'Stolen Innocence' Excerpt

A wave of relief swept over me. I had his blessing to contact the prophet about my situation. I walked out of Uncle Fred's office pondering what I would say when I got Uncle Warren on the phone the following morning. That night I barely slept, worrying about how Uncle Warren would react to my request to see the prophet, and I was lying in bed awake when the black night sky gave way to the purple lines of daybreak. I hadn't had much contact with Uncle Warren since my days at Alta Academy, and I knew I had to first speak with him before I could see his father. The thought of our conversation filled me with the same dread that I'd always felt as I climbed the steps to his office at Alta Academy.

That morning, Mom sat next to me as I picked up the phone to dial his office. Eventually, I was patched through to Uncle Warren, and in a shaky voice, I told him why I was calling. Trying my best to calm my nerves, I explained that I didn't feel the marriage was right for me, making it clear to him how old I was. "I don't feel like it's right for me to marry at this point in time. It's just that I'm not ready for this kind of responsibility."

I was frightened by the eerie silence on the other end of the phone.

The lull was broken by the sound of his hypnotic voice. "Are you questioning the prophet and his revelations?" he asked.

Stumbling over my words, I tried to clarify that I wasn't trying to defy the prophet. "I just want to make sure he knows that I'm only fourteen and how I feel."

"I will speak to the prophet," Uncle Warren assured me. "I will tell the prophet that you feel that you're too young and need some time. Say your prayers." He said he would contact Uncle Fred after he had spoken with Uncle Rulon.

Not only would I pray, I would fast in the hope that God would understand my concerns. The phone call with Uncle Warren had drained the last of my energy, but a piece of me felt better knowing that I'd told him my thoughts. Honestly believing and trusting that the priesthood leaders would listen to me, I felt my anxiety begin to ease.

Back in my room, I knelt by my bed and spoke to God as if he were my friend. "I believe you are listening to me," I said, closing my eyes and envisioning him before me. "And that you have my interest in mind. I'm begging you." Fighting back sobs, I gathered strength. "I know you are up there and you can hear me. If I have proven myself worthy, then you can change this situation for me."

When I awoke it was the middle of the day, and I was on the floor next to my bed. I'd been so exhausted from not sleeping the night before my conversation with Uncle Warren that I'd fallen asleep in the middle of my private prayer session with God. But I was sure God would see that I was a good person and hear my pleas. With that realization, my mood began to lift, and the darkness that had lingered over me for days temporarily receded.

Over the next few days, both of my stepsisters were told whom they were going to marry. Lily was invited for a drive around the town with our twenty-three-year-old stepbrother Martin, whom the prophet had revealed as her husband even though they'd been raised as brother and sister for a few years. Nancy's intended husband, Tim Barlow, was already married to one of Nancy's blood sisters as well as one of her stepsisters.

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