A Voice Lifted Up…Long & Loud!

Lion RunningA friend recently sent me this scripture and note.

D&C 124:75
And let him lift up his voice long and loud, in the midst of the people, to plead the cause of the needy; and let him not fail, neither let his heart faint; and I will accept of his offerings.

Your diligent work reminds me of the above verse. For if the innocent LDS children suffering abuse and trauma don’t qualify as needy individuals, I don’t know who would qualify.  Thank you, good sir. And use this scripture to rebut your enemies next time they get after you about causing needless contention. Amen? The Lord has asked us to lift up our voice long and loud for exactly these types of circumstances.

Thank you my friend for your scriptural encouragement.

On July 28 & 29, a roaring voice will be raised long and loud.  It won’t be a lonely voice.  Around the world, a chorus of thousands will join in unison to call for THIS to never happen again.  The church has been put on notice.

Our plans are rather daunting.  It’s my hope that we can stay the course until our two days of action arrive.  I have a couple of purposes in publishing these posts:

  1. To help those involved, especially me, to not change our minds.  That is still a reasonable possibility.
  2. To focus the attention of all those who support our cause so they are ready to join in on the 29th when the details are revealed.

Looking for an Apostle

March crush at COBThe following email was sent to my stake president tonight.

Dear President,

Over the past year, I have been very active in working to bring awareness to the dangers of our interview policies:  The petition.  The Sacred Stories.  The march.  The news conferences.  All the TV, radio and newspaper coverage.  The top tier media coverage in Australia and the U.K.  Finally, National Children’s day.

This has led many parents to protect their children by establishing wise boundaries.  A wonderful thing.  It has enabled and facilitated healing.  A gorgeous thing.

It has also led the Church to make changes.  Unfortunately, they were minor.  Although they were steps in the right direction, all the inherent dangers remain.

My next action is planned for July 28 & 29.  Of course, it will be a peaceful undertaking.  It’s an action that the church has never faced before.  It will draw every bit as much attention as the march.  In fact, it will have a much bigger impact.  Millions of people who have never heard of our cause will become aware of what we Mormons subject our children to.

A few months ago, I visited the building which houses the apostles’ offices.  I requested an appointment.  They didn’t let me through the locked doors.  Rather, they talked to me through an intercom.   I was informed that a security detail would meet me in front of the building.

Sure enough, within just a few minutes, three guards in business suits appeared.  They didn’t emerge from the front door.  They just seemed to materialize out of nowhere.  Although I was a bit nervous, we had a delightful conversation.  They told me how to secure a meeting with an apostle.  My stake president would have to make a request to his supervising seventy which would then be relayed through the area presidency.

So, here’s my request.  Please relay to your supervising seventy that I’d like to meet with an apostle. 

I’ll be in Salt Lake City on Saturday the 28th and Sunday the 29th.  The action will last all day, both days.  However, what happens on Saturday will not be visible unless someone is really paying attention.  On the 29th, what happened on the preceding day will be revealed and it will continue all day Sunday.

Preparations have been quietly underway for the past few weeks.   The elements are coming together to enable thousands of voices to unite to protect our children and to protect the good name of the church.

Please rest assured that this action will be completely peaceful and legal and……HUGE.  It will pose no threat to anyone or anything….except to a dreadful policy.

BTW, if you are ready to stand with me to protect our kids, I’ll gladly buy your plane ticket to Utah for our meeting with an apostle.

Please keep me advised,

-Sam

E. Christofferson read the Stories! Full Report on meeting with Stake President.

Christofferson

On Sunday, June 24th, my stake president sent a message asking for a meeting.  I responded with a request for the topics to be discussed.  His executive secretary provided the agenda and the meeting was set for June 26th.

Here are the points on his agenda

  1. How my family is doing.
  2. Share some thoughts on the recent stake conference.  At the time, I was not aware that the ‘thoughts’ were to be Elder Christofferson’s comments about me.
  3. Discuss remarks that I have shared in recent Fast & Testimony meeting.
  4. Come prepared to discuss the following scriptures:  3 Nephi 11:29-30, Mosiah 23:15, 3 Nephi 12:9

Right at the outset, the stake president said that asking for the topics was a good idea and he was glad that I had.  He also said that he didn’t feel good about how our last meeting ended up.  It didn’t feel right.  You can read about that interview in the article Sam: Protect The Children!  Mormon Church: Apostate! 

My bishop was also in attendance.  Right at the outset of this blog, I want to say that both are very good men, working hard to serve the members of their congregations.

