May 14, 2021
I have no considered what happened between myself and John to be ah “affair” since I recovered from his manipulations. I remember, at the time, wondering if what was occurring was “sexual harassment” and then immediately feeling ashamed that it might be. At the time, I wanted what was occurring to be an “affair” because “affair” felt more respectable. I didn’t want to believe that I had been targeted and was being exploited and victimized by someone who well understood predator strategies and was intentionally using power against me.
I wanted to believe I was strong, not a victim.
I have grown up a lot since I was under the influence of John’s manipulations. As I think about the me of ten years ago, I have a lot of respect for her and what she was managing and handling both at work and at home. That me was definitely not a woman who was in a safe and stable place from which she could go out into the world and choose to have an “affair.” That me was a woman who was in a dangerous place and needed help and support escaping from it.
And that me truly cared about the Mormon people and working towards what I hoped would help prevent child sexual abuse within Mormonism.
John exploited that me.
But I am a very different person now. The last ten years have required a lot of change from me and I have met that challenge. I now see that me of ten years ago as someone who was, indeed, very strong and who definitely deserved better than she had received, but who was also vulnerable and horribly victimized by a horrible man who continues to lie and deceive many.
Meeting the challenges of the last ten years has definitely brought me a lot more strength.
I understand that very few of you know me in the real world and that these words, to you, are only words on a page about a woman you have never met. But I have no desire to come out onto the public Mormon stage and let you meet me and get to know the authentic me. I have other things I’d prefer to do with my time and my life and I am not nearly as interested in Mormonism now as I used to be.
So, the best testimonial I can give you is to say that when my children (ages 24, 22 and 17) hear the word “affair” to describe what happened between me and John Dehlin, they let out guffaws. They know me far too well and know far too much about my life and what John did to me to see me that narrowly. They are wise children and have a more full view of what has occurred in our family over the years than most anyone else.