Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Time I Confessed To My Bishop

During my teen years I engaged in the occasional make out which usually included hands going where they shouldn't. Naturally, as a young Mormon boy, what I was doing was horribly bad. Any kind of sexual sin is extremely serious. In fact, it means you're only slightly less wicked than a murderer.

As fun as this forbidden activity was, I carried around guilt for it for years and years. I wanted to confess and get it off my shoulders but I was too afraid. For one thing, I had a reputation of being very "Mormon". I had no idea what my bishop would say or what he would make me do to repent. What if he forbade me from taking the sacrament? If he did, then everyone would know that I did something bad.

So I went for years without saying anything. I was interviewed for temple trips for baptisms for the dead. I lied when asked if there were issues in my past that had not been repented for.

I went on a mission. This involved a shitload of interviews. I lied through all of them. I went on a mission not having fully resolved my past issues. I was a good missionary, but it was always there in the back of my mind. It doesn't help that the church puts TREMENDOUS pressure and guilt on missionaries. They scare the shit out of you by telling you that if you serve unworthily, you might go to hell. They do whatever they can to weed out the unworthy and send them home in a heap of shame.

Couldn't go home in shame! That was worse than going to hell for being an unworthy missionary! So I went my entire mission without saying a word.

After I had been home a year or so, I was being eaten alive by guilt. I wanted to talk to my bishop and be forgiven, but the same issues came up again. What will he say? What will he make me do? What if he makes me confess to my prior bishops that I had lied to them? I was horrified at the prospect of wondering what they would do to me. But the guilt was getting so strong that I finally decided that I had to just confess and humbly accept any punishment I was given.

It was probably the hardest thing I have ever done. I made an appointment with the bishop. When I met with him, I told him that there had been past transgressions that I had never repented for, of a sexual nature. He asked me if I had ever gone all the way, which I truthfully answered no. He didn't ask for very many details. In fact, he didn't seem to care much about it. He told me that I needed to ask the girls involved to forgive me. He told me I had to write a letter to each of them and apologize and encourage them to repent as well.

That wasn't so bad. I went right home and wrote the letters. Because several of the girls were married by now and some of them I didn't even know their name, he didn't make me deliver them. That was it. I gave the letters to the bishop and it was done.

After leaving the bishops office, I went to a nearby park and sat on the swing, glad to have that out of the way. But was I forgiven now? I didn't feel any different. I didn't feel any huge wave of relief. I didn't feel happier. I didn't feel the Saviours forgiving grace. I felt nothing except confused. I sat there on the swing for a long time and pondered and prayed. Naturally, I had prayed many times earlier for forgivness, but never felt like I had been forgiven. Now that I had confessed and done it the churches way, I still didn't feel any different. Maybe it took time. Maybe Jesus had to review everything and take it to a committee. I didn't know.

I thought that I would feel immediate relief. I thought it would feel like a huge burden was taken off of me. Maybe people say that because it's what they were supposed to say. I don't know. All I do know is that I didn't feel any different.

I never did get that special feeling I was expecting. I never did get confirmation from anyone that I was officially forgiven. I just assumed that because I had confessed to the proper priesthood authority and had done what the bishop instructed me to do, that I was forgiven.

WTF Jesus?


I should mention that as an ex-Mormon and realizing the truth about the church, ALL of the guilt from past "transgressions" is totally and completely gone. I realize now that sexuality is normal and natural and if it is such a huge sin to be horny, then why did god make me that way? I can't even describe what a HUGE relief it was for me to discover the real truth about Mormonism. Guilt, fear, and expectations are gone, Gone, GONE! It's wonderful.

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