Here’s the essence of the meeting.

Elder Christofferson

Our most recent stake conference was on May 20th.  Elder Christofferson, an apostle in the LDS church, was the visiting authority.

The stake president informed me that during the behind the scenes meetings, my name had come up 3 times.

First:  One of the stake presidency counselors asked if the apostle had heard of me.  Elder Christofferson said yes.  Then he asked about the magnitude of people leaving the church.  For a good while, I have been trying to raise the alarm in my ward and stake that we are losing lots of good people.  In my ward alone, 42 people have left the Church over the past 3 1/2 years.  Elder C’s response was that there has been no increase in the number of people leaving.

Second:  Later in the day the apostle asked, “How is Sam’s family doing?”  The stake president said that he came across as sincere and caring.  I really appreciate that heartfelt concern for my loved ones.

Third:  Elder Christofferson asked the stake president to relay the following information.

  • Tell Sam that I’ve read all three books that were delivered during the march.  To me, this is huge!!  A volume of “Sacred Stories of Sacred Children” actually landed on an apostle’s desk and he read it!!!  When he says 3 books, he’s including the ones with the petition signatures.  They contain at least 2,000 abbreviated horror stories.  So, if he actually did read them all, he has now been exposed to thousands of accounts of harms done to our children.
  • Some of the stories can have different interpretations.
  • Many are tragic.
  • We can learn from them.
  • Changes are coming.

Then Elder Christofferson provided a little warning:  Be carefulIt’s not a good to place yourself between the Lord and his prophet.

Finally, he wanted the stake president to share this metaphor: “If you have a scratch on your arm, you put a band-aid on it.  You don’t cut your arm off.”  No further explanation was given.  The president said he had some ideas of what it meant but, we didn’t discuss them.  When I got home, it’s meaning dawned on me.  There may be a scratch in our interview policies.  A band-aid would be the appropriate remedy, not doing away with youth interviews.

Scriptures

I was asked to read the following three scripture passages…out loud:

3 Nephi 11:29-30

29 For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.

30 Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another; but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away.

Mosiah 23:15

15 Thus did Alma teach his people, that every man should love his neighbor as himself, that there should be no contention among them.

3 Nephi 12:9

And blessed are all the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.

He then asked, “What do you think of those scriptures?”

My response:

These are great scriptures.  Thanks for given them to me.  They caused me to reflect on all the scriptures where contention WAS appropriate and how to reconcile them.

For example, here’s what Jesus said in Matt 10:34:  “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth.  I come not to send peace, but a sword.”  I don’t think he came to bring discord.  He spoke the unvarnished truth in open criticism to church leaders.  This fomented contention up to the point of the Church leaders killing Him.  Speaking truth can cause people to react with contention.

When the temple was being desecrated, Christ contended violently with anger and whip in hand.

Here’s what Jesus had to say about children in Mathew 18:6, “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”  That is not gentle.  With a harsh warning, the Lord was contending for the protection of the precious children.

Listen to what Jesus says in Alma 43:47, “And again, the Lord has said that:  Ye shall defend your families even until bloodshed.”  We are urged to stand up for our children and wives even unto bloodshed.  

Reading your scriptures forced me to compare and ponder.  For me, taking the position that all contention is of the devil doesn’t make sense when considering that Christ’s ministry was full of contention and encouragement to contend for what is right.

Maybe the difference could be contention for contention’s sake  is of the devil.  But, taking a moral position is not stirring up anger for anger’s sake.  It’s standing up for what is right.

As for anger, I view it differently now.   It is an emotion that is often totally appropriate.  Christ exhibited righteous anger.   Just a few months ago, the Apostles expressed that they felt the same anger over the Joseph Bishop rape scandal as the members do.  If Christ and the apostles can righteously experience anger, then that’s an example I should be able to emulate.

I’m glad you included the scripture on being a peacemaker.  One of the amazing things that I’ve witnessed over the last many months is the peace and healing that our cause is bringing to many many people’s lives.  People who were harmed as children are experiencing validation, empathy, credibility, and a safe space to share their story, often for the first time in their lives.  It works towards peace to see people stand up and say that what happened to them was wrong.  It brings healing to see people advocate for changes.

While we’re in the scriptures,  you’re familiar what it says in D&C 58:  “Men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness; And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward.  But he that doeth not anything until he is commanded, the same is damned.”  That scripture means more to me now than it ever has.

