A Win for Our Children!!!

Lion Protecting CubsTonight, an amazing message came in from a good friend.  He’s an active member in a far far away stake.  Immediately, I composed an e-mail to my Stake President with his message at the core.  At this time, I can’t share all the details out in public.

The stake has decided to implement every last demand of the petition!!!!   And more…stuff that’s related but wasn’t included in the petition.  I felt that if the petition was to be successful, it needed to be focused on one issue….children’s interviews.  This wise stake presidency totally gets it.

Just so amazing.

Here’s the e-mail I just sent to my stake president.

Dear President _________,

Tonight, an active friend sent me the following message:

(Sorry everybody…I don’t have permission to share the details of what’s happening in this far far away stake.  But just imagine this…all our wildest dreams about changes to how sexuality is approached with our kids.  It is truly amazing stuff.)     

Changes to protect our children are inevitable.  This wise stake president has taken action without directions from Church headquarters.  I’m aware of 2 other stakes who are considering similar changes.

Let’s do the same thing here.  Take the lead.  I’ll follow.  Your flock will be delighted.

Sincerely,

Sam

The Gloves are Off

LionTonight I sent this letter to my stake president and the newspaper.

Dear President ________,

Last Thursday, I held a news conference in Salt Lake City.  All the major media outlets showed up.  You’ll find the link below.

As I mentioned in a previous communication, media attention is coming to Houston.  In early February, I’m doing a press conference here like the one in SLC.  The media is very interested in this topic.  They are all stunned at what we are doing to our kids.

We have done massive harm to our children by our interview practices.  At this point, I’ve collected over 1,000 stories of horrid consequences.  Read them here.  Inform yourself as to why YOU should take action now.

Until last Thursday, I was giving bishops the benefit of the doubt.  That they are good men, with good intentions.

However, once we know that our interview protocol puts our children at great risk, we are NOT good men if we continue that practice.

From today on, if a bishop takes a child behind closed doors, all alone….he is not a good man.  He has harmed our children.

From this day forward, if a bishop asks a child about masturbation or any other sexual matter…he is not a good man.  He has harmed that child.

If you don’t understand how this damages our children, then inform yourself.  I have wanted to meet with you for months to discuss these issues.  I’d still like to do that.  But, I’m done waiting for the church, the ward or the stake to make changes.  Every week that goes by, further damage is done.  You are better than that.

I call on you to immediately halt one-on-one interviews with all children and youth.  Have a parent in all meetings with any child.

I call on you to immediately halt all questions about masturbation and other sexually explicit questions.  DO.NOT.SHAME.OUR.CHILDREN.

Order your bishops to protect the children…right now.  Have them cease these dangerous and damaging interviews.

You are the pastoral leader of a huge flock.  Be our pastoral leader.  Advocate for the children.  You might take some heat from your ecclesiastical superiors.  But, your concern should be for the well-being of the children in this stake, rather than compliance to directions from other men.

I have risked my reputation to speak out.  It’s affected my livelihood.  I’ve lost customers.  I’ve lost friends.  I’ve made the decision to die on this hill.  The hill of protecting children.  Ultimately, my reputation will remain intact.  Everyone outside of the church is appalled by what we are doing.  Many inside the church are also aghast.  Unfortunately, there is such fear in our Mormon culture, that those inside don’t speak up.

By not taking immediate action, you are also putting your reputation at risk.  No one outside of the church is going to think highly of a man who takes children behind closed doors and questions them about masturbation.  I no longer think highly of them, either.  I know the damages.  I have communicated them to every bishopric in the stake.  If you and they are not informed as to how we are harming our kids, you have no excuse.

Here’s my invitation.  Send a directive out to the bishops immediately.  Tell them to stop the interviews until things are sorted out.  Take the lead.  Don’t wait for a directive from the church.

Join me at the Houston news conference.  You make the announcement that you recognize the harms we have done and that we have changed course to never do this to our kids again.

The entire non-Mormon in the community will applaud your integrity and bravery.  The members in the stake will applaud you, too.  After all, these are their kids you are looking to protect.

You’ll likely receive some kind of censure from the church.  But, not from Jesus Christ.  He spoke unequivocally about our obligation to provide safety for our children:

“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.”

Jesus made His point.  I am not going to be hanged by the millstone.  Let’s stand with Christ for our children’s sake on this one.

