Tears and Disgust at the Destruction of this Child

Lion Innocence

This is Sandy’s story.  Obviously, not her real name.

After reading her words, I bawled my eyes out.  Then vulgar words of anger welled up in my throat and I spit them out in rage.

Interviewing children behind closed doors is EVIL!!!  Outrageously EVIL!!!

I am now at war with the Mormon Church, my church, to topple this horrendous practice.   War?  Yeah, I’ll call it war.  Especially after hearing stories like you are about to read.  A war to protect our children.

This is the first time this woman has had the fortitude to share her story.  It happened when she was 7 years old.  Behind closed doors.  All alone.  In the bishop’s office.  At the mercy….of a pedophile.   In her own words, here is what happened to an innocent child.

Trigger warning: this post contains descriptions of spiritual abuse/shaming, as well as sexual abuse.

When I was about to be baptized, at almost 8 years old, I had already been being molested for several years by another member of the congregation, who happened to be the bishop-at-the-time’s brother.  In my baptismal interview, this bishop brought up the law of chastity, and asked if I knew what it meant.  I didn’t, really.  I mean, I was an intelligent kid, and so I could say that “relations between a man and a woman are reserved for marriage.”  But I had zero idea what that actually meant. He asked me if I had ever let anyone touch me under my clothes where a bathing suit would cover. I don’t remember exactly what I said, I just remember the fear I felt in that moment when I realized that *that* is what the law of chastity was talking about. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to be baptized, and so I wouldn’t be able to be with my family after I died. 

I remember feeling frozen, and being too afraid to talk anymore. He said it was okay if I didn’t want to say anything else, and he asked me to show him where, and how I had “let” someone touch me, by guiding his hands to do the same.  I was too afraid, and ashamed, so instead, he had me sit on his lap, and he hugged me tight, and told me that Heavenly Father understood that “these things” felt good, but that even though it was normal for me to want them, that that was the “natural man” and that it was very, very wrong for me to let anyone do them to me.  He told me that he needed to determine how *exactly* I had sinned, in order for him to ask God to forgive me, so he told me that he was “feeling prompted” to demonstrate a few things, and I only had to nod “yes” or “no” to let him know if I had done them before, and he told me he was also going to ask me if the things he was going to do felt good, so that he could determine how fervently he needed to pray for me to be forgiven.  In that “interview” he sat me on his bishop’s desk in front of him, and had me lie back with my knees bent and legs open. He stimulated me with his fingers over, and then under my underwear, and then digitally penetrated me both vaginally and anally, all of which I had experienced before. He asked me if each of the things he was doing felt good, and I nodded, and he asked me if I knew what it meant to orgasm. I had experienced it, but I didn’t know at the time what the word meant, so I said no. He said he would show me, and he continued to molest me until my body climaxed, and then he asked if I had ever felt that before, which I had.

He had me sit on his lap again, hugged me tight, and told me that what I had done was shameful and wrong. That it would take a lot of work on his part for him to get Heavenly Father to forgive me, and that we needed to pray together. He said it might be painful for him, though hopefully not for me. I felt DEEP shame listening to him as we “prayed” and he held my arms to my abdomen so tightly that he left bruises. I understood later that what he was doing then was masturbating, with me on his lap, and the noises he made that I thought were pain, were his climax. He then told me that I would be allowed to be baptized, as planned, and that I shouldn’t tell anyone, as this was between himself, the Lord, and me.

This is the first time I am recounting this experience to anyone. There are obviously SO many problematic things about this, and not all bishops are child molesters. But if my parents had been in that room with me, none of this would have happened.

So damn sad.  So..damn..sad.  So….damn….sad.

10,000 of us are going to make this sadness stop!!!  NOW!!!

If you haven’t signed…sign the petition.

If you have a story of inappropriate youth interviews, share them in the same place where Sandy shared hers.

Here’s what she messaged me after I cried my eyes out.

This is all I have to offer. My truth.  It’s emotionally exhausting.  To try and recount something like that, and stay coherent in writing, and honestly, functional, in the real world, afterward.  But if sharing my experience has the potential to stop something like this from happening to another little girl (or boy) then I can do it.

Well, Sandy, then I can do my damnedest to fight on.

For me, this battle started last march.  I was on the patio of a good friend.  Just he and I talking about his son’s experience behind a bishop’s closed door.

The battle is going to culminate one year later with a march on the Church Office Building.  ONE THOUSAND STRONG marching up State Street to deliver our TEN THOUSAND STRONG petition.

Sandy, I and my 10,000 friends are standing & speaking up for that little 7 year old girl you once were.

Our love and best healing wishes to you.

29 thoughts on “Tears and Disgust at the Destruction of this Child

  1. Sandy, I am so, so sorry that you endured such pain at the hands of someone you thought you could trust. I do believe that, by you sharing, others may be spared. Thank you for having the strength to put your story out there. May you find peace.

    Sam, BROUGAHA!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. SICK. Just sick and awful and I am so sorry this woman had to go through that. I hope that she has come out of it intact—-sexuality and all. And if not, I hope she will be able to get the help she needs to live her life to what she feels is its fullest. Love and hugs to those who suffered.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My hear goes out to Sandy because I am also a survivor of a bishop who sexually assaulted me during these interviews! I know how utterly devasting this all is when you are molested by the person you have been told is supposed to be your go-between with God.

    There are pedophiles called as bishops!…. and the LDS corporation that leads this church OBVIOUSLY does not care BECAUSE they defend the pedophiles BY allowing men to take children ALONE into their offices for these disgusting and horrible interviews! Their actions of continuing these interviews speaks volumes over their releases statement about how they protect and care about children!

