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Posted by: beanhead ( )
Date: September 09, 2019 08:50PM

Waiting impatiently for Elder MC to show up and share his story about Dallas Merrell... in the meantime, anybody got some stories of being intimidated or verbally abused by a church leader?

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Posted by: LJ12 ( )
Date: September 10, 2019 02:37AM

As a woman, I wasn’t verbally abused outright by any leaders. But I was spiritually abused by bishops. If I confessed any “sin” I was then given a list of completely unrelated stuff I had to do in order to be “forgiven”. It was never ending.
I think leaders sometimes tried to intimidate me, but because it wasn’t overtly done I ignored it. This annoyed them a lot. One example was my VT companion who became RS president. She wanted me to befriend a new young woman in my ward, because said woman had an issue with me because I had previously dated her fiancé. I had nothing against her but I wasn’t about to entertain someone else’s ridiculous problem when I was overwhelmed with my own problems. And I didn't take too kindly to being told what to do. My experience is that most mormons, unless they are high up in leadership, are passive aggressive. She didn’t ask me outright, but just kept on and on about it. I responded by not responding at all and did nothing. This RS president responded to that by withdrawing her “friendship”.

I think usually intimation in LDS inc. is done in a passive aggressive way, or used with the excuse of it being for your own spiritual well-being. It’s all so covert. At least as a woman that was my experience. I like to punish passive aggressive people by ignoring them. They can’t stand it. They are then forced to reveal themselves either by coming right out with it and being overtly manipulative or abusive, or by rejecting you. Whatever!

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Posted by: Wally Prince ( )
Date: September 10, 2019 04:05AM

When I took them seriously, I knew how to avoid pushing their buttons. I didn't speak rebelliously to them. I generally tried to obey. I was "well-behaved".

I guess I was fortunate that in the ward I grew up in there were no psychopathic leaders who were inclined to ruthlessly exploit and abuse that conditioned submissiveness.

When I stopped taking them seriously, I stopped being in a position where they could in any way intimidate or verbally abuse me in any case.

"Have fun yelling at the wall, Mr. Church Leader Guy. I'm going to go get some tacos and then head out to the beach."

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Posted by: messygoop ( )
Date: September 10, 2019 09:46AM

I have experienced a lot. Most of my young adulthood was full of threats. I was taught that it was the Lord's way: to suffer and be continually chastised. There were lots of steel making stories about being raked over the fiery coals. It was for your own good.

I thought that serving a mission was going to be a breathe of fresh air. It wasn't. I had no idea that it was going to be run like my miserable youth. Lot's of intimidation and full of threats. It was so bad that our running joke/gag was "I'm not worthy." Pretty sad for a mission that was often leading stateside baptisms (but we were never told that).

This story was pretty bad from the MTC. I was expected to finish a mission. It was important for my Mom in seeking approval of her church peers (bragging).

https://www.exmormon.org/phorum/read.php?2,2048959,2048959#msg-2048959

There were 3 times that I could have gone home. The MTC incident, the death of my grandma and a serious violation of missionary rules (my fault).

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Posted by: CrispingPin ( )
Date: September 10, 2019 11:01AM

My mission president was often very destructive to missionaries’ self-esteem and sense of worth. I suffered from his antics until I decided that I didn’t care what he thought about me. I thought (at the time) that I had travelled halfway around the world, and given up two years of my life, to serve the Lord-not to please my mission president. The strange thing is, once I gave up trying to please him, he actually started respecting me.

The way he treated one of my companions still bothers me more than 40 years later. This particular companion was intelligent, hard-working, dedicated, and (to his detriment in this case) very honest. The mission president’s top criteria for who was a “good” missionary was language ability. We served in Thailand. The MP himself couldn’t speak a word of Thai, and never even tried to learn. Our language ability was determined by our discussion “mastery.” During zone leader visits, we were asked how many discussions 1) we knew word perfect, 2) could teach with a short review, and 3) didn’t know. Like with so much in Mormonism, everyone quickly learn to stretch the truth (if not outright lie). Investigators in that mission very rarely got past the first discussion, so on those rare occasions where the teaching went further, almost all missionaries would need to do a review before teaching.

My companion tried so hard to learn the language, but he just never got very far. He used every spare moment to try to improve his language ability. If we were on a bus going somewhere, I’d be staring out the window, and he’d be reading church pamphlet or something else to try to study the Thai language. When my companion reported (honestly) that he only knew the first discussion, the MP ripped him a new one and told him he was going to be made a junior companion (he was a senior at the time). My companion was devastated. I made an appointment to speak with the MP on my companion’s behalf. He dismissed everything I said with a mixture of anger and condescension.

