Subject: Court of Love, my story.
Date: Nov 19 14:36 2003
Author: Anon D
Mail Address:

Having been through a court of love about 8 years ago I want to give the side of the victim. Many of you have not had the unfortunate experience of going through a church court, so here is my experience which helped me on the road to truth.

I was a single father raising two sons. I was engaged to a single mom with three children. During our dating we gradually started to sleep together. For some reason we never really felt guilty about it, but after marriage we both knew we should tell our bishop so we could wipe the slate clean to get temple ready. We had both been previously married in the temple to other spouses and wanted to “delete” out former temple marriages.

We met with the bishop and told him together what we had done. He was a new bishop and seemed embarrassed to hear our confession. He decided he should meet with us individually at a later date. He first met with my wife and decided to have a court with his counselors and her. His verdict for her was to be placed on probation; she could still take the sacrament but have no calling in the ward. I met a few times with the bishop for a few months, I figured my sentence was the same although he never came out and said so. He just kept saying he didn’t know what to do since I was in another ward during the sin. I had a friend in a similar situation, except he wasn’t engaged when he had sex. After confessing to his bishop he was told to not do it again and all would be well. He had a good bishop.

Finally after 5 or 6 months the bishop said he talked with the SP and was told I needed a stake court of love, since I have the priesthood and my wife didn’t. I was mad, thinking I was near the end of my sentence and now I had to start all over. I figured the SP would tell me I have paid the price after six months, but I was wrong. Because I had the priesthood, what I did was much more serious than what my wife did. The court date was set up.

Most of you have seen a high council room. I walked into the room with my wife and saw the long table with twelve high councilmen sitting watching me enter the room. They all stood up. At the head of the table stood the SP and his two councilors. Another side table had two men sitting there ready to take notes. At the opposite end of the room there were a few chairs against the wall for us to sit on. Our bishop was there and sat in one of them. After we sat down everyone else followed suit except the stake president. He stood at the head of the table and explained why we were meeting. He told all present that Brother Me had sexual relations prior to marriage and a court of love was called. I saw two high councilmen I did business with sitting in their chairs staring at me. I also recognized three from our ward. I was hoping that by being in a new stake I would be anonymous, but no luck. I was embarrassed to have men I knew in that room.

He went on to explain this is the way God wants repentance to take place. When a person commits a sin so grievous the church needs to help that person repent. They are there to show how much love they have for you. How come I felt so judged, so abused to let my personal life be made public? I should have walked out but I felt I was at the point of no return.

The SP asked me to tell the brethren about my sexual relations before marriage (I was married to the evil sex partner at this point). I explained that being a divorced man, and being engaged we spent too much time together and how one thing led to another. Finally we had sex and felt terrible about it. He asked how many times. I told him I figured it was six or so, but we quit several months before marriage. I was sweating and embarrassed to the point of not wanting to talk anymore. I thought telling them I had sex was enough information without going into details. He wanted to know more so that they could make a proper “decision” as to my penalty.

Finally it ended and they asked me to leave the room with my wife and bishop. They gave us chairs outside the room so we could wait for the verdict. My wife, bishop and I made small talk waiting endlessly for their decision. I figured that since I confessed six months ago to my bishop and was on probation that long, the SP would tell me to go and sin no more, the price has been paid. My wife agreed that would happen, she said to not worry. Finally the executive secretary came out and said to come back in and take our chairs. Nobody looked at me when I came back in. They were all standing with their heads down, looking at the table. I thought, “this doesn’t look good”, but I figured they were supposed to act all spiritual and serious.

The SP had everyone sit down and asked me to stand. He explained that after much humble prayer they arrived at a unanimous decision. I was to be disfellowshipped. This meant I can still wear the temple garment, but I am not in good standing with the church. I cannot pray in church, or take the sacrament. I am not to have a church job. All ward leaders will be made aware so they don’t ask me to participate in a forbidden job. He mentioned three or four times all men were in agreement with this decision. Since they all agreed he said that meant God had spoken to them. This is what God wants. The SP wanted me to know they all love me and I am not being punished, it will help me feel good about myself and be worthy to one day be in good standing with the church.