With determination,

Sam

Links in the e-mail

News conference

Read the Stories

 

 

News Conference Report–1/18/18

NewsConfSLC3

The first news conference for Protect LDS Children.  And my first one, too.  Natasha Helfer Parker and Joelle Casteix were amazing, as you’ll see.

Stats

Attendance:  75.  YAY!!!

Media:  4 TV stations, the 2 major Salt Lake City papers, several other significant local publications.   The Church’s media arms were there:  Deseret News and KSL TV.

Media Coverage:  Several articles in print, TV, & radio.  Major coup.

New Petition Signatures:  At least 700 so far.  They continue to roll in.  Awareness is on the rise.

Setting Boundaries:  A handful of members have reported that they plan to use the new template to set boundaries in order to protect their children.  This is huge.  It means that real children have actually been extended a new level of safety within the church.

The News Conference Video

 

My Remarks in Text

Last night I received this message:

“In 2014, l lost my 14 year old son to suicide.  His chat logs before his death hint he was struggling with feeling worthy.   I have no doubts that these Bishop’s interviews played a role in my son’s end of life decision.

After 3 1/2 years of intense research and pondering of his decision, I place these interviews as third on the list for why he made the decision.  My haunting regrets tell me he might still be alive if I had not required that he participate in these interviews.”

I don’t know how a parent ever heals from this.  This dad is watching the news conference as we speak from his home in Las Vegas.

My dear friend at your home, I and 11,000 others apologize from the bottom of our hearts that this happened to your son on our watch.  I was complicit by not paying attention to the practices of my own church.  I won’t make that mistake again.

These 11,000, which now includes you, are committed to warning all Mormon parents to the horrid dangers of these interviews.  It’s still our watch.  Now we are informed.   We will not be haunted by our own silence.

When it comes to protecting our children, I have no tolerance whatsoever for political correctness.  What I say next may offend every person I know.  But, I want to express the empathetic passion that I now feel after having read 1,000 stories of what we have done to our children.

So here goes.  We are killing our children.  This child is not the first to have committed suicide.  I know dozens who have attempted it.  Hundreds who have considered it.

We are raping our children.  Seven year old Sandy on the bishop’s desk.  Twelve year old Amy at the bishop’s knees.   Yeah, you can read their stories.  But, they are so hard to read.  Courageous Sandy and brave Amy,  thank you for making it safe for others to come forward.

We are shaming our beautiful children into loathing themselves.   We ruin their childhood.  We torment  their adulthood.  I have read hundreds and hundreds of these heart-breaking stories.

We are grooming our precious children to be unsuspecting targets of the pedophiles among us.

This has to stop.  And WE are not going to stop until it does.

Now, for the update that I promised in the news release.

  1. On October 31, 2017 we launched the petition: Protect The Children–Stop Sexually Explicit Interviews of Mormon Youth.  Our goal was 10,000 signatures.  That benchmark was reached on Christmas Eve.  Over 5,000 signatories are from Utah.  Currently, there are 11,475 thundering voices calling for the immediate stop of one-on-one interviews and probing questions about masturbation and other sexually explicit matters.
  2. The website protectldschildren.org has been created to provide an easily accessible location to share and read the stories of the damages that we are doing to our kids.
  3. 173 stories have now been recorded on the site.  Eight of them have been converted to video format.
  4. Some parents are waking up to the risk of their children and have asked for a letter that can be sent to their bishop.  One is now available on the website under “Set Boundaries.”  Click the button and up pops a simple template.
  5. So, what’s our next step? We are announcing that right now.  It’s The March for the Children.  On March 30th, 2018, 1,000 of us will gather at City Hall.  Then march 5 blocks to the Church Office Building.  There, we will deliver our petition directly to the Church.

But, our actions will not cease today, only to resume on March 30th.  Nope.  Our children are too precious to just keep sending them behind closed doors.

We are calling for this practice to stop immediately, today.  How can we accomplish that?

First, we call on the good parents of the church.  Starting today, do not permit your child to be interviewed alone.  Do not permit sexual question to be asked of your child.  A sample letter to set interview boundaries can be found on the website.