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Posted by: cl2notloggedin ( )
Date: September 10, 2019 11:32AM

I'm trying to think of when a leader berated me. Wait, wait, wait!! Boyd. He berated me. I sent him a letter (on the advice of a bishop friend) and he told me he had no time for me and who did I think I was writing to him? He let me know in no uncertain terms that I was not worth anything, only he was. I burned the letter. Throwing it out wasn't good enough. I should have kept it. I really could have done A LOT of damage with it. It was THAT BAD. I only let a few people see it. I think my sister (and she probably wouldn't say it was as bad as it was as she is still mormon). She may be the only one who saw it. It was HORRIBLE. Given that I was suicidal already about the whole experience, it nearly put me in my grave. My sister and BIL just happened to be at my apartment when I got the letter. I had stayed home from work because I was so depressed, I just couldn't go. I was suicidal for 18 months at that time.

The leaders who handled me in regards to my gay boyfriend/husband didn't scream or yell at me, but they did abuse me. I had to get them out of my life as they were destroying me. The bishop dealing with us before we got married told me he thought I had PMS--never thinking it might be THE SITUATION. Then I had to go to my cousin (I had moved home) for my TR and he didn't know the situation. He knew I was disturbed about something and he thought I wasn't repenting of something, so he wanted me to postpone the wedding. He made me feel like shit. I cried all weekend after dealing with him. Eventually, he found out the whole story and he tried to make it up to me, but he is a total ass anyway, so I have nothing to do with him. His mother was one of my best friends. She didn't like him much either (no lie). He called my dad to talk to his mother about liking him again after he put her in a nursing home.

I have PTSD from dealing with mormon leaders. I did tell the bishop of the singles ward off 2 years ago when his wife butted into our business and I was the one thrown under the bus AGAIN. It has been 35 years since we got married and she is sticking her nose in our business?????

The bishop friend (a long time friend I worked with) who told me to write to Boyd told me that the reason my gay husband cheated on me is because I didn't give him enough sex. My husband agreed with him. Now he says he never said that. Yes, he did. I cut off my friendship with this man after I asked gays on his board how much sex would a gay man have to have with a woman to keep him from cheating. I remember esteban laughing about it.

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Posted by: LJ12 ( )
Date: September 10, 2019 03:50PM

All of this abuse that you suffered is the absolute worst. Ive read a lot of abuse stories over the past three years after coming out of an abusive relationship, and what you were PUT through was horrendous.
From what I’ve read, you have put a lot of those experiences to good use and are very kind towards those who also suffer. I think if you are brought up in that environment, you trust your leaders and they have a lot of power to destroy people. You survived and left, and it’s a major FY to those so-called spiritual leaders.

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: September 10, 2019 05:21PM

cl2, the leaders that you dealt with were ignorant. Ignorance does not mix well with power. Packer was extremely ignorant.

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Posted by: Elder Berry ( )
Date: September 10, 2019 02:20PM

When I was in junior high school seminary I learned an invaluable lesson about Mormonism. To question is to sin.

The leaders will never tell you this outright. But it is a silent rule and I'll never forget how Lakeridge Junior High School and Orem High School Seminary taught me this rule.

The initial lesson was very passive. It was in Jr. High. I really liked my teacher. He had funny stories and treated me well. Well, I like to question things. I still do. I don't know if this teacher did what he did to me because of my questions but I believe it was.

I was not a behavior problem but at the Christmas break the teacher who was also in charge of the seminary put me in the problem class. I was in a seminary class full of the boys. They were the school's behavior problems and the rebels. By the end of the year I was in a smaller and smaller class as the bad boys ditched more than they attended seminary.

I was pretty chaffed about being considered a problem kid and I was on the student counsel. So the next year comes and I'm at the Orem High School Seminary. About half way through the year I was called in to see the principal (I know right? like 3 teachers and a principal.)

He proceeded to spell out the Mormon Golden Rule of silencing questions. And when he sent me back to class (I left the building) he had chewed me out as a sign seeker and an anti-Christ.

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Posted by: CrispingPin ( )
Date: September 10, 2019 03:40PM

Yeah, seeking signs is wicked and adulterous, but they tell people to read the BoM and.........seek a sign.

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Posted by: Elder Berry ( )
Date: September 10, 2019 03:50PM

I never thought about it like that and yeah, they are using sign seeking to sell it.

