Dec 16, 2013

My Struggles With Priesthood Leaders and Mormon People Part I

I didn't used to write such a high volume very personal posts. The reason I am lately is, I think, because I'm finally addressing issues and they just spill out over me and right now, I need to write about them.

Yesterday the YW leaders were asked to talk about a talent they have & how it blesses the lives of others. I was going over in my head all the things I could possibly talk about--I was going to bring a guitar. I was going to bring MayMay, with her new hairstyle. & then I realized I was being a cop-out. One of the things I'm struggling with, working really hard on, is getting to know and trust my ward. I had a very difficult experience about 11 years ago, and it wasn't my ward's fault necessarily. It was a lot of things coming together in one spectacular and unusual explosion. But I've never worked through those feelings I have as a result--lack of trust about ward members, lack of trust for priesthood holders.

Yesterday, I allowed myself to be vulnerable and talk about something that means a whole lot to me & is related to some struggles I have as well. I didn't take the "Safe" route, I took the "real" route, in front of the Young Women, and the leaders I work with. And I was pretty weepy all day, up until the sharing, and pretty weepy afterward. Part of that might be pregnancy hormones. But I've realized, lately. I cry when I feel really vulnerable. I'm not a crier. Jeff says he can count the number of times I've cried in front of him on one hand. Or could, until about a year ago. Now we're probably talking fingers and toes.

I feel, in the aftermath (and this is a post that's been coming for a while, probably) a need to talk about what I went through eleven years ago with my ward, with my priesthood leaders.

OK, so lately especially, I have been feeling pretty worried about this blog. Why do I write here. Why do I post here? And then, after that, why do I tweet these posts? My biggest fear is that I'm doing it just to get attention.

But then I thought about that. And I realized, if it was attention I really wanted, I have much better ways of getting attention. Over the years I've had people from talk shows call (and even offer to pay) me to talk about what happened to me. The idea makes me sick. And if I wanted I could probably write a book about my experiences and I'd probably sell a whole lot more copies of that than any book I ever have or ever will write. I got plenty of attention--more than any girl could ever want or ask for--when the press was hounding me and following me and calling me every five minutes on the phone for days after Paul confessed, and then periodically kept showing up on my doorstep for months. I never spoke to them. Well, I accidentally spoke to them twice when I was caught off guard... like a sentence each time. And they would follow me into the courtroom when I went to testify, and lean back over the bench and ask if I had a statement, and when I said no, they'd take a picutre of my face and put it in the Daily Universe.

Maybe part of the reason I'm writing about this now is I feel like my privacy was violated and my life was taken and portrayed without my control, and I felt really powerless and awful about it, and people assumed things about me (not just a few people, a whole university full, a whole town full, a whole state full) and I feel a bit like taking that stuff back into my hands and feeling in control again.

Maybe it's because I just need to write this out, and writing to myself, vs writing to an audience (a small, intimate audience, of people that mostly I know and maybe only a few random strangers) makes all the difference as to how I'm able to write. With more clarity, and more purpose. I don't know.

So while I'm at it, I'm going to put a bunch of links here. So people who read this can understand. This is what I went through, 11 years ago.







People are probably like, um, Sarah. You just totally re-did what all those stupid papers did to you. But the thing is, I don't think people, or even me, can understand the scope of what it's like unless they know. I mean, to have your personal life blasted all over the newspapers, the internet, the TV. Fox News is one of those who conned me into a 1-sentence comment, on the phone. And it's likely that even went as far as Idaho, where I live now, but luckily here, nobody really remembers my story. Me talking about it, that's me. Right now I'm talking about how it felt, to have all this happen.

Parts 1-5 of this post:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5


Emma Tank said...

Wow, Sarah. That's intense. I'm so sorry you had to go through that. I'm grateful that you have such a current wonderful husband, and that your life is at a happier point. We're glad that we've gotten to know you. You are an amazing person.

Sarah Dunster said...

... yeah, I'm going to write a bunch more I guess. Sorry. I feel like I've been a complete downer lately
:( but thank you. Hopefully talking about it & getting through it means leaving it behind, eventually.

Darcie DeMille said...

Sarah, I have always remembered your incredible strength as you were going through this horrible ordeal. I remember when we heard about what happened, and then later that day you called me to come visiting teaching. I am sure it was surreal and you were going through the motions to get by....but I have always regretted not doing much of anything for you. I don't know that I knew what to do or how to offer help. Just catching a glimpse of the amazing woman you are now through facebook, is very inspiring, and I see you as a very strong and courageous woman....I am sorry I didn't help you when you needed it.

mom2ky said...

You are an amazing person! I have always believed that since meeting you!

Sarah Dunster said...

Thank you guys for reading :) it means a lot.

Darcie, I think it was a blessing to be visiting teaching you at that time. I still see, in detail, that house & remember conversations about caring for your grandfather-in-law.

Luisa Perkins said...

You've just been catapulted from "awesome" to "superhero." I knew about the porn and the divorce, but not the rest. You are amazing.

Janie Hannan-Kearl said...

wow, that's crazy. I had no idea! I'm glad you came through it strong and okay. I miss your stories on Wednesday nights and I'm going to read your book soon! Stay strong

cindy said...

Years ago I had you as one of the achievement girls in Primary.. I always felt that you were one to take charge. I am so proud of you for being the woman I thought you would become. I am glad that you have learned that you are strong and that no one, that is NO One can bring you down unless you give them permission. Thank you for sharing your story, I am sure it will give someone else the courage to do so.
May the Lord Bless you as you heal. Cindy

Deb Samaniego said...

Wow. I didn't know. Yes, I live in a bubble. I think it makes your marriage to Jeff and your family life a miracle. I admire you even more now.