Second, we call on the good bishops of the church to cease this practice immediately.  Always invite a parent into every interview, to be inside the room, in support of their child.  Going forward, never ask about masturbation or any other sexually probing questions.  Do.Not.Shame.Our.Children.  Protect our children from all harm.  This will protect you, too.

Third, we call on the good leaders at the top of the church to give instructions to immediately stop this practice.  Protect our children.  Now.  Not in 3 months.  Not in 3 years.  Protect our children now.

Of course, I recognize that the church may not act quickly.  Parents…they are your children.  You CAN act immediately….for your children’s sake.

Finally, I believe the vast majority of bishops are good men.  Most did not intend to harm our children.  Until this past year, I did not understand exactly how we are traumatizing our kids.

But, now we know.  We are informed.  From this day forward, I will no longer give bishops a break for committing the blunders of the past.  They are no longer unintended errors of ignorance.  The next time a bishop takes a child behind closed doors…the harm is intentional.  The next time a bishop shames our children about masturbation…you have damaged our children intentionally.

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

I love the teachings and example of Jesus, especially this one:

 “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.”

Today we call for the immediate stop of offending our little ones.

Other Resources

Is there a Human Being on the Planet…

Lion Innocence…who wouldn’t be devastated by this?

I bawled my eyes out.  It took me three attempts to watch the video before I could watch to the end.

This story was shared today on protectldschildren.org.  I spoke with the dad by phone.  How does anyone recover from this?

I did lose a 14 year old son to suicide in 2014, this petition is correct about the risk of suicide attached to these interviews.

In my most painful moments searching for what sparked my Samuel’s end of life decision, the issues presented in this petition quickly rose high on the list to investigate. Not just one, but two Bishop’s testified while speaking at his funeral just how conscientious Samuel was during his Bishop’s interviews with them. Also comments in his chat logs before he died hint that he was effected by these interviews.

After over 3 years of grueling and intense research and pondering to understand, I place these interviews and the feelings of shame they produce as a major reason for his end of life decision. My haunting regrets tell me he might still be alive if I had not required that he participate in these interviews, God knows how I wished I had a Sam Young to enlighten me before his death.

*** Samuel’s video is the heart-breaker ***

 

These Interviews Stop NOW!

It’s not just Sam Young….There are now 11,449 thundering voices that will NOT be silenced.  Our cherished children are at stake.

Other Resources

News Conference-Jan 18, 2018 Salt Lake City

Lion Protecting Cubs

When:    January 18, 2018  10am

What:    News conference

Where:  50 West Club & Café located at 50 W. Broadway in Salt Lake City.

Event:    Protect LDS Children

  • Current status of the Petition: Protect the Children—Stop Sexually Explicit Interviews of Mormon Youth.
  • Large collection of survivor stories.
  • Announcement of the March-for-the-Children to deliver the petition to the Church Office Building.

Three speakers will be on the podium:

  • Sam Young, concerned father, former Mormon bishop, petition organizer;
  • Joelle Casteix, sex abuse victims’ advocate, Western Regional Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network;
  • Natasha Helfer Parker, a certified sex therapist and licensed marriage & family therapist.

For decades, it has been common place for a significant number of LDS Bishops to pose questions of a sexual nature to children, all alone, behind closed doors.  This practice has caused incalculable damage to our children.

The consequences range from childhood self-loathing all the way to sexual abuse and suicide. The goal of Protect-LDS-Children is to bring a halt to these dangerous and damaging interviews.

The petition has now garnered well over 10,000 signatures.  5,000 of the signers are from Utah.  Many of them are active LDS members.

To date more than 1,000 survivor stories have been collected.  They recount horrifying and heartrending interviews, the accompanying trauma and the lasting damage.  All of this has been done to our children behind closed doors of bishop’s offices.

The time has come to bring this practice to an immediate stop.  How this will be accomplished will be a central part of the news conference message.

Sam Young

Houston business owner, father of 6 daughters, active LDS Church member, decades of service to the LDS church including bishop, bishopric counselor, ward mission leader, ward young men president, stake young men president, stake public affairs director, stake activities director, high councilor, high priest group leader, seminary teacher, institute teacher and several special assignments.  Served full time mission in Guatemala/El Salvador.

