Another Bishop Protecting Children

March Sign Worthiness2

A Recent Email

I wanted to send a heart felt thank you for standing up and putting your neck on the line regarding the Bishop interviews and sexual questions. I heard on NPR today you were excommunicated. I believe your fight is worth it. 

Earlier this year, my Father had just been called to be a Bishop.  I immediately knew I needed to talk about the Bishop interviews with my Father now that he was in this leadership role. I wasn’t sure how to bring it up. Then I read your story in the news, and sent it to my Father.

As a youth in the church, it is all fun and beautiful until you hit about 12, and yes, the Bishop interview threw me off.  Why was this man asking me these questions? I could never look that Bishop in the eyes again without feeling gross. I avoided him.

Flash forward to hearing about your story earlier this year. I sent a link to an article about you to my Father. And it opened the dialogue.  For the first time in my life I told my Father we needed to talk about this issue.  That I wanted to share my story with him. My father cried when I told him what happened to me. 

My Father, still a Bishop, has promised to not ask sexual questions to youth, and has promised to invite parents or church leaders to interviews.  I asked my Father to be an example of what the church could and should be.  I believe he will.

Thank you again for championing this important issue. For sacrificing your name on the church records. It has made a difference.

My response

Your message sent goose bumps down my arms and legs.   Still there.  Electrifying.  By speaking with your father you have provided a level of protection to the children of his ward and to him.  Amazing.  In my mind, I’m hugging you with love and admiration.

Would you mind if I publicly shared some of the details of this email?  Anonymously of course.  It’s such great news.

Warmest regards, Sam

Audiences

To date, actions have been directed at 3 audiences:

  1. The Q15.  I had hoped that as they were confronted with the massive damage their policies have done to thousands of children that they would change the policy in a substantive way.  The 15 chose to excommunicate rather than to mitigate.  I no longer plan to reach out to these men who turn a blind eye to their own victims.
  2. The Mormon members.  My hopes are that parents and local leaders will implement changes to protect their own children, their congregation and themselves.  The email above is one of many witnesses that Protect LDS Children has accomplished a great work here.  Many children are being protected from harmful interviews and potential predators.  However, most members have either not heard of our cause or have chosen to support the policy from SLC.  Going forward, I’ll continue to reach out to the fine members and good-hearted leaders in the Church.
  3. Non-members.  Our cause has now reached the ears of millions of people outside the Mormon Church.  They get it.  I have never talked to a non-Mormon who wasn’t disgusted.  Nor was anyone previously aware of what Mormons subject their children to.  Our efforts to reach this group has met with resounding success.  We will continue to spread the word in the community-at-large.

Action

You can make a difference!

Talk to your friends, your family, your local Mormon leadership.  If it’s not safe to discuss with members of the church, spread the news to every non-member you encounter.

One Child shamed to death, One Child pounds the bishop’s desk

Lions Surround Yourself

Story #278

Earlier this year, #278 submitted her personal story of heart-wrenching childhood shaming.  The story of this now mother, just became even more tragic.  Here’s her original submission to protectldschildren.org:

I grew up in an abusive home. I was raped for the first time when I was 7. I spent decades trying to convince my “leaders” that it wasn’t my fault. They insisted that I must have done something and I needed to repent (after all, what’s the point of a worthiness interview if you don’t get to spread some shame?). All the shaming just made me more vulnerable to the abuse. They could have helped me. They could have helped my abuser. Instead they dealt lasting damage to my sense of self and my sense of worth. I couldn’t get away from the abuse and the abuser until after my kids had also been damaged. We are now dealing with the 4th major mental health crisis to hit our family of 6. My daughter is in the hospital and has been for 3 months with no end in sight. It didn’t have to be this way.

Today, she sent me this message.  I cried.  My dear friend, I’m so sorry for your loss.

Since I wrote to you my daughter has died, shamed to death by the LDS church. It would please me to write something for her to be included in the pool of stories if that fits with your goal. She was transgender and the interviews about sex and sexuality contributed to her death. Again, thank you for doing this. We can’t save everyone, but I’ll still try.

#278’s story can also be read HERE.