All the guys stood as I walked out. They wanted me to go around the table and shake their hands. Two or three of them were crying. Most looked sad or embarrassed. Some said they were sorry. Others smiled and said “good luck”.

After a little less than a year I was let back in. I was eventually married in the temple again. I sent two boys on a mission. I became an atheist. I know, that is quite a jump, but it was not because of the court, but that was what got me thinking. I thought that if God loves me like I love my kids, I would never put my children through something like that. It just didn’t feel right. That was so personal. The whole story of my disbelief would take too long to tell, but the court was my first step in my journey out. No person will ever humiliate or control me the way I was in that court. How could I let them do that back then? I must have been a weak, spineless man to confess to a normal act that was made to be so evil. Thanks God for making an ass out of me.

Subject: And they say the Spanish Inquisition ended along time ago?
Date: Nov 19 14:51
Author: Saucie

All they left out of your case was the rack. It's
ironic that the morg calls that a "court of love"
when in fact love is the furthest thing from it.
I've known many men in high positions in the church who've
been habitual adulterers and their bishops knew of it
and nothing was ever done to them.
Thanks for sharing your story.

Subject: Of course not.
Date: Nov 19 15:00
Author: sparta

You weren't weak at all. You were just responding in the manner of which they had programmed you. That's what they do, in a constant drip feed. Yes it was normal to love your wife in that way, and yes they were wrong to be so personal. That's how they like showing you how much 'power' they have over you. And they don't even realize just how wounding such an experience can be.
Its all done to screw with your mind and make you into a sheep.
At least it helped to show you the way out.

Subject: Wow
Date: Nov 19 15:00
Author: Søvnløsener - Insomniac

And to think how many of these my father attended while I was in my youth.

God wants.....god wants, WHATEVER! I'm with you, I skip the middle man. If god bothers to talk to these yahoos for and on my behalf, why not just cut them out and put that 15% towards retirement, college, bills.......and beer.

Maybe even a lite beer, eh, Bud? Nah, if I'm going to spend the lord's money on beer, it will be the good stuff.

It is silly that grown men see it necessary to hold such needless things, thanks for sharing and sorry you went through it.

Subject: Not being able to hold a church calling...
Date: Nov 19 15:22
Author: Dave II

..would actually be a relief under normal circumstances. No heavy demands on your time. To a TBM, however, that has to be devastating.

Thanks for sharing your story.

Subject: I'm confused
Date: Nov 19 15:30
Author: Meghan
Mail Address:

...if you were repenting, why were you not allowed to pray in church? Did God not want to hear from you until these cocks decided that it was OK? What a pile of bull. I've never been one for confessing to other people, even when I was in the morg (blame my Baptist upbringing) but I can't imagine someone saying that I needed to repent so I couldn't pray until they told me I could.

Subject: I think they mean he can't offer (lead) prayer in an official church meeting. n/t
Subject: I'm willing to bet they didn't deny you tithing "privileges." n/t
Subject: Jesus said go thy way and sin no more, what has changed in 2000 years? n/t

Subject: I can relate to every word and every experience.
Date: Nov 19 16:06
Author: Tyler
Mail Address:

I can completely relate, your experience nearly perfectly mirrored my own.

I was single never married, and confessed a few months before I was married....and I was exed.

Now ain't that a bitch! LOL

Everything else I felt and saw just like you did. It was my freedom out also.


Subject: I've become so liberal compared to active Mormons...
Date: Nov 19 17:16
Author: Doug
Mail Address:

I would almost want to ex someone stupid enough to not have sex with a 2nd wife (or husband) before marriage. You need to take plenty of time dating, getting to know someone before making such a huge decision and this includes sexual compatibility.

To jump into a marriage prematurely so that you can have sex is, in my opinion, far worse and can lead to far more suffering than the premarital poke that is done in privacy and should be kept between the couple. It isn't anyone else's business, especially not a bishop who will never keep it confidential. What a crock the church is in this regard. How unrealistic, how manipulative, how wrong!