Joelle Casteix

Named one of Orange County’s 100 Most Influential People, Joelle is the award-winning author of the bestsellers  The Well-Armored Child: A Parent’s Guide to Preventing Child Sexual Abuse (RiverGrove Books) and The Power of Responsibility (based on her wildly successful TEDx talk.) A successful writer and blogger, she is also a leading national “in the trenches” expert on the prevention and exposure of child sex abuse and cover-up, especially within institutions such as the Catholic Church.

A former journalist, educator, and public relations professional, Joelle has taken her own experience as a victim of child sex crimes and devoted her career to exposing abuse, advocating on behalf of survivors, and spreading abuse prevention strategies for parents and communities. Her writing has been featured in The Orange County Register, Parenting.com, and hundreds of other blogs and magazines nationwide.

Since 2003, Joelle has been the volunteer Western Regional Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. In that capacity, she has traveled the world exposing abusers, helping victims get healing, justice and accountability, and researching predatory abuse patterns in institutions.

Her expertise includes an in-depth understanding and recognition of patterns of abuse, predatory behaviors, grooming, prevention, institutional disregard, and criminal cover-up.

She also conducts trainings for families, churches and communities on how to raise empowered children and keep our communities safe from child sexual abuse.

She has practiced for over 20 years, primarily working with issues of relational health, faith journeys, and sexuality. She is a Certified Sex Therapist and Marriage & Family Therapist. She writes a blog called “The Mormon Therapist,” and hosts the podcasts “Mormon Mental Health,” and “Mormon Sex Info.” She also runs a sex education program, “Sex Talk with Natasha” and her private practice, “Symmetry Solutions.” For more information visit natashaparker.org.

What Would MLK Do?

Jail

Today, I read an essay by Lesley Butterfield Harrop.  His powerful words touched and inspired me.

I am NO Martin Luther King.  But….maybe, just maybe, 10,000 resounding voices can echo the example of  this great man.

Lesley’s Essay

I attended my lovely little Unitarian Universalist Church congregation today. The theme was Martin Luther King Jr. and the freedoms that he stood for. I have to admit my public and private school education has failed when it comes teaching Dr. King’s remarkable insight into the social injustices and social psychology behind the very freedoms that he was so peacefully bit powerfully advocating for. The letter from Dr King penned from Birmingham Jail was read in the church service. I’d like to share some correlating thoughts that I’ve had regarding Dr King’s words and corresponding situations we now face in the social and political system of the Mormon religious institution. In particular, Sam Young’s work/petition to keep our children safe from harmful influences and practices that curiously and alarming seem to have a place within our faith system, as well as many of us who desperately who to advocate for changes within the church including racial and gender equality, LGBTQIA inclusion, and reformation of other harmful and abusive policies or messaging. I want to share a few excerpts from his letter first, followed by the correlation I can see.

“Letter from a Birmingham Jail [King, Jr.]”
16 April 1963
My Dear Fellow Clergymen:
While confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling my present activities “unwise and untimely.” Seldom do I pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas. If I sought to answer all the criticisms that cross my desk, my secretaries would have little time for anything other than such correspondence in the course of the day, and I would have no time for constructive work. But since I feel that you are men of genuine good will and that your criticisms are sincerely set forth, I want to try to answer your statement in what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms…

…But more basically, I am in Birmingham because injustice is here. Just as the prophets of the eighth century B.C. left their villages and carried their “thus saith the Lord” far beyond the boundaries of their home towns, and just as the Apostle Paul left his village of Tarsus and carried the gospel of Jesus Christ to the far corners of the Greco Roman world, so am I compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my own home town. Like Paul, I must constantly respond to the Macedonian call for aid…

…I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection…

..I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and that when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress. I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that the present tension in the South is a necessary phase of the transition from an obnoxious negative peace, in which the Negro passively accepted his unjust plight, to a substantive and positive peace, in which all men will respect the dignity and worth of human personality…

…I had hoped that the white moderate would see this need. Perhaps I was too optimistic; perhaps I expected too much. I suppose I should have realized that few members of the oppressor race can understand the deep groans and passionate yearnings of the oppressed race, and still fewer have the vision to see that injustice must be rooted out by strong, persistent and determined action. I am thankful, however, that some of our white brothers in the South have grasped the meaning of this social revolution and committed themselves to it. They are still all too few in quantity, but they are big in quality…