Story #944

Some children mature before many adults do.  Here’s a 16 year old’s reaction to her probing bishop’s interview:  “A rage inside of me began. I stood up and unleashed holy hell on that piece of shit.”  I am so proud of this child, now an adult.  My rage didn’t surface until age 64.  I stood up and unleashed holy hell on a piece of crap Mormon policy.

I was born and raised in the Mormon Church along with my older sister and older brother. The brainwashing began for me at a very early age. Monthly testimony meetings and being led to believe that the bishop had a direct line of communication with the Lord molded my brain to believe that the Bishop knew everything and saw everything.

I was 16 when I had my “worthiness “ interview to see if I was “pure” enough to enter the temple. I was a virgin. I had never had any type of sexual experience. I had only kissed a boy that I had been best friends with for years. I had no knowledge of what an orgasm was either male or female.

I sat across from the bishop (I wish I could say that bastard’s name), he in his 3 piece slimy greasy suit and I dressed conservatively in a dress. The questions came immediately. Have I masturbated, have I participated in heavy petting, oral sex, have I had an orgasm.

As each question was asked, the more confused, disgusted, horrified, sick, humiliated, exposed, vulnerable, basically every emotion a young woman would feel as she is being raped, I felt!!! I told the bishop that I didn’t know what an orgasm was. He proceeded to tell me in graphic detail. He also described in detail how it feels to him and how it feels to his wife when they have sex and have an orgasm as well.

I knew that what he was doing to me was wrong. My personal relationship with the Lord and the Lord as I knew him to be would not do this to me. A rage inside of me began. I stood up and unleashed holy hell on that piece of shit. I slammed both fists on his desk and told him to f__k off and that I would never ever return to this evil church again.

#944’s full story can be read HERE.

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.

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.

 

Great Grass Roots News

March Don't Make me grow up

Today, I received 3 encouraging reports.

  1. Several active families in Tucson are working in their stake to implement petition style interviews.
  2. Several active families in Scotland are working on the same thing.  They have promised to return & report.
  3. Then, the following letter.  Amazing letter.  Sent by a father of 3 daughters to his good bishop.  He attended the march and was disappointed that not one word was uttered at general conference about protecting our children.

Hello [Bishop],

You may have heard about the rally that was held last Friday in support of asking the Church to update its policies regarding Bishops interviewing children one on one and to also stop asking children sexually explicit questions. A petition was also presented to the Church leaders with over 56,000 signatures requesting these changes be made. I want you to know that I signed the petition and I participated in the rally as well. I want you to understand that this is in no way an indication that I do not trust you as a person. I think you are a good man and I’m glad you’re the Bishop of the ward. 

That being said, I think that it would better serve our children if the church worldwide updated its policy to require two adults in the room when children are being interviewed. This would be similar to the scouting program, where two deep leadership is a requirement at all times. Both for the safety of the child and for the protection of the adult from possible false accusations.

I realize that the church last week updated its policy to allow the child to request another adult be present in interviews if they wish, but I don’t think this goes far enough. This places the burden of protection on the child, who may not even know that it’s an option for another adult to be present. Considering my support for this cause, I felt I would be lacking if I didn’t communicate with you concerning my wishes for my children.

I am respectfully requesting the following with regard to my children:

  • My wife or I will be present in all interviews, whether with you or one of your counselors. Even if an interview is to be brief, one of us must be present. This includes formal interviews (such as at birthdays) or informal (such as a quick pulling in from the hall for a class presidency re-arrangement).
  • If in the event one of my children requests that someone other than me or my wife be present, we will allow them to choose who should be present (such as a counselor, or YW president or advisor, etc.)
  • Explicit questions about moral worthiness will not be asked to my children. The very nature of determining “worthiness” insinuates that a child may be unworthy. My children are good kids and I know that God loves them. Even if they do make mistakes, as we all do in life, I do not want them to ever feel that they are unworthy before God. They are always worthy of his love, no matter what. My wife and I, as parents, can help them with the repentance process and to accompany them to visit with you if that is needed. I am requesting that you do not ask explicit questions about masturbation, sexual orientation, or any other intimate sexual activity. These are items that My wife and I will discuss with our children in our home, as their parents. I do not think it is appropriate for a young girl to be in a room alone with a man, any man, and be asked these types of questions.
  • Children are not under covenant to obey the Law of Chastity. That is a temple covenant. We will discuss chastity in our home with our children. What it means, and how it relates to them. However, I do not want them being asked by an adult man if they are sexually pure. I believe that this type of questioning could possibly play a role in a child at some future point being groomed by other adults (whose intentions are evil) if the child feels that it’s OK to discuss sexual topics with an adult man. Now, maybe you never would ask these explicit questions. But there are plenty of Bishops out there who do. And it is damaging. It is damaging to a child’s sense of worth, and it could be damaging to their sexual development that could cause relationship and mental health issues both in the present and later in life. It is damaging that a child may develop a sense that they are not worthy of God’s love, as was the case for me during my teenage years.