Subject: Court of Love, my point of view as a member of a High Council
Date: Nov 19 18:08
Author: Lost no more

Anon D,

As I read your story it reminded me how uncomfortable it was for me to be on the other end of the table. I was a member of a stake high council for nearly four years.

Here's what happens before you enter the room. The SP will give out a synopsis of why the court is being held. He will pass around lots with even or odd numbers on them. The even numbers represent the interests of the accused and the odds represent the interests of the church. The members of the council are supposed to ask questions of clarification about your transgression as "the spirit" directs.

After you leave the room, the SP asks each councilor to express his thoughts and feelings. Then the presidency adjourns to the SP office to pray and make a unanimous decision as to your discipline (probation, disfellowshipment, or excommunication). They return to the HC room, announce their decision and ask for a sustaining vote.

Many a time, the SP would comment as to whether a brother looked, sounded, or acted contrite.

What I observed is that most members are terribly uncomfortable, intimidated, and even disoriented when they walk in the room. Who wouldn't be, at the end of that long table in front of 16-17 men (many as strangers) to open up the intimate details of their sex lives?

You know, I've tried to forget all those experiences but in reading your post I remember how awkward it is from the HC side of the table. It's unnatural and unbelievable to me now.

I'll never know your pain and embarrassment. I'm so sorry that you went through that ordeal.

Knowing what I know now, I would absolutely not submit myself to the process. Since I disbelieve the origins of the church, their ecclesiastical authority over me is utterly invalidated forever.

Subject: Thanks for your extra enlightenment.
Date: Nov 19 18:55
Author: Anon D
Mail Address:

When I was standing before all these men it just felt wrong. I even had the feeling some of the HC felt it was wrong too. I do know there were some that enjoyed it, and liked having the power they had. In my own mind all of their wives knew about me before the day was over too.

Going before them is one of the biggest regrets of my life. I can't picture anyone feeling better after going through a court, but evidently some must feel less guilt afterward.

Even though these men have no power over me church-wise, they still have power because they know something about me they have no right to know. I still hate running into them in public, which I frequently do.

Subject: To me, that is the strangest kind of thing
Date: Nov 19 19:03
Author: exmo
Mail Address:

I think confessing one's sins to a single Bishop or Bishopric ( 3 men) would make the most sense, but not to a whole slew of men. That is just too strange and doesn't strike me as something a loving God would want.

A much smaller scale "confessional" makes more sense to me because it gives the sinner an opportunity to "clear the air" -- which is akin to therapy, telling someone, but resolving to do better or to no longer do this or that. But I suppose they resorted to a procedure this intense because there are people who end up over and over again in a Bishop's office for the same sin, a zillion times. I should know -- I was one of 'em. I still don't think such a "court" really helps a person repent and draw closer to God, so much as just embarrasses them.

Subject: The "Love Court" was the first crack in the door for me (cussing and long)
Date: Nov 19 19:35
Author: Merilynn
Mail Address:

I've been around this board for a long time now and have shared this story before, so if you've heard it, please ignore this post and indulge me, because I want to add it again to reiterate to people that this court stuff is a bunch of shit and it has NOTHING to do with God!

My hubby (now ex) came to me out of the blue years ago and announced that he'd had several affairs since we'd been married (although it had been a couple of years since it had happened). We were married in the temple, had both served in high ward and stake jobs, etc. I think the guilt finally got to him when he had to baptize our oldest daughter. When I first found out, I left and took the kids and went to California to my parents', hoping to have some refuge. My dad told me I could stay there "a few days" but that I needed to get back to Utah and support my poor, repentant hubby. I had absolutely no support whatsoever from my family.

So, of course, I tell hubby he has to go to the Bishop. (MISTAKE #1, IT'S NO ONE ELSE'S BUSINESS, PEOPLE!). Bishop says since he's a Melchezedik Penishood holder he has to go to SP. SP schedules a court of love.

