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Woman Speaks out About Sex Issues in the LDS Church

Updated on August 15, 2018
Rhett Wilkinson profile image

Rhett has won 12 awards from the Society of Professional Journalists or Religion Newswriters Association. He's on Twitter @rhettrites.

Nancy Valdez
Nancy Valdez | Source

Nancy Valdez in Utah told me the following about another woman's experience – and her own -- in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

"Recently, a woman in her late 50s told me she was raped and otherwise sexually abused since childhood. She told me stories of how males/relatives/(LDS) priesthood holders always placed the fault/guilt/blame on her; that she must have done something to cause it.

"Heaven forbid men, 'good priesthood holders,' take any responsibility for their criminal behavior.

"Even as a grown woman, this woman was sexually assaulted by a man (an ex-felon) at work.

"When she told her bishop (ecclesiastical leader), he said she must have led him on.

"To add insult to injury, he told her that if his wife had behaved in such a way, he would’ve divorced her.

"She was devastated!

"Her husband did nothing to help or protect her, either.

"I’m so tired of the girls and women in the LDS church being blamed and shamed for something that men have perpetuated in their lives.

"It’s criminal, unethical and immoral – and needs to stop!"

"Personally, while at (LDS church-owned) Brigham Young University, I turned in an exhibitionist there who had been reported to the police several times."

"He was the same man I had an appointment with the following day for financial assistance in BYU administrative offices.

"Imagine my surprise when I saw his name on the door!

"When I reported this, his boss told me that this guy I had reported to the police was a 'good family man' who had a 'problem' that he was trying to overcome.

"They had given him a calling to serve in the bishopric of a BYU singles ward, to help him overcome this problem.

"How was giving this man private access to single young women at BYU going to help him overcome his problem?

"He should have been fired the first time it occurred and put through church disciplinary procedures.

"I hold no hope for much changing, even though good men are trying to stop the abuse. I firmly believe that the problem is deeply rooted in societal patriarchy, religious patriarchy and misogyny in general.

"Until then, we will continue to protect men’s honor at the expense of women and girls’ innocence and self-respect. I’ve been trying to bring awareness to equality for women since marching for the Equal Rights Amendment in 1972, which still hasn’t passed in the state of Utah."

© 2018 Rhett Wilkinson

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