    Thank you, Sandy, for speaking out -even if you need to do so anonymously! Believe me, I know how difficult it is to speak out. The shame and loss of innocence is devastating!
    I didn’t speak out for most of my adult life.

    Thank you, Sam, for continuing to fight on! I am with you. We need to see this exposed in the mainstream media. The church will not stop this until the general public is aware of how perverted LDS inc is by allowing men to take children ALONE into their bishop’s office and sexually molest and assault them!

    I know of another man who was also sexually touched by his bishop. He is still fearful to speak out because the bishop who sexually molested him was in an extremely high profile public position in a ward filled with multimillionaires.

    He was only 10 years old. His mother sent him to the bishop because she thought he was masturbating. He had not even discovered ejaculating by self touching. But because his penis was erect, his mother just assumed he was “self-harming”. Another sick factor in this is that his mother also bought into the crap that her son would be a sinner if he was masturbating!

    In his bishops office, the Bishop asked him to remove his pants so the bishop could see what his mother was talking about.
    The bishop then moved behind him, took out his own penis and rubbed it on the boys back while he talked about how this can feel good and also had the boy touch him etc… And the things his bishop did to him are even more perverted than what I have shared.

    This man is now in his 40s. He saw a post I had posted on the Mormon Stories Podcast Community on Facebook -where I had posted about being sexually molested by my bishop. He has only told me and a therapist about what his bishop did to him thus far in his life.

    The shame that this creates for a child is mind boggling!

    When this happens to you as a child, you try to hide it away in your mind and you spend a lot of energy trying to shut down the neuropathways to that memory so you don’t end up fetal on a mental hospital floor. TRUST ME WHEN I SAY, IT IS SO DIFFICULT TO SPEAK UP AND TALK ABOUT BEING MOLESTED BY AN ADULT WHEN THIS HAPPENED TO YOU AS A CHILD!!!

    Sam, these blog posts are creating a record of the horrors the LDS Church condone by having children “interviewed” in these one-on-one settings.

    Shame on you LDS inc for creating an environment for perverted bishops to molest children.

    Shame on the LDS Church for creating an environment where children can be raped, abused, molested and then horrificly shamed for it!

    Shame on Von G. Keetch, General Authority of the church and lead legal attorney for the church for offering another attorney (on my behalf) hush money in exchange for me never speaking publicly about being molested by my bishop!

    My concern is that the Mormon church is based in sexual shaming and it creates an environment for pedophiles to work their way up the ranks only to be rewarded with the ability to sequester and abuse innocent children behind closed doors.

    Go an read Joelle Casteix’s full response to this here:
    (She is the Western Regional Leader of SNAP… from the movie “Spotlight” – the organization that helps expose and fight this kind of abuse.)

    http://www.snapnetwork.org/ut_lds_church_flat_out_wrong_about_one_on_one_interviews_with_children_victims_group_says

    An excerpt from her article:
    “The ramifications of these meetings are horrific. They are an invitation for sexual abuse and exploitation. Even though parents are invited to be in the hallway next door, putting a child alone in a room with an adult in a position of power—who can ask the child probing questions about sex—is an open invitation for predators. What child will report that something bad happened during a meeting that the LDS Church calls a “sacred opportunity?” Our experience has shown us predators will abuse kids while their parents were in the next room or down the hall. All they need is a closed door.”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Kudos to this brave woman for sharing such a personal experience, and good for her for speaking up and speaking out. I would also like to speak out, although I was never molested by any LDS church leaders. I can tell you that I was asked specifically about the extent of my involvement with masturbation by Bishops and Stake Presidents from age 12 through age 35.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes. However, the permit process in SLC is not complete yet. They are telling me the date shouldn’t be a problem. But, the final approval won’t be given until sometime next week. I plan to announce it at the coming press conference.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This is so sad. Bless those who are speaking out. I hope and pray the church gets it’s act together and abolishes the practice of lone interviews and sexual questions. Unfortunately, I fear they are so vested in “inspiration” that they won’t act promptly and appropriately. To admit this is a systemic problem is tantamount to admitting that leadership isn’t inspired. It’s not just the bishops who perpetrate these evil acts who can’t be inspired, but where is the inspiration from the higher authority who called him, and the authority who doesn’t release him, and the councilor who doesn’t discern what’s going on, and the parent who isn’t warned by the spirit to keep their child safe. For a church who predicates it’s legitimacy on inspiration to each in their realm of responsibility, that’s a pretty damning lack of discernment. I know, there’s always the lame excuse that God gives us agency and can’t protect the weak from predators because free-agency is paramount…. but I doubt many are really so jaded as to actually totally buy that argument. Instead, they have to cling to the belief that this really isn’t a problem, it doesn’t really happen very often, or whatever. From an inspired leadership point of view, it is a bitter pill to take to admit interviews are a source of problems. I just hope the powers that be are mature enough to stomach the bitter enough to protect and feed the sheep in their care. Hopefully the shame of this coming to light is also bitter, and makes it easier for them to choose the right.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. 50+ year old tough guy here. This story made me cry. I can’t remember reading anything as rage inducing as this. That man is truly despicable.

    Hats off to Sandy for sharing her story.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. However safe or sacrosanct the church declares these interviews to be, in the face of opposition, I’m pretty damn sure that sometime soon they will adjust their interview procedures. If not, they are more dumb and arrogant than I presently perceive.. It’s funny isn’t it, how the ‘wicked world’ has to set the best example of practice and drag them screaming into the public arena, before they bother to change.

    Liked by 1 person

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