So the night before said "love court" the SP calls and says he wants to talk to both of us. We truck on down to the stake center and SP tells me that he wants me to be at the court the next evening. I couldn't believe I had to be there. I wasn't the one on "trial." The SP said he wanted the HC to see that I was supporting my husband. Then he gave me an ultimatum. He said, "If you are there, I can guarantee that your husband won't lose his membership, if you're not there, I can't guarantee that."

So what it came down to was that after all that hubby had done, it was ME who had to be the "supportive" and repentant one. So, of course, I was so fucking brainwashed that I believed those goons actually had "power and authority" over me and I had to do what they said. So the next night hubby and I go to the court.

The room was as AnonD described it, only it was not only the HC, but also the SP, his counselors and a scribe. 17 men and ME! Those assholes start asking hubby very detailed questions. It wasn't enough to know how many times or how many people, they wanted to know intimate stuff too. I was so humiliated and trying so hard to hold the tears and the vomit back. I was hearing things he hadn't even told me and that were very hurtful, so I have to hear these things with 17 assholes staring at me.

Finally when it's over, the SP asked the goons if anyone had any other questions. One of them said, "Can I ask Sister D a question?" The SP looked at me and said, "Is that okay?" Of course, I said yes. Then the bastard looks at me and said "Do you feel like you sexually satisfied your husband?" !!!!

{Now, if I were ever given a chance to live one moment of my life over again, I wouldn't have to hesitate to pick out the one, it would be that one. I would now say, "Well, I gave him 3 blow jobs a day and I thought that was enough. How many does your wife give you?"}

But the poor, stupid, naive girl just said "Well, obviously not."

So it's over, we go out and wait for the jury to deliberate then come back in and they all had these shit-eating grins plastered on their ugly faces and they announced that he had repented enough and he would just be put on probation.

{Okay, so AnonD gets disfellowshipped when he wasn't even married at the time and my temple-married hubby just gets a slap on the wrist? Don't tell me it's not just some big, pornographic game}

They told him he couldn't pray or speak in church but he should still wear the garment and pay tithing ("of course you are still worthy enough to give us your money"). The punch line is that the next weekend the EQ Pres. called and asked hubby to pick peaches (the ward welfare assignment). Hubby said he couldn't because he was on probation and the EQ Pres said that the Bishop had already said it would be okay.

Sure..."you can't pray, speak or teach, but we'll take your money, and if we need someone to pick peaches, we'll call you!"

That was the beginning, when I started to go "wait a minute, what's wrong with this picture? These people are servants of God? I don't think so."

Subject: Unbelievably painful.
Date: Nov 19 19:44
Author: melissa

I would bet few people with this experience ever relate it. It's like being raped--the victim SHOULDN'T feel ashamed, but if I had been in your position, I would be terribly shaken and ashamed for a long time.

I'm so impressed that you have recovered and tell the story in its painful detail. I think it is absolutely shocking what they did. I bet that reading your story will help clarify issues in the minds of many people on this BB.

It makes me angry that they could do this to someone. I hope your marriage didn't suffer. How wonderful that this hideous episode turned out in the long run to be positive because it got you thinking! That's a miracle. Thanks for making this important post.

Subject: This is one of the most chilling things I have ever read here. They may as well have made you wear a scarlet letter.
Date: Nov 19 22:25
Author: 2 lazy 2 log in
Mail Address:

I'm sorry this happened to you. I read what you wrote and was completely appalled. I knew this kind of thing happened, but it still shocks me. Mormonism is one sick religion.

What bothers me most is that you and your wife tried to do the right thing and were punished for it. I mean, come on! You're a married couple seeking to be sealed in the temple. You were honest when you could have lied and you repented. What more do they want from you?

It bothers me that a religion -- any religion -- would delve into the private lives of its members to that extent. What religion expects two grown and married adults to confess their premarital sexual relations in public (that large a group of people composed of your peers counts as public)? You are grown ups and you were engaged. You made it legal. What is the problem? Oh and it's just sick that they asked for details. Can you say voyeurism?

Yet another reason the Mormon church needs to be destroyed. But hey, if it keeps this up, it will destroy itself and save us all a lot of work!