F&T meeting

I think this is where the core of their concerns reside.  Over the past 2 months, I’ve born my testimony at both Fast & Testimony meetings.  Apparently, many people made a beeline to the bishop’s office and expressed their discomfort.  My remarks have caused the spirituality of the ward to suffer.  People are on pins and needles as to what I might say next.  What I’ve said both in testimony and in priesthood quorum is creating separation in the ward, not unity.

My  comments that could be perceived critical rather than supportive should not be made at church.  They are appropriate on my blog and other venues, not at church.

I think this is a fair point and I agreed to moderate my utterances to not disturb the spirit of worship at our meetings.

I really wish that we could all approach this like adults.  If someone has a concern, wouldn’t the mature thing be to talk with me personally, rather than running to an already over-burdened bishop?

BTW, the 2 testimonies in question are shown at the end of the article.

Personal Matter

As the meeting concluded, the stake president surprised me by bringing up a personal matter.  I won’t give the details because it is personal.   After discussing it, the SP apologized for the misunderstanding.  It takes a meek and humble Stake President to apologize to a rank-and-file member.  The level of my esteem for him elevated in that moment.

Take Aways

  • Great meeting.
  • The apostles are well aware of our movement.  The stories of our hurting friends HAVE been read.  Those stories have caused change.  They will cause further changes to be made.  For me, this is HUGE.
  • It is obvious that I’ve caused trouble in the bishop and stake president’s field of labor and responsibility.  I’ll be more sensitive to that.
  • What I’m saying at church is not appropriate in church….but it is appropriate out in the public square.  YES!!!  I only have to be silent at church.  But, I have the stake president’s endorsement to NOT be silent anywhere else.  .That is a reversal of what I was told in our last meeting in January

Testimony May 6, 2018—Protect the Children

I love teachings and example of Jesus Christ.

  • The Good Samaritan.
  • The Golden Rule.
  • The Prodigal Son.
  • Reaching out to the marginalized, the hopeless, the helpless.
  • Standing up for the poor, the sick, the weak…the least of those among us
  • And….His gorgeous #1 commandment: To love our neighbors as ourselves.

We have a new President of the church.  I love that it was President Nelson who gave us this instruction: 

“Stand up and speak up for truth…especially when it’s unpopular.”

Over the past year, I have stood up and spoken up for the protection of LDS children.  Our bishop and our stake president have spent hours listening to my concerns.  I really appreciate that. 

Right here, in my own ward, there are now 28 members who support Protect The Children.  Thank you.

In the name of our Savior, who commissioned all of us to protect our little ones,  Amen.

Testimony June 3, 2018—Racism

Last month I shared my testimony of the teachings and example of Jesus Christ. I took some flak for not having mentioned the restoration or the prophets.

Today, I’m going to correct that.

I want to give our current crop of apostles and prophets a strong shout out of support. Last Friday, the church held an event to officially celebrate the 40 year anniversary of the reversal of our church doctrine that forbid black men from receiving the priesthood and prohibited both black men and black women from entering the temple.

This ban on church privileges was lifted in 1978. I had the honor of sitting in a Houston chapel during general conference when Elder N. Eldon Tanner presented the lifting of the ban for a sustaining vote. My hand was proudly raised in support of changing our policy. This is a great example of the Law of Common Consent in action. All policies and major decisions are supposed to be presented to the membership for approval or disapproval. I love this empowering element of the restored gospel. So, there’s my full-throated endorsement of a glorious principle that came directly as a part of the restoration.

Now, I want to express my appreciation and respect for our current apostles and prophets. 4 years ago, the apostles did something very gutsy that no top leadership has ever done before. They published an essay on LDS.org entitled Race and the Priesthood. It condemns our past racism. It disavows our past racist doctrine, teachings and practices. That’s a disavowal and condemnation of what all the past prophets and apostles from Brigham Young on have taught regarding black people being cursed with a dark skin. Halleluiah!!!

Unfortunately, until 4 years ago when this essay was published, I completely believed our racist teachings that are now officially condemned.  I’m glad that the church celebrated the lifting of the ban.  However, I wish that there had also been an official full-throated apology for our past racism.

Today, I offer my apology and the apology of many, many of my friends.  We are sorry that we were gullible enough to believe that our white skin was a reflection of our righteousness in the pre-mortal life.  And that a black skin was a reflection of the opposite.

I’m sorry that these disavowed practices, which I fully supported, marginalized an entire race for 150 years within the church of Jesus Christ.

I offer this apology in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

 

June 10th–Stand Up & Speak Up

Stand Up & Speak UP

These powerful words of encouragement were recently pronounced by Russell M. Nelson, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

On Sunday June 10th, we will have the opportunity to stand up and speak up.  It’s National Children’s Day.