If you would like to discuss this further or have any questions, I’m happy to have a conversation with you. However, as the father of my daughters, I respectfully request that you consider and adhere to my requests above. Thank you.

“My bishop replied that he would respect my wishes. Now, if more people would do this, we could force change! And bishops may make this their own policy even if they are not mandated by SLC.”

Good Point

My friend has a good point.  20,000 people have now signed the Protect-the-Children petition.  What would happen if only 1,000 of us sent a letter to our bishop?  We CAN make this change in the trenches before SLC eventually decides to do the right thing.

If you send a letter or talk directly to your bishop, please share it on the Success Stories page.  Today, we have 12.  Tomorrow there will be hundreds…as we each take individual action.

What Can You Do Now?

Help bolster our army of thundering lions.  Our petition currently has 20,138 signatures.   My next goal is 30,000.

If you haven’t already, Sign the Petition.

If you can, Share the Petition….again.

Every week that goes by, children continue to be egregiously harmed behind bishop’s closed doors in Mormon churches all around the world.

IT’S.TIME.TO.PULVERIZE.THIS.POLICY.

Links

Sign the Petition

 

 

Active Members are on the Move–Success Story #3.

Father and son

What a great email to wake up to!!

Dear Sam/Bishop Young,

I wanted to write to you to thank you for the information you are sharing. I know this has been so troublesome for you and a heavy load to bear. I also know that the burden of hurt carried by so many members and their children has been heavy and lonely. I am a former Relief Society President and life long member of the church. Like you I have served in presidencies and served a full time mission. I have family and friends who have their own experiences with well-meaning or not so well-meaning church leadership.

I wanted to let you know that I have shared our concerns and your press conference with our bishopric, RS, Primary and YW Presidents. Our bishop expressed his concern as well and is planning to bring up the issue in his next Stake Welfare meeting. Our RS President is well aware and endorses our efforts to address the issue. My husband, who is currently on the High Council, and I sat down personally with our Stake President a week ago to express our concerns. He was very open and willing to address the issue in the Stake and has told us he will bring the issue to his next meeting of Stake Presidents who meet with the area authority Elder _____. I believe our stake president sees the wisdom in taking some action to protect children and also to avoid huge liabilities. I have also shared the press conference and my concerns with the Stake RS President, Stake Primary Presidency and the Stake YW President. The quickest solution we offered is for a child to choose a parent or another leader to accompany them into the interviews.

We also have been sharing our concerns with family and friends, especially those who hold leadership positions in our faith. We pray that they will have the courage to share their concerns and that the spirit will guide them in how to do so in their respective spheres of influence.

God bless you and guide you as you take this journey.

Thank you,  T.D.

THANK YOU, T.D.  Your efforts will protect our children.  This is so awesome!

My totally active daughter has been telling me for months, “Dad please don’t quit.  There are more people in the church who agree with these changes than don’t.  It’s just that the members who support you are afraid to speak up.”

Last week, I was told the same thing by an active member who has also spoken with his friends, family and leaders.

I’m starting to believe them.

How Can You Help Protect Our Children?

Share your concerns with leaders, friends and family.

Share YOUR Success Story.

Share the Petition.

Share the website, ProtectLDSChildren.org.

Join the March in Salt Lake City, on March 30th.  570 have already registered.  Don’t miss it.

Or…..join a Local Rally on March 30th

Other Resources