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.

Dear Stake President-Please Forward My Letter to the Apostles

imageHi President ______,

I recently spoke with your executive secretary about setting up an appointment.  Of course, I realize that this is a very busy time of year.  I’d still like to speak with you directly.  In the meantime, here’s a heads up of what I hope to discuss.  All the issues revolve around the Petition to Protect the Children.  I sent you 2 emails about this petition and my concerns last November.

  1. The protocol for youth interviews in our stake.  I spoke with my bishop.  However, I still have a number of questions.
  2. I now know that explicit questions are being asked by our bishops.  Three members of our stake have reported that in 2017 they experienced interviews of such a sexually probing nature that they decided to leave the church.
  3. In the last few weeks there has been a firestorm of media coverage in Utah about the petition and our interview practices.  There is a story brewing that may very well be covered by major local TV news here in Houston  It could be highly embarrassing to our bishops.
  4. Finally, below you’ll find a letter that I’ve composed for the Apostles.  I’d really appreciate it if you would forward it to them. 
Thanks for your service & friendship,  Sam

_______________________________________________________________________

One Thousand of us are going to march on the church office building.  We will present Ten Thousand signatures calling for the immediate PROTECTION OF OUR CHILDREN.

National media outlets will cover our March-for-the-Children.

Your policy of taking children behind closed doors is going to be exposed to the world.

Your training and approbation of local leaders to probe our children about masturbation and other sexually explicit details is going to be unmasked to the public.

You and the church are not going to look good.  Sitting bishops are not going to look good.

Do the right thing.  Stand up with us to protect our kids.  Stop these interviews IMMEDIATELY.  Avoid the PR nightmare that is fast approaching.

We are marching to protect our children.

Sincerely,

Ten Thousand Thundering Voices

Letter to the Apostles

imageDear Apostles,

One Thousand of us are going to march on the church office building.  We will present Ten Thousand signatures calling for the immediate PROTECTION OF OUR CHILDREN.

National media outlets will cover our March-for-the-Children.

Your policy of taking children behind closed doors is going to be exposed to the world.

Your training and approbation of local leaders to probe our children about masturbation and other sexually explicit details is going to be unmasked to the public.

You and the church are not going to look good.  Sitting bishops are not going to look good.

Do the right thing.  Stand up with us to protect our kids.  Stop these interviews IMMEDIATELY.  Avoid the PR nightmare that is fast approaching.

We are marching to protect our children.

Sincerely,

Ten Thousand Thundering Voices

To whom the following may concern:

I have been spied on, tattled on, gossiped about.

Today, I’m asking for somebody, anybody, to tattle my plans to the highest authorities.  Thus far, I have not heard a peep from any church leader.  I have reached out in every way that I know how.  The church may remain silent.  But, Ten Thousand Thundering Voices will not.  Our children are at stake.

Creating a Perfect Paradise for Pedophiles

TimothyMcCleve

SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) published an article describing  Mormon interview practices with children an “invitation for sexual abuse.”   The Salt Lake Tribune followed up with their article entitled “Sexual abuse survivors group of ‘Spotlight’ fame calls on Mormon church to change interview system.”

The LDS Church, by way of the Deseret News, responded with this editorial:  “In our opinion:  Mormon bishop interviews are not ‘invitations’ for abuse.”

So, which is it?

Experts say—Invitation for abuse

Church says—Not an Invitation for abuse

Well, well.  Let’s consider it from a pedophile’s perspective.  What conditions would be conducive to a Perfect Paradise for Pedophiles?

Check markNo fingerprint check.

Check markNo background check.

Check markUnfettered access to children.

Check markInstitutional requirement that all children meet one-on-one with a man behind closed doors.

Check markInstitutional requirement that no parent or other adult be in the same room when a child is all alone with an adult male leader.

Check markInstitutional acceptance, expectation, and instruction that sexual matters be discussed between a child and a grown man behind-closed-doors.

Check markNo restrictions whatsoever on how sexually graphic one-on-one interviews with children can be.

Every single one of those Check mark marks applies to the Mormon Church….ONLY the Mormon church.  No other reputable institution in America condones this behavior.  In fact, every other institution in our country condemns this conduct.

What do YOU think?

Is the interview protocol for children in my church an invitation for abuse?  Or simply a sacred opportunity for a child and his or her spiritual male leader?

Pedophiles In Our Midst

Jan 2018:  Stake Executive Secretary Arrested for Groping Teenager

Dec 2017:  American Fork LDS bishop counselor arrested for reported sexual abuse

Sep 2017:  Mormon bishop took his own life during sex abuse trial

Aug 2017:  Mormon high priest admits 21 child sex offences

Jul 2017:   Former LDS bishop avoids arrest warrant by fleeing to Venezuela

Jun 2017:  Former LDS bishop arrested for alleged child sex abuse

Apr 2017:  Outcry as Utah judge calls Mormon bishop who raped a girl a ‘good man’

Jan 2014:  Former LDS bishop arrested on count of luring minor for sexual exploitation

Nov 2013:  Ex-Mormon bishop pleads guilty in sexual assaults of two teens

Nov 2011:  Former LDS Bishop sentenced in sex abuse case

Dec 2008:  Former LDS bishop sentenced for molesting young girls

Feb 2005:  Former Stake President sentenced for sex soliciting a 14 year old

May 1999:  Mormons caught up in wave of pedophile accusations

Come on, my Mormon friends.  This has to make your stomach turn.  These pedophiles were Bishops and Stake Presidents!!!  Never…ever…allow your child to go behind closed doors with an any adult, even at church.