Button June 10

Protect Our Children With A Button

For National Children’s Day we are asking every supporter of Protect The Children to wear a button on June 10th.

Wherever you go, wear one.  Whether to church or other activities.  Have conversations!  Invite those you talk to to learn more at ProtectLDSChildren.org.

Our button action will bring awareness to the plight of LDS children who are being subjected to grooming and shaming behaviors all alone, behind closed doors with Mormon leaders.  Conversations will be started.  Awareness raised.  Even without a discussion, people will take notice.

Of course, we hope that many many people will wear their buttons to an LDS Church service.  Buttons in our buildings will make a big impact, whether you are an active member or haven’t been to church in years.

If you are not comfortable in a Mormon church, wear the button to another church, to the park, at the store or any activity outside of your front door.

We put up a petition—tens of thousands signed. Then a march—another thousand joined the line.  Now a button–thousands more will participate this time!!  We ARE changing the church’s interview paradigm.

Please post and share photos of you wearing your buttons!

How to Get a Button

  1. Make one of your own design.  People were super creative with signs at the march.
  2. Download the artwork and print your own.
  3. Order 1 Button.
  4. Order a 5 Button Pack.
  5. Order a 20 Button Pack.
  6. Order a Bumper Sticker.
  7. See all four options HERE.

ButtonsNote: Buttons are available with the cuddling lion or the roaring lion — if you want the roaring lion, please indicate it in the notes on your order.  Otherwise, we’ll send the cuddling version. Thank you!

Facebook Event

Please go to the Event Page and indicate your plans to participate.

Share the Event everywhere!   

Let’s Make This Big!!!

 

99% of LDS Bishops Act Like Sexual Predators

Temple Super Moon

On occasion, members of the church have fussed at the petition.  They have said that it paints all bishops as if they are pedophiles.  Let me straighten that out:  I assume that the number of pedophile bishops is pretty small.  The vast majority of Mormon leaders are good upstanding men.

The supreme head of the Catholic Church estimates that 2% of his priests are pedophiles.  Some estimates run as high as 7%.  Is it possible that the population of sexual predators in LDS leadership is smaller?  I hope so.  We simply have no scientific data to support any estimate.

However, plenty of evidence exists which proves that there ARE sexual predators in every rank of our Mormon hierarchy.  From Sunday school presidents, to bishops, to stake presidents, to mission presidents and seventies.  With the advent of the #metoo movement, more and more Mormon victims are coming forward.  Over the past 12 months, at least 8 leaders, mostly bishops, have been arrested, convicted or sentenced for sexual assault of minors.  So far in 2018, two men who served in high leadership positions have been revealed as sexual predators, Joseph Bishop and Philander Smartt.

So no, not all bishops are sexual predators…but some are.  Like every other institutional church on the planet have already done, we should implement protections against the dangerous men in our leadership.

Almost All Bishops ACT Like Sexual Predators!!!

Whatever percentage of our leadership might be evil, almost all of our bishops are ACTING just like sexual predators behave!!!

Taking minors behind closed doors, beyond the earshot and eyesight of everyone, IS predatory grooming behavior.

Asking a minor sexual questions is totally predatory behavior.

Almost every bishop is grooming our children for the sexual predators in our leadership ranks, in the neighborhood and anywhere else in society.  The bishops groom kids for those serving above and around them.  Bishops are grooming our youngsters for the predator who might replace him as the next bishop.

Fortunately, there are some leaders who refuse to take a child behind closed doors without a parent being present and also refuse to ask sexual questions.  Good on them.  Unfortunately, these bishops are in the vast minority.  They are the ones who are proactively protecting our children.

What a horrid indictment on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that the vast majority of our bishops continue to act like sexual predators.  They are preparing our most vulnerable children for the monsters lying in wait.  Some of those monsters are other bishops, stake presidents and mission presidents.

And remember…this ONLY happens in the LDS Church.  In all other churches that I’m aware of, this behavior would result in the the pastor being disciplined or defrocked.  Our friends the Catholics set a laudable example by not tolerating sexual questions being posed to minors.

Protect Your Children—NOW!      Send your Bishop a Letter

Set firm boundaries with your children.  Let them know that it is not appropriate to have one-on-one meetings with church leadership….or anyone else.  Inform them that they are to let you know if anyone attempts to take them behind closed doors, including the bishop and stake president.

Then set the same boundaries with the bishop.  Put it in writing.  Send your bishop a letter or email.  Three sample templates can be found HERE.