Subject: What's worse is that this is on our Church records, permanently.
Date: Nov 20 01:28
Author: board regular, anon this time.
Mail Address:

I went through a court a few years ago myself... I was also disfellowshipped. I had to recite the details of my "sin" four separate times; once to my bishop, then three times for the "court". (My ward divided in the middle of the whole ordeal... and to get all the new counselors, etc., "up to speed" I had to confess everything again.)

They took notes. I don't know if those notes were ever destroyed.

They sent me an official "disfellowshipment" letter. I would assume that a copy of that letter was forwarded to the Stake Presidency and, probably, the COB. My bishop was an attorney, so I imagine that he crossed all his t's & dotted all his i's when it came to the paperwork.

From what I've gathered by reading the posts of people on this board over the years, the fact that I've been disfellowshipped will follow me around on my Church records for the rest of my life (I was reinstated into full fellowship eventually). This thought agonizes me. I don't think a day goes by where I don't think about this, and stop breathing. I so wish I'd never been Mormon. God might forgive, but that Church never will.

I just want to say to those of you faithful Latter-Day Saints who might be lurking out there: If you're thinking about going in to confess something to your bishop of a serious nature, please please please consider seeing a professional counselor instead. My bishop's best advice for me during my darkest hour was to hand me a copy of "The Miracle of Forgiveness."

I'd always heard that once you confessed, the weight of sin would be at least partially lifted from your shoulders. That didn't happen for me. I felt worse. And honestly, I've never heard of anyone who had that "feeling of relief" after confessing to a bishop, so I don't think I'm unusual in that regard.

Don't go to your bishop. Hear me now, believe me later.

Subject: I feel dumb
Date: Nov 20 09:58
Author: dont_wanna_tell
Mail Address:

I want to say thanks because I´m going through the transition from mormonism right now, I still go to church. I have a couple of "sins" I have felt internal pressure to confess. I wanted to leave the church clean slate. But your post and its responses are helping me have the strength to not feel obligated to go through the church´s repentance process. I don´t think what I did was really wrong,  I´d probably only loose sacrament over it, but I still feel obligated to tell. Partly because I still feel guilt about it. I guess its all those years of programming I got when I was in young womens, purity is only every other lesson. I still feel weak. If anyone wants to respond encouraging me not to tell, I´ll welcome it. But I think I´m getting closer to gutting the guilt anyway.

Subject: The guilt is theirs, not yours.
Date: Nov 20 11:04
Author: Cheryl
Mail Address:

They fed guilt to you. It's up to you to cleanse yourself of it. Whatever you did is your business. If it was not somehow appropriate, learn from the experience. Don't do it again. That's the healthy, non-mormon way to live.

Subject: Don't feel dumb
Date: Nov 20 13:04
Author: Lost no more
Mail Address:

dont_wanna_tell wrote:
> I have a couple of "sins" I have felt internal pressure to confess. I wanted to leave the church clean slate.

Listen, "dont wanna tell":

Yesterday is history, tomorrow's a mystery, and today is a gift; that's why it's called the Present.

It's a new day; you woke up with a new slate. Don't let the past hold you back from living today as fresh and pristine as you want it.

Everybody draws 86,400 seconds from the bank of time each day. We're equal in that until the day we die. Our desire and capacity to spend those seconds is the only thing that differentiates us. Carpe diem! Seize the day! Follow your heart!

Subject: Same thing happened to me
Date: Nov 20 12:41
Author: Sandon

Reading your story was like living it all over again. The night I came home from my "Court of love" I was white as a sheet, and my dad said I was actually in a state of shock. Pretty much like being raped mentally I would say.

I was also dis-fellowshipped for two years for the same thing pretty much (did it a few more times than six ) :). The bishop let me know afterwards though that it would not be placed on my personal records because of my dads relationship with the him and the church, and the fact that these kind of things can sometimes stop one from receiving higher callings such as bishop, stake pres. etc...

Like you, this "court of love" did not push me out of the church, but it really got me thinking and within a couple years I was atheist myself. Been there done that, it sucked.

peace with your new life.


Recovery from Mormonism - The Mormon Church -   

Listing of additional short Topics  |  Main Page