishop as you work together to prepare you for a mission.   I commend you for your desire to serve.  I think it is a wonderful opportunity.  As you serve you will have the opportunity not only to bless the lives of others, but to learn and grow in the Spirit.

I counsel you also, that if you have not done so already, please consider therapy.  Being sexually abused as a child creates some wounds that most need help to heal.  Certainly the Savior can heal you, but remember if you had cancer, the Lord would expect you to get medical treatment and priesthood blessings, healing from abuse needs therapy from a qualified counselor (someone with training in sexual abuse.  Not all therapists have training in this area, so be sure to ask.)

Best wishes on your mission.  Please let me know where you will be serving when you get your call!

 

Gramps

 

 

 

 

 

 

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