…I must honestly reiterate that I have been disappointed with the church. I do not say this as one of those negative critics who can always find something wrong with the church. I say this as a minister of the gospel, who loves the church; who was nurtured in its bosom; who has been sustained by its spiritual blessings and who will remain true to it as long as the cord of life shall lengthen…

…In deep disappointment I have wept over the laxity of the church. But be assured that my tears have been tears of love. There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love. Yes, I love the church. How could I do otherwise? I am in the rather unique position of being the son, the grandson and the great grandson of preachers. Yes, I see the church as the body of Christ. But, oh! How we have blemished and scarred that body through social neglect and through fear of being nonconformists…” (Excerpts from Letter from Birmingham Jail).

The assertions that Dr King defines in his letter are strictly parallel to those we as brothers and sisters in faith face today. He outlines ‘The Why’ of his work. Certainly, he was asked and even demeaned for traveling to other places in order to advocate for freedom, just as we hear today from faithful TBM’s, in all areas, “Why do you need to advocate for these children if you trust your current Bishop, or if your children are grown, or if you are not even LDS, or if this never happened to you personally? And if you are not gay, why does this policy matter to you?” With Dr King’s words, we have beautiful reasoning as to why we must stand when there are injustices, no matter the effects on us personally. Regardless if these very injustices take place in our ward, our university, our community, our religion, or our place of residence, we must stand because somewhere in a ward, a university, a community they ARE taking place. We stand because we must. And we travel or spread our cause, because the need to reach these places of injustice will not be fulfilled until someone somewhere stands and says, “No More.”

Interestingly enough, it was NOT the extremists that Dr King found the most frustration with. It was those who were the Moderates. The ones who could understand the need for change, but ultimately chose to preserve the peace and order of system instead of standing and advocating for a new freedom-filled peace. Is this not what we are facing today? We all personally know those people who can understand our cause to stand for protecting children, fighting injustices, and calling out abuse. Sadly, the majority of this crowd will not ACT but remain COMPLICIT, justifying that it is not their fight, when deep down they just fear change. This group of people (the moderates as Dr King referred to them as) values peace over justice. Dr. King so eloquently points out the harm in a peace that allows evil and the true desire he has for a peace that thrives with freedom and justice. In our LDS wards and stakes we face this same question. We have peace and order, yes, but what type is it? Regretfully, it is the type of peace and order that is allowing injustices and evils to flourish, against our children and against our own brothers and sisters, no less.

Finally, Dr. King speaks of the church. The church that he LOVES. The church that he is a third generation preacher in. He speaks of this church disappointing him greatly because of its inability to stand with the oppressed. Why does this disappoint him? Because Jesus Christ himself championed the oppressed with peace and love. He did not turn away from the injustices or fall in line with the Roman rule
of order to keep the peace. He walked and served the least of these and HE is the EXEMPLAR to all of us who claim to follow him. Certainly, the parallel can be drawn to our church today. We literally and figuratively take upon ourselves the name of Christ each Sunday. We call ourselves The Latter-Day Saints of Jesus Chris himself. How can we even use that terminology when we justify, blame, minimize, rationalize, and doubt the countless horrific experiences of our powerless victims who had no voice and no protector.

I didn’t mean to write a novel, but felt such important conclusions were necessary to draw after seeing some of the responses to those who simply advocate for a resolution to injustices happening in our midst today.

Resources

News Conference: It’s Time to Roar for the Children.

LionMany continue to ask how they can help.  Well…frankly…you have helped a ton.

  • 11,000 signatures on the petition.  Much as a result of people sharing it with courage, passion and push back from your friends.
  • 152 stories shared on protectldschildren.org.  I now know how damn hard and painful it can be to reveal your story in public.  Regardless of whether or not your name is hidden or anonymous.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.  I have shed many tears as I read your words.
  • Today’s Tribune article by Ethan Dodge.

Here’s how you can help NOW

On Thursday January 18, 2018, we are holding a News Conference to protect the children.  Lot’s of media are expected.  Of course, it’s always possible that no one will show.  But, with all the press coverage during past 3 weeks, it’s likely that it will be a great media affair.

Besides media, I’m inviting EVERYBODY.  This can make a huge difference in our cause.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Come yourself
  • Bring others
  • If you can’t come, encourage others to come
  • Share this blog article
  • Mark that you are coming on the Facebook Event page  (Well…I don’t have that put together yet…It’s coming)
  • If you have media contacts, encourage them to come

If ten of you attend…I’ll be grateful.