Protect The Children NOW

In 2018, this monstrous practice WILL be struck down….as we all join our efforts together.

  1. Add your name to 10,000 thundering voices
  2. Share your story on protectldschildren.org.  This is important.  We now have 66 stories of inappropriate interviews and the harms they have caused.  Our goal is 1,000.  The documentation of this wide swath of damage will draw strong media coverage.
  3. Stay tuned…..

Additional Resources

Children are Sacred…Policies are Not

david-goliathIn response to the Petition, ‘Protect The Children,’ the LDS Church recently released a statement.  In it, bishops’ interviews with children are called “sacred opportunities.”

A sacred opportunity?

Taking a child behind closed doors, all alone, with an older untrained man?  This is a sacred opportunity?

Then, talking to the child about masturbation, all alone, behind that closed door?  Really?  You have the audacity to call this sacred?

Every church in America has outlawed this egregious behavior….except one….the LDS Church, my church.

Calling this dangerous and disgusting practice sacred befouls the very meaning of the word sacred.  Policies are NOT sacred.  Practices are NOT sacred.  Especially NOT this one.

Then What is Sacred?

CHILDREN!!

CHILDREN….are….sacred.

And….Adults have a sacred obligation…to protect our sacred children.

Five Stones

David, in preparing for his epic clash with Goliath, “chose five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag.”

For our epic clash with Goliath, we will also need five smooth stones.  The first stone is now securely nestled in the bag…10,000 signatures of responsible adults.

It’s time to gather up our second stone…1,000 stories of inappropriate youth interviews and their harmful consequences.

Here’s what I’m asking of you…share your story.

  1. Go to the new site protectldschildren.org
  2. Click on “Share Your Story.”
  3. Record your story of inappropriate interview questions and the harm done.  It can be as simple as, “The bishop asked inappropriate sexual questions which caused self-loathing during my teen years.”
  4. Share this blog post and encourage others to record their stories.  But, only if it’s safe.

This little stone of 1,000 stories will be very important going forward.  Please help us put it in our shepherd’s bag.

Until a week ago, we had no real plan…except for completing the current step.  That’s changed.  We now have a battle plan.  I’ll outline it all soon.  In the meantime, let’s get those 1,000 stories.  WE made the 10,000 happen.  WE can make these 1,000 happen, too.

Thanks for enthusiastically embracing our sacred duty to protect the children.

Additional Resources

Destroying Childhood One Interview at a Time

YoungWomanToday, I received the following comment.  It was attached to a disturbing story recounting the damage that untrained bishops can unwittingly unleash.

This issue was a major part of the destruction of my childhood.  I shared my story on your website.  That’s the first time I’ve ever actually shared that story before.  I kept it inside for so long and tried to minimize it.  All I can think of is how Furious I would be if it had been my daughter.

Her story is recorded on the new Protect LDS Children website.  I’m not going to reveal which one it is.  After all, she has just now gathered the courage to put it in writing.  However, all the narratives shown may very well have “destroyed a childhood.”

To my dear friend of lost childhood:  My heart and tears go out to you.  What was done to you was wrong.  I am sorry.  Thousands of thundering voices are now speaking out to prevent this from happening to children of the future.

New Website

It is evident that we need an easily accessible location for the media and members to read about the harm these interviews cause.

***THIS IS IMPORTANT***

Please:  Go to the new site and record your story.

Please:  Share the existence of the new site so that others can record their story.

Thanks for your incredible support.  We are going to change the church.  You, me, and 10,000 others.

Oh yeah….SIGN the Petition if you haven’t yet.  Join 10,000 thundering voices to protect our children

Additional Resources

Want your child behind closed doors, all alone with a man talking masturbation? Then join the Mormon Church. We are the ONLY ones who do it.

Disgusted Girl

Yep.  That’s right.  You can’t find masturbation interviews for your children anywhere else.

“No other reputable institutional church, private or public school, sports group, youth serving organization, or community center allows one-on-one meetings between adults and children.  It’s an invitation for sexual abuse. Why is the LDS church endorsing this horrible practice?”  –Statement by Joelle Casteix, SNAP Western Regional Leader

SNAP is a prominent support group that helped expose widespread sexual abuse by Catholic priests.  The acronym stands for Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests.

In no uncertain terms, SNAP condemns what has become an LDS institutional hallmark, masturbation interviews.  According to Ms. Casteix, “The ramifications of these meetings are horrific.”

My Fellow Mormons

I’m ashamed that these closed-door-interviews are still part of our culture.  They certainly are not doctrine.  We are condoning the shame and self-loathing that our children are experiencing.

The rest of the world has already made changes to protect the kids.  Every institutional church and youth serving organization have eliminated behind-closed -doors-all-alone meetings with children…..except us.

We were forced by the Federal Government to abandon polygamy.  We lagged years behind the civil rights movement in finally ditching our embarrassing racism.  We are now years behind society again.  If you allow our “horrific” practice to continue….the harm to our children is on you!!!

***My Non-Mormon Friends***

You, your relatives, your neighbors or friends may be considering joining my Mormon Church.  If so, be aware that we are the ONLY church in America that conducts sexually oriented interviews with children, all alone, behind closed doors.

I’m giving you a heads up.  Your children WILL regularly be called into private one-on-one meetings with a leader of your congregation.  Often without your knowledge or consent.  It is very likely that those interviews will be sexually oriented with sexually probing questions.  Always behind closed doors and without a parent in the room.

The Church offers many good things.  I encourage you to seriously weigh the good against the severe risks that your children will be exposed to.

Additional Resources

Join us by adding your thundering voice to the PETITION