Clarissa Winter is a direct descendant of Brigham Young (on her father’s side) and a Guatemalan Mormon convert (on her mother’s side). Clarissa was raised in Orderville, Utah as a devout Mormon, but during her teenage years began to “fall away” from orthodox Mormonism as she explored her own sexuality and struggled with anxiety, depression, and suicidality. After being labeled by her Mormon peers with terms like “bad,” “slut,” “crazy,” “whore,” “unworthy” – and after being threatened with excommunication AS A TEENAGER by two Mormon bishops for sexual exploration – Clarissa left Mormonism and spent many years as a young adult trying to heal from her Mormon upbringing, and develop her own sense of self-worth and self-empowerment. Today’s episode is about rising strong as an ex-Mormon adult after being deemed “unworthy” and experiencing rejection from one’s conservative Mormon community. Clarissa is also a model, a big fan of scary movies, and does scary movie-themed boudoir shoots. You can find her Instagram account at callmemrskrueger.

Part 1: Being labeled and judged as a Mormon teenage girl for exploring her sexuality

Part 2: Getting “caught” for having sex, being threatened twice with excommunication by her Mormon bishop, and feeling suicidal

Part 3: Leaving the Mormon church after excessive sexual shame, and rebuilding a life as a non-Mormon single adult

Part 4: Finding health, peace, love, and joy after leaving Mormonism due to sexual shame.

Part 1: Being labeled and judged as a Mormon teenage girl for exploring her sexuality

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Part 2: Getting “caught” for having sex, being threatened twice with excommunication by her Mormon bishop, and feeling suicidal

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Part 3: Leaving the Mormon church after excessive sexual shame, and rebuilding a life as a non-Mormon single adult

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Part 4: Finding health, peace, love, and joy after leaving Mormonism due to sexual shame.

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11 Comments

  1. Donny Helvey April 15, 2020 at 12:26 am - Reply

    Thank you Clarissa!! That was so powerful, gut wrenching and honest. You are a strong wonderful woman!

  2. Maggie Rayner April 15, 2020 at 11:56 pm - Reply

    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.

  3. DEBBIE ALLEN SKOMER April 16, 2020 at 7:29 am - Reply

    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!!!!

    • Maggie Rayner April 16, 2020 at 9:01 am - Reply

      Ditto! Ditto! Ditto!

    • Richard April 17, 2020 at 1:20 pm - Reply

      ” 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?

  4. Todd April 25, 2020 at 7:24 am - Reply

    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.

  5. Lloyd Bennett April 25, 2020 at 7:03 pm - Reply

    I love her stor because sex is a major chalenge for a lot of members here in Jamaica also.
    Thank you.

  6. Charlie Jones July 29, 2020 at 12:35 pm - Reply

    This was an incredibly eye opening podcast. Even as a man I related so much to this. It really makes me feel for my wife who had different situations but also felt abandoned at a young age.

  7. Anna Yasueda October 10, 2020 at 9:01 am - Reply

    John, please stop with the shocked explanations when you’re surprised to hear a girl started masterbaring at a young age, it’s very Shaming.

  8. Courtney November 12, 2020 at 3:09 pm - Reply

    Thanks for sharing! This helped me so much!! I can definitely relate. I was threatened by my bishop at 15 with disfellowship. Instead he put me on “Probation” and I wasn’t allowed to give prayers, participate in lessons, or take the sacrament for over 6 months. Im still traumatized from the shame and guilt even after being out of the church for 1.5 years.

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