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  1. Thank you Clarissa for sharing your journey to claim your own authority to be whatever you want to be, do whatever you want to do, and make whatever decisions you choose. Yeah! Some parts were heartbreaking and so, so painful. I was choked at the abusiveness of the two Mormon bishops threats to excommunicate you as a teenager; soul destroying cruel torture. And I was appalled/horrified at the anger and sexual aggression/sexual abuse the first bishop unleashed upon your young psyche. There are some actions I find unforgivable – and one of them is an adult male in a position of power over the defenseless teenage girl at his mercy that you were, violently refusing you the basic human right to set your own boundaries and only disclose what was comfortable for you. Mind rape comes to mind.

    The soul destroying sexual shaming and sexual control you experienced in the Mormon Church today reminded me of Joseph Smith controlling, for his own satisfaction, and often viciously and with threats, the sexuality of young girls and women in his inner circle. I escaped Mormonism years ago, however, still carry the inescapable inter-generational legacy of my polygamous Mormon ancestors.

  2. Thank you Clarissa for your willingness to tell your story. It is a sign of everything healthy about you that you can be so open – generously so, in your interview.

    You were brutalized by the dogma and the priesthood and by so many others who piled on the shame. I found your episodes painful to listen to. It brought up all the anger and sadness I feel about the inappropriate and hateful messages I received about female sexuality. These messages haunt me… 50+ years later. While John’s knowledge of Mormonism obviously makes him sensitive to aspects of Clarissa’s story, he was part of the priesthood and felt honor bound to uphold the values he was indoctrinated in, and I can’t help but feel this teaching influenced the wording of some of his questions and comments.

    I am not one to think that religion should be excused for its misdeeds because it does good things. Rather, I think it should be held even more accountable because it claims special powers and insights. Religion gives special authority to its representatives, and even lies about having the backing of god. Religion is simply mythology. Behind the made-up stories it tells, are opportunities to create suffering… unnecessary suffering! Clarissa was terrorized by her religion, as are many children.

    Dearest Clarissa…. please, have a marvelous life!!!!

    1. ” Rather, I think it should be held even more accountable because it claims special powers and insights.”

      I agree completely. I am sick when I hear give brother joe a break or BY was a product of his time. It is disrespectival to any and all that were a victim of them or that fought to change the affects of their words or actions.

      My question back to you is regarding one of your statements – “While John’s knowledge of Mormonism obviously makes him sensitive to aspects of Clarissa’s story, he was part of the priesthood and felt honor bound to uphold the values he was indoctrinated in, and I can’t help but feel this teaching influenced the wording of some of his questions and comments.” What are 2-3 questions he asked that were apologetic to the church?

  3. Clarissa – Thanks for being so open about these horrifying, shaming experiences. I’m SO sorry that happened to you.

    I’m an active member. But, I want you to know that, just based on this part of the podcast (your first “confession” experience), I am calling my 22 yr old daughter today to make sure she knows she never needs to confess anything to a bishop or any other church leader in order to “repent”. There is no way the risk is worth it. Please know your story will keep at least one young woman a little safer.

    Thank you. And thanks John. On to the rest of your interview.

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