If 50 of you attend…that will be awesome.

If 100 attend…it will be noted by the media.

If 300 come out…Oh My Goodness…It would be a precursor to the march that will be announced at the news conference.  Three hundred people would be a huge!  But, I’ll be grateful if ten is the number.

The wheels are turning.  The locomotive is moving.  We, the lions are roaring.  All for the safety of our children.

Below is the news release that has been distributed widely throughout Utah.

News Release–Protect LDS Children 

When:    January 18, 2018  10am

What:    News conference

Where:  50 West Club & Café located at 50 W. Broadway in Salt Lake City.

Event:    Protect LDS Children

  • Current status of the Petition: Protect the Children—Stop Sexually Explicit Interviews of Mormon Youth.
  • Large collection of survivor stories.
  • Announcement of the March-for-the-Children to deliver the petition to the Church Office Building.

Three speakers will be on the podium:

  • Sam Young, concerned father, former Mormon bishop, petition organizer;
  • Joelle Casteix, sex abuse victims’ advocate, Western Regional Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network;
  • Natasha Helfer Parker, a certified sex therapist and licensed marriage & family therapist.

For decades, it has been common place for a significant number of LDS Bishops to pose questions of a sexual nature to children, all alone, behind closed doors.  This practice has caused incalculable damage to our children.

The consequences range from childhood self-loathing all the way to sexual abuse and suicide. The goal of Protect-LDS-Children is to bring a halt to these dangerous and damaging interviews.

The petition has now garnered well over 10,000 signatures.  5,000 of the signers are from Utah.  Many of them are active LDS members.

To date more than 1,000 survivor stories have been collected.  They recount horrifying and heartrending interviews, the accompanying trauma and the lasting damage.  All of this has been done to our children behind closed doors of bishop’s offices.

The time has come to bring this practice to an immediate stop.  How this will be accomplished will be a central part of the news conference message.

Sampic

Sam Young

Houston business owner, father of 6 daughters, active LDS Church member, decades of service to the LDS church including bishop, bishopric counselor, ward mission leader, ward young men president, stake young men president, stake public affairs director, stake activities director, high councilor, high priest group leader, seminary teacher, institute teacher and several special assignments.  Served full time mission in Guatemala/El Salvador.

Joelle Casteix

JoelleNewReleaseSex Abuse Victims’ Advocate; Western Regional Leader, SNAP, the Survivors Network

Named one of Orange County’s 100 Most Influential People, Joelle is the award-winning author of the bestsellers  The Well-Armored Child: A Parent’s Guide to Preventing Child Sexual Abuse (RiverGrove Books) and The Power of Responsibility (based on her wildly successful TEDx talk.) A successful writer and blogger, she is also a leading national “in the trenches” expert on the prevention and exposure of child sex abuse and cover-up, especially within institutions such as the Catholic Church.

A former journalist, educator, and public relations professional, Joelle has taken her own experience as a victim of child sex crimes and devoted her career to exposing abuse, advocating on behalf of survivors, and spreading abuse prevention strategies for parents and communities. Her writing has been featured in The Orange County Register, Parenting.com, and hundreds of other blogs and magazines nationwide.

Since 2003, Joelle has been the volunteer Western Regional Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. In that capacity, she has traveled the world exposing abusers, helping victims get healing, justice and accountability, and researching predatory abuse patterns in institutions.

Her expertise includes an in-depth understanding and recognition of patterns of abuse, predatory behaviors, grooming, prevention, institutional disregard, and criminal cover-up.

She also conducts trainings for families, churches and communities on how to raise empowered children and keep our communities safe from child sexual abuse.

NatashaNewsReleaseNatasha Helfer Parker, LCMFT, CST

She has practiced for over 20 years, primarily working with issues of relational health, faith journeys, and sexuality. She is a Certified Sex Therapist and Marriage & Family Therapist. She writes a blog called “The Mormon Therapist,” and hosts the podcasts “Mormon Mental Health,” and “Mormon Sex Info.” She also runs a sex education program, “Sex Talk with Natasha” and her private practice, “Symmetry Solutions.” For more information visit natashaparker.org.