When You Are Broken

[Image of a suffering female saint (Catherine of Siena)]

This week our local missionaries came over for Sunday dinner.

Those of you who have read my blog posts over the past five years might imagine that I quickly found a way to talk about Joseph Smith and how he aggressively worked to save women (and men) from the effects of coercive seductions that had occurred at the hands of some men in the community.

In the course of this conversation, I swayed into discussion of the time I spent the night behind closed doors with my zone leader, because I had earlier that evening been kissed and fondled by a young man who had expressed his hope of spending the overnight sea voyage having sex with me (or at least necking, etc.).

It wasn’t that I was demanding protection. It was mostly that my zone leader hadn’t known he was reserving a two person cabin for our trip. He was too embarrassed to change the situation, and I was too rattled by the encounter with the eager would-be sexual partner to object to having someone with me that night.

I’m assuming the recent telling of this mission story is what prompted my husband to send me a link to the Salt Lake Tribune story from August 2018 about female missionaries dealing with assault.

Have people not read the Book of Mormon? Have they not studied Church History? Why in the world would anyone ever think that missionaries are immune from harm?

There are times when we have been broken, whether solely as the result of others or as a result of circumstances in which we played a consenting role.

When we are broken, we can seek healing. The great promise of the gospel of Christ is that Our Savior has suffered to make it possible for each of us to be healed. The covenant we make when we join the Church is to minister to one another on behalf of Christ.

I believe what the scriptures say about the reality of a resurrection and a judgment day, when we will all stand before God. In this judgment, I believe we will know as we are known, that we will see all, though our mortal understanding might have been incomplete, as seeing through a dark glass.

I expect, in that day, to cry out in anguish over the pains I could have helped heal, over the pains I inflicted. And I will anguish at the pain I suffered and how those who afflicted me are then forced to acknowledge the harm they, in turn, inflicted.

But in that day of truth and anguish, I believe I will rejoice that My Savior has done for me what no mortal could do, that I and those I love may be cleansed of our wrongs and our sufferings.

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About Meg Stout

Meg Stout has been an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ (of Latter-day Saints) for decades. She lives in the DC area with her husband, Bryan, and several daughters. She is an engineer by vocation and a writer by avocation. Meg is the author of Reluctant Polygamist, laying out the possibility that Joseph taught the acceptability of plural marriage but that Emma was right to assert she had been Joseph's only true wife.

5 thoughts on “When You Are Broken

  1. Meg, This is something I wish we talked about more in the Church. It it something that I only recently learned. I appreciate the atonement all the more because it is beneficial to me now when I realize I am broken. Not just when I arrive at the judgement seat later.

    Awesome post. Thank you

  2. A friend of mine recently started a facebook discussion about the dangers of the victim-culture that is so prevalent in higher education in America today. She wisely shared that we are all victims and we are all perpetrators at different times in our lives. To acknowledge only one of those roles is to be blind to our reality, and stunts our growth. It’s humbling to realize that I have hurt people as much as I have been hurt.

  3. PTSD is a real thing. The Atonement can help heal it in this life, as well as the resurrection.

    But professional counseling or therapy is also needed to heal PTSD in this life.

    Meg, I’m not really sure what your thesis or call-to-action is in this post. Or if it’s merely an amalgam of stories.

    Catherine of Siena has interesting stories on her Wikipedia entry. The head story is interesting.

  4. Hi Bookslinger,

    I in no way intended to exclude any medical remedy for the ills of this life.

    I intended my admonition that we minister to one another to be holistic rather than exclusive.

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