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Posted by: LJ12 ( )
Date: September 10, 2019 03:40PM

My own experience of abuse in mormonism overall is that it was passive aggressive - unless you outright question something or are wilfully “disobedient”. But even by stepping out of line and breaking unwritten rules that you are unaware of, results in covert punishment. I’ve actually experienced this very thing in emotionally abusive relationships: silent treatment as punishment and I’m supposed to work out what I’ve done “wrong”. For the most part I ignored this as a mormon rather than recognising it as the intimation it was meant to be, but had I not, I think I would have run into conflict instead of slowly being ostracised.

It’s been useful to remember this, even though it is traumatic to remember it all; I shared this before, but my brother and SIL visited recently and were seemingly genuinely friendly and loving. It reminded me of how great things used to be with my brother and it confused the hell out of me because they’ve already revealed they have a negative opinion of me. I realised that they don’t think they have been doing anything wrong (!!) And mormons pride themselves on being super righteous, so I’ve seen a lot of bad behaviour (punishment for stepping out of line) mixed with good behaviour (we love you because god does and we are awesome, loving “latter day saints”).

Mostly mormons did the whole: ‘give love, then withdraw love and mix it with criticism/silent treatment/coldness’ this is the classic abuse cycle. I’ve realised I’m still dealing with this now. Not the nicest revelation to have.

I think if anyone had been overtly abusive to me, I would have been gone in a flash. I come across as kind of withdrawn and shy to those who don’t know me and possibly give (false) the impression I was fragile. This made me vulnerable to some female bitchiness, and some overt criticism, but the rest was covertly done. Even if it had not affected my “testimony” I would have run in the other direction if it had been overt verbal abuse. I do wonder if mormon leaders (or people generally) can sense this. So they will push only as far as they think they can. Of course all of this is wrong and overstepping the line, but even for them their “bad” punishing behaviour sometimes goes too far for the recipient. (And here we all are).

Had I remained in the church and openly questioned things, I think I would have really seen a lot of ugliness. My intuition won out, and I left and resigned as soon as I was sure.

Another abusive thing they do is victim blame. I had this done to me but it wasn’t clearly or overtly stated but very much implied. Again, if it had been clearer I would have known why I felt so terrible and would have fled the scene.
PTSD is the result of trauma, and it is absolutely horrible. I still have nightmares about it all. I think if I were surrounded by my mormon family members and other mormons I would be constantly triggered and I would go crazy. There is a saying that probably applies to a lot of us, that goes something like: ‘If you are used to dealing with bad behaviour you have a high tolerance for it. But that doesn’t mean you should put up with that s***’. I got that from an abuse support group on Fb which I joined after an abusive relationship; it did wonders to help me. It was only later I woke up to the fact that it all applied just as much to mormonism and the LDS.inc.

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Posted by: cl2 ( )
Date: September 10, 2019 08:13PM

until it happens to them. There are so many in the church who are looking for those they can abuse.

What your brother and his wife are doing is horrible. If your brother could get some space between himself and mormonism, he'd realize what he is doing I believe. My daughter tends to test me in terms of not being abandoned by the one person who never abandoned her. My therapist has told me "this is her" and it is a pattern, so he has taught me how to deal with her as I NEED her in my life. I've tried to separate myself from her. It has gone a lot better, but I'm sure we will run into another episode of her trying to save me, but there was one time that she was telling me how I needed to forgive the mormon church and we had a horrible argument. I wrote her a note and told her that if she didn't like being around me, then STAY AWAY from me. I pointed out to her how people really like me (and she knows it). She then told me she was being a bad daughter.

Your brother is being a bad brother. Your SIL I can't give her a pass, but your brother should have more of a clue. It seems your SIL is in charge. She sounds like a real bitch if you ask me.

Mormonism is so difficult to explain to someone who hasn't been one and been on the receiving end of this bad behavior. My boyfriend just said the other day, "I can't imagine someone acting that way," and I reminded him of how his coworkers treat him. Mormons are a special group. There are good ones as I know them, but so many are so difficult to deal with. I'm actually treated better as a resigned mormon than I ever was as a mormon, which is why 3 of my 6 siblings left the church in their teens.

I have to give credit to my therapist for my ability to come to this point in my life. This board has helped me a lot, too. My therapist is the one who told me about it. I just went to see my therapist today. I don't see him as often anymore, but I go to him when I'm feeling the need for a boost in my attitude. He really did save my life. No question about it.

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