I regret that my children were exposed to sexually explicit questions, all alone, behind closed doors.  Please take action so your children won’t be victims.  Otherwise, you can see and read the horrid consequences that may be in your children’s future.

What Else Can You Do to Help Protect The Children?

  1. Like Protect LDS Children Facebook page.
  2. After you send a letter to the bishop, share your experience on the Success Stories page.
  3. Sign or share the petition.
  4. If you have experienced inappropriate bishop interviews, share your story….if you feel ready.  Victims of either overt or covert sexual abuse are the only ones who can determine when or if sharing their story is appropriate.  We support you in whatever decision you make.
  5. If you are unfamiliar with the damages the LDS Church is causing to our children, educate yourself.  See the stories.  Read the stories.
  6. I have chosen to invest a ton of my own money into this campaign.  If you want to help, feel free to donate.  And thank you to all those who have already helped out to the tune of $80,000 over the past 6 weeks.  Your commitment to save our children is stunning.

Donations

To make a donation, go to our website ProtectLDSChildren.org.

On a laptop, the donation button is in the upper left hand corner.

On a tablet, the button may be on the left or right side, depending on the size of the device.

On a phone, click the three line menu.  The Donate button will be at the bottom of the menu.

All funds will go to a new organization named “Protect The Children Association.”  A 501C3 application has been filed.  All donations made 27 months before the application is approved by the IRS will be tax deductible.  I’m expecting everything donated at this point will fall in that category.

Caveat:  DO NOT feel any obligation to donate.  DO NOT feel one whit of regret if you can’t or choose not to donate.

Thank you for traveling this journey at my side in whatever methods you choose.

I will face all those who have harmed me, for they could not destroy me–#558

TearsThis is the most recent Sacred Story of a Sacred Child.  It is truly a sacred story.

She recounts a very unfortunate part of her life and follows it up by sharing an email exchange with her former Stake President.  Their back and forth is filled with wisdom, insight and compassion.

Over the past months, I have met and interacted with many wonderful people whose childhoods were filled with trauma & tragedy.  Their stories are now recorded for the world to read and understand.  In almost every case, I have been amazed at how capable, strong and confident these people are.  They appear to be completely past the disasters of their youth.  #558 helped me better understand the reality of the unseen inside vs. the impression gleaned from the outside.  Here are two sentences that shed new light for me.  These words are contained in an email to her stake president.

My strength and goodness are different from my healing. I know it could take my entire lifetime to feel “healed” and even then I will still have the painful memories.

Here’s another stunning insight shared with her stake president.

I believe the problem lies in the belief that you are responsible for fixing the problem you may have unintentionally contributed to. What I really needed for healing is for you to say: I see you, I hear you, you are important, you have always been good, I’m sorry.”  Which you did all this, but you still offered a solution. The solution lies within myself and in trauma healing.  What is most empowering and healing is being supported in finding my own resolutions from within.

My dear #558, I’m going to use you own words to speak to you:  Your voice matters. Your life matters. Your future matters.

I believe you.  I see you.  I am here for you.

Thank you, my friend.

#558’s entire story can be read HERE.  It’s lengthy, but more than worth the effort.

Is something brewing, about to begin?

mary-poppins

League City Stake

This afternoon I received an amazing message.  The pertinent portion is paraphrased below.

Our stake has received a letter stating that no leader in any capacity, including bishop, can be alone with a minor.  Over the past week we have been working on implementing these provisions.  Sometime after August of this year, the policy will be introduced to the entire church.”

This person wants to remain anonymous and does not have a copy of the ‘letter.’

However, I do know that he/she is in the League City Stake which is just south Houston, Texas.  Yay Texas.

If this is true…..it’s HUGE!!!

Of course, this might not be what it seems.  Can you help?  I’d like to confirm that bishops are actually being restricted from one-on-one interviews.

If you live in the League City Stake, can you confirm that this is happening?

If you have contacts in the League City Stake could you ask them if this is accurate?

Has anyone heard of similar instructions being implemented in other stakes?

Does anyone have access to the ‘letter?’

Elder Bednar

Tonight, another person in whom I have total confidence, shared the following.  Elder Bednar recently made a comment along these lines:  “Big changes were announced at conference.  More are coming.  In fact, a tsunami of changes are on the way.”

_______________________________________

We know the the church will eventually be forced to stop one-on-one, sexually explicit interrogations of our children.  The changes might be closer than our wildest dreams would have expected.

Fingers crossed.  Never-the-less, we are not stopping until complete victory is won.